What is Faith?

2/135 : And they say: Be Jews or Christians, then ye will be rightly guided. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Nay, but (we follow) the religion of Abraham, the upright, and he was not of the idolaters.
2/136 : Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah (God) and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.
2/137: And if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then are they rightly guided. But if they turn away, then are they in schism, and Allah (God) will suffice thee (for defence) against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower.
2.138: (We take our) colour from Allah (God), and who is better than Allah (God)at colouring. We are His worshippers.
2/139: Say (unto the People of the Scripture): Dispute ye with us concerning Allah (God) when He is our Lord and your Lord? Ours are our works and yours your works. We look to Him alone.
2/140: Or say ye that Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know best, or doth Allah (God)? And who is more unjust than he who hideth a testimony which he hath received from Allah (God)? Allah (God)is not unaware of what ye do.
2/141: Those are a people who have passed away; theirs is that which they earned and yours that which ye earn. And ye will not be asked of what they used to do.
3/084: Say (O Muhammad): We believe in Allah (God)and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed unto Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.
3/085: And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to God) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.

(Qur’aan)

Israel’s Impunity

Before going further, click here to see how good the Israel’s regime is.

On June 1 there were many newsworthy incidents around the globe. Trawling the web’s news sites and international newspapers, you could see what was being brought to the attention of the world at large.

There were reports on the US-sponsored shambles in Ukraine, the savagery in Iraq and Syria, the British prime minister making a fool of himself yet again, Pakistan’s military operations against the militants in North Waziristan, the disgrace of a formerly popular Australian entertainer, a bomb killing 20 people in a Nigerian market, fraud in the Afghan presidential election (surprise, surprise) and a multitude of other reports on all sorts of remarkable occurrences.

And the event that received most cover was the funeral of three Israeli teenagers who had been murdered.
We should not be surprised about this, because anything that upsets Israel is automatically headline material, and reportage was intriguing in its support of the Tel Aviv regime.

Now don’t get me wrong: nobody in their right minds could possibly approve of the wicked murder of three perfectly innocent teenagers of any nationality, anywhere in the world. The people who committed this horrible crime should be hunted down and dealt with. And by that I mean killed, because they are the lowest of the low and do not deserve to live. But the Israeli blitz bombing of Palestinian Gaza in retaliation is not justice – any more than was the useless firing of rockets by Hamas.

For once I agreed with the venomous, brutal and amoral prime minister of Israel, the hideous Benjamin Netanyahu, when he declared that the three boys were “cut down by the hands of evil men.” But then Netanyahu went into the realms of fantasy in declaring that “a broad moral gulf separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death, we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty, and we mercy and compassion. That is the secret of our strength.”

For Netanyahu to claim that he is in any way familiar with “mercy and compassion” is utterly bizarre. This is the man who ordered air strikes on Gaza in November 2012 that killed dozens of children. In one of these atrocities “Five women, including one 80-year-old, and four small children were among the dead.” Even Ha’Aretz newspaper recorded that “More than one-third of the Palestinian civilians killed during Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip last November were under the age of 18,” as recorded by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The secret of Israel’s strength lies not in mercy and compassion but in brutality and world-tolerance of its relentless suppression of Palestinians.

Netanyahu is a murderous fanatic who will not rest until the last Arab is driven from the land that was Palestine and is now occupied by Jewish ‘settlers’ whose illegal colonies are forbidden by UNSC resolutions. These resolutions are ignored with contempt and impunity by Israel which is regarded as being above the law.

If any other country behaved like Israel in regard to its ethnically separated and persecuted majority population there would be international condemnation. But there isn’t a hope of that because there is oleaginous US endorsement of all that Israel does to maintain its military dominance over lands it continues to occupy illegally.

Take, for example, the reaction of prominent American politicians to the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers. New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio was “deeply saddened and outraged by news of the tragic murders” and declared that “New York City mourns them together with their families.” Does it really? The whole of New York is in mourning for the death of three young Israelis? Well maybe it is. Because the Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo said that he was “deeply shocked and saddened.” He added that “our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the state of Israel.”

Can you imagine the mayor of, say, Oslo, Manila or Tokyo commenting in such a fashion about the deaths of three Israelis? Would the governors of the states of Queensland, Bavaria or Uttar Pradesh consider it necessary to commit their citizens to pray for the state of Israel?

The crime was terrible but the circumstances are opaque. There is no proof that members of Hamas, the ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’ in Palestine, were guilty of the murders. This is not to say that Hamas extremists were not responsible for the killings. It is certainly likely that some Hamas thugs killed three young innocent defenceless boys. It’s just their style, in fact.

