Monthly Archives: December 2016

St Patrick’s Day, Friday March 17 2017, Syrian Arab Republic

Our next international peace and reconciliation group visits the Syrian Arab Republic for the feast of St Patrick, Friday March 17 2017. Plans are near completion and thus this re-edit

Objective: The objective is to help Syrian civil society’s struggle for peace, bread and humanity. Journalists, medics, academics, artists, clerics and others experienced in such activities will join the delegation and help in their various, semi-autonomous ways.

Dates: The main dates to be in Syria are March 16-19. People will arrive alone or in small groups and will be shuttled to base camp Damascus.

Logistics: Delegates first fly into Beirut Airport. People are arriving on 7, 8, 10, 11 March. Be sure to contact me on my Syrian mobiles  Delegates are ferried in special, pre-arranged taxis from the airport or,  as a back-up plan, from a designated nearby hotel to the centre of Damascus, where we have our organisational base camp. There are Syrian and Lebanese taxis who specialise in this work, with the Syrians I work with being considerably cheaper on average.

Beirut Airport Taxis: The taxi drivers who stand by Beirut airport are their own mafia. They over charge. If you cannot avoid them haggle with them to get to the Beirut hotel. It’ll be $20-$25 for a $7 trip.

Visas: We have been given high-level assurances that visas will be issued free of charge. In 2016, visas for Irish citizens cost US$150. Securing the visas involves several steps, the first of which is to contact me directly. All visa applications are, as at 1 March, being worked on.

Visa Check: If you are coming via Lebanon, please check the relevant information for your country and visas. Here is Wikipedia information for Iranians, Irish, Italians and Indians. Please check in person the status for your own country.

Embassies, Sanctions & Visas: Because of NATO’s war of aggression against Syria (and also Iran), most of Syria’s embassies are closed. That means you cannot get a visa by going to the Embassy in London, for example, because NATO made it cease trading as part of NATO’s regime-change programme. That means you are wasting your time applying there for a visa as there is no one there to consider your application.

Syria’s Consular Services & Visas: Most Syrian consular services are frozen because of the Crisis. Many of those which still operate are swamped with the magnitude of the Crisis Syria faces. It is anything but business as usual.

Visa Channels: Very few visas get issued now. Most of those that do get issues are through various unorthodox channels, ie with invites or references from non-consular Syrian officials.

No Visas: Neither Lebanon nor Syria give visas to those with Israeli stamps on their passports. Known supporters of Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror gangs/ terrorist godfathers and/or their front groups will not be given visas for obvious security reasons.

Suicide Bomber Khalid Kelly’s Friends: Those who attacked Dublin’s Belgian and Russian Embassies with suicide bomber Terry Khalid Kelly need not apply,

Lebanon Exit Visa: Be sure to get the exit visa stamp from Lebanon to Syria. It saves a lot of hassle on the way back. Our designated drivers know the ropes.

Transit Caveats: The three hour road to Damascus is very safe and very heavily patrolled on both sides. The Lebanese side passes mostly through Shia, Christian and Druze areas. There are very many road checks on the Syrian side, which is probably the most secured road in the country.

Costs: Because of EU sanctions in support of the terrorists, the Syrian economy is on life support and those with hard currencies will find it very cheap.

Currencies: Lebanon uses the US $ inter changeably with its own currency. Beirut airport ATMs give US & Lebanese currencies. Syrian currency can be bought at the Syrian border or in Damascus.

Syrian Hotel Payments: Foreigners are required/expected to pay in hard currency.

No Visa/Debit/Credit Cards: As part of the EU’s sanctions in support of the terrorists, plastic does not work. Cash only.

What to Bring: Both travel and semi formal clothes. Fresh shamrock and green bunting if you can. Pack a green tie/shirt/dress for the cameras. (Orange if you prefer)

Shopping/Tours: Syria needs your money. Tours or shopping can be arranged, preferably for a fee to the guides.

