Saturday, September 8, 2012

Video: A Most Pathetic Protest Against USraeli Puppet Salam Fayyad in Ramallah

Ahhhhh, the "New" Egypt: Egypt, Israel coordinating on Sinai security sweep: army

"(Reuters) - Egypt and Israel are coordinating on Cairo's biggest security sweep in decades against militants in Sinai, in which 32 people have been killed, an army spokesman said on Saturday, the first clear statement on communication between the neighbors.

Israel fears Islamist militants, possibly linked to al Qaeda, have gained a foothold in the Sinai border area since the overthrow last year of President Hosni Mubarak.

Israeli officials have privately voiced concern about heavy military equipment being sent to Sinai, which is subject to restrictions on the deployment of weapons under the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ali told a news conference in Cairo that 32 "criminal elements" were killed and 38 suspects arrested, including non-Egyptians, during the operation which began on August 7.

"Egypt is coordinating with the Israeli side over the presence of Egyptian armed forces in Sinai. They know this.

"The deployment of the armed forces on all the territory of Sinai is not a violation of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel," he said....

The Egyptian military is replacing some of its heavy tanks in Sinai with light armored vehicles, security sources said this week.

But Ali rejected the idea that Egypt was pulling out its heavy equipment in response to pressure from Israel. He said the operation was entering a new phase that required different equipment.

"The military operation is in the interest of all sides," he said.

Asked whether Egypt was coordinating with the United States over Sinai, Ali said: "Cooperation between Egypt and the U.S. is strategic, long-standing and goes beyond simple military operations......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Thousands homeless in Syria conflict

"More than 200,000 Syrians have fled the country because of the fighting there in the past year and a half.

But many remain trapped in Syria, living in makeshift camps close to the borders with neighbouring countries.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford has more details."

Rachel Corrie Murder, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

المظاهرات الفلسطينية والاهداف الخطأ!

المظاهرات الفلسطينية والاهداف الخطأ!
رأي القدس

"مظاهرات تعم مدينة رام الله عاصمة السلطة الفلسطينية بشكل يومي احتجاجا على ارتفاع الاسعــار وغلاء المعيشة في الاراضي المحتلة. يرفع خلالها المتظاهرون لافتات تطالب باستقالة رئيس الوزراء سلام فياض باعتباره المسؤول الاول.
المتحدث باسم السلطة السيد نبيل ابو ردينة قال ان الشعب الفلسطيني يدفع ثمن الموقف الوطني الذي يرفض الشروط الاسرائيلية للعودة الى المفاوضات، وقال ان الوضع الاقتصادي السيئ الذي يعيش في ظله الشعب الفلسطيني هو جراء وجود العقوبات الاسرائيلية التي تحول دون انتعاش الاقتصاد الفلسطيني.
ربما ينطوي كلام السيد ابو ردينة على جزء من الحقيقة، وليس الحقيقة كلها، فهو يعرف جيدا ان اكبر خطأ ارتكبته السلطة هو توقيعها لبروتوكول باريس الذي ربط الاقتصاد الفلسطيني بالاقتصاد الاسرائيلي وما يتفرع عنه مثل الاتفاقية الجمركية الموحدة.
السلطة كانت تقول لأهل رام الله انظروا كيف تعيشون في رخاء اقتصادي بفضل السلطة بينما اشقاؤكم في قطاع غزة يعانون من الفقر المدقع بسبب سلطة حماس وفشلها الاقتصادي.
الآن تشابهت الظروف في الجيبين بالسوء، بل ان هناك من يؤكد ان ظروف اهل قطاع غزة المحاصرين افضل كثيرا من ظروف اشقائهم تحت حكم سلطة رام الله لانهم لا يخضعون للاتفاقية الاقتصادية مع اسرائيل وقوانينها الجمركية.
نشعر بالحزن لان الفلسطينيين يتظاهرون بسبب غلاء المعيشة وارتفاع الاسعار وليس بسبب التنسيق الامني، والتغول الاستيطاني الاسرائيلي وتهويد القدس، وفشل حل الدولتين والغارات الاسرائيلية المتواصلة على قطاع غزة، او عمليات هدم بيوت ابناء النقب.
السيد سلام فياض الذي اعرب عن استعداده للاستقالة من منصبه كرئيس للوزراء يجب ان يتعرض للمحاسبة والمساءلة لانه وعد الفلسطينيين بالرخاء والسمن والعسل، عندما قال انه يريد سنتين فقط لاكمال البنى التحتية للدولة الفلسطينية، والاقتصادية على رأسها، تمهيدا لقيــام هـذه الـدولة، وهـا هي ثــلاث سنوات تمر ولم تقم هذه الدولة، بل لم يتم الاعتراف الرمزي الشكلي بها من قبل الامم المتحدة.
المسؤولون في السلطة الفلسطينية يجب ان يعترفوا بفشلهم، وان لا يبحثوا عن اعذار تغطي فشلهم بالقاء المسؤولية على الاحتلال، فالاحتلال وجد من اجل ان يقاوم ومن العبث ان نتوقع منه ان يكون رؤوفا بالواقعين تحت احتلاله.
المتظاهرون في رام الله لا يجب ان يتظاهروا فقط ضد الغلاء، وانما ضد السلطة ورأسيها، وان يطالبوا بحلها فورا، ويبدأوا ربيعهم العربي للتخلص من الاحتلال.

Bombardment, blasts rock Syrian capital

"(Reuters) - Syrian forces bombarded a crowded Palestinian refugee district in Damascus on Friday, killing at least 10 people according to residents, while other parts of the city were rocked by apparent rebel bomb attacks.

The main focus of the fighting is now in the economic center, Aleppo, but rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad continue to attack government forces and buildings in the capital.

Five security personnel were killed and several others were wounded in a "terrorist" blast caused by explosives attached to a motorcycle in the Rukn al-Din district of Damascus, state television said.

A car bomb also exploded between the Information Ministry and the main Damascus courthouse, it said, giving no details of any casualties.

In the south of the capital, rockets rained down on Yarmouk, a densely populated Palestinian refugee camp. A woman living nearby counted at least 11 strikes. Video uploaded by activists showed clouds of grey smoke curling into the air.

"At least 10 people have been killed and 15 wounded since they resumed shelling," the woman said by telephone, asking not to be named for her own safety. "There are several burned corpses and limbs, so no one is sure of the total death toll."

Residents across the city said they had been hearing heavy blasts and sporadic gunfire since early on Friday morning....."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Did Obama Scuttle the Recovery?

The Great Pretender

By Mike Whitney

"The New York Times believes that Barack Obama is responsible for today’s sputtering economy. In an article titled “Cautious Moves on Foreclosures Haunting Obama”, Times journalist Binyamin Applebaum says that Obama’s failure to seriously address the housing crisis has left the economy weaker than it should be at this point in the recovery....

So the money was available, but the administration refused to use it for its designated purpose. Why? And why did Obama decide that it was okay for homeowners to suffer while the perpetrators of the crisis were lavished with taxpayer-funded bailouts and golden parachutes?.......

In truth, Obama’s chief economic advisors, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, opposed ANY additional spending on housing. They simply did not want to help the victims in this massive mortgage-ponzi-fraud at all. In fact, according to the Times, “Mr. Geithner told Mr. Obama that if even if an additional $100 billion were available, he still would not spend it on housing.”

That says it all, doesn’t it? The people who are actually pulling the strings are opposed to helping ordinary working people whether they have the money or not. Isn’t that what you call class warfare?

