Saturday, September 24, 2016

حلب تحترق والعالم يتفرج

ما وراء الخبر-هل منحت واشنطن الضوء الأخضر لإبادة حلب؟

Syria bombings leave 1.75 million without running water in Aleppo

Unicef says children at risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases after two pumping stations left out of action

The Guardian


Heavy bombardment of the rebel-held eastern area of Aleppo has left about 1.75 million people without running water, the United Nations has said.
Intense attacks on Friday prevented repairs to the city’s damaged Bab al-Nayrab pumping station, which supplies water to 250,000 people in the eastern parts of the city, according to the UN’s children’s agency, Unicef. 
In retaliation, the nearby Suleiman al-Halabi station, which pumps water to 1.5 million people in the west of Aleppo, was switched off, it said.
Fighting continued on Saturday, with pro-government forces intensifying the siege around eastern Aleppo and capturing a former refugee camp overlooking roads into the area. Rebel officials said heavy airstrikes, mostly carried out by Russian warplanes, hit at least four areas of the opposition-held east.
Hanaa Singer, the Unicef representative in Syria, said: “Nearly 2 million people in Aleppo are once again with no running water through the public network. Depriving children of water puts them at risk of catastrophic outbreaks of waterborne diseases and adds to the suffering, fear and horror that children in Aleppo live through every day.
“In the eastern part of Aleppo, the population will have to resort to highly contaminated well water. It is critical for children’s survival that all parties to the conflict stop attacks on water infrastructure, provide access to assess and repair damage to Bab al-Nayrab station, and switch the water back on at the Suleiman al-Halabi station.”
People inspect a water-filled hole at the site of an airstrike on the rebel-held Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo.
 People inspect a water-filled hole at the site of an airstrike on the rebel-held Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo. Photograph: Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
At least 25 people were killed on Saturday as the Syrian military continued its offensive on opposition-held areas in its attempt to retake control of the entire city, according to rebel sources. The death toll was expected to rise, with many victims still trapped beneath rubble.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said it had documented 47 deaths on Friday, including five children.
Residents of rebel-held eastern Aleppo said the area had been subjected to the most ferocious bombardment of the war in the latest offensive.
“Unfortunately it continues. There are planes in the sky now,” said Ammar al-Selmo, the head of the Syrian Civil Defence in the area.
The attackers appeared to be using ordnance more destructive than anything previously used against the area, and residents said many buildings had been destroyed.
They described the use of a missile that produced earthquake-like tremors upon impact and razed buildings to basement level, where many residents seek protection during bombing.
“They are using weapons that appear to be specifically for [bringing down] buildings,” a senior official in an Aleppo-based rebel faction, the Levant Front, told Reuters. “Most of the victims are under the rubble because more than half the civil defence has been forced out of service.”
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Girl pulled from rubble after airstrike in Aleppo
The 250,000 residents left in eastern Aleppo have been under near-continuous siege since government troops encircled the area in mid-July.
Syrian government forces supported by Palestinian fighters took control of Handarat camp in a rebel-held area north of Aleppo on Saturday, the observatory said. The former Palestinian refugee camp, which overlooks one of the main roads into Aleppo, had been in rebel hands for years.
“Handarat has fallen,” an official with one of the main Aleppo rebel groups told Reuters. An army statement confirmed the advance, saying “large numbers of terrorists” had been killed.
Elsewhere, seven people were killed by a strike as they queued to buy yoghurt at a market in the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood, which sits on the frontline between the government-held west and rebel-held east of the city.
There was also major destruction in several neighbourhoods, including Al-Kalasseh and Bustan al-Qasr, where some streets were almost erased by the bombardment. Unexploded rockets lay buried in the roads in some areas, while elsewhere enormous craters had been left by the bombing, Agence France-Presse said.
The civil defence, known as the “white helmets”, was overwhelmed by the scale of the destruction, which included several of its bases.
The group said it had just two fire engines left for all of east Aleppo which, like its ambulances, were struggling to move around the city.
With no electricity or fuel for generators, the streets of Aleppo are pitch black and difficult to navigate at night, and the fuel shortage has made it hard to refill vehicles. In many places, rubble strewn across streets has rendered them impassable and has effectively sealed off neighbourhoods to traffic.
On Saturday morning the streets were nearly empty, with just a few residents out looking for bread.
The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Saturday that reviving the ceasefire in Syria depended on all sides. “One can speak about the ceasefire revival only on the collective basis,” he told Russian television.
Russia and the US agreed to a ceasefire on 9 September, but the truce effectively collapsed after a week when an aid convoy was attacked, killing about 20 people..
The Syrian army said it was targeting rebel positions in the city, and denied hitting civilians.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Guardian Video: Girl pulled from rubble after airstrike in Aleppo

