Talking Peace in Iraq with Dr. Sarah Ahmed

I am so proud of Sarah for the amazing empowered woman she has become, and the wonderful work she is doing.   Please listen to Helen Coban’s interview below to understand Sarah’s take on war and peace, on refugees and reconciliation in the Middle East.   It is her home and her passion.   ……….

You can learn more about Dr, Sarah’s work on her Facebook page “Because I Love Peace

Dr. Sarah Ahmed talks about her work with survivors of ISIS violence, in Iraq
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Aleppo Update

As i mentioned our visit was cut short by 24 hours maybe because they were worried that the Castello road to the north might close again, not sure.  Day before yesterday 2 suicide bomber vehicles were intercepted by air to ground missiles inside the northern perimeter of the western area of Aleppo.

Terrorist hell cannon activity has increased in response to the Russian and Syrian strikes particularly in the Ramousie area which is where the terrorists claim to have taken ground.  (Unfortunately, they did) The reports from inside Aleppo tell us the opposite, that the SAA lured terrorists out into the open before deploying air strikes which wiped out over 2000 terrorists.

Terrorists used chemical weapons in an attack on the old city on the 2nd August.  4 died including one REAL Syrian Civil Defense worker [not the fake White Helmets] and 25 women were affected by the toxic gas…described to be similar to Chlorine or Mustard.

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Honduras, Hypocrisy and the New York Times

Yesterday the New York Times featured and article headlined “How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Just Got Safer“.   Better yet, the subtitle is: “Programs funded by the United States are helping transform Honduras. Who says American power is dead?

So let’s take that apart for a minute.   “Programs funded by the United States are helping transform Honduras“.   Well, isn’t that nice.  In 2009, just 7 years ago, Honduras was doing pretty well.   President Manuel Zelaya’s programs to aid and empower the poor, the vast majority of Honduran citizens were working and people were living better than they had in a long time.   There was a feeling of hope for a better future for all in Honduras.   Well, except for some wealthy businessmen who felt that they were not getting their due.  The US has a large base in Honduras, and there were concerns about the effects of a democratized Honduras on US priorities.

So, a US backed coup approved by Hillary Clinton though publicly disavowed by Barack Obama, removed President Zelaya from office before he could secure himself to continue the popular transition.

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Syria Fact-Finding Delegation Press Release 8/09/16

News Release: US to Syria Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation

2016 August 9~ A Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation, organized by the U.S. Peace Council (USPC) just returned from a week-long visit to Syria. The delegation met with representatives of numerous NGOs, heads of industry, religious leaders and civil society, high-level leaders of the Syrian government, and it held an extended private meeting with President Bashar al Assad.

The delegation’s findings could not be more timely as the world watched the Obama administration escalating violence and bombing in Libya and threatening to escalate its overt military role in Syria. These violent actions take place while the Syrian government and its allies are closing in on the various foreign-funded terrorist groups that have plagued the people of Syria for over 5 years.

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Russian Interests in the Syrian War

There are 2 schools of thought about what is happening in Syria.   One is that somehow this vicious war on the Syrian State and the Syrian people is being fought to save the Syrian people from some demonic force, to free them from oppression, and the organizationally fragmented extremist jihadi fighters who are driving it and their sponsors in Qatar and Saudi Arabia will somehow make an idyllic populist democracy there – if they suffer from poor taste that isn’t our problem.

The other is that the United States in her allies are attempting to destroy the last secular republic in the Middle East because popular governance is inconvenient,  and they will persevere at any cost to do so.    We need to look at the realities because the Syrian Arab Republic, however imperfect, is just that, the last secular republic in the Middle East with functioning (albeit weakened) public utilities and resources, and a government and military populated by people of all sects, regions and ethnicities across the country including a reasonable proportion of women.   Furthermore, Russia and Iran are on the sidelines giving more or less support and weighing the risks of a bold confrontation with the United States.  No sane person wants to trigger another world war.   How far should they let this go?

While the Mainstream media is bleeding over endlessly looped  one sided stories of the misery of war and analysis that ignores the behavior of what are essentially occupying forces in many towns and cities of Syria, this is what is really going on in this war – right now.   As Americans, is this what we want our country to be doing?

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Reconciliation is the Only Way Forward for Syria

Yesterday was quite an interesting day.   We met with President Assad in the morning and talked at some length.    We began by exchanging introductions and then we asked him some very serious questions.   We were not allowed to record the session but many of us took at least some notes.    He told us that his strongest focus is on representing the Syrian people and holding the state together on their behalf.    He described numerous programs the Syrian state has enacted to protect the people during this very difficult time.   The government has converted schools and other buildings into refugee centers. They continue to provide, to the best of their ability,  free education and medical care to everyone in the government held areas; they supply power, clean water and food even to areas that are occupied by militants where it is possible.

And he proudly told us that the Syrian Arab Army, an army of the people which is defending the country against a brutal attack, have finally closed the road from Aleppo to Turkey.   This is very important because the militants in East Aleppo, and especially Al Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, have been receiving money and weapons from Turkey.    He then told us that he had just issued the order to implement the humanitarian corridors and amnesty for Syrian nationals.  He said that there are two ways to deplete the violence.  The first is to fight to the bitter end.  The other is to provide an incentive for people to stop fighting and give them a safe passage back to the lives they have left.

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Syria: The US Peace Council Delegation

Greetings from Damascus.    We had some great meetings so far this week.    SANA News has been following us everywhere and reporting on our meetings daily.   The show of solidarity means a lot to them.   On Monday we met with the ministers of Health an Reconciliation.   Ali Haidar is a very interesting person.   His party is the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP).  They were leaders in the peaceful resistance before the violence began.     He has very interesting methods in his current position.   We had him to dinner this evening.  He never had a chance to eat but he gave a very interesting history of the political context in Syria.   More on all this later.

We have met with Members of the government,  the Chairman of the Lawyers Syndicate, the President of Damascus University and some members of the Damascus Chamber of Industry.   The members of the government and the others all have the same message:  The sanctions are harming the people of Syria and Syrian society.     There are specific sanctions on medical supplies and oil infrastructure as well as the general sanctions that have made international bank transactions impossible  and have severely depreciated the value of the Syrian Lb.   There is only  a political solution to the war but it must be an internal political solution.   The objective of the government is to  expel the foreign terrorists and make a reconciliation with those Syrian nationals who are currently disaffected and fighting their country.   The United States could assist in this process by ceasing to arm and provide resources to the mercenaries engaged in the war, and restrain their allies to the same policy.

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