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Tag: Bashar al-Assad

Vladimir Putin Defends Russia’s Stance on Syria

At a conference in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin harshly criticized the U.S. for its intervention in Libya and cited it as the reason for causing further chaos that ultimately led to the attack in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens dead.

During the conference, Putin also dismissed notions that Russia was making a mistake and losing influence in the Middle East by deciding not to intervene in Syria. He further added that his nation is only concerned for Syria’s stability and has no concern for the fate of President Assad and his regime.

Putin’s comments came just as human rights investigators sent by the United Nations concluded that what originally began as a fight to oust Assad and his government has evolved into a sectarian battle, which has pitted communities against one another. Fighters from as far as North Africa are getting involved and contributing to the endless blood bath.

Russia has been a long-time ally of Syria and has used its position in the United Nations Security Council to oppose intervention by the U.S. and it allies and has long defended the sovereignty of Assad’ s government. However, Russia’s tone has changed in recent days and acknowledged that Assad remaining in power may not be such a good thing. It has even urged Russians staying in Syria to evacuate the country immediately.

Russia has been a major arms supplier for Syria and even regularly uses Syria’s port of Tartus as a refueling point. Even so, Putin made it clear during the conference that the two nations merely shared a business relationship and nothing beyond that.

Human right investigations reveal that the situation in Syria has gone from bad to worse. Civilians are being driven out of their communities. Staying behind means they are at risk of becoming collateral damage.

Syria Rebel Group Receives Formal Recognition by the U.S.

President Barack Obama has announced that the U.S. will formally back Syria’s main rebel group to pursue a common goal of bringing an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship. The recognition puts the U.S. on the same page with its European allies who have already given their full support for the opposition.

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama said that the opposition coalition is representative enough of the Syrian people to the extent that they have earned the support of the U.S.

The Syrian National Coalition for revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed in November and received immediate support from European nations. The U.S., however, was a little hesitant as it was concerned with Islamist rebels and extremists within the organization.

Western nations have also opened a window to engage in talks with Russia, which is one of Syria and Assad’s greatest allies. Obama has said that while it supports the opposition, it will also make sure to weed out those within the group who has ties to al Qaeda.

The Obama administration recently released intelligence reports that identify an opposition group as an affiliate of al Qaeda. The group is Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been linked to close to 600 terrorist attacks in Syria since November of last year. The U.S. has now barred all Americans from doing business with the organization. In addition, sanctions have also been imposed against two Jabhat al-Nusra members for their connection to al Qaeda in Iraq.

Plans for an international meeting will be held in Morocco where 80 nations from around the world will convene to discuss how it can further their collective support for the rebel groups. The conference is being dubbed as the “Friends of Syria” meeting. The conference will be held as the U.S. continues to monitor Assad’s government for signs of chemical weapons that it may deploy against its own people.

Email from Asma al-Assad

Just got this email. I am sure it real… But its hopefully the virtual writing on the wall…The end is near?

Greetings,

I will like to formally introduce myself, I am Mrs. Asma al-Assad, First Lady of Syria which is the wife of Syria President Bashar al Assad.

I have a Profitable business transaction for you which involves transfer of funds,Please if interested do contact me via email for more details on this transaction but if this does not suit your business ethics, kindly delete this e-mail as I will gladly appreciate.

I await your swift response, to my email.

Regards
Mrs. Asma al-Assad

Russia Blames Opposition Forces for Syrian Massacre & Continues to Sell Arms to Asad

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, spoke at a joint press conference alongside British Foreign Secretary, William Hague. In his statement, Lavrov openly condemned opposition forces, citing that they and Bashar al-Assad’s regime are responsible for the fighting that resulted in over 100 civilian casualties in the cities of Hama and Houla.

While Russia has backed the UN Security Council in criticizing the heavy artillery attack on the city of Houla by the Syrian government, it has also pointed out that Assad’s regime is not the only party responsible.

Russia sided with Syria’s position that terror groups like al-Qaida also contribute to the non-stop violence. Russia continues to sell a cache of weaponry to Assad, who is a vital ally to the Kremlins.

In the midst of the violence and fatalities, Lavrov did try to distance the Kremlin for Assad’s regime and added that its foremost priority is to put a halt to the bloodshed, so that Syrians can establish a stable government.

