Another Infamous Pakistani Militant Is Killed for the Second Time

[EXPOSING AMERICAN FRAUD]

[Another Taliban leader killed for the second time (SEE: 56 killed in shelling by fighter aircraft, helicopters ).  The continual repetition of this demonstrated pattern of the alleged re-killing of famous militants, either confirms the total and complete unreliability of those Pak spies who identify drone victims for the Western press, or else it confirms consistent Pentagon lying about the alleged "successes" of its drone murder program.  The Pentagon never really knows for sure "who" it kills in these strikes, or whether any militants were killed at all in the isolated mountains, even though nearly every publicized strike is linked with a known militant name.  The sheer number of the drone murders -vs- the limited number of known militant names in Pakistan, necessitates the re-running of the names of the alleged victims.]   

Top Pakistan Taliban commander Asmatullah Shaheen ‘shot dead

BBC

File photo of Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani Shaheen was driving in North Waziristan when he was attacked, reports said

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has been shot dead in a militant stronghold near the Afghan border, security sources and relatives say.

Asmatullah Shaheen was ambushed as he drove through a village near Miranshah in North Waziristan, reports said. Two others in the vehicle also died.

It is unclear who killed them. There has been no word from the militants.

Shaheen was briefly the Pakistani Taliban interim leader after its chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed last year.

Asmatullah Shaheen, who came from the small Bhittani tribe, shot to prominence in December 2011 when his men kidnapped and killed about 15 security force personnel.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says he is believed to have depended on the much larger Mehsud tribe for his clout in militant circles.

Chess in a Minefield–Ukraine

Chess in a Minefield: The Global Implications of the Ukraine Conflict

der spiegel

By Uwe Klussmann

Smoke rising on Independence Square in Kiev

AFP

Smoke rising on Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday.

The bloody conflict in Ukraine could trigger yet another confrontation between the West and Russia. Dominance in Europe is at stake on the geopolitical chess board. While Ukraine itself could descend into civil war.

The quote printed in SPIEGEL 33 years ago was a noteworthy one, and still sounds remarkably topical: “We have to ensure that this Soviet empire, when it breaks apart due to its internal contradictions, does so with a whimper rather than a bang.” The sentence was spoken by US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger during an interview conducted in September of 1981.

This week in Ukraine, one of the core regions of that former empire, it is looking very much like a “bang.” Thursday in Kiev has seen bloody violence that has cost the lives of dozens amid gunfire and brutal clashes on Independence Square. Hundreds have been wounded, many seriously. The violence comes on the heels of similar battles on Tuesday — and mark the beginning of what could become an extended and dramatic conflict over the country’s future.

Some of those who have traveled to Kiev to view the situation first hand in recent weeks are fully aware of what a “bang” looks like — US Senator John McCain, 77, for example, a veteran of Vietnam who was shot down in 1967 and spent over two years as a prisoner of war. In December, he stood on the Independence Square stage in Kiev and called out: “People of Ukraine, this is your moment! The free world is with you! America is with you!”

In other words, the Cold War has returned and Moscow is once again the adversary. The only difference is that the weapons have changed.

It is no longer just the association agreement with the European Union that is at stake. Nor is the future of President Viktor Yanukovych, a man surrounded by rumors of corruption, the focus anymore. Rather, geopolitics has taken center stage and the question as to which power centers in Europe and the Eurasia region will be dominant in the future has become paramount. Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski once compared the region to a chess board. The players, as always, include the US, Russia, the EU and NATO.

Moscow in Checkmate

It’s a chess game in a minefield. Just how explosive the country called Ukraine really is became clear from a background interview given by former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar — a liberal reformer and friendly to the West — in 2008, one year before his death. Those wishing to make Ukraine a member of NATO, as was the intention of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, overlook the fact that it would put Russia in an untenable defensive position, he said. The effort, he added, should be abandoned.

Brzezinski would love to have put Moscow in checkmate. In his book “The Grand Chessboard,” he writes that without Ukraine, Russia “would become predominantly an Asian imperial state” at risk of being drawn into conflicts in Central Asia. But if Moscow were able to gain control of Ukraine and its resources, Brzezinski wrote, the Russian Federation would be a “powerful imperial state.” He saw danger in a potential “German-Russian collusion” and in the possibility of an agreement between Europe and Russia with the goal of pushing America out of the region.

Essentially, Brzezinski’s point of view is one that guides American strategy to this day: The US wants to keep Russia as far away as possible. If the Europeans get involved in Ukraine and harm their relations with Moscow, that is fine with Washington.

Indeed, US Deputy Foreign Minister Victoria Nuland’s infamous “Fuck the EU” gaffe, can hardly be seen as a mistake. Rather it is a logical, if somewhat vulgar, expression of America’s geopolitical stance.

Weakness in the US Strategy

There’s a weakness to this strategy though: In contrast to the former Baltic Soviet republics with their small populations, it would be difficult to integrate Ukraine with its 45 million residents in the same way.

The country is also deeply divided. The economically weak regions in the west are bastions of nationalists. And Ukraine’s major companies, like its steel mills, ship and turbine building operations are located in the east and are focused on the Russian market.

Russian is the predominant language in daily use in the capital city of Kiev, millions of Russians live in the eastern part of the country and on the Crimea as well. The Black Sea peninsula was first transferred to Ukraine in 1954, and against the will of the people living there.

Indeed, Crimea could soon become the next hot spot in the conflict. Russia’s Black Sea fleet is stationed in Sevastopol, a source of irritation for Ukrainian nationalists and friends of the United States.

At an event in Kiev in October, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt described a “myriad of opportunities” if Ukraine aligned itself with the United States and said “you have no better friend in this endeavor than the United States. … We stand ready to support you, the Ukrainian people, as you find your place in Europe.”

Dangerously Sweet Promises

Sweet promises like that, which seem tantamount to blank checks, have the potential to drive one of Europe’s poorest countries into civil war. It’s not just a government apparatus suspected of corruption that is on the verge of faltering in Ukraine — the foundations of a country whose current borders are hardly sustainable at this point are also being shaken. The tactics adopted so far by Yanukovych’s regime of alternating between brutal strikes and the temporary retreat will only further radicalize the protest movement.

When field commanders capable of anything lay down the law, the dynamic of secession begins, as we previously saw in the Caucuses. The presidium of the Crimean Supreme Council has already threatened that it may urge residents to “defend civil peace” on the peninsula.

Thus far, the Kremlin hasn’t sought to encourage separatist sentiment in eastern and southern Ukraine. And it doesn’t appear that Vladimir Putin and his system of power is interested in the prospect of a civil war in his backyard.

But it still has the potential to break out even if Moscow doesn’t want it. Those familiar with Ukraine’s history know that the militant nationalists in the west of the country have gone time and time again into battles they can’t win. After World War II, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army waged a senseless partisan war for five years against the Soviet state, leaving thousands dead on both sides.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called Ukraine a “powder keg” that one cannot allow to be lit. Whatever the case, romanticizing revolution can only end in a “big bang” — the fallout from which would extend far beyond Ukraine.

Al-Qaeda In Arabian Peninsula Formed By Saudi Guantanamo/”Rehabilitation” Graduates

[Al-Qaeda In Arabian Peninsula was a merger between Saudi and Yemeni terrorists, many of the Saudis were either Guantanamo brainwashing academy graduates, or graduates of Riyadh's notorious, fraudulent terrorist "rehabilitation" program.]

“Former prisoners at the US Guantanamo prison who had been returned to Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation in December 2006 later escaped to Yemen, two years ago after completing a reform programme.

Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches merged in January 2009 to form AQAP.”

Yemen hands over 29 ‘Qaeda’ militant

astro awani

 

Yemen hands over 29 'Qaeda' militant
RIYADH: Yemen has handed over 29 Saudis wanted for suspected links to Al-Qaeda, the interior ministry announced on Thursday.

“As part of joint efforts between security services in the two countries, the kingdom has received 29 Saudis… (who) had joined Al-Qaeda in Yemen,” interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told AFP.

Eleven of them had already been jailed and later released from prison in Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s oil-rich neighbour, he said.

Nine others were on trial in the kingdom when they fled, said Turki.

The defence ministry in Sanaa announced the handover this week without giving details.

Saudi authorities are hunting for dozens of the ultra-conservative kingdom’s citizens who have joined Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen.

Former prisoners at the US Guantanamo prison who had been returned to Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation in December 2006 later escaped to Yemen, two years ago after completing a reform programme.

Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches merged in January 2009 to form AQAP, posing a serious threat to Western interests across the region.

After a wave of deadly Al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, Saudi authorities launched a crackdown on the local branch of the group founded by the late Osama bin Laden, himself Saudi-born.

Still Working to transfer Saudi Terrorism to Iran

[Below is a clipped article from "Intelligence Online," a Paris-based intelligence newsletter which covers global intelligence news.  Before the CIA picked-up the current line of bullshit emanating out of Riyadh and started pushing the "al-Qaeda" is a lone wolf Uzbeki terrorist working out of Iran, every intelligence agency knew who was responsible for all Sunni terrorism---SAUDI ARABIA!]

[SEE: US Treasury Dept Helping To Frame Iran for Saudi Terrorism  ]

Saudi Arabia and Turkey’s intelligence services are banking on jihadist groups to bring down Bashar al-Assad.(…) [ 311 words ] [€5,2]

 

Israeli Projects Implementer Al-Nusra Front, Saudi-Made with Lebanese Assistance

islamic invitation turkey

13 January 2013

A specialized report in strategic affairs issued in Paris revealed that the Saudi General Intelligence is the founder and establisher of “al-Nusra Front in Levant” that plots to establish an “Emirate in Syria.”

Al-Nusra Front, Saudi-Made with Lebanese Assistance

In detail, an “Intelligence Online” report, which receives information from foreign intelligence sources, mentioned, “The Saudi General Intelligence, controlled by Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, exploited its broad calls with Takfiri [atoning] movements in Iraq to help establish al-Nusra Front, a low-profile Takfiri movement.”

The report added, “Thanks to funding from the General Intelligence Department and support from the Saudi Intelligence in Lebanon, al-Nusra was able to swiftly arm its forces, and make the Syrian regime suffer painful blows through its expertise in Iraqi bombings.”
Strikes of this sort included dominating Sheikh Suleiman Base in Aleppo and invading Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp on the 16th of December 2012.
However, many websites had recently published what seemed to be leaked confidential documents issued from the KSA’s Interior, which spoke of “a Saudi military official supplying armed groups in Syria with money and weaponry.”

Another leaked document mentioned “an amnesty to hundreds of criminals sentenced to death on charges of drug-trafficking, murder, and rape, was issued to send them to fight in Syria among the militias of the [so-called] Free Syrian Army.”
Moreover, the US administration had recently listed “al-Nusra Front” as a terrorist organization for being linked to al-Qaeda, after performing hundreds of bombings and attacks in Syria.

Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State

On a parallel note, “al-Nusra Front” had revealed that it seeks to establish a so-called “Islamic” State in Syria, stressed by its chief Abu Mohammad al-Joulani on the Qatari Jazeera Channel, when addressing his followers, “The regime’s collapse in Syria will create a vacuum that you are qualified to fill.”
He further accentuated that he is heading towards “establishing an Emirate and Shura Council in Syria.”

Furthermore, Le Nouvel Observateur French weekly cited an “al-Nusra” spiritual leader Abu Mohammad al-Atawi as saying, “Victory will not cease in Syria,” foreseeing that “triumph is months away.”

Al-Atawi, who taught for a long time in KSA before returning to Jordan, saw that “The Arab Spring will help Salafists invade the world, starting with Tunisia, then Egypt, Libya, all the way to Syria, and soon in Jordan,” revealing that the Front “includes 8,000 men and is increasing.”

Al-Nusra Front and Militia Dominance in Syria

In a similar context, the Salafist Takfiri leader in Jordan Mohammad al-Shalabi, aka “Abu Sayyaf”, in an interview with the weekly, emphasized his participation in founding “al-Nusra Front” after leaving jail last year on charges of plotting attacks on Jordanian Army bases there.

He further highlighted that he is currently gathering fighters all over Jordan to send them to Syria.

Abu Sayyaf underscored, “The Front’s ideology is the same of that of al-Qaeda,” indicating that his organization “that moved its battle from Iraq to Syria is about to dominate other fighting groups.”

 

 

 

 

Secret Riyadh/Obama Deal To Abandon Saudi Jihadis In Syria?

[SEE: Saudi king orders punishing jihadi fighters ;Saudi's top cleric warns against fighting abroad ]

Messages Royal Order: Saudi Arabia abandon its fighters

alakhbar

Royal Order authorized a new phase has eaten the sticks rather than counted! (AFP)

What Saudi Arabia announced earlier this week regarding the fighters in Syria is not detailed. Index is extremely dangerous to the extent of U.S. pressure, and the threat to cancel a planned visit by Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia. After the last of the story as well: Riyadh fears the return of non-Organization for these fighters to their country, Fodathm two choices. First, back under the supervision of the security gate of the Saudi Embassy in Turkey, according to the Ambassador in Ankara yesterday, and the second displacement between the fronts, to restore to experience Saudia Afghan jihad. What follows is some of the well known tale of abandonment Kingdom for its fighters in Syria

Fuad Ibrahim

 

Do not issue a royal decree in Saudi Arabia comes only when the Prince of exemption or appointed, or something related to sovereign issues require a decision from the highest authority in the state. Royal Order issued last Monday, the date fixed for the meeting weekly to Saudi Council of Ministers, indicates clearly that the case, which was issued in the Royal Order would exceed the authority of the Board, and require what could be described as «a written pledge» of the king himself. Messages in the Royal Order, can stop at three of them:
The first: that the Royal Order was issued in the context of a media attraction about a hypothetical visit of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Riad end of next March. American newspapers, such as the «Wall Street Journal» and «New York Times», published earlier this month, a story about the upcoming visit, rushed the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh to reply in the next day confirmed «that the White House did not talk about anything in this regard». The assistant press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh Stewart-Whyte «that the embassy does not have any information about this visit, and can not comment on it».

But with the release of the Royal Order on the third of February, the White House announced, on the same day, about Obama’s visit to Riyadh at the end of next March. The bottom line is Royal (which for the occasion is the longest in the history of the royal orders, and is matched only by the royal orders budgetary): Conviction comprehensive terrorist acts of all kinds, which proved the involvement of Saudi citizens, civilian and military officials and advocates agitators and belonging and donors, and glorified for religious groups and ideological extremist, and take down the most severe penalties.
In the information, the U.S. officials on the Saudis dossier huge end of last year includes documents compelling condemns the involvement of Saudi Arabia in terrorism which strikes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, all the way to Russia, and that the file is at the disposal of the international community, which could push in the direction of a resolution condemning the Council Security, and the classification of the Saudi state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
The letter came to the U.S. clearly to Saudi Arabia, and that it is not possible to enter the terrorism issue within the protection treaty and the Strategic Defense that took place in the forties of the last century between King Abdul Aziz and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and must act on the basis that the issue of terrorism with an international character, and outside the treaties bilateral.
I felt Arabia that the danger staring destiny, and it took a stand sooner is the highest in the country, but there are of the royal family to understand the message the U.S. as a prerequisite for Obama’s visit to Riyadh, to remove the embarrassment in front of U.S. allies and the international community in general, which is no longer quite skeptical regarding the The majority of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in terrorist activities taking place in the region and in the world.
The second message: the face of the Royal Order a clear message to the Saudi fighters, civilians and military alike, first in Syria, in Iraq, Lebanon and other secondly, that there is a conclusion and a tent waiting for them in case they decided to return home. To prevent face-determination gloomy and punishment difficult, they remain out of bounds, and the completion of the march until the yard concluded or spread in battlefields again, as he did the first group of Arab Afghans and beyond regiments arose in Iraq after 2003, and Lebanon after the battles Nahr el-Bared late 2007 , and currently in Syria after an agreement Bandar Petraeus summer of 2012.
There is no doubt that this is a royal Hardness is a poisonous stab in the back, aiming it official sponsor, represented in Bandar bin Sultan, who put an end to the royal mission. Reactions involving supporters of «Al-Qaeda», as they appear on the social networking sites, the maelstrom of Saudi Arabia to the deception of the fighters again and again, since Afghanistan through Iraq, Lebanon and Syria down to. Therefore, it is seen by many Saudis fighters and supporters to the Royal as a provocative act, has been pushing fighters to commit follies security to thwart the goal of the order, any tarnish the image of the kingdom, and consolidate the impression that it is supportive of terrorism.
Of course, the Saudi regime could Altlati behind the excuse that he was not supportive in any day to fight abroad, were not allowed to collect donations or inciting immigration for the jihad. In the figure, the protest seems convincing, it has undergone advocates agitators and the imams of the investigation to prevent the collection of donations to fight in Syria, also issued fatwas considers what is happening in Syria «sedition»!
On the other hand, the possibility of observer crowd iceberg of the evidence on the involvement of institutions Saudi political, media and religious migration of thousands of Saudis to what he describes as the advocates of incitement to «land of Rabat» in Syria, and how else can we explain the participation of hundreds of military personnel in the fighting there, with that they can not travel abroad except with special permission from the military command.

Did not mention the military and cruel punishment that awaits them just goes, in the absence of documented reports of the involvement of a large number of military personnel in the fighting in Syria, and they who were streaming from the land of Jordan under the patronage of Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan, a half-brother to the godfather of the war in Syria Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Chief of General Intelligence.
The fact is that Saudi Arabia has mastered the double game; publicly showing tighter deliberate on the subject of post Saudis fighting abroad, and in fundraising for the organization «Al-Qaeda» and branches of old and new, in secret flow of money and men and weapons on the battlefield without supervision or control.
The third message: There is a secondary indicators in the Royal Order stating that the war in Syria is nearing an end, and the armed groups muddle, after the loss of care, financial and armament and training required. This necessarily means, and in fact, that no role anymore could be played by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who left to the United States under the title treatment, a vacation in the open.
We refer to the proposed Iranian Turkish providing a decent outlet to Saudi Arabia from the mud of Syria, to gradually abandon support for the insurgents. It is clear that the duo began a joint high-level coordination to confront terrorism file which Ankara hesitated in his approach previously in earnest, according to the Iranian vision, but they are back now, after the visit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent Iran, to open the widest.
In the results, Saudi Arabia afraid of the return of its citizens fighters, so I decided to put a list of tough sanctions to avert violent repercussions that affect them at the stage of the calculation. But seriously, from its point of view, is the international punishment that awaits if not paid eighths of losing the war in Syria, and the outbreak of the phenomenon of terrorism on an international level, forcing the European intelligence services to step up its presence in the region to keep up with the return of its citizens fighters to home.
It is necessary to draw attention to what the concessions made by Saudi Arabia to banish the specter of being accused of sponsoring terrorism. In the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Riyadh, described the position of the Saudi leadership on the issue of settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian words banner, where he said he touch the «high enthusiasm» has in this regard, at the time was not what it pays to such enthusiasm.
Here intersect Information: File terrorism, which was introduced Americans to their Saudi counterparts, and file the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, where according to sources close to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that Kerry request of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to acknowledge the Jewishness of the state of Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital her, to be abandoned principle of the right of return, for work to revive the settlement project on a large scale, so as to include them in the absorption section Arab countries as well as Australia and Canada.
The sources added that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas frequency in the announcement of the approval did not happen on the cover of the Arab countries and offset, chiefly Saudi Arabia. Kerry took the initiative to reassure Abbas that he will take over the job himself. Is there a relationship between Kerry and enthusiasm to reassure King Abdullah?
In total, the Royal Order authorized a new phase, which has eaten sticks instead of counted!


Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: is the guardian … Heard and obedience

He stressed the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, on the need to comply with the order issued to prevent the Saudis from fighting abroad, noting that young people who go out to fight «deceived them from the enemies of Islam», and they are now «sold in the slave market».
Al-Sheikh said, in an interview with the Saudi state television a few days ago: «What ordered by the Crown ordered that does not violate the law of God and we have a duty to listen and obey, because he does not want only good and interest. God made him a patron of this nation, is responsible for security and pay everything about her and protect her religion, view, and its economy ».
He said that «guardian», King Abdullah, «feared for our young people falling prey to the arrows of these and those, so came the Royal Order preventing out to fight outside the country, and that doing so is wrong, because he left damage it», pointing out that «lions ravage »involved in these conflicts.
(News)


Saudis killed 250 out of 2000 in Syria

The newspaper «Le Figaro» French in a report published yesterday that 250 Saudis have been killed in Syria between 2000 joined the «jihad» and fighting in the ranks of the armed opposition groups, specifically those associated with the organization «Al-Qaeda».
The report said that some of the volunteers fired from the prison condition Go to Syria, however, since, authorities doubled its warnings to the Saudis, who are inclined to join the Syrian armed groups, but the task is difficult, where jihadi groups are being funded at least in part of the Kingdom. The report added: «This is in addition to the role played by intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Is it a coincidence? Prince is located in a U.S. hospital three weeks ago. For some, that if disgrace after failing to topple President Bashar al-Assad also pledged ». The report considered that the decision issued by the Saudi king, and which provides for the punishment of fighting outside the Kingdom of imprisonment for a period ranging between 3 and 20 years, it may be «the result of the first to take out of the decision-making circles Bandar».
(News)

Saudi Arabian Ambassador To Britain Denies Funding Syrian Islamists

Saudi Arabia denies funding Daash

Shafaq News zawya

Saturday, 01 February 2014
A Saudi newspaper denied on Saturday a story published by a British newspaper on funding ” Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ” , what is known for short as ” Daash ” , describing it as a ” false allegations”.

