• Inside the anti-Syria lobby’s Capitol Hill push for more starvation sanctions
    Hekmat AboukhaterMarch 20, 2024

    A week from the 13th anniversary of the US-backed Syrian dirty war, the American Coalition for Syria held its annual day of advocacy in Washington DC. I went undercover into meetings with Senate policy advisors and witnessed the lobby’s cynical campaign to starve Syria into submission.

    On the morning of March 7, as the US Capitol teemed with lobbyists securing earmarks ahead of appropriations week and activists decrying the Gaza genocide, one special interest group on the Hill stood out. In the corridors of the Rayburn building, a group of roughly 50 people prepared for a busy day of advocating for sanctions to be levied against their homeland.

    They were the Anti-Syria lobby — and had I infiltrated their influence campaign.

    Throughout the day, I watched as this group pushed US officials to accept their policy of starvation sanctions while cynically ignoring famished Palestinians in Gaza.

    Among the lobbyists was Raed Saleh, the head of the Syrian White Helmets, who were to propagandize for regime change from behind humanitarian cover.

    I attended a total of seven meetings with policy teams representing Senators Sherrod Brown, Maggie Hassan, Ben Cardin, Mark Kelly, Chris Van Hollen, John Fetterman, and Rick Scott. Throughout these sessions, I witnessed the anti-Syria Lobby attempt to bully and manipulate US officials into accepting their policy of starvation while cynically throwing starving Palestinians in Gaza under the bus.

    At one moment, Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian White Helmets, which was founded by British intelligence, and funded by NATO states, painted Israeli air strikes against Syria in a positive light.

    During a separate meeting, Wa’el Alzayat of the pro-Zionist Muslim outreach Emgage even demanded Senator Chris Van Hollen’s office support the approval of aid for Al Qaeda-linked militias in Syria.

    “Stop freaking out about the stuff going to terrorists,” he insisted, adding that “the Brits are doing it, the Turks are doing it, [and] the Qataris are doing it.”

    Purporting to be a voice for all Syrians, the anti-Syria lobby is spearheaded by the American Coalition for Syria (ACS), an umbrella organization representing opposition groups such as the Syrian American Council (SAC), the Syrian Forum, and a handful of others located in the US and Turkey.

    Emgage, meanwhile, has been credited with getting the diaspora vote out for then-candidate Joe Biden in November 2020. The group has since fallen under criticism for acting as a de facto extension of the Biden White House and Democratic Party within the Muslim community. Emgage board member Farooq Mitha formally went to work for the Biden Pentagon in March 2021. On March 7, Alzayat aimed to weaponize Emgage’s influence against Democratic Senators who seemed uncomfortable with an escalating sanctions policy.

    “I need a good story for my voters,” he explained to Senator Van Hollen’s team.

    Throughout their sanctions campaign on the Hill, Alzayat and his cohorts operated like a miniature version of their Israel lobby allies, supplying roughly 50 volunteers with folders outlining talking points and the biographies of congressional representatives. The bios included a comprehensive list of the Senator or Representative’s recorded stance on Syria, such as their votes on the extension of the AUMF, the US military withdrawal from Syria, and previous sanctions packages targeting the country.



    The handouts also laid out the lobby’s key legislative requests, which largely focused on securing development aid for militia-controlled territory in Syria — including that held by Al Qaeda’s local ally in the country — and ensuring passage of the ‘Assad Regime Anti Normalization Bill,’ which seeks to extend and expand sanctions targeting Damascus.

    The Anti-Syria Lobby’s resemblance to their Israeli counterparts was no mistake. As Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s chief of staff reassured us, “the Israelis want you guys in charge.”


    Syrian Civil War map|Syrian Civil War map (November 24, 2023) via Wikimedia Commons. Edited by author
    More Starvation Sanctions

    Ever since the US included Syria on its inaugural State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) list over Damascus’ support for the Palestinian resistance in 1979, Washington has gradually ratcheted up its financial war on the Syrian people. When decades of covert hybrid war erupted into an all-out proxy battle for the country’s territory—and survival—in 2011, the Anti-Syria Lobby officially began to take shape in Washington.


    Syria is the unrivaled champion of the SST having never been delisted since the list’s inception in 1979.
    In 2019, as Syria’s government emerged victorious from a multi-year battle with foreign-backed militias, Washington decided that while Damascus may have won the war, it would not win the peace. That January, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, a recipient of $1.8 million in AIPAC donations, introduced a sanctions package known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. Trump signed the bill as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020.


    The US has a 45-year long tradition of sanctioning and isolating Syria economically in response to the country’s support of Palestinian resistance
    The bill was unprecedented in both the way that it sanctioned broad sectors of the Syrian economy rather than only specific individuals, and in its deployment of so-called “secondary sanctions.” Secondary sanctions are imposed on parties that do business with a sanctioned entity even if those exchanges occur outside of the sanctioning entity’s jurisdiction.

    Syria’s economy has been in free fall ever since the Caesar sanctions came into effect. Today, over 12 million Syrians representing more than half of the total population face food insecurity — a 51% increase from 2019. Meanwhile, 90 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. In 2019, the US dollar exchanged for 500 Syrian Pounds. Today, that number is more like 14,100— figures that represent a 2,720 percent devaluation.


    The Syrian currency has devalued by 35,150% since the initial exchange rate of 40 SYP to 1 USD early 2011
    Though H.R. 3202 appears to be focused on addressing UN aid divergence, and sanctioning previously unsanctioned entities like Asma Al Assad’s Syria Trust for Development and the Syrian Red Crescent, the real agenda of the bill is found deep within its 22-page text.

    With the Caesar Sanctions set to expire by the end of 2024, H.R. 3202 seeks to quietly extend the aggressive financial measures until 2032.


    The new bill’s main aim, which received very little attention, is the extension of the Caesar Act for 8 more years.
    Having passed the House with overwhelming enthusiasm, H.R. 3202’s sister bill in the Senate can only pass with Democratic support. It was introduced by Israeli lobby-funded Republican Idaho Sen. James Risch last September and has since been co-sponsored by arch-neoconservative Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

    Because S. 2935 can only pass with Democratic sponsorship, the Anti-Syria Lobby chose Sen. Ben Cardin, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and sponsor of the anti-Russia Magnitsky Act, as a crucial target for influence.

    After meeting with Sherrod Brown’s office, Cardin’s Research and Legislative Assistant, Christopher Barr, hosted us in the Senator’s office. There, Raed Saleh of the White Helmets complained to Barr that USAID had slashed funding for his organization from $12 million to $3 million in recent years.

    Next, it was time to discuss the true purpose of our visit: the passage of S. 2935.

    Barr appeared uneasy from the outset and even expressed displeasure about the bill, complaining, “What passed the House was kind of a lot… the list of targets is vast.”

    “Syria has already been so heavily sanctioned,” he added.

    In response, Ghanem revealed a critical piece of information about the forces driving the dirty war on Syria, explaining that the impetus to expand and extend Caesar did not come from the Anti-Syria Lobby itself, but someone on Capitol Hill. Ghanem explained that the Hill source actually contacted the American Coalition for Syria to alert them to the fact that Caesar was set to expire, lamenting the fact that its sunset would amount to a loss of “US leverage over the Syrian regime.”

    This line echoed the disturbing language of officials representing both the Biden and Trump administration alike. In 2019, neoconservative operative Dana Stroul declared that thanks to Caesar, Washington “holds a card on preventing reconstruction aid and technical expertise from going back,” to Syria. She lauded the fact that the U.S. could weaponize that “leverage” to keep Syria in “rubble.” Two years later, she would take up post as Deputy Secretary of Defense for the Middle East under Biden.


    Similarly, during an event at the neoconservative think tank, WINEP, the following year, the Special Envoy for Syria under Trump, Joel Rayburn, boasted that Caesar “lowers the bar” for evidence-based sanctions and allows for the broad targeting of any and all reconstruction projects in Syria.


    “We don’t have to prove, for example, that a company that’s going in to do a reconstruction project in the Damascus region is dealing directly with the Assad regime,” Rayburn explained.

    “We don’t have to have the evidence to prove that link,” he continued. “We just have to have the evidence that proves that a company or an individual is investing in […] the construction sector, the engineering sector, most of the aviation sector, the finance sector, energy sector, and so on.”

    These public confessions did not stop the Anti-Syria Lobby from lying to the faces of congressional staffers throughout their March 7 campaign. During a meeting with Sen. Mark Kelly’s office, Ghanem falsely stated that the Caesar Sanctions were “targeted,” “not sectoral,” and “not [an] embargo, nothing punishing to civilians.”

