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A Decade of Destruction In Middle East

by Oui Sun Sep 26th, 2021 at 11:26:22 AM EST

A bit of one-sided Western bs article ... one observation may merit some attention ...

Assad the outcast being sold to the west as key to peace in Middle East | The Guardian - Sept. 26, 2021 |

Another dynamic has helped lure Assad back into the fold: the rise of Saudi Arabia's heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, and the revamp he is attempting of the Kingdom - away from a rigid theological regime where clerics compete with rulers for power, to an Arab nationalist police state - of the type that Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi would have instinctively recognised.

An influential aide of a regional leader says Assad feels emboldened by the new attention. "The Saudis have sent their spy chief, and the Emiratis want to do business with him. And now the Americans and Jordanians. He has become impossible to deal with. He's been insisting that he won't compromise on Syria at all, and that all Americans have to leave Deir Azzour. He's even been demanding that he has a say in where they withdraw to."

In the north-eastern Syrian city of Qamishli, where the country's Kurds dominate local affairs, Assad's steady resurgence has not gone unnoticed. Here, he is seen as a pyrrhic victor of a war of attrition more than a strategist; his survival due to Syria's historical role in the region and the way the modern state was constructed by his late father, Hafez al-Assad.

After withdrawal, Trump shifts focus to Syria's oil fields | AP News - Oct. 17, 2019 |

Belligerence In Syria and Beyond | EuroTrib - July 18, 2021 |

War crimes in Syria: a shared responsibility | Syria Comment |

The Scourge of Wahhabism and Saudi Jihadist terror across the globe

Islamic Institutions in Arab States: Mapping the Dynamics of Control, Co-option, and Contention | Carnegie Endowment | (pdf)

Pro-state Islamic figures and organizations often have more agency and leverage than is commonly assumed, stemming from their role as intermediaries with society. Depending on their popularity and social capital, they can sometimes negotiate a quid pro quo in exchange for keeping quiet about politics, such as retaining some authority to speak on personal and social matters (though regimes have often encroached on these issues as well). Yet religious figures who have fallen under government control also have to manage their moral authority, straddling the perception that they are serving as mouthpieces for the worldly agendas of politicians rather than focusing on matters like faith and piety.

Beyond this, the line between official and nonofficial Islam is often blurred and fluid. A range of actors with varying degrees of proximity to the state make pronouncements about Islam, ranging from trained, official clergy to judges and lawmakers to media personalities who have substantial followings but whose formal knowledge of Islamic legal matters is often shallow. In some instances, the state has created, paid, and sustained new social and political constituencies whose role is to lobby and campaign for so-called Islamic reforms via legal and administrative changes.

This current phase of state intervention in the Islamic sphere is significant in its scope, pace, and sophistication, reflecting in part the immense political, social, and economic challenges Arab regimes have faced in the years since the 2011 Arab Spring--which have been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. In responding to the public health crisis and its economic fallout, many states' Islamic establishments, through control of public messaging, mosques, and distribution of welfare and services, have been mobilized as tools to burnish a government's legitimacy in front of anxious publics and sometimes deflect culpability through scapegoating.

State led co-option and control of Islamic institutions also stems from domestic military threats from radicalized Islamists and, especially, pressure from Western allies and patrons to tackle these threats as part of a broader rubric of countering violent extremism. This latter driver has created a useful incentive for Arab governments allied with the United States to package their oversight and regulation of Islamic institutions and discourse as reforms.

These reforms, which in some cases are targeted toward nonviolent Muslim critics of the regime, amount to a sleight of hand. Based on the faulty assumption that a supposedly incorrect interpretation of Islam is a primary driver of radical violence, the adjustments create the appearance for Western audiences of progress on counter-extremism while ignoring the more proximate sources of militancy, like Arab regimes' human rights violations, judicial and prison abuses, and corruption--all of which have in many instances worsened in Arab states. Put differently, for Arab rulers, the promotion of an allegedly moderate Islam through institutionalization and formalization means an Islam that presents no threat to their political survival rather than, as Western policymakers hope, an Islam that defangs violent radicalism.

