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In the Name of God بسم الله

Photi

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Posts posted by Photi


  1. i hope you resolve whatever it is that brings you down, but do realize that all the suffering we endure is due to our own actions

    what about suffering caused by the injustice of others?

    WHATEVER you are going through...like it or not, if you don't look at is subjectively but OBJECTIVELY and from a top-down perspective....the fact that you arent worried if your gonna eat tomorrow....the fact that you don't live under 1 $ a day puts you in the top half of the world already.

    maybe the top half of the world as far as food goes. victims of abuse suffer in the West just as much as they suffer in the East. In the East, the suffering, at least the known suffering, is often of a collective nature. As such, it is usually easier to endure than is suffering in isolation. Victims of abuse often suffer in isolation which is a completely different beast. Abuse happens everywhere and i think it is wrong to trivialize a person's suffering because they happen to live in the west. It is all unfortunate.


  2. by the same reasoning, we can ask it is kufr to speak arabic. From Wikipedia:

    Allah (Arabic: Çááåý Allāh, IPA: [ʔalˤːɑːh] ( listen)) is the standard Arabic word for God.[1] The term is best known in the West for its use by Muslims as a reference to God in the context of Islam. It is also used by Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Mizrahi Jews, Bahá'ís, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholic Christians, in reference to God.[1][2][3]

    The Arabic components that build-up the word "Allah"

    The term Allāh is derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al- "the" and ʼilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the [sole] deity, God" (ho theos monos).[4] Cognates of the name "Allāh" exist in other Semitic languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic.[5] Biblical Hebrew mostly uses the plural form (but functional singular) Elohim. The corresponding Aramaic form is ʼĔlāhā ܐܠܗܐ in Biblical Aramaic and ʼAlâhâ ܐܲܠܵܗܵܐ in Syriac.[6]

    The name was previously used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator deity, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.[7][8] The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) differ among religious traditions. In pre-Islamic Arabia amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not considered the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters–a concept which Islam thoroughly and resolutely did away with. In Islam, the name Allah is the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. All other divine names are believed to refer back to Allah.[9] Allah is unique, the only Deity, creator of the universe and omnipotent.[1][2] Arab Christians today use terms such as Allāh al-ʼAb ( Çááå ÇáÃÈ, "God the Father") to distinguish their usage from Muslim usage.[10] There are both similarities and differences between the concept of God as portrayed in the Qur'an and the Hebrew Bible.[11] It has also been applied to certain living human beings as personifications of the term and concept.[12][13]


  3. Even if the criteria were made evident without ambiguity, it would still be difficult to place judgment upon any individual, since intention is unknown. I really do believe that there are many types of rejection (kufr), some of which are truly deserving of punishment.

    Some passively commit Kufr, while some actively (aggressive) and some, perhaps people like Chomsky, unknowingly or unintentionally reject. What i mean is, sometimes we reject a thing based on its outer appearance, while simultaneously accept it in its inner form (appearance) or when it appears to us differently. We may reject a 'word/terminologies' but accept the meaning. And of course vice versa. For example , many people reject the Prophet(S), based on the inaccurate picture which is presented to them. Would you accept a Prophet (S), if he was an aggressive, brutal man? Of course you would not. So in principle, what some of them reject based on incorrect information, is actually correct! Since to accept a Prophet (S) who was a brutal man would be a wrong thing. Thus, their rejection of Prophet (S) is based on ignorance and/or prevalence of disinformation and not on reality. If they knew the Prophet (s) the way he ought to be known, many of them would instantly submit Islam.

    Allah is just and not one bit unjust to his creation. If man only knew how expansive and encompassing his mercy is, he would never fall in hopelessness and pessimistic thoughts. And if he man only knew how severe his wrath is, he would never commit kufr.

    With prayers.

    interesting points.

    I have yet to come across any western person in any position of authority or significant organisation willing to express any support or even neutrality for Iran.

    see quote above from abidiscene. I think many people throughout the world reject Iran based on false information so therefore their rejection of Iran (based on falsehood) seems correct to those in the West who have any degree of moral uprightness about them. That said, there is a lot in truth not to like about Iran, just as there is a lot not like in every other government of the world. Iran's lack of respect towards human rights makes it easy to marginalize anyone in the West, especially the US, who is in favor a less aggressive stance towards the IRI. While not all of that is Iran's fault obviously, the IRI could do so much more to improve its global image.

    The following are 2 of the establishment people in the West who advocate a major, mutually beneficial change in US policy towards Iran: Flynt and Hilary Mann Leverett. Just because you have not come across these 'people of authority,' whoever they may be, does not mean they do not exist.


  4. Capitalism, to use the conventional economic term of private ownership of the means of production, does not really require growth. It is preferable, since economic growth means more stuff for more people, which people generally want.

    just to add, i would also say that captalism itself does not require economic growth, rather population growth necessitates economic growth.

    Saintly Jinn, the world you describe is dull and stifling. i completely reject it. social welfare has its limits.


  5. I think this guy has some opinions about Iran which I have not yet investigated so i don't want to endorse him too strongly, but I think this french philosopher's position on the current happenings in the Arab world is spot on. He is essentially saying that the West needs to take a hands off approach to the current upheavals in the Arab world. A little uncertainty now will leave us all much better off in the long run. As expressed in the following Riz Khan interview, he has a fairly benign view of Islam. Levy has just returned from Libya and has some interesting messages to relay from the people there. Well worth your half-hour to watch.


  6. Haji, all you write are baseless speculations.Speculations are not enough to justify what that blogger did : lying that "Israel has promised Libya's dictator of over 40 years, Colonel Gaddafi, 50,000 troops to aid in crushing rebels".

    Gadafi said a lot of idiotic things, he said, for example, that al-Qaida is behind the revolt in Libya.If he also tried to associate the rebels with Hamas, it's obvious why he did this : he is afraid that the western governments will help the rebels; in no way does this prove that Israel has promised to help him.

    the 50,000 troops idea sounds like the attempted smokescreen of a madman to me. What better way to widen the conflict? Going down in a blaze of glory. Disgusting.

    Al Pacino from Scarface comes to mind.


