Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 17th, 2014

 

 

 Isis rules in Mosul and Ninawa Province: “New US Reservation Land” for Islamist fighters denied re-entry to homelands

Since 1981, thousands of Muslim fighters flocked to Afghanistan to resist the Soviet invasion.

The US delivered the Stinger missiles in huge quantity to knock down the Soviet helicopters.

The Soviet troops vacated Afghanistan and the US stopped any reconstruction funds to stabilize and secure Afghanistan.

The Afghan warlords took over the country and Taliban was welcomed by the US as a “stabilizing factor”  until The Twin Towers went down after the gigantic Buddha statue in Bamian was blown up by Taliban. The same process of blowing all shrines, churches and mosques executed by ISIS.

All militants were denied re-entry in their homelands for fear of “destabilizing” the status quo of the political/social systems.

And Yugoslavia was split after a lengthy civil war .

And Chechnya civil war took a heavy toll and the fighters joined factions outside their homeland.

And then Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Chad… And all these fighters still denied re-entry.

And when they returned during the “Arab Spring” uprising, they were wooed to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Over 2,ooo Europeans have joined the extremist Islamic factions in Syria since 2011 and are denied re-entry.

Britain was unable to woo more than 170 to join its army as reservists, but hundreds of them were willing to travel and fight in Syria.

Do Iraqis living under Isis rule in Mosul are beginning to show resistance?

Despite military triumphs, Islamist militants are losing hearts, minds and obedience of residents who have had enough
Demolished grave of prohet Jonah near Mosul

Iraqis inspect wreckage of grave of prophet Jonah in Mosul which was allegedly destroyed by Isis. Photograph: EPA

Iraqis living under Isis rule in north Iraq, where non-Sunni residents have been forced from their homes and tens of mosques have been deemed idolatrous and marked for destruction, have started to push back against the extreme interpretation of Islam being imposed on them.

(Actually, far more Sunnis have been killed by the extremist factions for control of lands, oil, spoils and interests)

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has won significant territorial victories and declared an Islamic caliphate in swaths of land it has seized, from al-Bab in Syria to Falluja in Iraq.

The US recently said Isis was worse than al-Qaida (pdf) and that it had a “full-blown army”. It has subsequently increased reconnaissance flights over Mosul, from one flight a month just two months ago to 50 flights a day (as ISIS moved toward Kurdistan Erbil)

Isis fighters have fought and wrested territory from the Syrian army, the Iraqi army and the Kurdish peshmerga, but have revealed their fragility in governance, in particular, a brutal disregard for local religious and cultural values.

In Mosul, despite its military triumphs, Isis is losing the hearts, minds and obedience of residents who say they have had enough.

When its fighters destroyed the Nabi Jonah mosque (Jonah’s tomb) in the Iraqi city last Thursday, they failed to remove copies of the Qur’an and other religious texts. Residents treading through the ruins of the building found torn and burnt pages of the holy books scattered across the rubble. It was an insult to Islam that was captured on video and unified the city in outrage.

“[Isis] claims that having graves inside mosques is heretical but what about the Qur’an, why did not they remove the Qur’an from the mosque before destroying it?” one resident, who did not wish to be named, asked the Guardian.

The fighters – who adhere to an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam (Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia) that requires the destruction of shrines and graves as idolatory – have reportedly drawn up a list of around 50 mosques to be destroyed in Mosul so far.

The group has a unit called Katayib Taswiya, the demolition battalion, whose job is to identify heretical mosques for destruction. The battalion razes to the ground any mosques built on tombs. If a graveyard has been built after the mosque’s construction, then they will destroy the graves and any section of the mosque building.

Among the 50 on the list are a shrine to the prophet Seth – considered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity to be Adam and Eve’s third son – and the 14th-century Prophet Jirjis mosque and shrine, which was bombed and largely destroyed on Friday.

The Prominent Iraqi architect Ihsan Fethi described the destruction of the heritage site in Nineveh as “cultural suicide”.

Speaking to the Guardian from Mosul, Bashar, a 38-year-old musician, said people had tried to occupy the mosques under threat in an effort to prevent fighters from bombing them.

