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Middle East
Settlers exhume graves, spray racist graffiti Print E-mail
Written by maannews   
Monday, 13 May 2013 13:38

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers on Monday exhumed a number of graves and sprayed racist graffiti in the Sawiya village in Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said. 

Ghassan Daghlas, who heads the PA settlement activity file, said settlers from the Alia settlement were responsible for the damage.

He added that a plant nursery and two tractors, belonging to local Abdel Azziz Nasserallah, were also damaged in the attack.

The attack follows clashes on Saturday in the Burin village in Nablus, when dozens of settlers marched into the village. 

One villager in Burin was slightly hurt in the hand by a stone and another passed out from tear gas fired by Israeli troops trying to separate the two groups, an AFP journalist said.

The military said that Israeli soldiers also fired rubber-coated bullets, lightly wounding a Palestinian who was given first aid on the spot.

 
Cycle of Oppression Print E-mail
Written by Oppression.org   
Friday, 23 November 2012 23:47

There was once was a battle between good and evil, between the virtuous and the wicked, between head of virtue and the head of impiety. There once rose a man who championed the rights of the oppressed; a man who stood against corruption and the destruction of human rights. He and his band of seventy-two rose against an army of thousands, creating a historical symbol of unity and struggle against evil, injustice, and oppression. This stance was reminiscent to Moses against Pharaoh, David against Goliath, John the Baptist against Herod, Christ before Pontius Pilate, and Muhammad against Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan. This man was Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the last of Prophet of Islam, Muhammad al Mustafa.

 

The battle took place on the parched plains of the Karbala, under the blazing sun and stifling heat of Arabia. After a three day standoff near the Euphrates river, Imam Husayn and his partisans of family and friends -- including women, children, and the elderly -- were all massacred. Imam Husayn's dedication to justice ultimately led to his martyrdom. Muslims and non-Muslims alike revere him for his upright character and refusal to surrender to oppressive authorities.

 

Imam Husayn before leaving to face the oppressors:

"Remember that when you see a ruler who does what has been forbidden by God and His Messenger, who indulges in sins, who oppresses the people he rules, and you do nothing to stop such a ruler, before God you are guilty as he is."

After examining every grain from the sands of time, one comes to the conclusion that history is filled with repetition. The events that historians recorded long ago parallel exactly what we are now seeing in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Palestine. What took place in Karbala in Imam Husayn's time is currently occurring all over the world.

 

The degradation of millions, the deaths of thousands, the annihilation of villages, and the tearing away of innocence from children makes one see how little we learned from our past. The mind tends to ignore certain aspects of history, and over time, these forgotten stories become myth-like. The truth becomes lost in humanity's attempt to repaint history in a more favorable light. The result is recurring cycle of oppression that must be stopped by understanding why the truth is altered.

 

A fear of change -- change in society and change in one's self -- allows one to ignore the guilt that comes with the realization that nothing was done to stop an oppressive action. This form of self-indulgence contributes to widespread ignorance regarding reality. If we choose to not educate ourselves about Iraq, then we cannot feel guilty about the fact that every seven minutes an Iraqi child takes his last breathe, and ultimately, we cannot be motivated to change the situation. This inaction breathes life into the cycle of oppression.

 

Imam Husayn showed us how hiding the truth is in effect, the same as aligning ourselves with oppressive regimes. These regimes are not only those governments that torture and murder, but also those that condone sanctions and the death of five thousand Iraqi children under the age of five every month3. We become the oppressors.


The reality is that the war against Afghanistan is not a war against terrorism; it is a war against humanity. Although we can pacify our consciences by pretending that this war is not significantly affecting Afghani civilians, the truth is exactly the opposite. The destroyed villages, the orphans, the widows, the childless mothers and the hundreds of thousands of refugees all tell the true story.

 

Imam Husayn has a special place in the hearts of the oppressed. As they remind themselves of his epic, they pray that his vision of justice carries on in humanity. We must remind ourselves to use his story to inspire ourselves to actively challenge oppression.

 

 
Kissinger, US intelligence community endorse “World Without Israel” Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Kevin Barrett @ PressTV.ir   
Monday, 01 October 2012 16:01
Angry Palestinians in Hebron (File Photo)
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been vilified in the Western media for daring to imagine “a world without Israel.”


But according to news reports, Henry Kissinger and sixteen American intelligence agencies agree that in the near future, Israel will no longer exist. 