  7. LIBYA, THE UNITED STATES, AND IRAN: JUST WHO IS “MEDDLING”?

    This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama Administration officials complained publicly that Iran was “meddling” and “interfering” in events in the Middle East which are threatening the downfall of one U.S. ally after another. But the Obama Administration’s response to the latest flashpoint—Libya—has been to exhort the Libyan people overthrow its government, declare that Qaddafi “must go”, and engage in an embarrassing, intra-administration but thoroughly public debate about U.S. military intervention in Libya.

    Can no one in Washington really understand that Iran’s narrative of resistance to injustice, foreign occupation, and Western hegemony has more appeal to Middle Eastern publics than the prospect of yet another U.S. military attack on Muslim country?

    The Obama Administration’s handling of the ongoing conflict in Libya is an unfinished case study in how not to conduct “great power” foreign policy. No less than President Obama himself said publicly that Muammar al-Qaddafi has lost his legitimacy to lead, and that it is time for him to go. But the Obama Administration has no ready means to bring about that outcome, should Qaddafi not be moved by the persuasive power of Obama’s words.

    Last week, Secretary Clinton stopped just short of calling for the imposition of a “no fly” zone over Libya. After it dawned on people in the Administration that other permanent members of the Security Council might not be prepared to back such a proposal—Russia’s Foreign Minister and China’s UN ambassador have both publicly dismissed the idea—State Department officials floated a scenario with various media outlets that the United States could recognize a “provisional government” in Libya, composed of various figures opposed to Qaddafi, which would then request the United States to impose a no fly zone. But it seems very hard to say just who could constitute a provisional Libyan government with sufficient credibility and presumed legitimacy to play this role.

    Even more importantly, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, backed by the senior leadership of America’s uniformed military, went public saying that imposition of a no fly zone would first require the United States to attack and destroy much of Libya’s military establishment. (Gates made this point not long after his West Point speech in which he argued that any future Defense Secretary who recommended that the United States start another war in the Middle East “should have his head examined”.) Secretary Clinton was forced to retreat, telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that the Obama Administration was a long way from taking a decision about a possible no fly zone over Libya.

    It is embarrassing enough that President Obama is demanding things he has no capacity to bring about, and Secretary Clinton talks about having the United States attack another Middle Eastern country when she clearly has not given any serious thought to what such an action would entail. But now Qaddafi is putting up a real fight, and may well be able to hold out for quite a bit longer than anyone in the Obama Administration seems to have considered.

    Does no one in Washington remember that, after suffering a substantial military defeat by the United States in 1991, Saddam Husayn put down a (U.S.-instigated) Shi’a rebellion in southern Iraq? After that, with two no-fly zones and a comprehensive oil embargo in place against Iraq, Saddam held on to power in Baghdad for almost another 12 years. And, in the end, it wasn’t the Iraqi people who got rid of him. It took a U.S. invasion to do that—with, of course, horrible consequences for both the Iraqi people and U.S. interests.

    Undoubtedly, Qaddafi will crush the rebel forces if he can. At a minimum, though, he is working to hold off the rebels and force the start of a political negotiation—at the end of which (at least in his vision) he would still be playing a significant role in Libyan politics.

    With its no doubt emotionally gratifying but feckless rhetoric demanding Qaddafi’s departure, the Obama Administration has ensured that it can play no constructive role in a process of political transition in Libya. Can anyone with a clear head, an appreciable measure of historical memory, and decent intentions honestly think it would be a good idea for the United States to invade Libya—under the rubric of humanitarian intervention and with the stated aim of restoring the Libyan people’s “freedom”? Can no one in Washington remember Somalia, let alone Iraq?

    All of this is playing out as the Obama Administration seems increasingly inclined to support the Bahraini ruling family in resisting the most important demands of the opposition there for real political reform—an episode at which we will look more deeply in coming days.

    –Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


  8. I grew up and went to school not far from where this took place

    and I can tell you that this is a new phenomenon and most of the people of Orange County are not like this. This is a small, and I hope not growing group of white racists.

    Hopefully by exposing them, it will make them think twice about what they are doing and make others aware of their activities.

    Watch at your own discretion...

    I can only speak for the Pacific Northwest in the US, but it is not my experience that racism among whites is growing around here. I am white though, so it is not like I would feel the sting of racism if it is on the rise. The negative effects of racism are often just out of sight of the privileged group. I can say that when I am involved in conversation among white-only crowds in either Wenatchee or Seattle, open expression of bigoted attitudes is not tolerated. For bigoted attitudes to get expressed, they usually need to be cloaked in a tasteless bit of humor. Towards Muslims things are somewhat ambivalent but I have not seen anything before so openly hateful as in this video.

    I was shocked to watch the video posted. I thought Orange County was more cosmopolitan than that. Let's hope these are not the birth pangs of a new fascism.


  9. re: female masturbation:

    It is considered impermissible by the fuqaha.

    Not entirely true. From Syed Fadlullah's website:

    Q: Your belief that woman has no spermatic fluid and consequently her masturbation induces no sperm has brought about great confusion among the public. Could you please explain the details of this ruling together with the consequent ambiguities? And what are the principles and traditions on which your Eminence based your opinion?

    A: What should be made clear is that if woman had a spermatic fluid similar to man’s, which runs upon orgasm, then the woman must wash as man does in a similar situation, also, woman’s masturbation would be prohibited on the basis of the legal foundation. Where as, if woman has no spermatic fluid, then wash is not a must as unanimously approved by jurists and then woman’s masturbation will be permissible because prohibition is restricted to sperm running, so in the absence of spermatic fluid, masturbation is not an issue that is prohibited or allowed. This is exactly similar to the case when a man plays with his penis without consequent sperm-also unanimously approved by jurists-and wash is not a must, because prohibition is not based on lust inducement but on the misplacement of spermatic fluid (as reported in some narrations).

    But even if this assumption (woman has no sperm) proved true, we advise women not to get into this bad habit (masturbation), because its practice leads to negative consequences upon marriage and causes psychological, neural and medical complications that threaten her normal life, social status and future marriage. In this respect, some jurists in their comment on my allowance of woman’s masturbation regardless of sperm run, refer to two narrations, the first of which is narrated by Oubeida Ben Zarara, who said: Once, an old neighbor of us had a pretty and expensive bondwoman. That old man couldn’t have full sexual intercourse with his bondwoman, who would ask him to put his hand on her labia because that gave her greater pleasure, but he detested that. So, the old man demanded that Zarara ask Imam Jaafar Sadiq (a.s.) about the matter.

