Saturday, 24 March 2012

Assad Defies Expectations, His days are not numbered, May Hold Out for Years

"Yes, Assad (A pain in their kneck) will go one day (THEY HOPE). However, it is not yet known if his departure will be bloody or bloodless."

Assad Defies Expectations, May Hold Out for Years

Author: Mehmet Ali Birand
Published on: Friday, Mar 16, 2012
Translated On: Friday, Mar 23, 2012
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has proven that he is not a leader that can be toppled in a couple of months. He has played his cards well and managed to turn the situation in his favor.
He made use of the support offered by the Iran-Russia-China trio, and to a certain degree he has managed to control the internal opposition and external pressure facing his regime. Assad’s other significant gain has been the domestic loyalty he has been able to generate. This owes to the fact that the opposition has remained fragmented and unable to move in a united fashion, thereby scaring off external assistance. Assad’s internal support finds its roots in the country’s Kurdish and Christian communities, who fear a radical Islamist takeover were Assad to fall. They cannot overcome their doubts, and they therefore see Assad as the "lesser of evils.” This has relaxed some of the pressure on the Syrian government.

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and CIA chief David Petraeus came to Ankara for a reason. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan receives calls from European capitals asking, “What are you planning to do?” Turkey is still the key country for the Syrian crisis both in terms of its geography and the interest it has in the crisis, together with the attitude it has adopted toward Syria.

However, those who want Assad out with Turkey in first place are in a tough spot. The Syrian opposition has turned out to be more fragmented than expected. Unable to instill confidence, it has not received the arms and financial support it needs to effectively confront the regime. Therefore, Assad is slowly eradicating the internal opposition, taking back the cities it has occupied one by one. Its fifth-largest such operation is about to be concluded, which means that very soon there will be no pockets of resistance left.

But then what? It is a very difficult situation for Assad and there will be no rest for his regime. He will have to run a country that is constantly boiling, a country whose neighbors will try to instigate conflict and smuggle weapons in. Before, we gave him a few months in office. Now, it is a few more years. Ankara finds itself in a corner Turkey does not want to be seen deposing a neighboring country’s government. Hence, our reluctance to arm and finance the opposition, an attitude for which the opposition forces have harshly criticized us. Washington wants to use Turkish territory, but it doesn’t know which opposition faction to aid. The US wants the opposition groups to unite but they have thus far been unable to do so.

There are now efforts to form a "new approach, but it is not clear what this is going to be or how this is going to end. We face a long road ahead.

Yes, Assad will go one day. However, it is not yet known if his departure will be bloody or bloodless.

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Sarkozy, Arab Leaders Concerned over Senussi Arrest

Local Editor

senussi and gaddafiLast week, Mauritanian authorities arrested Abdullah Senussi, the former spy chief of Muammar Gaddafi and his black box who holds most of the dictator’s secrets.

Many Western and Arab leaders have been concerned that Mauritania would extradite Senussi to Libya, whose new regime had pledge to hold trial for him.

On the top of these leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country called for the extradition of Senussi to Paris.

France wants to try Senussi for his reported involvement in the attack against the UTA DC10 in 1989, the attack that killed 170, including 54 French.

However, the real reason behind Sarkozy’s concern over Senussi is because the former spy chief knows details how Libya has fund the presidential campaign of French president in 2007.

gaddafi and sarkozySenussi also holds information about Gaddafi’s ties with other western countries, the thing that would harm these western and Arab leaders.

Senussi “knows the secrets of all the dirty deals”, including the assassination plot hatched by Gaddafi’s regime, the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi quoted an expert in the Libyan issues as saying.

It is thought that Senussi is now arrested at the headquarters of the Mauritanian security institution in Nouakchott.

Mauritania had arrested Senussi, who is also Gaddafi’s son in law, after he spent for weeks in Morocco, a high-ranking western official said.

However, Mustapha Khalfi, Minister of Communication in Rabat, confirmed that Morocco didn’t know about Senussi’s existence, adding that the former spy chief entered to the country with faked passport.

For its part, Reuters news agency said that Senussi was looking for a safe haven when he traveled to Mauritania, but he was ambushed by the French and Mauritanian intelligence.

Senussi, 62, is also reportedly known to be the one who plotted major attacks like Lockerbie, airlane blast that killed about 270 people, in addition to other conspiracies against Arabic and African countries, including the assassination bid of the Saudi then heir apparent Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz.

Al-Quds al-Arabi also quoted an Arabic intelligence official as saying that Gaddafi’s son in law “is the only witness for financial corruption and other deals that comprise many countries and leaders including France”.

Source: Newspapers
24-03-2012 - 17:20 Last updated 24-03-2012 - 17:20

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Tel Aviv in the Heart of Beirut Arab University

Local Editor

"Tel Aviv in the Heart of Beirut Arab University (BAU)"; this is how a "saiddatv.tv report" commenced. The report added that the news is not a joke, but it "gives BAU students an opportunity to work in the Zionist entity's capital Tel Aviv."

On this level, the video report indicated that "by the university principal's office, and on all floors of all faculties, a colorful poster is hung, listing the names of many capitals including Prague, New York, Geneva, Singapore, Moscow, and Tel Aviv."
This poster calls on students to apply for jobs in the Zionist entity, which was established on the ruins of Palestine and the displacements of its people, the report added.

