Iran to send second monkey into space

329067_Monkey astronaut
Deputy Head of Iran Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli says the Islamic Republic plans to send another indigenous bio-capsule with a live monkey on board into space.

Fazeli said on Saturday that preparation for sending another monkey into space is complete and the living organism can be sent by the end of next month.

On January 28, the Islamic Republic of Iran sent a monkey into space aboard an indigenous bio-capsule, code-named Pishgam (Pioneer), as a prelude to sending humans on space missions.

The Iranian official added that the Islamic Republic plans to send other species into space during the next stages of the project.

“Iran will send the second monkey … on board a liquid-fuel carrier,” Fazeli said.

Fazeli said in September that Iran plans to launch Tadbir (Prudence), Sharifsat and Nahid satellites into orbit by the end of the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2014).

Iran launched its first indigenous satellite, Omid (Hope), in 2009. The country also sent its first bio-capsule containing living creatures into the space in February 2010, using the indigenous Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier.

In June 2011, Iran put the 15.3-kilogram Rasad (Observation) orbiter in space. Rasad’s mission was to take images of the Earth and transmit them along with telemetry information to the ground stations.

Iran also launched Navid-e Elm-o Sanat (Harbinger of Science and Industry), another indigenous satellite, into the orbit on February 3, 2012.

Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959.

10 unproven pro-Syria war claims

-Kucinich-In the lead-up to the Iraq War, I researched, wrote and circulated a document to members of Congress which explored unanswered questions and refuted President Bush’s claim for a cause for war. The document detailed how there was no proof Iraq was connected to 9/11 or tied to al-Qaeda’s role in 9/11, that Iraq neither had WMDs nor was it a threat to the U.S., lacking intention and capability to attack. Unfortunately, not enough members of Congress performed due diligence before they approved the war. Here are some key questions which President Obama has yet to answer in the call for congressional approval for war against Syria. This article is a call for independent thinking and congressional oversight, which rises above partisan considerations. The questions the Obama administration needs to answer before Congress can even consider voting on Syria:

Claim #1. The administration claims a chemical weapon was used. The UN inspectors are still completing their independent evaluation. Who provided the physiological samples of sarin gas on which your evaluation is based? Were any other non-weaponized chemical agents discovered or sampled? Who from the United States was responsible for the chain of custody? Where was the laboratory analysis conducted? Were U.S. officials present during the analysis of the samples? Does your sample show military grade or lower grade sarin gas? Can you verify that your sample matches the exact composition of the alleged Syrian government composition?


Claim #2: The administration claims the opposition has not used chemical weapons. Which opposition? Are you speaking of a specific group, or all groups working in Syria to overthrow President Assad and his government? Has your administration independently and categorically dismissed the reports of rebel use of chemical weapons which have come from such disparate sources as Russia, the United Nations, and the Turkish state newspaper? Have you investigated the rumors that the Saudis may have supplied the rebels with chemicals that could be weaponized? Has the administration considered the ramifications of inadvertently supporting al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian rebels? Was any intelligence received in the last year by the U.S. government indicating that sarin gas was brought into Syria by rebel factions, with or without the help of a foreign government or intelligence agents? 64394_653

Claim #3: The administration claims chemical weapons were used because the regime’s conventional weapons were insufficient. Who is responsible for the conjecture that the reason chemical weapons were used against the Damascus suburbs is that Assad’s conventional weapons were insufficient to secure “large portions of Damascus”?

Claim #4: The administration claims to have intelligence relating to the mixing of chemical weapons by regime elements. Who saw the chemical weapons being mixed from August 18th on? Was any warning afforded to the Syria opposition and if not, why not? If, on August 21st a “regime element” was preparing for a chemical weapons attack, has an assessment been made which could definitively determine whether such preparation (using gas masks) was for purpose of defense, and not offense?

Claim #5: The administration claims intelligence that Assad’s brother ordered the attack. What is the type of and source of intelligence which alleges that Assad’s brother personally ordered the attack? Who made the determination that Assad’s brother ordered the attack, based on which intelligence, from what source?

