Blog Archives

Syria’s proxy war


What began in Syria as another civil uprising of the Arab spring against an established government has grown into a multi-dimensional war, drawing in first the region, then the world.

A few days after the Syrian army took Qusayr, in early June, the influential Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi described his grim vision of a Muslim world dominated by “Persians and Shia”: “The guide of the Revolution … Ayatollah Khamenei will fulfil his dream of delivering a sermon from the pulpit of the Umayyad Mosque [in Damascus] to announce that he [has] achieved Islamic unity, which he has long promised. He will descend from the pulpit with much pomp to wipe the head of a poor child to show the ‘tolerance of the powerful’ [toward Sunnis]. Then he will stand next to … Syrian Sunni scholars, with their white turbans, as there are always people like the mufti Ahmad Hassun who are ready to serve. He will [raise their hands] high, while cameras record this historic moment” (1).

In a speech the same day, Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hizbullah, justified sending fighters to Syria while recognising that although “a large part of the Syrians [support] the regime”, many were probably against it. He felt this internal conflict was secondary, since “Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and the entire region are targeted by [a] US-Israeli-Takfiri scheme” (2) that must be resisted at all costs, which meant rushing to help the Assad regime.

As a US official wrote in a report by the International Crisis Group (3), “a Syrian war with regional consequences is becoming a regional war with a Syrian focus.” A new cold war is dividing the region, like the original, which set Nasser’s Egypt, allied with the USSR, against Saudi Arabia and the US in the 1950s and 60s. But times have changed. Arab nationalism has declined, sectarian positions are hardening, and there is even doubt over the future of the states and frontiers created after the first world war.

Syria, with its tens of thousands of dead, millions of refugees, and severely damaged industrial infrastructure and historic heritage, is the main victim. The hopeful dream of the spring of 2011 has turned into a nightmare. Why have the Syrians been unable to do in Damascus what the Egyptians did in Cairo?

The Egyptians were able to overthrow Mubarak relatively easily. The elite and social classes with ties to the clique that held power never really felt their privileges were threatened, let alone their physical safety. After the revolution, businessmen, senior army officers and intelligence service directors calmly changed sides. Only a few were brought to trial, slowly and with great reluctance. And Mubarak’s departure did not upset the regional geopolitical balance. The US and Saudi Arabia were able to adapt to changes they had not wanted but which did not threaten their interests, as long as they were able to channel those changes.

Hopes of a transition faded

It is different in Syria. From the start of the conflict, unrestricted use of force by the intelligence services gained the regime precious months in which to organise. The regime encouraged the militarisation of the opposition, escalation of the conflict, and even sectarianism, in order to scare large sections of the population; minorities, the bourgeoisie and the urban middle classes were already frightened by the extremist language of some opposition groups and the influx of foreign fighters reported by the regime.

As the atrocities continued, hopes of a transition without calls for revenge faded, and relatively large sections of society rallied to the regime, fearing for their safety in the event of an Islamist victory. The West had been invoking Islamist bogeymen for years, which made that prospect all the more frightening, and lent credence to the Assad regime’s challenge to France: “Why are you helping the same groups in Syria that you are fighting in Mali?”

The regime also used Syria’s strategic position as leverage to elicit support from its main allies, Iran and Russia, which have surprised the world by intervening in the conflict with far more determination than Arab or western countries.

Syria is the only Arab ally that Iran has been able to count on since the 1979 revolution. Syria stood by it in difficult times, especially during Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980, when all the Gulf countries sided with Saddam Hussein. Given Iran’s deepening isolation over the last few years, the harsh sanctions imposed by the US and the EU, and the continued risk of military intervention by Israel and/or the US, Iran’s involvement in Syria, while not morally justifiable, is a rational strategic decision, and unlikely to be reversed by its new president, Hassan Rohani. Iran has done everything it can to rescue its ally, from granting credit to Syria’s central bank to supplying oil and military advisers.

Call for jihad

Iran’s involvement has led it — with the approval of Russia — to encourage Hizbullah to become directly involved in Syria. Hizbullah could argue that thousands of Islamist fighters, from Lebanon and other Arab countries, are already there, but direct involvement can only worsen tensions between Sunni and Shia (armed clashes have since increased in Lebanon) and embolden radical Sunni preachers.

The conference in Cairo on 13 June held in support of “our Syrian brothers” called for jihad. Mohammed Morsi took part and, though he had until then been cautious on Syria, announced that Egypt was breaking off diplomatic relations with the Assad regime. Anti-Shia rhetoric, even from moderate sheikhs, grew louder. Hassan al-Shafii, representative of Al-Azhar, the major institution of Sunni Islam based in Cairo, asked: “What is the meaning of Hizbullah’s interference [and spilling of] innocent blood in Qusayr? It is a war against Sunnis, it is Shia sectarianism” (4).

Russia’s involvement is not just a whim of Vladimir Putin, but a reassertion of its international importance. An Egyptian diplomat said: “The West is paying the price for its attempts to marginalise Russia since the end of the USSR. Despite Boris Yeltsin’s goodwill, Nato has expanded right up to Russia’s borders.” For two years, “the West has been suggesting to Russia that it should simply adopt the West’s line [on Syria]. That was not a realistic proposition.”

Wary since Libya

The way in which the UN Security Council resolution on Libya was distorted to legitimise military intervention also made Russia wary, and other countries too: Brazil, China, India and South Africa have expressed reservations over resolutions on Syria presented at the UN by the West. The fall of the Assad regime would be unacceptable to Russia: it would be a victory for Islamists and could stir up Muslims within the Federation, among whom Russia claims Wahabist propaganda is being disseminated.

Compared with the determination of Russia and Iran, external support for Syria’s opposition has been fragmented, erratic and incompetent, hardly a vast Saudi-Qatari-American-Israeli-Salafist conspiracy. Each country has been doing its own thing and helping its own clients, providing aid to some and refusing it to others. The absurdities reached a peak this April when Qatar funded the imposition of Ghassan Hitto, a US national, as prime minister of Syria’s “interim” government. Interference from rich Gulf businessmen not subject to any form of control adds to the confusion (5).