    Yet Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on Sanctions who visited Syria to document the effects of Washington’s unilateral sanctions regime on Syria, disagrees. In her 19-page report she clearly states that the sanctions are both illegal and inhumane in the way they affect the average Syrian.

    Stabilization for me but not for thee

    The second legislative ask came in the form of a well rehearsed speech by Ghanem, Zayat, and others, outlining what US tax dollars do and don’t fund in Syria. US aid packages are typically divided into two categories: “humanitarian funding” earmarked for goods such as food, water, and basic medical supplies or “stabilization” funding designed to secure a country as it transitions out of a period of turmoil. Unlike humanitarian assistance, stabilization funding may be used to support major investment and infrastructure projects such as roads, schools, healthcare facilities, and government services.

    The US is the primary funder of humanitarian aid in both North East (NE) and NW Syria. However, while the US spends abundantly on stabilization needs in NE Syria, it spends $0 on the NW. That is because while Washington has long dreamed of establishing a secessionist Kurdish state in Syria’s Northeast, it neglected to send stabilization funds to the Northwest in order to avoid providing direct support to HTS, the Al Qaeda offshoot that governs the territory. The Anti-Syria Lobby was in Washington to change that.

    Leading the push for US funds to Al Qaeda-affiliated elements in Northwest Syria was Wa’el Alzayat, a Syrian expat who proudly served in Iraq’s Green Zone under George Bush’s State Department and more recently published a shocking Washington Post oped begging US officials not to “lift sanctions to help Syria earthquake victims.” In the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Alzayat voiced his frustration with US hesitation in the Northwest.

    “Stop freaking out about the stuff going to terrorists,” he demanded, adding that “the Brits are doing it, the Turks are doing it, the Qataris are doing it.”




    We’re missing out on a golden opportunity here to stabilize the region and leverage it for a political settlement,” he pleaded. In other words, Alzayat was openly lobbying US officials to strengthen Al Qaeda’s position in Syria in order to leverage the terrorist group against the country’s government.

    Alzayat then weaponized his six-figure salary as head of Emgage to bully Van Hollen’s office into bowing before the anti-Syria Lobby, falsely claiming that his AIPAC-linked organization was “behind” the “Uncommitted” vote campaigns that damaged Biden’s primary performance in Michigan and Minnesota.




    Towards the end of the meeting, the regime change lobbyist cynically invoked Israel’s slaughter of 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza to make the case for Al Qaeda in Syria one last time.

    He argued that although “his community” is up in arms about the Biden administration’s funding and arming of the Gaza genocide, they would gladly flock back to the Democratic Party if the US funded roads and schools in Al Qaeda-controlled Idlib.

    “I need a good story for my voters,” Alzayat explained, noting the Muslim community’s disapproval of the Biden Administration’s policy in Gaza and Yemen.

    “You’re upset about all these disappointments,” he continued, play-acting a scenario in which he convinced a Muslim constituent to vote for Biden, again. “Guess what? They’re pumping 50 million into the school sector in the North [of Syria]!”




    Overtures Towards Israel

    The Israel-Palestine crisis loomed large throughout the ACS lobbying trip. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s secretary happened to be a hijabi Muslim woman sporting a pendant outlining the map of Palestine around her neck. As she greeted us, Farouk Belal, the head of the Syrian American Council, grumbled to Ghanem and me: “I hope she’s not with the resistance.”

    When I asked him to clarify what he meant as we exited the office, he explained that people aligned with the Palestinian cause in Washington “don’t like us.”

    Meanwhile, in Sen. Cardin’s office, Raed Salah of the White Helmets painted Israeli strikes on Syria which have crippled Syrian infrastructure, regularly damaged the country’s International civilian airports, and killed hundreds of Syrian Soldiers and civilians alike in a positive light:

    “The situation in Syria is very complicated. Every day we hear of Israeli strikes on the dens, or the bases of the IRGC and its militias. Even we as Syrians did not know the extent to which the Iranians were entrenched in the country…”




    For Saleh, the Israeli strikes do nothing but highlight the presence of the Syrian government-invited Iranian military presence in Syria.

    Later that day, Ghanem attempted to capitalize on Sen. Fetterman’s fanatical pro-Israel antics by describing recent developments in Syria to a 20-something staffer. Referring to the Syrian government’s successful campaign to retake southern territory, he explained that the South is “where they lob missiles on Israel, by the way.” The aide dutifully transcribed this seemingly random piece of information in her notepad. Towards the end of the meeting, Fetterman was discussed as a potential Democratic sponsor of S. 2935 in the Senate.

    In Senator Rick Scott’s office, a Cuban American Government Relations Associate for ACS, Alberto Hernandez, accidentally said the quiet part out loud. When Senator Scott’s ultra-Zionist National Security Advisor, Paul Bonicelli, asked if our group had connected with our “counterparts” in the Israeli lobby so that they could “vet” our proposals — revealing that Scott has apparently outsourced his brain to Zionists — Hernandez remarked: “Formally? No. Informally.”

    He then turned to the rest of the ACS team in the meeting room and said: “You didn’t hear me say that.”

    That admission prompted Bonicelli to suggest that ACS directly coordinate with groups such as the Aramaic Church in Israel, which has supported regime change efforts in Damascus despite overwhelming Christian support of the government within Syria itself.

    As the meeting wound to a close, Bonicelli informed us that he agreed with ACS on the necessity to oppose Iran and Russia.

    “If Obama had done the right thing in 2012, we wouldn’t be here,” he lamented, adding: “the Israelis want you guys in charge.”


    At one point during the meeting in Rick Scott’s Office, Alberto Hernandez, and Sarah Salas, a Cuban American legislative aide, expressed full agreement with US use of unilateral sanctions as means to “push” governments that “we don’t like.”
    Starving Syrians Without A Mandate

    Though several ACS volunteers shared painful personal encounters with the Syrian government throughout the day, many were simply too far removed from Syria to truly represent the voice of Syrian people, especially the 12 million plus civilians currently living in Syrian government-controlled territory.

    One 24-year-old woman who did not speak Arabic and has not been to Syria since 2003 described the Syrian Army’s 2016 liberation of Aleppo from Al Qaeda-linked militants as “the fall of Aleppo.”

    Other Syrians like myself experienced the terror of the West’s proxy war in Syria firsthand. In 2012, my aunt and cousins watched in horror as the Turkish-backed Liwa’ Al Tawhid, an umbrella group of takfiri jihadist militias, arrived on their street in the Seryan El Jdideh neighborhood of Aleppo. The militants proceeded to execute a local pick-up truck driver and steal his vehicle, leaving his bleeding corpse on the street. Shahba, where my family lived up until 2015, was located just a stone’s throw away from these sectarian death squads during our final months there.

    The Syrian dirty war was bloody and gruesome, yet the picture that ACS paints is entirely one-sided. Unfortunately, while organizations like ACS have flocked to the Beltway swamp throughout the last 13 years, there are no Syrians present in Washington DC to counter them. While these groups claim to speak on behalf of the Syrian people, those of us who have lived and still live in areas controlled by Syrian government — regardless of our political affiliations—are rendered voiceless in the very center of power where our perspective should matter most. Even Syria’s embassy has been shuttered since 2014, while Syrian diplomats at the UN in New York are heavily monitored and restricted from traveling beyond the NYC metro area.