Lavrov and Hague called for both sides to agree to a cease fire and to return to the negotiating table. This ensures that plans for the six-point peace plan – which is vital for putting an end to the Syrian conflict – can move forward. Hague added that without the plan, Syria is doomed to bloody civil war.

While Lavrov emphasized that an end to violence is the main objective, he also directed the weight of the blame to outside forces, which he says have been encouraging opposition parties to fight in order to force other nations to intervene.

Lavrov admitted that the massacre at Houla was largely due to artillery shelling from the government. However, he also pointed to a number of civilian deaths that came at the hands of small arms gun fire, which he claims came from the opposition.

Russia’s position on Syria has put the country at odds with the West. Russia is opposed to direct intervention in sovereign nations and has reportedly balked at sanctions imposed against Syria by the West.

Russia’s Human Interest in Syria


According to a new report released this week, it appears that the import of foreign weapons to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad increased dramatically in recent years, just before the revolution began in Syria. Compared to the previous five years, the shipments of foreign arms were much higher, and most of them came from Russia. The report, prepared by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show some impressive numbers as to what the state of military weapons appeared to be.

Since the revolution started last year, an estimated 9,000 people died so far, most of them civilians, including many children. The SIPRI reports comes just as the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, was travelling to Moscow in order to meet with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to help negotiate with the Syrian government so that aid could be brought in the most affected regions of the country. Mr Kellenberger said that the humanitarian situation in the country was most likely to get worse.

Meanwhile the report itself found that Syria’s most important weapons import went up 580% between 2006 and 2011. Their most important seller was Russia with 78% of the arms provided to the regime. These Russian weapons included surface to air missiles, coastal defense missiles, and other small arms. Moscow acknowledged in the past selling arms to Assad, despite a UN arms embargo proposal. How many weapons were delivered however remained unclear.

In a speech to Russia’s parliament last week, Mr. Lavrov claimed that the weapons sent to Rysia were for external threats only, and had not been used against civilians or demonstrators. However, many humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch believe otherwise. For example, Russian-made mines were used extensively to block the traffic of people between Turkey and Lebanon, including many fleeing refugees. Nearly $1 billion worth of Russian missiles and airplanes were apparently sold to Syria in 2011 alone. These included some modern Mig planes along with weapons able to take down any invading aircraft.

Meanwhile, Russia is trying to keep its business relationship with the country intact, and has been supporting the Assad regime all this time, which prompted a lot of worldwide criticism. Moscow wants to prevent an outside intervention in Syria like the one that happened in Libya, where Nato countries used a UN resolution to support rebels against Muammar Gaddafi. Despite calling for Mr. Assad to step down, the western powers have been hesitant to provide arms to rebels, fearing an escalation of the war. The EU has banned arms exports to Syria last year.

UN Human Rights Council Finds Syria is Complying with International Conventions

This is the so called “UN Human Rights Council” – A pathetic joke!

Syria Violence Continues While World Has It’s Thumb Up It’s Ass

Syria has been plunged into a civil war for many months now, with the latest casualty report being 68 dead amongst the latest clashes in various flash points around the country. Mostly civilians died this time, as is often the case, as the Syrian army and the rebel fighters battle an endless struggle. Wady Barada, a small town near Damascus, was severely hit, with 35 of the deaths being there. Activists on the ground say the casualty report could mount to 200 for the previous 3 days but numbers could not be verified. A local coalition called the Local Co-ordination Committees monitors the uprising and reports those figures to the media. Meanwhile, the world powers on Tuesday appealed to the UN to do something, but there’s disagreements.

The US, England and France urged the UN Security Assembly on Tuesday to pass a tough resolution that would ask president Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence and hand over his power. Hillary Clinton spoke in behalf of the US to the UN council, saying “We all know that change is coming to Syria. Despite its ruthless tactics, the Assad regime’s reign of terror will end.” And it’s not just the western powers that called for Assad to resign. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, spoke in the name of the Arab League and said that Syria’s president failed to make a sincere effort to end the violence, and instead keeps killing his own people. It’s rare to see so many people asking for a similar action, however the vote will likely not be quick. Russia is a long time ally of the Assad regime and trades weapons with Syria. A Russian deputy said that they prefer a political solution, and a text must be agreed upon by all the members. He said there would thus be no vote in the coming days. Russia also said the Security Council has no right to ask for a rule change in Syria.