So now the economy is in the toilet, (and probably headed for recession) mainly because Obama and Co. didn’t have the balls to stand up for what’s right. That’s not to say that the carpetbagging Romney would be a better choice for president. He wouldn’t be. But let’s not delude ourselves about Obama. He is not the man he pretends to be."

Real News Video : Porter Report - After Dempsey Warning, Israel May Curb War Threat

Gareth Porter: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told reporters in Britain that an Israeli strike would be ineffective and then said, “I don’t want to be complicit if they [the Israelis] choose to do it.”

More at The Real News

Al-Jazeera Video: ماوراء الخبر - تعدد جهات التحقيق بوفاة عرفات 6/9/2012

"اقش الحلقة : أثر تعدد جهات التحقيق في وفاة عرفات على إمكانية كشف حقيقة هذا الملف، في ضوء دعوة الجامعة العربية الأمم المتحدة للتحقيق في وفاة عرفات، بناء على طلب السلطة الفلسطينية.
تقديم : الحبيب الغريبي
تاريخ البث 6/9/2012
الضيوف : توفيق الطيراوي- ياسر الزعاترة - سعد جبار

Al-Jazeera Video: ثوار سوريا يحاصرون مواقع للنظام بدير الزور

Syrian shelling kills 20 in south Damascus - residents

(Click on map to enlarge)

"(Reuters) - Syrian army mortar and artillery bombardment of an area of southern Damascus where Palestinian refugees live killed at least 20 people on Thursday, residents and local emergency workers said.

Yarmouk camp and the districts surrounding it have seen the most prolonged fighting in the capital since forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched a counter-offensive to push rebels out of the city two months ago.

Residents in the camp said that for the last two weeks Yarmouk had been closed off from neighbouring districts and that they had heard regular clashes. Since early on Thursday they reported heavy bombardment in the area.

They said the army may have intensified its attack on the district in the belief that rebels, who have been sheltering in the nearby neighbourhoods of Tadamon and Hajar al-Aswad, were slipping into Yarmouk, whose Palestinian residents are suspected by authorities of siding with the rebels....."

Iran sends elite troops to aid Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria

Iran is intensifying its support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad by sending 150 senior Revolutionary Guards commanders to Syria to help repel opposition attempts to overthrow the government.

The Telegraph

"Western intelligence officials say that Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has personally sanctioned the dispatch of the experienced officers to ensure that the Assad regime, Iran's most important regional ally, survives the threat to its survival.

In addition, Iran has shipped hundreds of tons of military equipment, including guns, rockets, and shells, to Syria through the regular air corridor that has been established between Damascus and Tehran.

Intelligence officials believe the increased Iranian support has been responsible for the growing effectiveness of the Assad regime's tactics in forcing anti-government rebel groups on the defensive.

In the past few weeks, pro-Assad forces have seized the offensive by launching a series of well-coordinated attacks against rebel strongholds in Damascus and Aleppo.

The Iranian operation to support Mr Assad is being masterminded by Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Guards' Quds force which is responsible for overseeing Iran's overseas operations....."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Thousands of Syrian refugees cross Jordan border

"In Syria government forces have retaken a town from opposition fighters on the Jordanian border.

The town is on a road used by thousands of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria.

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf has the details from the Jordanian capital."

Did Democratic delegates just vote down Obama bid to pander to AIPAC on Jerusalem?

By Ali Abunimah

"An extraordinary thing happened at the Democratic National Convention today. The official party platform for 2012 left out a reference that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel” that was in the 2008 version.

Under pressure from the Israel lobby and the Republicans the Democratic leadership hastily moved to shove it back in on a voice vote that required a two-thirds majority. But to the stunned surprise of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who was chairing the convention, the “No” votes seemed to be louder, as the video above shows.

Shocked, Villaraigosa held the vote a second time, and then a third time. Each time it seemed the noes had it. Nonetheless, Villaraigosa declared that it had passed anyway. Loud booing could be heard. It’s an astonishing spectacle (see a longer version of the video from C-Span)....."

CNN Video: Rebels battle for 100 feet in Aleppo

Delivered Into Enemy Hands

US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya

September 6, 2012

"This report is based on interviews conducted in Libya with 14 former detainees, most of whom belonged to an armed Islamist group that had worked to overthrow Gaddafi for 20 years. Many members of the group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), joined the NATO-backed anti-Gaddafi rebels in the 2011 conflict. Some of those who were rendered and allegedly tortured in US custody now hold key leadership and political positions in the country."

Download the full report (PDF, 8.62 MB)

New Accounts of Waterboarding, Other Water Torture, Abuses in Secret Prisons

"....“Not only did the US deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first,” said Laura Pitter, counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened.”

The report is also based on documents – some of which are being made public for the first time – that Human Rights Watch found abandoned, on September 3, 2011, in the offices of former Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa after Tripoli fell to rebel forces.

The interviews and documents establish that, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US, with aid from the United Kingdom (UK) and countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, arrested and held without charge a number of LIFG members living outside Libya, and eventually rendered them to the Libyan government......."

أهمية الوحدة في التعامل مع الدول الأجنبية

By Azmi Bishara

" لا بد لأي شعب مؤطر أو يرغب أن يتأطر في كيان سياسي اسمه الدولة من قيادة سياسية، وذلك بغض النظر عن الاختلاف أو الاتفاق على هذه القيادة. يصح هذا بصورة خاصة على شعب في حالة معقدة ومركبة هي حالة الثورة المديدة لتغيير نظام حكم وإقامة نظام ديمقراطي وطني بديل . وفي حالة الحركة المسلحة المتواصلة لا بد من قيادة موحدة للكفاح المسلح، التنظيم والتوحيد يضاعف قوته عدة مرات، والتفرق والتشتت يضعفها، أما التنافس فيلحق بها ضررا هائلا لا يمكن إصلاحه. ولا أعتقد أنه ثمة حاجة للتفصيل، فالأمر واضح.

ولا يجوز ان تتواصل الدول الأجنبية مباشرة مع القوى المسلحة المشتتة للثورة من دون قيادة عسكرية موحدة مقابل هذه الدول، ومن دون قيادة سياسية تمثل سيادة الشعب الثائر ودولته. إن التواصل المباشر لأي دولة أجنبية مباشرة مع كتيبة أو فرقة مهما بلغت نضاليتها ووطنيتها هو تأسيس لاختراف وتبعية. إذ يفترض أن تقف أمام الدولة الأجنبية في حالة تلقي الدعم قيادة سياسية وقيادة عسكرية موحدة والتي تمثل شعبا صاحب سيادة ولديه أحندة وطنية.

من دون ذلك يسهل تحويل التعامل بهدف جيد ونية صافية الى عمالة. يجب أن يصر المناضلون في الكفاح المسلح على ذلك قبل السياسيين، ويجب أن لا يدفعوا من قبل دول اجنبية للتقليل من هيبة القيادة السياسية أو تقزيم دورها. فلا توجد دولة أجنبية تهتم بأن تكون القيادة السياسية لدولة أخرى أو لشعب آخر قوية إلى درجة الندية. فالجميع يفضل الأتباع على الحلفاء إذا أمكنه من تنظيم علاقة تبعية.