    As I witnessed on Capitol Hill, there are few obstacles to the anti-Syria lobby’s ruthless push to prevent the majority of Syrians from emerging from the ruins of war.

    https://thegrayzone.com/2024/03/20/anti-syria-lobbys-capitol-hill-sanctions/
    Inside the anti-Syria lobby’s Capitol Hill push for more starvation sanctions Hekmat AboukhaterMarch 20, 2024 A week from the 13th anniversary of the US-backed Syrian dirty war, the American Coalition for Syria held its annual day of advocacy in Washington DC. I went undercover into meetings with Senate policy advisors and witnessed the lobby’s cynical campaign to starve Syria into submission. On the morning of March 7, as the US Capitol teemed with lobbyists securing earmarks ahead of appropriations week and activists decrying the Gaza genocide, one special interest group on the Hill stood out. In the corridors of the Rayburn building, a group of roughly 50 people prepared for a busy day of advocating for sanctions to be levied against their homeland. They were the Anti-Syria lobby — and had I infiltrated their influence campaign. Throughout the day, I watched as this group pushed US officials to accept their policy of starvation sanctions while cynically ignoring famished Palestinians in Gaza. Among the lobbyists was Raed Saleh, the head of the Syrian White Helmets, who were to propagandize for regime change from behind humanitarian cover. I attended a total of seven meetings with policy teams representing Senators Sherrod Brown, Maggie Hassan, Ben Cardin, Mark Kelly, Chris Van Hollen, John Fetterman, and Rick Scott. Throughout these sessions, I witnessed the anti-Syria Lobby attempt to bully and manipulate US officials into accepting their policy of starvation while cynically throwing starving Palestinians in Gaza under the bus. At one moment, Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian White Helmets, which was founded by British intelligence, and funded by NATO states, painted Israeli air strikes against Syria in a positive light. During a separate meeting, Wa’el Alzayat of the pro-Zionist Muslim outreach Emgage even demanded Senator Chris Van Hollen’s office support the approval of aid for Al Qaeda-linked militias in Syria. “Stop freaking out about the stuff going to terrorists,” he insisted, adding that “the Brits are doing it, the Turks are doing it, [and] the Qataris are doing it.” Purporting to be a voice for all Syrians, the anti-Syria lobby is spearheaded by the American Coalition for Syria (ACS), an umbrella organization representing opposition groups such as the Syrian American Council (SAC), the Syrian Forum, and a handful of others located in the US and Turkey. Emgage, meanwhile, has been credited with getting the diaspora vote out for then-candidate Joe Biden in November 2020. The group has since fallen under criticism for acting as a de facto extension of the Biden White House and Democratic Party within the Muslim community. Emgage board member Farooq Mitha formally went to work for the Biden Pentagon in March 2021. On March 7, Alzayat aimed to weaponize Emgage’s influence against Democratic Senators who seemed uncomfortable with an escalating sanctions policy. “I need a good story for my voters,” he explained to Senator Van Hollen’s team. Throughout their sanctions campaign on the Hill, Alzayat and his cohorts operated like a miniature version of their Israel lobby allies, supplying roughly 50 volunteers with folders outlining talking points and the biographies of congressional representatives. The bios included a comprehensive list of the Senator or Representative’s recorded stance on Syria, such as their votes on the extension of the AUMF, the US military withdrawal from Syria, and previous sanctions packages targeting the country. The handouts also laid out the lobby’s key legislative requests, which largely focused on securing development aid for militia-controlled territory in Syria — including that held by Al Qaeda’s local ally in the country — and ensuring passage of the ‘Assad Regime Anti Normalization Bill,’ which seeks to extend and expand sanctions targeting Damascus. The Anti-Syria Lobby’s resemblance to their Israeli counterparts was no mistake. As Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s chief of staff reassured us, “the Israelis want you guys in charge.” Syrian Civil War map|Syrian Civil War map (November 24, 2023) via Wikimedia Commons. Edited by author More Starvation Sanctions Ever since the US included Syria on its inaugural State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) list over Damascus’ support for the Palestinian resistance in 1979, Washington has gradually ratcheted up its financial war on the Syrian people. When decades of covert hybrid war erupted into an all-out proxy battle for the country’s territory—and survival—in 2011, the Anti-Syria Lobby officially began to take shape in Washington. Syria is the unrivaled champion of the SST having never been delisted since the list’s inception in 1979. In 2019, as Syria’s government emerged victorious from a multi-year battle with foreign-backed militias, Washington decided that while Damascus may have won the war, it would not win the peace. That January, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, a recipient of $1.8 million in AIPAC donations, introduced a sanctions package known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. Trump signed the bill as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020. The US has a 45-year long tradition of sanctioning and isolating Syria economically in response to the country’s support of Palestinian resistance The bill was unprecedented in both the way that it sanctioned broad sectors of the Syrian economy rather than only specific individuals, and in its deployment of so-called “secondary sanctions.” Secondary sanctions are imposed on parties that do business with a sanctioned entity even if those exchanges occur outside of the sanctioning entity’s jurisdiction. Syria’s economy has been in free fall ever since the Caesar sanctions came into effect. Today, over 12 million Syrians representing more than half of the total population face food insecurity — a 51% increase from 2019. Meanwhile, 90 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. In 2019, the US dollar exchanged for 500 Syrian Pounds. Today, that number is more like 14,100— figures that represent a 2,720 percent devaluation. The Syrian currency has devalued by 35,150% since the initial exchange rate of 40 SYP to 1 USD early 2011 Though H.R. 3202 appears to be focused on addressing UN aid divergence, and sanctioning previously unsanctioned entities like Asma Al Assad’s Syria Trust for Development and the Syrian Red Crescent, the real agenda of the bill is found deep within its 22-page text. With the Caesar Sanctions set to expire by the end of 2024, H.R. 3202 seeks to quietly extend the aggressive financial measures until 2032. The new bill’s main aim, which received very little attention, is the extension of the Caesar Act for 8 more years. Having passed the House with overwhelming enthusiasm, H.R. 3202’s sister bill in the Senate can only pass with Democratic support. It was introduced by Israeli lobby-funded Republican Idaho Sen. James Risch last September and has since been co-sponsored by arch-neoconservative Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Because S. 2935 can only pass with Democratic sponsorship, the Anti-Syria Lobby chose Sen. Ben Cardin, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and sponsor of the anti-Russia Magnitsky Act, as a crucial target for influence. After meeting with Sherrod Brown’s office, Cardin’s Research and Legislative Assistant, Christopher Barr, hosted us in the Senator’s office. There, Raed Saleh of the White Helmets complained to Barr that USAID had slashed funding for his organization from $12 million to $3 million in recent years. Next, it was time to discuss the true purpose of our visit: the passage of S. 2935. Barr appeared uneasy from the outset and even expressed displeasure about the bill, complaining, “What passed the House was kind of a lot… the list of targets is vast.” “Syria has already been so heavily sanctioned,” he added. In response, Ghanem revealed a critical piece of information about the forces driving the dirty war on Syria, explaining that the impetus to expand and extend Caesar did not come from the Anti-Syria Lobby itself, but someone on Capitol Hill. Ghanem explained that the Hill source actually contacted the American Coalition for Syria to alert them to the fact that Caesar was set to expire, lamenting the fact that its sunset would amount to a loss of “US leverage over the Syrian regime.” This line echoed the disturbing language of officials representing both the Biden and Trump administration alike. In 2019, neoconservative operative Dana Stroul declared that thanks to Caesar, Washington “holds a card on preventing reconstruction aid and technical expertise from going back,” to Syria. She lauded the fact that the U.S. could weaponize that “leverage” to keep Syria in “rubble.” Two years later, she would take up post as Deputy Secretary of Defense for the Middle East under Biden. Similarly, during an event at the neoconservative think tank, WINEP, the following year, the Special Envoy for Syria under Trump, Joel Rayburn, boasted that Caesar “lowers the bar” for evidence-based sanctions and allows for the broad targeting of any and all reconstruction projects in Syria. “We don’t have to prove, for example, that a company that’s going in to do a reconstruction project in the Damascus region is dealing directly with the Assad regime,” Rayburn explained. “We don’t have to have the evidence to prove that link,” he continued. “We just have to have the evidence that proves that a company or an individual is investing in […] the construction sector, the