Claim #6: The administration claims poison gas was released in a rocket attack. Who was tracking the rocket and the artillery attack which preceded the poison gas release? Did these events occur simultaneously or consecutively? Could these events, the rocket launches and the release of poison gas, have been conflated? Based upon the evidence, is it possible that a rocket attack by the Syrian government was aimed at rebels stationed among civilians and a chemical weapons attack was launched by rebels against the civilian population an hour and a half later? Is it possible that chemical weapons were released by the rebels — unintentionally? Explain the 90-minute time interval between the rocket launch and chemical weapon attacks. Has forensic evidence been gathered at the scene of the attack which would confirm the use of rockets to deliver the gas? If there was a rocket launch would you supply evidence of wounds from the rockets impact and explosion? What is the source of the government’s analysis? If the rockets were being tracked via “geospatial intelligence,” what were the geospatial coordinates of the launching sites and termination locations?

Claim #7: The administration claims 1,429 people died in the attack. Secretary Kerry claimed 1,429 deaths, including 426 children. From whom did that number first originate?

Claim #8: The administration has made repeated references to videos and photos of the attack as a basis for military action against Syria. When and where were the videos taken of the aftermath of the poison gas attack?


Claim #9: The administration claims a key intercept proves the Assad regime’s complicity in the chemical weapons attack. Will you release the original transcripts in the language in which it was recorded as well as the translations relied upon to determine the nature of the conversation allegedly intercepted? What is the source of this transcript? What was the exact time of the intercept? Was it a U.S. intercept or supplied from a non-U.S. source? Have you determined the transcripts’ authenticity? Have you considered that the transcripts could have been doctored or fake? Was the “senior official,” whose communications were intercepted, a member of Assad’s government? How was he “familiar” with the offensive? Through a surprised acknowledgement that such an attack had taken place? Or through actual coordination of said attack? Release the transcripts! Was he an intelligence asset of the U.S., or our allies? In what manner had he “confirmed” chemical weapons were used by the regime? Who made the assessment that his intercepted communications were a confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by the regime on August 21st? What is the source of information that the Syrian chemical weapons personnel were “directed to cease operations”? Is this the same source who witnessed regime officials mixing the chemicals? Does the transcript indicate whether the operations they were “directed to cease” were related to ceasing conventional or chemical attacks? Will you release the transcripts and identify sources of this claim? Do you have transcripts, eyewitness accounts or electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or other regime officials which link the CW attack directly to President Assad? Who are the intelligence officials who made the assessment — are they U.S. intelligence officials or did the initial analysis come from a non-U.S. source?

Claim #10: The administration claims that sustained shelling occurred after the chemical weapons attack in order to cover up the traces of the attack. Please release all intelligence and military assessments as to the reason for the sustained shelling, which is reported to have occurred after the chemical weapons attack. Who made the determination that was this intended to cover up a chemical weapon attack? Or was it to counterattack those who released chemicals? How does shelling make the residue of sarin gas disappear?

The American people have a right to a full release and vetting of all facts before their elected representatives are asked to make a decision of great consequence for America, Syria and the world. Congress must be provided answers prior to the vote, in open hearings, not in closed sessions where information can be manipulated in the service of war. We’ve been there before. It’s called Iraq.


Expertise and Intellectual Freedom

-As Islamic awakening continues to unfold throughout the globe, we have come to a better understanding of the direction and the final goal of it. As the leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei has stated, “This final goal cannot be anything less than creating a brilliant Islamic civilization”. Keeping this in mind allows us to examine practical steps which would let us advance towards the genuine progress. On one hand, we need to ensure that authentic experts assume the leading positions in their respective fields. On the other hand, the leadership of these experts should nurture intellectual freedom of members of the society so that it can progress and reach its potential as a whole.

When we talk about experts, there seems to be a lot of misconceptions which lead to failure in identifying the right source of advice and guidance. Just like in the field of Islamic studies, in any other area of knowledge merely having training and a certification does not make one qualify as an expert. Common misuse of the term coupled with an absurd, thoughtless cult of training credentials in the modern society has taken our attention away from those who truly deserve leading positions in their fields. Vigilance, learning and contemplation on the qualities of genuine experts is as important as the idea of following them. We know that for someone to be called an aalim and to be considered a credible source of Islamic advice, he has to posses characteristics of insight and taqwa aside of training in a recognized religious institution. Likewise, similar qualities need to be sought for from a person whose advice we chose to follow in any other field. For instance, insight and in-depth understanding cannot be born from years of passively receiving instructions and completing required and pre-assigned set of tasks. It comes from interest and passion in the subject, continuous research and sincere aspiration to gain knowledge in the field and not the worldly benefits that may accompany this knowledge or approval of the general community. In fact, this very sincerity and love of knowledge will many a time result in a non-conventional stance, because conventional views are often designed and supported to fit the agenda of corrupt leadership. Therefore a layperson seeking guidance of experts should be aware of the difference of views in every field and be ready to examine them, rather than blindly submitting to directives of any certified specialist.