"The university's students resented the poster, saying that their university was established by former Egyptian Leader Jamal Abdel Nasser, who refused to negotiate, hold peace, or acknowledge [the existence of] "Israel"," the saidatv.tv report asserted.

Also, the report iterated that the BAU violated the law to boycott "Israel", although it was one of the victims of the "Israeli" invasion of Beirut in 1982.
"However, has the BAU become a center for normalization in light of the political tremors in Egypt?" the report further wondered.

Source: saidatv.tv, Translated and Edited by moqawama.org

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Iran’s nuclear hoax is good for US and Israel


An Israeli minister gloated recently that Israeli propaganda of Iran’s nuclear program being ‘existential threat’ has diverted world’s attention from Israel-Palestinian conflict. He was proven right during Obama-Bibi White House meeting on March 5, when both men only talked about Iran and Obama did not raise the illegal Jewish settlement as he did during his last year meeting with Benji Netanyahu.
2012 being US election year, Bibi, has recreated his role as the ‘kingmaker’. US media had reported that Obama offered Bibi additional military aid (Israel receives $3 billion worth military aid each year) if Bibi promise not to ruin Obama’s victory by attacking Iran before November 3 presidential election.
The terrorist panic has boosted Israel’s airport monitoring (ICTS) business ten-fold. This monitoring system existed at all four US airports from where the so-called ’19 hijackers’ boarded the planes involved in 9/11. Israeli army personnel are involved in training security services in the US, Britain, India, Spain, Thailands, Burma, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, etc. in ‘counter-terrorism’, a technique they have perfected by terrorizing Native Muslim and Christian Palestinians.

However, the fear of a future nuclear Iran has some negetive effects too. On March 19, 2012 – Israeli daily Arutz Sheva reported: “Renowned rabbi Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman spoke this Saturday night regarding recent developments in Israel, where many great rabbis have fallen ill. Among those known to be seriously ill are Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef. Rabbi Shteinman linked the spate of illnesses among Jewish leaders to foreign affairs – specifically, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s nuclear program“.

Iranian nuclear hoax has given a big boost to US arms industry. US has been able to sell tens of billions of sophisticate arms to oil rich pro-West absolute rulers who have no regard for democratic institutions or human rights when it comes to their subjects or western interests in the region.

The US (68.5%), Russia, Britain, Italy, France and Israel are world’s top ‘merchants of death’.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute latest report – the world’s top five arms importers are India (10%), South Korea (6%), China (5%), Pakistan (5%) and Singapore (4%). Worldwide, arms trade is worth $45-60 billion. Most of these sales are to former western colonies.
The next beneficiaries of war fear have always been American politicians while the suckers being the US taxpayers. Israeli leaders know how to exploit America’s political landscape. Through Jewish lobby groups, Israel funds the corrupt politicians who pledge absolute loyaty to Israel. These politicians in return make sure Israel receive the lion share of US foreign aid (46%). Israel uses a small portion of the US aid to buy the politician next time. And this vicious circle has been running for decades.

Early this month, Petagon conducted a war simulation based on an alone Israeli attack on Iran. The results were very troubling. It showed that the war will trigger a very strong Iranian retaliation which could be disastrous for both Israel and Washington’s Arab allies.

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'Armed gangs serve Saudi-Israeli agenda in Syria'

'Armed gangs serve Saudi-Israeli agenda in Syria'

Interview with Mohsen Saleh, professor at the Lebanese University.

March 23, 2012


Syria has been scene of armed rebellion for almost over a year, where West and Saudi backed gangs do terrorist acts in order to destabilize the legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad.


A prominent professor believes that the Persian Gulf kingdoms and monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar along with their Western allies have realized that they cannot play the Benghazi scenario in Syria because the Syrian government is backed by its own people and that is their reason to put tough sanctions on the country and “press the regime economically and politically”.

Press TV has conducted an interview with the professor of the Lebanese university; Mohsen Saleh to further discuss the issue of the foreign created and foreign backed havoc in the crisis hit country.

The program also provides opinions of two additional guests, political Analyst Waddah al-Khatib from the Syrian capital city of Damascus and also the political analyst; Jihad Mouraccadah from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: What do you think Dr. Saleh? Do you think that it is more like a war of two sides, both terrorizing the other?

Saleh: No, First of all we should define the situation in Syria. There is a regime and there are super powers in the world and there are regional powers who tried to topple this regime.

This regime collects and of course [is] supported by the majority of the Syrians by the military institutions and by the business and economic institutions in Syria. This regime has been stable for a long time and the Americans and the Israelis and some of the Arabs; they are pro-change as far as these changes serves their agenda in the region.

Especially in terms of the acknowledgement of the Israeli existence. And that is what the regime in Syria refused to do so and supported the resistance movements in Lebanon and in Palestine.

That would get us the signal that they are going to continue; the United States and the Western powers and some of the Arab countries especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia who declared overtly that they are going to support these gangs until they topple the regime.

The regime proved solidly that he [it] is strong enough to defend the country and the political agenda and the Syrians and that is why since they could not achieve their goals, the Western powers and the Saudis; they resorted to this damaging and terrorists acts in Syria, in Damascus and in Aleppo.

Press TV: Do you think that there is a contradiction?

Saleh: Probably they are going to continue to do this. They do not want a political solution as far as the regime preserves its identity in this conflict in the Middle East.

