Monitor Mideast

Christiane Amanpour Calls For Intervention In Syria

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Christiane Amanpour angrily denounced her fellow panelists on Thursday’s “AC360 Later” for their unwillingness to support American intervention in Syria.


Writers Andrew Sullivan, Charles Blow and Christopher Dickey all spoke against intervention, echoing the sentiments of most Americans and of Congress.


Amanpour said she could “barely contain” her anger at this position.


“How many more times do we have to say that weapons of mass destruction were used?” she said. “And as bad as it is to decapitate somebody, it is by no means equal. We can’t use this false moral equivalence about what’s going on right now. They tried to do it in the Second World War. They tried to do it in Bosnia. They tried to do it in Rwanda and they’re trying to do it now. There is no moral equivalence.”


As her panelists tried to interject, Amanpour snapped, “Wait just a second!” Once she had the floor, she continued, “The president of the United States and the most moral country in the world based on the most moral principles in the world, at least that’s the fundamental principle that the United States rests on, cannot allow this to go unchecked, cannot allow this to go unchecked…I’m so emotional about this.”


Later, Amanpour tweeted that she was trying to recall “America’s proud history” of liberal interventionism.


But how trustworthy is Amanpour’s moral compass? There’s a side of Amanpour rarely depicted in mainstream American media. An old obtained tape reveals how Amanpour describes CNN executives calling their viewers “Stupid” and how Amanpour could very well agree with that position.



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Underdog: How Iran’s new President Stifled his Critics, and Won

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Like his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani made a number of prolific performances whereby he was catalyzed into an underdog position. Monitor Mideast translated one of such interviews exclusively into English. Rouhani is seen questioning the IRIB reporter on basis of long-held myths regarding Hassan Rouhani’s track record as a nuclear negotiator.

During Iran’s presidential election of 2013, Hassan Rouhani’s adversaries scorned him for bowing down as a nuclear negotiator, effectively halting Iran’s nuclear program. This video offers an exclusive look at how Rouhani tackled this critique during the election–and ultimately won.
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The New White Man’s Burden? A review of Humanitarian Imperialism

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Jean Bricmont’s powerful Humanitarian Imperialism is a timely critique of Western interventionism — that which is argued as being for the sake of human rights and which has been a subject of great debate as of late due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.


Humanitarian interventionism is defined by Bricmont as follows:

“…[that] which concedes much too much to the idea that our “universal values” give us the right and even the duty to intervene elsewhere…” (page 10)


He argues within the first chapter that the manner in which war has been legitimized as of late is no longer by way of Christianity or “white man’s burden” but “a certain discourse on human rights and democracy […] which justifies Western interventions in the Third World in the name of defence of democracy and human rights.”


Moving on to highlight what he calls “the ideology of human rights”, Bricmont discussed in chapter 4:


“…essentially it comes down to the idea that Western states have the right, or duty, to interfere in the internal affairs of other states in the name of human rights.” (page 26)


Bricmont goes on to produce not only a set of strong arguments against war but weak arguments as well:

“To allow construction of a more effective opposition to current wars it is necessary to distinguish, among arguments heard against those wars, which ones are solid and which ones are not, and combat that influence of the dominant discourse on the discourse with the opposition. Weak arguments are those that are based, at least in part, on the suppositions of the dominant discourse.” (page 91)


His strong arguments‘ begin with the defense of international law — the basic principle of which he loosely defines as being “that no country has the right to send its troops into another country without the consent of its government” and that said government need not be an “elected government” or even one that “respects human rights” but “simply has to be who effectively controls the armed forces”.


The next argument against war is an anti-imperialist perspective:

“What would happen if a country put into practice the ideas of various anti-globalization or “global justice” movements? Not only measures such as the “Tobin tax” which, depending on how it was defined, might possibly be integrated into the system without too much trouble, but more radical measures such as widespread debt repudiation, reappropriation of natural resources, (re)construction of strong public services, significant taxation of profits, etc. I see no reason to believe that the reaction would be very different from what it was with Allende, Castro, Mossadegh, Lumumba, Arbenz, Goulart, and many others.


The reaction would occur in stages: first of all, more or less economic sabotage, in the form of capital flight, a stop to investments, credit and “aid,” etc. Should that not suffice there would be encouragement of internal subversion, provoked by social, ethnic, or religious groups with specific demands difficult to satisfy. Any repression of those groups, even if their activities were illegal and would be equally repressed anywhere else, would be condemned in the name of human rights. The economic or political complexity of the situation would be forgotten. All this would take place under constant thread of military coup d’état, which could be welcomed by a part of the population tired of “chaos.” And, if all that should fail to do the trick, the United States or it’s allies would resort to direct military intervention.