It has to be also understood that modern training and certification system in many academic fields does not fit the Islamic vision. We have heard of moral corruption being a concern in Western educational institutions. However, we should also be aware that Western education system is also practically corrupt and should not be used as a template for Islamic universities and schools. The goal of Western education is to produce work force to keep moving forward the production and consumption cycle and students in such schools are being trained to qualify for a job within the corrupt system. Since Islam represents an entirely different set of values, it is time for our thinkers and experts to gather their efforts and design a relevant education system. We want to encourage thinking, discussion and intellectually vibrant environment, reward active learning beyond mandatory program, allow individuals to explore their unique abilities and talents to see what they have to suggest to the society, rather than shaping them according to a pre-set template. The first Islamic golden age was brought about by scholars whose interest and search for knowledge was not limited by a particular field or pattern, and we shouldn’t restrain the talents of our youth either.

Meanwhile, the idea of identifying and following experts and bringing up new generation suitable for guiding Islamic society towards progress does not imply abandoning one’s personal responsibility of seeking knowledge, limiting intellectual freedom of humans and diminishing the value of human thought. On the contrary, the very purpose of guidance in Islam is to help humans to uncover hidden treasures and abilities withing themselves and direct them towards the true path and towards nearness to Allah. Unlike the society of consumerism, where the goal of a human is to take his place in the production-consumption cycle and thoughtlessly do his job to keep the oppressive machine moving,

Islam, through the Holy Quran, and traditions of prophet Muhammad (Saw) and his Pure Household (as) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of thinking, contemplation, discussion, intellectual involvement and responsibility or a human in all spheres of life. Advice and knowledge of experts in not to be put in place of personal thought process, awareness and decision making. Rather, both components must take their rightful place to facilitate human development and transformation of the society.

Awaiting for our Imam (af) and preparing grounds for his return implies, among other things, that every Muslim specialist and certified graduate should aspire to become a true, independent expert who stands on the side of truth regardless of worldly implications and be able to identify and counteract all instances of historic and modern corruption in his field. It also suggests a need to design a system to bring up and educate our youth in line with Islamic values and principles of active learning and intellectual freedom. And finally it demands the increase of general awareness and thoughtful decision- making in all spheres of life.



Written by Anna Oleinik


George Galloway impassioned speech against bombing Syria

Video-George Galloway made a crucial intervention in the debate in the British parliament opposing the attack on Syria. The government, which was confident on winning the debate, lost the vote.

Members of Parliament had been recalled, at vast public expense, for the debate on Thursday.





Free Speech, Islamophobia, Blasphemy

 Under growing pressure from the Muslim world, the Obama administration has been forced to deplore the content of a provocative film that denigrates Islam. But Washington has also said, “America’s free-speech rights allow such films to air!”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the Obama administration condemns the violence in the Muslim world the anti-Islam film, called “Innocence of Muslims,” has triggered. He also says the attacks on US facilities and embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen were unjustified. The attack in Libya killed four US diplomats, including the ambassador.

Islamophobia As always, Western mainstream media are trying to deceive public opinion and interpret the making of the film in the light of freedom of speech. However, the whole world has already witnessed that hurting the sentiments of over one billion Muslims does not fit in the definition of freedom of speech. It is an affront not only to all Muslims but also to the believers of all faiths and religions.

It is a point well taken by many western pundits as well. In their words, “The US-made film is a perfect candidate as an exception to free speech rights since its creators deliberately focused on fermenting violence.”