It is difficult to see what is really going on with so many different groups and combat units (katibas), all deceptively labelled “Islamists”, a term that makes it possible to ignore their strategic and political differences (6). Jabhat al-Nusra, which claims to be a branch of Al-Qaida, worries the West as much as it does Saudi Arabia, which fought a war to the death against Al-Qaida at home between 2003 and 2005. This apprehension is also felt within Salafist organisations: Nader Bakkar, the media-savvy spokesman of Egypt’s biggest Salafist party Al-Nour, wants to cut the ground from under Al-Qaida’s feet: “What we are asking for is a no-fly zone. So that the revolutionaries can win the war themselves. We are urging people in Egypt not to go to Syria; the victory must be won by Syrians alone.”

This confusion has been encouraged by the diffidence of the US, which though keen to see the Syrian regime fall, is reluctant to embark on another Middle East adventure after its failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The change in Washington’s outlook is exemplified by Richard Haass. As one of the brains behind the Republican Party’s foreign policy he worked with President George W Bush. Now head of the influential Council on Foreign Relations in New York, he has just published a book called Foreign Policy Begins at Home: the Case for Putting America’s House in Order, which argues that internal problems, from the deterioration of the transport system to the lack of skilled labour, are preventing the US from exercising global leadership.

President Barack Obama has decided to supply weapons to the Syrian rebels. The pretext is the Syrian army’s use of sarin gas — a controversial affair with no independent enquiry as yet (7) — which, according to the US, has killed about 140 of the 90,000 victims of the conflict to date. But how should the decision be interpreted?

Syria has become a regional and international battlefield, and neither camp will accept the defeat of its champion. After the Syrian army’s success at Qusayr, the US wants to prevent the regime from gaining a complete victory, though such a victory is highly unlikely since much of the population has become radicalised and, with nothing more to lose, strongly rejects the regime. But the desires of the US will probably not turn into large-scale intervention, no-fly zones or the commitment of ground troops. If the military balance is maintained, the stalemate will continue, as will the death and destruction, and the risk that the conflict will spread across the region.

Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon have been caught up in the conflict; Iraqi and Lebanese fighters, Sunni and Shia, find themselves on opposing sides in Syria. The international insurgency highway (8) is bringing fighters, weapons and ideas into Syria from as far as Afghanistan and the Sahel. As long as the external protagonists continue to see the conflict as a zero-sum game, Syria’s people will suffer and the whole region is in danger of being dragged in.

via Syria’s proxy war – Le Monde diplomatique – English edition.

Advertisements

No austerity for EU military spending


High levels of military spending played a key role in the unfolding European sovereign debt crisis — and continue to undermine efforts to resolve it.

Military-Spending

A new report by the Transnational Institute — ‘Guns, Debt and Corruption: Military Spending and the EU Crisis’ — looks at the ways in which excessive militarization directly fed into the unfolding European debt crisis, and continues to undermine efforts to resolve it. Below the downlink links and infographic you can find the executive summary of the report.

TNI-military-spending-01

Executive Summary:

Five years into the financial and economic crisis in Europe, and there is still an elephant in Brussels that few are talking about. The elephant is the role of military spending in causing and perpetuating the economic crisis. As social infrastructure is being slashed, spending on weapon systems is hardly being reduced. While pensions and wages have been cut, the arms industry continues to profit from new orders as well as outstanding debts.

The shocking fact at a time of austerity is that EU military expenditure totalled €194 billion in 2010, equivalent to the annual deficits of Greece, Italy and Spain combined.

Perversely, the voices that are protesting the loudest in Brussels are the siren calls of military lobbyists, warning of “disaster” if any further cuts are made to military spending. This paper shows that the real disaster has emerged from years of high European military spending and corrupt arms deals. This dynamic contributed substantially to the debt crisis in countries such as Greece and Portugal and continues to weigh heavily on future budgets in all of the crisis countries.

The power of the military-industrial lobby also makes any effective cuts less likely. This is perhaps most starkly shown in how the German government, while demanding ever higher sacrifices in social cuts, has been lobbying behind the scenes against military cuts because of concerns this would affect its own arms industry.

The paper reveals how:

High levels of military spending in countries now at the epicentre of the euro crisis played a significant role in causing their debt crises. Greece has been Europe’s biggest spender in relative terms for most of the past four decades, spending almost twice as much of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence as the EU average.Spain’s military expenditure increased 29% between 2000 and 2008, due to massive weapon purchases. It now faces huge problems repaying debts for its unnecessary military programmes.

As a former Spanish secretary of state for defence said: “We should not have acquired systems that we are not going to use, for conflict situations that do not exist and, what is worse, with funds that we did not have then and we do not have now.” Even the most recent casualty of the crisis, Cyprus, owes some of its debt troubles to a 50% increase in military spending over the past decade, the majority of which came after 2007.

The debts caused by arms sales were often a result of corrupt deals between government officials, but are being paid for by ordinary people facing savage cuts in social services. Investigations of an arms deal signed by Portugal in 2004 to buy two submarines for one billion euros, agreed by then-prime minister Manuel Barroso (now President of the EU Commission) have identified more than a dozen suspicious brokerage and consulting agreements that cost Portugal at least €34 million. Up to eight arms deals signed by the Greek government since the late 1990s are being investigated by judicial authorities for possible illegal bribes and kickbacks to state officials and politicians.

Military spending has been reduced as a result of the crisis in those countries most affected by the crisis, but most states still have military spending levels comparable to or higher than ten years ago. European countries rank 4th (UK), 5th (France), 9th (Germany) and 11th (Italy) in the list of major global military spenders. Even Italy, facing debts of €1.8 trillion, still spends a higher proportion of its GDP on military expenditure than the post-Cold War low of 1995.