[In reply to Mouraccadeh]: Who does not want that? The Americans and the Israelis and Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

[In reply to Mouraccadeh]: It is a joke. The regime wants to show to its people that it can protect them and that is not what the terrorists want. The Riad Mousa al-Asaad, [the commander of the Free Syrian Army] what so-called the free army promised the Syrians to do these terrorist acts.

Two weeks ago told the reporters and the people of it.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh] No, they are defending the people. In Homs they are defending the people in Syria and the others, they are avenging from Damascus and Aleppo.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh]: [Do] You know why these explosions only hit Syria in Damascus and Aleppo, because these people, these terrorists try to avenge from these people; because they did not participate with them and [with] the so-called revolution or uprising.

That is why.

Press TV: Would you agree that the West does not want to cold war with Russia and China?

Saleh: That is one aspect, the other aspect is that the problem with these people in the Persian Gulf; they talked clearly with supporting the opposition and they said that we should arm these people and so and so.

The Westerners and the Americans, they always in their statements; they are vague. That is why the difference between the two teams influencing the situation and now the Americans and the Westerners; they are talking about a political solution.

Press TV: And they are reluctant to send the arms.

Saleh: The Arabs, the Saudi Arabia especially and Qatar; they cannot retreat from their statements.

They said they wanted to. They promised what so-called the free army to support them in arms and money and they are paying every day, they are paying millions of dollars and probably now billions of dollars by now.

The issue now is that Syria is strong. Syria as a regime, as a government and not fragile as they thought. They bet on this, that this regime is fragile and they can do this.

Press TV: so it s not neutralized?

Saleh: No, the issue is that the regime and the government [have] proved that they are strong. That is why the Europeans and the Americans now they do not want any military work on the borders.

They could not find another Benghazi, NATO would go to this Benghazi because in Homs or in Daraa or in other places, they could not find -really-- a space in order to stay. That is why they retreat.

Now they are going to press the regime politically and economically, that is why they take all sizes of sanctions and boycotting the Syrians and the central bank and the companies there in Syria.

And I guess [that] they have a problem, they cannot continue; that is why in April or in other months to come, they cannot influence the regime because this regime is strong by its people and by its army.

I repeat, they are able to continue with the support of Russia and China, more than half of the world with the Syrian regime and the government, China and Russia and India and Brazil and Venezuela and Iran and the Arab people, most of them I have read many articles to the Egyptians today.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh]: No, no, no, no. that is what the media, that is what Al-Jazeera and AL-Arabia [say].

When you watch these two channels you think [that] the [Syrian] regime is going to fall tomorrow.

You watch deficit channels of deceiving eyes and ideas.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh]: If the Syrians are with the opposition, then the opposition would be powerful.

The weakness of the opposition proved that this opposition and its supporters are weak because the regime and the government are strong enough to defend their selves.

MY/JR


Source
______________________________________________________
"Palestine is the heart of Arab countries" - Hiyam Naour ______________________________________________________
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Across the Middle East, Christians Faced with Turmoil

Inrtoduction

Naeim GiladiRead the story of Naeim Giladi, an Israeli agent operating in Iraq in the late 1940’s, a part  of what the first prime minister of Israel called "cruel Zionism." ....Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly...to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews... About 125,000 Jews left Iraq for Israel in the late 1940s and into 1952, most because they had been lied to and put into a panic by what I came to learn were Zionist bombs. But my mother and father were among the 6,000 who did not go to Israel.


Geagea, a Mossad agent, "was suspected of bombing the Maronite Catholic church of Saydet Najat in Jounieh, in which tens of worshipers were killed in 1994. The judges could not convict him "for insufficient evidence" Geagea was sentenced to death for his assassination crimes, and the sentence was later reduced to lifetime in prison.


"The sudden multiplication by such bloody attacks on Christians in Muslim countries (Iraq, Egypt, Sudan...ect) has all the marks of Mossad's false flag operations. Only haplessly ignorant people would believe that Muslims have suddenly, out of the blue, developed hatred of Christians, and are bent on killing them and destroying their churches which they have protected for centuries." - Nahida

"Israeli press reported this evening that French gunman Mohamed Merah had been on a trip to Israel in the past.

According to the report, Merah's passport had Israeli stamps in it. The purpose of his visit is unknown. Israeli analysts suspect he was either trying to visit the Palestinian territories or preparing for a terror attack.
However, I won’t rule out the possibility that Merah was actually trained by Israeli forces. Marah may have conducted a false flag operation. By way of deception is, after all, the Mossad’s motto." - Gilad Atzmon,

Across the Middle East, Christians Faced with Turmoil


Iraqi priest Raymond Moussalli attends a mass at Chaldean Catholic church in Amman December 22, 2011 (photo by REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)


Lebanese Christian politicians are looking at the changes in the region - or what has come to be known as the Arab Spring - with great concern. They are calling upon their supporters to carefully observe the situation in neighboring Arab countries [where Islamists have come to power], and to take it as a salutary lesson for the Lebanese Christians. [In the Arab World], Christianity has undergone a demographic decline in recent decades. Several political, economic and social factors have turned Christians into [latter-day] Native Americans, forced to hole up and defend their dwindling strongholds. Christians had pinned their hopes on an Arab Spring based on Arab identity; thus the purely Islamic tidal wave that has come to characterize the Spring has been alarming to the Christians of the region.