The official Saudi news agency quoted , the Saudi ambassador to Britain, Mohammed bin Nawaf of what he considered as ” false allegations by The Independent newspaper on his country,” which appeared in an article titled ” Middle Eastern regimes fighting al-Qaeda now.”

The agency said that , “The Saudi ambassador said in a letter published in the same newspaper , this week that the false claims made ​​in the article about Kingdom of Saudi Arabia funding the so-called organization of the state of Iraq and the Levant Islamic and described it as false , adding that the Saudi Embassy totally rejects such accusations and consider them as misleading”.

The Saudi ambassador noted in his letter , that ” his country’s position towards the violent extremism file is supposed to be clear ,” but he considered ” the allegations made in the article as an opportunity to clarify the position of his country , and confirm it again.

The ambassador added that ” Saudi Arabia is continuing in its efforts to show its support for the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian opposition and want the same thing from the world .”

He added that Saudi Arabia ” has repeatedly stressed that it is tirelessly providing support for the forces of moderation which is the most effective way to retard the growth of the extremism forces inside Syria.”

The British writer , Robert Fisk had published an article in the ” Independent newspaper ” , in the fifth of last month , in which he accused Saudi Arabia of funding ” Daash organization ” , which is fighting in Syria, both of the Free Syrian Army and the regime of Bashar al-Assad together .

It is worth mentioning that battles are taking place between the police forces and tribesmen loyal to the government against al ” Daash ” in Anbar province

© Shafaq News 2014

Saudi Arabia shuns Syria extremists  

amb Mohammed bin Nawaf

Mohammed bin Nawaf  Al Saud

The false claims made in the article “Now it’s Middle Eastern regimes fighting al-Qa’ida” (6 January) about the Kingdom financing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are of the utmost seriousness. The Embassy refutes such implications and finds them an inaccurate and misleading account of the situation.

We would assume our attitude towards violent extremism is clear. In the light of the article, however, we would like to take this opportunity to again clarify our position and the imprecision of this accusation.

Saudi Arabia continues to show its support for the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Opposition. Global hesitation to do the same, we believe, is acting as a large barrier in movement towards peace. It is only too easy to assign blame for indecisiveness and hesitation in the support of the Syrian Opposition to fear of indirectly enabling the involvement of al-Qaeda within Syria.

In reality, it is this lack of international involvement that is paving the way for terrorist-affiliated networks to breed within Syria. Saudi Arabia has unremittingly emphasised that provision of support to forces of moderation is the most effective manner in which to stunt the growth of forces of extremism within Syria.

The Kingdom continues through the Friends of Syria group to urge the international community to be more courageous in displaying their support for the coalition and the Free Syrian Army, who are in desperate need of international assistance.

Mohammed bin Nawaf  Al Saud

Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London W1

Sunday 5 January 2014

Now it’s Middle Eastern regimes fighting al-Qa’ida,

while the US ties itself up in knots

This is “Arab unity” as we have never seen it before. But watch out

And so, for the first time in recent history, it seems that the “war against terror” – and specifically against al-Qa’ida – is being fought by Middle East regimes rather than their foreign investors.

Sure, American drones still smash into al-Qa’ida operatives, wedding parties and innocent homes in Pakistan. But it’s General al-Sisi of Egypt, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran – even powerless President Michel Sleiman of Lebanon – who are now fighting “terrorists”.

It shows how powerful the bad guys have become that mutually antagonistic dictators and satraps can gang together against America’s enemy. This is “Arab unity” as we have never seen it before. The Ottoman Empire lives again. But watch out.

You need to put on a tin hat to avoid the ironies crashing out of the sky. John Kerry – now the most outrageously funny Secretary of State in US history, he who promised an “unbelievably small” airstrike against Syria – says America supports the secular rebels against Assad, who are fighting the Islamist rebels who are fighting against Assad even though the US still wants the overthrow of – you guessed it – Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile private Saudi money is still pouring into Syria to help the al-Qa’ida-associated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) – against whom Bashar and the secular Free Syrian Army are now fighting – while the Saudis also contribute billions to Sisi’s army in Egypt which is fighting identical al-Qa’ida-linked “terror” in Sinai and now, it appears, in Cairo itself. And if you are confused by all this, try Lebanon.

Last week, the authorities claimed to have arrested Majid bin Mohamed al-Majid, one of the “most wanted” al-Qa’ida men in Saudi Arabia. All they had to do to confirm this extraordinary detention was to use DNA to check the man’s identity. This came only weeks after Lebanese Shias blamed Saudi “terrorists” for blowing up the Iranian embassy in Beirut, an attack followed by the assassination of a prominent Sunni politician and then – last week – by a further attack on Shias in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital. No sooner had Sunni ex-minister Mohammed Chatah been car-bombed to death, than the Americans promised more money to the Lebanese army. How, then, could the Lebanese avoid being drawn into the “anti-terrorist” war after arresting Majid? Miraculously – and there have been a lot of miracles in the Middle East region, as we all know – the Lebanese not only confirmed that they had indeed got the right man, but that he had regrettably died of organ failure while in their custody. Phew!

Majid al-Majid, who died today in custody in Lebanon, is the alleged leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qa'ida-linked group that has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut in November Majid al-Majid was the alleged leader of the group that claimed responsibility for the attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut in November

But US support for the Lebanese military will go ahead. Just as Washington is now offering more missiles and planes to the Shia sub-dictator President Maliki of Iraq if he goes on biffing Sunni insurgents and al-Qa’ida men in Anbar province. History, of course, repeats itself in Fallujah and Ramadi, the two cities repeatedly conquered and then re-conquered and then re-conquered for a third time by US forces after the illegal invasion of 2003. In 2004, the Marines claimed they had wiped out al-Qa’ida in Fallujah, then handed the city over to Baathist policemen. Then the Americans virtually destroyed the city around the heads of al-Qa’ida after another few months – we will not mention the use of US phosphorous shells and the outbreak of childbirth abnormalities more than five years later – and now the largely Shia Iraqi army is fighting the Sunni tribesmen of Fallujah. Who are in turn (be patient, readers) claiming they are fighting the local al-Qa’ida groups, just as the Free Syrian Army insists that it is now in combat against the same al-Qa’ida groups in Syria.

Meanwhile Kerry – who has not invited the Iranians to the Geneva 2 talks on Syria – says Iran might play a valuable role “on the sidelines” (has ever an invitation to Iran appeared more insulting?) while the main Syrian opposition forces have no intention of taking part in the Swiss conference. Geneva 2, in other words, is a dead duck; just like the Palestinian-Israeli talks of which Kerry still speaks with optimism – a sure sign that this particular duck is also dying.

Who now remembers the Arab Awakening – or “spring” as some of my colleagues still insist on calling it? Well, let’s just take a look at an ominous statement this past weekend in which the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the latest bomb in Beirut – the one that killed at least four civilians in the Hezbollah suburbs. So now Isil – as I suppose we must call it – acknowledges it is fighting on three fronts: Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. So we have Arab regime unity at last. As for America – well, I guess they’ll go on supporting the Free Syrian Army which is fighting al-Qa’ida which is fighting Bashar whom Washington wants to dethrone.

America’s Muslim Brotherhood friends in Egypt have just been formally classed as “terrorists” by Sisi who is supported by the country which is paying – long live Salafism – for Islamist “terror” in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. And Saudi Arabia – the key to the whole fandango, though no one will say this – remains a close and “moderate” friend of America. Say no more.

The Royal Saudi Decree Defining Democratic Expression As Terrorism

[The following decree is impossible to understand without access to a Saudi law library.]

Crown Prince Chairs Cabinet Session

​​HRH the Crown Prince Chairing the Session

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, chaired the Cabinet’s session Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday afternoon.
“Second:
After reviewing the report submitted by the Interior Ministry on the draft penal system for crimes of terrorism and its financing, and decision of Majlis Al-Shura Council No. (45/44) dated 24/07/1432 AH, the Cabinet decided as follows:
First: Approval of a penal system for crimes of terrorism and its financing, as attached to the resolution:
Second: Provisions – referred to in clause (Second) of the Royal Decree No. (M / 31) dated 11/05/1433 AH shall be in effect – on penalties related to crimes of financing terrorism, terrorist acts and terrorist organizations, stipulated in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, issued by Royal Decree No. (M/39) dated 25/06/1424 AH, until the issuance of provisions relating to such penalties.
A royal decree has been prepared for that.
Among the most prominent features of the penal system against the crimes of terrorism and its financing:
First: It is considered a procedural penal system in which the principle of balance has been taken into consideration between the risks being resulted from such crimes, and the protection of human rights being preserved and confirmed by Islamic (Sharia) law.
Second: The penal System defined the meaning of terrorist offense as any act done by the offender pursuant to a criminal scheme being carried out, individually or collectively, directly or indirectly, aiming to disturb public order, undermining the security of society and the stability of the State, endangering its national unity, disabling the country’s Basic Law or some of its articles, defaming the State or its status, inflicting damages on one of the State’s facilities or natural resources, attempting to compel one of its powers to take undesired action or otherwise, threatening to carry out actions leading to the aforementioned goals or inciting to commit them.
Third: The penal system specified the procedures necessary and guarantees due when dealing with a suspect of committing a terrorist crime or financing it. Most prominent of these procedures and guarantees are the authorization of the Minister of Interior to stop proceedings of charges laid against whoever initiates to report on one of the crimes contained in the system – before starting judicial proceedings – and cooperate with the competent authorities during the investigation to catch the perpetrators or others who may be linked to a similar crime in terms of its type or severity. The penal system also authorized the Minister of Interior for the release of the detained or sentenced during serving a prison sentence.”

Saudi anti terrorism decree

[ONLY FIRST PAGE TRANSLATED THROUGH GOOGLE]

“Approval of the crimes of terrorism and its financing 03/30/1435 The Council of Ministers after seeing the treatment received from the Royal Court (no. 17138 ) dated 20/03/1433 AH , containing a telegram of His Royal Highness the Minister of Interior No. 1 ( u / 30936 ) dated 06/05/1428 AH in a draft penal system for crimes of terrorism and its financing . Having examined the Royal Decree No. (M / 31) and the date of 11/05/1433 AH . After examining the records No. ( 190 ) dated 05/07/1432 AH , and No. ( 300 ) dated 10/07/1432 AH , and No. ( 402 ) dated 09/24/1432 AH , and No. ( 535 ) dated 12/20/1432 AH , and the number ( 350 ) dated 06/22/1433 AH , and No. ( 173 ) dated 03/28/1434 AH , and No. ( 510 ) dated 09/14/1434 AH , and No. (18 ) dated 04/01/1435 AH , and number (20) and the date of 8/1 / e in 1435 , and No. ( 49 ) dated 01/16/1435 AH , and memorandum No. ( 654 ) dated 12/01/1434 AH , in the stomach experts Bureau . After consideration of the Shura Council resolution No. ( 45/44 ) dated 07/24/1432 AH . Having considered the recommendation of the General Committee of the Council of Ministers No. (100 ) dated 30/01/1435 AH . Decides as follows : First, the approval of the crimes of terrorism and its financing , as accompaniment . Second, continue to work provisions – referred to in clause ( ii) of the Royal Decree No. (M / 31) and the date of 11/05/1433 AH – related penalties related to crimes of financing terrorism, terrorist acts and terrorist organizations , stipulated in the Anti-Money Laundering , issued Royal Decree No. (M / 39 ) dated 25/06/1424 AH , and until such time as the release of provisions relating to such sanctions and work under them . A draft royal decree this, phrased to accompany this . Third, the allocation of the circle in the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to investigate the offense of financing terrorism , after the readiness of the Commission to do so. Deputy Prime Minister”

The decision of the Board ù Q Ministers No. 63 and the date of 13/02/1435 AH

 
Approval of the crimes of terrorism and its financing

The Council of Ministers 􀁾 Q Having examined the treatment received from the Royal Court No. ) 17138 ( And the date of 20/03/1433 AH , pain 􀁿 Stmlh on cable 􀀸 His Royal Highness the 􀁾 Minister of Interior No. ) 􀀷 1 u / 30936 ( and the date of 05/06/1428 AH in St. 􀀷 that M 􀁿 initiate penal system for crimes of a phobia and funding . After examining the bitter 􀀶 Som Royal No. ) m / 31 ( and the date 05/11/1433 AH . After examining the accounting 􀀹 harm number (190) and the date of 07/05/1432 AH , No. (300) and the date of 07/10/1432 AH , and number ) 402 ( and the date 09/24/1432 AH , and number ) 535 ( and the date of 20/12/1432 AH , No. (350) and the date of 22/06/1433 AH , and the number (173) and the date of 28/03/1434 AH , and the number (510) and the date of 09/14/1434 AH , and No. (18) and the date of 01/04/1435 AH , and number (20) and the date of 08/01/1435 AH , And number (49) and the date of 01/16/1435 AH , and the note number ) 654 ( and the date 12/01/1434 AH , the expert body in the stomach Bcil 􀁾 Q minister. After considering the decision of the Board of 􀁾 Q 􀁿 Shura No. ) 45/44 ( and the date 07/24/1432 AH . After examining the 􀀸 testament to the General Committee of the Board of 􀁾 Q Ministers No. (100) And the date of 01/30/1435 AH . Decides the following : First: the approval of the crimes of the phobia and its financing , pal 􀂀 formula accompaniment . Second, my work 􀁾 pass judgments – pain 􀁿 referred to in item ) Second ( Bitter from the Royal 􀀶 Som number ) m / 31 ( and the date 05/11/1433 e – Relating to the penalties of the 􀂀 link crimes to finance A phobia and Business A Rhabiyh and organizations to AAA to Rhabiyh , aphids 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 p in the combat system N 􀁾 sales of funds , the 􀂀 Palmer issued Royal Decree No. 􀀶 Sum m) / 39 ( and the date 25/06/1424 AH , and until such time as the release of 􀀸 A rulers relating to those Sanctions and work under them . It has been prepared m 􀁿 start over 􀀶 Som so regal , 􀀸 phrased to accompany this . Third: TeX 􀂀 recommends 􀂀 p circle in the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to investigate A crime to finance terrorism , after the readiness of the Commission to do so. Vice Presiden ù ù o o Council of Ministers Approval of the crimes of terrorism and its financing ************************ Over the S Som royal No. M / 16 and the date of 02/24/1435 AH With the help of God We Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 􀀶 King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 􀁾 Based on the article ) the 􀁾 seventy ( of the A ‘s 􀀶 Si Sa 􀀶 rule , issued by the 􀂀 Lamar Royal Ba a number ) A / 90 (dated 08/27/1412 AH . Based on Article ) General 􀁿 Shireen ( System Board of 􀁾 Q Minister , issued the 􀂀 Lamar Royal Ba a number ) A / 13 (dated 03/03/1414 AH . Based on the article ) eighth p 􀁿 voracious ( System Board of 􀁾 Q 􀁿 the Shura , The Ba 􀂀 issued a Royal Decree No. Lamar ) A / 91 (dated 27/08/1412 AH . After examining the bitter 􀀶 Som Royal No. ) m / 31 (dated 05/11/1433 AH . Having considered the decision of the Board of 􀁾 Q 􀁿 Shura No. ) 45/44 (dated 07/24/1432 AH . Having considered the decision of the Board of 􀁾 Q Ministers No. (63) dated 02/13/1435 AH . T 􀀶 Smona what is coming : First: the approval of the crimes of the phobia and its financing , pal 􀂀 formula Accompaniment . Second, my work 􀁾 pass a Ba rulers – pain 􀁿 referred to in item ) Second ( Bitter from the Royal 􀀶 Som number ) m / 31 (dated 05/11/1433 AH – Relating to the penalties of the crimes related to the financing of 􀂀 A phobia for a wa Workers A Rhabiyh to terrorist organizations , aphids 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 p in the combat system N A 􀁾 sales to pro , the 􀂀 Palmer issued Royal Decree No. 􀀶 Som ) m / 39 (dated 25/06/1424 AH , and until such time as the release of 􀀸 A rulers relating to those Sanctions and work under them . Third: HH the Deputy 􀀶 felt 􀁾 Q 􀁾 Council of Ministers and Minister o t Ä 􀀶 worsened Agencies involved pain 􀁾 Stqlh – all in Ikh 􀂀 whist – over the implementation of 􀀶 Somena This . Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud S ******************** System crimes of terrorism and its financing Pray first thousand ü Definitions Article I : Ik 􀂀 repel the following words and phrases – wherever they appear in this system – the meanings Elmo 􀀹 Wadha in front of each of them , unless the limitation with 􀂁 Z 􀁾 the context otherwise requires: A – terrorist crime : Each act undertaken by the offender did not implement 􀁿 initiate individual or collective criminal b 􀁿 form Including 􀀷 evil or non- evil 􀀷 including , Ik 􀂀 repulsed by disturbing public order , security or destabilize Community Wa State 􀀶 stability or undressing 􀂁 Z and national unity at risk , or Disable system only 􀀶 Si Sa 􀀶 rule or some 􀂁 Z materials , or only 􀀶 abuse to 􀀶 reputation State or position , or append the 􀂁 damage to a state facilities or resources Natural , or attempt to coerce a 􀀶 powers to do or Abstain from , or the threat of carrying out acts of T. lead to Almqa 􀀸 mentioned or repel Investigation 􀂁 Z them. B – the offense of financing terrorism : Every act be it within 􀂁 raise money , or offer, or taken , or TeX 􀂀 recommends 􀂀 systematically integrating , Or transfer , or convert them – or revenue – in whole or in part for any n 􀁿 activity Terrorist individually or collectively , structured or unstructured , at home or in Abroad , 􀀶 whether to form 􀁿 including 􀀷 evil or non- evil including 􀀷 of AD was issued 􀂀 M 􀁿 proceed or not proceed 􀁿 m . Or do not 􀂀 Sulha this activity or Allen 􀁿 us 􀀸 Sarra B any bank or m 􀂀 banking , financial or commercial , or Alth 􀂀 WASEEL Including 􀀷 evil or Palo 􀀶 brokerage funds did not 􀀶 Stglalha 􀂀 Salehth , or to call And the promotion of its principles , or management training places , or sheltering us 􀀸 Sarra , or Provide them with any kind of weapons or only 􀀶 pain 􀁾 Stndhat counterfeit , or make any And 􀀶 way m 􀁾 assistance and other means 􀀶 support and funding so knowing ; Each act in the form of 􀁿 crime within one agreements contained in the annex International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism , and as defined in those Agreements . C – the money : However, the arrival 􀀸 or property of any value or kind tangible or intangible , Malmo 􀀶 ssh or non Malmo 􀀶 ssh, movable or immovable , and the documents and instruments 􀂀 The pain 􀁾 Stndhat 􀀷 whatever form , including electronic or digital systems The pain 􀂀 banking credits that indicate ownership or m 􀂀 where Sulha including For example on 􀀶 not insisted 􀂀 grate all kinds of 􀁿 checks and money orders, but shares 􀀶 The Securities and 􀁾 bonds , bills and letters of credit . D – Seizure : The Interim ban on the transfer of funds to a United 􀂀 and links and USA 􀀶 modes, or converted , Or replaced , or Walt 􀂀 exchange , or agitated , or 􀀹 and Put hand on them, or booked B 􀂀 image Agueth m ; 􀀶 a Stnada to 􀀸 is issued by a court or authority 􀀶 Mokht 􀂀 ‘s share this. E – utilities and public property and private 􀀸 ‘s share : Real and personal property owned by the state or only 􀀷 Chka 􀀸 r people with the recipe 􀂀 Public moral , or be brain 􀂀 p 􀂀 ‘s share did not 􀂀 Sulha general, aphids St. 􀁿 coming List belonging to the state , or that tens of 􀁿 Hiha , or Allen 􀁿 Hatat provided by To achieve goers 􀀹 Z of Agra 􀀹 Z public utility service for the citizens , Ot 􀁿 included As well as the real and personal property belonging to individuals or only 􀀷 Chka 􀀸 r with the recipe 􀂀 Private moral 􀀸 ‘s share , or bodies Diploma 􀀶 Seah , bodies or organizations International or now 􀁾 lingual , operating in the country . And – hand Sister 􀂀 Sa 􀀸 AM: The party that takes place her sister 􀂀 Sa 􀀸 am – Drug Control or only 􀀶 Stdalal , or Arrest 􀂁, Z or investigation , or the public prosecution , or trial , Bh 􀁾 Sep 􀁾 the context of – Under the provisions of this Regulation . Ü thousand Pray second General Provisions Article II : The crimes of terrorism and financing of major crimes requiring detention . Article III : 􀀶 the exception of the principle of regional , T. 􀁾 secret provisions of this order on all 􀀷 piss 􀂀 p. 􀀶 Saudis or foreigners was committed – outside the kingdom – a crime Manna 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 PO forth in this order, or 􀀶 helped to commit, or 􀀷 initiated , Or free 􀀹 Z them , or where a 􀀶 share , or 􀀷 involving , not tried them ; if Was aimed at any of the j come : -1 Regime change in Saudi Arabia. -2 Disable the system only 􀀶 Si Sa 􀀶 rule or some 􀂁 Z materials . -3 Carrying State to do or abstain . -4 Assault on the 􀁾 Saudis abroad . -5 But 􀀹 Dirar Proprietary state’s public abroad , including the embassies or 􀁾 Other places Diploma 􀀶 Se or serf 􀂀 originals affiliates. -6 Carry out a terrorist act on board and 􀀶 way Moi 􀀸 links 􀁾 m record to the Kingdom Or carry flag. -7 Pain 􀁾 sa 􀀶 Q Bam 􀂀 in favor of the Kingdom, or received 􀂀 Sadha , or national security or Social . Ü thousand Pray third Actions Article IV : Minister of the Interior ordered the issuance E. 􀀸 Balqub 􀂁 on the Z- Z 􀁿 suspected of committing a crime Crimes of aphids 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 r in this system , and may Levu 􀀹 of Z sees 􀀹 determined in accordance with the regulations . Article V : In terms of investigating the arrest of the accused in an offense manna 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 p in This system or for successive periods not exceeding in the aggregate on a six 􀀶 􀀷 month , And its extension 􀀶 a six month 􀀷 other investigative procedures if required so . In cases that require a longer period of detention ; refer the matter to the court Criminal Almtak 􀂀 p 􀂀 ‘s share to decide what you see in St. 􀀷 that extension. Article VI : Without prejudice to the right of the accused in the areas 􀂀 contacted his family to inform them of it Balqub 􀂁 Z ; In terms of the investigation that is preventing T. areas 􀂀 contacted the defendant for a period not exceeding T. 􀁾 sought Days, if met 􀂁 Dt m 􀂀 Sulha investigation that , in the request for investigation Longer ; refer the matter to the Court of Criminal Almtak 􀂀 p 􀂀 ‘s share to decide what you see . Article VII : Shall not release the Interim any accused but to the order of the Minister of Interior or Levu 􀀹 renaissance . Article VIII : The Court of Criminal Almtak 􀂀 p 􀂀 ‘s share thousand 􀂀 Pray crimes manna 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 p In this system , and the cancellation of claims decisions , and compensation claims 􀂁, Z Provisions relating to the application of this system . Ot 􀁾 six nose provisions before the Court But 􀀶 appeal Almtak 􀂀 p 􀂀 ‘s share , and may be recognized 􀀹 Z on the circle in front of its provisions Mtak 􀂀 p 􀂀 ‘s share in the Supreme Court. Article IX : The Court T. 􀂀 issued a default judgment against a person accused of a crime Crimes manna 􀂀 SOW 􀀸 r in this system if it reaches the right for notification 􀀸 Road and 􀀶 a means of communication or media and 􀀶 Waller 􀀶 toxicity , and doomed It recognized the right of 􀀹 Z to govern.

Saudi preacher who ‘raped and tortured’ his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying ‘blood money’

[SEE:  Saudi Authorities Rush To Quiet Global Outrage Over Child-Rapist/Murderer/”Preacher,” Hold His Sorry Ass In Jail]

Saudi preacher who ‘raped and tortured’ his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying ‘blood money’

the independent

saudi rape kill preacher

A ‘celebrity’ Saudi preacher accused of raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter has reportedly been released from custody after agreeing to pay ‘blood money’.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi had been accused of killing his daughter Lama, who suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. Social workers say she had also been repeatedly raped and burnt.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi admitted using a cane and cables to inflict the injuries after doubting his five-year-old daughter’s virginity and taking her to a doctor, according to the campaign group Women to Drive.

Rather than getting the death penalty or receiving a long prison sentence for the crime, Fayhan al-Ghamdi served only a few months in jail before a judge ruled the prosecution could only seek ‘blood money’.

Albawaba News reported the judge as saying: “Blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama’s death suffices as punishment.”

Fayhan al-Ghamdi, who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, is said to have agreed to pay £31,000 to Lama’s mother.

The money is considered compensation under Islamic law, although it is only half the amount that would have been paid had Lama been a boy.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s famously strict legal system, Women to Drive say fathers cannot be executed for murdering their children in the country. Equally, husbands cannot be executed for murdering their wives.

Formal objections to the ruling have been raised by three Saudi activists, and the twitter hashtag #AnaLama (which translates as I Am Lama) has been set up.

Local reports say public anger over the settlement is growing across Saudi Arabia, with authorities planning to set up a 24-hour hotline to take calls about child abuse.

 

Reaping the Fruits of American Pseudo-Democracy In the Middle East

[The pseudo-democracy that the US State Dept. has managed to sell to the desperate masses of the Middle East is the cause of the bloodbaths.  We sold them "HOPE," wrapped-up in a pretty package, while allowing the Qataris to pump millions into the Brotherhood, without creating a reciprocal support structure for the real Democrats of Egypt.   The same methodology for destabilization was previously perfected Gaza and Iraq, with the same results.  The fact that the Saudis have chosen to pour vast amounts of their fortune into reversing the damage done by this process in Egypt by undermining the pseudo-democracy after the fact, is just another way to prolong the bloodshed and to discredit real "Democracy" in the Arab world.  By allowing the Saudis to salvage their puppets in Egypt at the price of destroying Big D "Democracy," while doing the same to Syria, we are ensuring that the Big D we pretend to defend never has a real chance to undermine the most insidious regime of them all...the one sitting in Riyadh.]

Collapsing colossus

the daily star

Police officers inspect the site of a bomb attack in front of the damaged Cairo Security Directorate building, which includes police and state security, in downtown Cairo January 24, 2014.  (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Police officers inspect the site of a bomb attack in front of the damaged Cairo Security Directorate building, which includes police and state security, in downtown Cairo January 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

The bomb attacks targeting Egypt’s capital Friday represent a disturbing development for the country’s stability, and highlight the presence of a growing segment of society which feels completely negated by the current system.

Those who care about the region had tried to convince themselves Egypt was immune to the type and scale of violence that has befallen Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria, among others, but worryingly, it looks as though this is not the case.

The region’s giant, Egypt seemed too big to fall, and while attacks targeting security forces have grown increasingly frequent in the Sinai and other provinces, these are the first major incidents in Cairo.

Certainly, all the ingredients for widespread violence are there: extremely high levels of poverty and unemployment, a lack of education, and a hangover from decades of an often cruel and oppressive military dictatorship. The population has grown enormously over the last 50 years, but without the needed economic, urban and social planning.

Stability is needed, badly. A climate of confidence and calm must be nurtured if these violent attacks are going to cease any time soon.

After winning the first free elections, the Muslim Brotherhood neglected its opportunity to govern fairly, but depressingly, it appears that their form of dictatorship has been replaced by an army dictatorship, not unlike the era of Mubarak.

But if this new regime is going to have any hope of lasting in place longer than its predecessors, it must choose to embrace its enemies, rather than remaining in permanent confrontation with them. Those Brotherhood supporters, not an insignificant minority, must be made to feel that they have a place in this new Egypt.

Royal Hypocrite Turki Demands Withdrawal of Foreign Militias–Shiites Only

Davos 2014: Saudi prince says foreign militias must leave Syria

al-arabiya-logo

Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, gestures during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos Jan.24, 2014. (Reuters)

“A senior member of the Saudi royal family attacked the United States on Friday over its policy on Syria, and called for a United Nations resolution to pull ‘Iraqi and Lebanese Shi’ite militia’ out of the war-torn Middle Eastern country.”

THE WHOLE STORY.

3rd Egyptian Police/Intelligence Building Bombed, Clearing Path from Cairo To Sinai

[DAMN...nailed this one...[SEE:  2nd Egyptian Security Center Bombed North of Cairo]
Governorates_of_Egypt

The Mansoura bombing was in Daqahliya (7), Sharqiya province (23), Ismailia (12)

“Look for the Egyptian Security building in Ismailia to be hit next, since this security zone is now the only path from Cairo to the Sinai with a fully intact security organization.”

UPDATE 6: Cairo hit by three bomb blasts on Friday, killing 5

ahram online

the Cairo security headquarters
Wrecked building of Cairo Security Directorate after Friday blast, Cairo, Egypt, January 24, 2014 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Large blast at central Cairo police headquarters on Friday morning is followed by smaller explosions in Dokki and Talbiya

Five people have been killed in three separate bomb attacks in Greater Cairo on Friday morning.

A large blast ripped through a security building in central Cairo early on Friday, killing four and injuring 76 others, according to the health ministry.

The explosion at the Cairo Security Directorate in Bab El-Khalk district blew out the windows of the building and stripped off parts of its façade, state TV reported.

According to a statement by the interior ministry, a car packed with explosives was passing in front of the directorate and stopped suddenly in front of the gate before exploding. The attack took place at around 6:30am local time and was heard across several parts of the capital.

TV footage showed wrecked floors of the multi-storey building and a damaged facade of the nearby Museum of Islamic Arts. The minister of state for antiquities told journalists in a statement after touring the site that “some artefacts” inside the museum had also been damaged.

Police have cordoned off the area and ambulances rushed to the scene to transport the wounded

Large crowds of onlookers chanted slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, including: “the people want the execution of the Brotherhood. Execution for Morsi.” The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation by the cabinet in December.

An Ahram Online reporter at the scene an hour after the blast said she saw a badly mangled vehicle stained with blood parked in front of the police compound. Some of the building’s walls have collapsed.

The attack has also caused water pipes in the area to explode, and vacuum excavators were sent to remove the water pooling in the street, the reporter added.

Later on, one person was killed when a primitive bomb exploded after being thrown at a police vehicle near a metro station in Giza, deputy Giza security chief Mahmoud Farouk told state TV.

TV footage showed a police cordon around El-Behous metro station in Giza’s Dokki district.

At least 11 others were reportedly wounded in the attack.

A third bomb also exploded later on Friday morning at a police station in Talbiya district in Giza. The interior ministry said the bomb was small and had caused no casualties.

“It’s a vile, desperate attempt by evil terrorist forces to disrupt the success Egypt and its people have achieved in the [transitional] roadmap and the passing of the new constitution,” Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi commented, in reference to the Cairo bomb.

The attacks came only one day ahead of the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, raising the spectre of further violence.

“They don’t want the people to celebrate,” interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters while inspecting the explosion site in Cairo, adding that he was certain that “millions would take to the streets” on Saturday to celebrate the revolution nonetheless. He added that the “despicable attack” would not hamper police “in their war against black terrorism.”

A spate of recent explosions in densely populated areas has raised fears that militant activity in the border Sinai Peninsula, which has spiked since Morsi’s removal, would take its toll on other parts of the country.

But the Brotherhood has repeatedly denied any links to the attacks.

In one of the deadliest attacks, a December bombing of a security headquarters the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people, mostly policemen.

A bomb also exploded outside a Cairo court just before polls were to set to open in last week’s constitutional referendum, leaving no casualties.

An Al-Qaeda-inspired group, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks in which scores of policemen and soldiers were killed. The group says the violence is in revenge for the killings and arrests of Islamists as part of a broad security crackdown. But there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack.

The group also claimed a failed assassination attempt on the interior minister in Cairo in September.

The “Veterans’ Today” Conspiracy To Misinform

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Saudi Royals On the Run from Real “Islamists,” Look To Rawalpindi for Salvation

[Fearing a repeat of the Grand Mosque Takeover in 1979, the Saudis are starting to wise-up to the revolutionary nature of the "Islamist" fire that they are playing with in Syria.  The choice to weaponize "Islam," in order to raise their nightmare pipe dream of an "Islamist NATO" of "holy warriors," was always a very great dangerous gamble for the royals.  The great risk was that the Arab royals might accidentally raise an army of true "militant Islamist" believers, who fight for "Allah," rather than an army of mercenary pseudo-Islamists.  A true Jihadi Army would recognize that the corrupt Wahhabi regime was an even greater evil than Bashar al-Asad and direct their fire at Riyadh.  