    So, Zarara asked the Imam, who said, “There is no harm in using any of his body parts to give her pleasure, but he is not allowed to use anything other than his body”.

    The second narration is given by the same narrator, Zarara, and it says: I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about men who have many bondwomen, but they can’t have full sexual intercourse with them, so they give them pleasure by other means”. Then the Imam replied, “There is no harm in using any of his body organs.”

    But the two mentioned narrations are clearly prohibiting the use of any outside means to satisfy the wife’s sexual desire, though they permit the use of the male’s other organs including the hand to satisfy the wife, but there is no mention of whether she can use her own hand or not.

    Q: Since this fatwa doesn’t represent a practical necessity, but it leads to corruption and moral dissolution when adopted by women who might be entrapped by moral disadvantages, some ask why aren’t precautional fatwas issued in this respect? And why is this fatwa aroused in general?

    A: Those who say so haven’t experienced the critical problems undergone by women when they are encountered by urgent situations, which drive them to inquire about the legal ruling that might put an end to these problems.

    We have experienced the depth of these problems through studying the various situations and through receiving questions that seek rulings in cases as when a woman’s husband is imprisoned and she is not sure whether he is dead or alive, or when a husband spends a long time in prison in the absence of any legal circumstances that lead to divorce, or when a husband is in a state of absence, where the wife should legally wait for four years to be then divorced by the judge if the husband’s guardian doesn’t sustain her, or when a husband remains abroad for a long time where reunion is impossible due to financial reasons.

    All these cases turn to be serious sexual problems, which drive the jurist to seriously think of finding solutions. It’s natural that women’s masturbation sometimes leads to negative consequences, but prohibition or negligence on the part of the jurist also have more negative impacts on the life of woman, especially the married one who has no legal opportunity to solve sexual problems. In short, the mentioned details pressed me to study the subject in a legally responsible way.

    Q: Can’t we consider the above-mentioned damage a main cause to prohibiting this habit?

    A: I don’t think this habit leads to the damage that necessitates prohibition; Moreover, there is a consensus among jurists that prohibition, is limited to spermatic fluid running. So, if a man plays with his penis not intending to induce sperm and if he could hold himself back before orgasm leads to ejaculation, then he is not a sinner; consequently, he must not wash, and he must not break his fast if he is fasting. This is agreed upon by all jurists because masturbation (as understood by all jurists) means the coming out of sperm.


  10. I gave the example of the forests because it is a current/live example. But I have previously posted about similar situation e.g. the privatisation of industry.

    But those beliefs are transient, they keep changing. Yet whatever the latest fashion is in the West, seems to be the ideal that other countries are supposed to follow.

    In fact those beliefs in themselves are actually quite irrelevant. The most important thing seems to be that the West is looked upon as the inspiration for values and beliefs worldwide. Whatever else, you can't possibly believe that that model is sustainable.

    As with many of these things, economics dictates a lot, and as economic power shifts east you will find that the West as a source of inspiration will diminish. But I rather think you'll be joining me in my anti-Eastern diatribes...

    The problem I see with your arguments Haji2003 is that you speak realistically of the West, and idealistically of the East (or at least idealistically of Islam). Clearly this is a false comparison. I think one of the important questions to ask is whether the gap between the reality and the ideal in the West is larger than the gap between the reality and the ideal in the Muslim nations. On the issue of Human Rights, Islam may have some moral authority, but Muslims and their nations certainly do not.

    Haji2003, was it wrong when the British tried to change the normative behavior of the Indians by speaking against the immolation of widows? (sutee or something)


  11. Of course I suspected that this was what you meant. I just wanted to elaborate on that.

    And yes I agree with you completely.

    It's the same as with violence in general. They are guided by two contradictory principles with respect to violence:

    - All violence is wrong

    - We only use violence when we are morally OBLIGATED to do so

    This way, they justify their own violence while loudly condemning even the smallest act of violence of the enemy. Take the US embassy takeover for example. There is a guy who writes articles on military stuff, called the War Nerd (you can googool him and find a bunch of articles). He describes following the hostage crisis as a kid. He says during this time he looked at a map of Iran and fantasized about nuking Iranian cities.

    They see no irony in this at all. It makes perfect sense to them, just as it made perfect sense to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of accepting a conditional surrender (which merely would have involved a save of face with respect to the position of Emperor).

    Complete lack of perspective.

    there are doves, war mongers and propagandists. Jackson is b itching about the propagandists because the doves and war mongers contradict with each other? duh. societies are much more complex than to say americans or iranians or muslims or whatever are all about violence. saying so demonstrates a lack of perspective.


  12. Islamic system & democracy: The two aren't mutually exclusive. Issues like press freedom, allowing dissidents freedom to protest without danger of arrest are manifestations of a healthy democratic society. They can very easily be implemented in the IRI model without sacrificing any larger Islamic principles.

    By democracy, i don't necessarily mean changing the system from what it presently is, but rather having strong democratic institutions that counterbalance any attempts by the government to coerce or intimidate.

    Iranians are by in large in favor of the current form of government. It's not as if the ruling class and its goals are inherently opposed to that of the citizenry. There are many parallels. The problem is the lack of civil institutions that may hold the government accountable when it crosses boundaries and clamps down on individual, press and religious freedoms - all of which don't in any way stand in contrast to a Islamic system.

    I agree 100% with both your posts in this thread. Baradar, too often you take concepts and ideas and believe they are contradictory to Islam when there is no real evidence to support it. It's like saying Islam has no need for biology, we have the quran and sunnah and that is all we need.


  13. Here's another article by Syed Marandi i recently read. The Race for Iran website showcases Flynt and Hilary Mann Leavretts' ideas on where the US should go with its Iran policy. They are a married couple who are part of the US foreign policy establishment who also think/know the Islamic Republic is here to stay and advocate major changes from the current aggressive posture the US has towards Iran. Their blog has many great resources and articles. Anyway,Marandi's article (note this paper was written prior to the current ME unrest):

    We are very pleased to present the following article, "The Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States, and the Balance of Power in the Middle East", by our friend and colleague, Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Director of Tehran University's Institute for North American Studies. The article is full of insights into Iranian thinking about some of the most important issues on Middle Eastern and international agendas—insights that warrant the widest possible circulation in the United States and other Western countries. The article is originally being published by our colleagues at the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, and we are grateful to them for letting us also publish it on www.RaceForIran.com. The original can be accessed on their site, www.conflictsforum.org, which is well-worth visiting for this article and the range of other important materials there.