engineering sector, most of the aviation sector, the finance sector, energy sector, and so on.” These public confessions did not stop the Anti-Syria Lobby from lying to the faces of congressional staffers throughout their March 7 campaign. During a meeting with Sen. Mark Kelly’s office, Ghanem falsely stated that the Caesar Sanctions were “targeted,” “not sectoral,” and “not [an] embargo, nothing punishing to civilians.” Yet Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on Sanctions who visited Syria to document the effects of Washington’s unilateral sanctions regime on Syria, disagrees. In her 19-page report she clearly states that the sanctions are both illegal and inhumane in the way they affect the average Syrian. Stabilization for me but not for thee The second legislative ask came in the form of a well rehearsed speech by Ghanem, Zayat, and others, outlining what US tax dollars do and don’t fund in Syria. US aid packages are typically divided into two categories: “humanitarian funding” earmarked for goods such as food, water, and basic medical supplies or “stabilization” funding designed to secure a country as it transitions out of a period of turmoil. Unlike humanitarian assistance, stabilization funding may be used to support major investment and infrastructure projects such as roads, schools, healthcare facilities, and government services. The US is the primary funder of humanitarian aid in both North East (NE) and NW Syria. However, while the US spends abundantly on stabilization needs in NE Syria, it spends $0 on the NW. That is because while Washington has long dreamed of establishing a secessionist Kurdish state in Syria’s Northeast, it neglected to send stabilization funds to the Northwest in order to avoid providing direct support to HTS, the Al Qaeda offshoot that governs the territory. The Anti-Syria Lobby was in Washington to change that. Leading the push for US funds to Al Qaeda-affiliated elements in Northwest Syria was Wa’el Alzayat, a Syrian expat who proudly served in Iraq’s Green Zone under George Bush’s State Department and more recently published a shocking Washington Post oped begging US officials not to “lift sanctions to help Syria earthquake victims.” In the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Alzayat voiced his frustration with US hesitation in the Northwest. “Stop freaking out about the stuff going to terrorists,” he demanded, adding that “the Brits are doing it, the Turks are doing it, the Qataris are doing it.” We’re missing out on a golden opportunity here to stabilize the region and leverage it for a political settlement,” he pleaded. In other words, Alzayat was openly lobbying US officials to strengthen Al Qaeda’s position in Syria in order to leverage the terrorist group against the country’s government. Alzayat then weaponized his six-figure salary as head of Emgage to bully Van Hollen’s office into bowing before the anti-Syria Lobby, falsely claiming that his AIPAC-linked organization was “behind” the “Uncommitted” vote campaigns that damaged Biden’s primary performance in Michigan and Minnesota. Towards the end of the meeting, the regime change lobbyist cynically invoked Israel’s slaughter of 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza to make the case for Al Qaeda in Syria one last time. He argued that although “his community” is up in arms about the Biden administration’s funding and arming of the Gaza genocide, they would gladly flock back to the Democratic Party if the US funded roads and schools in Al Qaeda-controlled Idlib. “I need a good story for my voters,” Alzayat explained, noting the Muslim community’s disapproval of the Biden Administration’s policy in Gaza and Yemen. “You’re upset about all these disappointments,” he continued, play-acting a scenario in which he convinced a Muslim constituent to vote for Biden, again. “Guess what? They’re pumping 50 million into the school sector in the North [of Syria]!” Overtures Towards Israel The Israel-Palestine crisis loomed large throughout the ACS lobbying trip. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s secretary happened to be a hijabi Muslim woman sporting a pendant outlining the map of Palestine around her neck. As she greeted us, Farouk Belal, the head of the Syrian American Council, grumbled to Ghanem and me: “I hope she’s not with the resistance.” When I asked him to clarify what he meant as we exited the office, he explained that people aligned with the Palestinian cause in Washington “don’t like us.” Meanwhile, in Sen. Cardin’s office, Raed Salah of the White Helmets painted Israeli strikes on Syria which have crippled Syrian infrastructure, regularly damaged the country’s International civilian airports, and killed hundreds of Syrian Soldiers and civilians alike in a positive light: “The situation in Syria is very complicated. Every day we hear of Israeli strikes on the dens, or the bases of the IRGC and its militias. Even we as Syrians did not know the extent to which the Iranians were entrenched in the country…” For Saleh, the Israeli strikes do nothing but highlight the presence of the Syrian government-invited Iranian military presence in Syria. Later that day, Ghanem attempted to capitalize on Sen. Fetterman’s fanatical pro-Israel antics by describing recent developments in Syria to a 20-something staffer. Referring to the Syrian government’s successful campaign to retake southern territory, he explained that the South is “where they lob missiles on Israel, by the way.” The aide dutifully transcribed this seemingly random piece of information in her notepad. Towards the end of the meeting, Fetterman was discussed as a potential Democratic sponsor of S. 2935 in the Senate. In Senator Rick Scott’s office, a Cuban American Government Relations Associate for ACS, Alberto Hernandez, accidentally said the quiet part out loud. When Senator Scott’s ultra-Zionist National Security Advisor, Paul Bonicelli, asked if our group had connected with our “counterparts” in the Israeli lobby so that they could “vet” our proposals — revealing that Scott has apparently outsourced his brain to Zionists — Hernandez remarked: “Formally? No. Informally.” He then turned to the rest of the ACS team in the meeting room and said: “You didn’t hear me say that.” That admission prompted Bonicelli to suggest that ACS directly coordinate with groups such as the Aramaic Church in Israel, which has supported regime change efforts in Damascus despite overwhelming Christian support of the government within Syria itself. As the meeting wound to a close, Bonicelli informed us that he agreed with ACS on the necessity to oppose Iran and Russia. “If Obama had done the right thing in 2012, we wouldn’t be here,” he lamented, adding: “the Israelis want you guys in charge.” At one point during the meeting in Rick Scott’s Office, Alberto Hernandez, and Sarah Salas, a Cuban American legislative aide, expressed full agreement with US use of unilateral sanctions as means to “push” governments that “we don’t like.” Starving Syrians Without A Mandate Though several ACS volunteers shared painful personal encounters with the Syrian government throughout the day, many were simply too far removed from Syria to truly represent the voice of Syrian people, especially the 12 million plus civilians currently living in Syrian government-controlled territory. One 24-year-old woman who did not speak Arabic and has not been to Syria since 2003 described the Syrian Army’s 2016 liberation of Aleppo from Al Qaeda-linked militants as “the fall of Aleppo.” Other Syrians like myself experienced the terror of the West’s proxy war in Syria firsthand. In 2012, my aunt and cousins watched in horror as the Turkish-backed Liwa’ Al Tawhid, an umbrella group of takfiri jihadist militias, arrived on their street in the Seryan El Jdideh neighborhood of Aleppo. The militants proceeded to execute a local pick-up truck driver and steal his vehicle, leaving his bleeding corpse on the street. Shahba, where my family lived up until 2015, was located just a stone’s throw away from these sectarian death squads during our final months there. The Syrian dirty war was bloody and gruesome, yet the picture that ACS paints is entirely one-sided. Unfortunately, while organizations like ACS have flocked to the Beltway swamp throughout the last 13 years, there are no Syrians present in Washington DC to counter them. While these groups claim to speak on behalf of the Syrian people, those of us who have lived and still live in areas controlled by Syrian government — regardless of our political affiliations—are rendered voiceless in the very center of power where our perspective should matter most. Even Syria’s embassy has been shuttered since 2014, while Syrian diplomats at the UN in New York are heavily monitored and restricted from traveling beyond the NYC metro area. As I witnessed on Capitol Hill, there are few obstacles to the anti-Syria lobby’s ruthless push to prevent the majority of Syrians from emerging from the ruins of war. https://thegrayzone.com/2024/03/20/anti-syria-lobbys-capitol-hill-sanctions/
    THEGRAYZONE.COM
    Inside the anti-Syria lobby's Capitol Hill push for more starvation sanctions - The Grayzone
    A week from the 13th anniversary of the US-backed Syrian dirty war, the American Coalition for Syria held its annual day of advocacy in Washington DC. I went undercover into meetings with Senate policy advisors and witnessed the lobby’s cynical campaign to starve Syria into submission. On the morning of March 7, as the US Capitol teemed with lobbyists securing earmarks ahead of appropriations week and activists decrying the Gaza genocide, one special interest group on the Hill stood out. […]
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  • Fasting On The White Days
    Definition, benefits and steps on observing the fasting of White days