The New York Post quotes Kissinger “word for word”: In 10 years, there will be no more Israel

Kissinger's statement is flat and unqualified. He is not saying that Israel is in danger, but could be saved if we just gave it additional trillions of dollars and smashed enough of its enemies with our military. He is not saying that if we elect Netanyahu's old friend Mitt Romney, Israel could somehow be salvaged. He is not saying that if we bomb Iran, Israel might survive. He is not offering a way out. He is simply stating a fact: In 2022, Israel will no longer exist. 

The US Intelligence Community agrees, though perhaps not on the precise 2022 expiration date. Sixteen US intelligence agencies with a combined budget over USD70 billion have issued an 82-page analysis titled “Preparing for a Post-Israel Middle East.” 

The US intelligence report observes that the 700,000 Israeli settlers illegally squatting on land stolen in 1967 - land that the entire world agrees belongs to Palestine, not Israel - are not going to pack up and leave peacefully. Since the world will never accept their ongoing presence on stolen land, Israel is like South Africa in the late 1980s. 

The extremist Likud coalition governing Israel, according to the US intelligence report, is increasingly condoning and supporting rampant violence and lawlessness by illegal settlers. The report states that the brutality and criminality of the settlers, and the growing apartheid-style infrastructure including the apartheid wall and the ever-more-draconian system of checkpoints, are indefensible, unsustainable, and out of synch with American values. 

The sixteen US intelligence agencies agree that Israel cannot withstand the coming pro-Palestinian juggernaut consisting of the Arab Spring, the Islamic Awakening, and the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

In the past, dictatorships in the region kept a lid on the pro-Palestinian aspirations of their people. But those dictatorships began to topple with the fall of the pro-Israel Shah of Iran in 1979 and the establishment of a democratic Islamic Republic, whose government had little choice but to reflect its people's opposition to Israel. The same process - the overthrow of dictators who worked with, or at least tolerated, Israel - is now accelerating throughout the region. The result will be governments that are more democratic, more Islamic, and far less friendly to Israel.


The US intelligence community report says that in light of these realities, the US government simply no longer has the military and financial resources to continue propping up Israel against the wishes of more than a billion of its neighbors. In order to normalize relations with 57 Islamic countries, the report suggests, the US will have to follow its own national interests and pull the plug on Israel. 

Interestingly, neither Henry Kissinger nor the authors of the US Intelligence Report give any sign that they are going to mourn the demise of Israel. This is remarkable, given that Kissinger is Jewish and has always been viewed as a friend (if occasionally a tough friend) of Israel, and that all Americans, including those who work for intelligence agencies, have been influenced by the strongly pro-Israel media. 

What explains such complacency? 

Americans who pay attention to international affairs - a category that surely includes Kissinger and the authors of the Intelligence Report - are growing fed up with Israeli intransigence and fanaticism. Netanyahu's bizarre, widely-ridiculed performance at the United Nations, where he brandished a cartoonish caricature of a bomb in such a way that he himself came across as a caricature of a “mad Zionist,” was the latest in a series of gaffes by Israeli leaders who seem prone to overplaying their hand. 

A second factor is the festering resentment many Americans feel over the Israel Lobby's imperious domination of public discourse. Every time a well-known American journalist is fired for going “off-script” about Israel, as happened to Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez, a mostly-invisible backlash, like a tidal wave rippling beneath the surface of the ocean, grows in power. And every time the Israel lobby slaps down someone like Maureen Dowd, who recently observed that the same Israel-fanatics who dragged the US into the Iraq war are now trying to do the same thing with Iran, the more people begin to wake up and realize that people like Dowd, Thomas, and Sanchez are speaking the truth. 

A third reason for complacency in the face of Israel's impending demise: The American Jewish community is no longer united in support of Israel, much less its Likudnik leadership. Sophisticated Jewish journalists and analysts like Philip Weiss are recognizing the insanity of Israel's current leadership and the hopelessness of its predicament. According to recent reports, it is no longer fashionable among young American Jews to care about Israel. And despite Netanyahu's frantic attempts to sway Jewish voters toward the Mormon Likudnik Mitt Romney, polls show that Obama, who is on record saying he “hates” the “liar” Netanyahu, will easily win the majority of Jewish votes. 

Finally, we come to the least obvious - but most powerful - reason for Kissinger's and the CIA's complacency in the face of Israel's implosion: The inexorable trickle-down of knowledge that Israel and its supporters, not radical Muslims, carried out the 9/11 false-flag attacks. 