The military spending cuts, where they have come, have almost entirely fallen on people – reductions in personnel, lower wages and pensions – rather than on arms purchases. The budget for arms purchases actually rose from €38.8 billion in 2006 to €42.9 billion in 2010 – up more than 10% – while personnel costs went down from €110.0 billion in 2006 to €98.7 billion in 2010, a 10% decrease that took largely place between 2008 and 2009.

While countries like Germany have insisted on the harshest cuts of social budgets by crisis countries to pay back debts, they have been much less supportive of cuts in military spending that would threaten arms sales. France and Germany have pressured the Greek government not to reduce defence spending. France is currently arranging a lease deal with Greece for two of Europe’s most expensive frigates; the surprising move is said to be largely “driven by political considerations, rather than an initiative of the armed forces”. In 2010 the Dutch government granted export licences worth €53 million to equip the Greek navy. As an aide to former Greek prime minister Papandreou noted: “No one is saying ‘Buy our warships or we won’t bail you out.’ But the clear implication is that they will be more supportive if we do”.

Continued high military spending has led to a boom in arms companies’ profits and an even more aggressive push of arms sales abroad ignoring human rights concerns. The hundred largest companies in the sector sold arms to the value of some €318 billion in 2011, 51% higher in real terms compared to 2002. Anticipating decreased demand at home, industry gets even more active political support in promoting arms sales abroad.In early 2013 French president François Hollande visited the United Arab Emirates to push them to buy the Rafale fighter aircraft. UK prime minister David Cameron visited the Emirates and Saudi Arabia in November 2012 to promote major arms sales packages. Spain hopes to win a highly controversial contract from Saudi Arabia for 250 Leopard 2 tanks, in which it is competing with Germany – the original builder of the tank.

Research shows that investment in the military is the least effective way to create jobs, regardless of the other costs of military spending. According to a University of Massachusetts study, defence spending per US$ one billion creates the fewest number of jobs, less than half of what it could generate if invested in education and public transport. At a time of desperate need for investment in job creation, supporting a bloated and wasteful military can not be justified given how many more jobs such money would create in areas such as health and public transport.

Despite the clear evidence of the cost of high military spending, military leaders continue to push a distorted and preposterous notion that European Union’s defence cuts threaten the security of Europe’s nations. NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen “has used every occasion to cajole alliance members into investing and collaborating more in defense.”

Gen. Patrick de Rousiers, the French chairman of the EU Military Committee, at a hearing in the European Parliament, even suggested Europe’s future was at stake if military spending was not increased. “What place can a Europe of 500 million inhabitants have if it doesn’t have credible capacity to ensure its security?” he asked rhetorically.

We believe, by contrast, that at a time when the European Commission’s agenda of permanent austerity faces ever-growing challenges, there is one area where Europe could do much more to impose austerity. And that is the arena of military spending and the arms industry.

Abolishing nuclear weapons owned by France and the UK could save several billions of euros every year and fulfil a major pledge made by these countries under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to finally eliminate nuclear weapons. Reductions of all EU nations’ military spending to Ireland’s levels (0.6% of GDP) would save many more billions.

Writing off dirty debts caused by arms deals concluded through bribes, would be a good first step to lay the bill for the crisis with those who helped cause it. Such measures would also prove that at a time of crisis, Europe is prepared to invest in a future desired by its citizens rather than its warmongers.

Download Guns, Debt and Corruption: Full report (pdf, 525KB)

Download Guns, Debt and Corruption: Executive Summary (pdf, 77KB)

via New report: no austerity for EU military spending | ROAR Magazine.

via New report: no austerity for EU military spending | ROAR Magazine.

The Plot to Block Internet Freedom


The Internet has created an extraordinary new democratic forum for people around the world to express their opinions. It is revolutionizing global access to information: Today, more than 1 billion people worldwide have access to the Internet, and at current growth rates, 5 billion people — about 70 percent of the world’s population — will be connected in five years.

But this growth trajectory is not inevitable, and threats are mounting to the global spread of an open and truly “worldwide” web. The expansion of the open Internet must be allowed to continue: The mobile and social media revolutions are critical not only for democratic institutions’ ability to solve the collective problems of a shrinking world, but also to a dynamic and innovative global economy that depends on financial transparency and the free flow of information.

The threats to the open Internet were on stark display at last December’s World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai, where the United States fought attempts by a number of countries — including Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia — to give a U.N. organization, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), new regulatory authority over the Internet. Ultimately, over the objection of the United States and many others, 89 countries voted to approve a treaty that could strengthen the power of governments to control online content and deter broadband deployment.

In Dubai, two deeply worrisome trends came to a head.

First, we see that the Arab Spring and similar events have awakened nondemocratic governments to the danger that the Internet poses to their regimes. In Dubai, they pushed for a treaty that would give the ITU’s imprimatur to governments’ blocking or favoring of online content under the guise of preventing spam and increasing network security. Authoritarian countries’ real goal is to legitimize content regulation, opening the door for governments to block any content they do not like, such as political speech.

Second, the basic commercial model underlying the open Internet is also under threat. In particular, some proposals, like the one made last year by major European network operators, would change the ground rules for payments for transferring Internet content. One species of these proposals is called “sender pays” or “sending party pays.” Since the beginning of the Internet, content creators — individuals, news outlets, search engines, social media sites — have been able to make their content available to Internet users without paying a fee to Internet service providers. A sender-pays rule would change that, empowering governments to require Internet content creators to pay a fee to connect with an end user in that country.

Sender pays may look merely like a commercial issue, a different way to divide the pie. And proponents of sender pays and similar changes claim they would benefit Internet deployment and Internet users. But the opposite is true: If a country imposed a payment requirement, content creators would be less likely to serve that country. The loss of content would make the Internet less attractive and would lessen demand for the deployment of Internet infrastructure in that country.

via The Plot to Block Internet Freedom – By Julius Genachowski and Lee C. Bollinger | Foreign Policy.

via The Plot to Block Internet Freedom – By Julius Genachowski and Lee C. Bollinger | Foreign Policy.

Bible Precepts: Questionable Guidelines


GE 1:28 Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over all living things. (Note: God appears to be totally unconcerned with population control or ecology.)