Hotels: We normally stay in a top hotel where (subsidised) prices for us have averaged $75 a night per single room. Though much cheaper accommodation is available, a trade off between convenience, cost and security is needed.

Danger Level: Damascus and environs are very safe. One of the saddest things about this extermination war is Syria was one of the world’s very safest countries before it was put on the hit list.

Bombs & Bullets: Very little, if any of this as the Syrian Army have continued to extend its safe zone.

Hot Zones: Special permission is needed from the Syrian military to go into war zones. These are not for everybody as serious business is afoot there.

Yarmouk Palestinian Camp: Is at a stalemate. It is possible to meet Palestinians on the Syrian side of the lines but, like others, they need material help more than compassionate tourists.

Internet/Wifi are available in hotel etc.

Sim Cards: Can be bought at special stores. Top ups are widely available. These may or may not be worth the hassle, depending on the length of your stay. I intend to reactivate mine.

Alcohol: is widely available in government-held Syria. NATO backed rebels murdered an 85 year old Christian in Idlib for selling booze. Syria is not the place to get sloshed.

Cigarettes: Syrians smoke much too much. The government’s plans to curb this revolting practice was put on ice as a result of the rebel invasion. The ability of ISIS to prohibit smoking leads one to ask how they could implement that very non Arab rule. Arabs have a big problem with smoking.

Shaking Hands: is another national addiction, large numbers of Muslim women excepted.In government-held Syria, religion hangs loosely on their shoulders and should just be respected on a mutual, non-aggressive basis.

Main Itinerary (16-19 March)

1. St Patrick: Present shamrock, children’s peace march. These simple, low-cost acts are a step in returning Syria to normality.The Shamrock has been bought in Ireland and will be distributed the the great and good of governnment-held Syria as a gesture and hope for peace.

2. Medical/Boxing/Artistic Fact-Finding/Ambassadors: These simple, low-cost acts are both an important step in returning Syria to normality and to getting the true picture of government-held Syria out. The March 2017 trip has a heavy emphasis on the artistic, which is great in catharsis.

3. Pilgrimages/Sunni, Shia, Christian Shrines: As Damascus and environs are home to many important shrines, visits to these places will be accommodated and some journalists are concentrating  on it. Again, the only problem here are the foreign rebels who want to physically exterminate minority groups and their cultural footprints in acts of genocide that, incredibly, go lauded in the West and unpunished in the countries supporting them. The Shia shrines, in particular, are necessarily under very heavy guard as a result of this genocide campaign.

Main Itinerary Objectives: The main objectives include helping to rebuild Syrian civil society in the face of the onslaughts it faces, allowing Syrians rather than self-serving foreigners tell their stories in the most efficacious ways possible and to bring much needed practical help to the people of Syria as possible.

Why St Patrick

Equal to the Apostles: Patrick of Ireland along with Mary Magdalene of Palestine, Thekla of Syria, Helena of Constantinople, Cyril, Boris I of Bulgaria, Olga of Kiev, Vladimir the Great and Stephen I of Hungary is one of those saints regarded as being equal to the Apostles. He is widely revered in both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions.

Why a St Patrick’s Day March in Syria: The USA and Australian traditions of marches on St Patrick’s Day began as protest marches against discrimination and later evolved into self-respect celebrations; it was not, ab ovo, an Irish thing. Because their people are being silently slaughtered, Yemen and Syria fit the original bill admirably.

Why Present St Patrick’s Day Shamrock: Shamrock, Ireland’s national emblem, has long been regarded as a peace symbol. Where better than Syria (or Yemen?) to offer a peace symbol?

Our Twelve Steps to Syria’s Recovery

1. Presenting Irish-grown shamrock to Syria’s leaders at the same time POTUS Trump gets his clump. Most independent-minded Irish people would consider Syria’s leaders to be as worthy of receiving shamrock as other dignitaries such as POTUS Trump and the British Royal Family, who are also traditionally given big bowls of the stuff. As it seems POTUS Trump is particularly controversial this year, Syria is the place to be.

2.Syria’s Annual St Patrick’s Day March, complete with fife & drum bands, dancers and what not. A fun day for all Syrian families and more fun than even New York, Boston, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, Taipei and Dubai where marches are also held. Syrians deserve this normality. This has been arranged and from little acorns..

3. Medics for Peace: An international group of medics/surgeons give their expertise gratis to those Syrian civilians who need it. This is important as it is eminently practical and it shows the results our criminal sanctions have on Syria’s most vulnerable, a war crime that is not tempered by our governments and their chosen agencies ferrying dual use aid to the Muslim Brotherhood and other murder gangs.

4. Artists for Peace:Professional artists experienced in conflict zones give remedial help to Syria’s children, who will need such help all their lives. This is part of our efforts to combat the cultural genocide the rebels are committing in Syria which is not only a war crime in its own right but it also a means to emasculate and enslave its Yezidi, Druze, Armenian, Christian and other targets.

5. Boxers for Peace: We’ve assembled the appropriate conduits to replicate the joy Australia’s Fr Dave Smith and his colourful Ocker mates brought to Yarmouk, Damascus, Palmyra and Latakia with a few pairs of boxing gloves and a few skipping ropes. The war against Syria has deliberately deprived its children of any semblance of joy and there is a huge thirst amongst Syria’s children, orphans and their guardians for anything with even a whiff of normality.

6. Swiss Atheists for Peace: Swiss atheists who’ve already delivered tonnes of aid to Catholic nuns in Syria join us for Paddy’s Day in Syria. The challenge here is to coordinate and scale up efforts not only in Switzerland but globally.

7. Secular Syrian Women for Peace: We will bring secular women to Ireland to bear witness to the huge burden Syria’s women & children bear as a result of NATO’s genocide campaign. That is one of a number of separate but related moves.

9. Russians for Peace: Because Russia underwrites Syria’s peace process, we work through and with them not only in arranging charity boxing exhibitions, but also in all logistics. The efforts of Russian civil society need to be further publicised, helped and harnessed.

10. Iranians for Peace: I return to Tehran in February with outstretched paw for Syrians of all religions and none. The help Iranian civil society has given Syria puts the West to shame.

11. Children for Peace; We have a number of schools now ready to adopt Syrian schools on a school to school and children to children basis. Children’s pennies defying Empire. This can and will be scaled upwards.

12. Academics for Peace: We have organised seminars with academic support from four different countries and counting on Atrocity Studies on the days around St Patrick’s Day, both at established institutions like Damascus University and newer ones our Syrian partners are establishing in Syria. Again, this is very important to allow the truth about Syria, Yemen and Nigeria emerge.

No British Visas for Christians

Even though they were to attend events with Prince Charles that HM The Queen and Teresa May, the Prime Minister, sent letters of congratulation to, three Syriac archbishops form Iraq and Syria were denied British visas in late November 2016. This report reads:

London, England, Dec 8, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- U.K. officials drew strong criticism for denying visas to Middle East bishops from regions that have suffered Islamic State group persecution, preventing them from attending a cathedral consecration.

“These are men who have pressing pastoral responsibilities as Christian areas held by ISIS are liberated,” said Archbishop Athanasius Toma of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the U.K. “That is why we cannot understand why Britain is treating Christians in this way?”

Syriac Orthodox leaders Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf of Mosul and Archbishop Timothius Mousa Shamani of St. Mathew’s in northern Iraq were denied visas, the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Express reports. Similarly, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs and Hama was also denied a visa. British embassy officials said they would not waive the blanket policy against visas for Syrian citizens.

The archbishops had hoped to visit for the Nov. 24 consecration of St. Thomas Cathedral in London, the first Syriac Orthodox cathedral in the country. Both Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May had sent personal messages of congratulations, while Prince Charles of Wales addressed the congregation in person.

Each of the three bishops come from regions that have been under the control of the Islamic State group. The group has executed Christians, forced them to pay an extortionate tax and accept second-class status. The extremist group destroyed churches or converted them into mosques, including the Mosul archbishop’s former cathedral.

Martin Parsons, head of research at the U.K.-based Christian aid agency the Barnabas Fund, was among the critics of British officials. “It’s unbelievable that these persecuted Christians who come from the cradle of Christianity are being told there is no room at the inn, when the U.K. is offering a welcome to Islamists who persecute Christians,” he charged.

A Home Office spokesperson said that all visa applications are considered on individual merits and applicants must prove they meet immigration rules requirements. The Barnabas Fund criticized the decisions at length in an Oct. 2 editorial at its website. It said the concerns about the two Iraqi bishops are “at best spurious.”

The fund rejected claims that the bishops did not have enough money to support themselves in the U.K. and might not leave the country. “Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to current world news reports would know that both men have pressing pastoral responsibilities as previously Christian areas held by ISIS are liberated,” the Barnabas Fund said. “The refusal to grant a few days’ U.K. visa to these very senior church leaders is symptomatic of a deeper problem in the U.K. Home Office,” it continued.

“In fact they are not the first persecuted Christian leaders to be refused visas for pastoral visits to the U.K., nor is this problem confined to Orthodox Christians.” The organization also noted the denial of a visa to the Iraqi evangelical pastor Majeed Rashid Kurdi, who was to participate in a Barnabas Fund speaking tour in the U.K.

The Barnabas Fund has previously objected to U.K. Home Office guidance stating that senior members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood should be presumed to be granted asylum, despite the group’s alleged incitement of violence against Egyptian Christians. The group also questioned why visas had been granted to two Pakistani Islamic leaders who, according to the Barnabas Fund, backed their country’s strict anti-blasphemy law and called for the immediate killings of Christians who have been accused of blasphemy, including Asia Bibi. The two leaders visited tour U.K. mosques in July.

“(T)here is clearly a serious systemic problem when Islamist leaders who advocate persecution of Christians are given the green light telling them that their applications for U.K. visas will be looked on favorably, while visas for short pastoral visits to the U.K. are denied to senior Christian leaders, such as the Archbishop of Mosul, whose congregations are facing genocide,” the Barnabas Fund said.

The organization called on Home Office ministers to remedy the situation. The Barnabas Fund has helped more than 8,000 Christians escape persecution from the Islamic State group.

Ali Selim: O/C Qaradawi Mosque

Ali Selim, who fronts up the Qaradawi Clonskeagh Mosque with Halawa, has appeared on the Late Late Show with the late suicide bomber Terry Khalid Kelly. He and Kelly have led baying mobs to the Belgian Embassy.

Ali Selim’s rants illustrate where his priorities and convictions lie. He and suicide bomber Kelly attacked the Belgian Embassy protesting the burqa ban  with Gorey native Liam ‘Mujaahid’ Egan who in the past year has infamously congratulated the Saudi government for executing a TV psychic for the crime of practising “witchcraft”, condoned the killing of homosexuals and stoning of women, as well as the enslavement of women and children in wars.  Jihadist Khalid Kelly  said in an interview at the demonstration that any Muslim with the opportunity to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, is obliged to do so “In Islamic jurisprudence, if anyone is capable they have an obligation to kill this man. There were people arrested in Ireland for conspiring to kill this man; they were arrested for conspiring to fulfil their duty in Islam.” This is the same Khalid Kelly who declared Ireland a legitimate target because of the presence of an American embassy and who after the 7/7 London tube bombings said that anyone who voted for Tony Blair deserved to be killed. How can RTE regard Ali Selim, the Secretary General of the Irish Council of Imam and the spokesman of the largest mosque and cultural (sic) centre in the country as a legitimate voice when he associates with suicide bombers who incite mass murder?

