Saturday 21 July 2012

Iranian Cleric: Syria Pays Price of Supporting Palestine, Iran

Local Editor

Iran's Friday cleric, Sayyed Ahmad Khatami, described the current circumstances as "the war of wills", confirming that "Syria is paying the price of supporting Palestine and Iran."
During his Friday preach in Tehran, Sayyed Khatami added that "the Islamic Revolution tree has become strong and firm, not shivered or defeated by storms."

"The US, Britain, and the European countries commit several crimes, and today these countries focus on the recent developments, at the time when the recent events in this Arab country [Syria] refer to the deepness of global arrogance," Sayyed Khatami indicated.

Moreover, Ayatollah Khatami noted the latest suicidal explosion in Syria, which killed Syrian Defense Minister and other high-ranking officials, asserting that "Act of retreat cannot be imposed on the Syrian people via terrorist practices."

"Didn't they blast the Islamic Republic Party's office in Iran? And despite all that, they Islamic regime remained strong. That is why the only way for the government and the Syrian people is through resisting the devils," the Iranian Cleric further said.

Regarding the popular protests in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Ayatollah Khatami believed that "it is too bad that some people call themselves "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques", at the time when their religion became killing, and they transformed Bahrain into a big prison."

"In Saudi Arabia, they are opposing the popular demands, while the people are only demanding democracy in that Arab country; yet the only response to the people's demands is fire," he went on to say.
"Injustice will not remain in any country, and let Al-Saud and Al-Khalifa, and the rest of the ruling dynasties know that they will receive the same fate as those toppled before them," Sayyed Khatami concluded.

Source: News Agencies, Translated and Edited by

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Violence “Escalates” in Syria

Tanks inside Damascus on July 20 (AFP)

Tanks inside Damascus on July 20 (AFP)
SYRIA- Syrian armed forces have launched an all-out offensive on rebel positions in Damascus, as the UN Security Council extended for 30 days the mandate of its observer mission.

Meanwhile, thousands of Syrian civilian nationals continued to flee the country to escape violence.

After a week of intense clashes, the Syrian capital of Damascus is now largely isolated by checkpoints and tanks, witnesses told international press on Saturday.

The chaos in Damascus continued Saturday, opposition activists reported, when tanks, artillery and mortars pummeled the neighborhood of Barzeh.
Syrian Rebels have also clashed with troops in several neighborhoods of Syria's second-largest city, Aleppo, press reports added Saturday.

Also on Saturday, International pres circulated conflicted reports about rebels controlling some Syrian border crossing points; while others reported clashes between rebels and official armed forces at these crossing points.

Earlier on Thursday, a Syrian official source dismissed news broadcast by al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera TV channels on Bab al-Hawa border crossing point in Idleb province on the borders with Turkey as "fabricated and false".

The official source then also denied al-Arabiya reports on terrorists taking hold of Yabroud and al-Dmeir cities and the Security Detachment in al-Tal city in Damascus Countryside and Barzeh area in Damascus.

Elsewhere in the country, at least 21 people were killed in early Saturday violence, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said Saturday in statement. The group said rockets and shelling from helicopters fell on the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where two people were killed.

In one of the capital's bloodiest days, more than 124 people were killed in Damascus and its suburbs, according to the LCC. The opposition network reported at least 286 deaths throughout the country on Friday.

Press reports also indicated Saturday that Syrian government maintained its aim is to get rid of "terrorists" in the targeted areas. A Syrian security official told Al-Arabiya TV the military has started an operation to take over all Damascus neighborhoods.

International press used to say that it cannot independently confirm reports of violence because the Syrian government had restricted access by foreign journalists since March 2011 when protests started in country.

In turn, Syria`s official news agency SANA reported Saturday “Authorities foiled infiltration attempts by armed terrorist groups from the Lebanese territories through several sites in Tal Kalakh in Homs countryside.”

On Friday, SANA said “

Earlier, press reports urged as another sign of what seems to be his crumbling power that the Syrian President did not appear in public after the killings of the top officials but showed up on television Thursday during a swearing-in ceremony for the new defense minister.

The whereabouts of the president or the location of the ceremony remain unclear, though some have suggested al-Assad is not in the capital.

But SANA reported late on Thursday “General Fahd Jassem al-Freij on Thursday was sworn in before President Bashar al-Assad as Minister of Defense.”

“Afterwards, President al-Assad received the Minister of Defense and provided him with his directions, wishing him success in his duties.” SANA added late on Thursday.

United Nations estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed since the crisis began in March 2011. But Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the office of the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said the United Nations hasn't been giving out overall death toll numbers since December "because it became impossible to verify the numbers in any meaningful way."

Syria`s Opposition groups tracking deaths have issued higher tolls. The LCC, for example, estimates that more than 16,000 have died.
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Putin Warns West of Overpassing UN on Syria, Sets Diplomacy Red Lines

Putin set an outline and red lines to his National Security Council in determining the Russian policy. This foreign policy went into confrontation that might shape the international political map for the next hundred years.

Ahmad Haj Ali- Moscow

After the dual Chinese- Russian veto that blocked UN sanctions against Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with members of his country's Security Council on Friday to discuss the latest developments on Syria.

The meeting came hours after the UN Security Council unanimously approved the British draft of extending the observers' mission in Syria for another month. Moscow considered the decision as an agreement from all parties to end violence.

According to Russian Ambassador to UN Security Council Vitaly Churkin, "Moscow and Beijing led the West to approve on this amendment, particularly on the changes that have been made to the resolution's text to add some balance."

As he headed the Russian Security Council meeting, Putin warned of any Western attempt to act without the UN Security Council's approval.

Putin cautioned the West that "such act will be inefficient and will undermine the authority of this international organization."

The meeting was attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the heads of the Duma Valenatvienko and Sergei Naryshkin, Chairman of the Presidium of the State, Sergei Ivanov, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, the director of the Federal Security Alexander Bortnikov and Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Putin refused to hold Syria responsibility for the aggravation of violence. He further accused the West of inciting the Syrian opposition to escalate violence in a time when Russia strives to find a political solution to the crisis.

By this, Putin set an outline and red lines to his National Security Council in determining the Russian policy. This foreign policy went into confrontation that might shape the international political map for the next hundred years.

Source: al-Intiqad, translated and edited by
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Spoiling for Another Lebanon War

My Photo"Who can know for sure what Israel plans. Given its history, anything is possible." 
Lebanon has the misfortune of bordering Israel. The IDF attacked its northern neighbor in 1978, 1982, 1996, and 2006. More on the most recent war below.

Israel still illegally occupies Sheba Farms and Ghajar Lebanese territory.

Since at least the 1960s, it conducted repeated violations of its territory. Its warplanes overfly Lebanon provocatively. It committed thousands of terrorist attacks. It remains unaccountable for all of them.

Hezbollah was born out of Israel's 1982 war. It's a legitimate part of Lebanon's government. It's not a terrorist organization. It's repeatedly accused of attacks it didn't commit. The July 19 Bulgarian false flag is the latest. More on the aftermath below.

Hezbollah threatens no one. It's fully prepared and committed to defend itself and its territory if attacked. International law supports it. In contrast, Israel is a serial war criminal. It's a regional menace. Its nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals threaten humanity.

In July 2006, Israel committed naked aggression. Lebanon was preemptively attacked. Thinly veiled pretexts were used as justification. Israel lies about all its belligerence. 

Crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Doing so is official Israeli policy.

Against Lebanon, Israeli strategy revealed its "Dahiya Doctrine." Named after the destroyed Beirut suburb, it's how all Israeli wars are waged.

Collective punishment /disproportionate force against civilians and non-military infrastructure is policy. Israel's 2006 blitzkrieg killed over 1,000, injured thousands more, and displaced one-fourth of Lebanon's four million people. 

Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, and other Lebanon cities and towns were attacked. Targets destroyed or damaged included major ports, Beirut International Airport, 70 bridges, dozens of key roads, electrical power plants, gas and fuel stations, factories, schools, radio and TV stations, mosques, churches, hospitals, dams, civil defense centers, Sidon's refugee camp, an orphanage, and civilian neighborhoods. 

Jiyeh's utility plant south of Beirut was also struck. Doing so caused a massive oil spill. It affected over 90 miles of coastal waters. It threatened biodiversity and heightened the risk of cancer for many thousands of Lebanese.

A land, sea and air siege was imposed. Illegal weapons were used. They included depleted uranium, chemical agents, white phosphorous bombs and shells that burns flesh to the bone, and so-called thermobaric bombs.

They contain polymer-bonded or solid fuel-air explosives. They're able to penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels. Its blast pressure sucks oxygen out of affected areas and people in them. It's a terror weapon designed to kill and destroy horrifically.

On July 19, a bus carrying Israeli tourists and others was attacked. Eight deaths were reported. Israel spuriously blamed Hezbollah and Iran.

The New York Times regurgitated baseless Israeli/US accusations saying "American officials on Thursday identified the suicide bomber responsible for a deadly attack on Israeli vacationers here as a member of a Hezbollah cell that was operating in Bulgaria and looking for such targets, corroborating Israel’s assertions and making the bombing a new source of tension with Iran."

An unnamed "senior American official" said "the bomber 'act(ed) under broad guidance' to hit Israeli targets when opportunities presented themselves...."

Two other unnamed US officials blamed Hezbollah. They called Iran "its primary sponsor." They claimed the motive was in retaliation for assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists.

As always when these type accusations are made, no evidence whatever is cited. Charges without clear corroboration are baseless. The identity of a so-called bomber remains unknown.

Clearly one or more bombs exploded. Whether suicide was involved remains pure speculation. Most likely a Mossad operative safely distant from its detonation bore responsibility.

Hezbollah and Iran categorically denied involvement. Repeatedly they've said they don't target civilians. They respond only when militarily attacked. International law permits it.

On July 19, Press TV said Tehran's Sofia embassy dismissed spurious Israeli/US charges, saying: 
"The Islamic Republic of Iran regards terrorism as an anti-human phenomenon and condemns acts of terror by whomever, for whatever purposes and deems it unacceptable." 
"The baseless remarks by the Israeli regime’s officials and the accusations against Iran regarding its alleged participation in the bus explosion are a known Israeli approach with political purposes, which shows the desperation of the accusers."

Iran and Bulgaria maintain friendly relations was explained, adding: 
"The enemies’ threadbare plots will never damage the strong cordial relations between Tehran and Sofia."
On July 19, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov called it "wrong and a mistake to point fingers at this stage of the investigation at any country and organization."

It's "wrong to jump to conclusions....At this stage," very little is known, he added.

The Bulgarian false flag bears classic Mossad fingerprints. Car bombs are a favorite tactic. Netanyahu adds more lawlessness to his criminal legacy. He deflected attention saying:

"We will pursue the attackers and extract a heavy price from those who sent them. We will continue fighting Iranian terror, we will act against it with great force." 
"For over a year, Iran, along with its protege Hezbollah, has been waging an international terror campaign. (It's) the world’s number one exporter of terror (along with its) Hezbollah 'long arm.' " 
"A terrorist state must not have a nuclear weapon," he added.

Israeli officials spuriously claim the Iranian Quds Force and Hezbollah conduct numerous terrorist attacks. An unnamed Israeli official said "(t)hey work together when necessary and separately" otherwise.

He added that he couldn't confirm if an alleged bomber intended to blow himself up or if he suffered a "work accident." We'll never know, he added. Conveniently that leaves a crime without an identifiable suspect by name.

Bulgarian authorities are trying to blame someone. They're working with Israeli, US and Interpol operatives. DNA was taken from an alleged bomber. How he was selected remains unknown. Everyone on the bus looked like tourists.

The suspect wore plaid shorts, an Adidas T-shirt, and a baseball cap. Allegedly he had a fake driver's license. Who can know what's true and what's not.

On July 19, Haaretz headlined "Netanyahu wants to turn the Israeli intelligence failure over Bulgaria into an excuse to strike Iran," saying: 
Before the dust settled in Bulgaria, he said "all signs lead to Iran." Without proof, no suspect exists. Nonetheless, "Netanyahu and Barak are eager to deploy IDF forces on an attack mission targeting facilities in Iran." 
"They lack a convincing excuse," and Obama is preoccupied until after November elections.
 Israel also wants revenge for Hezbollah's effectiveness in 2006. It embarrassed the vaunted IDF. It proved a formidable adversary no matter how much death and destruction it inflicted. 

It's likely better equipped, armed, and ready now than then. Nonetheless, Israel likely wants a longstanding grievance resolved.

It also covets Lebanon's 20-mile stretch from its border to the Litani River. At issue are considerable water resources and offshore oil and gas.

The Tamar and Leviathan gas fields contain an estimated 25 trillion cubic feet supply as well as four billion or more barrels of oil. A prize this great exceeds any revenge benefit, but in a nation addicted to militarism and belligerence, both issues matter.

Official reports leave another issue unaddressed. Israel faces internal unrest. Most Israelis have longstanding social injustice grievances. Nationwide protests persist. People demand relief from unaffordable housing prices and eroding benefits.

Promises made were broken. Public rage grows. What better way to diffuse it than by hyping an alleged terrorist threat. 

Expect a continued drumbeat to heighten fear, blame Iran and Hezbollah, and perhaps use the Bulgarian incident to attack Lebanon ahead of a possible war on Iran.

Who can know for sure what Israel plans. Given its history, anything is possible.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:58 PM
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Israel preparing military intervention in Syria

Israel is preparing for a possible military intervention in Syria in case the Syrian government hands missiles or chemical weapons to the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday.
"I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that...(if necessary)...we will be able to consider carrying out an operation," Barak said in an interview on Channel 10 television.

"We are following...the possible transfer of advanced munitions systems, mainly anti-aircraft missiles or heavy ground-to-ground missiles, but there could also be a possibility of the transfer of chemical means (weapons) from Syria to Lebanon," he added.

"The moment (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) starts to fall we will conduct intelligence monitoring and will liaise with other agencies," Barak said.

Hezbollah, launched thousands of mainly short-range rockets into Israel during Israel's 2006 offensive in southern Lebanon, but some longer-range rockets reached central Israel.

The attacks helped the resistance movement defeat Israel and the frontier between the countries has largely remained quiet since then.

Speaking on Wednesday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah defended Assad against an uprising which he said was led by foreign powers and admitted that weapons used in the 2006 war were provided by Syria.
"The most important missiles that landed in occupied Palestine were manufactured or made in Syria," he said.
On Thursday, Barak toured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau illegally occupied by Israel in 1967.
Barak said Israeli troops were preparing to turn back Syrian refugees fleeing for safety into territory that Israel controls.

"They (refugees) have not chosen to come close to us, but in the event of the regime's downfall, which could happen..., (Israeli forces) here are alert and ready, and if we have to stop waves of refugees, we will stop them," Barak said.

Syrian rebels have assassinated four of Assad's closest aides in Damascus and seized three border crossings with Iraq and Turkey this week, putting the Syrian leader under greater pressure than at any time in the 16-month uprising against his rule.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters)
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Putin Signs Law Considering NGOs "Foreign Agents"

Local Editor

Russian Peresident Vladidmir Putin signs a bill passed by parliament which brands NGOs which receive funding from abroad as "foreign agents".putin

Putin "signed the federal law on regulating the activities of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who carry out the role of a foreign agent", the Kremlin said Saturday in a statement.

The law, which sailed through the State Duma lower house on July 13 and then the upper house Federation Council on July 18, requires NGOs who receive foreign funding to register with the authorities as foreign agents.
The NGOs will have to allow official checks of their income, accounting and management structure as well as regularly make public their sources of income and their management.

The law has caused huge concern among activists who fear it will be used to stigmatise critical NGOs.
The label "foreign agent" does not directly implicate the NGO in espionage but does carry in Russian unequivocally negative connotations of unpatriotic behaviour.

"Materials published by the NGO in the media and on the Internet should be accompanied by a note that these materials have been published or distributed by an NGO carrying out the role of a foreign agent," the new legislation says.
Source: AFP
21-07-2012 - 16:01 Last updated 21-07-2012 - 16:01
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Nasrallah’s Message to Israel

Hezbollah flags wave in the Raya field during the 6th annual celebration of the July war. (Photo: Marwan Bu Haidar)
Published Friday, July 20, 2012

There were many reasons that prompted Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to go public about one of the biggest intelligence ruses Israel ever faced in its wars with the Arabs, which snared it in a trap at the start of its June 2006 assault on Lebanon. The timing of his revelation was intended to make a number of points, and several messages were implicit in his brief recollection of the affair. All relate to the essence of the conflict currently underway in the region.

The crisis in Syria has been turned into one facet of Israeli-Arab conflict, due to the direct involvement of the US and Israel along with their Arab acolytes. This crisis has also become a central factor in determining the fate of other countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan, as well as the Palestinian cause. It may be some time before the Israelis stop being the only ones giving this serious consideration, and everyone else starts noticing the consequences.

During the months that followed the June war, the resistance dropped several hints about its foiling of what the enemy had termed “Operation Qualitative Weight.” But it provided no solid information. The Israelis who picked up these hints treated them with derision. They remained convinced that those pre-dawn air-strikes had been a real achievement.

Despite the Winograd Commission, the subsequent recrimination and buck-passing between Israeli politicians and generals, and the quarrels between agencies over who was to blame for the failures of the war, everyone continued to refer to this operation in glowing terms. Great efforts were made to trumpet it as the great triumph of the otherwise botched Second Lebanon war.

Virtually every account of the war portrayed the operation in such terms. It was the ace of spades which Israeli military and security chiefs had up their sleeves to trump Hezbollah. One Israeli military commentator described it as “an astonishing feat of intelligence-gathering and operational capability,” and several said that the morale-boost it gave to Israel’s political and military leaders encouraged them to press on with the war, despite their target-list having been exhausted from day four.

The operation, as portrayed by the Israelis, was the culmination of an elaborate long-term effort to gather accurate intelligence about the location of the resistance’s medium- and long- range missile platforms. Using this information, the air force supposedly succeeded in wiping out between 70 to 80 percent of the resistance’s missile capability in a single night of airstrikes. It was reputedly dubbed “Fajr Night,” a reference to the Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles the Israelis believe they took out.

More information about this plan was leaked by military intelligence after the war. In their book Captives in Lebanon, authors Ofer Shelach (security affairs analyst of Yediot Aharanot newspaper) and Yoav Limor (Channel One television’s military correspondent) provided some details. They wrote that it took six years, and a massive intelligence effort costing hundreds of millions of dollars, to collect all the intelligence on scores of sites – mostly Hezbollah arms depots and missile platforms – so they could be attacked simultaneously. The subsequent airstrikes were described as devastating, likened to those of 5 June 1967, the destruction of the Syrian surface-to-air missiles in the Bekaa valley in 1982, or the shock-and-awe American bombing of Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

In his speech on Wednesday, Nasrallah did not discuss the deception operation itself. He simply declared that it had succeeded. One can imagine that as of yesterday, a whole host of questions are being asked by everyone concerned in Israeli intelligence circles.

They may start with an obvious one:

Q: Was Nasrallah telling the truth?

A: We can’t be sure. But he’s never lied before, or risked his or his organization’s credibility, over something like this. And the way the war turned out showed that he either had more missiles than we thought, or he really did mislead us. He has a record of that. In the past, his game of double agents forced us to mistrust many of our agents in Lebanon. And more recently he showed he has intelligence capabilities which left a lot of us speechless. And there’s also the Ansariya operation, which remained a mystery for 13 years until Nasrallah decided to say what happened, for reasons of his own. And it turned out be right. They really had been waiting for us in those orchards.

Q: How did he manage to uncover our intelligence operation, and when?
A.That’s what we should be trying to find out, in an inquiry that re-examines all the data and methods and questions all the people involved.

Q. But how did they carry out the deception, by using double agents, or technology, or what?
A.The same inquiry might be able to point out weaknesses, and provide us with appraisals and assessments which, even if they do not give us definitive answers, will help us build up an approximate picture. But we’ll have to wait until Nasrallah decides to say more before we know the full story.

Q. So if what he said was true, did he sacrifice one missile arsenal to safeguard another, or did he have a special way of removing the missiles without us seeing? How could he, when the sites were under permanent surveillance? Could he have moved them before they captured the soldiers on June 12, or right afterwards, or what?

A. Hezbollah is full of surprises. So while it is necessary to find the answer to this question, it does not change the fact that we were deceived. This means we should question what we believe or think is correct today, and re-examine it in order to confirm it – especially as he accompanied his story with a threat to spring a surprise on us.

Q. What kind of surprise is he talking about?

A. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we knew what it was. But we don’t, so we won’t know until it happens – unless he changes it and replaces it with a different surprise.

It may be helpful to remember that the all-out intelligence war between the resistance and the enemy is going through an extremely intense and complex phase. Neither side talks about its ongoing activities. But they have expanded in scope over the course of the last six years, and both sides devote far more of their capabilities and resources to the effort than many might think.

Nasrallah also alerted all concerned (if only by way of a warning) that the deception operation could still be underway.

This means that the first strike with which Israel plans to surprise the resistance in the next war may be misconceived. And just as Israel has its first strike, one could reasonably assume that the resistance has a first strike of its own in mind – whether it launches war itself, or leaves the enemy to enjoy the first few hours of another “qualitative” opening move. One could think of dozens, if not hundreds, of strategic military and civilian targets that could come under a devastating and intensive missile barrage within minutes, for starters.
The connection between all this and current developments is that there are growing signs that Israel – in a climate that is increasingly coming to resemble that of 2006 – could entangle the world in a crazy military operation in Syria, or on its borders.

Attempts to depose the regime in Syria by political means have failed. The focus has shifted to intelligence operations as part of an open war, as evidenced by developments on the ground, including the assassination of the security chiefs in Damascus. But that is still not enough to radically tip the balance of power or change the rules of the game. After yesterday’s Russo-Chinese veto of a UN Security Council resolution sanctioning further foreign intervention, the enemies of Syria and the resistance have only Israel and its thuggery to turn to.

It has been sending out signals, whether by voicing fears that the Golan Heights could turn into another Sinai, or by talking of the grave threat posed by the transfer of sophisticated Syrian weaponry, including chemical weapons, to Lebanon.

If Israel is considering such a step, it now knows, for sure, that Hezbollah is not neutral, but in the heart of a battle that is liable to redraw the entire map of the region.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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Iraq: most border crossings under Syrian control

Members of radical Jihadist group Hamza Abdualmuttalib train near Aleppo on 19 July 2012. (Photo: AFP - Bulent Kilic)
Updated 5:35pm: Iraq's government spokesman on Friday said rebels were controlling one major border crossing between the two counties, but three others were now in the hands of the Syrian regime.
Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh on Friday refuted earlier reports that rebels had seized all four major border crossings between Syria and Iraq.

Al-Dabbagh said rebels were in control of the crossing near the Iraqi town of Qaim, located 320 kilometers west of Baghdad.

But he said the Syrian government was still in control at open border crossings in al-Walid, Rabiya and in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Iraqi army was alleged to have sealed the Qaim crossing, erecting blast walls to prevent clashes.
Another Iraqi security official at Qaim confirmed the post had been taken over by Syrian rebels, while eyewitnesses also reported seeing the flag of the Free Syrian Army raised at the outpost.
Al-Dabbagh's comments were in contrast to Iraq's deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi, who said on Thursday the Free Syrian Army had taken all the border points between the two countries.
Syrian rebels also seized control of the Bab Al-Hawa border post with Turkey on Friday after a fierce battle with Syrian troops, an AFP photographer at the scene reported.
The carcasses of burnt-out lorries were scattered across the scene of the battle. Some 150 armed rebel fighters were in control of the post, which lies opposite Turkey's Cilvegozu border crossing in the southern province of Hatay.
The rebel fighters had already sacked the buildings making up the Syrian border post, which were bloodstained and riddled with bullets from the battle.
They had also looted the contents of the Turkish lorries that were caught up in the battle as they waited to cross the border.
Syrian government soldiers had abandoned the site.
The border post lies in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib, the scene of fierce fighting for months now.
Meanwhile, Syrian military forces have routed rebel fighters from the Midan district of Damascus, state television said Friday.
"Our brave army forces have completely cleaned the area of Midan in Damascus of the remaining mercenary terrorists and have reestablished security," the broadcaster said.
Accounts of violence are difficult to verify due to tight media restrictions and a deteriorating security situation for journalists.

Refugees enter Lebanon

Up to 30,000 Syrian refugees may have crossed into Lebanon in the past 48 hours to escape the fighting, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.
"We have reports we are trying to verify that thousands of Syrians overnight and yesterday crossed into Lebanon. So far reports vary between 8,500 and 30,000 people may have crossed in the past 48 hours," said Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"Borders remain open...people continue to flood into Lebanon."
One million Syrians are also believed to be internally displaced within the country as of last week, she told a news briefing in Geneva.
The figure came from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent whose previous estimate was that 500,000 were uprooted.
(AFP, Al-Akhbar)
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Syrian Gov. alarmed of Fake Syrian Satellite Channel

DAMASCUS- Syria`s Information Ministry urged Friday Syrian nationals to be cautious and avoid misleading fake media outlets who allege being Syrian official TVs.

Syria`s Information Ministry announced that there is a satellite channel using the logo of the Syrian Satellite Channel and broadcasting nationalistic songs in preparation for springing a media ambush which has been uncovered before.

This channel may appear on the same frequency as the genuine channel if it is cut off at any time, Information Ministry added.

The Information Ministry also affirmed that the continuation of the genuine Syrian channels is linked to the presence of its well-known programs and presenters, and that the aforementioned channel and any similar channel is not related to the Syrian national media and constitutes blatant media piracy.

On Saturday, Iranian FARES news agency published a report says that a Qatari security firm has built a number of simulated buildings similar to Syria's official buildings to produce fake video footages about the conflicts in the Arab country.

Special sources said that the Qatari company which is specialized in manufacturing models has started executive preparations of constructing the fake buildings so that the Qatari media and the Syrian dissidents can release a new round of alleged reports against President Bashar al-Assad's government, FARES report said on Saturday.

FARES report added that eye-witnesses have announced that a large number of hired people who had worn military and reporters' uniforms were also dispatched to the place where the buildings were being constructed.

Also a number of public and military vehicles with Syrian numbers were sent to al-Zoubarah area near Doha to be used for producing fake films about the events in Syria, the report indicated Saturday.

Earlier in May, a US daily, Washington Post, reported that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling the President Bashar al-Assad's government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The US newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.

According to the report, material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border.

Thousands of Syrian National have been killed, when protest rallies against President Bashar al-Assad`s regime turned into armed clashes.

Syrian government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

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The Secret Battle for Syria by Ambassador marc ginsberg

In his piece posted two days ago, Khalid Amayereh, a Sectarian anti-Shiite, Islamist big mouth, hailed the so-called ‘martyrdom” operation against the "National Security headquarters’ building in the heart of Damascus Wednesday morning, killing the Regime’s Defense Minister Daoud Abdullah Rajha and Intelligence Chief Asef Shawkat as well as 50 other soldiers."

Though Khalid Amayereh is the only Commentator of PIC, a pro-Hamas site, his piece and his other Anti-shiite writings never appeared at PIC, most likely for tactical reason, but I believe it reflects the hidden sectarian theology of islamists that become obvious after the so called "Arab spring" designed to replace the so-called shiite cresent, and fill the gap after the shamful withdrawal from Iraq and the expected withdrawal from afghanistan.

Amayereh was right in saying that the "The bombing of the Syrian regime’s security and intelligence central nervous system" is a turning point in the Syrian crises. Actually, it was planned anf timed to be the breaking point (breaking the regime and blackmailing Russia and China. Hopefully both goals failed

Regime change by political means have failed, and Usrael has shifted to intelligence operations. Few days before the attack Clinton talked about the comming Damascus eathquake. The crin\munal attack was followed by an intensive media campain designed to shock and Awe 'the regime, which depends" according to Amyereh's claims, "for its survival on the army and the small esoteric Alawite sect," . According to Amayereh's "reliable sources in Damascus, hundreds if not thousands of officers are only Awaiting the opportune time to join the opposition"

Cutting it short, what happened was not not a ‘martyrdom” operation as Amayereh claimed (a car laden with explosives detonated outside the National Security headquarters). It was a Mossad-CIA-Turkish a well-executed security operation, excuted by a sleeping Traitor (the companion of Syria's national Security Chief Hisham Ikhtiar), who planted two remote controlled bombs at the security office.

Moreover, according the Nasser Kandil, Usrael finally realised that the only way to topple the regime is killing its leaders. Nasser revealed that one month ago they tried to do it with poisoned food, and it failled because Assef was not hungry.

Amayereh claims that the "The death of Asef Shawkat represents a real shock for the regime. He was married to Bashar Assad’s sister Bushra and is widely thought to be responsible for the murder of thousands of civilians. According to the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, who defected recently, Shawkat instructed his soldiers to murder, rape and steal". According to Palestinian and Lebanese resistance, Shawkat was something else.

Rejoicing the death of Shawkat Amayereh wrote "Shawkat lived by the sword all his life. He carries on his criminal hands the blood of thousands of his innocent victims. Hence, no tears ought to be shed for his death."

"It's a shame Assad himself was not in the same room when the bomb went off". Thus said the ex-Jewish Ambassador marc ginsberg.

No Surprise, to find the Jewish State, the American Jewish, Islamists, librals and leftists on the same page rejoicing killing Assad's aids,

On the other side the Icon of RESISTANCE mouned the marytres and revealed their great help for the resistanse in Lebanon and Palestine. In His speech, Nasrallah, as usual, sent multiple messages to all concerned and promised Israel big surprises in the next war.

Most likely, with Syria absorbing the attack and launching an open war on Nato Syrian Army and Islamists terrorisr groupes, America, to avoid a regional war, may push Israel to attack Syria or Hezbollah or both to do what it failed to do in Jully 2006.

Yes Shawkat, like Imad Mughniyeh and Mabhouh, lived all his life by sword, the resistance sword, and by sword, a zionist sword, he died.

I used to say: Blood will defeat the sword, and here I repeat the Syrian Blood shed by nato and Nato brother shall unite Syrians and defeat all the swords.

The Secret Battle for Syria by Ambassador marc ginsberg

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by Ambassador marc ginsberg

"But yesterday's breach of Assad's inner sanctum defenses by a well-placed bomb that killed Assad's military high command is proof enough that Syrian opposition forces are increasingly able to level the battle field

It's a shame Assad himself was not in the same room when the bomb went off.

With the assistance of "non-lethal" U.S. strategic communications equipment and reconnaissance support carried into Syria by Turkish military teams through refugee safe havens on the Turkish-Syrian border, units of the increasingly organized Free Syrian Army have lethally deployed anti-tank weapons and shoulder-fired grenade launchers smuggled from Libya and Lebanon courtesy of elements of Gulf Cooperation Council military council.

Turkey has ramped up ammunition transfers and reconnaissance support, including the occasional overflights to detect Syrian troop movements (the Syrians shot down one of Turkey's jets a few weeks ago).

U.S. CIA drones have also overflown Syria outside the prying eyes of Russian forward intelligence based on Russian ships stationed at its fortified naval base in Tartus.

CIA operatives are also desperately attempting to identify and monitor Assad's WMD stockpiles, with growing alarm that they may fall into the hands of Iranian agents or al Qaeda terrorists or worse, be used by the regime in a last ditch stand against its opponents.

Also assassination squads trained by Free Syrian Army commanders (with the assistance of Turkish and Saudi sniper trainers) have been picking off key Syrian military commanders in Homs and in Syria's northern and southern provinces sowing fear and increasing discord among Syrian commanders.

Turkish, Qatari, Saudi military instructors have been training young Syrian opponents of the regime on the fine arts of basic military tactics, including hit and run tactics and night-time assaults on Syrian army barracks.What is missing from the battlefield are Stinger ground to air shoulder-fired missiles to pick off attacking Syrian helicopter gunships.

Lebanese Christian Militias: The spillover from Lebanon has been palatable. Lebanese Sunni Palestinian militiamen have been smuggling arms to their Free Syrian Army colleagues across the porous Syrian-Lebanese border. Qatari intelligence operatives, alongside their Saudi counterparts, have used Beirut as a staging area of help smuggle arms to Free Syrian operatives."



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Friday 20 July 2012

‘Don’t be duped by Western humanitarian rhetoric on Syria’

Global Research, July 20, 2012
[H]umanitarian intervention unfortunately only sounds humane, but the fact of the matter is that any military intervention for whatever reason is inevitably going to cause more bloodshed. And we know the greatest humanitarians in the world – the US and UK – intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case – non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What it caused – 150 thousand civilian deaths alone, to say nothing about millions of refugees, displaced persons and the whole dislocation in the country. So, don’t be duped by humanitarian rhetoric. There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism.

[C]urbing Iranian influence in the Middle East…is also a major motivation of the other Middle Eastern fighters for democracy – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who are concerned about what they see as Iranian interests; in Bahrain as well.

[A]bout vetoes – if I am not mistaken, the US has cast 60 vetoes on the Palestinian issue alone. So, why don’t you question my American colleagues about the impact of the image of the US in the Middle East of those continuous vetoes?

Russia and China have for the third time vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria which would entail tragic consequences for Damascus. Russia’s ambassador to the UN told RT why a diplomatic solution to the crisis remains the only option.
In an exclusive interview with RT, Vitaly Churkin gave his explanation of what is going on in Syria and why he thinks the conflict has spread beyond that country’s borders.

RT: Russia’s decision to veto this latest resolution has caused consternation and widespread criticism of Moscow’s stance – is Russia supporting the Assad regime?

Vitaly Churkin: Of course not. It is all about what needs to be done in order to settle the crisis. Unfortunately, the strategy of our Western colleagues seems to be to try to whip up tensions in and around Syria at every opportunity. And this time they took the occasion of the need to extend the mandate of the monitoring mission in Syria and attached a number of unacceptable clauses to their draft resolution. So, we needed to veto together with China that unacceptable draft to allow Kofi Annan more space to work on the document which was adopted by foreign ministers of a number of countries of the so-called “action group”, which calls for setting up transitional national body and that requires of course the dialogue between various parties. So, in this context, to introduce a resolution which would only entail pressure and almost inevitable sanctions on the Syrian government did not look like a good idea to us at all and we blocked the decision, which in our view was counter-productive.
RT: So, Moscow is not supporting the Assad regime, but America, Britain and France say Russia’s failed the Syrian people – how do you react to that?

VC: You know, they are quite good and bad and loud about their propaganda. I think that’s what they have been doing by criticizing Russia and China stridently. Today it was the British and French [UN] perm reps who went out of their way, unfortunately, piling all sorts of falsehoods on the foreign policies of Russia and China. They should focus more on the need to help Kofi Annan.
Unfortunately, they have not done anything at all in order to set and train a productive and positive process in Syria. Instead, they have been working with the so-called “Friends of Syria”. In fact, this is a group of countries who are enemies of the Syrian government, I would not call them the enemies of the Syrian people, but certainly those who want to topple the Syrian government, disregarding the consequences which are extremely tragic; such a policy inevitably entails [tragedy] because the government or President Assad is not simply one individual or a group of individuals. They represent a certain segment of the Syrian population, of a certain power structure, which has existed there for decades. To break it would cause and is causing considerable trouble and bloodshed. To reform it through dialogue, this would be a much more reasonable line of action and this is what Russia has been advocating.