    –Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

    The Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States, and the Balance of Power in the Middle East

    by Seyed Mohammad Marandi, University of Tehran

    The Islamic Republic of Iran's interest in a stable Middle East is arguably greater than that of the United States—after all this is Iran's neighborhood. For Iran to grow and prosper, it needs secure borders and stable neighbors. A poor and unstable Afghanistan, for example, inhibits trade and, potentially, increases the flow of refugees and narcotics into the northeastern part of Iran.

    Arguably, stability in Iraq may be even more critical to Iran than stability in Afghanistan. The Iran-Iraq war caused enormous suffering to the people of Iran; Iranians will not forget it in the decades ahead. They will also not forget that their suffering was largely because of American and European support for Saddam Hussain—including Western support for his acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, which he regularly used against Iranian and Iraqi civilians. There was no condemnation from western governments or even the western media for these cruel and barbaric acts. Iranians believe that western leaders are just as guilty for these crimes against humanity as Saddam Hussain himself. It is critical to note that Iran never used or produced chemical weapons either during the war or afterwards, despite the technological capability to do so. This alone, Iranians regularly point out, is evidence that the Islamic Republic of Iran is honest when it states that it has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons.

    Because of this history, it is understandable that Iranians say they will never again allow Iraq to be used as a platform to attack or destabilize Iran. Iranians will not allow their enemies, adversaries, or antagonists in the future to view Iraq as an asset in any form of conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The United States and Saudi Arabia persist in their attempts to intensify sectarianism and racism between Iran and its neighbors. I was in the Aljazeera studio in Doha when the American ambassador to Qatar used the race card on live television and said that for centuries the Persians have been little but trouble to the rest of the region as well as a constant threat. Nevertheless, a solid majority of Iraqis have strong religious, historical, and cultural ties with Iran. Many Iraqi leaders and intellectuals have lived in Iran for years and are fluent in Persian, and many have married Iranians during the dark years when only the Islamic Republic and Syria backed and recognized the opposition to Saddam Hussain.

    In addition, while western-funded and western based Persian TV channels regularly make reprehensible and derogatory statements about Arabs, Iranians inside the Islamic Republic have remained remarkably sympathetic towards Iraqis who suffered under Saddam Hussain and, subsequently, the U.S. occupation of their country. Iranians also remain strongly sympathetic towards the mostly Sunni Palestinian Arabs suffering under the occupation of what Iranians see as the world's only official apartheid regime.

    Iran believes that fundamental change in Iranian-Iraqi relations is more than a future possibility. It has already been achieved.

    This does not mean that Iran wants a weak government in Iraq. In fact, the dramatic increase of trade, tourism, and investment between the two countries since the fall of Saddam Hussein has been a major boost to the Iranian economy. The Iran/Iraq border, which was, for the most part, a dead-end until the year 2003, is now witnessing long lines of trucks and busses waiting to cross. Officials from both countries are busy building a border infrastructure which will allow this trade and investment to develop further, but they are constantly falling behind the increasing demands of businessmen and pilgrims. Hence, the Islamic Republic of Iran wants a strong and stable Iraq, but an Iraq that is on good terms with Iran and works to further the interests of the region's population as a whole. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's recent statement that American troops must leave the country by the end of 2011 is a strong sign that this is actually happening.

    The same logic applies to Afghanistan. The majority of Afghans share strong religious and cultural links with Iran; most speak the Persian language. Despite what Iranians believe to be the utter failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Iran has invested heavily in the relatively more stable north of the country, building roads and infrastructure. Trade has risen sharply and moderate Sunnis and Shias who were supported by Iran when the United States effectively allowed the then-Saudi- and UAE-funded Taliban to overrun the country, look increasingly to Iran for support, as people in the country feel that the United States has lost the war and that they will inevitably be forced to leave the country sooner or later.

    I wrote the "then-Saudi-" funded Taliban, whereas I should have written simply "the Saudi-funded Taliban". According to leaked documents on Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia is still the largest financial supporter of the Taliban. In fact, almost all of the undemocratic Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf region are still funding the Taliban. This has always been an open secret in this part of the world. Indeed, not only are these states funding the Taliban, they are effectively funding the Taliban ideology, which has strong similarities to that of Al-Qaeda, throughout the world. Many wonder how Americans presume that their alliance with the Saudi regime is in the long term interests of the United States. Is the spread of the Salafi ideology in the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Europe, and elsewhere unrelated to the yearly multibillion dollar ideological investment by these regimes, led by the Saudis?

    Iranians believe U.S. foreign policymakers, by closing their eyes to Saudi support for hardliner Salafi groups worldwide, are making things more difficult for themselves. This is in addition to the tragic situation brought about as a result of what Iranians see as the foolish invasion of Iraq and the failed American strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is also in addition to what Tehran views as America's blind support for the world's final apartheid state, which jails and abuses women and children from the indigenous Palestinian population and kills rock-throwing young men trapped in concentration camp like conditions. All of this is making current U.S. policy in the Middle East unsustainable in the long run. This is especially true as America's emerging strategic and economic competitors, such as the "BRIC" countries (China, India, Brazil and Russia) make gains at all levels while the United States continues to bleed.

    Furthermore, this is playing out as mainstream Sunni and Shia organizations are under pressure throughout the region, as despotic regimes allied to the United States try to ensure their own survival. Under such conditions, hostility towards the United States increases and, ironically, Saudi-funded extremist ideologies thrive. For the time being, this "investment" buys stability for the Saudi royal family, but not for most of the rest of the world, including the United States. Of course, whether these American-backed regimes can actually survive or not is another question. If these regimes do not survive, how will the people in these countries react to America's past policies of oppression?

    Hence, choosing Arab despots as allies—whether in Saudi Arabia, where women can't drive or, for the most part, can't even have an independent bank account, or in Egypt and Jordan—can have serious consequences for the United States in the future. The irony of this is not lost upon Iranians who live in a country where 63 percent of the undergraduate student population is female. Most of my own PhD students are women and the head of my faculty at the University of Tehran is a woman, too.