The Islamist fighters of Juhayman al-Otaibi and his "Ikhwan" (Muslim Brotherhood) seized the Grand Mosque because they believed it was being corrupted by the Saud regime.  The seige was a first step in a global "Holy War."  Seizing the mosque was intended to bring-down the corrupt regime in Riyadh.  Had the tenacious Muslim fighters (who had no fear of death) been able to hold-out against the royals' countermeasures, then the sacred Jihadi fire would have been ignited in Saudi Arabia, instead of in the mountains of Afghanistan, where Riyadh managed to safely deflect it, with the help of Pakistan.  If truth would be known, we would now understand that Islamabad provided much more strategic aid to Riyadh in 1979 than just providing the special forces soldiers who flushed the militants out of the web of tunnels underneath the Kaaba area.  Pakistan provided Riyadh an "Islamist relief valve" along the Durand Line.  Without that "safety valve," to channel the wave of militant "weaponized" Islam, it would have exploded all over the Sunni Muslim world.  It would have been like it is now, with revolutionary jihadism popping-up everywhere that social tensions have built up.  The Pentagon war plan for its terror war has produced this result, basically creating the circumstances required to bring-about the "global caliphate" that it had been warning us about. 

The Pentagon Paradox, it dreams-up an impossible danger, then makes it become real.

Riyadh is once again looking to Pakistan to save it from the Frankenstein monsters that it has created (SEE:  Bolstering ties: Riyadh seeks enhanced security collaboration)].  Pakistan, with assistance from the US, helped Riyadh to channel the militant “Islamists” fever of Juhayman and the Brotherhood into an anti-communist “Jihad” in Afghanistan.  The Saudis foolishly thought that they could control an army of “holy warriors” with money, even though they only fight for Islam do the same against another Muslim government without exposing themselves as the true “Enemy of Islam.”]

Saudi Arabia’s Shadow War

ForeignPolicyLogo

The Kingdom is turning to Pakistan to train Syria’s rebels. It’s a partnership that once went very wrong in Afghanistan. Will history repeat itself?

BY David Kenner

BEIRUT — Saudi Arabia, having largely abandoned hope that the United States will spearhead international efforts to topple the Assad regime, is embarking on a major new effort to train Syrian rebel forces. And according to three sources with knowledge of the program, Riyadh has enlisted the help of Pakistani instructors to do it.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, along with the CIA, also supported the Afghan rebels against the Soviet-backed government during the 1980s. That collaboration contains a cautionary note for the current day: The fractured Afghan rebels were unable to govern after the old regime fell, paving the way for chaos and the rise of the Taliban. Some of the insurgents, meanwhile, transformed into al Qaeda and eventually turned their weapons against their former patrons.

While the risk of blowback has been discussed in Riyadh, Saudis with knowledge of the training program describe it as an antidote to extremism, not a potential cause of it. They have described the kingdom’s effort as having two goals — toppling the Assad regime, and weakening al Qaeda-linked groups in the country. Prince Turki, the former Saudi intelligence chief and envoy to Washington, said in a recent interview that the mainstream opposition must be strengthened so that it could protect itself “these extremists who are coming from all over the place” to impose their own ideologies on Syria.

The ramped up Saudi effort has been spurred by the kingdom’s disillusionment with the United States. A Saudi insider with knowledge of the program described how Riyadh had determined to move ahead with its plans after coming to the conclusion that President Barack Obama was simply not prepared to move aggressively to oust Assad. “We didn’t know if the Americans would give [support] or not, but nothing ever came through,” the source said. “Now we know the president just didn’t want it.”

Pakistan’s role is so far relatively small, though another source with knowledge of Saudi thinking said that a plan was currently being debated to give Pakistan responsibility for training two rebel brigades, or around 5,000 to 10,000 fighters. Carnegie Middle East Center fellow Yezid Sayigh first noted the use of Pakistani instructors, writing that the Saudis were planning to build a Syrian rebel army of roughly 40,000 to 50,000 soldiers.

“The only way Assad will think about giving up power is if he’s faced with the threat of a credible, armed force,” said the Saudi insider.

A State Department official declined to comment on the Saudi training program.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to move forward with training the Syrian rebels independent of the United States is the latest sign of a split between the two longtime allies. In Syria, Saudi officials were aggrieved by Washington’s decision to cancel a strike on the Assad regime in reprisal for its chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs this summer. A top Saudi official told the Washington Post that Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan was unaware of the cancelation of the strike. “We found about it from CNN,” he said.

As a result, Saudi Arabia has given up on hopes that the United States would spearhead efforts to topple Assad and decided to press forward with its own plans to bolster rebel forces. That effort relies on a network of Saudi allies in addition to Pakistan, such as Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and France.

As Sayigh laid out in his Carnegie paper, Saudi Arabia is attempting to build “a new national army” for the rebels — a force with an “avowedly Sunni ideology” that could seize influence from mainstream Syrian opposition groups. In addition to its training program in Jordan, Saudi Arabia also helped organize the unification of roughly 50 rebel brigades into “the Army of Islam” under the leadership of Zahran Alloush, a Salafist commander whose father is a cleric based in the kingdom.

Given the increased Islamization of rebel forces on the ground, analysts say, it only makes sense that Saudi Arabia would throw its support behind Salafist groups. These militias “happen to be the most strategically powerful organizations on the ground,” said Charles Lister, an analyst with IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre. “If Saudi Arabia does indeed follow such a strategy… it could well stand to become a major power player in the conflict.”

In calling on Pakistan to assist in toppling Assad, Saudi Arabia can draw on its deep alliance with Islamabad. The two countries have long shared defense ties: Saudi Arabia has given more aid to Pakistani than to any non-Arab country, according to former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, and also allegedly helped fund Islamabad’s nuclear program. In return, Pakistan based troops in Saudi Arabia multiple times over three decades to protect the royals’ grip on power.

The current Pakistani government, in particular, is closely tied to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power in 1999 by a military coup – the Saudis allegedly brokered a deal that kept him from prison. Sharif would spend the next seven years in exile, mainly in Saudi Arabia. “For the Saudis, Sharif is a key partner in a key allied state,” said Arif Rafiq, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute.

But despite close collaboration in the past, Saudi Arabia may find its old allies chafing at the sheer scope of its ambitions in Syria. One Pakistani source with close ties to military circles confirmed that Saudi Arabia had requested assistance on Syria over the summer — but argued that Pakistani capabilities and interests were not conducive to a sweeping effort to train the rebels.

Pakistan is already grappling with its own sectarian bloodshed and must mind its relationship with Iran, while its foreign policy is focused on negotiations with the Taliban over the future of Afghanistan and its longtime rivalry with India. “They have their hands full,” the source said. “And even if they want to, I don’t think they’ll be able to give much concrete help.”

Jordan is also reportedly leery about fielding a large Syrian rebel army on its soil. The ambitious Saudi plan would require a level of support from Amman “that is opposed within the security and military establishment and is unlikely to be implemented,” according to Sayigh.

As the Saudis expand their effort to topple Assad, analysts say the central challenge is not to inflict tactical losses on the Syrian army, but to organize a coherent force that can coordinate its actions across the country. In other words, if Riyadh hopes to succeed where others have failed, it needs to get the politics right — convincing the fragmented rebel groups, and their squabbling foreign patrons, to work together in pursuit of a shared goal.

It’s easier said than done. “The biggest problem facing the Saudis now is the same one facing the U.S., France, and anyone else interested in helping the rebels: the fragmentation of the rebels into groups fighting each other for local and regional dominance rather than cooperating to overthrow Assad,” said David Ottaway, a scholar at the Wilson Center who wrote a biography of Prince Bandar. “Could the Saudis force [the rebel groups] to cooperate? I have my doubts.”

STR/AFP/GettyImages

Rafik Hariri’s Business Dealings More Relevant Than Beirut Phone Records

Saad Hariri: One Year Leading by Remote Control

alakhbar

Saad Hariri appears on a giant screen during a televised speech in Biel Center, Downtown Beirut. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)

By: Hassan Illeik

Published Saturday, May 19, 2012

Scene One: Saad Hariri put a piece of property up for sale in the Barbir area. According to sources close to the Saudi embassy in Beirut, the property forms part of a plot of land the Saudis want to turn into housing projects for the people of Beirut.

The sale of the land is not particularly noteworthy. Its value is merely pocket change for Hariri. The surprise lies in the names of those who stepped in to buy it.

They are the president of Riyadi (Sporting) Club, Hisham Jaroudi, the “republic’s contractor” and businessman, Jihad al-Arab (brother of the head of Hariri’s personal security detail), and the former head of Future TV, Nadim al-Munla.

All three had built or expanded their wealth under the Hariri family mantle. Ultimately, the land went to al-Arab for around US$37 million.

MORE AS THE THREAD DEVELOPES

Peter Chamberlin

therearenosunglasses@hotmail.com

RAFIK HARIRI–Would they tell us if he was murdered over a business deal?

[The following French video shows the utter shock of the scene, with one of Hariri's beloved helpers dragging his naked, still burning corpse from the Mercedes.]

Rafik Hariri2 RAFIK HARIRI

HARIRI IN CAR

Iraq produces evidence showing Riyadh was behind Fallujah crisis

[The Sunni terrorist coalition known as "al-Qaeda," was all but finished until Saudi/Qatari money saved them, giving them new life as foot-soldiers in Riyadh's relentless march towards a Sunni "superstate, a.k.a., "global Caliphate."]

Iraq produces evidence showing Riyadh was behind Fallujah crisis

tehran times

c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Iraq99(4).jpg

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has provided evidence to foreign ambassadors in Baghdad showing that Saudi Arabia was behind the deadly acts of violence perpetrated by al-Qaeda in al-Anbar.

Iraqi MP Ali Al-Shalah of the State of Law Coalition (SLC) said on Monday that the Iraqi government has produced evidence that showed Saudi Arabia and several other countries were behind the recent terrorist attacks in al-Anbar Province, Al-Alam reported.
He said the documents were given to the ambassadors in a Thursday meeting in Baghdad.
Shalah said the government has asked the foreign diplomats to adopt proper stance against al-Qaeda terrorists in the international communities.
“Iraq is attempting to hold a conference for denouncing terrorism, especially as Russia has also recognized Saudi Arabia as being responsible for recent terrorist movements,” he said.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that Iraqi leaders should address the underlying causes of a protracted surge in violence plaguing the country.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Monday for Iraqi leaders to address the “root causes” of a surge in bloodshed as security forces clashed with gunmen in violence-wracked Anbar province.
“I would urge the leaders of the country … to address the root causes of the problems,” Ban said during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
“They should ensure that there is nobody left behind. There should be political cohesion” and “social cohesion, and political dialogue, inclusive dialogue,” he said.
“The security situation in Iraq is undoubtedly a source of great concern,” the UN chief said, adding that he is “deeply concerned by this escalation of violence in Anbar governorate.”
Ban noted that civilian casualties were at the highest level since 2008, and said that “the government and people of Iraq must unite in addressing this terrorism.”
Ban arrived in Baghdad Monday for talks with senior Iraqi officials on the war in neighboring Syria, as Iraq grapples with its own deadly crisis, AFP reported.
His visit comes ahead of peace conference next week on the Syrian crisis in Switzerland dubbed “Geneva 2″ which is aimed at engaging regime and opposition members in their first direct talks.
The violence in Anbar broke out on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an protest camp in Ramadi, believed to be a nest for al-Qaeda elements which the government said were making plans to destabilize the volatile country.
The fighting later spread to nearby Fallujah in Anbar province.