At the center of this effort to hijack Ireland’s traditional tolerance stand the extremists of the Clonskeagh Mosque aka The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, which Wikileaks’ leaked US cable and all informed writers say, have embedded ties to the most extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood murder gang. The mosque or “cultural center”, which gets massive subsidies from the opaque Dubai-based Al Maktoum foundation and sources linked to other totalitarian Gulf states, regularly hosts such “scholars” as Saudi cleric Salman al Awda, who calls for the total extermination of all Americans, and Egyptian demagogue Wagdy Ghoneim, whose views likewise make him an international pariah in places where the writ of the Muslim Brotherhood does not run as deeply as it does in
Ireland or Turkey.
In response to some weak media probing, Egyptian blow-in Ali Selim, the main spokesperson for the Clonskeagh mob, defended inviting Salman Al Awda and Wajdy Ghunaim to be the keynote speakers for their weekend ICCI conference entitled “Our Children, Hopes and Realities”. The decision to invite Al Awda, Osama bin Laden’s
former mentor, and Ghunaim, a Muslim Brotherhood fanatic, who is banned from Canada, Switzerland and a large number of other countries, prompted Imam Ali Al Saleh, the head of Ireland’s Muslim Shia community and Selim’s fellow member in the Irish Council of Imams, to publicly condemn it. It beggars belief not only that these
extremist criminals were invited by the ICCI to Ireland but that they were the featured guests on a conference on the future of Muslim children in Ireland no less. The audacity of this Selim character to defend the invitation of Al Awda, the man who personally honed and mentored Bin Laden, the most infamous terrorist mass murderer of
our time, and Ghunaim, a violence-obsessed Islamist preacher, who has singled out those who slaughter Jews in suicide bombings for special praise, should be of concern to the Irish security services. Yet, these are the people the Muslim Brotherhood fellow travelers in Clonskeagh adulate, when they are not trying to impose their
writ on Ireland.
Between them, the Al Maktoum foundation and the Muslim Brotherhood have copper fastened control of Ireland’s imported Sunni Muslims from the top down, according to the dictates of the totalitarian world view of the Muslim Brotherhood. The “cultural center’s” head religious figure is Hussein Halawa, another Egyptian blow-in, who has lived in Ireland for decades but who still cannot speak either English or Irish. Halawa reports directly to Yusuf al-Qaradawi through The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) which al Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s guru, controls. Qatari-based Qaradawi is not only the spiritual head of the Muslim
Brotherhood murder gang but he is also one of the world’s most demented and dangerous demagogues and jihadi-recruiting sergeants. Although the arch-bigot Qaradawi is now banned from Ireland, Halawa not only remains at large but his children, who were arrested on Muslim Brotherhood related terror charges in Egypt, have become a cause célèbre amongst Ireland’s media and large sections of Ireland’s political class, despite Halawa being a leading supporter of Qaradawi and his cut throats. Typical, for example, of the beliefs Qaradawi, Halawa’s boss, espouses is that Hitler went too easy on the Jews, that the world’s 100 million Shia, along with all apostates from Sunni Islam, must be exterminated and that the Islamic Caliphate should rule over us all. If Halawa was just an otherwise parasitical, functionally illiterate Egyptian blow-in and if female Irish “reverts” were not ending up in accident and emergency wards after “honor beatings”, some of this idiot’s utterances might be tolerable but the fact that his children felt compelled to rush to aid Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as they persecuted Copts and lynched Shias should be definite warning flags even if an alarmingly large number of Irish politicians and other useful idiots opportunistically support him.

Syrian Peace Delegation to Ireland: A Summary

Stated Objectives: Mission Accomplished

Send Fact-Finding Delegation to Syria: This objective has gained traction. Medics, academics, politicians, journalists and others from Ireland and beyond have stepped forward, in no small part due to this visit to Dublin.

Fact-Finding: Politicians and journalists alike should first assert the facts and remember the maxim that it is best to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought of as a fool, rather than open it and be shown to be a fool. As evidence continues to abound that almost all of the rebel propaganda is faked, it is disappointing that one Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Committee member who has passed a few exams does not seem to have any expertise in researching and assessing facts before regurgitating her hackneyed lines.

Send Humanitarian Aid: Appropriate partners have been approached in Ireland and beyond. GOAL, with its huge American subventions and its activities in rebel-controlled bases, is not one of those partners.

Overall Impact: Our recent delegation of Syrian peace makers had a major national and international positive impact. On the Irish front, because a large number of links have been established, the Irish will make an even bigger contribution to the Syrian peace process in the future.

We won the battle of the streets and we also had the numbers in the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) that the rebel cheerleaders and their Turkmen book club could not match. The same Committee had to endure a Trotskyist screed written by ex English language teachers with Turkmen connections; these parakeets were given Oireachtas time to marginalise us and to try to equate those nobodies with our delegation but they were largely ignored outside of Qaradawi circles. Though Trinity’s Press Office was harassed by their concerted phone campaign and they brought their thugs into Buswell’s bar to attack the delegations, their plans failed and they had to slink away like the pathetic bullies and thugs that they are.

The Future: We will get a big and professional crowd for St Patrick’s Day, March 17, where we will join Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, New York and Her Majesty the Queen in celebrating our national day and pushing forward the Syrian and Irish peace processes too. Hopefully, the other European countries we have targeted will emulate our peace initiatives.

Controversial Clerics: Controversial Dublin-based Qaradawi units, the Irish media and controversial and marginal politicians called the clerics who were part of the Syrian delegation to Ireland controversial. Yet, in the eyes of the British Home Office, most Syriac clerics are too controversial in the eyes of the Muslim Brotherhood Murder Gang to give them a visa – despite,as this informative article states, them having the overt support of Her Majesty, the Queen and HRH Prince Charles.

Murdered Clerics and Qaradawi Clerics: As several prominent Syriac clerics have been murdered and as the Syriacs have been subjected to a number of genocides over the years, it is important we distance ourselves from Dublin’s Qaradawi fanatics. There can be no room in Ireland for the Qaradawi clerics, Muhaisini Cultural (sic) Centres and the murder campaigns they promote. We stand with the Royal Family on that one both here and in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Ali Selim: an Arab teacher of the far-famed Clonskeagh Mosque should be made clarify his position and why he and suicide bomber Khalid Kelly led a mob outside the Belgian Embassy, and why he feels entitled to opine on who is and who is not invited into Ireland.

Hussein Halawa: Is the O/C of the far-famed Clonskeagh Mosque. Given that his son is held on remand for serious terrorist offences in Egypt and that his daughters jumped bail there, one would imagine he would restrain his more volatile units from threatening Dublin’s non Qaradawi mosque with violence. All of this, complete with names, ranks and serial numbers, has been reported to the relevant authorities.

Irish Support for Bahrain, Yemen, East Saudi Arabia, Subjugated Syria: Though we hope to begin lobbying against Irish collusion with Saudi supremacism, homophobia and rampant misogyny in the new year, the focus remains on extricating Syria from its Qaradawi made hell.

Madeleine Albright Urges a Final Solution in Syria: As the Turks, Turkmen and Saudis collapse in Eastern Aleppo, Madeleine Albright,. who boasted of killing 500,000 Iraqi children, is urging all out war on Russia in Syria. It is sad we have similar women in Ireland.

Joint Foreign Affairs Committee of the Irish Oireachtas (Irish Parliament): Can take pride in facilitating this visit and the Syrian peace process it serves. Due in no small part to this visit, real and direct negotiations have begun with Syria’s President, Dr Bashar alAssad, which will bear tangible fruit in Syria on St Patrick’s Day, March 17th 2017. I will be spending the next three months working in Europe and beyond on those projects, which would not have been possible without their invitation.