    Definition, benefits and steps on observing the fasting of White days
    Have you tried voluntary fasting on Monday or Thursday? Do you know that you can also fast on the White days? Do you know which days are White days? Today, the practice of fasting on the White days is often forgotten by many. This article intends to reintroduce this beautiful prophetic practice in hopes that it will not be considered a forgotten Sunnah.

    Fasting of White days during Full moon

    What are the White days?

    The White days, or known as 'Al-Ayyam al-Bid' in Arabic, are the three consecutive days that fall on every 13th, 14th and 15th day of the Islamic month. It is called white days because the full moon shines brightly throughout the 3 mentioned days. Hence, the radiant full moon at night symbolises the White days.

    Scientifically, the Islamic month begins with a new moon, and then it gradually expands from a crescent moon for 12 nights until it becomes a full moon which is when it radiates the brightest out of any other night, for three consecutive days. Afterwards, the moon will slowly fade away until it turns into a crescent once again and the cycle continues. One of the reasons why the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. and his companions r.a. fasted on the White days was to show gratitude towards Allah s.w.t.

    Muslims are encouraged to fast during these three days on every Islamic month except for the 13th Zulhijjah as Muslims are prohibited to fast on the days of Tashriq. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has observed the fasting of White days and has encouraged his companions r.a. to fast along as reported by Abu Hurairah r.a. that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has advised him to do three things, which are;

    صِيَامِ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ، وَرَكْعَتَي الضُّحَى، وَأَنْ أُوتِرَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَنَامَ

    “Fasting for three days every month, performing two rakaats of Dhuha prayers and praying witr before sleep.”

    (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    What are the merits of fasting on the White days?

    The rewards gained from fasting during the full moon are equivalent to that of fasting the whole month as reported by Abdullah Bin Amr Bin Al-As r.a. that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said:

    صَوْمُ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ كُلِّهِ

    “Observing fasting on three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the whole year”

    (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. himself has never failed to observe white days fasting as reported by Mu’adhah Al-‘Adawiyah r.a, that she asked the Prophet’s wife, Aisyah r.a

    أَكَانَ رسولُ اللَّهِ صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ يصومُ ثلاثةَ أيَّامٍ مِن كلِّ شهرٍ قالت نعَم

    “Did the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. observed three days of fasting for every month?”, She replied: “Yes”

    (Sunan At-Tirmizi)

    Fasting of White days, glass of water and dates

    Thus, following in the steps of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. fasting on White days will help us gain immense rewards. Furthermore, the greatness of the rewards of fasting is made only known to Allah s.w.t. as mentioned in a Hadith Qudsi:

    كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ له، إلَّا الصِّيَامَ؛ فإنَّه لي، وأَنَا أجْزِي به

    “Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward (the person fasting) for it”

    (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    How do we observe the fasting of White Days?

    To begin fasting on white days, one must make the niyyah (intention) as follows and then observe fasting as usual, from sunrise to sunset:

    نَوَيتُ صَومَ أَيَّامِ البِيض سُنَّةً لله تَعَالَى

    Nawaytu Sauma Ayyamil Bidh Sunnatan Lillahi Taa’la

    I intend to observe the Sunnah fast of the White days for Allah the Most High

    You may also establish your intention in your heart through the language that you understand. Once you have tried fasting on White days, try to continue to fast on the following month too and eventually, InsyaAllah, it will turn into a habit, just like how the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. has the habit of observing voluntary fasting.

    Fasting of white days with full moon

    Let us revive and practice this forgotten Sunnah together, following the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in pursuit of Allah s.w.t’s love and blessings as well as collecting rewards along the way.

    To be honest, I myself am trying to observe fasting on white days, though some months I did not manage to do so, nevertheless, it feels great to practice the Sunnah and I enjoyed sharing about it with the people around me. I highly encourage my fellow readers to try it out. So, come join me, let’s challenge ourselves to observe these 3 days of fasting and May Allah s.w.t. grant us the strength to ace this challenge. Amin.

    And Allah knows best.

    https://www.muslim.sg/articles/fasting-on-the-white-days
    Fasting On The White Days Definition, benefits and steps on observing the fasting of White days Definition, benefits and steps on observing the fasting of White days Have you tried voluntary fasting on Monday or Thursday? Do you know that you can also fast on the White days? Do you know which days are White days? Today, the practice of fasting on the White days is often forgotten by many. This article intends to reintroduce this beautiful prophetic practice in hopes that it will not be considered a forgotten Sunnah. Fasting of White days during Full moon What are the White days? The White days, or known as 'Al-Ayyam al-Bid' in Arabic, are the three consecutive days that fall on every 13th, 14th and 15th day of the Islamic month. It is called white days because the full moon shines brightly throughout the 3 mentioned days. Hence, the radiant full moon at night symbolises the White days. Scientifically, the Islamic month begins with a new moon, and then it gradually expands from a crescent moon for 12 nights until it becomes a full moon which is when it radiates the brightest out of any other night, for three consecutive days. Afterwards, the moon will slowly fade away until it turns into a crescent once again and the cycle continues. One of the reasons why the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. and his companions r.a. fasted on the White days was to show gratitude towards Allah s.w.t. Muslims are encouraged to fast during these three days on every Islamic month except for the 13th Zulhijjah as Muslims are prohibited to fast on the days of Tashriq. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has observed the fasting of White days and has encouraged his companions r.a. to fast along as reported by Abu Hurairah r.a. that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has advised him to do three things, which are; صِيَامِ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ، وَرَكْعَتَي الضُّحَى، وَأَنْ أُوتِرَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَنَامَ “Fasting for three days every month, performing two rakaats of Dhuha prayers and praying witr before sleep.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) What are the merits of fasting on the White days? The rewards gained from fasting during the full moon are equivalent to that of fasting the whole month as reported by Abdullah Bin Amr Bin Al-As r.a. that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said: صَوْمُ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ كُلِّهِ “Observing fasting on three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the whole year” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. himself has never failed to observe white days fasting as reported by Mu’adhah Al-‘Adawiyah r.a, that she asked the Prophet’s wife, Aisyah r.a أَكَانَ رسولُ اللَّهِ صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ يصومُ ثلاثةَ أيَّامٍ مِن كلِّ شهرٍ قالت نعَم “Did the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. observed three days of fasting for every month?”, She replied: “Yes” (Sunan At-Tirmizi) Fasting of White days, glass of water and dates Thus, following in the steps of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. fasting on White days will help us gain immense rewards. Furthermore, the greatness of the rewards of fasting is made only known to Allah s.w.t. as mentioned in a Hadith Qudsi: كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ له، إلَّا الصِّيَامَ؛ فإنَّه لي، وأَنَا أجْزِي به “Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward (the person fasting) for it” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) How do we observe the fasting of White Days? To begin fasting on white days, one must make the niyyah (intention) as follows and then observe fasting as usual, from sunrise to sunset: نَوَيتُ صَومَ أَيَّامِ البِيض سُنَّةً لله تَعَالَى Nawaytu Sauma Ayyamil Bidh Sunnatan Lillahi Taa’la I intend to observe the Sunnah fast of the White days for Allah the Most High You may also establish your intention in your heart through the language that you understand. Once you have tried fasting on White days, try to continue to fast on the following month too and eventually, InsyaAllah, it will turn into a habit, just like how the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. has the habit of observing voluntary fasting. Fasting of white days with full moon Let us revive and practice this forgotten Sunnah together, following the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in pursuit of Allah s.w.t’s love and blessings as well as collecting rewards along the way. To be honest, I myself am trying to observe fasting on white days, though some months I did not manage to do so, nevertheless, it feels great to practice the Sunnah and I enjoyed sharing about it with the people around me. I highly encourage my fellow readers to try it out. So, come join me, let’s challenge ourselves to observe these 3 days of fasting and May Allah s.w.t. grant us the strength to ace this challenge. Amin. And Allah knows best. https://www.muslim.sg/articles/fasting-on-the-white-days
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  • The Lion Diet Reset for Jumpstarting Your Healing Journey
    Just red meat, salt and mineral water to wash it down.

    Dr. Syed Haider
    What do Lions Eat? - Discovery UK
    I gained about 40 - 50 pounds during the pandemic primarily due to stress, poor sleep and too much sugar, then I lost it all by eating whole foods, sleeping well and walking 10,000-15,000 steps a day, then I gained some of it back by eating sugar again and slacking on sleep hygiene, though I mostly kept up the walking, which had become a morning habit (I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that for over 18 months now I’ve always averaged close to 10,000 steps a day over any 6 month period (the health app in my phone)).

    Meanwhile a friend of mine who had benefited greatly from the carnivore diet in the past, but fell off the wagon and had been trying to get back on for awhile had been encouraging me for some time to be his accountability partner on a diet change journey so finally I decided to take the plunge.

    From personal experience I know very well that the hardest hill to climb is that initial decision to make a change for the better. After you’ve truly made a commitment to change, sustaining it is not nearly as hard.

    You also find many complementary healthy changes suddenly become easier to implement. It feels like there is a “good boy” template in the subconscious and an opposing “bad boy” one, though that term carries other perhaps conflicting (perhaps not) connotations.

    What I mean is that all the things I’ve collected throughout my life that I consider good healthy behaviors tend to creep back sooner or later once I decided to get healthier and take the first steps towards better health.

    Similarly if I cheat unexpectedly, that single “bad” choice has usually led to most of the good I was doing falling apart and me going back to all the old bad ways.

    In order to circumvent this tendency I’m planning to build in some flexibility in the form of “cheat” days, but I don’t think it’s helpful to think of them as cheat days, in fact I think it only serves to make it likely that your subconscious considers them a “bad” thing.