GE 3:16CO 11:3-9EP 5:22-24CN 3:18TS 2:51PE 3:1-6 The husband is to rule over his wife. Wives are to be subject to their husbands even when the husband is disobedient to God. Man is the image and glory of God, while woman is the glory of man. Man was not created for woman but woman for man.

GE 3:16 Women should suffer pain during childbirth. (Note: This verse was used by the Church to oppose the use of anesthesia during childbirth.)

GE 4:13-15 Cain–who murdered his brother Abel–is promised protection by God.

GE 15:18 Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and part of Iraq belong to the Jews only.

GE 17:10 “This is my covenant, …every male among you shall be circumcised.” (Note: God seems to have an obsession with this–the words circumcise, circumcised, circumcising, circumcision, uncircumcised, uncircumcision, foreskin, and foreskins appear 157 times in the KJV. Although the KJV correctly translates the oldest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, versions since the KJV attempt to soften this apparent obsession by creatively translating these words in a different fashion wherever possible.)

GE 17:14 A child is to be punished when his parents neglect to have him circumcised.

GE 27:18-2428:14-15 Jacob–who had cheated his brother Esau of his birthright–is given special blessings by God.

GE 31:17GE 36:6DT 21:15JG 8:30SA 5:13KI 11:3CH 14:3CH 11:2113:21 Polygamy is condoned. (Note: David is one of the polygamists. He is an angel of God, SA 19:27, and always fulfills God’s will,AC 13:22.)

GE 38:8-10 A man who refuses to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law is put to death.

EX 20:4 We are not to make likenesses of anything. (Note: This seems to preclude all photographs, paintings, statues, etc.)

EX 20:5 We are not to worship a likeness. The children to the third and fourth generation will be punished for infractions.

EX 20:8-1131:15-1734:2135:1-3 No work of any kind is to be done on the Sabbath, not even lighting of a fire. This commandment is permanent. Death is required for infractions. (Note: This would require even that essential services, such as hospitals, police departments, etc., shut down on the Sabbath.)

EX 20:26 You should not go up steps to a high altar; you might expose yourself. (Note: Men wore skirts at this time.)

EX 21:7-11 A father can sell a daughter into slavery to pay a debt. A daughter sold into slavery is not released at the end of six years as is an ordinary male slave.

EX 21:12 Whoever strikes a man so that he dies is to be put to death–except that, in some cases, God will appoint a place to which the offender may flee instead.

EX 21:15 Whoever strikes his father or mother is to be put to death.

EX 21:16 Whoever steals a man is to be put to death. (Note: This is in spite of the fact that a father can sell his daughter into slavery; see EX 21:7-11.)

EX 21:17LE 20:9DT 21:18-21 A child who curses his parent(s) is to be put to death. A stubborn and/or rebellious child is to be put to death.

EX 21:20-21 A slave owner is to be punished if he strikes his slave and the slave dies shortly thereafter. If the slave lives a day or to and then dies, the slave owner is not to be punished. A slave is the same as money to his owner.

EX 21:23-25LE 24:17-21DT 19:21 An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, etc.

EX 21:28-32 When an ox gores a man to death, the ox must be stoned. If the ox has gored a man previously, the animal’s owner must also be put to death; in the case of the goring of a slave, the only requirement is that the owner of the ox must pay thirty shekels to the owner of the slave.

EX 22:16-17 An unbetrothed virgin is required to marry her seducer.

EX 22:18DT 18:10 A witch or sorcerer is to be put to death.

EX 22:20 Anyone who sacrifices to other gods must be destroyed.

EX 22:29 Firstborn children should be sacrificed to the Lord.

LE 3:17 The eating of blood and fat are prohibited forever.

LE 10:9 Drinking strong drink in the tabernacle of the congregation will result in death.

LE 11:7DT 14:8 Eating pork is prohibited.

LE 11:10 Eating shellfish is prohibited.

LE 12:2 A woman who has a child, especially a female child, is unclean and purification rites are required.

LE 15:2 When a man has any bodily discharge, it is unclean.

LE 15:4 Any bed that a man with a discharge lies on is unclean.

LE 15:5 Anyone who touches an unclean bed must bathe and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:6 Anyone who sits on anything that a person with a discharge sat on must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:7 Anyone who touches the skin of a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:8 Anyone who is spit upon by a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:9-10 Whatever [saddle] a person with a discharge sits on is unclean. Anyone who touches it must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:11 Anyone who is touched by a person with a discharge who has not washed his hands must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:12 Any clay or wood utensils that are touched by a person with a discharge are unclean and must be broken or washed.

LE 15:13-15 When his discharge has stopped, the person who had the discharge will count off seven days, wash his clothes and bathe. On the eight day, he must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a discharge.

LE 15:16 When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body, and he is unclean until evening.

LE 15:17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed, and it is unclean until evening.

LE 15:18 When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe, and they are unclean until evening.

LE 15:19 A woman who is menstruating is unclean. Anyone who touches her is unclean.

LE 15:20 Anything which a woman who is menstruating sits on or lies on is unclean.

LE 15:21 Anyone who touches the bed of a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:22 Anyone who touches anything which was sat upon by a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.

LE 15:24 If a man lies with a woman who is menstruating and any of her discharge touches him, he is unclean for seven days. Any bed he lies on is also unclean.

LE 15:28 After her flow stops, a woman who was menstruating must count off seven days before she is considered clean again. On the eighth day, she must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a menstrual discharge.

LE 19:13 Hired help must be paid every day.

LE 19:19 Cattle must not be allowed to breed with a different kind.

LE 19:19 A field must not be sown with more than one kind of seed.

LE 19:19 A cloth garment made of two kinds of material must not be worn.

LE 19:26 Flesh with blood in it must not be eaten.

LE 19:27 The hair on the temples should not be rounded off.

LE 19:27 The edges of a beard should not be clipped.

LE 19:28 Tattoos and the like are prohibited.

LE 19:29 Do not make your daughter a prostitute.