The current draft resolution that so many UN members were hoping to vote on was introduced by the Arab League, and asks for a unity government through a transparent and free election. It also asks that there be no foreign military presence in Syria, like what happened in Libya. It also says that the Assad regime must ultimately hand over powers. Observers on the ground say that the chance for a peaceful resolution is practically nil, with the government relying more and more on violence to get its way. It’s difficult to know the total number of death in total, but France believes that number to be over 6,000 since the conflict began over 11 months ago. The UN Human Rights group said they had stopped counting since it had become so difficult to get information from the Syrian government.

Overall, with the UN resolution blocked, and violence on the ground at an all time high, it’s likely that the death toll will keep going up for the foreseeable future. Even if a resolution were passed, there’s no enforcement power, and no military intervention planned, which means Syria would keep going the way it currently is. There’s little hope for the civilians currently stuck in the war zone.

No-Fly in Syria

NATO is considering a no-fly zone in Syria after Bashar al-Assad, warned that any western intervention would cause an “earthquake” which would “burn the whole region…” reported the guardian.

Some Syrian anti-government groups have called on the west to defend them as fighting between security forces and armed protesters continues to escalate – however a war like the one that will end in Libya on Monday is doubtful.

The UN security council would have to approve any operation in Syria – a step which would be unlikely given Chinese and Russian opposition. “We would need a clear mandate from the international community, as well as support from the Arab League and Syria’s neighbours,” a NATO official said, adding that so far “no-one had asked” for NATO’s help.

NATO’s reluctance to get embroiled in Syria’s internal conflict came as Assad warned that outside intervention in his country’s affairs could lead to “another Afghanistan.”

On Sunday, a Syrian delegation met in Doha with an Arab League ministerial committee. On 16 October the league gave Damascus a 15-day deadline to put in place a ceasefire, that is over on Sunday. Since then 343 people have been killed, including 40 last Friday, one of the worst days of bloodshed since the uprising began.

Protests have intensified amidst events in the Arab world: the brutal death of Muammar Gaddafi, and Tunisia’s successful democratic elections last week. In a show of support for Assad’s regime on Sunday thousands of Syrians carrying the national flag rallied in Sweida, a city 70 miles south of Damascus.

The situation in Syria is at the top of the international agenda. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, said the latest civilian killings were alarming and called for Assad to carry out “far-reaching reforms, not repression and violence.”

Three Tales for Thursday

Beyond the Pale

According to a survey taken last month by Ben Gurion University pollsters, 60 percent of Israelis say they would be in favor of seeing NATO troops deployed in both the West Bank and Gaza. According to the “Israeli Positions on the European Union” survey, 64 percent of Israeli Jews and 63 percent of Israeli Arabs citizens are in favor of seeing peacekeeping forces, (aside from the United Nations) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Back in 2009, 54 percent of Israeli Jews and Arabs supported the idea.

In the poll that was compiled by Sharon Pardo of the Department of Politics and Government, 68 percent of Israelis are in favor of joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Roughly 81 percent of Israelis want the Jewish Country to join the European Union (EU). These figures are up from 69 percent in 2009, and 43 percent would like to see Israel have better relations with the EU, this is in comparison with 20 percent who would like to see the Jewish Country get along better with the United Nations and just seven percent with NATO.

Paro says:

“the message is quite clear, Israelis are not for isolationism, they want cooperation…Israelis are really into strengthening and deepening the cooperation between Israel and the EU…Israelis understand the importance of the EU for the future of Israel and they want to strengthen the relations.”

The poll surveyed 1,000 Israelis from all different walks of life in mid-June and had a 3.3 percent margin of error…

Iran to build nuclear war head?

On Monday, the head of the United Nations Nuclear Agency announced their plans to publish new information serving as supporting evidence that Iran could be working on a nuclear warhead.
The comments by International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Yukiya Amano were the first time he revealed plans to release some of the recent knowledge available to the IAEA that is causing concerns.

A Syrias Situation on the Jewish Country’s Border?