About this Article

Summary:
Christians across the Arab World have looked on with apprehension as inter-sectarian violence persists and minorities remain underrepresented in elected government. The Christian communities in some countries have emigrated from the region, while others have remained, demanding greater autonomy and a larger political role, writes Claire Chakar.
Publisher: As-Safir (Lebanon)
Original Title:
Christians are Bleeding from Turkey to Egypt: Has the time of Dhimmitude returned?
Author: Claire Chakar
Published on: Monday, Feb 20, 2012
Translated On: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012
Translator: Sahar Ghoussoub
Categories:Culture & Society Analysis & Opinion Regional
From Palestine, Iraq and Turkey, to Lebanon, Egypt and soon Syria, the Christian presence [in the Middle East] continues to deteriorate. Turkey was first to witness a Christian [displacement]. More than a million Christians were displaced in the early 20th century, and now there only are approximately 100,000 Armenian and Syriac [Christians] left in Turkey. Today, this Christian minority is represented by one single MP, who won his seat in parliament through a Kurdish electoral list.

In recent years, with the revival of the dream of Ottoman expansion [in Turkey], Ankara has been making "symbolic" attempts - characterized by a certain openness - to make amends for the "guilt" it feels for having displaced Christians. Some describe these attempts "systematic," as Turkey is preparing to host an expanded meeting of all Middle Eastern Patriarchs to discuss religious pluralism. Within this context, it is being rumored that one Patriarch commented that Syrian Christians would be welcomed into Turkey if Bashar al-Assad's regime was to fall.

Although the Iranian Constitution is Islamic, it nevertheless respects diversity. It provides for an official [parliamentary] quota for religious minorities (Armenians and Assyrians are both represented by two deputies). However, the prevailing Islamic atmosphere in the Persian country has [led most Christians to leave]. There are no more than 200,000 Armenians and perhaps 40,000 Assyrians left practicing the Christian religion in Iran.

The most painful blow to the Christian presence [in the Middle East] took place in Iraq - the land of the Babylonian, Assyrian and Chaldean cultures, and formerly home to over 1.5 million Christians. These Christians have clung to their lands throughout centuries of invasions into Iraq - from the days of Genghis Khan through the era of the Ba’athist regime, and during the fall of the central authority when the American disaster struck. Around 400,000 to 500,000 Christians are still living in the Mesopotamia. Iraqi Christians are distributed between Baghdad, where around 150,000 Christians reside, the Ninewah, which is home to the largest Christian presence (around 250, 000 Christians) and northern Iraq or Kurdistan, where around 12,000 Christians live.

One of the principal reasons behind the decline of the Christian presence in Iraq is that these groups did not choose to bear arms as many had. Iraqi Christians were also left without any external support to defend and preserve their rights; immigration was their only recourse. Furthermore, Christian leaders failed to develop a draft law on which they could base their rights. Christians in Iraq fell victim to the wars of “others”

Christians who have come to make up about 5% of the Iraqi population (the Iraqi authorities claim that this number is closer to 3%), managed to win five out of 325 parliamentary seats in the latest elections. This number is in accordance of the quota granted to them by the Constitution, although it is not representative of their numerical presence.

To make matters worse, some observers believe that the central authority does not see Christians as partners in the country, looking upon them instead as mere "guests," while it should instead have defended their cause given their sharp demographic decline. However, this has not been the case. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a spontaneous statement describing them [simply] as the "Christian Community" in one of his correspondences. This is overwhelming evidence of the superior feelings harbored by Iraqis, and of the fact that they look down on their fellow Christian citizens. However, it should be noted that Maliki apologized for [this statement].

The Kurds seek to turn [Iraqi] Kurdistan into the ideal model for addressing minorities. So far, they have taken the right steps. The deputy prime minister and the minister of finance are both Christian, not to mention that Christians are represented by five MPs in the Kurdish Parliament. Additionally, authorities have taken steps to "normalize" the Christian presence through a certain cultural renaissance taking place in Ankawa [a suburb of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil], and allowing for the revival of the Syriac language among other measures. Kurdish authorities have also welcomed and accommodated those displaced Christians coming from Baghdad and other governorates.

However, these measurements failed to prevent some Muslim groups from burning down more than 50 stores and hotels owned by Christians in December 2011, under the pretext that they were selling alcohol. This wave of violence came to be known as the "Battle of Zakho."

Christian leaders have been deliberating over the future of their followers. Some prefer to follow in the footsteps of other segments of the Iraqi society, demanding greater levels of autonomy as the country tends towards federalism. The leaders are demanding that the province of Ninewah (where half of the population is Christian, and the rest are a mix of Sabians, Yazidis and Mandaens) be granted a certain degree of anatomy. This proposal, however, has failed to generate a Christian consensus.

According to observers following the displacement of Iraqi Christians, most Iraqi Christians who have chosen to leave have chosen Europe, the United States or Australia as a destination. Meanwhile, more than 120,000 Iraqi Christians left for Syria at the beginning of the Iraqi crisis as part of the one million Iraqi refugees living there.

Additionally, more than 10,000 Iraqi Christians left for Lebanon. This number has declined to around 6,000 given the dire economic and social conditions in Lebanon due to the lack of formal care and the reluctance of [Lebanese] Christian forces to preserve their rights. This is not to mention the limited capacities of the Church in Lebanon. However, it has been said that at some point authorities will provide care to these Iraqi families and pave the way for their resettlement in an attempt to improve the demographic balance in Lebanon.