LE 19:31 Do not consult mediums or wizards.

LE 20:10-12DT 22:22 Adulterers (in some cases) must be put to death.

LE 20:13 Practicing male homosexuals are to be put to death. (Note: Female homosexuality is not considered in the OT though it NT. See RO 1:26-32.)

LE 20:14 If a man has sexual relations with both his wife and his mother-in-law, all three of them must be put to death.

LE 20:15-16 If a person engages in sex with an animal, both the animal and the person must be put to death.

LE 20:18 If a man has sex relations with a woman who is menstruating, both shall be excommunicated from their people.

LE 20:27 A medium or wizard is to be put to death.

LE 21:9 If a priest’s daughter becomes a prostitute, she is to be burnt with fire.

LE 21:14 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, a woman who has been defiled, or a harlot, but only a virgin.

LE 21:17-23 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) with crushed testicles (or almost any other physical deformity) is not to be allowed near the sanctuary.

LE 24:16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death.

LE 25:44-46DT 15:17EP 6:5CN 3:22TS 2:91PE 2:18 Slavery is an everlasting institution. Slaves are to obey their masters in everything.

LE 27:3-7 Males are more valuable than females.

LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned.

LE 27:30-32 A tithe, a tenth of everything, is to be given to the Lord.

NU 3:10 An unauthorized person who acts as a priest must be put to death.

NU 5:2-3 Anyone who has a discharge or who has touched a corpse is unclean.

NU 5:12-31 A woman suspected or accused of adultery is to be tested by making her drink the “water of bitterness,” or holy water mixed with dust from the floor. (Note: There is no such test for men.)

NU 19:16 Whoever touches one who is slain in the field with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, is unclean for seven days. (Note: Isn’t one who is slain in the open field with a sword also a dead body? Why the distinction between the two?)

NU 19:22 Whatever an unclean person touches is also unclean. Anyone who touches an unclean thing also becomes unclean.

NU 31:1835JG 21:12 Young virgins are considered a spoil of war and can be taken for the use of the victors.

DT 4:19 Be careful when you look at the stars and planets not to be enticed into worshipping them.

DT 13:2-5 Anyone who causes someone to turn to another god must be put to death.

DT 13:6-10 A man is required to slay his friends and members of his own family who are guilty of worshipping another god.

DT 15:1-3 Every seven years, a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite) should be released from his debt. Only a foreigner should be required, again, to honor his debt.

DT 17:12 A man who shows contempt for a judge or priest must be put to death.

DT 18:20-22EZ 14:9 If a prophet’s words do not come true, he is a false prophet and must be put to death. This is true even if he has been deceived by God himself.

DT 22:5 One must not wear the clothing of the opposite sex.

DT 22:6-7 If you want to live a long time, you must not take a mother bird from her young, but you may take the young from the mother.

DT 22:10 You must not plow with an ox and an ass together.

DT 22:13-21 A bride in whom “the tokens of virginity” are not found is to be put to death. (Note: The bridegroom who falsely accuses his bride gets off with a fine.)

DT 22:23-24 A betrothed virgin who is seduced in the city is to be put to death unless she cries for help.

DT 22:28-29 A virgin who is raped must marry her rapist (if they are “found”).

DT 23:1 A man whose testicles are crushed or whose “male member” is cut off may not enter the sanctuary.

DT 23:2 A bastard–and his offspring to the tenth generation–are to be punished for his illegitimacy and cannot enter a congregation of the Lord.

DT 23:10 A man who has a seminal emission during the night is unclean and must go through a purification process.

DT 23:12-14 The Lord must not be allowed to see human excrement (it is indecent).

DT 23:19-20 Money must not be lent at interest to a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite). Interest can only be collected from foreigners.

DT 24:1-4 A man may divorce his wife simply because she displeases him.

DT 25:5-10 A man has an obligation to produce a child for his widowed sister-in-law.

DT 25:11 A wife who grabs her husband’s opponent by his “private parts” must have her hand cut off and is to be shown no pity.

JG 21:21 The Benjamites are commanded to take wives by hiding in the vineyards and then seizing the “daughters of Shiloh” as they come out to dance.

1KI 5:139:315 Forced labor is apparently sanctioned inasmuch as the Lord consecrated the house that Solomon built for the Lord using forced labor.

PR 13:2422:1523:13 Children are to be disciplined with the rod–if beaten with a rod, they will not die. (Note: Many Christian parents have inadvertently beaten a child to death following this precept.)

PR 26:4 Do not answer a fool. To do so makes you foolish too.

PR 26:5 Answer a fool. If you don’t, he will think himself wise.

PR 31:10-31 The able wife is to bring only profit and no loss, rise before dawn, buy land prudently, plant a vineyard with her earnings, keep her lamp burning all night, gird herself to work, be generous to the poor, lend a hand to the forlorn, talk shrewd sense, offer kindly counsel, and never be idle.

IS 56:4 A eunuch who keeps the Lord’s Sabbath will receive special rewards.

HO 4:14 The sins of female prostitutes and adulterers can be excused when the men themselves set a bad example.

MT 5:22 Do not get angry. Anger is a sin.

MT 23:9 Do not call any man on earth “father.”

MT 5:18-19 The OT law is to remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away.

MT 5:28 Whoever looks upon a woman lustfully commits adultery in his heart. (Note: This precept could cause some to think that they might as well commit adultery as to do so only in the heart.)

MT 5:29-3018:8-9MK 9:43-47 If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. (Note: Many believers insist that this admonition, and others like it, are to be taken figuratively, although others take even this admonition literally. The problem is that there is no clear and decisive method to determine whether a passage is meant to be taken literally or figuratively. God could have foreseen this problem and should have provided an unambiguous solution.)

MT 5:33-37 Make no vows or oaths. They arise from evil (or the Devil).

MT 5:38-44 Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. Do good to those that hate you.

MT 5:40 If any man would sue you and take your coat, give him your cloak also.

MT 5:42LK 6:3035 Give to everyone who asks. Lend to everyone who wants to borrow.