A young girl is pulled from rubble on Friday after an airstrike in Aleppo. Rescuers dig out the girl, covered in the wreckage and dust, with their bare hands. She is believed to be the only surviving member of her family from the attack by Syrian and Russian airplanes that killed at least 70 people

DNA - 23/09/2016 الحوثي : من مال الله يا محسنين

Aleppo residents tell of onslaught as airstrikes enter second day

‘Anger has filled everyone who remains in this city of rubble … God curse humanity if this is what it has become,’ says nurse

The Guardian


A girl is carried from the rubble after airstrikes in Aleppo.
 A girl is carried from the rubble after airstrikes in Aleppo. Photograph: Sky News
Residents of rebel-held east Aleppo have described scenes of devastation, with activists claiming that both Syrian and Russian warplanes have attacked the city hours after the announcement of a major new offensive. At least 70 people were reported dead.
As heavy bombing entered a second day, three medical facilities and two centres belonging to the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group, were hit in airstrikes that disabled some of their vehicles, cut off roads in the city and left victims trapped in the rubble. The White Helmets said more than 40 buildings were destroyed.
Dramatic footage also emerged of rescuers who pulled a young girl being pulled from the ruins of a building and appeared to rush her away for medical treatment. Sky News, which broadcast the footage, said it had been filmed on Friday in the Bab al-Nairab district of Aleppo. The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the details.
Aleppo, once Syria’s commercial capital, is divided into a western portion controlled by the government and an eastern area held by rebels. The eastern part has been besieged for two months, with an estimated 250,000 people in dire need of humanitarian aid. 
Medics in the eastern districts spoke of their despair on Friday at international efforts to alleviate their suffering and anger at the continued assault on the population after the collapse of a brief ceasefire.
“Anger has filled everyone who remains in this city of rubble,” said Bara’a, a nurse. “Many of the wounded are children, and when you look in their eyes they weep and say we have nothing left. Curse this justice. They lose their limbs and become disabled for life and their only sin is that they are the children of Syria.
“They have burned their childhood and their innocence and made them homeless in their country and all we get in return are words and promises from outside. God curse humanity if this is what it has become.”
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Syria civil defence volunteer recalls Aleppo attack – video
The Syrian military announced a new offensive on Thursday as the US secretary of state, John Kerry, met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and other foreign ministers on the margins of a UN summit in New York, with the ostensible hope of restoring a week-long truce that collapsed on Monday.
Activists claimed the government and its Russian allies had deployed phosphorus and cluster munitions as well as barrel and vacuum bombs. It was unclear if government forces were planning an imminent ground incursion into the rebel-held districts, but some observers interpreted the intense shelling as a sign that such an effort would follow in due course.
A Syrian military source told Agence France-Presse the timing of the ground operation would “depend on the results of the strikes and the situation on the ground”.
Activists said the government of Bashar al-Assad also bombed one of two water distribution plants in the opening move of what the military command described as an operation to reclaim the opposition-controlled eastern districts of the city. “We need a miracle to save us from inevitable death,” said a doctor in the city.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said more than 100 airstrikes had targeted eastern Aleppo since Thursday night, including 30 on Friday alone. At least 16 people had been killed in raids on Friday morning, it said. There were no reliable figures for the total number of victims since the collapse of the ceasefire, but the current bombardment of Aleppo is the most intense in months.
Locals shared several images and videos showing the devastation caused by the airstrikes, which they said had left so many dead and wounded that intensive care units in local hospitals had been mostly filled with victims.
A resident who lives near one of the bombed White Helmets centres said: “Dozens of wounded are still under the rubble because there are few methods of transportation in the city besides the emergency vehicles in the hospitals.”
The official Syrian army statement declaring the offensive followed several days of bombing of eastern Aleppo with barrel bombs dropped from helicopters and airstrikes by warplanes, which intensified on Thursday. The statement called for civilians to head to Syrian regime checkpoints to be escorted to safety.
In New York, Kerry said the only way to curb the bloodshed was for “the ones who have the air power in this part of the conflict to simply stop using it”.
A destroyed ambulance is seen outside the Syrian Civil Defence HQ after airstrikes in Ansari.
 A destroyed ambulance is seen outside the Syrian Civil Defence HQ after airstrikes in Ansari. Photograph: AP
“Absent a major gesture like this we don’t believe there is a point in making more promises or issuing more plans or announcing something that can’t be enforced or reached,” he said.
“We can’t go out and say we have an agreement when we don’t. Nor do we tell our partners there is a cessation when there isn’t. The simple reality is that we can’t resolve the crisis if one side is unwilling to do what is necessary to avoid escalation.
“We have exchanged ideas with the Russians and we plan to consult tomorrow with respect to those ideas. If the Russians come back to us with constructive proposals we will listen.”
A senior US official said the Syrian declaration of a new offensive had further undermined hope of restoring the ceasefire. Asked what the US would do if the Russian and Syrian governments did not respond with an end to the air campaign, the official said “obviously this is something we are giving a lot of thought to ourselves”.
Since Monday, the Syrian air force has stepped up its bombing of rebel-held areas, and Russia and Syria have been accused of involvement in an attack on a relief convoy outside Aleppo, which the UN has deemed a potential war crime.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