 

Increasingly, it is not fringe anti-Semitic groups, but high-level responsible observers, who are saying this. Alan Sabrosky, the half-Jewish former Director of Strategic Studies at the US Army War College, has come on my radio show to say that he has discussed with his colleagues the “100% certainty” that Israel and its supporters did 9/11. And Alan Hart, the former lead BBC correspondent for the Middle East (and personal friend of Golda Meir and Yasser Arafat) has also come on my radio show to break the story that he, too, knows that Israel and company orchestrated 9/11.


Today, we even have a presidential candidate, Merlin Miller, who is on the record stating that Israel, not al-Qaeda, carried out the 9/11 attacks. 

The chief purpose of 9/11 was to “seal in blood” an intense, unbreakable emotional bond between the US and Israel, in a desperate bid to assure Israel's survival by launching a long-term US war against Israel's enemies. As the “dancing Israelis” arrested for celebrating the 9/11 operation tried to convince the police: “Our enemies are your enemies. The Palestinians are your enemies.” 

But more and more Americans, including the US intelligence community as a whole, now recognize that the enemies of Israel (the entire Muslim world of over 1.5 billion people, along with most of the non-European world) do not have to be the enemies of the United States. In fact, the US is going broke and sacrificing thousands of lives in wars for Israel - wars that damage, rather than aid, US strategic interests. (One of those interests, of course, is buying oil and gas from stable, cooperative governments.) 

As the recognition grows that 9/11 was not a radical Islamic attack, but an act of dastardly, bloody treason by supporters of Israel, it will become ever-easier for American policy makers, following in the footsteps of Kissinger and the sixteen intelligence agencies, to recognize the obvious: Israel has reached the end of its shelf-life.

 
The Urgent Need to Prevent a Middle East War Print E-mail
Written by Patrick Seale via Sam Bahour   
Monday, 20 August 2012 17:47

The Middle East is facing an acute danger of war, with unpredictable and potentially devastating consequences for the states and populations of the region. A ‘shadow war’ is already being waged -- by Israel and the United States against Iran; by a coalition of countries against Syria; and by the great powers against each other. A mere spark could set this tinder alight.

The threat of a hot war is coming from three main directions: first, from Israel’s relentless and increasingly hysterical war-mongering against Iran; second, from America’s geopolitical ambitions in the oil-rich Gulf and its complicity in Israel’s anti-Iranian campaign; and third, from the naked hostility of some Sunni Arab States towards Iran -- and towards Shi‘is and Alawis in general. 

These Arab states are apparently unaware that they are playing into the hands of Israeli and American hawks who dream of re-modelling the region in order to subject it to their will. This same neo-con ambition drove the United States to invade and destroy Iraq in the hope of permanently enfeebling it. 

The current Israeli war fever rests on a blatant falsehood: that Iran poses an ‘existential threat’ to the Jewish people. What a joke! The only threat Iran poses is this: Were it to develop the means and skills to build an atomic weapon -- without actually doing so -- it would thereby acquire a limited deterrent capability. That is to say, Israel might hesitate to attack it. Israel’s freedom to attack its other neighbours would also be restricted -- a freedom it has enjoyed for decades, as may be seen from its numerous wars and assaults on the Palestinians, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