MT 5:48 Be perfect.

MT 6:6 Pray in private.

MT 6:25-34LK 12:22-31 Take no thought for tomorrow. God will take care of you.

MT 7:7-8LK 11:9-10 Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Everyone who asks, receives.

MT 19:12RO 8:13 A man should consider castration, thereby making himself a eunuch, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. If you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. (Note: During the dark and middle ages, saints castrated themselves by the thousands in order to become more godly. Even now, the practice continues in some sects.)

MT 22:37MK 12:30LK 10:27 Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. (This is, of course, an impossibility.)

MT 23:3 Practice and observe everything the Pharisees and scribes teach.

MK 10:2-12LK 16:18 Divorce is wrong, and to remarry is to commit adultery.

MK 10:29LK 18:29 A man who leaves his house, wife, brothers, parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will receive special rewards.

LK 12:33TI 6:8 Sell your possessions and give to charity. Be content with having only food and clothing. (Note: Many believers claim that the first injunction applies only to those who are wealthy or have a problem with wealth. That this is not the case is clear from the context. It is also clear that the Disciples practiced this principle; see AC 2:44-45 and 4:32-35. This is in sharp contrast to the concept of abundance that many evangelists preach and to the personal wealth they often amass.)

LK 14:26 One cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his mother, father, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even his own life.

LK 14:33 “… any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

LK 18:11TH 5:17 Pray constantly. Don’t give up.

RO 1:26-2732 Men and women who commit unnatural sexual acts deserve to die.

RO 13:1-4PE 2:13-14 Be subject to every human institution. All authorities (laws and governments) are from God. (Note: This would include those of a Nazi Germany, yet believers seldom follow this injunction. Even Jesus and his Disciples violated this principle.)

1CO 3:18 Become a “fool” (for Christ) in order to become wise. (Note: A fool is still a fool.)

1CO 6:1-8 Christians should never go to court against each other, but should, instead, let the church settle their differences.

1CO 7:1-38 Men and widows should not marry. Although it is well for a man to remain chaste, the temptation to immorality is a valid reason to marry; a man should marry if he cannot control himself. Yet, a man who is already married should live as if he were not. He that is unmarried is concerned about how he can please the Lord while he that is married is concerned about pleasing his spouse. It is better to remain single so as to attend to the Lord without distraction.

1CO 10:24 Put your neighbor’s good ahead of your own.

1CO 11:3-10 A woman is to keep her head covered while praying or prophesying.

1CO 11:14 It is a shame for a man to have long hair. (Note: Why is it, then, that most portrayals of Jesus show him with long hair?)

1CO 14:34-35 Women are to be silent in church. If they have any questions, they are to ask their husbands at home. It is a shame for women to speak in church.

2CO 13:12 Greet each other with a holy kiss.

CN 2:8 Philosophy is to be shunned.

1TH 5:16 Rejoice always.

1TH 5:18 Give thanks no matter what the circumstances.

2TH 3:10 Anyone who doesn’t work should not be allowed to eat.

1TI 2:91PE 3:3 Women should not braid their hair, or wear gold or pearls or costly attire.

1TI 2:11-12 Women are to learn in silence (from men) in all submissiveness.

1TI 2:12 Women are not permitted to teach or have authority over men.

TS 1:10-11 There are many who must be silenced.

JA 4:7-10 Humble yourselves before God: be miserable, grieve and cry, let laughter be turned to sorrow. The Lord will then exalt you.

JA 5:14-15 Use prayer and anointing to cure illness.

2 JN 1:9-11 Do not allow anyone into your house who is not a fellow believer.

Tomorrow part 7 Bible Vulgarities & Obscenities –

via Bible Precepts: Questionable Guidelines.

via Bible Precepts: Questionable Guidelines.

A surprising map of the countries that are most and least welcoming to foreigners


Buried several hundred pages into a new World Economic Forum report on global tourism, past the sections on air travel infrastructure and physician density (by which they mean the number of physicians per capita, not the mass-per-cubic-meter of individual doctors), are some very interesting numbers. The WEF has compiled survey data from 140 countries estimating the attitude of each countries’ population toward foreign visitors.

The results, mapped out above, seem significant beyond just tourism. Red countries are less welcoming to foreign visitors, according to the data; blue countries are more welcoming. Click the map (or here) to enlarge the image.

The WEF gathered the data from late 2011 through late 2012 by asking respondents, “How welcome are foreign visitors in your country?” The WEF explains that the survey results are meant to help “measure the extent to which a country and society are open to tourism and foreign visitors.”

According to the data, the top three most welcoming countries for foreigners are, in order: Iceland, New Zealand and Morocco. Other high-ranking countries include the rich and peaceful of the Western world (Ireland, Canada, Austria), a few tourist havens (Thailand, United Arab Emirates), and, for some reason, big parts of West Africa.

The three countries least welcoming to foreigners are, in order: Bolivia, Venezuela and Russia. Other poorly ranked countries include the more troubled states of the greater Middle East (Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia), Eastern Europe and two East Asian states I was very surprised to see so near the bottom: China and South Korea.

Part of what makes these data so interesting is that there is no easy “grand unifying theory” that I can see, no single variable that explains the outcomes. It’s not wealth or GDP per capita: that would not explain why South Korea ranks so low, or the variance among rich Western states. It’s certainly not the number of foreign visitors: the mid-ranking United States and low-ranked China have some of the world’s highest rates of foreign tourism.

If anything, maybe what’s interesting about this map is the degree to which it seems to cut against common American perceptions of the world. Although there are definitely some Middle Eastern states in the red here, the region actually scores pretty well. Tourism-friendly Morocco is no surprise, but you might not have expected to see Yemen ranked above Sweden and Belgium.

Western Europe is generally friendly toward foreigners but, perhaps because of the touchy politics around immigration there, ranks alongside much of sub-Saharan Africa. The United States, the land of the Statue of Liberty and “give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” ranks 102nd out of 140 countries, well below much of the Middle East.