    The key to success and sustainability is to consider them a good thing instead, think of them more as health/metabolic/recovery hormetic stress tests, that are preplanned and executed as a key part of a healthy lifestyle protocol (hormesis: low dose stressor is beneficial, high dose is harmful. Applies to exercise, sunlight, water, food, homeopathy, pharmacology, herbology, even many so called chemical toxins - the dose makes the poison and all).

    The goal is not only to regain good health but to regain maximal resilience and ability to sustain that good health in the face of challenging situations where you can’t sleep properly, or eat properly or exercise the way you usually do, or you’re exposed to toxic blue light for prolonged periods, or someone close to you passes away, or you lose a job, etc.

    Thank you for reading Dr. Syed Haider. This post is public so feel free to share it.

    Share

    I’m one of those people who can eat a dozen cupcakes if I’m feeling stressed out, but if I stop eating sugar entirely I don’t have any cravings for it. Moderation is impossible, but abstinence is easy. So maybe I’m addicted, or maybe I’m just populated by microbes that depend on sugar.

    I did a 5 day carnivore reset before my initial weight loss journey started perhaps 18 months ago now, and I was amazed to see that I had no sugar cravings for a couple of months afterwards. Literally for the first time in my life sugar bombs survived in my house for over 48 hours. We had a tub of ice cream that was not finished for a month, which would have been as likely as a pig flying before that.

    But after that period of a couple months I gradually lost my indifference to sweets and then eventually went back to full on sweet-tooth, cookie-monster mode, which was a big part of my eventual downfall later.

    My weight loss also stalled out before I got really lean, I felt way better, looked away better, at least in clothes, but I was probably still carrying an extra 30 pounds of fat internally - the visceral fat - which, though invisible to the naked eye, is the worst kind for your health.

    Carnivore seems to most people to be like an extreme overreaction to the vegan movement, and perhaps it is culturally an immune reaction of sorts, but it pays to consider what the proponents of the diet say.

    One of the most telling arguments in favor is that plants are trying to kill you.

    Losing my finger to a 'meat eating' plant? - YouTube
    Plants like all living things, would prefer to stay alive, and are in a life or death struggle with those who would kill them.

    Since they can’t run away or fight off their predators, they primarily rely on poisoning them, and animals have developed finely tuned senses that let them know if there is a poison present - it tastes bad, usually very bitter, and the usual reaction is to spit it out (and wash your mouth out), the way a baby will when you try to feed them broccoli or Brussel sprouts.

    Most non-human mammals that are herbivores or omnivores are only evolutionarily optimized to digest a small selection of plants in their environment.

    Human civilizations first of all domesticated and bred plants to make them more palatable, and then developed intricate methods of neutralizing and predigesting plants via soaking, sprouting, culturing and cooking plant foods to make them less toxic, though we can’t entirely eliminate all toxins even with these complicated traditional procedures (hormesis argues the remaining toxins are probably beneficial stressors, and there are other beneficial phytonutrients too).

    Modern manufacturing eschews all that traditional wisdom for quick production methods that leave the lectins, oxalates, phtyates, tannins, hormone disruptors, and nutrient blockers intact.

    But even if someone took appropriate care to use traditional methods of food preparation, and also made sure to use seasonal ingredients, and combined them in the traditional recipes that made use of various complementary ingredients, they would still be left with some degree of plant poisons in their diet.

    I was shocked to learn that every plant in the grocery store has dozens of known carcinogens, and plants produce phytotoxins that total 10,000 times the amount of pesticides sprayed on them (the primary concern with meat is improper handling leading to microorganisms polluting it, and improper cooking methods leading to char - i.e. you don’t want to burn it).

    As far as we know all human societies in every age throughout history ate as much meat as they could get their hands on, and supplemented with plants only when necessary to avert calorie restriction, treat/prevent illness, and as a garnish, or side dish to their meat. The farther back we go the less palatable the plants were and they required even more processing to make them edible.

    Agrarian societies were always, and still are, less healthy than their hunter gatherer counterparts.

    Now, to be clear, I’m not arguing for a forever meat diet.

    The Lion diet refers to eating just ruminant red meat garnished with salt and washed down with mineral rich water.

    The way I see it, this is an elimination diet, of which there are many.

    Some popular ones include AIP, Carnivore and Vegan.

    AIP is the autoimmune paleo diet and advises removing grains, sugars, eggs, dairy, soy, and nightshade vegetables.

    Carnivore allows all meat, fish, dairy and eggs.

    Vegan allows only plant products.

    The idea behind elimination diets, which were a mainstay of pre-modern medical systems, and still used heavily in functional and alternative medicine today, is that something you are eating is preventing your body from recovering from chronic illness, perhaps due to a “leaky gut”, i.e. your gut lining has become damaged and permeable by some toxic insult (like viral/vax entry into the bloodstream and subsequent transfection of key cells) to partially digested food particles which trigger immune reactions that can cross react with your own tissues or simply create inflammation that keeps you sick, and keeps the gut lining from healing.

    Eliminate the foods and eliminate your symptoms, heal the gut, then reintroduce the foods one at a time, carefully watching for reactions.

    It can get complicated because the reactions can take weeks to wear off, and days to recur upon reexposure. So the reintroduction phase is usually done by consuming the test food for 3 days then waiting another 4 days for a reaction.

    Tracking gut permeability tests (lactulose-mannitol ratio, zonulin level, antibodies to zonulin, actin, and lipopolysaccharide) can help determine when to begin the reintroduction phase.

    Given the inherent toxicity of plants, which has developed as an evolutionary defense mechanism against being eaten, and the relatively benign nature of animal meat the safest elimination diets either limit the most toxic plant foods, or eliminate plant foods altogether.

    Share

    In my case I know I have an autoimmune issue with mild psoriasis, which is likely related to leaky gut, I also have had chronic constipation, occasional reflux, occasional headaches, occasional stuffy nose, a tendency towards insomnia, and relatively rapid aging in the last few years with significant weight gain.

    So my plan is to try to reverse all of these naturally and I’ll likely be checking micronutrient levels and genetics at some point to fine tune things using protocols developed by Chris Masterjohn.

    Diet over the longer term will likely trend towards lower in carbs, higher in meat/seafood, dairy, and eggs, but this will depend on my carb tolerance in the future as evidenced by markers like body fat and fasting insulin levels. Will eat shortly after waking to help strengthen the circadian rhythm further.

    Exercise will start with mobility drills, walks, sprints (because no other exercise naturally stimulates muscle gain and fat loss better - just look at an olympic sprinter - the message to your body is either: something’s about to kill us, or we’re about to starve and need to catch some food fast, so shape up ASAP and help me out here), body weight exercises, maybe kettlebell swings.

    Skin and hair care will include traditional topical treatments like egg whites, egg yolks, tallow, and essential oils.

    Sleep will be as much as needed and regular hours.

    Light environment: aim to minimize blue light toxicity from sunlight filtered through window glass, and indoor bulbs by spending as much time outdoors as possible. Sun exposure in the mornings and around sunset especially with some midday sun.

    Also need to work on emotional and spiritual growth and interpersonal relationships, but those are higher hanging fruit.