In the land of the Pharaohs, where the revolution ostensibly produced a democratic Spring, Copts who make up 6 to 10% of the Egyptian population according to the contrasting estimates, have not yet been able to taste freedom. The sectarian spirit sweeping across Egypt has pushed some Copts to cry out for the days of [toppled president] Hosni Mubarak. In the new parliament, the Copts are represented by only five MPs, one of whom one his seat off of an Islamic list. Afterwards, the central authorities appointed four MPs out of respect for the official quota. The Christian voice was stifled against the backdrop the electoral divisions that took place between segments of the overwhelmingly Muslim population. The Christian participation rate in the elections was very low, underscoring the frustration which has begun to creep among the Copts.

In Syria, Christians make up about 10% of the population and include Roman Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Armenians and Chaldeans. These groups together amount to less than two million people. The Ba’ath regime [in Syria] witnessed a Christian exodus - albeit limited - due to the [tough] economic situation and restrictions on public freedoms. One should note that although there are no official quotas for Christians given the state’s secular identity, religious freedoms are protected in Syria.

According to Habib Afram, the head of the Syriac League, Christians are not afraid, for their faith is strong. However, they are concerned about the repercussions of the events taking place in the region. They fear that the experiences of Iraq and Lebanon - which took place against the backdrop of a civil war - could play out again [in their own lands].

These concerns haunt the Syrian Christians, and have only been exacerbated by the death of more than 200 Christians in Homs as the result of the destructive violence in that area, where the only victims have been civilians.

[Syrian] Christians have been sounding the alarm; but they still have faith in the their land and have not deserted it. For this reason, the crisis in Syria has yet to result in a significant Christian exodus. There are reports that some affluent Syrian families have sought the opinion of Lebanese Christians leaders about Lebanon’s ability to accommodate displaced Syrian Christians. However, no answer has been forthcoming.

Christians' rights in the Arab and Islamic world should not be "limited to freely practicing religious rites; they should also be able to participate, like other communities, in the political process," said Habib Afram.

Recently, Christian groups have been seeking security and stability, especially in Syria, which has witnessed a serious [increase] in religious violence (the bombing of the Saidnaya Convent and the death of Father Basil Nassar). These events are aggravating the fears of Syrian Christians. The Syrian opposition, on the other hand, is faced by an even greater challenge: To secure the fate of the Christian minority, as the world, the Vatican specifically, remains silent in the face of these developments. Guarantees of their future have yet to be provided to Christians. Therefore, the survival of Christians in their own land lies in the hands of their partners, and especially in the hands of the emerging regimes, which are supposedly acting according to newly [embrace principles] of citizenship and equality. According to Afram, all of this remains just talk.
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Syria: "The UNSC statement represents a face-saving way out for anyone who wants to back away from previous hard-line positions!"

Via FLC

'A very Unhappy British rep... leaving as the 'Statement is recited!'
"...The positive outweighs the negative,” is perhaps the phrase that best expresses the official Syrian position on the United Nations presidential statement issued on Wednesday......... from the Syrian government’s point of view, the statement is still nothing but “empty words” even though it represents a face-saving way out for anyone who wants to back away from their previous hard-line positions against the Syrian regime.
The Syrian position seems to highly value Russian efforts at the UN Security Council (UNSC), especially Moscow’s insistence to all concerned parties that its acceptance of this non-binding compromise does not mean a change in its principled position on the crisis in Syria.
Syrian official sources say that “there is a clear direction now toward a political solution led by Syria and sponsored by the international community.”The source adds, “The question of President Bashar Assad stepping down...has been thrown in the trash bin. The only option offered by the international resolution is a dialogue within the framework of a political process led by Damascus.”...
They point out that “there would no longer be a predetermined result to the dialogue which is what previous Arab decisions had demanded when Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco wanted a dialogue with set limits and a predetermined outcome, namely Assad’s departure.”
These sources indicate that as far as Damascus is concerned “the mechanisms of the solution have become clear to everyone. The first step is to calm down the situation and provide emergency humanitarian aid, to be followed by a dialogue involving all those that have weight on the ground, after armed groups lay down their weapons.”
They stress that “the last point is significant because it is the first time that the UNSC has recognized the presence of armed groups inside Syria.”
The sources confirm that “Syria is committed to positive engagement. Now the opposition, along with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco, should do the same. If that were to happen then it will be the beginning of the end of the crisis.”....
Sources close to the Syrian regime note that a “colossal efforts” was made by the Russians to get to this statement, pointing out that “Moscow exerted tremendous pressure and was keen to inform all concerned parties from the US to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar that its acceptance of the statement does not mean that there has been a change in its principled position on the Syrian crisis.”.........
The sources point out that the statement also confirms the willingness of Syrian authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting but “at the right time,” meaning it will be up to the Syrian government to determine if it is possible to do so based on the situation on the ground.
The same sources maintain that the question of humanitarian assistance is not a simple one. It requires defining a clear mechanism for delivering aid after it gets inspected.
“There is a basic question at stake, namely, who guarantees that aid items won’t include weapons especially since civilians in many conflict areas have fled, leaving only the fighters who know how to fend for themselves. So why is there this insistence on delivering materials to these places?” they wonder.......
When asked about the Syrian government’s position on this statement, the sources confirm that “for Syria, the outline is clear and that is: reject anything having to do with the Arab League and welcome anything related to the humanitarian situation based on conditions on the ground.”.... These sources confirm that the UN statement is a reflection of the Syrian authorities success in controlling the situation on the ground.
They say: “the Russians cannot defend you this way unless you are strong. They would not have been able to do the same thing had you been defeated. Incidentally, every time you hear about an attack or explosion in Damascus or Aleppo, know that armed groups are responding to a setback they suffered somewhere else in Syria.”
These sources are keen to confirm that “the whole story with Annan and his initiative is, until this moment, nothing but dust in the wind.”
He came to Damascus and held talks offering what is called in diplomatic language a “non-paper,” and we replied in kind. We welcomed his effort without a paper. He left. He told us I will send a team to discuss the details and we welcomed that step too.
“In the end,” they say, “we welcome any effort that contributes to finding a Syrian solution to the crisis without undermining Syrian sovereignty. But until now, there is no agreement with Annan and no agreement on his initiative.”
The sources add that the UN envoy “sent a delegation of observers to Syria to discuss matters on the ground. But you know, observer missions are flexible.”
“The Arab observers,” they add, “came here to carry out a specific mission and ended up working on delivering assistance to troubled areas. The same thing happened with Annan’s team. They are touring flashpoint areas and are still exploring the situation on the ground.”
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More from wallowing March14ers: "Clinton told the Turks & Saudis not to move forward against Assad"