One thing I’m struck by, in trying to puzzle out this map, is the apparent correlation between unfriendliness to foreigners and nationalism. That would maybe help to explain the low ratings for China and South Korea (although there are other possible factors here, including race) and for Russia. It might also help to explain why the United States, Germany and Japan — three countries with strongly nationalist histories — rank below other wealthy nations.

The nationalism theory makes a bit more sense when we look region-to-region. In Latin America, for example, a region generally friendly to foreigners, three countries stand out: Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela. All three have governments that could be fairly described as nationalistic. It also makes some sense in the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia and Iran rank poorly among countries that generally court foreign tourism.

But there are reasons to think my theory might be wrong: it doesn’t explain why Denmark, a rich Western European country, is so much redder than its neighbors, for example; nor does it explain the variation in southern Africa.

via A surprising map of the countries that are most and least welcoming to foreigners.

via A surprising map of the countries that are most and least welcoming to foreigners.

Al Jazeera plans to bomb America to death with news and bombs


Hi America. Have you prepared your concrete bunkers yet? For there is a new threat and it is worse than anything else, we know because we saw it on Fox News. It’s called Al Jazeera.

Yes, America, Al Jazeera is actually related to Osama Bin Laden, and is actually a person. He’s coming over to activate sleeper cells all over Americaland including Detroit where there are known terrorist cells, we know because a woman cunningly called Lisa Daftari told us that she had googled it so it must be true.

We think it’s great that Fox News managed to get someone whose own surname acts as a description of what she is saying. She basically doesn’t like this Al Jazeera thing entering America because, well, it’s anti-American isn’t it. It has a funny name. And it’s run by them Muslamics with BEARDS AND SHIT who blow things up and want to turn Americanland into some kind of Taliban theme-park where you basically cut peoples’ willies off and stone women all the time. Oh, and there’s no drink anywhere.

Here’s what DAFTari said:

The point is they want to differentiate themselves from their sister network, but at the same time, it’s the same thing. They’re having the same type of coverage. They’re apparently expanding to eight cities, including Detroit, Michigan. Detroit, Michigan is a large ex-pat community of Muslim-Americans and sleeper cells have been detected. You can Google this, you can find out all this information. So if you’re trying to set yourself apart the Qatari petro-dollars are backing this, you’re still developing in this area where the sleeper cells have been detected. They’re going to have do do much more to prove to me that they’re different from their sister network.

Mmm, do you see it? Do you see the link? A news network is moving to cities where there are SLEEPER CELLS of Muslamic bombers just waiting to blow America to bits (we know because we Googled it, using our own fingers and a keyboard, and it all came up on the screen), and the Qatari petro-dollars are backing this.

News network in Detroit = Muslims trying to kill America. That’s what they do.

And who is this Daftari woman anyway? Well, judging from her Wikipedia picture, she’s an Iranian woman who likes to show a bit of boob cleavage. No wonder she’s gone to America because if you think about it, you’re free to show tit in America, but not in Iran.

But she’s an opera singer and a pianist, too. She even has a Masters degree in journalism. So what the hey fuckity-fuck is she doing on Fox News spreading Islamophobia and stuff that someone with her brain ought to know are just, basically, lies? Is it Roop’s dollars?

Because this woman appears to have expertise. And some knowledge. An educated woman doesn’t appear on Fox News, and an educated woman doesn’t appear on Fox News saying that a rival news network is basically a front for beardy Muslims bombing America. It must be Roop’s dollars.

As Uncle Roop will remind us all, Qatar is bad, but Saudi Arabia is good.

via Al Jazeera plans to bomb America to death with news and bombs probably, Lisa Daftari Googled it | The Daily Shame.

via Al Jazeera plans to bomb America to death with news and bombs probably, Lisa Daftari Googled it | The Daily Shame.

Former FBI agent claims he witnessed CIA boss John Brennan convert to Islam – VIDEO


An ex-FBI agent has claimed that President Barack Obama’s CIA nominee John Brennan secretly converted to Islam.

Hardball reports that John Guandolo, an anti Islam activist, thinks that the future head of the CIA is a secret Muslim.

“Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on the behalf of the United States in Saudi Arabia,” the far right pundit told the radio host of Tom Trento.

“His conversion to Islam was the culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him.”

The former FBI agent’s claims concerning Brennan are very similar to Showtime’s ‘Homeland’ award winning drama, where the lead character, a former prisoner of war converted to Islam while in captivity.

“That fact alone is not what is most disturbing,” Guandolo continued. “His conversion to Islam was the culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him. The fact that foreign intelligence service operatives recruited Mr. Brennan when he was in a very sensitive and senior U.S. government position in a foreign country means that he either a traitor … [or] he has the inability to discern and understand how to walk in those kinds of environments, which makes him completely unfit to the be the director of Central Intelligence.”

Guandolo now works with the Strategic Engagement Group, who according to their website specializes in “unconstrained analysis in defense of America.”

In 2009, Guandolo resigned from the FBI after it was exposed that he had an affair with a key witness while he was investigating the corruption case of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.

via Former FBI agent claims he witnessed CIA boss John Brennan convert to Islam – VIDEO | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Islam’s Struggle Against Cartoon Terrorism


Western terror labs have finally produced a weapon so horrific that it has shaken Islamic world to the core, making over a billion people from Morocco to Indonesia fear for the survival of their freedoms, morals, beliefs, cultures, governments, and the very life itself. The new weapon of terror, the so-called “Cartoon,” is capable of delivering an equivalent of one million Hiroshima bombs, resulting in a horrendous mass destruction like none seen on Earth before.

Ahmed Jihad of the Soros-funded charity Make Bombs, Not Cartoons sadly stated that “This is the end of a tenuous peace between Muslims and Infidels, with only the occasional beheading, open market suicide bomb, or fiery suicide plane mission.”

CartoonJihad5

“I see no way to combat this horrific infidel weapon other than by balanced, fair, and rational hostage-taking, bomb-throwing, and embassy-burning, based on strict Islamic law and mutual understanding of our commin goal, which is the Islamization of Earth,” Mr. Jihad added. “These methods have proven efficient in dealing with the West in the past.”

Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran have been clandestinely working on the “Mother of All Erasers,” in an attempt to control the budding menace of cartoon proliferation. “You can kill one infidel with a sword, but if he has already published a Mohammed cartoon, the cat is out of the fire, so to speak. With our new eraser technology, we may stand a chance at eliminating the cartoons before the damage is done,” said Rabid Habibi, a member of People for the Unethical Treatment of Infidels

CartoonJihad3

French, German, and U.K. politicians have already promised to deliver any wayward cartoonists to the proper authorities for beheading. Said English foreign secretary Jack Straw, “We stand with our Islamist brethren on the precipice of an escalation from the current calm discourse to a world in which cartoons are free to offend willy-nilly, resulting in the need for retaliation against infidels on a broad scale. We in the West understand this, and will do our part to maintain the peace.”

In the U.S., Howard Dean and John Kerry plan to hold special hearings on the matter, and are proposing a bill criminalizing the depiction of all Islamic religious figures. A probe is underway to determine the extent to which the Bush Administration knew about these cartoons prior to their publication.

via Islam’s Struggle Against Cartoon Terrorism.

via Islam’s Struggle Against Cartoon Terrorism.

One billion barrels of oil found off the south-west coast – Irish, Business – Independent.ie


THE value of exploration company Petrel Resources quadrupled after it said it had found as much as one billion barrels of oil off the south-west coast.

The vast reserves are in the so-called South Porcupine basin, which is a huge area off the coast of Kerry.

Petrel believes new computer analysis shows several oil fields on top of one another.

This would make it relatively easy to extract any oil because a single well could suck up oil from many fields.

The snag for Petrel is that any oil is 200km from the coast and lies beneath 1km of water and 3km of rock.

The oil industry is changing quickly as new techniques and high prices allow companies to extract oil from areas that were once believed to be too difficult to drill.

The International Energy Agency said it expects the United States to become the world’s largest oil producer by around 2020, temporarily overtaking Saudi Arabia, thanks to these techniques.

Shares in Petrel soared fourfold to 27 pence from 6 pence on London’s AIM stock exchange after the company reported a raft of promising drilling targets in the South Porcupine basin.

Petrel is one of the many companies set up by serial entrepreneur and former UCD academic John Teeling, who has also made millions from whiskey and mining companies.

Mr Teeling told the Irish Independent that the success of Providence Resources, which has also found signs of gigantic oil reserves in the Porcupine Basin, had put Ireland on the map with international investors and oil companies.

Petrel would now look for a partner to share the expense of drilling for oil and apply to the Government for a licence, he added.

London stockbroker Northland Capital described Petrel’s comments as “very bullish” but warned that drilling in these waters would be difficult and costly.

via One billion barrels of oil found off the south-west coast – Irish, Business – Independent.ie.

via One billion barrels of oil found off the south-west coast – Irish, Business – Independent.ie.

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

I CAN'T CONTROL EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE, BUT I CAN CONTROL WHAT I PUT IN MY BODY.😎🍓🍍🍇🍑🍐🍉🍈🍏🍊🍋🍅🍎🍌🍠🍢🍥

Saranya

Normal thoughts but unique view

David, earth planet , knopfler and a humble man

Amante libros, música y viajes A bookworm and lover of tunes and wayfarer

Web Dietitian

Debunking myths and uncovering the truth on food and nutrition by a Registered Dietitian

inpuntadipiedinaturalmente

dai rimedi naturali fatti in casa alla riflessologia

thepracticalhistorian

Your guide to practically true history.

MadhviMuses

Read Books, Chase Butterflies, Eat Breakfasts,Love Life!

La Rioja and the world seen from my guardaviñas

Sharing ideas. Photos, travels, music, History, stories,...

The Visualizer

Reinforcing creativity with tech

Manić Teodora

Jer ono u šta ljudi poveruju, to će vremenom i postati.❤ Because in what people belive, that's who they will become as the time passes by. ❤

Ultimatetravel

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

Yes, I Know

The movies wouldn't lie to me... would they?

El Zocco

Un espacio de información sobre ocio, moda, sexo, música y viajes.

Create Awesome

Life Awesome On YouTube

doar, o viaţă

eu trăiesc, când să fiu supărat

ChronosFeR

Música, Literatura, Fotografia, Cinema,Cultura.

MaBeautility

Passie voor beauty, bloggen, lifestyle, dans en make-up

That middle class girl

The winner of hearts!

FLOW ART STATION

The New contemporary Art Magazine

21st Century Films

Film Analysis, Essays, and Short Stories

Writetable Words

write to tell stories.

swo8

Music means something

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Hurricane Willem nu je hier bent. Welcome to the blog of Discobar Bizar, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Hurricane Willem whilst you are here!

Playing by My Own Rules

Cancer Messed with the Wrong Hellion

manologo

pienso y recuerdo...luego, existo

When The Whippoorwills Sing

Queer Supernatural Romance and Horror Erotica

Noellie's Place

Life is brutal at times but always offers beauty and love to soften the blows if you open your hearts eye

After Credits Corner

There's a million films I haven't seen. Just you wait...

Reel Time Flicks

Film reviews and news, everyone's a critic! Welcome to the drinking blog with a film problem.

baz allen

Archive

Silents, Please!

interesting avenues in silent film history

Superduque

Mi patria es todo el mundo.

WRITE THEM ALL.

THOUGHTS. FEELINGS. MEMORIES.

Budget Traveler

Travel Guide, Blog & Reviews

The Conglomerate Lode

Mining thoughts, opinions, and experiences that enter the eyes the front door to the grey matter

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

Dr. Grob's Animation Review

The animation film review site

Genç Yazarlar Kulübü

Edebiyat burda, kahve tadında.

ALFRED EAKER

The Official Site Of Author and Artist

Master Mix Movies

One Movie at a Time

%d bloggers like this: