Saturday, October 22, 2016
WITH ITS HESITATION AND INACTION IN BOTH SYRIA AND IRAQ, TURKEY HAS PROVEN TO BE TRULY A PAPER TIGER. THIS HAS NOT SURPRISED ME, AND I PREDICTED THAT A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.
NORMALIZING WITH THE BRUTAL RUSSIAN REGIME WHILE IT IS OBLITERATING ALEPPO AND OTHER SYRIAN CITIES IS UNFORGIVABLE.
NORMALIZING WITH THE ZIONIST STATE WHILE IT INCREASES THE FEROCITY OF ITS BLOCKADE ON GAZA IS EQUALLY UNFORGIVABLE.
COMPARE THE DEGREE OF SUPPORT THAT IRAN GIVES TO ITS SURROGATES AND ALLIES TO THAT GIVEN BY TURKEY TO ITS ALLIES; THERE IS NO COMPARISON!
THOSE ARABS WHO HAVE COUNTED ON TURKEY FOR SUPPORT SHOULD FEEL SORELY DISAPPOINTED. STILL THE PILGRIMAGE OF THE GULF LEADERS TO ANKARA DOES NOT STOP. I GUESS IT IS DESPERATION, BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE ELSE TO ASK FOR HELP.
TURKEY HAS BEEN SUBSERVIENT TO THE US, THE EU, RUSSIA AND ISRAEL. IT IS ALL TALK WITH NO ACTION.
Evidence reveals device dropped in Idlib in March 2015 contained toxic substance later identified as chlorine gas
A man receives treatment at the Sarmin field hospital after a chemical attack in Idlib, Syria. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesLink
The Syrian government is responsible for a third chemical attack against a rebel-held area, an international team has concluded.
In a report released to the UN security council on Friday, and seen by the Associated Press, investigators said there was sufficient evidence to conclude that Syrian forces were behind an attack in Qmenas, in Idlib province, in March 2015.
A device dropped from a high altitude “hit the ground and released the toxic substance that affected the population”, the report said, adding that witnesses and hospital staff identified the smell and symptoms of chlorine gas.
“It is crucial to hold those who use or intend to use chemicals as weapons accountable for their acts, as it is fundamental to deter all those who continue to believe that there is something to be gained in [their] use,” the panel said.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN joint investigative mechanism, known as the Jim, in August blamed Syrian forces for using chlorine in two other attacks, and Islamic State for using mustard gas in one.
The conclusion reached in the latest report relates to one of three other attacks that the Jim originally said may have been perpetrated by the government. There was not enough evidence to determine who was behind the two other attacks, it said.
The experts said they couldn’t confirm the use of barrel bombs in Kfar Zita in Hama governorate on 18 April 2014, because the remnants of the device allegedly used had been removed and could not be linked with certainty to the location.
They said additional witnesses corroborated that a canister with traces of chlorine was found in Binnish in Idlib governorate on 24 March 2015. But the exact time and location could not be established and the canister could not be linked to any of the incident locations.
Russia, Syria’s closest ally, has blocked attempts by Britain, France and the US to impose UN sanctions on the Syrian government for using chemical weapons, saying that the evidence presented in August was not conclusive.
The security council is expected to discuss the report on Thursday, but Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s UN ambassador, has already indicated that Moscow will oppose any sanctions.
The Jim, established by the security council a year ago, has investigated nine cases in seven towns where an OPCW fact-finding mission found that chemical weapons had probably been used. The panel has found the Syrian government responsible for two chlorine attacks in Idlib governorate: one in Talmenes on 21 April 2014, and one in Sarmin on 16 March 2015.
It also said Isis was “the only entity with the ability, capability, motive and the means” to use sulfur mustard gas in Marea in Aleppo governorate near the Turkish border on 21 August 2015.
Friday, October 21, 2016
The move reinforces Hezbollah's supremacy as kingmaker in Lebanon.
By Rami Khouri
Thursday, October 20, 2016
الحشد الشعبي الامريكي
Iranian diplomat describes 'sharp surge' in support for rebels in Yemen, with Muscat accused of turning 'blind eye' to flow of weapons
الانتخابات الاميريكية والعرب !
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
THE MORE, THE BETTER!