حديث الثورة-الانتقادات الخليجية لمواقف أميركا بالمنطقة

DNA - 22/09/2016 حزب الله والجنرال..عون او لا احد

Sisi is a dead man walking

By David Hearst


The question is not if Sisi can fight on through the miasma of doubt which surrounds him, but who will replace him
“You want to be a first-class nation? Will you bear it if I make you walk on your own feet? When I wake you up at five in the morning every day? Will you bear cutting back on food, cutting back on air-conditioners? ...People think I’m a soft man, Sisi is torture and suffering.”
So said the field marshal in a leaked recording of a conversation he had with a journalist shortly before he became president. Little did he know then how prescient his words would be. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule has indeed become torture and suffering for Egypt.
He has lurched from one promise to another, each one a glittering bauble dangled over a credulous and fearful nation. The first was the untold billions that Egypt would continue to get from the Gulf states who bankrolled his military coup. He boasted to his aides that their money was so plentiful it was “like rice”, a judgment that now looks dated after the collapse in the price of oil and the Yemen war. He burnt his way through up to $50bn of their cash, loans and oil guarantees. 
The second was the international donors conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. More promises but nothing changed.
The third was mega infrastructure projects like the construction of a new capital city costing $45bn or the opening of the new Suez Canal. A year ago, state officials promised the $8bn project to widen the canal would triple revenue in just eight years. In fact, the number of ships has increased by 0.0033 percent, according to one count.
A fourth was the plan to cede two islands to Saudi Arabia, in hope of renewing Saudi financial support. The plan caused outrage, is stuck in parliament and the courts, which in turn has angered the Saudis.

Tremors in Cairo

Now salvation comes, we are told, in the form of a $12bn IMF loan. For Egypt’s currency market, its more life support than loan. In July, foreign reserves dropped to their lowest level in 16 months, Bloomberg reported, and constitute only three months of imports. There is no such thing as a free IMF loan. They are expected to demand a devaluation of the Egyptian pound, phasing out of subsidies, and the imposition of VAT, reforms much talked about, but never implemented. The only salaries Sisi has raised are those of the army, police and judges. As it is, spending on public wages, salaries, subsidies and servicing debts represent 80 percent of the budget. This leaves little room for cuts. The only option is to squeeze more out of those who cannot afford to pay.
Egypt's dollar crisis - a shortage of hard currency to pay for imports - has real consequences such as the acute lack of formula milk for mothers, or the sudden halt that was called to the import of Russian wheat, done on the pretext of changed import regulations banning ergot fungus. Both Bloomberg and The Economist have called time on Sisi, each placing the blame for Egypt’s economic and social descent directly on the president’s shoulders.  
The Economist wrote: “For the time being talk of another uprising, or even of another coup to get rid of Mr Sisi, has abated. Caught by surprise in 2011, the secret police are even more diligent in sniffing out and scotching dissent. But the demographic, economic and social pressures within Egypt are rising relentlessly. Mr Sisi cannot provide lasting stability. Egypt’s political system needs to be reopened. A good place to start would be for Mr Sisi to announce that he will not stand again for election in 2018.”
That last sentence caused tremors in Cairo. It chimed with the swell of domestic criticism among a group of editors who supported the 2013 coup. Imad El-Din Hussein, editor of Al Shorouq newspaper, challenged the assumption that the economy was going through a “bottle neck” caused by the collapse of revenue from tourism, and foreign investment. He said Egypt was going through an “extended tunnel” and questioned how bright the light at the end of it would be.
Judgments like these are warning signals to Sisi. There are others. In the run up to Eid al-Adha there were reports that the market had been flooded with donkey meat, which was being passed off as beef and lamb.