When the demolition battalion made its move on the Jirjis mosque in the Souq al-Sharin neigbourhood, some residents decided to take a stand. On Friday and Saturday evening, they slept inside the mosque in the hope that their presence would dissuade the militants from their demolition attempts. The fighters came back on Sunday and destroyed the graveyard as planned, but most of the mosque is still standing.

Isis defended its destruction of the sites in a post on one of its main websites on Tuesday: “The demolition of structures erected above graves is a matter of great religious clarity. Our pious predecessors have done so … There is no debate on the legitimacy of demolishing or removing those graves and shrines.”

But on Sunday, Mosul residents continued their defiance.

They had named Monday as the first day of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. On Sunday evening, militants paraded through the city, ordering citizens through loudspeakers mounted on vehicles to continue their fast on Monday or face punishment. These warnings were ignored and the arrival of Eid was announced from Mosul’s mosques on Monday. In the face of public rebellion, Isis changed its mind and several hours later announced the end of Ramadan.

With at least 8,000 years of continuous habitation, Mosul is considered an archeological treasure, with many heritage sites belonging to all religions and sects. Dubbed “small Iraq”, people from a range of religions and ethnicities have lived side by side peacefully for centuries.

This solidarity was displayed last week when several thousand Christian residents were given a deadline of midday on Saturday to convert to Islam, pay a special tax or “face the sword”.

Fleeing Christians told the Guardian that when they were preparing to leave, fearful of the threats, their Muslim neighbours told them to stay put and promised to defend them should Isis come after them. Most of the Christian population fled regardless to areas under control of the Kurdistan regional government. (Stories of feeing residents claim that the neighbors wanted to occupy their possessions and homes and failed to protect them)

This weekend, reports leaked from the city that Isis had ordered the closure of women’s salons and placed specific restrictions on the styling of men’s facial hair. Drug supplies, particularly for those with kidney disease, are running short.

In what could be an indicative violent eruption of resentment and anger from the population, two Isis fighters were reportedly shot dead in broad daylight in the Qayara neighbourhood of south Mosul on Sunday. A witness told the Guardian he saw three assailants fleeing the scene through the city’s narrow alleyways.

The initial joy with which Isis was received in Mosul, as liberators for the Sunni population after years of sectarian corruption and restriction at the hands of the Iraqi army, may already have run dry.

(Maybe so, but wishful thinking does not replace the fact of the continuing occupation)

Amnesty International: Respond to these questions on Gaza genocide

25 July 2014

Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaeiya neighbourhood during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, 22 July 2014.
Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaeiya (Shuja3iyya) neighbourhood during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, 22 July 2014. © EPA
1. What does Amnesty International think of the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 23 July?
What should happen next?

Amnesty International welcomes resolution S-21/1 to establish a commission of inquiry and notes that the wording allows the commission to investigate violations of international law by all parties to the current conflict.

The commission of inquiry represents an important opportunity to break the cycle of persistent impunity for crimes under international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

In order to be effective the commission of inquiry must be thorough, independent and impartial, and look into violations by any party to the conflict.

It must be adequately resourced and have unrestricted access to all relevant areas. Amnesty International urges all states – including all EU member states, who abstained on the resolution – to co-operate with the commission as required.

2. What are the key obligations of the parties to the conflict during the hostilities under international humanitarian law?

During an armed conflict, all parties – whether state or non-state armed forces – must respect international humanitarian law, which aims to protect civilians by regulating the conduct of all sides in hostilities.

States also continue to have an obligation to respect international human rights law during a conflict.

Under international humanitarian law, all sides in an armed conflict must distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian structures, and direct attacks only at the former.

Deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects – such as homes, medical facilities, schools, governmental buildings – that are not being used for military purposes are prohibited and are war crimes.

Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks (where the likely number of civilian casualties or damage to civilian property outweighs the anticipated military advantage to be gained) are also prohibited.

All sides must take necessary precautions in attack to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects. This includes giving civilians effective warnings ahead of attacks, and cancelling or suspending an attack if it becomes apparent that the target is civilian or that the attack would be disproportionate.