Of course, we all know that one of the cornerstones of any free democratic society is the protection of freedom of speech and thought (The Good). Such a society cannot thrive if its citizens are not able to freely express their views and opinions. But sometimes, so much liberty under the guise of “free speech” could lead to racism against ethnic minorities. A case in point could be the current wave of Islamophobia (The Bad) in the West. islamophobia2

Nevertheless, there could be several explanations for the sheer intensity of Muslim anger over this enmity. An important one is that Muslims know the powers in the West today want to degenerate their Islamic societies into a godless society by encouraging and normalizing sacrilegious practices such as slandering and trivializing Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) with the help of mainstream media and secular currents. To this end, the powers in the West want to make sure that the mosque, although highly visible and active, also remains powerless to redirect the rushing secular currents in a society mired in a moral and spiritual crisis.

With the removal of God and the sanctity of His Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the powers in the West can then force or encourage Muslims to choose the path of rejecting God and His ways, and systematically remove the Holy Quran, prayer and religious discussions from classrooms, cultural centers and places of public gatherings. Once these secular societies become morally bankrupt and openly hostile to Islamic values, the powers in the West can then trivialize and ridicule Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the name of freedom of speech or humanistic and pluralistic concerns, and reap the dire consequences of rejecting God.

Another explanation is the perceived hypocrisy of Islam being associated with terrorism by Western countries, which have participated in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa in the name of the so-called “war on terror.” The other explanation is that many Muslims believe the anti-Islam film has nothing to do with iconoclasm and everything to do with the wave of Islamophobia sweeping Western societies.

Europe’s millions of Muslims are an increasingly embattled minority. The far right no longer directs its hatred against Jews or blacks – their targets of choice are now Muslims. So the release of the anti-Islam film cannot be divorced from the context of rampant Islamophobia in American society either, where racists and extremists claim that “Western civilization is threatened with destruction at the hands of a Muslim plan for global conquest!”

The rising tide of European Islamophobia has spilled far beyond the confines of the far right, though. Just like America, in Europe violence against Muslims continues to mount as the media stirs hatred – under the guise of freedom of speech and expression. For instance in Britain, Muslims find themselves increasingly on the receiving end of police intimidation and stop-and-search routines.

But Muslims are not just the victims of racist persecution. They also represent one of the most oppressed and impoverished sections of the working class. According to a recent EU study, over two thirds of British Muslims live in poverty and suffer from the lowest employment rate of any ethnic group. This situation is repeated across Europe.

Without examining these broad contexts, it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand the intensity of the anger and anguish among Muslims that the recent blasphemy (The Ugly), i.e., the release of the anti-Islam film, has provoked. There is no denying that secularism, Islamophobia, and the perceived hypocrisy of Islam being associated with terrorism appropriate the Western language of blasphemy. Perhaps, it is also a convenient ideology at a time when Western armies occupy Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and when the US government and Israeli lobby menace Iran.

It is fair to say that this about sums up the general opinion of the international community that unless the Islamophobic tide, the secular currents and the illegal wars waged against Muslims in the name of “war on terror” are condemned and contained, there is a clear risk that the events surrounding the sacrilegious movie might be a precursor for a far greater disaster in the near future. We have all been warned!



Egypt’s ‘counter revolution’: A people’s coup or Mubarak déjà vu?