RT: But dialogue has not achieved anything so far. Isn’t there now an overwhelming global sense that something has to be done to stop the killing of innocent people – what about intervention on humanitarian grounds, is that not acceptable to Moscow? I know that Moscow is very concerned about Chapter 7 leading to perhaps military intervention. But what about some form of intervention to stop the killing?

VC: In a way, the monitoring group which we are trying to maintain is a way of political intervention – of practical intervention – in trying to deter violence. Unfortunately, it has not happened, it has not been successful.
You said the dialogue has not achieved anything. The problem is the dialogue has not started yet. The opposition groups refuse to enter into dialogue with the Syrian government, which says it is prepared for dialogue. They should try that offer of the Syrian government to enter into dialogue. And this is a major missing link, a major impediment in the way of Kofi Annan’s activity.
You know, humanitarian intervention unfortunately only sounds humane, but the fact of the matter is that any military intervention for whatever reason is inevitably going to cause more bloodshed. And we know the greatest humanitarians in the world – the US and UK – intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case – non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What it caused – 150 thousand civilian deaths alone, to say nothing about millions of refugees, displaced persons and the whole dislocation in the country. So, don’t be duped by humanitarian rhetoric. There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism. Unfortunately, the practical consequences of their policies there are that the conflict and bloodshed is not abating.

RT: You’ve mentioned geopolitics and I understand you mentioned the fact that what’s happening in Syria is going to spread to Iran eventually. Can you explain that? That Iran is the eventual goal?

VC: I did refer to Iran, but in a slightly different context. I would not rule out that then they would move on to Iran, but I was not referring to that. In my remarks at the [Security] Council of the United Nations earlier today I was referring to their clear interest. And this is a major motivation of their policy and their effort to topple President Assad – in curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East and that entire region. And it is also a major motivation of the other Middle Eastern fighters for democracy – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who are concerned about what they see as Iranian interests; in Bahrain as well.
They claim the Shia protests there is sort of Iranian-sponsored even though some observers – including your colleagues and journalists who have experience on the ground – believe that they happen to be genuine protests against a system which is not entirely democratic, to put it mildly. So, a clear geopolitical dimension is there in the policies of a number of countries, who are extremely aggressive vis-a-vis Syria. And it has nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people.

RT: What is the worry for Moscow, all these geopolitical implications you’ve explained so clearly, why is Moscow so worried about this? In what way could Moscow be affected?

VC: We are not worried about geopolitical implications even though we believe that greater confrontation with Iran is hurting, is unnecessary and we are directly involved in efforts to resolve peacefully the problem of the Iranian nuclear program. And this growing tension between Iran, the West and the Saudis is not helpful.
Our concern is that the Syrian people have to suffer the consequences of this geopolitical struggle and our concern is that the focus of everybody’s policy must be the benefit of the Syrian people. And the only way they can put an end to this tragic conflict is to get to the negotiating table.
And there is good ground, there is a document which was a consensus document adopted by the “action group” – foreign ministers in Geneva – two and a half weeks ago which says that a transitional national body needs to be set up and it can not be set up by sanctions, it can not be set up by more pressure on just one side – the Syrian government, which is claiming that it is ready for such dialogue; it designated its representative for such a dialogue.
But so far the interest from the opposition is not there and we see extreme opposition groups; armed opposition groups resorting to more and more violence and even terrorist attacks like the one we saw yesterday in Damascus. This is not to say that the Syrian government has not resorted to excessive violence at times; they made very serious mistakes and blunders over the months but the time to end it is now. Unless we want to continue it for years, [we need to] enter into a dialogue.
RT: Russia is really stuck by its principles of non-intervention. Is there not a danger of being isolated, bearing in mind the continual vetoing of the sanctions of the UN Security Council and the supplying of military hardware to Syria. Of course Moscow says it is not being used against civilians, but what is it to do for Russia’s reputation and, indeed, its relations after this crisis is over?

VC: We’ll see. I think doing the right thing and not simply following somebody’s catastrophic policy is something which makes me proud and something which eventually will be borne out as the right course of action and the right policy under these very difficult circumstances. And about vetoes – if I am not mistaken, the US has cast 60 vetoes on the Palestinian issue alone. So, why don’t you question my American colleagues about the impact of the image of the US in the Middle East of those continuous vetoes?
Sometimes even vetoing their own presidential and secretary of state’s public statements. So, the veto is a part of the UN Charter and there is nothing wrong about casting it when you feel the need to do so.
RT: Can we talk about what happens next now? No agreement in the UN Security Council, but Russia has said that it would like to see the extension of the UN observer mission to Syria. But the monitors haven’t made any visible impact on the mission so far. So what’s the point in keeping the mission alive when so far it has failed?

VC: What would be the point of their departure? We think that we have at least more chances to get objective information if it is there If the situation were to improve, they would be on the ground already, so, they would be able to participate more actively in political process and also in dealing with the humanitarian situation. Pulling them out is going to entail negative consequences. Unfortunately, now and again we seem to be entering another diplomatic battle. Now we are going to have a discussion about really making it technically rollover without loading it with political conditions and implications.
 Global Research Articles by Vitaly Churkin

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!