    Anyway let me know if you’ve tried an elimination diet in the past and how it went for you.

    https://blog.mygotodoc.com/p/the-lion-diet-reset-for-jumpstarting
    The Lion Diet Reset for Jumpstarting Your Healing Journey Just red meat, salt and mineral water to wash it down. Dr. Syed Haider What do Lions Eat? - Discovery UK I gained about 40 - 50 pounds during the pandemic primarily due to stress, poor sleep and too much sugar, then I lost it all by eating whole foods, sleeping well and walking 10,000-15,000 steps a day, then I gained some of it back by eating sugar again and slacking on sleep hygiene, though I mostly kept up the walking, which had become a morning habit (I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that for over 18 months now I’ve always averaged close to 10,000 steps a day over any 6 month period (the health app in my phone)). Meanwhile a friend of mine who had benefited greatly from the carnivore diet in the past, but fell off the wagon and had been trying to get back on for awhile had been encouraging me for some time to be his accountability partner on a diet change journey so finally I decided to take the plunge. From personal experience I know very well that the hardest hill to climb is that initial decision to make a change for the better. After you’ve truly made a commitment to change, sustaining it is not nearly as hard. You also find many complementary healthy changes suddenly become easier to implement. It feels like there is a “good boy” template in the subconscious and an opposing “bad boy” one, though that term carries other perhaps conflicting (perhaps not) connotations. What I mean is that all the things I’ve collected throughout my life that I consider good healthy behaviors tend to creep back sooner or later once I decided to get healthier and take the first steps towards better health. Similarly if I cheat unexpectedly, that single “bad” choice has usually led to most of the good I was doing falling apart and me going back to all the old bad ways. In order to circumvent this tendency I’m planning to build in some flexibility in the form of “cheat” days, but I don’t think it’s helpful to think of them as cheat days, in fact I think it only serves to make it likely that your subconscious considers them a “bad” thing. The key to success and sustainability is to consider them a good thing instead, think of them more as health/metabolic/recovery hormetic stress tests, that are preplanned and executed as a key part of a healthy lifestyle protocol (hormesis: low dose stressor is beneficial, high dose is harmful. Applies to exercise, sunlight, water, food, homeopathy, pharmacology, herbology, even many so called chemical toxins - the dose makes the poison and all). The goal is not only to regain good health but to regain maximal resilience and ability to sustain that good health in the face of challenging situations where you can’t sleep properly, or eat properly or exercise the way you usually do, or you’re exposed to toxic blue light for prolonged periods, or someone close to you passes away, or you lose a job, etc. Thank you for reading Dr. Syed Haider. This post is public so feel free to share it. Share I’m one of those people who can eat a dozen cupcakes if I’m feeling stressed out, but if I stop eating sugar entirely I don’t have any cravings for it. Moderation is impossible, but abstinence is easy. So maybe I’m addicted, or maybe I’m just populated by microbes that depend on sugar. I did a 5 day carnivore reset before my initial weight loss journey started perhaps 18 months ago now, and I was amazed to see that I had no sugar cravings for a couple of months afterwards. Literally for the first time in my life sugar bombs survived in my house for over 48 hours. We had a tub of ice cream that was not finished for a month, which would have been as likely as a pig flying before that. But after that period of a couple months I gradually lost my indifference to sweets and then eventually went back to full on sweet-tooth, cookie-monster mode, which was a big part of my eventual downfall later. My weight loss also stalled out before I got really lean, I felt way better, looked away better, at least in clothes, but I was probably still carrying an extra 30 pounds of fat internally - the visceral fat - which, though invisible to the naked eye, is the worst kind for your health. Carnivore seems to most people to be like an extreme overreaction to the vegan movement, and perhaps it is culturally an immune reaction of sorts, but it pays to consider what the proponents of the diet say. One of the most telling arguments in favor is that plants are trying to kill you. Losing my finger to a 'meat eating' plant? - YouTube Plants like all living things, would prefer to stay alive, and are in a life or death struggle with those who would kill them. Since they can’t run away or fight off their predators, they primarily rely on poisoning them, and animals have developed finely tuned senses that let them know if there is a poison present - it tastes bad, usually very bitter, and the usual reaction is to spit it out (and wash your mouth out), the way a baby will when you try to feed them broccoli or Brussel sprouts. Most non-human mammals that are herbivores or omnivores are only evolutionarily optimized to digest a small selection of plants in their environment. Human civilizations first of all domesticated and bred plants to make them more palatable, and then developed intricate methods of neutralizing and predigesting plants via soaking, sprouting, culturing and cooking plant foods to make them less toxic, though we can’t entirely eliminate all toxins even with these complicated traditional procedures (hormesis argues the remaining toxins are probably beneficial stressors, and there are other beneficial phytonutrients too). Modern manufacturing eschews all that traditional wisdom for quick production methods that leave the lectins, oxalates, phtyates, tannins, hormone disruptors, and nutrient blockers intact. But even if someone took appropriate care to use traditional methods of food preparation, and also made sure to use seasonal ingredients, and combined them in the traditional recipes that made use of various complementary ingredients, they would still be left with some degree of plant poisons in their diet. I was shocked to learn that every plant in the grocery store has dozens of known carcinogens, and plants produce phytotoxins that total 10,000 times the amount of pesticides sprayed on them (the primary concern with meat is improper handling leading to microorganisms polluting it, and improper cooking methods leading to char - i.e. you don’t want to burn it). As far as we know all human societies in every age throughout history ate as much meat as they could get their hands on, and supplemented with plants only when necessary to avert calorie restriction, treat/prevent illness, and as a garnish, or side dish to their meat. The farther back we go the less palatable the plants were and they required even more processing to make them edible. Agrarian societies were always, and still are, less healthy than their hunter gatherer counterparts. Now, to be clear, I’m not arguing for a forever meat diet. The Lion diet refers to eating just ruminant red meat garnished with salt and washed down with mineral rich water. The way I see it, this is an elimination diet, of which there are many. Some popular ones include AIP, Carnivore and Vegan. AIP is the autoimmune paleo diet and advises removing grains, sugars, eggs, dairy, soy, and nightshade vegetables. Carnivore allows all meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Vegan allows only plant products. The idea behind elimination diets, which were a mainstay of pre-modern medical systems, and still used heavily in functional and alternative medicine today, is that something you are eating is preventing your body from recovering from chronic illness, perhaps due to a “leaky gut”, i.e. your gut lining has become damaged and permeable by some toxic insult (like viral/vax entry into the bloodstream and subsequent transfection of key cells) to partially digested food particles which trigger immune reactions that can cross react with your own tissues or simply create inflammation that keeps you sick, and keeps the gut lining from healing. Eliminate the foods and eliminate your symptoms, heal the gut, then reintroduce the foods one at a time, carefully watching for reactions. It can get complicated because the reactions can take weeks to wear off, and days to recur upon reexposure. So the reintroduction phase is usually done by consuming the test food for 3 days then waiting another 4 days for a reaction. Tracking gut permeability tests (lactulose-mannitol ratio, zonulin level, antibodies to zonulin, actin, and lipopolysaccharide) can help determine when to begin the reintroduction phase. Given the inherent toxicity of plants, which has developed as an evolutionary defense mechanism against being eaten, and the relatively benign nature of animal meat the safest elimination diets either limit the most toxic plant foods, or eliminate plant foods altogether. Share In my case I know I have an autoimmune issue with mild psoriasis, which is likely related to leaky gut, I also have had chronic constipation, occasional reflux, occasional headaches, occasional stuffy nose, a tendency towards insomnia, and relatively rapid aging in the last few years with significant weight gain. So my plan is to try to reverse all of these naturally and I’ll likely be checking micronutrient levels and genetics at some point to fine tune things using protocols developed by Chris Masterjohn. Diet over the longer term will likely trend towards lower in carbs, higher in meat/seafood, dairy, and eggs, but this will depend on my carb tolerance in the future as evidenced by markers like body fat and fasting insulin levels. Will eat shortly after waking to help strengthen the circadian rhythm further. Exercise will start with mobility drills, walks, sprints (because no other exercise naturally stimulates muscle gain and fat loss better - just look at an olympic sprinter - the message to your body is either: something’s about to kill us, or we’re about to starve and need to catch some food fast, so shape up ASAP and help me out here), body weight exercises, maybe kettlebell swings. Skin and hair care will include traditional topical treatments like egg whites, egg yolks, tallow, and essential oils. Sleep will be as much as needed and regular hours. Light environment: aim to minimize blue light toxicity from sunlight filtered through window glass, and indoor bulbs by spending as much time outdoors as possible. Sun exposure in the mornings and around sunset especially with some midday sun. Also need to work on emotional and spiritual growth and interpersonal relationships, but those are higher hanging fruit. Anyway let me know if you’ve tried an elimination diet in the past and how it went for you. https://blog.mygotodoc.com/p/the-lion-diet-reset-for-jumpstarting
    BLOG.MYGOTODOC.COM
    The Lion Diet Reset for Jumpstarting Your Healing Journey
    Just red meat, salt and mineral water to wash it down.
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  • Viehättävä 2 makuuhuoneen asunto lähellä satamaa Fuengirolassa

    Tässä modernissa asunnossa lähellä satamaa on 2 makuuhuonetta ja 1 kylpyhuone.
    Tilavasta olohuoneesta, joka on lounaaseen päin pääsee suoraan miellyttävälle terassille.
    Asunnon varustukseen kuuluu ilmastointi ja WiFi tarjotakseen sinulle parhaan mahdollisen mukavuuden.
    Erillinen, moderni keittiö on varustettu kaikilla tarvikkeilla, mukaan lukien käytännöllinen pesuhuone, jossa on pesukone ja butaanikaasuvedenlämmitin.
    Päämakuuhuoneessa on parivuode ja pieni lasitettu terassi, joka on sopiva rentoutumiseen, viihtyisä ja valoisa.
    Kylpyhuoneessa on moderni suihkuallas.
    On myös toinen makuuhuone, jossa on yhden hengen vuode.