Via FLC

"... this means that Washington, which at one point subcontracted its Syria policy to Ankara, has now called the Turks off the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
According to well-informed Turkish and US sources, during his meeting with Secretary Clinton, Davutoğlu put forward a set of measures, including, among others, creating a buffer zone and/or a humanitarian corridor, as well as organizing and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The secretary of state responded in no uncertain terms that the Obama administration had no interest in pursuing any of these options. In fact, according to one account, Clinton told her Turkish counterpart no less than three times, “We are not there.”
This conversation fits well with the administration’s message to other regional allies, namely Saudi Arabia, against arming the FSA and pushing Washington’s preferred policy of going through the Russians, in an attempt to reach a “political solution” to the Syrian crisis.
There were hints of Davutoğlu’s agenda on the eve of his meeting with Clinton, along with some speculation about Turkish-US consultation regarding the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria. The idea was that Turkey was prepared to move in this direction following the failure to reach an agreement with Moscow ..... Apparently, the Turks, much like the Saudis, were looking to the first Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis as a possible forum to bypass the Russians and begin a more muscular effort, with US backing. The Saudis found out at the meeting that no such action was forthcoming, and withdrew in frustration, while publicly voicing their preference for arming the Syrian rebels.
The Turks got their answer from Secretary Clinton well before the Tunis gathering, and, according to the Turkish sources, were dismayed at the Obama administration’s extraordinary passivity and refusal to lead.
The message conveyed to the Turks was the same one made clear to the Saudis. According to one US source, when Davutoğlu ended up asking Clinton where the administration was on the issue, her response simply repeated the mantra about the Arab League initiative and going to the Security Council again for another go at the Russians. In other words, it was more of the same.
Not surprisingly, following the meeting, the Turkish foreign ministry pulled back, stating that direct intervention “is not on our agenda at the moment.” The Turks may have finally decided that more aggressive measures are needed. However, and despite the fact that Clinton may not have objected to Turkey moving on its own, Ankara remains reluctant to lead such an endeavor on its own, especially without explicit US approval and backing. In effect, therefore, the administration was actively blocking any such move on Turkey’s part, just as it held a red light to possible Saudi and Qatari plans to arm the FSA.
However, last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again floated the idea of a buffer zone, adding that the next Friends of Syria meeting, scheduled to take place in Istanbul on April 1, would come up “with very different results,” ..... there has been speculation that the Saudis, too, are waiting for the April 1 meeting before beginning their efforts to arm the FSA in earnest. The purpose of such declarations could be to pressure the US to take more aggressive action.
If this reading is correct, then it would explain the Obama administration’s eagerness to support the Kofi Annan mission, as well as its praise for the non-binding UN Security Council statement issued yesterday. Secretary Clinton hailed the statement even when it contained no mention of Assad’s departure from power, no time constraints on Annan’s mission, and no specific or credible threat of action in case of Syrian non-compliance, ....... Whether the Saudis and the Turks will decide to proceed regardless with their plans following the next Friends of Syria meeting, remains to be seen. But the administration’s latest move certainly has limited their maneuverability.
The Obama administration’s reasoning is simple. It calculates, rather correctly, that such regional efforts will likely end up drawing the US in down the road, one way or another. President Obama wishes to nip in the bud any possibility of this happening in an election year. And so, such regional moves were opposed in order for the president not to be forced to take action he’s adamantly intent on avoiding, regardless of the consequences.
As a result, the administration has found itself in the surreal position of siding closer with Assad’s Russian ally..."
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"The Saudis are worried ...."


Via FLC

"... Analysts say Riyadh sent troops last year because of alarm that Bahrain had not contained protests that had the potential to spill over into the Shi'ite Eastern Province region, where major Saudi oilfields are located.
An opposition politician, who did not wish to be named, said Saudi Arabia now feared that the conflict in Syria, in which Shi'ite Iran and its ally Hezbollah back Bashar al-Assad's rule, could sharpen Bahrain's sectarian divide - detracting attention from Syria and firing up Saudi Shi'ites.
"The Saudis are worried (the stalemate) could push the Shi'ites towards Iran... and at what could emerge as a consequence of Syria," he said.....
Unrest in the Saudi Eastern Province has flared again in recent months.
"The Saudis really don't need unrest in the Eastern Province right now," said Michael Stephens, researcher at the Doha-based Royal United Services Institute. "The policy priority for Saudi Arabia has been Syria for last three months."
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Hana Shalabi – Freedom or Death

Free Hana Shalabi
My PhotoOn March 22, Hana Shalabi’s 36th hunger strike day began. After examining her, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) said she’s in imminent danger of death.