 
SYRIA: The whole story of what happened in Sayyidah Zainab District Print E-mail
Written by Qasim Assady   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 15:06
The Holy Proximity of Sayyidah Zainab (sa)
The report:
In this report I'll state what's been seen and been publicly known in the Sayyida Zainab area.
This area has the shi'at Muslim holy shrine of Lady Zainab 15 KM southern east of Damascus.
The area has multi-ethnic and multi-doctrinal communities. In the outskirts there is a majority of people who are originally displaced from Occupied Syrian Golan and lived in the outskirts of the area. The region which is very close and surrounding the Shrine and which has hotels is inhabited by about 60% shi'at, mainly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. They have their educational institution and Islamic seminaries. All various people practice their religious activities very freely. The shi'at religious and educational institutions and seminaries (which are mainly run by non-Syrian) are open to many students from all-over the world and also sponsor local and overseas students. All their funds come from abroad via charities, educational centers and grand clerics.
Other poor shi'at people who are Syrian, Afghani and Iraqi refugees are living as a minority in the outskirt with the majority Golani Sunni people, (in regions called Hijjirah, Ghurbah, Thiyabiyyah, Speanah, Bibbilah, etc.), as they are very cheap for renting or for purchasing. Most of these areas include mostly poor people with low level of education.
During about one year there were small daily demonstrations against the Syrian authorities in those areas but not in the side of the holy shrine in which there is no demonstration has been shown even from the Sunni people side. The Sunni people in living in the side of the Holy shrine understands that any political change that may take place in favour of the Sunni Islamic revolution means there will be no religious tourism and no shi'at pilgrims at all, and hence their business will collapse, as other Shiite people thing that any political change mean that they will be slaughtered at all or at least they will be prevented from their religious rights and won't let to practice their religious activities. So those Sunnis kept quite in their many mosques surrounding the Lady Zainab area until the present moment (3rd of Aug. 2012).
However the case was different in the neighborhood areas. People there sometimes feel jealous of the people near the Shrine who have more business opportunities with tourists. The opposition groups of Sunni people severely criticize the minorities in Syria especially the Shi'at (more than the Sunnis) of not supporting the opposition claims and activities and by that they accuse them of supporting the Syrian regime. So some extremist people especially Sunni "Wahabis" and "Salafis" utilized this kind of political criticism in favour of agitating sectarian hatred.
Therefore  new stage of conflict began, starting from April 1012. Individuals from the opposition groups began to assassinate some shi'at scholars who lead or teach in the shi'at institutions from one time to another especially those who live among them in the hot spots. However Shi'at community tried to remain steadfast and overseas students were striving to finish the academic year among few violent cases but many rumours until the end of the year which was made one month in advance and finish by the end of June.
On Monday 17th of July 2012, the story has been reached the climax.
In the morning, strangers with arms (pistols, guns, swords, axes) were noticed by people in those areas accompanied by some local people from the opposition groups who also appeared to be armed publicly for the 1st time and were roaming the streets.
At 12 o'clock, loudspeakers in Sunni mosques and in the streets were heard calling for "Islamic jihad" and ordering the shi'at people to leave their places at once or they will all be killed. After few minutes there were other calls ordering all Sunni people who are not supporting the opposition to leave their places at once or they will meet the same destiny of Shi'at.
People were terrified and confused. They rushed in all directions taking nothing with them. I noticed troops of civilian people riding, running and walking on feet towards vacant farms and other troops towards Damascus about 15 Km away. I phoned a friend of mine to help, but to his shock he couldn't recognize me and from his voice he seemed to be shivering. Most of the shi'at and some non-allied Sunnis sought refuge in Sayyidah zainab region behind the Shrine. This part of the region seems to  be fortified with big buildings, hotels and very narrow streets, so it can somehow easily to be safeguarded.
On Tuesday 17the of Jul.2012, there was an attack on the criminal security police station in the main street of Sayyida Zainab. Shooting lasted for two hours at least and then the attackers withdrew after the presence of a police detachment. In the evening, heavy shooting sounds and bombs were heard. Armed men who claimed to be from the free opposition army declared that their areas (Hijjira, Mashtal, thiyabiyya, etc.) are under their control and they are now ready to enter the Sayyida Zainab area where majority of civilian shi'at people are living from different countries. Majority of the people I am living with in this area were civilian and politically independent while there were no army, no militias but only local police stations.
At midnight, there was a fierce battle between the armed opposition and the residents  in the Sayyida Zainab who have immediately formed a semi local militia to defend their region. Several attempts to enter the area but they succeeded to attack an Iranian shi'at mosque at northern extreme of the region and also attacked Imam Khamanai reprehensive office by missiles and bombs.  On the other side 2-3 km south of the region, armed young men attacked Imam Khomeini charity hospital, evacuated the hospital, and robbed all its contents. Two of the staff (who were mostly shi'at) never showed up again the next days. Next day, from the roof of our building, I was monitoring the Helicopters come and bomb the hospital after it has been taken as fortress for their free army activities in Thyabiya area.
It seemed that there were two extremes who may clearly know each other, the original Syrian shi'at residents close to the holy shrine and the opposite Sunni people on the other side of the area. What we have seen was a real battle between the youth of the two neighboring regions. The battle was considerably marked with a sectarian nature. There were many killed, injured and kidnapped people from the two sides, in addition to breaking into some houses and killing its people.  Still there was no interference by the army.
On Wednesday 18th of Jul. 2012, helicopters came and opened fire to all the areas under the opposition group. By this most of Sunni mosques were calling for Jihad and shouting (Allahu Akber) continuously while the attack is going on. The armed groups were shooting against the Helicopters using missiles and other arms but were not successful. Buildings, doors and windows were trembling because of the fierce battle which almost stopped afternoon.