وملاحظة أخيرة للدول التي تلوم المعارضة باستمرار بحق ومن دون حق على تفرقها، إن الاتصال المباشر بفصائل سياسية وعسكرية هو من أهم وسائل تفريق المعارضة، والأهم ان له أبعاد خطيرة على سوريا المستقبل. يجب على الثوار السوريين سياسيين وعسكريين أن يتنظموا خلف قيادة سياسية وعسكرية متوافق عليها ولها الحق بالتواصل مع الدول الأخرى في قضايا حساسة من هذا النوع. هذا وحده يشكل سببا كافيا للوحدة وتجاوز "النكد" الفردي في العلاقة السياسية المتعلقة بمصير الوطن ووحدته. وباختصار المسألة اهم بكثير من الذاتيات والذوات المنتفخة للمثقف السياسي ولقائد الكتيبة مع الاحترام للجميع، إنها مسؤولية عن شعب ووطن. وهذه أمور لا يعبث بها، ومنها يتضح من هو المؤهل أن يحكم بلدا، وأن يمثل سيادة هذا البلد.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

'Now we know we will get no help from the West'

The town of al-Bab is paying for its resistance, with 32 dead in the latest strike. Kim Sengupta speaks to survivors who have lost all hope of deliverance

Kim Sengupta
The Independent

"Ahmed al-Sa'eed had been queuing for bread when the air strikes and shelling began. The dozens of people who had been waiting patiently in line for more than two hours dispersed, frantically running home through streets being hit by rocket fire to make sure their families were alright.

The house where Ahmed lived in the Syrian town of al-Bab with his family received direct hits from Bashar al-Assad's warplanes on Monday, the latest in a series of punitive and lethal assaults from air and ground. The front half collapsed into the street, flames shot out from the back. He joined neighbours frantically digging with anything at hand through the dust to try and find those buried under the rubble.....

Thirty six people were thought to have died, although the figure was later reduced to 32. I knew eight of those who were killed, including Ahmed's family, having met them during my stay in the town last month.

Of these eight, only one, Yahya Mohammed Nassar, was a rebel fighter. Another, Ibrahim al-Hamdo, an activist, had taken part in protests but had never held a gun.

There were no obvious military targets in any of the areas bombarded at the start of this week. Al-Bab is paying a hard price for its defiance; fighters from there formed the largest contingent to take part in the defence of Aleppo and the residents had withstood regular attacks from a military base on the outskirts before chasing out the soldiers.

Around 250 people have been killed since the start of the uprising and quarter of its population of 200,000 are refugees, either in outlying villages or across the border in Turkey......

.... A jet, a Czech-made L-39 Albatross, repeatedly strafed the base and later fired into a residential neighbourhood. An 11-year-old boy, Abed al-Rahman, lost a leg in a missile strike. It was one of the first indications that the regime was preparing to use air strikes with impunity in civilian areas.....

To the people of al-Bab such posturing just draws hollow laughter. Omar Abdullah al-Hani, whose 73-year-old father Abdullah was injured in the attack, said: "So they will let Bashar kill children, old people, as long as he does not use chemical weapons. What are they afraid of, chemical gasses getting to Europe and America? We know we are not going to get any help from West; we are alone, we don't need their empty words.""

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian airstrike kills family in Aleppo

"Thousands of civilians are trapped by fighting between the army and opposition fighters in Syria. Many have fled to neighboring countries, but others cannot leave their homes. There have been calls for the setting up of safe zones inside Syria to protect people displaced by the violence. It will come too late for at least one family in the biggest city, Aleppo. Al Jazeera's Khadija Magardie reports."

Real News Video with Transcript : U.S. Nears $1 Billion Debt Relief Deal with Egypt's Islamist President

Lina Attalah: Agreement shows US and Egyptian Brotherhood have reached an understanding; President Mursi has consolidated power in alliance with new military leadership

More at The Real News

Syrians, you are alone!

By Elias Khoury

[Written by Elias Khoury published in al Quds al arabi (posted in PP earlier) (Translation from Arabic by Giacomo Longhi, translation to English by Mary Rizzo)]

".....The deafening silence of the world in the face of the repressive machinery of Assad is not due, as is often said, to the fact that Syria lacks that oil that arouses appetites for profit and domination by the West, but it is due to Israel. The destruction that the regime has inflicted on Syria, Israel could not even dream about. When the regime will fall, and it will be inevitable, Syria and the Syrians will have ahead of them long years of reconstruction.

Do not believe the analysis that the reason for the lack of support for the Free Syrian Army is the fear of the Arab states regarding Islamic fundamentalists.

The reason is neither the lack of oil nor the fear of fundamentalists. Western countries and in particular the UN does not fear political Islam, which in fact it is building alliances with States where there are such parties in power.

The only reason is to strengthen the racist component of Israel, whose insolence and arrogance has reached the point of making accusations of racism against South Africa which has decided to apply a special label for the goods produced in the occupied West Bank.

Bashar Assad is carrying out a task that for others has so far been impossible: he is destroying Syria and its social fabric. Then what good does it do to supply arms and aid to those who want its fall?

If it remains forever, whether its Russian and Iranian allies merrily dance to the rhythm of bombs and massacres, Assad will lose power after destroying the country from north to south. His allies will be covered with shame and hated by all Syrians and Arabs......"

Palestinian Refugees from Syria Lost and 'Betrayed'

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"The official position of Arab nations is unambiguous: solidarity with Palestine is paramount. But facts on the ground point to a disturbingly different reality, one in which Palestinians are mistreated beyond any rational justification in various Arab countries. The worst-fated among them are stateless refugees, who have for decades been granted only precarious legal status. In times of crisis thee refugees have repeatedly found themselves in a state of legal and political limbo.

At the recent Non-Aligned Movement summit held in Tehran, Arab leaders spoke with the same ardent passion about justice for the Palestinians. One Arab Emir warned that “preoccupation with issues of the Arab Spring…should not distract us from the Arab central cause of Palestine.” He labored to count all Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, as heads of states nodded in agreement. Absent from the speech, however, was any reference to the ongoing suffering of Palestinian refugees in Arab countries, where, arguably, Israel has no sway......

The crisis ensuing from Palestinian refugees escaping regional conflict is not a new phenomenon, as wars in Iraq, Kuwait and Lebanon have demonstrated in the past. The tragedy is multiplied, however, because no real, long-term solution has been put in place despite the recurring humanitarian catastrophe.

Meanwhile, official speech decrying Israeli crimes continues unabated, with little attention paid to crimes committed elsewhere. This results only in the same disheartening outcome.

One refugee was quoted in UN news as saying: “People come and take pictures and speak with us, but they all leave at the end.” Such is the plight of the Palestinian refugees, sixty-four years after the Nakba."

Morsi in Tehran: Crossing the boundaries

With all its uncertainties, Egypt has emerged as a moral voice from the heart of its revolution, writes Dabashi.

Hamid Dabashi

"When during his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared it an "ethical duty" to support the Syrian people against the "oppressive regime" of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus suddenly, for a clear moment, he became the messenger of the Egyptian Revolution for the Syrian people, and by extension for the rest of the Arab and Muslim world - that Egyptians as a liberated nation stand with them.

The utterance, in and of itself, suddenly placed Egypt as the leader of the potentially free and democratic Arab and Muslim world - dismantling the old cliché of the US as the self-designated "leader of the free world".

Morsi spoke with a presiding authority that stems from no religious conviction, but from a moral imperative that only a liberated nation can momentarily invest on their elected officials. For a moment - and may that moment be extended into the rest of our history - the flower of the Egyptian revolution had an aroma pleasing to the world at large....

Bahrain will always remain the acid test of the Arab Spring. Will that tiny island be allowed its democratic aspirations or will they be thwarted by the might and money of the Saudis. But it is not just Bahrain that President Morsi ignored.