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has ordered his military chiefs to launch another operation on the Golan Heights.

DebkaFile reports:
Assad’s preparations entail three additional steps:

1. He has filled the vacant position of deputy chief of staff with Gen. Ali Ayub, commander of the 1st Formation made up of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th Divisions, deployed until now on the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon borders with Israel. Its personnel have been left out of Assad’s military campaign against the opposition until now.

2. Those divisions, made up mainly or Sunni conscripts, have begun pulling back from their positions on the Syrian-Israeli border and are heading north. For the first time, therefore, Assad feels he can safely send Sunni troops into battle against protesters and is not afraid to leave his borders undefended against an Israeli attack.

3. The Syrian president holds Erdogan responsible for authorizing the Turkish army and his National Intelligence Organization-MIT to set up a state-of-the-art command center for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood at Jabal al-Zawiya in the Syrian province of Idlib near the Turkey border. He believes it is working with a parallel command center on the Turkish side which directs the steps of Syrian protest tacticians against the Assad regime.

Syrian Gunboats Murder Citizens of Coastal Town of Latakia

The situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. On Sunday, at least three gunboats pounded the indigent Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia, once a summer tourism hot spot, killing 10 people and wounding at least 30.

As the gunships blasted waterfront districts, ground troops and tanks stormed nearby neighborhoods. Latkia is made of a population Sunnis, Alawites (Assad’s sect) an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and a small minority of Christians, ethnic Turks and other groups.

On Saturday, some 20 tanks carrying armored personnel rolled into the city’s al-Ramel district amid intense rebellion gunfire sending residents fleeing. At least ten people died in the shooting in al-Ramel.

Amateur videos posted on the Internet by activist showed at least one gunship patrolling the coast opposite al-Ramel, as well as tanks moving along the waterfront. Syria has banned most foreign media and has put a strong restriction on local coverage.

So far at least 1,700 civilians have been killed in bloody crackdowns on protests calling for the ouster of the Assad regime.

The United States has called for a global trade embargo on oil and gas from Syria, warning America’s closest allies they must “get on the right side of history” and cut links with a government that uses violence to repress protesters.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry said that the European Union may decide in the next week or two to broaden sanctions against the Syrian regime and its state-run businesses.

Canada has also broadened economic sanctions on Syria by banning additional members of Assad’s government from traveling to Canada and freezing assets of entities linked to the regime.

The Syrian uprising was mostly inspired by revolts and calls for reform sweeping the Arab world, as activists and rights groups say most of those killed have been unarmed civilians. An aggressive new military offensive which began with the Muslim holy month of
Ramadan at the start of August has killed several hundred people in just one week.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that Washington believes President Bashar al-Assad’s government is responsible for more than 2,000 deaths asserting that Washington believes Assad has “lost his legitimacy to govern the Syrian people”.

Clinton said:

“We are working around the clock to try to gather up as much international support for strong actions against the Syrian regime as possible…I come from the school that actions speak louder than words…with actions that will send a very clear message to the Assad regime, the insiders there, that there’s a price to pay for this kind of abuse and attacks on their own people.”

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Bashar al-Assad’s cabinet has approved a bill to allow independent political parties other than the Baath Party, which has been in control since 1963.

SANA a Syrian news agency reported that the bill prohibits parties founded on the basis of “religion, tribal affiliation, regions, and professional organizations as well as those which discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or color.” This suggests the Kurdish nationalist parties may not be recognized, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist party currently banned in Syria, but snowballing in popularity in Egypt where disillusioned citizens lack leadership they can believe in and trust.
It is hard to imagine however, that Assad’s intentions can be in anyway, good. He is, after all, a murderer.

Under the new law the government will retain control over the formation of parties that must apply for a license in order to operate. All new parties are also obliged to respect the constitution, which protects the dominance of the Baath party as the “leading party in state and society” despite Assad’s promises to look at altering it.

According to human rights groups, more than 1,500 civilians have been killed and more than 12,000 detained since the uprising started in March of 2011. Activists have reported ongoing detentions throughout the country and a persistent clampdown in the neighborhood of Bab Sbaa in Homs.

As predicted, protests have intensified in the week leading up to Ramadan when diplomats and analysts say they expect demonstrations to grow in size and frequency.