    Keskeisellä paikalla sijaitseva asunto on vain muutaman askeleen päässä kaupungin keskustasta ja kaikenlaisista kaupoista.
    Lisäksi ranta on vain muutaman minuutin päässä, joten voit nauttia auringosta ja merestä milloin tahansa

    https://www.bluehorse.es/fi/huoneisto-sijainti-fuengirola-centro-fuengirola-hissi-fi256743.html

    #VisitFuengirola
    #FuengirolaBeach
    #CostaDelSol
    #SpainTravel
    #SunAndSea
    #HolidayInSpain
    #DiscoverFuengirola
    #AndaluciaTourism
    #SpanishBeaches
    #TravelSpain
    #FuengirolaSunset
    #BeachLife
    #SpanishCuisine
    #FuengirolaAdventure
    #ParadiseInSpain
    Viehättävä 2 makuuhuoneen asunto lähellä satamaa Fuengirolassa Tässä modernissa asunnossa lähellä satamaa on 2 makuuhuonetta ja 1 kylpyhuone. Tilavasta olohuoneesta, joka on lounaaseen päin pääsee suoraan miellyttävälle terassille. Asunnon varustukseen kuuluu ilmastointi ja WiFi tarjotakseen sinulle parhaan mahdollisen mukavuuden. Erillinen, moderni keittiö on varustettu kaikilla tarvikkeilla, mukaan lukien käytännöllinen pesuhuone, jossa on pesukone ja butaanikaasuvedenlämmitin. Päämakuuhuoneessa on parivuode ja pieni lasitettu terassi, joka on sopiva rentoutumiseen, viihtyisä ja valoisa. Kylpyhuoneessa on moderni suihkuallas. On myös toinen makuuhuone, jossa on yhden hengen vuode. Keskeisellä paikalla sijaitseva asunto on vain muutaman askeleen päässä kaupungin keskustasta ja kaikenlaisista kaupoista. Lisäksi ranta on vain muutaman minuutin päässä, joten voit nauttia auringosta ja merestä milloin tahansa https://www.bluehorse.es/fi/huoneisto-sijainti-fuengirola-centro-fuengirola-hissi-fi256743.html #VisitFuengirola #FuengirolaBeach #CostaDelSol #SpainTravel #SunAndSea #HolidayInSpain #DiscoverFuengirola #AndaluciaTourism #SpanishBeaches #TravelSpain #FuengirolaSunset #BeachLife #SpanishCuisine #FuengirolaAdventure #ParadiseInSpain
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    Loma-asunnot Huoneisto sijainti...
    Tässä modernissa asunnossa lähellä satamaa on 2 makuuhuonetta ja 1 kylpyhuone. Tilavasta olohuoneesta, joka on lounaaseen päin pääsee suoraan miellyttävälle terassille. Asunnon varustukseen kuuluu ilmastointi ja WiFi tarjotakseen sinulle
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  • A passing rain shower made a double rainbow appear in the sky over Virginia at sunset this evening, their color vanishing slowly as the rays of orange sunlight descended below the treed horizon. #DoubleRainbow #Rainbow #Virginia #Weather
    A passing rain shower made a double rainbow appear in the sky over Virginia at sunset this evening, their color vanishing slowly as the rays of orange sunlight descended below the treed horizon. #DoubleRainbow #Rainbow #Virginia #Weather
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  • Viehättävä 1 Makuuhuoneen Huoneisto Meri- ja Satamanäkymillä Fuengirolassa
    Tämä huoneisto sijaitsee Fuengirolan sataman edessä ja tarjoaa upeat näkymät merelle ja satamaan.
    Huoneistossa on yksi makuuhuone ja yksi kylpyhuone, joka on varustettu suihkualtaalla ja päältä täytettävällä pesukoneella.

    Nauti valoisasta olohuoneesta, josta on suora pääsy kaakkoon suuntautuvalle parvekkeelle—täydellinen paikka auringonnousun ihailemiseen.

    Avoin keittiö liittyy saumattomasti olohuoneeseen ja on varustettu kodinkoneilla ja astioilla. Majoituspaikka tarjoaa myös ilmastoinnin ja WiFi-yhteyden.

    Kaikki tarvittavat palvelut ovat lähellä, ja julkiset liikennevälineet ovat vain muutaman minuutin kävelymatkan päässä—tässä huoneistossa on kaikki, mitä tarvitset.

    https://www.bluehorse.es/fi/huoneisto-sijainti-fuengirola-paseo-maritimo-fuengirola-hissi-fi1103574.html

    #LivingTheDream
    #WanderlustVibes
    #EpicMoments
    #ChasingSunsets
    #LifeInColor
    #AdventureAwaits
    #PassionPassport
    #EverydayMagic
    #DareToDream
    #UnchartedTerritories
    Viehättävä 1 Makuuhuoneen Huoneisto Meri- ja Satamanäkymillä Fuengirolassa Tämä huoneisto sijaitsee Fuengirolan sataman edessä ja tarjoaa upeat näkymät merelle ja satamaan. Huoneistossa on yksi makuuhuone ja yksi kylpyhuone, joka on varustettu suihkualtaalla ja päältä täytettävällä pesukoneella. Nauti valoisasta olohuoneesta, josta on suora pääsy kaakkoon suuntautuvalle parvekkeelle—täydellinen paikka auringonnousun ihailemiseen. Avoin keittiö liittyy saumattomasti olohuoneeseen ja on varustettu kodinkoneilla ja astioilla. Majoituspaikka tarjoaa myös ilmastoinnin ja WiFi-yhteyden. Kaikki tarvittavat palvelut ovat lähellä, ja julkiset liikennevälineet ovat vain muutaman minuutin kävelymatkan päässä—tässä huoneistossa on kaikki, mitä tarvitset. https://www.bluehorse.es/fi/huoneisto-sijainti-fuengirola-paseo-maritimo-fuengirola-hissi-fi1103574.html #LivingTheDream #WanderlustVibes #EpicMoments #ChasingSunsets #LifeInColor #AdventureAwaits #PassionPassport #EverydayMagic #DareToDream #UnchartedTerritories
    WWW.BLUEHORSE.ES
    Loma-asunnot Huoneisto sijainti...
    Tämä huoneisto sijaitsee Fuengirolan sataman edessä ja tarjoaa upeat näkymät merelle ja satamaan. Huoneistossa on yksi makuuhuone ja yksi kylpyhuone, joka on varustettu suihkualtaalla ja päältä täytettävällä pesukoneella. Nauti valoisasta
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  • Beautiful Hawaiian sunset
    Beautiful Hawaiian sunset
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  • Leaving the final choir rehearsal before Saturdays performance, what an amazing sunset!!!
    Leaving the final choir rehearsal before Saturdays performance, what an amazing sunset!!!
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  • Typically people burn Palo Santo to cleanse the energy in their home or place of work, set an intention ie relaxation or simply to enjoy its unique aroma.
    But, one more thing that is amazing about that tree is that when burned it's creates a mini sunset effect. So amazing.
    Typically people burn Palo Santo to cleanse the energy in their home or place of work, set an intention ie relaxation or simply to enjoy its unique aroma. But, one more thing that is amazing about that tree is that when burned it's creates a mini sunset effect. So amazing.
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  • Tranquility ????????
    .
    This is what it's all about!
    .
    Pitching your tent in the middel of nowhere, sitting around the campfire, enjoying a drink while watching a beautiful sunset. #priceless
    .
    This is what drives us to continue our ADVENTURES!
    .
    .
    #africantravel #overlanding #sunset #tankwa #landcruiser #toyota #tranquility #viewsfordays #lifeisgood #livin
    Tranquility ???????? . This is what it's all about! . Pitching your tent in the middel of nowhere, sitting around the campfire, enjoying a drink while watching a beautiful sunset. #priceless . This is what drives us to continue our ADVENTURES! . . #africantravel #overlanding #sunset #tankwa #landcruiser #toyota #tranquility #viewsfordays #lifeisgood #livin
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  • Great place to see the sunset ????
    Great place to see the sunset ????
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  • Fab sunset #maui
    Fab sunset #maui
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