Saudis Create New Secret Sunni Militia To Replace Hariri’s Secret Militia

[How many recent attacks upon Hezbollah centers are really just cover, intended to hide fights between Sunni groups vying for dominance?  If the Saudis have managed to provoke war within the Sunnis of Lebanon, then all Hezbollah has to do is bide their time and ride-out the storm, allowing the Sunni radicals to reveal their bloodthirsty natures as their fight for dominance plays out.  Saad Hariri may have been living/hiding in Saudi Arabia for more than a year, but the Saudi royals have thrown him to the wolves.  Hariri is broke and deep in debt, trying to hold up his end of the bargain.  His intrigues and business adventures with Prince Turki have failed to save him from his own, extravagant excesses. 

These Sunni militias are serving the will of the fat old Saudi king, as he pays thousands of extremist, greedy fools to assert his ownership over all of Lebanon.]

Ashraf Rifi  Lebanon: Former Police Chief Establishes Militia in Tripoli

Ashraf Rifi, director of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF), created “Ahrar Tripoli” with Saudi funding and under the direct supervision of the kingdom’s intelligence chief, Bandar bin Sultan

*

Colonel Amid Hammoud  Leb. Army Col. Amid Hammoud, the commander of Future Movement Militia

“I wish I could establish a group as well-organized and professional as Hezbollah. I do not deny this, provided that this group would be in the service of my community and my country only, and not a Persian or Syrian scheme…Hammoud speaks at length about his drive and enthusiasm for fighting what he calls ‘the holy battle’ against Israel.”

The Saudi dynasty and the ghost of Jouheiman

orient tendencies
ORIENT TENDENCIES

By Ghaleb Kandil

The behavior of Saudi Arabia in the region is the focus of attention and a specific monitoring after the Saud dynasty has become the main source of escalation and violence carried lately by Takfirist-terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even in some regions of Russia.

Saudi Arabia is angry and wants consolation prizes in the region. It seeks compensation for major confrontations that are taking place and allies with France. Paris tries to sabotage agreements between the United States and Russia, which pass through the recognition of the West defeat in Syria and Iran’s status as a regional power. All these statements illustrate the impasse is the Wahhabi kingdom after the collapse of its regional influence due to Syria’s resistance facing the universal war led by Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and Turkey.

Relevant changes have shaken the foundations of the Saudi role, which dates back over half a century. The rise of Iran is not the only change, although it is the most pronounced. This factor has been felt even within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is the first circle which carries Saudi influence. Developments in Bahrain and Yemen also lay the foundations for a dramatic change in the kingdom. Possible establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain, the consecration of the political diversity in Yemen, or the resurgence of South Yemen, are all serious challenges that will undoubtedly impact even within Saudi Arabia, where the social and political anger is spreading. These last three years, the protests are strongly expressed on social medias, where millions of young from Gulf express their anger and thirst for freedom.

The determination of Saud to use and support Takfirist groups throughout the region, as part of a global campaign threatening the world with a new generation of terrorists, not only explains the anger and disappointment Saudi Arabia after its defeat in Syria. This same terrorist card had been operating for 40 years through a partnership between the United States and the Wahhabi kingdom, before the decline of American influence. One of the main causes of Saudi behavior is explained by internal factors. Indeed, spreading extremist aims to divert the attention of the Saudi youth not to question the dynasty, an ally of the West which controls all the country’s wealth while leading a lifestyle characterized by extreme opulence and debauchery without limits.

We almost forgot the incident of the occupation of the Kaaba in Mecca, November 20, 1979, by the first insurrection led by a takfirist group coming from the heart of the Wahhabi institution. The movement was led by Juheiman al-Oteiby, who came from the ranks of the National Guard and studied with his comrades in the official Wahhabi religious institutes. We almost forgot this rebellion crushed in blood, which was a protest against decay and injustice of the Saudi system. Al-Oteiby’s appeal to consider apostate Saudi regime has a large impact among the Saudi youth, and rebels have recruited hundreds of young people ready to take arms to assault the Kaaba. Saudi security forces have failed to controle the situation, and Riyadh had to hire the services of the French special forces to crush the uprising.

One year after the Al-Oteiby movement, the ruling Saud family, in cooperation with the United States, launched the first wave of terrorism in Afghanistan, and funded arms for the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in their war against the Syrian state, which was resolutely opposed to the Camp David peace agreement. Riyadh and Washington had legitimized the first nucleus of Al-Qaeda networks, fruit of cooperation between the West and the Saudis. The terrorist network was assigned to missions in Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Syria and elsewhere. All these wars, financed by Saudi Arabia, served the U.S. strategies. At the same time, they have helped divert attention of thousands of young Wahhabi sent to practice Jihad in distant lands. Palestine obviously was not among these lands.

Majed al-Majed, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades leader, an Al- Qaeda branch that has claimed the double suicide attack against the Iranian embassy in Beirut on November 19, is a symbol of these Saudi young men. The circumstances of his capture and death in Lebanon are very suspicious. The Lebanese Army waited nine days before officially confirm his arrest, before announcing, the next day, his death for kidney failure.

Afraid that he might reveal the names of Saudi princes and sheikhs who fund and give him orders, Saudi Arabia has lobbied hard for his extradition.

Reports from the Lebanese press warned against the possible elimination of Majed al-Majed on his hospital bed to forbid him making embarrassing revelations. They were right. After the announcement of his death, the Iranian MP, Mohammad Hassan Asghari, said his confession pointed to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are still haunted by the ghost of Juheiman Al-Oteiby, who protested with weapons against a dynasty that shamelessly exploits religion to submit and blind the poor to take advantage of the immense oil wealth.

The Saudi dynasty and the ghost of Jouheiman

By Ghaleb Kandil

The behavior of Saudi Arabia in the region is the focus of attention and a specific monitoring after the Saud dynasty has become the main source of escalation and violence carried lately by Takfirist-terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even in some regions of Russia.

Saudi Arabia is angry and wants consolation prizes in the region. It seeks compensation for major confrontations that are taking place and allies with France. Paris tries to sabotage agreements between the United States and Russia, which pass through the recognition of the West defeat in Syria and Iran’s status as a regional power. All these statements illustrate the impasse is the Wahhabi kingdom after the collapse of its regional influence due to Syria’s resistance facing the universal war led by Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and Turkey.

Relevant changes have shaken the foundations of the Saudi role, which dates back over half a century. The rise of Iran is not the only change, although it is the most pronounced. This factor has been felt even within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is the first circle which carries Saudi influence. Developments in Bahrain and Yemen also lay the foundations for a dramatic change in the kingdom. Possible establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain, the consecration of the political diversity in Yemen, or the resurgence of South Yemen, are all serious challenges that will undoubtedly impact even within Saudi Arabia, where the social and political anger is spreading. These last three years, the protests are strongly expressed on social medias, where millions of young from Gulf express their anger and thirst for freedom.

The determination of Saud to use and support Takfirist groups throughout the region, as part of a global campaign threatening the world with a new generation of terrorists, not only explains the anger and disappointment Saudi Arabia after its defeat in Syria. This same terrorist card had been operating for 40 years through a partnership between the United States and the Wahhabi kingdom, before the decline of American influence. One of the main causes of Saudi behavior is explained by internal factors. Indeed, spreading extremist aims to divert the attention of the Saudi youth not to question the dynasty, an ally of the West which controls all the country’s wealth while leading a lifestyle characterized by extreme opulence and debauchery without limits.

We almost forgot the incident of the occupation of the Kaaba in Mecca, November 20, 1979, by the first insurrection led by a takfirist group coming from the heart of the Wahhabi institution. The movement was led by Juheiman al-Oteiby, who came from the ranks of the National Guard and studied with his comrades in the official Wahhabi religious institutes. We almost forgot this rebellion crushed in blood, which was a protest against decay and injustice of the Saudi system. Al-Oteiby’s appeal to consider apostate Saudi regime has a large impact among the Saudi youth, and rebels have recruited hundreds of young people ready to take arms to assault the Kaaba. Saudi security forces have failed to controle the situation, and Riyadh had to hire the services of the French special forces to crush the uprising.

One year after the Al-Oteiby movement, the ruling Saud family, in cooperation with the United States, launched the first wave of terrorism in Afghanistan, and funded arms for the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in their war against the Syrian state, which was resolutely opposed to the Camp David peace agreement. Riyadh and Washington had legitimized the first nucleus of Al-Qaeda networks, fruit of cooperation between the West and the Saudis. The terrorist network was assigned to missions in Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Syria and elsewhere. All these wars, financed by Saudi Arabia, served the U.S. strategies. At the same time, they have helped divert attention of thousands of young Wahhabi sent to practice Jihad in distant lands. Palestine obviously was not among these lands.

Majed al-Majed, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades leader, an Al- Qaeda branch that has claimed the double suicide attack against the Iranian embassy in Beirut on November 19, is a symbol of these Saudi young men. The circumstances of his capture and death in Lebanon are very suspicious. The Lebanese Army waited nine days before officially confirm his arrest, before announcing, the next day, his death for kidney failure.

Afraid that he might reveal the names of Saudi princes and sheikhs who fund and give him orders, Saudi Arabia has lobbied hard for his extradition.

Reports from the Lebanese press warned against the possible elimination of Majed al-Majed on his hospital bed to forbid him making embarrassing revelations. They were right. After the announcement of his death, the Iranian MP, Mohammad Hassan Asghari, said his confession pointed to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are still haunted by the ghost of Juheiman Al-Oteiby, who protested with weapons against a dynasty that shamelessly exploits religion to submit and blind the poor to take advantage of the immense oil wealth.

- See more at: http://www.neworientnews.com/news/fullnews.php?news_id=123140#sthash.cmAO21aW.dpuf

Latest Big Saudi Lie–Bandar’s “Islamist Front” Joins FSA Fight Against Evil “Al-Qaeda”

Syrian rebels in opposition-held areas engaged in fierce battles with al-Qaeda-linked elements on Friday in what activists say is growing resistance to the jihadists’ brutal grip in many places.

Elsewhere in northern Syria, an unidentified group seized five people working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) from a house, the Paris-based humanitarian organisation said.

Protesters turned out in rebel areas chanting the strongest slogans yet against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as tensions soar between the opposition and the al-Qaeda affiliate.