    Iranians also watched how the United States responded to Egypt's farce elections, yet simultaneously accused Iran of being undemocratic, even though all Iranian leaders are chosen directly by the public or by publicly elected bodies. In the case of last year's Iranian presidential election, there is no doubt that Ahmadinejad won by a landslide; conclusive evidence of that has even been provided in the English language by scholars, academics, and pollsters. Given this reality, in the eyes of the vast majority of Iranians, the United States effectively supported and advocated mob rule on the streets of Tehran.

    The United States accused the Iranian government of stealing the elections without providing any credible evidence whatsoever to back up this claim. The U.S. position is uncritically based on claims made by well-funded, so-called Iran "experts" in the United States who know little about the country and, for the most part, have a deep and unreasonable hostility towards the Islamic Republic. These people have been making claims and predictions about Iran for many years; a review of their past work reveals that they have a very poor track record. However, since they say what the American political establishment wishes them to say, there is no accountability for their misjudgments and flawed analysis, and they continue receiving generous funding. Interestingly, those among them who can speak in Persian use a very different language and tone when speaking on Western-funded or government-owned Persian language TV stations than when speaking in American think tanks or on American television. Basically, this is because they don't wish to sound absurd to an Iranian audience.

    Those commentators who venture to say something different and more reasonable to a western audience are severely attacked by the U.S. media and the so-called Iran experts, who continue to live in their fantasy world. Nevertheless, despite the threats, accusations, and slander, these commentators continued to tell the truth to Americans and Europeans, in order to prevent a foolish or even tragic miscalculation by western governments. But they have done so at a very high personal price.

    Of course, after the massive and unprecedented protests against Mousavi that were held throughout the country following the Ashura riots in December 2009, some people in the west finally began to open their eyes to the reality on the ground. Then came February 11, 2010, the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, when the western media pinning their collective hopes on claims made by the so-called green movement. Green partisans claimed they would bring millions to the streets of Tehran and take over Azadi Square on live TV. However, when millions of people took to the streets in Tehran (simultaneous rallies were held throughout the country), there was no sign of Mousavi supporters anywhere. Western analysts grudgingly began to admit that they may have misread events in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Ironically, in the long run, last year's events have made Iranians more unified than at any time since the early days of the Revolution. Most critics or opponents of President Ahmadinejad were outraged at Mr. Mousavi's actions after the election, especially after he failed to show any meaningful evidence of fraud and effectively aligned himself to western-based and western-funded organizations, including ruthless terrorist organizations like the MKO or MEK (which served Saddam Hussain as mercenaries for over two decades), U.S.-based supporters of the former Shah, and violent rioters who killed, maimed, and humiliated police officers and disciplinary forces on the streets of Tehran. That is why, on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the size of the pro-Islamic Republic demonstrations held throughout the country were unprecedented and so highly emotional.

    Indeed, contrary to what is widely believed in the west, most mainstream reformists have condemned Mousavi's actions; from early on, they recognized the legitimacy and validity of the election results. Reformist members of parliament that I know and respect have repeatedly said this publicly and privately. The head of the reformist faction in parliament Mr. Tabesh has consistently stated this on numerous occasions. Reformist MPs such as Dr. Kavakebian, Dr. Khabbaz, and Dr. Pazeshkian, as well as many other reformists such Professor Aref, have also taken this position, despite their strong opposition to President Ahmadinejad. Nevertheless, western politicians and the western media for the most part only hear what they want, or need, to hear.

    This does not mean that police brutality did not exist or that some government officials did not mismanage the situation. However, a very solid majority of Iranians put the bulk of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Mousavi for his actions and baseless accusations.

    Indeed, the U.S. response to the election, which, as pointed out, was largely conditioned by dependence on ill-informed and agenda-driven "Iran experts", has significantly decreased chances for any form of meaningful rapprochement between the two countries in the foreseeable future. Not that there was much chance in the first place; as the Wikileaks documents reveal, Iranian suspicions were correct and Obama's claims to be interested in redefining U.S.-Iranian relations were, from the start, not really honest. This is also reflected in Obama's written support for the Brazilian Turkish efforts and then his incredible about-face immediately after the signing of the Tehran Declaration. The Wikileaks cables also reveal how ill-informed the United States is about Iranian affairs. U.S. embassies in Iran's neighboring countries, like most western embassies in Tehran, receive information from likeminded Iranians or those who tell their hosts what they wish to hear for practical purposes.

    Miscalculations regarding Iran are not anything new and they are not limited to elections. U.S., policy regarding Iran's nuclear program has been based on what is widely judged among Iranians to be a major miscalculation. Not only is the nuclear program seen by the general population as linked to Iranian national sovereignty, it is also a multibillion dollar investment that involves tens of thousands of Iranians and goes back decades. Consequently, it's something that almost all Iranians support. Indeed, one of the reasons why Ahmadinejad won both presidential elections was because, in the eyes of most Iranians, he was unwilling to appease western powers on the nuclear issue. This was a key issue that hurt the legacy of President Khatami, who was often seen as weak in the face of western pressure.

    Wishful thinking in some western countries about the state of Iran's economy and its supposedly imminent collapse are exactly that—wishful thinking. In recent weeks, it has been repeatedly claimed by these so-called Iran experts and the western media that the Iranian subsidy reform program is a sign that sanctions are "biting". This again shows a deep misunderstanding of reality in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranians well recognize that, contrary to claims made by Americans and European officials, the "crippling" sanctions have been put into place in order to make the Iranian people suffer. The imposed sanctions have, in fact, increased anger and hostility toward the United States.

    Moreover, the subsidy reform program, which is by far the most significant economic reform program in contemporary Iranian history, is, in reality, a clear sign that the current Iranian government is strong and self-confident. While the subsidy reform program has been discussed for years, successive governments have been afraid to implement it. The current administration, after much planning, has now begun its implementation. There is no sign of unrest and most Iranians believe that the reforms will lead to a much stronger economy in the future. Critics of the government, whether Principlist or Reformist, support the program, for the most part. Significantly, Iranian currency and gold reserves are at an all-time high, as well.

    This does not mean that Iran isn't looking for a resolution to the nuclear standoff, but there is no doubt that, for something positive to happen, western countries must make the first move and recognize Iran's rights to enrich Uranium for peaceful purposes. Contrary to western claims, this is the position of the international community, as Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states along with member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference officially support Iran's position.