From the diaries ...

Makkah Siege of 1979 - Turning Point in Saudi Arabia

AI assassination by Israel robot killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's chief nuclear scientist, should have been condemned by the International community respecting Human Rights ... and sanity.


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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Oct 4th, 2021 at 09:09:32 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Oct 4th, 2021 at 09:10:13 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Oct 4th, 2021 at 09:11:00 PM EST
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Interpol faces criticism for allowing Syria to rejoin its network

Certainly Israel will prohibit sale of NSO's Pegasus.

Algeria's public prosecutor has ordered an investigation into media reports that the North African country may have been the target of the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware, it said in a statement.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dismissed allegations they used Pegasus malware to spy on journalists and human rights activists.

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Oct 5th, 2021 at 07:55:20 PM EST
Princess Haya: Dubai ruler had ex-wife's phone hacked - UK court | BBC News |

The High Court judgments, , referred to the hacking as "serial breaches of (UK) domestic criminal law", "in violation of fundamental common law and ECHR rights", "interference with the process of this court and the mother's access to justice" and "abuse of power" by a head of government.

My recent diary ...

Israel Cyber Mercenaries Become Assassins

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 6th, 2021 at 06:33:57 PM EST

The ruler of Dubai hacked the phone of his ex-wife Princess Haya using NSO Group's controversial Pegasus spyware in an unlawful abuse of power and trust, a senior high court judge has ruled.

The president of the family division found that agents acting on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, a close Gulf ally of Britain, hacked Haya and five of her associates while the couple were locked in court proceedings in London concerning the welfare of their two children.

Those hacked included two of Haya's lawyers, one of whom, Fiona Shackleton, sits in the House of Lords and was tipped off about the hacking by Cherie Blair, who works with the Israeli NSO Group.

In July, a Guardian investigation revealed for the first time that Haya and her associates were on a dataset believed to indicate people of interest to a government client of NSO, thought to be Dubai.

Sir Andrew McFarlane's damning judgment from 5 May, only now published, appears to confirm that finding - which was part of the Pegasus project investigation - and goes further in saying that unlawful surveillance was actually carried out.

Further reading ...

Sharia: No Escape From Dubai - Authoritarian Sheikh (Dec. 2018)

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 6th, 2021 at 06:35:07 PM EST
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High Court of Justice Family Division: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fact-finding judgment proceedings relating to welfare of two children


  1. Insofar  as  the  mother  alleges  that  the  father  has  directly  used  diplomatic  links  to neutralise or remove her diplomatic immunity, I am unable to make such a finding. I am however fully satisfied that the father, the State of Dubai and the UAE are afforded significant international respect and have, accordingly, great influence. The cooperation of  the  Indian  military  in  the  operation  to  capture  Latifa  is  one  demonstration  of  this power.  

  2. With regard to the poems that the father has published, it is outside the ability of this court to come to a firm view on the precise construction to be attributed to each verse. It is, however, clear that the poems are at least ambiguous and may well relate directly to the mother and that, therefore, the mother is justified in believing that they do and being intimidated by them. The clearest poem of all is `You Lived, You  Died'. In relation to that poem the father has accepted that this relates to the mother.  I am also satisfied that the statement that `I care not whether you live or die' is an express and public removal of any cloak of protection from the mother and an indication that the father will not be troubled if she lives or dies.

  3. Overall, I therefore find that the third group of the mother's allegations, save for number 18 relating to forced marriage, are largely proved on the balance of probabilities and that the father has therefore  acted in a manner from the end of 2018 which has been aimed at intimidating and frightening the mother, and that he has encouraged others to do so on his behalf.