The point is that even if the last measure is not taken the moment each new crisis arises, it nevertheless looms in the background of all the others. If economic sanctions or internal destabilization measures don’t work, one can expect a new Bay of Pigs, a new Vietnam, or a new Contras.” (page 101-102)


Bricmont’s Humanitarian Imperialism is riddled with samplings from history — from the silent genocide imposed on Iraq (i.e. US sanctions) to East Timor and Afghanistan.


In chapter 6, The Guilt Weapon, we are introduced to one of the most pervasive of mechanisms used by humanitarian interventionists in order to guilt critics. The example used in this chapter is the subjugation of Afghan women, who were used as pawns by US regimes looking for a more stable argument for the ongoing war — should the “war on terror” not convince critics then this more “noble” justification would do:


“The horrors inflicted on Afghan women by the Taliban did the trick. Many activists, doubtless with perfect sincerity, suddenly expressed urgent concern today. Why? Because everyone is quite aware, then as now, that we are not capable of solving all the world’s problems, and especially that such problems as the oppression of women are not solved overnight. But the strength of propaganda in favour of war is such that even people who are against it feel obligated to express their agreement with the objectives that have been proclaimed in order to justify it, instead of simply denouncing the hypocrisy of the whole manoeuvre. It seems likely that that this sense of obligation stems from the fact that the last thing anti-war activists want to be accused of is “supporting the Taliban.” The notion of “support is in fact at the center of the guilt-trip mechanism.”

His stunning book ends with Prospects, Dangers and Hopes:


“People who have been appealing to human rights for thirty years in order to flatter the American superpower risk finding themselves, perhaps against their will, the “objective allies” of monstrous undertakings. In any case, the question of the “soft landing” is the major political problem of our time, as well as the principle challenge that needs to be met by progressive, peace or global justice movements.”


All those who prefer peace to power, and happiness to glory, should thank the colonised peoples for their civilizing mission. By liberating themselves, they made the Europeans more modest, less racist, and more human.”


Bricmont’s close still holds true to this very day:

“Let us hope that the process continues and that the Americans are obliged to follow the same course. When one’s own cause is unjust, defeat can be liberating.


Roqayah Chamseddine writes for

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Rumsfeld Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before

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The youthful Donald Rumsfeld had his first brush with fame as an amateur wrestler, grappling his way to the captaincy of the Princeton university team. At the age of 81 – accused of disastrous mismanagement of the war in Iraq and dumped by the Bush administration after the 2006 midterms – the old bamboozler remains a slippery customer. He has his feet on the mat but he’s not going down.


Errol Morris’s new documentary, nominated for the top prize at the Venice film festival, takes its title from an infamous speech in the run-up to invasion. Making the case for illusory weapons of mass destruction, the US defense secretary said that there are “things we do not know we don’t know”, a devastating bit of obfuscation that effectively justified going to war on a false prospectus. Time and again, Morris tries to pin him down on this point. Time and again, he gives a clenched smile and wriggles loose. The film winds up as a tense, frustrating stalemate.

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Iran President: US First to Suffer in Syria War

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran supports any measures that prevent foreign military intervention in Syria, warning against the repercussions of a possible attack against the Arab country.


Speaking in a televised speech on August 10, Rouhani welcomed a Russian plan for Syria’s chemical weapons to be put under international control, saying the plan has lowered the risk of a US attack on Damascus.


The Iranian president warned of the consequences of a foreign military intervention in the region, saying those who are after a war will be the first to suffer.

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Christian Singer Julia Boutros Honors Hezbollah in Concert

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On April 2013, Lebanese singer Julia Boutros dedicated two songs of her discography to the Lebanese movement Hezbollah. LBCI provided footage of the jaw-dropping performance.


On October 11, 2006, Julia announced a new single called “Ahibaii” (My loved ones). The lyrics are based on a letter sent by Hizbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah to the fighters in South Lebanon during the 2006 Summer War between Lebanon and Israel. The poet Ghassan Mataradapted the original text. The music is composed by Ziad, brother of Julia and arranged by Michel Fadel. The profits from the song’s sale went to help the families of Hizbollah fighters and to all Lebanese who died during the Israel-Lebanon conflict. Sales eventually garnered three million dollars for the families of the Lebanese civilians, soldiers, security forces, and Hezbollah militants who have been killed in the Israel-Lebanon conflict. The sum was triple the original aim, which was only one million dollars. The families of Lebanese soldiers killed during operation Naher el-Bared also received a portion of the money.




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Dubai Police Chief Taunts Brotherhood Guide After Heart Attack

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Dahi Khalfan, Dubai’s police chief has once again praised the Egyptian army’s crackdown on high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood figures. His latest remarks come as senior officials and even the supreme guide of the Brotherhood have been taken into custody. Khalfan taunted the Brotherhood’s supreme guide by stating on Twitter “After today, there is no more guide.” Khalfan was referring to Mohamed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.