Was a sectarian consideration also at work that he did not utter a word in solidarity with the repressed aspirations of Iranians for liberty - in conspicuous contrast to the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon who did so deliberately and clearly - for he has no consideration who is a Sunni and who a Shia when it comes to people's civil liberties?

Are 75 million Iranians, just because like the one million plus Bahrainis who happen to be Shias, underserving of democracy?

Was Morsi there as a Sunni member of the Muslim Brotherhood mindful of the Saudi purses or was he there as the fruit of the Egyptian revolution and the Egyptian revolutionaries who have repeatedly expressed their solidarities with the cause of liberty in Bahrain and Iran?.....

It is only inevitable for Americans and the Saudis to try to buy the Egyptian revolution. That's what wealthy people do - they think they can buy everything.....

The Egyptian revolution needs vigilance, as Egyptians know only too well. A key factor in that vigilance is to see if the Egyptian president and other elected officials remain true to the cause of liberty, as they have in Syria, identically in other parts of the Arab and Muslim world. Despite these troubling signs there many causes for optimism....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Was the revolution lost in Tunisia and Egypt?

"A crackdown on journalists and artists in Egypt and Tunisia has raised concerns over the freedom of expression in so-called Arab Spring countries. Is this freedom now in danger? Are the old practices of oppression being adopted by new leaders? Guests: Eric Goldstein, Lilia Weslaty, Nader Omran."

Al-Jazeera Video: ماوراء الخبر-استهداف المقرات الأمنية السورية 4/9/2012

Security chief slain in restive Palestinian city

"(Reuters) - Gunmen killed a colonel in the Palestinian security forces early on Wednesday when they raked his car with gunfire in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, local officials said.

Hisham al-Rukh was attacked while driving home in the Jenin refugee camp, which has been the focal point of a broad sweep by security forces since May following an upsurge of violence led by criminal gangs and corrupt security officers.

The incident follows an attack last month in the centre of Ramallah, the West Bank's de facto capital, when a gunmen opened fire on Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's offices. No one was injured...."

Syria crisis: rebels 'shoot down' two jets - live updates

Matthew Weaver and Brian Whitaker, Wednesday 5 September 2012

The 'Syrian National Army' begins to emerge

While the political opposition – the Syrian National Council – remains in disarray, there are signs that fighters on the ground are becoming more organised.

A series of tweets from The 47th, who is usually well informed, talk about efforts to combine the disparate rebel groups in a newly-formed "Syrian National Army" under the command of Maj Gen Mohammad Hussein Haj Ali.

Brown Moses has also compiled the details in a post on his blog:

The Syrian National Army now commands major FSA factions across all Syrian governorates, including, but not limited to

• Attawheed (the largest in Aleppo)
• Ansar Al Sham (Damascus)
• All of Deraa (all of Horan Valley)
• Most of Latakia (inc Coastal Turkmen Brigade)

Over the next few days (expected on Thursday) the Syrian National Army will announced its new structure and what it encompasses (brigades and leadership).

Some groups remain outside the new structure – negotiations with the al-Farouq Brigade in Homs have apparently failed and talks with FSA factions in Idlib as said to be continuing but "a little tough".

What does seem clear, however, is that the rebel forces are gradually becoming stronger and more organised while the government forces are on a downhill path:

Assad forces' land supply lines are like walking on thin ice, almost every convoy is attacked. Tanks can't be moved, no air freight, etc. That's why you see more and more jets dropping barrels filled with screwdrivers, metal shrapnel, and TNT. Assad can no longer transport big bombs.

Troops from the 4th, 5th, 9th & 17th Division (estimated around 100k) can mostly not leave their bases. They can only shell towns from their news base, and the majority of these troops haven't taken a break from their tours since deployment.

In short, Assad army morale is at an all-time low, the latest loses (including jets and military bases) have increase defection, and they are slowly getting desperate. The lack of supplies (along with new arms) is exactly why FSA brigades can take over whole military bases like Abu Aduhoor, Taftanaz, etc....

Details on the downing of a Syrian jet

Blogger Brown Moses has more details on the downing of a jet which he identifies as a MiG, in Idlib province.

He also highlights another video from activists showing Jamaal Maaruf, identified as the leader of Shuhada Jebel al-Zawiya battalion, explaining that his men have been been attacking Abu Dhuhur air base for six days.

Bahrain must free prisoners of conscience after outrageous verdict

Amnesty International
4 September 2012

"The decision by Bahrain’s appeal court to uphold sentences against 13 opposition activists and prisoners of conscience is outrageous and the authorities must ensure it is overturned and the activists immediately and unconditionally released, Amnesty International said.

The High Criminal Court of Appeal in Bahrain on Tuesday upheld the convictions and sentences of the 13 men, who were convicted last year before military courts on charges related to anti-government protests.

Amnesty International sent a trial observer to Bahrain who was present in court.
“Today’s court decision is another blow to justice and it shows once more that the Bahraini authorities are not on the path of reform, but seem rather driven by vindictiveness,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“Today’s verdict further engulfs Bahrain in injustice. Instead of upholding the sentences, ranging from five years to life in prison, the Bahraini authorities must quash the convictions for the 13 men who are imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights and release them immediately and unconditionally.”

The 13, who include prominent activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and opposition political activist Ebrahim Sharif, were originally sentenced by a military court in June 2011 to between two years and life in prison on charges including “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution”.

All maintain their innocence......"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: UNHCR's Melissa Fleming on Syrian refugees

Al-Jazeera Video: ثوار سوريون يعلنون إسقاط ثلاث طائرات عسكرية

Al-Jazeera Video: 'Record numbers' of refugees fleeing Syria

Al-Jazeera Video: Hezbollah prepared for 'rainy days'

"Kamel Wazne, a Beirut-based political analyst who specialises in Hezbollah, says the Lebanese group has many contingency plans for any number of outcomes to the Syrian conflict.

Bashar al-Assad's future could play a large role in the the Hassan Nasrallah-led party's support base.

But Kamel says the group is prepared to continue in its fight against Israel, even if it loses the support of its main ally, Iran."

Al-Jazeera Video: Hezbollah ponders an uncertain future

"The effects of the crisis in Syria have reverberated across the region.

In neighbouring Lebanon, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's future could play a large role in the Hezbollah party's support base.

The group, which commands the loyalty of a big chunk of Lebanon's Shia Muslim population, now faces an uncertain future as it could potentially lose one of its two closest allies, the other being Iran.

Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from Lebanon's southern border with Israel."

Egyptian Hospitals Under Attack as Patients Lose Patience

By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO, Sep 3 2012 (IPS) - The emergency room of Mansoura International Hospital is closed, a lock and chain securing its entrance. Ambulances carrying stroke and burn victims are ordered to go elsewhere.

Just hours earlier, dozens of people stormed this mid-sized hospital in northern Egypt, carrying a relative injured in a car accident. The group overpowered the military officers guarding the front door, fired shots in the air, and threatened to kill doctors and nurses unless they operated immediately on their relative.

Five security personnel were wounded in the attack, and a hospital worker was bludgeoned so hard he remains in a coma.

This was not an isolated incident.....

In response to protests, Egypt’s newly elected president ordered the military to secure 100 of the country’s busiest hospitals. The Ministry of Interior also announced plans to establish a special police force to manage hospital security......"