    For roughly two years, Iran did more than halt the enrichment of Uranium; it effectively halted almost the entire nuclear program and implemented the Additional Protocol. It allowed the IAEA to carry out intrusive inspections, many of which had nothing to do with the nuclear program and looked more like intelligence-gathering operations on behalf of the U.S. government. The fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, an undemocratic body largely under western influence, has not found any evidence whatsoever to show that Iran's nuclear program has ever been anything but peaceful, yet continues to oppose Iran's nuclear program, is another reason why Iranians have little trust in western governments. U.S. relations with the Israeli regime, India, and Pakistan, which all have nuclear weapons, are strong—even though, in the case of Pakistan, for example, a weak central government has called into question the army's ability to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of the Taliban or Taliban-like groups.

    American leaders are deceiving themselves if they believe the Wikileaks cables describing the hostility of a number of Arab leaders towards Iran and its nuclear program actually strengthens the U.S. position regarding Iran. In fact, these documents do the exact opposite, as they diminish these already unpopular despots in the eyes of their own people. This becomes clear when one looks at the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll, which reveals that a very strong majority of Arabs support Iran's nuclear program. In addition, the poll shows that, while 88 percent of Arabs view the Israeli regime as a threat 77 percent view the United States as a threat, only 10 percent view the Islamic Republic of Iran as a threat. (By way of comparison, 10 percent also viewed Algeria as a threat).

    Regarding Palestine and Lebanon, it is a also a major mistake for western experts to believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran's support for the people of these countries, especially the people of Palestine, is in any way cynical. If one looks at the pre-Revolution statements of current Iranian leaders, one will see that the issue of Palestine was a central grievance of the opposition to the Shah. Indeed, one of the many mistakes of the so-called green movement was to miscalculate deeply the depth of public sympathy in Iran for the Palestinian people during last year's riots in Tehran on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. The kidnapping and murder of Iranian scientists and former government officials by Israeli agents has added further anger.

    Iranian support for Palestine, Lebanon, and the Resistance movements is unwavering and any expectation in the west that, under certain circumstances, Iran will end this policy is unfounded. However, official Iranian policy has also always held that, while Iran will not recognize Israel, because it is an apartheid state (the same as its South Africa policy during apartheid), it will respect any decision made by the Palestinian people in this regard. From the Iranian perspective, any decision will have to include all Palestinians living both inside the country and outside it; that would include the millions who continue to live in refugee camps. With regard to Lebanon, the Islamic Republic of Iran supports the country's independence and sovereignty and it believes that Lebanon and Lebanese civilians can only be protected from Israeli aggression through the Resistance in southern Lebanon. Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran will support Hezbollah at all costs.

    In Tehran, there is a strong belief that the region is changing dramatically in favor of Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and the Resistance. The rise of an independent Turkey, whose government has a worldview very different from that of the U.S., German, British, and French governments, along with the relative decline of Saudi and Egyptian regional influence, signals a major shift in the regional balance of power. Saudi military incompetence during the fighting with Yemeni tribes along the border between the two countries, the general decline of the Egyptian regime in all respects, and the almost universal contempt among Arabs as a whole for the leaders of these two countries and other pro-western Arab regimes and their corrupt elites, are seen as signs that the center cannot hold. The fact that the Iranian president and the Turkish prime minister are so popular in Arab countries, while most Arab leaders are deeply unpopular, is a sign that the region is changing.

    Some speculate that as the so-called axis of moderation declines alongside the declining fortunes of the United States, Washington may be tempted to move towards limited military confrontation with the Islamic Republic before the U.S. presidential election in 2012. Iranians believe this to be highly unlikely. But Iranians also believe that stability or instability from the Mediterranean to the boarders of India is inextricably linked to peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region. A look at a map makes clear that Iran has the ability to respond to threats throughout region and even beyond. If there is no security for Iranians, then, in the eyes of Iranians, there will be no security for Iran's antagonists in the region. Under such conditions, the United States should not expect oil or gas to flow out of the Persian Gulf, northern Iraq, or Central Asia. Iran is increasingly confident in the face of regular US military threats. It is also increasingly convinced that western governments recognize that it has the ability to protect its citizens. Western governments must recognize that Iran is looking for peace, but it is not intimidated by the threat of war; in fact, such threats make western governments look crude and uncivilized. The stunning defeat of the Israeli regime against the much smaller and much less well-equipped Resistance in Southern Lebanon is something that is remembered with pride in Tehran.

    Iran is prepared to continue living without relations with the United States in the years to come, and more and more young Iranians and businessmen are looking to Asia and countries like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa for higher education, business, and trade. Nevertheless, there are those who still wonder if there is a potential partner in the United States, who can rethink U.S. foreign policy and bring about real change in U.S.-Iranian relations.


  14. Well, civility in disagreement goes a long way. I think if everyone involved in running the IRI took a cue from this guy, things would be a lot smoother. A lot of people here, with their abrasive "green thugs" and "green terrorists" discourse could learn a lot from him.

    Emotionally responding to the stupid "marg bar diktator" rhetoric with, "Oh, yeah, well marg bar YOU" or "marg bar greens" just helps to perpetuate a radicalized discourse. While if you take a more civilized line that accepts that at least some significaant part of those who are protesting have some legitimate grievance and are fellow citizens who also desire what is best for the nation to the best of their understanding, you can have a civil conversation, and find enough common ground that you can move forward, with those few who are really just agitating for the sake of agitation to be isolated.

    It's such common sense, but sadly not widely understood.

    I concur.

    I would like to add that the CIA has its hidden dark hand in the violence. anyone in Iran who loves Iran should make the ejection of the CIA their first priority if they really want to reform their government. (okay, so spies are always going to be everywhere and from everywhere, but that does not mean the US has any right to be in Tehran doing what its doing).

    The protestors in Iran should march on the Swiss embassy or wherever it is the American interest section is located, and then not leave the front gates until the US pledges to stop destabilizing their country. (Note, somewhat tongue in cheek: Iranians, please do not actually take over the the Swiss embassy if you choose to protest the CIA;))


  15. The CIA does not exist in an otherwise pristine world. If it is an evil force, it is an evil force among many evil forces. The CIA developed opposite the KGB. Is the CIA really an exception from all the rest? It seems like all states throughout history have developed something like the secret police/intelligence gathering ministries of the modern era. If intelligence agencies are a necessary evil in human civilization, is there at least a way to dial back the violence associated with such agencies? A "license to kill" should only be handed out in the movies.