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 8th, 2021 at 06:14:12 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 8th, 2021 at 05:40:17 PM EST
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Wealth opens doors where human rights abusers are welcomed ...

Newcastle takeover: Amnesty International urges Premier League to change owners' and directors' test

Saudi takeover of Newcastle leaves human rights to fog on the Tyne | The Guardian |

And they are right to say that this is where the game has been headed. Great English clubs, passionately supported and sentimentally glorified as homes of local belonging, became in football's moneyed times assets for local owners to cash in and make mega-gains for themselves, by selling to international investors. Clubs, and sport itself, have also increasingly become priceless vehicles for international image-laundering by countries seeking global projection of soft power. Amnesty International has neatly titled this phenomenon sportwashing.

Through all the fog on the Tyne, the focus needs to be maintained on how appalling Saudi Arabia's and Bin Salman's human rights records are. Khashoggi, a distinguished journalist who wrote critically of Bin Salman's repression and the horrendous war waged in Yemen, was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated in its report that the Saudi Arabian state was responsible.

The CIA concluded in November 2018, according to authoritative US reporting, that Bin Salman ordered the murder; he has denied it. The same crown prince is chairman of the PIF, the fund approved to take over Newcastle United. Ashley was so intent on selling the club to the Saudis that he was suing the Premier League for the right to do so.

Sportswashing, or building a country's image through associating with sport's incomparable wonder and excitements, is not a development of recent years; it has a history longer even than Hitler's Germany hosting the 1936 Olympics. Locally, professional football ownership or sponsorship has always been a vehicle for people or companies to puff themselves up.

It seems unlikely that after his claimed triumph of seeing off the Super League, Boris Johnson will raise any objection to English football's first major development since then. At the same Conservative party conference this week, Johnson's foreign secretary, Liz Truss, hailed the Gulf monarchies, but not the 27 European Union democracies, as among "our friends and allies" with whom we should be "forging closer ties". This is where the national game, and the nation, are today.

'English football will sell itself to anyone': human rights groups condemn Saudi-Newcastle deal

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 8th, 2021 at 09:48:41 AM EST

Saud al-Qahtani, aide to Mohammed bin Salman, hailed as patriot on pro-government social media ...

First reports ...

Saudi Arabia says journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after 'fist-fight' at consulate

Impunity of some greater order of magnitude ...

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan will not set priority US war crimes in Afghanistan

Yep, the US Government is guarantor of his monthly salary ... just move on, nothing here to see.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 07:58:20 PM EST

From a ridge known locally as Baghouz Mountain, the most contested corner of the Middle East resembles an oasis: it's a splash of green on a desert horizon stretching from the banks of the Euphrates to a sprawling area of new homes housing new - and unruly - neighbours.

Little moves in the heat of the day. The river that has sustained Iraq and eastern Syria through the ages comes alive at night, and so does the town of al-Bukamal, where smugglers, militia members, proxy groups, mercenaries and the armies of three nations have all taken prominent stakes since the juggernaut of Islamic State was defeated here three years ago.

Start of American Invasion and Occupation of Iraq - Tal Afar

From my diary ...

Tal Afar & Euphrates River Valley | @EuroTrib - Jan. 2006 |

Sadah is a village of about 2,000 people on the banks of the Euphrates River about eight miles from the Syrian border in Iraq's western province of Anbar. The isolated community has one main road and about 200 houses scattered over a rural area.

Two cars full of families, who fled the violence to spend the night in the desert, were hit at night killing all, including three children under the age of ten.