Israel wants her to die. She requires immediate hospitalization. At PHR-I’s request, she was sent to Meir Hospital on March 19 but not admitted. The same night, she was transferred back to Ramleh Prison Hospital. Healthcare there and in all Israeli prison facilities is an oxymoron. There’s none worthy of the name.

Her doctor wasn’t told she’s back in prison until the next day. He and others deplore the appalling care she’ll get in terms of quality, efficacy, and timeliness. Israel condemned Hana to death unless effective intervention prevents it.

“To all the free and loyal Palestinian people, I direct my words to you—while I and all my brothers and sisters in the occupier’s prisons are on hunger strike, we call on you to continue your solidarity and for the issue of prisoners to be on the highest priority list….I call on foreign states to continue action in applying pressure (on Israel) towards the release of all our courageous prisoners.”

The joint statement “expressed grave concern” for her health. Without proper care, she risks imminent death because of significant physical deterioration.

PHR-I’s chairman asked the Israel Prison Service (IPS) chief medical officer, Dini Orkin, why Hana’s hospitalization was denied. She responded saying the IPS commissioner wants another medical opinion, despite the urgency given her health.

Especially troubling is what Hana told her doctor. During March 19 transfers, she was grossly mistreated, including being “dragged across the floor.” Doing so aggravated her weak condition.
Hana’s also being pressured to begin eating. Force-feeding is threatened despite clear medical ethics issues and international treaties prohibiting the practice. Attempts have also been made “to undermine her confidence and trust in her PHR-I doctor.”

She’s been lied to, including spurious claims that he doesn’t care about her. In fact, he’s her best hope to survive.

At the same time, a military court of appeals judge again postponed ruling on her case. No announced date was given.

“The judge requested a detailed medical report on Ms. Shalabi’s health condition, which has been prepared by the PHR-Israel doctor and submitted to the court.”

Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said:

“(T)he Israeli military prosecution’s concern is to get Hana to end her hunger strike as opposed to seriously considering the reasons underlying Hana’s protest, including the infringement on her right to fair trial and right to an effective defense.”

Like thousands of other wrongfully imprisoned Palestinians, Hana’s denied all rights, including due process and judicial fairness. They’re also subjected to torture, inhuman, and degrading treatment. It’s official Israeli policy. Fundamental international law is routinely spurned.

In Hana’s case, she denied her right to live. She wants freedom or death. Her lawyer, Jawad Boulos, quoted her saying:

“It’s true our lives are very precious, but our freedom is even more precious and more powerful than their cells.”

PHR-I member Yael Maron said:

“The story of Hana Shalabi, like that of Khader Adnan before, is, in my opinion, a remarkable example of a struggle that’s completely nonviolent towards one’s surroundings. It is the last protest a prisoner can make, and I find it brave and inspiring.”

Except for UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk, UN officials ignore her. In response, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees chairwoman Khitam Saafin said:

“The UN must be responsible for the whole of violations that are going on against our people. These prisoners are war prisoners, not security prisoners, not criminals. They are freedom fighters for their rights.”

Falk said her courage “should move even the hard-hearted.” She’s “young, tender,” nonviolent, and dedicated to what deserves universal praise, not lawless imprisonment and brutality.

Hunger striking reflects her struggle against injustice. It’s not about her alone. It’s for thousands of other wrongfully incarcerated and mistreated Palestinian prisoners. Israel persecutes them mercilessly.
Hana’s resisting her only way. Doing so shows extraordinary courage. She’s willing to die for justice. What greater sacrifice than that!

Despite appalling mistreatment, her spirit’s indomitable. She inspires others to resist injustice their way and support her and others like her.

Hana explained it best, saying:

“This is for all the prisoners and not for me alone.”

It’s also about wanting global attention paid to intolerable abuses vital to condemn and end. Hana’s willing to die so others can live free.

What greater sacrifice than that! Her struggle is ours. We’re all Hana Shalabi!

Uprooted Palestinian River to Sea

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An Open Letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton from Buddy the Goy



Dear Baroness Ashton:

It seems that in one of those unguarded moments we all experience from time to time, you slipped up and allowed your true feelings about the situation in Gaza to emerge. My, my! What on earth were you thinking that day? Now you’re in a real pickle!

I noticed that in an apparent effort at being equitable and even-handed in your conference remarks you included the words “Gaza” and “Sderot” in the same sentence. But that’s actually probably where you made your fatal mistake. Jews frequently aren’t interested in “fairness” and “even-handedness,” not when they themselves are the subject being talked about. As much of the world is by now beginning to understand, a good manyJewish people, especially Israelis,  consider themselves superior to others and rather enjoy hearing acknowledgement of such from those with whom they come in contact.