The Patience of Jordanians is Running on Empty! By Emad Hajjaj

Strained Syrian army calls up reserves; some flee

"(Reuters) - Syria is calling up former soldiers from the reserves to active army service in growing numbers, a sign of the strain of efforts to crush the 17-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Several fleeing reservists and a serving army officer told Reuters that thousands of men had been called up in the past two months to bolster the 300,000 strong army, and many of them are failing to report for duty.

"We have two choices: Stay and kill fellow Syrians, or desert, and be on the run from military courts," said a legal assistant summoned for duty in Damascus. Like others interviewed for this article, he asked not to be identified for security reasons.

One army officer contacted in Homs said he believed that only half of those called up in recent months had reported for duty, although it was not possible to verify that figure or ascertain whether other units had experienced similar levels of reservists failing to report.

The officer said many units had suffered heavy losses battling rebels.

"There is a shortage of men. A lot of fighters have been killed, and we have desertions," he said by telephone, sighing......"

Pro-settler vandals attack monastery near Jerusalem

"(Reuters) - Vandals set fire to the doors of a Christian monastery near Jerusalem on Tuesday and daubed pro-settler graffiti on its walls in a possible retaliation for the eviction of families from an unauthorized outpost.

The name of the unauthorized Migron settlement, which was cleared following a court order on Sunday, was scrawled on the well known Latrun Monastery, alongside the words "Jesus is a monkey", said police.

Israeli security officials had said they were worried the eviction of 50 families from Migron, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, might provoke retaliation from a vigilante settler group known as "Price Tag"......"

Syria: refugee crisis - live updates

Matthew Weaver and Brian Whitaker, Tuesday 4 September 2012


Russia considered quitting Tartous base

Russia considered evacuating military personnel from its base on the Syrian coast, but decided the situation was stable enough not to warrant the move, Reuters reports citing the Interfax.

Any such evacuation could signal the Kremlin feared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was in danger of falling to rebels fighting to oust him.

The Interfax report indicated Moscow has no immediate plans to abandon a supply and maintenance base in the Mediterranean port of Tartous that is Russia's only naval facility outside the former Soviet Union.

"Plans for a long-distance mission by a detachment of Russian navy ships foresaw the possibility of evacuating Russian specialists from Syria," Interfax quoted the unnamed source in Russia's armed forces general staff as saying.

The evacuation plan was meant to be carried out if the situation in Syria turned critical, the source said. But analysts at the General Staff determined that the situation was sufficiently stable and the naval facility was not under threat.....

Rebels claim to have captured missiles

Bahrain civilian court upholds sentences against uprising leaders

Verdicts passed by military court after anti-government protests against 20 activists, including eight life sentences, to stand, Tuesday 4 September 2012

"A Bahraini civilian court has upheld sentences against 20 leaders of last year's uprising, the government's Information Affairs Authority said, rulings that could fuel political tensions in the Gulf Arab country.

The verdicts, originally issued by a military court, include eight life sentences. Defence lawyers have said the civilian court's decision may still be appealed against.

Bahrain has suffered political unrest since a protest movement dominated by majority Shia Muslims erupted in February 2011, during a wave of revolts against authoritarian governments across the Arab world.

Eight of the 20 men received life sentences in a military court last year, including rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and opposition leader Hassan Mushaimaa, who had called for the Bahrain monarchy to be turned into a republic....."

Libya: Testing tolerance

Attacks on mosques in Libya test not only the country's promising democratic debut, but also the value of tolerance.

Larbi Sadiki

"Attacks on mosques in Libya test not only the country's promising democratic debut, but also the nation's value of tolerance.

How do these attacks represent a challenge to the newly-institutionalised democratic order in post-Gaddafi Libya?

Dr Mohamed al-Magariaf, President of the newly elected National Congress (the interim parliament), has summed up wide outrage in Libya at the attacks against a number of mosques across the country. He was correct in taking such a stand and, furthermore, holding those responsible accountable for such heinous acts.

Dr al-Magariaf, one of the initial dissenters in Libya against Gaddafi, took a principled stand against these regrettable events in a country where mosques are part and parcel of the public sphere in which free worship has for hundreds of years been a non-negotiable norm.

His stress on tolerance as a basis for democratic reconstruction derives from a 40-year struggle during which all forms of dissidence and pluralism lacked toleration in terms of expression......

For a police force to stand idle when public property and a space of worship is under attack undermines above all else not just an act of religious faith stressed in Islam, but also the principle of plurality within unity in Libya and all emerging democratic transitions in the Arab Middle East. This is one reason why democratic transition calls for a new policing philosophy in Libya, as in Egypt and Tunisia....

Like in Egypt and Tunisia, transition in Libya was never expected to be easy. All three countries face both similar and dissimilar types of challenges and problems. What complicates Libya's is the regionalism and tribalism, enmeshed with clan-type politics, today complicated by the rise of Salafism......"

'Record numbers' of refugees fleeing Syria

The UN says more than 100,000 people fled their country in August - the highest monthly total since the uprising began.

"The UN refugee agency says 100,000 refugees fled Syria in August alone, the highest monthly total since the uprising began.

Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for UNHCR, said on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, the rise in people seeking asylum in neighbouring countries brings the total of Syrian refugees registered or awaiting registration with her agency to 234,368 as of September 2.

"When you do the math, it's quite an astonishing number," she said.

The rising numbers emerged as Peter Maurer, head ot the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), discussed Syria's aid crisis with President Assad.

In Aleppo, supplies are said to be dwindling, with access to parts of the city described as impossible.

Activists say about 5,000 people were killed in August, the highest toll in the 17-month old uprising and more than three times the monthly average.

Turkish authorities says they have taken in 80,000 refugees, while Jordan says up to 183,00 Syrians have entered their country since the conflict egan in February 2011.

The UN children's agency says 1,600 were killed last week alone, also the highest figure for the entire revolt....."