They also must take all feasible precautions to protect civilians under their control from the effects of attacks. For example, warring parties should avoid endangering civilians by storing ammunition in, and launching attacks from, populated civilian areas.

3. What are the different patterns of violations by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip that Amnesty International has identified since Israel launched Operation “Protective Edge” on 8 July 2014? 

Israeli forces have carried out attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians, using precision weaponry such as drone-fired missiles, as well as munitions such as artillery, which cannot be precisely targeted, on very densely populated residential areas, such as Shuja’iyyeh.

They have also directly attacked thousands of homes. Israel appears to consider the homes of people associated with Hamas to be legitimate military targets, a stance that does not conform to international humanitarian law.

Several medical facilities and non-military governmental buildings across the Gaza Strip have also been destroyed or damaged.

The UN has reported that one of its schools sheltering displaced people in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza was shelled by Israeli forces on at least two occasions.

Another such school sheltering displaced families in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza was struck on 24 July, killing at least 15 civilians and injuring many others, and the UN has called for an immediate investigation.

Although the Israeli authorities claim to be warning civilians in Gaza, a consistent pattern has emerged that their actions do not constitute an “effective warning” under international humanitarian law.

Israeli attacks have also caused mass displacement of Palestinian civilians within the Gaza Strip.

4. What is Amnesty International’s position on the firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian armed groups?

Do other actions of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza since 8 July 2014 violate international humanitarian law?

According to the Israeli army, Hamas’ military wing and other Palestinian armed groups fired over 1,700 rockets into Israel from 8 to 18 July, and scores of rockets continue to be fired every day.

Three civilians in Israel have been killed. Homes and other civilian properties in Israel have been damaged.

International humanitarian law prohibits the use of weapons that are by nature indiscriminate. The rockets fired from Gaza into Israel cannot be aimed exactly at their objective and their use violates international humanitarian law.

The firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars also endangers Palestinian civilians inside the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank ?.

Statements by some leaders of Palestinian armed groups also indicate that they have no qualms about launching attacks against civilians and that they in fact carry out such attacks intending to kill and injure Israeli civilians.

Attacks that directly target civilians and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians constitute war crimes.

5. When the Israeli military has warned residents of a specific area in the Gaza Strip to evacuate the area, does that fulfil its obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law?

Effective advance warning to civilians is only one of the prescribed precautions in attack aimed at minimizing harm to civilians.

When Israeli forces have given warning in many cases key elements of effective warning have been missing, including timeliness, informing civilians where it is safe to flee, and providing safe passage and sufficient time to flee before an attack.

There also have been reports of lethal strikes launched too soon after a warning to spare civilians.

In any event, issuing a warning does not absolve an attacking force of its obligations to spare civilians, including by taking all other necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian structures.

Israel’s continuing military blockade on the Gaza Strip and the closure of the Rafah crossing by the Egyptian authorities since the hostilities began mean that civilians in Gaza cannot flee to neighbouring countries.

6. The Israeli authorities claim that Hamas and Palestinian armed groups use Palestinian civilians in Gaza as “human shields”. Does Amnesty International have any evidence that this has occurred during the current hostilities? 

Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to “shield” specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.

In previous conflicts Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law. Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate.

However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as “human shields” for fighters, munitions, or military equipment. Under international humanitarian law even if “human shields” are being used Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply.

7. There are reports that Israeli forces have used flechettes in the current military operation in the Gaza Strip. What is Amnesty International’s position on the use of flechettes? Has the Israeli military used flechettes in Gaza before? 

Flechettes are 3.5cm-long steel darts, sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 of these darts are packed into shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m by 100m.

Flechettes are designed to be used against massed infantry attacks or squads of troops in the open, and obviously pose a very high risk to civilians when fired in densely populated residential areas.

Local human rights groups have reported cases in which civilians in Gaza have been killed and injured by flechette shells. Amnesty International has not yet been able to verify particular cases during the current hostilities, but has previously documented Israeli forces’ use of flechette rounds, for example during Operation “Cast Lead”, resulting in the killing of civilians, including children.