“Revolutions in sovereignty result from prior revolutions in ideas about justice and political authority. What revolutions in ideas bring are crises in pluralism. Iconoclastic propositions challenge the legitimacy of an existing international order, a contradiction that erupts in the volcano — the wars, the riots, the protests, the politics — that then brings in the new order.”
– Professor of International Relations Daniel Philpott.
We seem to have come full circle in Egypt: from the first hopes for revolutionary change in the direction of democracy and challenges to the existing international order that blossomed in Tahrir Square in the spring of 2011, followed by the national elections in June of 2012 that resulted in a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, to the dashed hopes and despair induced by an Egyptian Army officer’s coup in July of 2013, which nipped the flowering democratic organism in the bud.
Others disagree, claiming the Morsi administration “substituted Muslim Brotherhood billionaire Khairat al-Shater for the old regime’s business leader Ahmed Ezz and [were] seeking reconciliation with those who have pillaged Egypt for 30 years.”
Certainly as the next State of Egypt emerges, we are witnessing a sanguinary proof from the US-backed, Saudi-supported Egyptian military of Professor Fred Halliday’s somber thesis, “All states, whether endogenously generated, forged through inter-state competition, as in the case of western Europe, or created from the outside, owe their origin and central reproduction to force.”
This latest iteration of an Egyptian attempt to cope with post-modernity certainly appears to be an endogenous revolution, or perhaps counter-revolution, which was warmly embraced by a plurality of Egyptians.
Dubbed the June 30 Revolution, there are even those within Egypt who are resentful of media portrayals of this latest “course correction” as an army coup, going so far as to call it a “people’s coup” and portraying the U.S.-connected ringleader General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi as a “military savior,” with robust chants of “the people, the military and the police are one hand.”
The Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) accused Western media of “coverage that is biased to the Muslim Brotherhood and ignores shedding light on violent and terror acts that are perpetrated by this group in the form of intimidation operations and terrorizing citizens.”
One source, Hossam Nasser, a former adviser at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, even went so far as to claim that a Euro-American plot against Egypt had been foiled, declaring, “Europeans and Americans have spent a lot on the Brotherhood regime to carry out their plot, before the people and the army intervened in time.”
There are those, however, who disagree with the above rosy populist picture of the so-called June 30 Revolution painted by the Egyptian military and its supporters.
Rather than the masses revolting against an incompetent administration, Hudson Institute scholar Samuel Tadros suggests that it was the traditional Egyptian power brokers, which controlled the patron client networks, who felt most threatened by the Brotherhood’s democratic success and hence collaborated with the army in the coup while the unsuspecting public cheered them on.
In a rather gloomy but nonetheless insightful assessment, with which I fully agree, Tadros predicts:
“In a couple of years’ time, when non-Islamists prove to be as incompetent as the Brotherhood in solving Egypt’s structural problems, the Brotherhood’s failures will not look as bad as they do today. But more importantly, while the Brotherhood’s understanding of democracy was flawed, its commitment to the ballot box as a means of political change and renunciation of violence was genuine.”
A closer examination of monetary maneuvering and manipulation reveals several striking points:
First, it seems that since the time of the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. has been funding the Muslim Brotherhood, now being disbanded by the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity, as a kind of hedge against the influence of other extremist groups, while at the same time funding many Egyptian activists who opposed the Brotherhood.
The Bush administration may have been initially attracted to the Muslim Brotherhood because of the latter’s extreme neoliberal economic views, which coincided with their own.
Second, Egypt under Morsi has made a number of economic overtures to Russia, China and other nations no doubt reigniting U.S. fears given its chronic Cold War mentality.
Third, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states have already pledged billions, mostly after the July 3 coup, to bolster Egypt’s economy in an effort to avoid subjecting Egyptians to a European-style austerity campaign.
Fourth, Tel Aviv has quietly supported the Egyptian generals’ coup and their campaign to neutralize the Muslim Brotherhood. And last, the U.S., while acting in a manner consistent with the wishes of its Zionist partner (or is that master?), appears to be financially impotent and floundering politically, unable to shore up its shrinking regional influence.
Since the January 25, 2011 revolution, Egypt has received over $26 billion from its good Arab neighbors in the Persian Gulf, with $12 billion coming from Saudi Arabia since the July 3 regime change.
Not only did the Saudis pledge to replace any funds that the U.S. or its Western allies may withhold from Egypt due to legal concerns, but also, according to a UPI report, they gave General al-Sisi $1 billion just for carrying out the coup.
These amounts stand in stark contrast to the paltry $2.5-billion combined U.S. and European aid over the same period, delivering a sharp economic slight to these Western powers, who are unable to put their money where their mouths are, so to speak.
Unfortunately, the European Union is in the midst of a financial crisis and the United States is not doing so well economically, either, so both lack the ability to quickly come up with an aid package similar to the Saudis’ virtual blank check.
As a result, U.S. and EU threats of withholding financial assistance were greeted with a ho-hum response in Egypt since the money involved is too small to cause concern, as Hossam Nasser explained, “Arab aid represents an open credit line for the local economy, and a message to Europeans and Americans that Egypt will not yield to their pressures.”
With Saudi pressure on the one side from their massive monetary assistance to Egypt and Zionist political pressure to maintain the sham 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the U.S. has found itself in the middle with no room to maneuver, short of a brief show of rhetoric on cutting military aid led by U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
After pointing out that the U.S. law is very clear on the matter of aid to a country following a coup d’etat, Senator Paul made an impassioned plea to Obama stating, “With more than 500 dead and thousands more injured this week alone, chaos only continues to grow in Egypt. So Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law, and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt.”
Despite the senator’s heart-rending performance, the U.S. caved in to hypocrisy, ate some humble pie and decided to continue the military aid payments.
Fakhry al-Fiqqi, a professor of economics at Cairo University, explaining the U.S. predicament said, “American aid is linked to the peace treaty with Israel, and cancelling it requires a Congressional bill. If that happens, Egypt may withdraw from the peace treaty.”
So while the U.S. appears legally bound to cut off aid to Egypt, to do so would jeopardize the security interests of Tel Aviv, which is an AIPAC red line it cannot, or will not be allowed to cross. Additionally, the West simply cannot compete with the financial assistance coming from Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states since, as Egyptian banker Bassant Fahmy points out, such aid is bestowed abundantly in a timely fashion and without the humbling, and oft-times humiliating, not to mention economically devastating strings attached to U.S. and European aid packages.
In fairness, it should be mentioned that pecuniary problems in Egypt date back to the Mubarak era, which saw 10 percent overall and 25 percent youth unemployment as well as a shrinking GDP; however now, after over two years of political turmoil, Egypt is clearly in dire need of financial help.
The Egyptian economy is in complete disarray with foreign exchange reserves depleted and a threat of food shortages looming, as was noted in a recent report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
In order to get its financial house in order and avoid European-like austerity measures, which would further aggravate the economy and alienate Egypt’s oppressed population, the military junta is “bringing in funds from outside the country,” according to Egypt’s Finance Minister Ahmed Galal.
“This will help economic growth in the future while helping the relatively poor,” he said. Also, this approach should allow Egypt to avoid the economic entanglements of a Western-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, which was Dr. Morsi’s lender of last resort, and perhaps that he even pursued such an option was a significant factor in his downfall.
The structural problems in the Egyptian economy arise from its dependence on tourism and associated services, which amount to nearly half the country’s GDP.
The unrest in the region following the Islamic Awakening uprisings discouraged tourism and foreign investment, which cut heavily into Egypt’s service sector, forcing the government to draw down foreign exchange reserves to cover expenditures.
The resulting devaluation of the Egyptian Pound translated into food price hikes, fuel shortages and unemployment, which impacted heavily and disproportionately the poor, making any cuts to social spending potential political suicide.
And of course the IMF, as a condition for the $4.8-billion loan requested by Dr. Morsi, insisted on “structural adjustments,” otherwise known as budget cuts and tax increases; targeting the state sector, which consumes some 40 percent of the Egyptian GDP; and, massively reducing much-needed subsidy programs at the worst possible time. The United States also insisted that Egypt comply with IMF demands as a condition for receiving its paltry $190-million economic infusion installment.
Among the countries President Morsi solicited aid from was Russia, and this, of course represented a potential threat to U.S. hegemony in the region. One political consultant, Maurice Bonamigo, who also conceded that an IMF loan would not be in the best interests of Egypt, warned that if Moscow were to become an ally of Cairo, Russia would once again be a superpower.
And Russia appears to be ready and willing to provide arms and financial help as needed. “The economy (of Egypt) is, of course, in a grave condition,” acknowledged Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov, who indicated that a Russian aid package would be funded by a combination of government agencies and private sector firms.
“Private companies are studying the conditions of granting such assistance so that it is used effectively and is in line with the development of our bilateral ties,” Bogdanov added.
Unfortunately, no Russian aid package was forthcoming in time to save the Morsi administration.
China was also courted by President Morsi as a means to get out from under the sphere of U.S. domination. China was one of the first non-Arab countries visited by the ousted leader, who managed to entice it into increasing investments by some 60 percent, which has paid off with increases of around 30 percent in Sino-Egyptian trade.