In listening to your entire speech, I have to say it was all pretty innocuous-sounding. Yes, young Palestinians have the same hopes and dreams as other young people throughout the world. That’s not exactly a controversial statement. You’d think it would be safe to say something like that. You even went so far as to echo the conventional NATO line about Syria. So what gives here? Why they jumpin’ all over you? Could it be just the fact that you spoke at a Palestinian youth conference at all—is that what upset your detractors so much? It sure makes me wonder. And hey! Even the part of your speech that ignited all that Jewish angst and outrage we’ve been hearing over the past few days—even that part seems pretty tame and inoffensive. I mean really! Come on! Here is what you said:

And in days when we remember young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances—the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy, and a friend of mine’s child being part of that; when we remember what happened in Toulouse today; when we remember what happened when I was in Norway last week a year ago; when we know what’s happening in Syria; when we see what’s happened in Gaza and Sderot; in different parts of the world we remember young people and children who lose their lives.

The comment about being “killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances” clearly applies to the children of Gaza as much as to those who died in Toulouse. How could anybody argue otherwise? How could even a Zionist Jew possibly claim the two daughters of Khaled Abed Rabbo—shot dead by an Israeli soldier while their grandmother carried a white flag attached to a mop handle—did not die under “terrible circumstances”? How could even the most hardened criminal in the worst prison in America not have been affected by that picture of little four-year-old Ahmed Samouni with the two bullet holes in his chest? Let’s face it, Baroness, no rational person could have found reason to get apoplectic over anything you said. But in the subsequent explosion, what did we see? A bunch of Israeli leaders and other Jewish big-wigs throwing hissy fits and calling for your resignation. And I have to tell ya—it was without much hope I observed you attempting to defuse the crisis by asserting you had drawn “no parallel whatsoever between the circumstances of the Toulouse attack and the situation in Gaza.” This doesn’t seem to have cut the mustard, though, as I feared it wouldn’t, and as we see now, the European Jewish Parliament and the European Jewish Union have launched a campaign calling for you to either apologize or resign.

Yes, it does appear as if you’re in a pickle. So here’s my friendly suggestion. Extend your middle finger and tell all the Jews who are attacking you to go hop on a frickin’ freight train to hell. Then retire from public life and publish your memoirs telling how you were hounded out of your job as the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs by the crazed, maniacal leaders of the state of Israel. Guaranteed to be a bestseller! Such a book might even head off a nuclear war! Plus you’ll emerge with your dignity intact and with the respect and gratitude of people all over the world for having had the courage to tell the truth. This as I say would be my preferred option for you.

I have a feeling, however, despite the fact that you’re a nice lady and all, you may not have quite the spunk to take this on, so here’s an alternate suggestion. The next time you have a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, get down on your belly, slither up to his feet, and pour out your humblest, most abject apology. Be sure and mention that the words “terrible circumstances” were in no way intended to apply to Gaza, that you misspoke, and that Israel’s blockade and repeated attacks and war crimes have never been anything other than benevolent and wonderful. Also, while you’re having this conversation with his shoes, be sure and tell Netanyahu you support Israel’s war with Iran and that you’re totally in favor of Europeans going and fighting it for them. It wouldn’t hurt to confide as well that you’re a devoted adherent of the seven laws of Noah and you fully believe it’s incumbent upon Europeans to be the Jewish state’s water carriers and wood hewers. Also propose to him the idea of setting up Jewish-run penal colonies throughout the EU where those who question the holocaust or suggest Israeli involvement in 911 can be incarcerated and forced to hard labor. But don’t leave it at that! As you’re giving voice to all these things, don’t forget to mention while you’re at it that the Holocaust was terrible, Hitler was mean, that Jewish suffering surpasses all other, etc. and so on. I’m sure you’ve got all that down pat by now, but you’ll really want to pour it on thick while giving your apology.

Finally, finish up by telling Netanyahu that Germany’s gift of six submarines is, in your opinion, totally inadequate, and that at the very least they need to give six more. Once you’ve articulated all this, repeat the process with the heir apparent to the throne, Avigdor Lieberman. That should mollify’em, at least for now. You may even get to keep your job.

Hey Baroness, good luck! Hope things work out for ya! Stay cool!

Your pal,

Buddy the Goy
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The ‘Pressure Cooker’ tactics – A Glimpse Into Israeli Psychosis

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:23PM AuthorGilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon





The Israeli Yet (Hebrew edition) published a few hours ago an interview with retired Israeli police commissioner, Major General Assaf Hefetz. Hefez is highly critical of the French police’s recent operation in Toulouse. According to the Israeli Major General, the French waited for too long (32 hours). He contends that the French police should have been more assertive and far more aggressive. I hope that you have a hard stomach to read how Israel would handle a similar situation.

They should have implemented the ‘pressure cooker tactics’ says Hefetz-
“massive fire at the walls of the house, throwing grenades around the building followed by bulldozer erasure of the building walls till the suspect turns himself.”

Frightening isn’t it? Welcome to occupied Palestine. It seems as if Major General Hefetz came short of suggesting to evacuate the city and to nuke the neighborhood.

In fact General Hefetz is describing here the Palestinian reality. Hefetz lethal approach explains the devastation the Israel left behind in Jenin (2002). It also explains the genocidal tactics employed by the IDF in Gaza massacre (2009). It is more than likely that General Hefetz better seek help and find a way to deal with his aggression.

Yet, we have to remember that at the time of Operation Cast Lead, 94% of Israeli Jews supported IDF genocidal tactics. It seems as if we are dealing here with a psychotic collective.

GiladAdd

Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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