Brendan Smith Chair. Being a TD of long-standing for Cavan-Monaghan and, just as importantly, having long worked as an advisor to former All Ireland Gaelic football winner, the late Cavan Monaghan TD, John Wilson, Deputy Smith, more than most, is aware of how delicate and fragile peace processes are and how those with dogmatic and uninformed viewpoints can damage and even destroy it.

Syrian Delegation to Ireland

Committee Chairs: The position, like that of Deputy Pat Breen, Deputy Smith’s predecessor, is difficult because time is short, novice politicians can be dogmatic and Israelis, Russians but especially Syrians have different norms and codes of behaviour than Irish politicians, some of whom fail to recognise that.

Israeli Ambassador: When Israeli Ambassador H.E. Boaz Modai, and Deputy Ambassador Nurit Modai, appeared before the Committee, it is fair to say they got a very rough but respectful ride and that Deputy Pat Breen very competently chaired the meeting. However, although almost all, if not all of those who spoke, excoriated Israel, I cannot see what tangible benefit the Palestinians got from those hot encounters. I would respectfully suggest that, in the future, Committee members might focus on tangible deliverables.

Russian Ambassador: When HE Maxim Peshkov, the Russian Ambassador, appeared before the Committee to outline Russia’s humanitarian roles in Ukraine, Syria and the Russian province of Crimea, he too came in for much criticism, much of which was shown to be without any basis. Although Deputy Seán Crowe who, I believe to be recovering from a serious illness, acquitted himself with aplomb, Senator Ivana Bacik’s intemperate outbursts and obsession with Presidents Putin and Assad strongly indicate she should spend a long period of time in self-reflection and on what her precise contribution is to Irish public discourse.

Syrian Delegation: The first thing to note about the Syrian delegation is they are sons of Syria. They have all sacrificed very much for their homeland and their people and, for good and for bad, they are imbued with its ways. Though it is very disappointing that Senator Bacik in particular did not display the least appreciation of that cultural diversity, the Syrians must also reflect on their own tactical short comings, in particular, their inability to be concise and succinct in English which, to most of the delegation is a second and, sometimes a fifth, sixth or even seventh language.

His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Aphraim: Proved to us how fortunate the Syriac Church are to have him as the most worthy 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and how fortunate the Syriac Orthodox faithful, the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church and the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church are to have him as their spiritual leader. In the few minutes he spoke, His Holiness, who met HRH Prince Charles only a few days earlier in London, touched on a variety of subjects, ranging from Gaelic football at the lighter and more local end of things, to the awful and largely unsung genocidal atrocities his people have suffered and continue to suffer. That Senator Bacik, with her autistic-like obsession with Presidents Putin and Assad, could not even acknowledge that puts her own “contribution” in context. I had the great pleasure to meet and observe His Holiness and Fr Joseph Bali, his assistant (and the Grand Mufti’s impromptu interpreter) at a Syriac Youth Conference in Saydnaya and I look forward to again meeting them on St Patrick’s Day in Damascus and the Qalamoun Hills.

His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregory 111 Laham: Is the greatest man I have ever met. This is despite the few quiet words I had with Patriarch Aphraim who is a truly remarkable man and proves Julia Boutros’ adage that “Because of you we will change the universe, and destiny will obey.” Though Patriarch Laham will be 84 on December 15 and despite the huge demands his travels put on his health, he still travels the world, working for peace. Dr Bashir Mohammad referred to Syria’s three religious leaders as angels of peace. Patriarch Laham is certainly one of them.

His Grace, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria: Although Syria’s Grand Mufti was unfairly calumniated inside the Irish Parliament by one stray politician and threatened outside it by forces we come to later, one must appreciate his position if the peace process is to proceed. Mufti Hassoun, like literally million of his compatriots, is besieged by sanctions in their homeland, unable to travel and, along with other victims of violence in Yemen, Nigeria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria muzzled by the Western media, which has its own many issues. All that being so, when, thanks to the bravery and integrity of organisations like the Irish Parliament, they do get the chance to travel, they sometimes talk when they should listen.