"Operation Iron Fist" in the town of Sadah near the Syrian border replaces the Tal Afar campagne named: "Operation Restoring Rights".  Tal Afar, insurgents escaped before offensive by American Forces.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:10:03 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:10:50 PM EST
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Jordan's King Abdullah receives first call from Assad since start of Syria war

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:12:32 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:13:51 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:14:57 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 10:19:39 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 10:20:35 PM EST
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Israel seeks diplomatic allies against the ICC

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is counting upon the diplomatic route against the International Criminal Court's decision to investigate war crimes alleged to have been committed by his country. Israel will not be short of supporters. Predictably, the US has already clarified its "complete opposition to the decision of the prosecutor" to investigate war crimes allegations. Germany, Hungary, Uganda, Australia, the Czech Republic, Canada, Austria, and Brazil have also expressed their opposition to the ICC decision, furthering Israel's claims of political manipulation at The Hague.

For all the media frenzy over the ICC decision, the impending investigations do not appear to be a deterrent for Israel's ongoing war crimes schedule. Settlement expansion is one of the areas that international law deems to be a war crime, yet Israel is still granting permits for further construction projects. In 2020, as Palestinians faced additional hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic, Israel reneged on its supposedly humanitarian agenda and duly displaced many, and the colonial land grab continued unabated.

To find willing diplomatic accomplices ready to distort a legitimate and much-needed criminal investigation into allegations that the ICC decision is a result of political manipulation is easy for Israel. Its diplomatic outreach and "self-defence/security" narrative have been normalised by the international community, and it has strong allies in that regard, including those countries with a similar settler-colonial background, such as Australia, Canada, and, of course, the US.

US slaps sanctions on ICC prosecutor Bensouda over Afghanistan war probe

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Oct 10th, 2021 at 07:26:21 AM EST
Lawyer aiding Palestinians at ICC claims Israel threatening her | Times of Israel |

A lawyer who allegedly received death threats for working with the International Criminal Court on possible Israeli war crimes against Palestinians accused Israel of trying to intimidate her and urged the Dutch government to intervene.

"It is a very scary situation and the ones that are contacting me want me to feel unsafe, afraid," Nada Kiswanson, who works for the Palestinian rights group al-Haq, told AFP.

The Dutch prosecution service is investigating the allegations, and Kiswanson, who lives with her husband and young daughter in The Hague where the war crimes tribunal is based, has been given special protection.

The threats were "a clear political interference" in the work of the ICC which must "be met by a political intervention by the Dutch government," she said.

"The Dutch government has a role to play in saying this is not tolerated in our territory," she added.

Kiswanson, who has joint Jordanian and Swedish nationality, said she had been receiving threats since the start of the year by phone, email, flyers and even flowers left at her door.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Oct 10th, 2021 at 07:29:07 AM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Oct 10th, 2021 at 06:45:57 PM EST

"... were conducting a complex external operation to capture Sami Jasim ..."

Iraqi forces arrest senior ISIL member Sami Jasim | Al Jazeera |

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, described Jasim's arrest as a breakthrough for Baghdad.

Jasim was detained in an identified foreign country and transported to Iraq a few days ago.

Jasim worked with al-Qaida in Iraq leader Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in 2006.

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Oct 11th, 2021 at 10:27:38 AM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 at 05:42:35 PM EST
Sally Rooney blocks Israeli edition of her new novel in support of Palestinian-led boycott | The Irish Times

Earlier this year, Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd, and singer-songwriter Patti Smith took a similar position to Rooney, joining more than 600 musicians in signing an open letter encouraging artists to boycott performances at Israel's cultural institutions in order to "support the Palestinian people and their human right to sovereignty and freedom".

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 at 05:43:32 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 09:03:49 PM EST
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Eddie Jaku, holocaust survivor who called himself 'the happiest man on Earth' dies aged 101 | ABC Australia |

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said he had been "a beacon of light and hope".

"He will always be remembered for the joy that followed him, and his constant resilience in the face of adversity," the Board wrote. 

"The world is a little less bright without him in it and we will always treasure the memories and stories we were privileged to have heard."