Which foreign hands?

Sisi fired back at disloyal loyalists by blaming a foreign hand. A foreign power was conspiring against Egypt with the intention of destabilising public opinion and heightening suspicion about the current government, the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported. They had talked to “informed sources”, which generally means military intelligence.
The question is not whether Sisi can fight on through the miasma of doubt which now surrounds him. The real question is how long has he got.
In August, Al-Ahram accused the BBC and CNN of conspiring against Egypt and its tourist industry. Now foreign hands were at work within Bloomberg and The Economist.  But which ones? Which foreign power was sowing disinformation about Egypt through the Economist?
Was it Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom the Economist has accused of being a new Sultan? Was it the US, which has provided $6.5bn in military assistance to Cairo between 2011 and 2015? Was it Britain, which is the largest single foreign investor in Egypt? Was it France, which has just delivered its second Mistral class helicopter carrier to Egypt? Was it Vladimir Putin, whom Sisi has tried assiduously to court?
The truth is that Sisi is failing despite the overwhelming financial and military support of the Gulf and the West. Confidence in him as a leader is imploding. His remaining weapons are paranoia and nationalist fear. The question then is not whether Sisi can fight on through the miasma of doubt which now surrounds him. Most people already know the answer to that. The real question is how long has he got.

Sisi alternatives

A year ago, Saudi King Salman’s riposte to this in his conversations with Erdogan was: find me an alternative. Today, the alternatives are clearer. The most likely candidates to replace Sisi are not democrats or opposition leaders. They are military men, SCAF insiders and old, wizened hands at the game of power broking. These are people who could lead a political transition of which Sisi is incapable.
In no particular order, there is Sami Anan, the former chief of staff of the Egyptian army, Tantawi’s deputy, who is known as The Fox. He has good relations with both the Saudis and the Americans. Anan is no lover of freely elected Egyptian presidents. In fact, he was one of those in SCAF who wanted to start the coup against Mohamed Morsi earlier than it did. But he could now lead a transitional period.
Mohamed Mahsoub, Ayman Nour, Lt Gen Mahmoud Hegazy, Sedki Sobhi, Sami Anan, Ahmed Shafiq (L-R clockwise/AFP/WikiMedia)
The Emirati candidate is Ahmed Shafiq, who ran against Morsi as presidential candidate and lost, but retains a constituency among Egypt’s oligarchs.
Closer to home, the name of the silent but unsackable defence minister, Sedki Sobhi, continues to be raised, as does that of Lt Gen Mahmoud Hegazy - whose son is married to Sisi's daughter. Hegazy was appointed as chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces and deputy chairman of the SCAF, as an ally who had Sisi’s back after he resigned from the army to run for the presidency. But even close allies these days can see beyond their current master, as Sisi himself did when he was defence minister, hand picked by Morsi. Treachery is a double-edged sword.
Living in exile, the two names most often mentioned with are Ayman Nour, a leading member of the liberal opposition and founder of the El Ghad party, and Mohamed Mahsoub, a leading Wasat Party member and law professor living in France. Both are involved in initiatives to activate a political opposition in Egypt. 
Missing from this list is anyone connected to, or representing, the Muslim Brotherhood. This is because the Brotherhood itself has been weakened. It is outlawed, and imprisoned at home, and weakened abroad by a split in its ranks over what it should do next. The Brotherhood’s absence from the political scene either at home or abroad creates an opportunity for members of the liberal opposition in Egypt to gather, because they will not be seen as a vanguard for the Brotherhood’s return. 
Either way, Sisi is, in English parlance, a dead man walking. This image is taken from a man walking to the gallows. But the Qu’ran has a better one. It says that when King Solomon died, no one noticed at first, because he died standing, propped up by his wooden staff. The only beings who knew of the king’s death were the termites chewing away at his wooden staff. This is Sisi’s position now, and the termites are gathering.
- David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He was chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian, former Associate Foreign Editor, European Editor, Moscow Bureau Chief, European Correspondent, and Ireland Correspondent. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.