  16. Interesting article analyzing the situation in Bahrain:

    http://www.monitormi...oost-in-bahrain

    conclusion of article:

    But what is interesting to note is the ultimate consequence of this 200 years of Al-Khalifah rule: it has made Bahrainis reassert their Iranian roots. It has, after all, been over 200 years since Bahrain was a part of Iran. Bahrain is on the Western coast of the Persian Gulf, so it is not exactly a "natural" part of Iran. But having a foreign royal family -- with a foreign religion and a foreign language -- rule them for this long has certainly pushed them even harder to retain their Iranian identity.

    If the government of Bahrain indeed falls, reunification seems almost like a foregone conclusion.

    And that would really irk the US and its allies in the region.

    that seems like an awfully big leap of logic to to reach this conclusion. do you agree with the article baradar?


  17. This thread is a general thread to discuss the ways in which the various national intelligence agencies manipulate world events.

    From Counterpunch.org

    The CIA's Killing Spree in Lahore

    When CIA-agent Raymond Davis gunned down two Pakistani civilians in broad daylight on a crowded street in Lahore, he probably never imagined that the entire Washington establishment would spring to his defense. But that's precisely what happened. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Mullen, John Kerry, Leon Panetta and a number of other US bigwigs have all made appeals on Davis's behalf. None of these stalwart defenders of "the rule of law" have shown a speck of interest in justice for the victims or of even allowing the investigation to go forward so they could know what really happened. Oh, no. What Clinton and the rest want, is to see their man Davis packed onto the next plane to Langley so he can play shoot-'em-up someplace else in the world.

    Does Clinton know that after Davis shot his victims 5 times in the back, he calmly strode back to his car, grabbed his camera, and photographed the dead bodies? Does she know that the two so-called "diplomats" who came to his rescue in a Land Rover (which killed a passerby) have been secretly spirited out of the country so they won't have to appear in court? Does she know that the families of the victims are now being threatened and attacked to keep them from testifying against Davis? Here's a clip from Thursday's edition of The Nation":

    "Three armed men forcibly gave poisonous pills to Muhammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of Fahim shot dead by Raymond Davis, after barging into his house in Rasool Nagar, Chak Jhumra.

    Sarwar was rushed to Allied Hospital in critical condition where doctors were trying to save his life till early Thursday morning. The brother of Muhammad Sarwar told The Nation that three armed men forced their entry into the house after breaking the windowpane of one of the rooms. When they broke the glass, Muhammad Sarwar came out. The outlaws started beating him up.

    The other family members, including women and children, coming out for his rescue, were taken hostage and beaten up. The three outlaws then took everyone hostage at gunpoint and forced poisonous pills down Sarwar's throat." ("Shumaila's uncle forced to take poisonous pills", The Nation)

    Good show, Hillary. We're all about the rule of law in the good old USA.

    But why all the intrigue and arm-twisting? Why has the State Department invoked the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to make its case that Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity? If Davis is innocent, then he has nothing to worry about, right? Why not let the trial go forward and stop reinforcing the widely-held belief that Davis is a vital cog in the US's clandestine operations in Pakistan?

    The truth is that Davis had been photographing sensitive installations and madrassas for some time, the kind of intelligence gathering that spies do when scouting-out prospective targets. Also, he'd been in close contact with members of terrorist organizations, which suggests a link between the CIA and terrorist incidents in Pakistan. Here's an excerpt from Wednesday's The Express Tribune:

    "His cell phone has revealed contacts with two ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) and sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has led to the public conclusion that he was behind terrorism committed against Pakistan's security personnel and its people ....This will strike people as America in cahoots with the Taliban and al Qaeda against the state of Pakistan targeting, as one official opined, Pakistan's nuclear installations." ("Raymond Davis: The plot thickens, The Express Tribune)

    "Al Qaeda"? The CIA is working with "ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan"? No wonder the US media has been keeping a wrap on this story for so long.

    Naturally, most Pakistanis now believe that the US is colluding with terrorists to spread instability, weaken the state, and increase its power in the region. But isn't that America's M.O. everywhere?

    Also, many people noticed that US drone attacks suddenly stopped as soon as Davis was arrested. Was that a coincidence? Not likely. Davis was probably getting coordinates from his new buddies in the tribal hinterland and then passing them along to the Pentagon. The drone bombings are extremely unpopular in Pakistan. More then 1400 people have been killed since August 2008, and most of them have been civilians.

    And, there's more. This is from (Pakistan's) The Nation:

    "A local lawyer has moved a petition in the court of Additional District and Sessions ... contending that the accused (Davis)... was preparing a map of sensitive places in Pakistan through the GPS system installed in his car. He added that mobile phone sims, lethal weapons, and videos camera were recovered from the murder accused on January 27, 2011." ("Davis mapped Pakistan targets court told", The Nation)

    So, Davis's GPS chip was being used to identify targets for drone attacks in the tribal region. Most likely, he was being assisted on the other end by recruits or members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban.

    A lot of extravagant claims have been made about what Davis was up to, much of which is probably just speculation. One report which appeared on ANI news service is particularly dire, but produces little evidence to support its claims. Here's an excerpt:

    "Double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret CIA documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al-Qaeda terrorists with "nuclear fissile material" and "biological agents," according to a report.

    Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned "grave" as it appears that open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States, The European Union Times reports.....The most ominous point in this SVR report is "Pakistan's ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis's possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists "nuclear fissile material" and "biological agents", which they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to re-establish the West's hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse," the paper added. ("CIA Spy Davis was giving nuclear bomb material to Al Qaeda, says report", ANI)

    Although there's no way to prove that this is false, it seems like a bit of a stretch. But that doesn't mean that what Davis was up to shouldn't be taken seriously. Quite the contrary. If Davis was working with Tehreek-e-Taliban, (as alleged in many reports) then we can assume that the war on terror is basically a ruse to advance a broader imperial agenda. According to Sify News, the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes this to be the case. Here's an excerpt:

    "Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US envoy to Afghanistan, once brushed off Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's claim, that the US was "arranging" the (suicide) attacks by Pakistani Taliban inside his country, as 'madness', and was of the view that both Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who believed in this US conspiracy theory, were "dysfunctional" leaders.