من طهران الى غروزني الى دمشق

من طهران الى غروزني الى دمشق
الياس خوري

"ذكّرني الحوار الذي اجرته قناة 'الدنيا' السورية مع بشار الأسد، بالمقولة التي أطلقها مؤسس حزب الكتائب بيار الجميل في بداية الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية الطويلة. يومها وفي مواجهة الخطاب الاصلاحي الذي تبنته الحركة الوطنية، رفع الشيخ بيار شعار: النظام = الكيان.
اي ان قائد الحزب الأكبر والأكثر تأثيرا في الوسط المسيحي، وضع اللبنانيين امام أحد خيارين، اما بقاء نظام الغلبة الطائفية او اعادة النظر في الكيان اللبناني، وهي دعوة مبطنة الى التقسيم، و/او العودة الى لبنان الصغير، اي الى حدود متصرفية جبل لبنان، التي فرضتها الدول الأوروبية على الباب العالي، بحجة 'حماية المسيحيين'.
الرئيس السوري استعاد المنطق نفسه: الوطن = النظام والنظام = الرئيس!
فاذا اردت حماية الوطن من 'المؤامرة'، فأنت تدافع عن النظام البعثي، واذا وجدت نفسك في صف النظام فأنت مع الرئيس الى الأبد، من دون مناقشة. اما اذا اردت اسقاط الرئيس فأنت تُسقط النظام، واذا سقط النظام ضاع الوطن!
المعادلة الأسدية اكثر تعقيدا من المعادلة التي صاغها بيار الجميل. فالزعيم الكتائبي الراحل تكلم لغة طائفية صريحة، تستند الى خوف اقلوي متوارث، وتحوله الى اداة لتخويف الآخرين واخضاعهم. اما الرئيس السوري فانه ينتمي نظريا على الأقل الى ايديولوجية قومية عابرة للبني الطائفية، تسعى الى ايصال 'الرسالة الخالدة' التي بشّر بها مؤسس حزب البعث، ميشال عفلق، وهي رسالة توحيد الامة العربية وبعثها من السبات. اما كيف تحولت الرسالة الخالدة الى حكم ابدي متوارث، والى جحيم قمعي وسبات سياسي، والى سلسلة من الهزائم الوطنية، فتلك مسألة يجب البحث عن اجوبتها في البذور الفاشية داخل الايديولوجية البعثية نفسها من جهة، وفي استيلاء العسكريين والأمنيين على السلطة، الذي حوّل تلك البذور الى نظام ممسوك من قبل رجل واحد او من قبل مجلس العائلة من بعده، من جهة ثانية.
يحمل التماهي الكامل بين النظام والوطن التـــــهديد بتدمير الوطن او تفكيكه، وهذا هو جوهر خطاب الأسد، اما الكلام عن 'المؤامرة' و'الارهاب' فهو مجرد تغطية ساذجة لم تعـــــد تنطلي على أحد، فالديكتاتور الســــوري هو اول من عــــــرف ذلك، منذ اللحظات الأولى لاندلاع الثورة السورية، حين نزل مئات الالوف الى الشوارع في درعا وحماه وحمــص ودير الزور وريف دمشق مطالبين بحريتهم وكرامتهم، ومعلنين ان طريق الحرية الوحيد هو اسقاط النظام.
وكان جواب النظام هو المراوغة الدموية، معتقدا انه يستطيع من خلال قتل اكبر عدد من المتظاهرين القاء الرعب في قلوب الناس.
مرّ المشروع القمعي للنظام في مرحلتين:
المرحلة الأولى التي سوف نطلق عليها اسم:
المرحلة الايرانية، امتدت من بدايات الثورة، حتى قصف حمص واجتياح بابا عمرو، اما المرحلة الثانية المستمرة الى اليوم فسنطلق عليها اسم: المرحلة الشيشانية.
في المرحلة الأولى حاول النظام تطبيق الخطة الايرانية في قمع 'الثورة الخضراء'، التي اندلعت في ايران بعد 'اعادة انتخاب' احمدي نجاد رئيسا. وقد فشلت هذه الخطة، لأنها استلهمت نموذجا لا يمت بصلة الى الواقع السوري. فالثورة الخضراء تركزت في المدن، وخصوصا في طهران، وكانت غائبة عن الريف الذي حافظ على ولائه للولي الفقيه، كما ان السلطة الايرانية استندت الى شرعية سياسية مستمدة من شرعيتها الفقهية والدينية التي اسسها الخميني. اما الثورة السورية فقد اندلعت اولا في المدن البعيدة عن المركزين السياسي والاقتصادي (دمشق وحلب)، وقد جرّ القمع الوحشي للمظاهرات في هذه المدن الى انخراط البلدات الريفية في الثورة، محولا الثورة الى ظاهرة عصية على السحق بالوسائل الكلاسيكية التي اتبعت في ايران، وقاد الى بداية الانشقاقات في الجيش والى بروز ظاهرة الجيش الحر، والى التسلح الشعبي الواسع. وبدلا من ان تُقمع الثورة، قام الريف بتحفيز العملية الثورية في المدن، حتى وصلت الى قلب دمشق، ونجحت في السيطرة على اجزاء واسعة من حلب. هذا من دون ان ننسى ان النظام لا يستند الى اي شرعية اجتماعية او سياسية او دينية.
فشل النموذج الايراني، قاد الى المرحلة الثانية من القمع، فأستعان النظام بنموذج آخر، هو نموذج سحق الشيشان وتدمير غروزني، وهو النموذج الذي صاغه 'القيصر الروسي الصغير' فلاديمير بوتين. نجح هذا النموذج في روسيا الاتحادية عبر اعتماده على القوة النارية الهائلة للمدفعية والدبابات وسلاح الطيران، وانتج تدميرا منهجيا للعاصمة الشيشاتية غروزني.
لجوء الآلة الأسدية الى هذا النموذج والحماس الروسي له يفتقد الى الحكمة، لأنه يتناسى حقيقتين:
الحقيقة الاولى هي ان بلاد الشيشان صغيرة وعدد سكانها حوالي مليون نسمة، وهي جزء من الاتحاد الروسي الكبير الذي يطوقها من كل الجهات. وان انتفاضتها كانت قومية للتحرر من الهيمنة الروسية، وسعيا وراء الانفصال. وهذا لا يشبه وعلى اي مستوى الثورة السورية التي هي ثورة شعب بأغلبيته ضد نظام حكم ديكتاتوري محلي. الثورة السورية ليست مقاومة لحكم اجنبي بل هي ثورة من اجل الحرية والتخلص من الاستبداد.
الحقيقة الثانية، هي ان 'القيصر الصغير' في موسكو خاض معركته ضد اقلية قومية ودينية ضعيفة وممستضعفة، ونجح في تصويرها باعتبارها معركة لحماية الروسيا واستعادة دورها. اما 'المملوك الصغير' في دمشق، فإنه لا يحارب شعبا آخر، ولا يجتاح مدينة صغيرة اسمها غروزني لا يصل عدد سكانها الى اربعمئة الف نسمة، بل يحارب كل المدن السورية.
الحل الشيشاني يتهاوى اليوم، كما تهاوى الحل الايراني في الأمس. واللافت ان الدولتين الداعمتين للنظام: ايران وروسيا، لم تكتفيا بتقديم نموذجيهما القمعيين، بل اغدقتا على النظام كل اشكال الدعم العسكري والمالي، ومع ذلك فهما مصاباتان بالذهول امام عجزه عن الحسم العسكري، ومحبطتان من تفكك الكثير من عناصر آلته السياسية والعسكرية.
بعد فشل المرحلة الثانية، وهي مسألة وقت ودم، سوف يُضطر النظام الى الدخول في المرحلة الثالثة، وسيكون لهذه المرحلة عنوان واحد هو السقوط والتهاوي، وسنطلق عليها اسم: المرحلة الشامية. لن ينجح الأسد حيث فشل الشيخ بيار الجميل. الادعاء الفاشي الليناني الذي روّج للتقسيم، والمستند الى خبرة تقسيمية 'شُرعنت' دوليا في القرن التاسع عشر عبر المتصرفية، تهاوى لأنه خيار مستحيل واحمق. اما تقسيم سورية او انشاء منطقة طائفية فيها، (هذا ما يروّج له البعض في الصحافة الغربية والعربية)، فهو خيار اكثر حمقا واستحالة من الخيار الفاشي اللبناني. تقسيم سورية مستحيل سورياً واقليمياً ودولياً، حتى لو كانت هذه هي الرغبة الاسرائيلية، ومشروع انشاء دويلة طائفية فيها ليس سوى وصفة للانتحار. لذا سوف يكون للمرحلة الثالثة اسم واحد هو السقوط، ومع اقتراب هذا السقوط سوف يحاول الأسديون تطبيق شعارهم 'الأسد او نحرق البلد'، وهم يقومون بذلك منذ فترة.
هذا هو معنى التصرف الأسدي الدموي الذي يقول إن الديكتاتور لن يمضي قبل ان يدمّر البلد.
وكما فشل النظام في المرحلتين السابقتين فإنــــه سيفشل في المرحلة الثالثة رغم بحـــر الــــدم والدمـــوع الذي يصنعه في كل يوم.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria's Aleppo under renewed bombardment

"The Syrian city of Aleppo has come under renewed government shelling, opposition activists say. At least 34 people are reported to have been killed following a military bombardment in the rebel-held al-Bab area. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports. Warning: Discretion is advised, as some viewers may find images in this report distressing."