Late afternoon, a big number of armed stranger people arrived at the Iraqi street and Iraqi square (only 500 meters away of the shrine) which was the northern gate to the region behind the shrine where most of shi'at refugees in addition to the refugees from Homs and other places are resorting to. The Iraqi square lies in the Iraqi street where the majority of its residents are Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis refugees from Iraq, and Iraqi business men. They ordered all Iraqis to travel right away after they've killed few of them during the past days. There were no enough transportation means to evacuate thousands of families. In the evening, big battles between the armed attackers and the shi'at youth of the region and many attempts to break into the region which is less than 1 km2. There were many appeals to the security police and army forces by the residents but there was no response. Some people were killed and injured from the two sides.
Thursday 19th of Jul. 2012 a helicopter launched a missile over a funeral in the cemetery in Hijjirah area 3 km away of the Sayyida zainab region. A spokesman from the opposition sated that about 100 people were killed and injured, some of whom were unknown.  Several helicopters also came and opened fire to buildings where the armed rebels were fortifying themselves. Many civilians escaped from the area to the nearby region of Sayyidah Zainab and the people open their houses for them though they don't know them, but mostly they were families. More than 3000 families are now living in this place for free under safeguarding by people from the same region and orphan families are being provided by food as well and other poor by money. On the contrary of what had been claimed, I have not noticed any Iraqi militias nor Lebanese among the people on the Shi'at side.
Thursday afternoon, the opposition groups were calling via loud speakers in their mosques to kill all Shiites and shouting "Allahu Akbar", and all the ways to Damascus and elsewhere were blocked by them. They were able seize some Shiites on their way to Damascus as captives. They killed some of them, which agitated the case on the other side.
In the evening, fierce battles between the armed groups and the armed shi'at youth in the Sayyida Zainab region. In the morning dead bodies were found in the streets. There was confusion among the population in the region of Sayyida Zeinab, and cubby and unrivaled panic. Fear and anxiety is clear to everyone, including myself and family.
In the early morning, gathering of a large number of armed men in the Hijjirah region in preparation for a retaliatory attack on Sayyida Zainab region in response to the events of yesterday when many fell of dead and injured in their areas due to the helicopters bombing.
So there was fear of mass killings in the Sayyida Zainab, especially when the rebels declare their will to the destroy the region, and the people on the other side being armed by guns declare their willingness to defend their region to death. Still there were no governmental elements but Helicopters flights from time to time.
Friday, 20th of Jul. 2012, it was a new turning point against the rebels. Troops of army forces covered by helicopters arrived at the areas. There were huge bombing and shelling, when we rushed to a humble shelter in our building. We didn't know what was going on during the day. No shops were open, no care were in the street and nobody was seen in our street, which is about 400 meters away of the shrine. All or most of my neighbours escaped away  without notice. There is no food, no drinking water and no transportation means outside. After noon, my Iraqi friend Mr. Shaker, an Arabic teacher in the institutes here, and his family insisted to leave the country whatever the case. I was able to help him to carry their luggage on my moving armchair for 1200 meters walking under heavy shooting over our heads from everywhere to the Iraqi bus station near the Iraqi square. I said by-by to him half way and returned quickly to my family.
Saturday 21st of Jul.2012. Shelling and bombing were everywhere. I succeeded to book for my family by bus for a high price. At 12 o'clock as there were no transportation means. The streets are empty except of some armed young men who were blocking the ways to the region from strangers. I also sacrificed with the rest of movable armchairs to carry the heavy luggage of my family for a distance of more than 1200 meters and succeeded to evacuate them through it was very risky adventure.
In the evening I heard that governmental army troops went towards thyabiya and some other areas and succeeded to enter them. The night of that evening was the worst ever. Many armed men managed to escape from the battle field and came in our block to lurk on the roofs of vacant buildings and started snipping and opening fire against the checking point on the southern gate of sayyidah Zainab region and snipers occupied suitable places above the roofs . A fierce battle took a place at that night dark night when there was no electricity, no clinics, no pharmacies, etc… Windows were broken and glasses was found to be spread every where the next morning.  Thanks to Allah that I was able to evacuate my family in time.
Sunday 22nd of Jul. 2012, it was very calm in the morning and then the situation exploded after noon. Army troops accompanied by helicopters began to attack the hot areas again in midst of the lack of life necessities even in the region around the shrine where thousands of displaced and refugee families were staying. The hospitals in the area has been occupied first by the armed rebels, robbed and then bombed by the government forces as the rebels fortified themselves in. The mosques which were taken as fortresses for the armed rebels were also bombed and damaged.
This situation lasted for the following 2 days.
On Tuesday 24th, The situation has got better as few people began to go searching for food, water and other necessities. I was able to find a friend who has a taxi to give me a lift to Damascus to look for booking tickets in case of emergency. The way to Damascus is empty and very terrifying in case that armed men may block the way to find out that I am Shiite and my companion as well and seize us. But we were able to pass and come back again. At that time, It seemed to me the fighting people were either dead or having rest to fight in the evening. In the evening we heard fighting but farther than before. Next day is the same but charity members, Red Crescent team and rescuers began to work and save people in trouble.
The next days until now are much better but not stable as few cases may happen sometimes. From one time to rebels may seize an opportunity to attack a checking point or police station. However some shops began to open and we can see few taxies in the streets. I went to Damascus on Wednesday 1st of Aug. 2012 to receive relieves to poor and displaced people and the way was safe. People and families in the hot areas began to return to their house. Some people found their houses damaged. Also Some Shiites went back to check their places to find out either robbed and burned by the rebels or damaged by the shelling. Also some Afhani Shiites and Syrians who I know brought back dead as snipers were watching them to visit their places and kill them. Now no troops in the areas but there are security police occupying the heads of the streets.
Qasim Assady
Friday, August 03, 2012