Much of China’s investments in Egypt have been in the Rawash industrial and investment zone in Giza, which is close to the strategically important Suez Canal.
That China would want to have some economic say in the region is not surprising given its rising geopolitical position in the world, which is a direct threat to the U.S. hegemony. While China has issued a statement on the coup, it has not overtly condemned it, and given its record of diplomacy, will probably work with the new ruling military regime.
The U.S., on the other hand, views China as a primary threat and has realigned its global strategy in 2011 to “help ensure that China’s rise to power is as peaceful as possible,” which no doubt played some small part in Washington’s decision to withdraw its support from the Morsi administration. In any event, China did not come to the rescue, either.
In addition to seeking foreign investment from Russia and China, President Morsi also visited the other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries in an attempt, as one Egyptian diplomat put it, to send “a message to all concerned, not excluding Washington, that Cairo is keeping its options wide open and that it is no longer willing to succumb to the traditional framework of its foreign policy from pre-25 January revolution days.”
Referring to U.S. support of dictatorial regimes and the Zionist entity, the Egyptian president sent a clear signal that must have reverberated in Washington, when, prior to his September 2012 UN General Assembly visit, he stated, “Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region.”
Not surprisingly, Morsi’s efforts to lure investments proved futile, and loans from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Libya, amounting to some $9 billion, were not sufficient to turn the economy around. However, investors chimed in approvingly of the coup on July 4, 2013, the day after his ouster, giving stocks on the Cairo Exchange a one-day gain of over 7 percent.
Underscoring Washington’s shrinking influence, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in a remark aimed at the United States, warned, “Whoever interferes in Egypt’s internal affairs is lighting the fire of sedition and promoting the terrorism they are fighting.”
The Obama administration’s actions, reactions and inactions during the Egyptian upheaval have cast the United States in the role of the guilty party regardless of the viewpoint of the observer involved.
The Muslim Brotherhood justifiably blames the U.S. for supporting the coup while for his part General al-Sisi accuses the Washington regime of being on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood and turning its back on the Egyptian people.
Not helping is the non-sequitur made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Egyptian military is dedicated to birthing Jeffersonian democracy. If the United States had any credibility in the international community before this Cairene catastrophe, it certainly has none now.
Following the post June 30 “people’s coup” euphoria, during which all of Egypt’s ills were attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood, we have seen the violent face of this “military savior” and his generalissimos exposed by the slaughter of nearly 1,000 protestors in the streets.
For their part, the Saudis, experienced as they are in the brutal suppression of peaceful protests both inside and outside their kingdom, have graciously sent three fully-equipped military field hospitals to Cairo to help the Egyptian military deal with the carnage it is creating.
The massacres being perpetrated by the military junta are so bloody, horrific and abhorrent that 79 percent of Egyptians surveyed consider them to be a crime against humanity and 73 percent hold General al-Sisi personally responsible, while only a mere 19 percent deemed the military’s actions necessary to reestablish security. Nevertheless, all this appears to be part of the regional master plan, as the spokesman for the Tagammu Party, Nabil Zaki, stated, “The U.S. aims to divide the Middle East into small, bickering entities in order to guarantee Israeli hegemony in the region.”
No amount of economic aid can fully repair the damage from this devastating blow to Egyptian democracy inflicted by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-supported military coup. And I am fearful that very soon, it will be clear to all those concerned that what took place in July 2013 in Egypt was not a “people’s coup,” rather it was a Mubarak déjà vu: a recycling of the U.S.-financed, Zionist-approved military cadre that has ruled over the oppressed Egyptian people for the last 30 years.

Tehran Times

Iran, Korea

A group of Iranian and South Korean religious scholars discussed the role of religion in promoting ethical and human values during a seminar held at Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) yesterday.

ICRO Director Mohammad-Baqer Khorramshad, Center for Dialogue between Civilizations and Religions Director Ali-Mohammad Helmi, and the University of Religions and Denominations Director Hojjatolesalm Abolhasan Navvab were among the Iranian scholars who attended the seminar.
A delegation from the Seoul-based Korea Conference of Religion for Peace (KCRP) including the Christian leader and the deputy secretary of KCRP Tae Sung Kim also attended the seminar.
Speaking at the seminar, Khorramshad pointed to the moral values in different societies and said that these values can lead to a better life in a society through religion.
Tae Sung Kim also stated that morality has a great impact on the stability of a society, and that religion can create peace in a society.
In addition, several other S. Korean scholars delivered their short speeches at the seminar and held talks with Iranian experts.
Tehran Times