On August 31, Al-Ahram reported that Badie had suffered a cardiac arrest while in prison, but that he has since recovered. State news agency MENA denied a report that Badie had died, while Brotherhood spokesmen did not respond to immediate requests about his health. Badie, whose condition is said to be stable, was among many Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested in recent crackdown.


After Morsi’s overthrow, the Emirates, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and various other families in the Persian Gulf emerged as the primary financiers of the Egyptian army, offering the institution large sums of money in order to subdue ‘terrorists’ operating in Egypt, a term primarily used in reference to pro-Morsi supporters.


In response, Egypt’s Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah el-Sisi responded by thanking the kingdoms of Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia for their sustained support in restoring peace to Egypt. Khalfan has long deemed the Muslim Brotherhood a danger to the emirate. In an effort to counter pro-Morsi online activists, he recently devised an ‘alternative’ logo to the hand with four fingers utilized by pro-Morsi supporters decrying the ‘coup’ as illegitimate.


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Meet Al-Qaida’s Sunni Adversaries in Egypt

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In an online audio message distributed on Saturday, Iraq’s Al-Qaida branch called on Egyptian citizens to take up arms against the army, which they described as working to establish a system of “secular infidels” who must be fought. The organization, also known as the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,”  referred to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as “tyrants” for their support for democracy and their quest to gain power through elections.
Said Abu Mohammed Al-Adnani, spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham directed his message towards the Sunnis in general and to the people of Egypt in particular. In his message, he called upon people to fight for God’s sake, stating that the armies of the tyrants have humiliated the Muslims whilst establishing polytheist laws. Al-Adnani is referring to Egypt’s Sunni military and the Brotherhood who he deems enemies to Al-Qaida.The recent online audio comes as Egyptian Salafists have aligned their parties with Saudi Arabia and the army against the Muslim Brotherhood.The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have made similar calls against the Syrian government. In Syria, the group has repeatedly called for the slaughter of Alawites and Shi’a. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has long accused the American government of supporting and supplying Al-Qaida, in order to destabilize various Middle Eastern governments. After Morsi’s overthrow, the Egyptian army reversed all decisions directed against the Syrian government. Sisi and the Egyptian generals have recently vowed not to allow an attack against Syria. 


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was established as an umbrella organization of Iraqi insurgent groups on October 15, 2006 under the name of Islamic State of Iraq. The group was composed of and supported by a variety of insurgent groups, including its predecessor organisation, the Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda, Jeish al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura  and other clans whose population follows one of the various Sunni sects. It aimed to establish a caliphate in post-Saddam stronghold regions of Iraq.



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The Rift Within: Will Hamas Defend Syria?

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The emerging rift between the political and military arm of Hamas in light of recent calls for an attack or invasion on Syria has the organization in disarray, Kuwaiti daily Al-Anba reports. Recently, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas vowed to stand by Syria during an act of aggression by foreign powers.


Hamas’ political arm, which has aligned itself with Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and against Iran and Syria reacted strongly against these calls by its own militia.  As disagreements grew, the military leadership declared their willingness to break loose from the political leadership abroad, referring to Khaled Mesh’al. It triggered mass resentment from the Hamas’ political chief, who underlined the mandate of the Al-Qassam Brigades to follow the Hamas leadership unconditionally.


Even within Hamas’ political organization, senior members such as Imad al-Alami and Mahmoud al-Zahar dispute Mesh’al and Haniyah’s alignment with Qatar. The former two served as prominent members influencing key positions within the political and military wing in addition to playing a pivotal role in sustaining relations with Iran and Hezbollah after the fallout with Assad.


In more recent months, fighters of the military wing in Gaza erected banners near the border with Israel bearing words of Thanks to Tehran in Arabic, English, Farsi and Hebrew. The military wing intended to thank Iran for its recent assistance during the conflict in Gaza, despite the fallout with the Syrian government by the Hamas political bureau. The symbolic gesture turned into a fiasco after some members of the political arm attempted to remove the banners. What followed was an intervention of Al-Qassam military personnel who then prevented the removal.


In light of these developments, Zahar and a number of senior cohorts within the political arm are deemed more in line with the Al-Qassam Brigades, spawning discussions on a Hamas leadership reshuffle and whether it will support Syria during an act of aggression.



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Obama: We’re Going Into Syria

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U.S. President Barack Obama stated that the decision to conduct a limited military operation in Syria has been made. This does however not include a ground intervention. Obama further noted that the attacks in Ghouta was the worst massacre in the 21st century committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


Obama further noted that Assad shelled an area of ​​Damascus where more than a thousand people, including women and children were situated, citing it as a crime against human dignity. He moved on to point out that this alleged crime was a violation of the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and poses a threat to the neighboring countries of Syria.


Syria has dismissed calls by Washington, stating that the United States, Germany, France and a number of other countries had supplied militants with chemical components in order to induce a foreign intervention.


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