بيروت ـ الأناضول ـ شيّع حزب الله اللبناني، اليوم الثلاثاء، جثمان أحد قادته العسكريين البارزين، “حاتم حمادي”، الذي قتل أمس الأول، خلال مشاركته في الحرب السورية إلى جانب قوات نظام “بشار الأسد”.
وأقيمت مراسم التشييع لـ”حمادي” الذي يحمل الاسم الحركي “الحاج علاء” ، في ضاحية بيروت الجنوبية، بمشاركة مئات من أنصار الحزب.
وسارت الجنازة، التي حملت نعش “حمادي” الملفوف بعلم حزب الله، في عدد من شوارع وأحياء الضاحية، على وقع الصيحات والشعارات الدينية والسياسية، قبل أن يدفن في مقبرة “روضة الحوراء زينب”.
ورفع المشاركون في التشييع صور “حمادي” وأعلام الحزب ورايات دينية.
ويقاتل حزب الله إلى جانب النظام السوري، بشكل علني، منذ مطلع العام 2013.
ووفق بيان سابق للحزب، فإن “حمادي”، من بلدة القماطية في جبل لبنان، ولد عام1971، متزوج وله ولدان، حائز على إجازة جامعية تخصص هندسة الكهرباء.
وأوضح البيان أن “حمادي من طلائع المجاهدين الذين ذهبوا إلى سوريا لحماية لبنان من الخطر التكفيري”، بحسب تعبيره.
Paramilitary militias and government forces in Iraq have committed serious human rights violations, including war crimes, by torturing, arbitrarily detaining, forcibly disappearing and extrajudicially executing thousands of civilians who have escaped areas controlled by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International in a new report published today.
The report ‘Punished for Daesh’s crimes’: Displaced Iraqis abused by militias and government forces exposes the terrifying backlash against civilians fleeing IS-held territory, raising alarm about the risk of mass violations as the military operation to recapture the IS-held city of Mosul gets underway.
The report is based on interviews with more than 470 former detainees, witnesses and relatives of those killed, disappeared or detained, as well as officials, activists, humanitarian workers and others.
“After escaping the horrors of war and tyranny of IS, Sunni Arabs in Iraq are facing brutal revenge attacks at the hands of militias and government forces, and are being punished for crimes committed by the group,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“Iraq is currently facing very real and deadly security threats from IS, but there can be no justification for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture or arbitrary detention.
“As the battle to retake Mosul gets underway, it is crucial that the Iraqi authorities take steps to ensure these appalling abuses do not happen again. States supporting military efforts to combat IS in Iraq must demonstrate they will not continue to turn a blind eye to violations.”
As the battle to retake Mosul gets underway, it is crucial that the Iraqi authorities take steps to ensure these appalling abuses do not happen again
The report highlights widespread revenge attacks and discrimination faced by Sunni Arabs suspected of being complicit in IS crimes or supporting the group. Many were displaced during major military operations in 2016 across the country, including in Falluja and surrounding areas (in the governorate of Anbar), al-Sharqat (Salah al-Din governorate), Hawija (Kirkuk governorate) and around Mosul (Ninewa governorate).
The predominantly Shi’a militias involved in abuses, known as the Popular Mobilization Units, have long been backed by the Iraqi authorities, which have provided them with financial support and weapons. They were officially designated part of the Iraqi forces in February 2016.
The government’s responsibility for these violations cannot be ignored and states supporting or participating in the ongoing military effort to combat IS in Iraq should have rigorous checks in place to ensure that any support or equipment they provide does not contribute to abuses.
Mass abductions, killings and torture
Amnesty International’s research reveals that war crimes and other gross human rights violations were committed by predominantly Sh’ia militias, and possibly government forces, during operations to retake Falluja and surrounding areas from IS in May and June 2016.
In one shocking incident at least 12 men and four boys from the Jumaila tribe who fled al-Sijir, north of Falluja, were extrajudicially executed after they handed themselves in to men wearing military and federal police uniforms on 30 May. Men and older boys were separated from the women and younger children before being lined up and shot dead. At least 73 other men and older boys from the same tribe were seized a few days earlier and are still missing.
Militias also abducted, tortured and killed men and boys from the Mehemda tribe who fled Saqlawiya, another town north of Falluja. On 3 June, some 1,300 men and older boys were seized. Three days later, more than 600 of them were transferred to the custody of local Anbar officials bearing marks of torture on their bodies.