Suicide Bomb Threat: As the Syrian Arab Army have yet to deploy even one single suicide bomber in Syria let alone outside its borders, one can see that the claim he threatened to unleash suicide bombers on the West is as stupid and hollow as the people who make them.

Drs Ahmad Khaddour and Bashir Mohamad: These two medics were essential to give the delegation a secular grounding and to stress that EU sanctions murder more Syrians than do ISIS or any other combatants. That Ivana Bacik and, by all accounts, Irish radio, would rant against Presidents Assad and Putin and not once even acknowledge the genocidal nature of our sanctions means, in my book, those people have a case to answer. Regarding these two individuals and their very many colleagues, the following must be said: not in their worst nightmares could they or any of their colleagues have imagined the hell the Qaradawi Muslims and their sponsors visited upon them; as highly qualified personnel in an apolitical profession, their expertise and that of their colleagues is essential to save Syria; as well-meaning Syrians, they and all like them have had to adapt and do more menial jobs gratis that surgeons and cardiologists would not normally do and they performed many such tasks in Ireland. Others should respect and emulate that.

Mr Brendan Smith, TD. Chaired proceedings as best Syrian norms and one intemperate Committee member allowed him to.

Mr Noel Grealish, TD: was the surprise star of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He knew several of the delegation from past encounters, he spoke knowledgeably about the Crisis and, instead of hogging the meeting, met the delegation for a coffee and chat afterwards in a nearby hotel

Mr Aengus Ó Snodaigh, TD: also performed very well and, like Deputy Grealish, seemed to respectfully under-play his knowledge in the interests of brevity and harmony; Mr Ó Snodaigh had previously been to Syria as part of his Palestinian advocacy.

Fine Gael members: Because the Syrians spoke for too long, the chair did not have a chance to solicit their comments. That was unfortunate as Fine Gael have much to offer the Syrian peace process.

Ivana Bacik: is new on this committee and, unless she does some serious soul-searching, some research and even some anger management and diversity training courses, she should, in my opinion, reflect very deeply on her position in the Senate, in Trinity College and in the Labour Party, which has suffered, some say irredeemably, by shenanigans such as those she displayed in front of the Russian Ambassador and the Syrian delegation. Though Ms Bacik is a barrister and as Reid Professor of Law (which is a junior lectureship, obtained by passing an internal Trinity exam), Ms Bacik’s antics give rise to more questions than answers. Surely, if she has won a Trinity teaching award, she should learn to speak clearly and slowly to those, like the Russians and Syrians, for whom English is a very foreign language and not go ignoring the chair and shoot off questions without any safety catch between her brain and her mouth. As a barrister, she should know that her accusations, such as those she made against the leaders of Russia and Syria, should be based on evidence, not on uninformed screeds published by biased and discredited and uninformed outlets. The very fact that she wasted the Committee’s time by throwing the same stale accusations to the Syrian delegation that she threw at the Russian Ambassador also indicates a kind of autistic pathology amongst those who support the Islamic and other invasion forces in Syria. Although in fairness to Ms Bacik, it can be stated that her qualifications are not research-based and are therefore inferior, from her overall performances and manner, she seems to be part of the problem, not the solution.

Gardai (Irish Police), Irish Army, Retired Irish Army Officers: The performance of the Irish Gardai and other security forces was excellent and helped everything go smoothly. Not only were they very professional but the ordinary Gardai and retired Irish soldiers I spoke to over the course of the visit were well-informed and more inquisitive than some others. The rank and file Gardai, as much for personal as for professional reasons, were interested in getting their heads around the Syrian problem. The retired soldiers had served on the Golan and were in the recent firefight between the soldiers of Ireland, Philippines and Syria on the one hand and the moderate rebels the self-styled Syrian Solidarity Campaign (sic) support on the other.

Trinity College: were exemplary in all this and withstood the intimidation campaign launched against them.