    The account of Zardari's claim about the US' hand in the attacks has been elaborately reproduced by US journalist Bob Woodward, on Page 116 of his famous book 'Obama's Wars,' The News reported.

    Woodward's account goes like this: "One evening during the trilateral summit (in Washington, between Obama, Karzai and Zardari) Zardari had dinner with Zalmay Khalilzad, the 58-year-old former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN, during the Bush presidency.

    "Zardari dropped his diplomatic guard. He suggested that one of the two countries was arranging the attacks by the Pakistani Taliban inside his country: India or the US. Zardari didn't think India could be that clever, but the US could. Karzai had told him the US was behind the attacks, confirming the claims made by the Pakistani ISI."

    "Mr President," Khalilzad said, "what would we gain from doing this? You explain the logic to me."

    "This was a plot to destabilize Pakistan, Zardari hypothesized, so that the US could invade and seize its nuclear weapons. He could not explain the rapid expansion in violence otherwise. And the CIA had not pursued the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, a group known as Tehreek-e-Taliban or TTP that had attacked the government. TTP was also blamed for the assassination of Zardari's wife, Benazir Bhutto." ("Pakistan President says CIA Involved in Plot to Destabilize Country and Seize Nukes", Sify News)

    Zardari's claim will sound familiar to those who followed events in Iraq. Many people are convinced that the only rational explanation for the wave of bombings directed at civilians, was that the violence was caused by those groups who stood to gain from a civil war.

    And who might that be?

    Despite the Obama administration's efforts to derail the investigation, the case against Davis is going forward. Whether he is punished or not is irrelevant. This isn't about Davis anyway. It's a question of whether the US is working hand-in-hand with the very organizations that it publicly condemns in order to advance its global agenda. If that's the case, then the war on terror is a fraud.

    Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com

    Note from Photi: I notice the author lives in Washington state. He is not me nor do I know him.


  18. You're probably right, I may have very little knowledge of Islamic history so forgive me for my lame questions, but as a knowledgeable brother is not incumbent on you to answer my question and not just take a tone of veneration when it comes to the subject of the Ayatollah, avoiding the whole argument. Why the discontent of even a few should be seen as an act of dissent against God? Many a men and women have been condemned to death for speaking against this so called benevolent dictator on the grounds of heresy, just as those persecuted in the middle ages for speaking against the Pope.

    Forgive me brother only a layman with some very lame questions.

    I don't see these people as acting against the Allah I believe in, show me a single shred of evidence that these people committed heresy against Allah, so that we too can condemn these heretics, obviously we will not gorge their eyes out.

    Many a man and women have been executed by the Ayatollah's so called Shria legal system on the grounds of heresy.

    ***

    Still waiting for the Holiness to say something on the predicament of the Bahrainis.

    Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour Hersh. Excellent piece illustrating CIA support for terrorist organizations within Iran. Is the Iranaian state not supposed to protect itself? In the US, when our security is threatened, we get the Patriot Act and a massive war against a fabricated bogeyman. Iran has been living in insecurity for more than 30 years now, that the Islamic Republic has some tendencies of a police state should not be a surprise to anyone. Its very survival has depended on it. How much leeway does the World give the Israelis in securing their survival?


  19. From Haaretz

    Grad rockets fired at Be'er Sheva for first time since Gaza war

    One missile hit building in residential area, causing damage; no casualties reported; Palestinians report Israeli air strike retaliation, wounding two Islamic Jihad militants.

    By Yanir Yagna, Gili Cohen and Natasha Mozgovaya

    Grad rockets were fired at the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva on Wednesday, several hours after the Israel Defense Forces fired at a group of militants on the Gaza border, wounding 11.

    Palestinian sources reported that the Israel Air Force retaliated late Wednesday with an airstrike in eastern Gaza City, wounding three Islamic Jihad militants. The IDF confirmed the airstrike.

    Two Grad rockets were reportedly fired at Be'er Sheva on Wednesday evening, but so far only one missile is known to have landed in the city, which hit a building in a residential area of the city, causing damage, marking the first time Be'er Sheva was hit since the Gaza war in 2009.

    "We heard a noise which sounded like very strong wind, but then we heard the Red Color alert. All of the students ran to the staircase, and we heard the explosion. We still don't know where the Grad fell," a student at Ben-Gurion University told Haaretz.

    So far there are no reports of casualties as a result of the strike, but several people suffered from anxiety and received medical treatment.

    During Operation Cast Lead in 2009, several rockets were fired at Be'er Sheva and two people were seriously wounded, including a seven-year-old boy.

    Earlier on Wednesday, IDF forces fired at a group of Gaza militants and wounded 11 people.

    Palestinian news agencies reported that three children were among the injured; the other eight were members of the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad.

    Gaza emergency services chief Adham Abu Selmeya said that the injured suffered shrapnel wounds. One was in a critical condition while two were in serious condition.

    The IDF responded by saying that an explosive device was detonated toward soldiers who were performing routine activity in the area, on the northern part of the border.

    "Shortly afterwards, a mortar shell was fired at the force and five additional mortar shells were fired into Israeli territory, landing in the Sdot Negev Regional Council," the IDF statement read. "Subsequently, the force identified a number of militants in the same area and returned fire in their direction. A direct hit was confirmed."

    The al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement, said in a statement that a group of its members was targeted.

    Abu Selmeya added that earlier Wednesday two workers collecting gravel near the border between northern Gaza and Israel were shot and injured by Israeli soldiers.

    The IDF noted that in the past two months, "over 12 devices were laid along the security fence and exploded at IDF forces."

    They added that two explosive devices were found on the border as recently as Tuesday.

    "The terrorist organizations are constantly operating against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers," the IDF stated, adding that they held "the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it."

    Meron Reuben, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, sent a letter to the President of the Security Council, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Wednesday, imploring the UN to condemn the attack.

    Reuben said in the letter that the attacks represent a clear escalation of terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip. He further noted that such attacks constitute a clear violation of international law, and must be addressed with the utmost seriousness.

    Reuben's letter was prompted by a statement issued by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who called on the UN to condemn the attacks and "not be apathetic to such a blatant act of terror".

    A spokesperson for the Be'er Sheva municipality announced that school would not be canceled in light of the attack, encouraging residents to be on the alert and listen to instructions when necessary.

    This story is by:

    Yanir Yagna

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