But there is a thing called due process of law. And Israel is supposed to be a country in which there is attention to proper legal process. It is proper that even in Israel a person accused of a crime should be held to be innocent until proved guilty. This happened, for example, in the case of the recently-disgraced former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, who was recently convicted of corruption. He was obviously guilty of massive venality over many years but until the evidence was produced in court there was no question of condemning him in public. So why, without evidence of any sort, does Netanyahu declare that “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay”?

Netanyahu threatened to “vigorously strike” in Gaza and the occupied West Bank and then ordered over 30 air attacks, saying “if need be, we will expand the campaign.” His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that reoccupation of Gaza would be more convenient than “small-scale operations,” but Amnesty International’s Philip Luther, condemning the murders, made the point that “justice will not be served by Israel seeking revenge by imposing collective punishment, or committing other violations of Palestinians’ rights.”

Then things became even worse when a Palestinian boy aged 16 was murdered in occupied Jerusalem – and suddenly Netanyahu changed his tune. Obviously fearing retaliation, he said, far too late, that justice should be done and declared that “Israel is a law-abiding state and everyone is obliged to act according to it.” But justice will not be done, because Israel is not a law-abiding state. It is a country built on stolen land and it refuses to obey resolutions of the UN Security Council to return the stolen land to its rightful owners. It refuses to obey resolutions forbidding it to build more ‘settlements’ on the land. And it need not fear any action to force it to obey international law.

The mayor of New York and the governor of NY State have demonstrated that US support for Israel is total and that the Israelis can get away with anything. All US administrations are committed unconditionally to the state of Israel, whose impunity is absolute. But if Washington continues to endorse Israel’s contempt for international law, and the Palestinians are denied justice, the outcome will be catastrophically brutal.

By: Brian Cloughley

Libya on the Brink

Libya is tipping toward all-out civil war as rival militias take sides for and against an attempted coup led by a renegade general that has pushed the central government towards disintegration.

In a move likely to deepen the crisis, the army chief of staff, whose regular forces are weak and ill-armed, called on Islamist-led militias to help preserve the government. His call came after forces commanded by General Khalifa Hifter stormed the parliament building in Tripoli at the weekend, after earlier attacking Islamist militia camps in Benghazi.

The fighting has been the heaviest since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and there are signs that opposing militias and elements of the security forces in different parts of the country and with differing ideologies may be readying to fight a civil war.

A Libyan air force base in Tobruk in the east of the country declared allegiance to Gen Hifter while Benghazi airport has been closed after being hit with rockets. Some 43 people were killed and 100 wounded in fighting in Benghazi at the end of last week.

The attack on the parliament building in the capital was made by militiamen armed with truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The parliament leader Nouri Abu Sahmein – in sympathy with the Islamists – called on an alliance of Islamist militias known as the Libyan Central shield to stop Gen Hifter’s forces.

Al-Qaeda type movements such as the Lions of Monotheism have pledged to resist Gen Hifter, a spokesman saying on its website that “you have entered a battle you will lose”.

The most powerful competing paramilitary movements are based in Misurata on the coast east of Tripoli and Zintan in the mountains to the west. Zintan appears to be backing Gen Hifter, whose own support inside and outside the country is shadowy.

The latest step in the dissolution of the Libyan state underlines the degree to which the opposition has proved unable to fill the vacuum left by the fall of Gaddafi. The war which led to his defeat in 2011 was largely fought by Nato air power.

Paradoxically, both the militiamen attacking and defending the government are paid out of the central budget. In addition, Gaddafi had 100,000 men under arms who still receive a monthly salary as if they were part of the regular forces, but few turn up to work.

Al-Qaeda type militias are strongest in Benghazi where they are held responsible for much of the mayhem. In Tripoli, Islamist militia leaders and their staffs have taken over whole floors of the best hotels such as the Radisson Blu.

On news of fresh fighting in Libya, the international price of oil rose to $110 a barrel for Brent crude. The Libyan oilfields had just been reopened after a prolonged closure of oil export terminals in the east of the country but are now shut again. Libyan oil output has fallen to 200,000 barrels a day, compared to 1.4 million barrels a day produced last year.

Many people in Tripoli express sympathy with Gen Hifter’s denunciations of the Islamic militias as the popular mood becomes increasingly desperate over the collapse of civil order and the central state. Gen Hifter said “this is not a coup against the state, we are not seeking power. Terrorism and its servants want it to be a battle”.

The general, who in the 1980s fought for Gaddafi in Mali but defected to the US, where he lived for many years, returned to Libya in 2011 but played only a limited role in the revolt. His hostility to the militias will go down well with many Libyans, but his forces are in practice just one more militia faction and dependent on his alliance with other militias.

Nevertheless, Libyans express growing support for anybody who can restore order and public safety by whatever means necessary.

By: Patrick Cockburn