Flechettes are not specifically prohibited by international humanitarian law per se, however, they should never be used in densely populated areas.

8. What is Amnesty International calling on the international community to do at this point?

All states (particularly key suppliers, for example USA for Israel) must suspend all transfers of weapons, munitions and other military equipment and technology to all sides until there is no longer a substantial risk that such items will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law or serious human rights abuses.

The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.

States should use the 2009 report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and the upcoming report of the commission of inquiry mandated this week by the Human Rights Council as a basis to exercise universal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law before their national courts.

Not in the mood to hear of peace right now

Never ask me about peace again

Tears flowed abundantly when I received a telephone call on Aug. 3, informing me that my family had been targeted by two F-16 missiles in the city of Rafah.

Such was the fate of our family in a war that still continues, with every family in the Gaza Strip receiving its share of sorrow and pain.

Summary⎙ Print A first-hand account of the aftermath of an Israeli strike that killed 9 members of the author’s family.
Asmaa al-Ghoul Posted August 4, 2014. Translator Kamal Fayad

My father’s brother, Ismail al-Ghoul, 60, was not a member of Hamas. His wife, Khadra, 62, was not a militant of Hamas. Their sons, Wael, 35, and Mohammed, 32, were not combatants for Hamas. Their daughters, Hanadi, 28, and Asmaa, 22, were not operatives for Hamas, nor were my cousin Wael’s children, Ismail, 11, Malak, 5, and baby Mustafa, only 24 days old, members of Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Fatah.

Yet, they all died in the Israeli shelling that targeted their home at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Their house was located in the Yibna neighborhood of the Rafah refugee camp. It was one story with a roof made of thin asbestos that did not require two F-16 missiles to destroy.

Would someone please inform Israel that refugee camp houses can be destroyed, and their occupants killed, with only a small bomb, and that it needn’t spend billions to blow them into oblivion?

If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas.

They are women, children, men and senior citizens whose only concern was for the war to end, so they can return to their lives and daily routines. But let me assure you that you have now created thousands of Hamas loyalists, for we all become Hamas if Hamas, to you, is women, children and innocent families.

If Hamas, in your eyes, is ordinary civilians and families, then I am Hamas, they are Hamas and we are all Hamas.

Throughout the war, we thought that the worst had passed, that this was the pivotal moment when matters would improve, that they would stop there.

Yet, that real moment of pain, of extreme fear, was always followed by something even worse.

Now I understood why the photographs of corpses were so important, not only for international public opinion, but for us, the families, in search for an opportunity to bid farewell to our loved ones, so treacherously killed.

What were my family members doing in those last moments? What did they look like after their death?

I discovered the photos of my dead relatives on social networking sites.

The bodies of my cousin’s children were stored in an ice cream freezer.

Rafah’s Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital was closed after being shelled by Israeli tanks, and the Kuwaiti Hospital that we visited just a day earlier had become an alternate venue, where this freezer was the only option available.

Al-Najjar’s director, Abdullah Shehadeh, told Al-Monitor, “We decided to move the patients when shells hit the main gate. Some patients, out of fear, ran out, despite the gravity of the security situation. We are now working out of this ill-equipped hospital.”

The Emirati Red Crescent Maternity Hospital, west of Rafah, has been transformed into a large container for corpses, with fruit and vegetable freezers filled with dozens of bodies.

I saw corpses on the floor, some with nametags on their chests, while others remained unknown. We held our noses, for the stench was unbearable, as flies filled the air.

Ibrahim Hamad, 27, removed his 5-year-old son’s shroud-wrapped body from a vegetable freezer. Fighting back tears, he told Al-Monitor, “He died as a result of a reconnaissance drone missile attack. His body has been here since yesterday. The dangerous situation prevented me from coming to take him any sooner.”

My relatives were quickly buried, and  my cousins Mustafa, Malak and Ismail did not remain long in a freezer, lest their bodies freeze, and their souls now rest in peace, leaving us with nothing but the silence of death and bodies forever trapped in the postures of their passing.