Syrian security forces at the site where a car bomb exploded near the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, in the background, in a suburb of Damascus on Thursday.

Syrian security forces at the site where a car bomb exploded near the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, in the background, in a suburb of Damascus on Thursday. (Bassem Tellawi/Associated Press)

 

The Holy Proximity of Sayyidah Zainab (sa)

In this report I'll state what's been seen and been publicly known in the Sayyida Zainab District.


This area has the shi'at Muslim holy shrine of Lady Zainab 15 KM southern east of Damascus.


The area has multi-ethnic and multi-doctrinal communities. In the outskirts there is a majority of people who are originally displaced from Occupied Syrian Golan and lived in the outskirts of the area. The region which is very close and surrounding the Shrine and which has hotels is inhabited by about 60% shi'at, mainly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. They have their educational institution and Islamic seminaries. All various people practice their religious activities very freely. The shi'at religious and educational institutions and seminaries (which are mainly run by non-Syrian) are open to many students from all-over the world and also sponsor local and overseas students. All their funds come from abroad via charities, educational centers and grand clerics.

 

Other poor shi'at people who are Syrian, Afghani and Iraqi refugees are living as a minority in the outskirt with the majority Golani Sunni people, (in regions called Hijjirah, Ghurbah, Thiyabiyyah, Speanah, Bibbilah, etc.), as they are very cheap for renting or for purchasing. Most of these areas include mostly poor people with low level of education.During about one year there were small daily demonstrations against the Syrian authorities in those areas but not in the side of the holy shrine in which there is no demonstration has been shown even from the Sunni people side. The Sunni people in living in the side of the Holy shrine understands that any political change that may take place in favour of the Sunni Islamic revolution means there will be no religious tourism and no shi'at pilgrims at all, and hence their business will collapse, as other Shiite people thing that any political change mean that they will be slaughtered at all or at least they will be prevented from their religious rights and won't let to practice their religious activities. So those Sunnis kept quite in their many mosques surrounding the Lady Zainab area until the present moment (3rd of Aug. 2012).

 

However the case was different in the neighborhood areas. People there sometimes feel jealous of the people near the Shrine who have more business opportunities with tourists. The opposition groups of Sunni people severely criticize the minorities in Syria especially the Shi'at (more than the Sunnis) of not supporting the opposition claims and activities and by that they accuse them of supporting the Syrian regime. So some extremist people especially Sunni "Wahabis" and "Salafis" utilized this kind of political criticism in favour of agitating sectarian hatred.


Therefore  new stage of conflict began, starting from April 1012. Individuals from the opposition groups began to assassinate some shi'at scholars who lead or teach in the shi'at institutions from one time to another especially those who live among them in the hot spots. However Shi'at community tried to remain steadfast and overseas students were striving to finish the academic year among few violent cases but many rumours until the end of the year which was made one month in advance and finish by the end of June.

 

On Monday 17th of July 2012, the story has been reached the climax.In the morning, strangers with arms (pistols, guns, swords, axes) were noticed by people in those areas accompanied by some local people from the opposition groups who also appeared to be armed publicly for the 1st time and were roaming the streets.At 12 o'clock, loudspeakers in Sunni mosques and in the streets were heard calling for "Islamic jihad" and ordering the shi'at people to leave their places at once or they will all be killed. After few minutes there were other calls ordering all Sunni people who are not supporting the opposition to leave their places at once or they will meet the same destiny of Shi'at.People were terrified and confused. They rushed in all directions taking nothing with them. I noticed troops of civilian people riding, running and walking on feet towards vacant farms and other troops towards Damascus about 15 Km away. I phoned a friend of mine to help, but to his shock he couldn't recognize me and from his voice he seemed to be shivering. Most of the shi'at and some non-allied Sunnis sought refuge in Sayyidah zainab region behind the Shrine. This part of the region seems to  be fortified with big buildings, hotels and very narrow streets, so it can somehow easily to be safeguarded.


On Tuesday 17the of Jul.2012, there was an attack on the criminal security police station in the main street of Sayyida Zainab. Shooting lasted for two hours at least and then the attackers withdrew after the presence of a police detachment. In the evening, heavy shooting sounds and bombs were heard. Armed men who claimed to be from the free opposition army declared that their areas (Hijjira, Mashtal, thiyabiyya, etc.) are under their control and they are now ready to enter the Sayyida Zainab area where majority of civilian shi'at people are living from different countries. Majority of the people I am living with in this area were civilian and politically independent while there were no army, no militias but only local police stations.


At midnight, there was a fierce battle between the armed opposition and the residents  in the Sayyida Zainab who have immediately formed a semi local militia to defend their region. Several attempts to enter the area but they succeeded to attack an Iranian shi'at mosque at northern extreme of the region and also attacked Imam Khamanai reprehensive office by missiles and bombs.  On the other side 2-3 km south of the region, armed young men attacked Imam Khomeini charity hospital, evacuated the hospital, and robbed all its contents. Two of the staff (who were mostly shi'at) never showed up again the next days. Next day, from the roof of our building, I was monitoring the Helicopters come and bomb the hospital after it has been taken as fortress for their free army activities in Thyabiya area.


It seemed that there were two extremes who may clearly know each other, the original Syrian shi'at residents close to the holy shrine and the opposite Sunni people on the other side of the area. What we have seen was a real battle between the youth of the two neighboring regions. The battle was considerably marked with a sectarian nature. There were many killed, injured and kidnapped people from the two sides, in addition to breaking into some houses and killing its people.  Still there was no interference by the army.


On Wednesday 18th of Jul. 2012, helicopters came and opened fire to all the areas under the opposition group. By this most of Sunni mosques were calling for Jihad and shouting (Allahu Akber) continuously while the attack is going on. The armed groups were shooting against the Helicopters using missiles and other arms but were not successful. Buildings, doors and windows were trembling because of the fierce battle which almost stopped afternoon.Late afternoon, a big number of armed stranger people arrived at the Iraqi street and Iraqi square (only 500 meters away of the shrine) which was the northern gate to the region behind the shrine where most of shi'at refugees in addition to the refugees from Homs and other places are resorting to. The Iraqi square lies in the Iraqi street where the majority of its residents are Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis refugees from Iraq, and Iraqi business men. They ordered all Iraqis to travel right away after they've killed few of them during the past days. There were no enough transportation means to evacuate thousands of families. In the evening, big battles between the armed attackers and the shi'at youth of the region and many attempts to break into the region which is less than 1 km2. There were many appeals to the security police and army forces by the residents but there was no response. Some people were killed and injured from the two sides.


Thursday 19th of Jul. 2012 a helicopter launched a missile over a funeral in the cemetery in Hijjirah area 3 km away of the Sayyida zainab region. A spokesman from the opposition sated that about 100 people were killed and injured, some of whom were unknown.  Several helicopters also came and opened fire to buildings where the armed rebels were fortifying themselves. Many civilians escaped from the area to the nearby region of Sayyidah Zainab and the people open their houses for them though they don't know them, but mostly they were families. More than 3000 families are now living in this place for free under safeguarding by people from the same region and orphan families are being provided by food as well and other poor by money. On the contrary of what had been claimed, I have not noticed any Iraqi militias nor Lebanese among the people on the Shi'at side.