Guardian Video: Thousands of Syrians seek refuge in the Zata'ari camp in Jordan

Thousands if Syrians, many of them children, have escaped from the conflict at home and are now at the Zata'ari camp in Jordan. Rae McGrath of Save the Children explains how they are trying to give enjoyment back to the children and Nasim Abu Zaid, a young mother, describes what life was like before they arrived in the camp

Harriet Sherwood, Monday 3 September 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: ما وراء الخبر-استهداف مبنى قيادة الجيش السوري2/9/2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Fight spreads in Syria's northwest mountains

"Near the town of Kasab, tucked into the wooded ridges of northwest Syria, camouflaged rebels attack a government checkpoint with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. It's the latest skirmish in a spreading fight near the Turkish border, a region where many people identify ethncially as Turkmen and have felt treated unfairly by their fellow Syrians. Rebels here tell Al Jazeera they are taking out government mines and planting their own as they fight for access to the Mediterranean Sea, but that they lack medical supplies. Sue Turton reports."

Syria army destroys houses in "collective punishment"; Just Like the Israeli Army!!

"(Reuters) - Syrian army bulldozers razed houses in western Damascus on Monday, pursuing what activists called collective punishment of Sunni Muslim areas hostile to President Bashar al-Assad.

In northern Syria, 18 bodies were found in the rubble of a house bombed by a Syrian warplane in the rebel-held town of al-Bab and 13 more are missing, an opposition watchdog group said.

Bulldozers backed by combat troops demolished buildings in the poor Tawahin district, near the Damascus-Beirut highway, activists and residents said.

"They started three hours ago. The bulldozers are bringing down shops and houses. The inhabitants are in the streets," said a woman who lives in a high-rise building overlooking the area.

Syrian authorities restrict independent media access, making it hard to verify accounts of the conflict from both sides.

Troops forced residents to erase anti-Assad graffiti and write slogans glorifying the president instead, activists said.

"This is an unprovoked act of collective punishment. The rebels had left, there are no longer even demonstrations in the area," said Mouaz al-Shami, a campaigner collecting video documentation of the demolitions.

"The regime can't stop itself from repeating the brutality of the 1980s," he said, alluding to mass killings and wholesale destruction in the city of Hama in 1982 under Assad's father, the late Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria for 30 years......"

Why is Iraq now immune from criticism over appalling human rights record?

Despite at least 96 executions in Iraq this year and well-documented human rights abuses, the world remains silent

Haifa Zangana, Monday 3 September 2012

".....So what kind of human rights are observed in the "new Iraq"? Hardly any. The list of abuses is long and the tip of the iceberg is waves of arbitrary arrests (over 1,000 monthly), torture and executions. All are barely noticed by the world media and the US and British official silence is rather convenient to cover up the crimes and chaos they created. From time to time, they break their silence but only to justify their act of aggression. Recently, when Archbishop Desmond Tutu pulled out of a seminar in protest over the presence of Tony Blair, a statement was issued by Blair's office to justify the morality of his decision to support the United States' military invasion of Iraq.....

The Nouri al-Maliki government in Iraq with its human rights outfits is following the same path. Its human rights concerns remain focused on the crimes of the previous regime. So do most of the intellectuals and politicians involved in the scramble for seats and favours in Baghdad. People who for years before the invasion of 2003 were highlighting human rights abuses as a reason to invoke war as a prelude to democracy and transparency are now either totally silent or actively covering up the current abuses, despite glaring evidence from international human rights organisations....."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Double bombing strikes heart of Syrian military

إيران وسوريا وأسئلة التصعيد العسكري والسياسي

لقد قلنا وسنظل نقول إن البرنامج الأكثر فاعلية في السياق السوري إلى الآن هو البرنامج الإسرائيلي الذي أيقن استحالة بقاء النظام، فذهب نحو خيار تدمير البلد من أجل إشغاله بنفسه لعقود، مما يعني تخلصه من بعض إزعاجات النظام السابق من جهة، وعزله لإيران على نحو يسهِّل أمر التعامل مع برنامجها النووي من جهة أخرى، في ذات الوقت الذي قد يستجد فيه في سوريا وضع غير مزعج، مدة ثلاثة عقود قادمة على الأقل.

كل ذلك ليس قدرا بحال، فالثورة الرائعة التي قدمت أعظم التضحيات لن تستسلم لخيارات الأعداء، وهي قادرة على حسم المعركة على غير ما يشتهي العدو، كما أن الشعب السوري لن يكون مطية لأية مخططات أجنبية لا تنسجم مع مصالحه من جهة، وروحه القومية والإسلامية من جهة أخرى.

Al-Jazeera Video: ضغوط على اللاذقية لتسجل الحرائق بفعل مجهولScorched Earth Policy by the Butcher of Damascus

"قال مصدر بمديرية الإصلاح الزراعي بمدينة اللاذقية للجزيرة إن المديرية تتعرض لضغوط من قبل السلطات السورية تطالبها بتسجيل الحرائق التي أتت على جبلي الأكراد والتركمان على أنها حرائق بفعل مجهول. وقال المصدر الذي التقته الجزيرة بتركيا إن السلطات السورية سحبت جميع عربات وآليات الإطفاء إلى مدينة اللاذقية، قبل أيام من إقدامها على قصف وحرق الغابات والأحراش بريف اللاذقية.
تقرير : ناصر شديد
"تاريخ البث : 02/09/2012


By Michel Kilo

"There are three lies that are being repeated by western politicians and experts whenever the issue of Syria is brought up in order to justify their reluctant positions towards its crisis, or to defend themselves by finding and fabricating Syrian specific "difficulties" that are impossible to overcome or deal with given the resources, capabilities, plans and measures that are available to countries of the world. These lies claim....

Sects did not emerge under "al-Baath" Party. Sectarianism, indeed, has developed thanks to its policies. This is the problem facing our country nowadays, among a whole lot of other problems sponsored by the allegedly secular party that has counted on sectarianizing the state, the government and their institutions in order to save its skin in case the people rose against it. And there it is, desperately trying to utilize the regional and sectarian grudges it has sown into the souls in order to shatter popular unity and transform the struggle for freedom into a mad sectarian fight among Syrians.....

I am definitely not calling for a military intervention, but emphasizing that an intervention has not occurred, not because of the strength of the Syrian Army, but because whoever possesses the decision to intervene in Syria wants the regime to continue destroying Syrian cities and villages in order to drop it out of the balance of power and control in the region for a very long time. And since this is being performed by the regime’s army, no one will put an end to the destruction before it completes its objective. Then they would enter to expel Assad claiming that Syria’s army is flimsy, untrained, weak, and lacking any of the elements of power.....

The westerners know that the battles in Syria are being led by Army officers who have never been affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and fought by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Syrians, whom it is impossible for Al-Qaeda to have succeeded in recruiting and leading just in the past few months. Yet, as an excuse for not acting to stop the official madness that is storming its people in all cities, towns and villages, you see them today exaggerating divisions among Syrian people and the strength of the regime and transforming Al-Qaeda into a scary beast that is holding the revolution in Syria.

Dear Gentlemen: Use a different needle to weave. For if your interests require intervention, you would have said that Syria is unified by its diversity and awaiting the intervention; and that its army is dilapidated and helpless, and its revolution is clean of any trace either of "Al-Qaeda" or any other organization!"