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 at 06:04:38 PM EST
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While we're on boycotts, notice that Sarid's masterpiece of Biblical Science fiction, The Third, seems to be boycotted by English publishers. There are already Italian and French translations, but no sign of an official English one (an unofficial one is circulating in a form of samizdat).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 at 06:53:40 PM EST
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Microsoft Israel execs rocked by Project Nimbus setback

Israel Government says AWS and Google can't boycott Nimbus Project

    Google and AWS recently jointly won a $1.2 billion contract - known as the Nimbus Project - to serve as the cloud providers for much of the Israeli government. Among the agencies set to be supported is the IDF, as well as the Israel Land Authority.

Further reading ...

Amazon and Google's collaboration with Israeli apartheid is part of a larger pattern of Big Tech fueling state violence across the globe

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 at 08:08:23 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 at 08:14:20 PM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 10:32:40 AM EST
Cambridge University halts £400m deal with UAE over Pegasus spyware claims

The University of Cambridge has broken off talks with the United Arab Emirates over a record £400m collaboration after claims about the Gulf state's use of controversial Pegasus hacking software, the university's vice-chancellor has said.

The proposed deal, hailed by the university in July as a "potential strategic partnership ... helping to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our planet" - would have included the largest donation of its kind in the university's history, spanning a decade and involving direct investment from the UAE of more than £310m.

But Stephen Toope, Cambridge's outgoing vice-chancellor, said in an interview that no meetings or conversations with UAE were now taking place after revelations related to Pegasus, software that can hack into and secretly take control of a mobile phone.

A university spokesperson said it had approached the UAE and other partnerships "with an open mind" and "these are always finely balanced assessments", adding: "We will be reflecting over the next few months before further evaluating our long term options with our partners and with the university community."

The Mercer's Relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Emerdata

The Biden administration in the footsteps of Mike Pompeo and the former president on Middle East choice of corrupt regimes ...

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 09:03:06 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 09:25:55 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 06:33:59 AM EST
Can't get much worse ... EU official relegated to meetings with Mrs. Regime Change, Dick Cheney / Joe Biden's hatched woman. Damning ...

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 06:35:45 AM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 06:36:31 AM EST
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Upholding human rights at home and across the globe for many years ...

The shame and worry is there are so many states that are worse ...

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 06:38:58 AM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 09:06:32 PM EST

US Prefers Sanctions and Chaos

America not good in admitting defeat ...

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 16th, 2021 at 04:24:41 AM EST

Anwar Sadat's legacy is worthy of reappraisal | Arab News |

As a student in the 1970s, my opinion of the late Anwar Sadat was not a positive one. He became president at an extremely tense moment for Egypt following the sudden death of Gamal Abdel Nasser, and went on to launch his so-called Corrective Movement, which swept away the trappings of the old regime.

Large sections of society were opposed to Sadat's policies in general. I was a young man at the time and, like many of the youth of this period, I joined the protests on Jan. 18-19, 1977, against his economic liberalization agenda, which had caused the price of bread and other essentials to spiral.

My convictions about Sadat remained much the same in the years following his assassination by Islamic fundamentalists on Oct. 6, 1981. But I have since grown to recognize his strength of character, his diplomatic prowess, and his success in cementing his name in the annals of history.

My opinion began to change about the late president after meeting his widow, Jehan Sadat, during her first media appearance following his death. Jehan, who herself passed away in July, spoke of her husband's intelligence, his wit and his heart with great affection, describing his exploits and turbulent life.

Widow of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat dies in Egypt. She was 87.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 16th, 2021 at 09:05:47 PM EST
Why? Trump says so ...

Syria Drama In the Making - Oct. 2013

Netanyahu agreed to full Golan Heights withdrawal late 2010 | Ynet News |

US Iraq Asset Killed In Idlib - Oct. 2019 |

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Oct 17th, 2021 at 07:43:04 AM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2021 at 10:07:25 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2021 at 10:06:37 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 27th, 2021 at 09:22:25 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Nov 7th, 2021 at 04:13:09 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 at 10:31:19 PM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 at 10:36:43 PM EST
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