Thursday afternoon, the opposition groups were calling via loud speakers in their mosques to kill all Shiites and shouting "Allahu Akbar", and all the ways to Damascus and elsewhere were blocked by them. They were able seize some Shiites on their way to Damascus as captives. They killed some of them, which agitated the case on the other side.


In the evening, fierce battles between the armed groups and the armed shi'at youth in the Sayyida Zainab region. In the morning dead bodies were found in the streets. There was confusion among the population in the region of Sayyida Zeinab, and cubby and unrivaled panic. Fear and anxiety is clear to everyone, including myself and family.


In the early morning, gathering of a large number of armed men in the Hijjirah region in preparation for a retaliatory attack on Sayyida Zainab region in response to the events of yesterday when many fell of dead and injured in their areas due to the helicopters bombing.So there was fear of mass killings in the Sayyida Zainab, especially when the rebels declare their will to the destroy the region, and the people on the other side being armed by guns declare their willingness to defend their region to death. Still there were no governmental elements but Helicopters flights from time to time.


Friday, 20th of Jul. 2012, it was a new turning point against the rebels. Troops of army forces covered by helicopters arrived at the areas. There were huge bombing and shelling, when we rushed to a humble shelter in our building. We didn't know what was going on during the day. No shops were open, no care were in the street and nobody was seen in our street, which is about 400 meters away of the shrine. All or most of my neighbours escaped away  without notice. There is no food, no drinking water and no transportation means outside. After noon, my Iraqi friend Mr. Shaker, an Arabic teacher in the institutes here, and his family insisted to leave the country whatever the case. I was able to help him to carry their luggage on my moving armchair for 1200 meters walking under heavy shooting over our heads from everywhere to the Iraqi bus station near the Iraqi square. I said by-by to him half way and returned quickly to my family.


Saturday 21st of Jul.2012. Shelling and bombing were everywhere. I succeeded to book for my family by bus for a high price. At 12 o'clock as there were no transportation means. The streets are empty except of some armed young men who were blocking the ways to the region from strangers. I also sacrificed with the rest of movable armchairs to carry the heavy luggage of my family for a distance of more than 1200 meters and succeeded to evacuate them through it was very risky adventure.In the evening I heard that governmental army troops went towards thyabiya and some other areas and succeeded to enter them. The night of that evening was the worst ever. Many armed men managed to escape from the battle field and came in our block to lurk on the roofs of vacant buildings and started snipping and opening fire against the checking point on the southern gate of sayyidah Zainab region and snipers occupied suitable places above the roofs . A fierce battle took a place at that night dark night when there was no electricity, no clinics, no pharmacies, etc… Windows were broken and glasses was found to be spread every where the next morning.  Thanks to Allah that I was able to evacuate my family in time.


Sunday 22nd of Jul. 2012, it was very calm in the morning and then the situation exploded after noon. Army troops accompanied by helicopters began to attack the hot areas again in midst of the lack of life necessities even in the region around the shrine where thousands of displaced and refugee families were staying. The hospitals in the area has been occupied first by the armed rebels, robbed and then bombed by the government forces as the rebels fortified themselves in. The mosques which were taken as fortresses for the armed rebels were also bombed and damaged.This situation lasted for the following 2 days.


On Tuesday 24th, The situation has got better as few people began to go searching for food, water and other necessities. I was able to find a friend who has a taxi to give me a lift to Damascus to look for booking tickets in case of emergency. The way to Damascus is empty and very terrifying in case that armed men may block the way to find out that I am Shiite and my companion as well and seize us. But we were able to pass and come back again. At that time, It seemed to me the fighting people were either dead or having rest to fight in the evening. In the evening we heard fighting but farther than before. Next day is the same but charity members, Red Crescent team and rescuers began to work and save people in trouble.


The next days until now are much better but not stable as few cases may happen sometimes. From one time to rebels may seize an opportunity to attack a checking point or police station. However some shops began to open and we can see few taxies in the streets. I went to Damascus on Wednesday 1st of Aug. 2012 to receive relieves to poor and displaced people and the way was safe. People and families in the hot areas began to return to their house. Some people found their houses damaged. Also Some Shiites went back to check their places to find out either robbed and burned by the rebels or damaged by the shelling. Also some Afhani Shiites and Syrians who I know brought back dead as snipers were watching them to visit their places and kill them. Now no troops in the areas but there are security police occupying the heads of the streets.

 
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