Original Comment in Arabic

Venezuela’s Oil Refinery Blaze: Seven Good Reasons to Suspect Sabotage

By James Petras

"Only 43 days before the Venezuelan presidential election and with President Chavez leading by a persistent margin of 20 percentage points, an explosion and fire at the Amuay refinery killed at least 48 people - half of those were members of the National Guard – and destroyed oil facilities producing 645,000 barrels of oil per day....

Given Washington’s declared enmity and designation of Chavez as “a threat to hemispheric security” and faced with the utter failure of its other policy tools, the resort to violence and, in this specific case, sabotage of the strategic petrol sector emerges as the policy of choice. Washington, by revealing its resort to clandestine terror, represents a clear and present danger to Venezuela’s constitutional order, an immediate threat to the life blood of its economy and of the democratic electoral process. Hopefully, the Chavez government, backed by the vast majority of its citizens and constitutionalist armed forces will take the necessary comprehensive security measures to ensure that there is no repeat of the petrol sabotage in other sectors, like the electrical grid. Public weakness in the face of imperial belligerence only encourages further aggression....."

Truthdigger of the Week: Ali Abunimah


"Many journalists become grudgingly used to the fact that their reporting has little to no visible effect on the course of world events. For a moment last month, Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the pro-Palestinian news and opinion site The Electronic Intifada, wasn’t one of them.

Abunimah is almost singularly responsible for The Guardian newspaper’s dismissal of former George W. Bush speechwriter Joshua Trevino from the historically liberal paper’s opinion pages. He was one of the loudest and clearest voices to speak out when the hire was announced in mid-August. One year earlier, he told readers, Trevino had encouraged the Israeli military to kill American activists aboard a flotilla that was set to defy the country’s embargo against the shipment of goods into the Gaza Strip.

“Dear IDF,” Trevino tweeted in June 2011, “If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla—well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.” Poet and author Alice Walker, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein and Joseph Dana of The Nation magazine were among the American citizens aboard the flotilla.

Something has gone badly wrong at The Guardian,” Abunimah wrote in his central piece criticizing the paper’s choice, published at Al-Jazeera. “In the name of ‘robust debate,’ the venerable left-leaning liberal newspaper has effectively given its stamp of approval to speech that goes beyond mere hate, speech that clearly crosses the line into incitement to murder unarmed civilians and journalists. What lies behind this worrying development, and what does it tell us about the state of media in general?”......"

Libyan Weapons Arming Regional Conflicts

By Mel Frykberg

"....Meanwhile, Jihadists in Syria are being supported by possibly hundreds of former Libyan rebels, many of them from Gharyan, 80km south of Tripoli. The men from Gharyan reportedly joined the ranks of the FSA after the city’s mufti Sheikh Sadik Gharyan called on Libyans to stand by their brothers in Syria.

Islamist Abdul Basset Abu Arghob, an oil engineer by profession, who commanded the Gharyan Brigades during the revolution, said he had considered going to fight in Syria.

“I decided against it in the end as there is so much work to be done in Libya. But many of my comrades have gone to fight in Syria as we believe the war there is part of a holy Jihad against bad regimes in the region and it is our duty as Muslims to help our brethren,” Abu Arghob told IPS.

One of the most prominent Libyan fighters in Syria is Mahdi Al Harati who used to command the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigades, one of the first Libyan brigades to enter Syria in August last year.

Al-Harati said that victory in Libya and the support of world organisations for Libya encouraged him to pass his experiences on for the benefit of Syrians.

“After many Syrians approached me asking for my help, I felt it was time to do more and due to the great success of the Tripoli Brigades we felt it was time to act,” said Al-Harati."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you expect that Brahimi's mission will succeed in ending the violence in Syria?

With over 500 responding, 94% said no.

Israeli Official: Obama ‘Will Make Netanyahu Pay’ If Reelected

Many Israeli officials aren't taking the Obama administration's signals very well

"Some Israeli security officials are trying to downplay the Pentagon’s decision to significantly scale back its participation in a US-Israeli military exercise, even though it was pretty clearly meant as a signal that Washington doesn’t support Israel’s march to war with Iran.

“Israel has no idea why the Americans decided to reduce the number of troops it will send to the drill,” one security official told the Jerusalem Post. “The ties between the US and Israeli armies are strong, and we would have known if the reduction had something to do with any tensions between Jerusalem and Washington.”

The exercise, scheduled to begin in September, will include only about 1,200 US troops, as opposed to the initially planned 5,000.

Other Israelis clearly see the move for what it is. “Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you,’” another senior Israeli military official told Time magazine.

“I think they don’t want to insinuate that they are preparing something together with the Israelis against Iran – that’s the message,” says Israeli analyst Efraim Inbar.

A rift has been growing between the administrations of Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu over whether to launch an unprovoked war of choice against Iran for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t even have.

“The US elections are in two months, and there is no doubt that President Barack Obama, if he is reelected, will make Netanyahu pay for his behavior,” said an Israeli security cabinet member. “It will not pass quietly.”"

Aftermath of Latest Rise in Gasoline Prices in Jordan, by Emad Hajjaj

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Syria - Buffer zone raises tough questions

Libya: Stop Attacks on Sufi Sites

Protect Religious Sites, Investigate Crimes

Human Rights Watch

"(Beirut)– The Libyan government should urgently deploy security forces in numbers sufficient to protect Sufi religious sites and announce that people who attack these sites will be held accountable for these crimes.

In recent weeks, armed groups motivated by their religious views have attacked Sufi religious sites across the country, destroying several mosques and tombs of Sufi religious leaders and scholars. The government’s security forces have failed to stop the attacks and, in some cases, have stood by while the attacks took place, a pattern apparently endorsed by the interior minister. Authorities have made no arrests, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine.

The government has failed both to protect sites sacred to Libyan Muslims who follow Sufi practices and to arrest those who have destroyed the tombs,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Inaction and impunity can only encourage further attacks.”

Mainstream Islamic scholars consider Sufism a practice of Islam that emphasizes esoteric and mystical elements. The followers pray over tombs of saints and ask for blessings, practices that some conservative Muslims reject as idolatry....."

Kept in the dark – the murky world of enforced disappearances

Amnesty International

"For more than a year, 67-year-old Abd al-Akram al-Sakka has been missing in what amounts to an enforced disappearance – a crime under international law.

Despite desperate pleas from the elderly imam’s relatives, the Syrian authorities have not revealed any information about his whereabouts or the conditions of his detention.

In fact, they never even acknowledged his arrest – the only thing his loved ones can be sure of is that on 15 July 2011, around 20 members of Syria’s Air Force Intelligence arrived at his house in the Damascus suburb of Daraya and whisked him away.

The imam’s son-in-law Haytham Al Hamwi– who now lives in exile – recently told Amnesty International about his family’s anguish and the lack of information around al-Sakka’s disappearance since the Syrian uprising began in early 2011.

“Disappearance means that you don’t know anything about them, and even if you know anything – you are always worried that this information is not OK,” Al Hamwi said.

Last September, the Syrian authorities also detained his father Muhammad Yassin Al Hamwi, a shopkeeper, and his brother Muhammad Muhammad Al Hamwi in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance.

They were held incommunicado for five and six months, respectively, before being released earlier this year. During that time, their family did not know whether they were dead or alive. No charges were brought against them, but it is believed they were arrested for taking part in anti-government protests....."