On the 5th day of the war, when I went to write my Rafah report about the shelling of the Ghannam family, I stopped by to visit my cousin’s house. I saw my relatives and we took photographs together. During the war, my cousin Wael’s wife had given birth to twins, Mustafa and Ibrahim, who were like two tiny angels, harbingers of hope and joy.

How could I have known that this would be our last meeting?

I wish I had stayed longer and talked to them some more. Hanadi, Asmaa, my uncle and his wife laughed as they joked about the twist of fate that brought us together in the middle of a war, at a time when Israeli occupation forces had not yet begun perpetrating their wanton war crimes against Rafah.

Endings are so strange, as are living moments that suddenly become relegated to the past. We will never see them again, and the pictures that I took of the twins are now so precious, as one of them, Mustafa, was killed, while the other, Ibrahim, remained alive.

I wonder how they could differentiate between them, for they looked so much alike. Who identified them when their father died and their mother lay wounded in intensive care? Who was Mustafa, and who was Ibrahim? It was as if they had merged upon one twin’s death.

In the photos taken after their death, my family looked so peaceful, asleep with their eyes closed. None of them were disfigured or burned, unlike hundreds of dead children and civilians that US-made weapons killed before them.

We wondered if they died in pain. What happened when the missile, carrying tons of explosives, impacted their modest house and exploded, creating air pressure so fierce that their internal organs burst? Their suffering was perhaps lessened by the fact that they were sleeping.

I didn’t see them when I went to Rafah on Aug. 2. I wrote about the death of the Ayad Abu Taha family, which was targeted by warplanes, and saw the corpse of Rizk Abu Taha, one year old, when it arrived at the Kuwaiti Hospital.

I observed him at length. He looked alive. One could see that he had been playing when he died, dressed in his pink pants. How could he be at such peace? The bodies of war victims look so different from how they appear on television. They are so real, so substantial, suddenly there before you, without any newscast introductions, music or slogans.

Bodies lay everywhere, and it was if everything in life had been to prepare us for this moment. Suddenly, the dead left their personal lives behind: their cell phones, homes, clothes, perfumes and daily chores. Most importantly, they left the fear of war behind.

Distances in the small Gaza Strip have grown larger, distances and time expanding as a result of the fear and death that shrank the life expectancy of the populace.

We were unable to join the family for the funerals. My uncle, Ahmad al-Ghoul, later told me over the phone, “Because of the inherent danger, our goodbyes to them lasted mere seconds. Malak’s eyes laid open, as if to ask, ‘What wrong did I commit?‘”

I was born in 1982, in that same house in Rafah’s refugee camp, where the family’s large household expanded. I grew up there, and everything else grew with us: the first intifada, the resistance, my nearby school that I walked to every day.

There, I saw my first-ever book library. There, I remember seeing my grandfather fall asleep as he listened to the BBC. And there, I laid eyes on the first Israeli soldier in my life, striking my grandfather to force him to erase the national slogans that adorned the walls of our refugee camp home.

Now, the house and its future memories have been laid to waste, its children taken to early graves.

Homes and recollections bombed into oblivion, their inhabitants homeless and lost, just as their camp always had been. Never ask me about peace again.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/rafah-gaza-war-hospitals-filled-bodies-palestinians.html##ixzz39WC7ca49

Note: Italian journalist and photographer Simone Camilli died as a team were dismantling an unexploded Israeli/US missile in Gaza a few days ago

”Camilli once said a favorite story of his was about a group of clowns performing for young Syrian refugees, bringing moments of happiness to the lives of the boys and girls who fled the civil war.”

Indeed Simone Camilli did an amazing job. he really captured the right atmosphere with his lens. And he was looking forward to doing more videos about social clowning.

here’s the link of his work. we were lucky to have him with us. What a special person/artist he was.

See More

“I think the only philosophy behind this is having fun and how, like, what’s best than going from a war zone where you have people who are feeling unsafe, who are feeling really unhappy and feeling horrified of…
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