On Choosing the Right Battles (in the face of a syrias situation)

by Scott Krane

Today we are living in the Islamic Democracy Revolution, the Arab Spring; an unmistakable contrapuntal song of freedom. A tune that started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, two countries that “did good” in their respective democracy-fueled coup d’états. Sudan heard the cry but to no apparent avail, as did Yemen, Bahrain and Iran (and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cites the last twenty-four months in Tehran as the exposition of the movement), as did poor little Lebanon, which continues to be strangled and poisoned by the Hezbollah, that venomous snake.

A critical assessment of the Middle East leads us to analyze the recent history of Syria and the recent history of Libya.

In the latter country, Muammar el-Qhadaffi thought he had the world duped. The financier of worldwide guerilla groups, he is single-handedly responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 innocents. And he funded Black September, the Palestinian group that murdered eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. However, the world – that is the West and Africa – was under the verisimilar impression he had reformed his evil ways; or at least, did not pose a threat to the West. (Does he?)

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to call a “no-fly zone,” and bomb that country is crazy; more so considering America’s budget deficit and the cost of such military operations, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and counting. Certainly there are countless other humanitarian nightmares happening around the world that America, were they the world’s humanitarian vigilantes, would cite and quell.

So, as I read in a recent editorial in Haaretz:

“The West’s intervention in Libya may undermine future civil revolts.”

And if we fear Libya acquiring nuclear weapons, then for goodness sakes what is taking so long to do something about Iran.

Recent events in Syria, as they pertain to the Jewish State, are the exact opposite. With President Bashar al-Assad at the helm, Syria has spent more than $3 billion on weapons in three years. As we well know, they have done all they can in the way of assassinations to squash democracy in Lebanon – they have done with their geographic advantage what Iran, who has in that state a terrorist proxy, cannot. According to Haaretz, Syria has received $1 billion from Iran to purchase rockets, surface-to-surface missiles, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft systems.

David Schenker of The New Republic wrote:

“During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Syria’s Assad regime was helping insurgents to cross the border and kill Americans. In response to the Syrian provocation, the Bush administration considered a broad range of policy options. But one family of options always remained off the table: regime change or any combination of pressures that might destabilize Damascus.”

document by Syrian government to assassinate members of the rebellionFurthermore, recent WikiLeaks documents indicate that:

“Syria placed long-range missiles equipped with chemical warheads on high alert after an attack on a Syrian nuclear plant in 2007.”

Mossad obtained information about the nuclear plant, built for Syria by North Korea, from a laptop stolen from a senior Syrian official. Israel launched the stealth attack that took out the Syrian reactor. Though, first they asked the U.S. to carry-out the strike, however, then-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, refused.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a cheap equivocator, who in the last month murdered 100s of his own people in attempt to put the lid on protests. While he told his people to expect constitutional amendments, sweeping reforms and the ditching of despised state emergency laws that give to the government carte blanche to arrest citizens, sans charges, no such reforms have actually happened.

Meanwhile, Michael Isikoff of MSNBC wrote:

“A document drafted by senior Syrian intelligence officials (pictured above) details a plan to infiltrate the ranks of anti-regime protesters, arrest and assassinate their leaders, and link anti-regime demonstrations to the work of Zionist and other outside agitators.”

The reason that Israel may want to get involved in ousting Assad makes the U.S. invasion of Libya, (where French and NATO forces were already eyeing, where al-Qaeda, America’s other enemy is on the side of the rebellion), look well, silly.

Syria has been a direct threat to the Jewish State forever and in the last weeks, more so than ever.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said:

“Syria is an Iranian acquisition, and it is clear that Iran is concerned that this investment will go down the drain…Therefore, Iran has shown more involvement [in Syria] than in other Arab countries.”

According to intercepted communications among Iranian officials:

Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people“.

If the time has come to sing democracy in the Middle East, let’s make sure military invasions are worth our while. Let’s not forget Syria is among the most noteworthy bankrollers of Hamas. Why not nip this nightmare in the bud? So America is in Libya, fighting alongside al-Qaeda, their back seemingly turned to Iran. The reality is Syria needs Israel’s help. And, let’s face it, Israel needs theirs.

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