Survivors interviewed by Amnesty International said they were held at an abandoned farmhouse, beaten with various objects, including shovels, and denied food and water. One survivor said that 17 of his relatives were still missing, including his 17-year-old nephew. Another of his relatives had died, apparently as a result of torture.
“There was blood on the walls… They hit me and the others with anything they could lay their hands on, metal rods, shovels, pipes, cables… They walked on top of us with their boots. They insulted us, and said that this was payback for the Speicher massacre [in which some 1,700 captured Shi’a cadets were summarily killed by IS]… I saw two people die in front of my eyes,” he told Amnesty International.
There was blood on the walls… I saw two people die in front of my eyes
A local investigative committee set up by the Governor of Anbar concluded that 49 people captured from Saqlawiya were killed – either shot dead or burned or tortured to death – and that 643 others remained missing. The government announced that investigations had been opened into the incident and arrests carried out, but has not disclosed any detailed information about findings or those detained.
The abductions and mass killings near Falluja are far from isolated incidents. Across the country, thousands of Sunni men and boys who fled IS-held territory have been forcibly disappeared by Iraqi security forces and militias. Most went missing either after handing themselves over to pro-government forces or were seized from their homes, camps for internally displaced people or at checkpoints or on the streets According to one local parliamentarian, since late 2014 members of the Hizbullah Brigades have abducted and forcibly disappeared up to 2,000 men and boys at the al-Razzaza checkpoint, which separates Anbar and Karbala governorates.
“The Hashd [militias] took our men away saying this was payback [for IS abuses],” said “Salma” (name changed to protect her identity), whose husband was seized at the al-Razzaza checkpoint with his two cousins in January 2016 as they fled IS rule.
“Iraqi authorities, whose complicity and inaction in the face of widespread abuses have contributed to the current climate of impunity, must rein in militias and make clear that such serious violations will not be tolerated. They must impartially and independently investigate all allegations of torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions,” said Philip Luther.
“Failure to do so will allow a vicious cycle of abuse, repression and injustice to continue and raises serious fears about the safety of civilians still in Mosul.”
Torture and abuses in detention
All males fleeing areas under IS control considered of fighting age (between roughly 15 and 65) are subjected to security screening by Iraqi authorities and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to determine if they have links to IS. But the process is opaque and often deeply flawed. While some are released within days, others are transferred to security forces and detained for weeks or months in horrific conditions, without access to their families or the outside world, and without being referred to court.
The report reveals how security forces and militia members routinely torture or otherwise ill-treat detainees at screening facilities, unofficial militia detention sites, and facilities controlled by the Ministries of Defence and Interior in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala and Salah al-Din governorates.
Detainees told Amnesty International they were suspended in stress positions for long periods, given electric shocks, beaten brutally or were taunted with threats that their female relatives would be raped. Many said they were tortured to “confess” or to provide information on IS and other armed groups.
Former detainees held by the Kurdish security forces (Asayish) in Dibis, Makhmur and Dohuk in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq also said they faced torture and other ill-treatment.
One man described being tortured at a facility controlled by Iraqi armed forces and intelligence near the village of Hajj Ali in June 2016 where more than 50 people were held in one room and subjected to repeated beatings:
“They beat me with a thick cable on the soles of my feet. I saw another detainee having a cigarette extinguished on his body. A boy of about 15 had hot wax poured on him. They wanted us to confess to being Daesh.”
I saw another detainee having a cigarette extinguished on his body. A boy of about 15 had hot wax poured on him
Iraqi courts have a history of relying on coerced “confessions” to convict defendants of serious charges in flagrantly unfair trials – often sentencing them to death. So far in 2016, at least 88 executions have been carried out mainly on terrorism-related charges. Dozens of death sentences have been handed down and some 3,000 people remain on death row.
The findings of this report were shared with the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities on 21 September. No response has been received from the Iraqi authorities. The Kurdish authorities responded largely denying Amnesty International’s findings.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been forcibly displaced by Iraqi government forces and the Peshmerga (Kurdish armed forces), as well as militias, since mid-2014. Many are barred from returning to their homes, purportedly on security grounds or face arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on their freedom of movement. Often they are confined to camps with little prospect of gaining livelihoods or accessing essential services.