Ammar, an activist on the ground, described it as “the start of the revolution against ISIL” which operates in Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile a key group within Syria’s mainstream opposition National Coalition stressed on Friday that it will not attend peace talks scheduled for later this month in Switzerland.

“After meetings with many international delegations in recent weeks … the Syrian National Council confirms it sees no reason to attend the Geneva conference,” SNC member Samir Nashar said by telephone.

Nashar also forecast that the National Coalition, which has still not taken a definitive decision, would similarly not show up.

After months of delays, a January 22 date for the peace talks has been set, but doubts remain about whether the conference will go ahead.

The Coalition is set to hold its next general assembly meeting in Istanbul on Sunday and Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fierce fighting between rebels and ISIL in flashpoints of Aleppo city and province on Friday.

“They [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] use violence and abuses to crush dissent. They are only Islamic in name.”
Activist Abu Leyla

In Aleppo and nearby Idlib, 16 pro-al-Qaeda fighters were reported killed.

In Idlib alone, at least 42 ISIL fighters were wounded and 20 other civilians hurt in the crossfire, while in Aleppo, a media activist was killed while covering the fighting.

The Observatory and activists said a number of battalions united under the name “Army of Mujahedeen” and other rebel groups, including more moderate Islamists, were fighting ISIL.

The fighting comes two days after ISIL reportedly tortured and murdered Doctor Hussein al-Sleiman, known as Abu Rayyan.

His death was the latest in a string of beatings, kidnappings and killings that have enraged rebels and activists alike.

It prompted protesters to take to the streets under the slogan: “Friday of the martyr Abu Rayyan”.

The Observatory and activists said ISIL fired on protesters in Aleppo city, who were chanting anti-regime slogans as they have every week since the outbreak of an uprising that has killed more than 130,000 people.

Both the Islamic Front and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, two key alliances formed last year that group tens of thousands of fighters, condemned ISIL.

“We call on ISIL to withdraw immediately from Atareb … and remind them that those who freed Atareb [from Assad’s regime] are those you are fighting today,” said the Islamic Front.

Syrian residents gather after fleeing their homes following the clashes. Photo: Reuters

Abu Leyla, an Idlib-based activist, told reporters via the internet: “I’d say about 90 per cent of people in the opposition areas are against ISIL.

“They use violence and abuses to crush dissent. They are only Islamic in name. All they want is power.”

Saudi Royals Reassure Islamabad, the Eastern Anchor of Their Global Sunni Caliphate

Message from Riyadh: Saud al Faisal due in Islamabad next week

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal will arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit on Monday, January 6, under a scheduled programme.

Prince Saud al Faisal will head a team of more than a dozen Saudi officials.

There is speculation that Riyadh may be sending a message to Islamabad in the wake of the latest developments in the treason case against Pervez Musharraf, who is considered to be close to the Saudi regime.

According to official sources, during his stay, in the federal capital, the Saudi foreign minister will hold in-depth talks with the Pakistani leadership including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He will hold a special meeting with the Adviser to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to discuss bilateral relations and to further expanding Pak-Saudi ties and enhancing cooperation in various fields.

Besides bilateral matters, Saudi foreign minister will also discuss Afghanistan and the regional situation.

His visit is also significant keeping in mind the deadlock on Syria, the situation in Afghanistan and the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Saudi foreign minister was invited to Islamabad after he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last year

March-14 Hoists Banner of Saudi/Sunni False Flags In Lebanon

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The assassination of Chatah: March-14 wants to achieve the killers’ objectives

Voltaire Net

By Ghaleb Kandil

The assassination of former Minister Mohammad Chatah is part of a series of attempts to cause internal discord and strife in Lebanon, through clashes in Tripoli suicide attacks, car bombings and assassinations. These criminal and terrorist acts are implemented by Takfirists groups as the result of Israeli-Saudi joint efforts, intended to push Lebanon into a huge fire.
The first consequence of the assassination is exacerbating sectarian tensions in the country, particularly in Tripoli, the hometown of the deceased. All previous attempts to raise tension through attacks and other crimes, in the southern suburbs of Beirut and Tripoli, had not led to the breaking point.
The first information showing the involvement of Fatah al-Islam terrorist group in the assassination of Chatah did not put an end to ready accusations, launched before the beginning of the investigations.
The most serious is that the March-14 coalition quickly grasped the political objectives of the assassination, which aims above all to widen the political gap in the country, which is already divided on the Syrian conflict. This coalition is eager to torpedo any attempt to form a national unity government, only able to play the role of safety valve, and has focused on the political exploitation of Mohammad Chatah blood to push the confrontation in a country which has not a government, at the threshold of a presidential election that looks difficult. In doing so, March-14 executes the orders of its regional sponsor, Saudi Arabia, who sabotaged the last eight months, all efforts to form a new government.
March-14 has raised the bar of conditions requiring not only a government without Hezbollah, a major political and popular players in the country, but claiming that the security portfolio be given to him.
The statements of former Prime Ministers Saad Hariri and Fouad Siniora and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, immediately after the assassination, expressed a clear desire to cause a political explosion in the country, either by accusing Hezbollah of the crime or calling for the formation of a government of March-14.
The Saudi decision to push the situation to the explosion is clear in Saad Hariri and March-14 statements.
What will be the next steps in the escalation triggered by March-14?
The attitude of this political camp takes no account of the national interest, which should be a combination of efforts to cope with takfirist-terrorist cells operating in the country. Instead, March-14 works to ensure a favorable climate for these extremist groups whose primary target is the Lebanese Army.
Murderers of Mohammad Chatah wanted to make their crime the spark that will plunge Lebanon into a serious crisis, and the positions of the March-14 leaders exacerbate tensions, without worrying about the impact of their actions on stability and security. For them, Lebanon should only serve as an arena, where Saudi Arabia will try to compensate for its disappointments and defeats in Syria. They believe that the land of the cedar can be a consolation prize for the Wahhabi kingdom, surrounded by the crisis, and who sees its influence diminishing, even in its private court: the Gulf.

Statements

Michel Sleiman, Lebanese President
«This cowardly act, whatever the messages it carries are, will only make the Lebanese more determined to protect their country and preserve it as a space for peace, stability and dialogue in the face of the terrorists who only understand the language of killing and bombing. Lebanese leaders and citizens should express solidarity and help towards the formation of a new government that would take over the national responsibilities during this period.»

Nabih Berry, Lebanese Speaker of Parliament
«This crime is a ring of a long chain of assassinations aimed at turning Lebanon into an arena for settling accounts and creating strife between religions and sects. This horrific terrorist crime that claimed the lives of former Minister Mohammad Chatah and a number of citizens and which injured many other citizens aimed at keeping Lebanon in the midst of tension. This terrorist act is highly condemned and vigilance is required from everyone

Michel Aoun, Free Patriotic Movement
«We announce our condemnation every time a bombing targets innocent civilians or political personalities and leaders. What is required is the presence of people who hold positions of responsibility and who uphold these responsibilities. We warn everyone from launching indiscriminate political accusations and from fanning the flames, because if fire takes hold it will burn everyone and won’t spare anyone

Walid Joumblatt, Progressive Socialist Party leader
«The assassination of Chatah is a negative message to all the moderates and should be received with restraint. It is a very negative message to all those who act wisely and should be faced with more acts of wisdom. The assassination is an act of terrorism that killed a distinguished personality and statesman who adopted the language of dialogue, rationality and moderation.»

Samir Geagea, Lebanese Forces leader
«The assassination of Chatah, the symbol of moderation, dialogue and intellect, raises further questions regarding the extent of hostility reached by those who adopt a hegemonic approach and advocate annihilation through the use of power. Has Mohammad Chatah annoyed them that much? Is this how those who claim to be saddened by the crimes of Takfiris fight the Takfiris? The assassination is not an isolated act, but is part of a series of assassinations that targeted several March-14 figures. Our confrontation with the killers is open. The Cedar Revolution continues until the resurrection of Lebanon is achieved.»

Ashraf Rifi, Former Internal Security Forces
«From Tripoli that brought the martyred Minister Mohammad Chatah to the world, we tell every Lebanese who grieves for the loss of the greatest of our personalities amid the struggle for sovereignty, freedom and independence… that this crime will not break our will. We will keep going along the path and we will achieve, with the Lebanese people, everything we planned for together in order to retrieve this country from the jaws of the dragon. The perpetrators of the assassination will be pursued by international justice and will be brought to account for every drop of blood that was shed.»

Omran al-Zohbi, Syiran Infirmation Minister
«These wrong and arbitrary accusations are made in a context of political hatred. Some figures in Lebanon have never stopped accusing Damascus every time a painful assassination takes place in the brother country Lebanon

Events

• The March-14 alliance condemned on Friday the assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammad Chatah and implied that the Syria regime and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah were responsible for his killing. “The killer, with its Lebanese allies, is the one that is targeting Lebanon in Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon and Syria in Daraa, Aleppo, and Damascus,” Future bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora said after the March-14 alliance’s emergency meeting. “We demand that this assassination be referred to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,” he added. Siniora also said, “We received the criminals’ bloody message and our reply is that Lebanon will remain free as tyrants will fall.” “Lebanon will remain a country for all Lebanese in spite of the criminals,” he stated.

• Hezbollah said on Friday that former Finance Minister Mohammad Chatah’s assassination only benefits Lebanon’s enemies. “This ugly crime aims at destroying the country and is a sinful attempt to target stability and national unity which only benefits Lebanon’s enemies,” Hezbollah said in a statement. The party called on the Lebanese people to be “rational and wise in dealing with dangers facing their country.” Hezbollah also called on security and judicial agencies to be fully alert and to exert efforts to reveal the perpetrators.

• Dozens of rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad were killed Friday in a Syrian army ambush in the Qalamoun region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Britain-based group said the dawn attack came “in the area located between Marah and Qustul, near the historic town of Maalula.” The watchdog, which relies on activists countrywide for its reports, could not provide an exact toll, but said “another 20 rebels” were wounded. State news agency SANA quoted an unidentified military source as saying that “a unit of our brave army ambushed and killed dozens of terrorists from Al-Nusra Front.” The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra and other Islamist battalions first entered the ancient Christian town of Maalula in Damascus province in September. They were briefly driven out by the army before quickly reclaiming it. The rebels have for several weeks reportedly held a group of 12 nuns from the town.

• Saudi Arabia and Kuwait advised its citizens against traveling to the country in the wake of the latest assassination that targeted former Finance Minister Mohammad Chatah. “Due to the deterioration of the security situation in Lebanon, the embassy renews its warning for its citizens against traveling to Lebanon,” a statement issued by the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon said. “It also urges the Saudi citizens already present in Lebanon to return to their homeland for the sake of their own security.” In turn, the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry advised “all Kuwaiti citizens” to avoid traveling to Lebanon “amid the critical circumstances witnessed by the brotherly country.” According to a ministry official quoted by the Kuwaiti News Agency, the ministry also called on its citizens present in Lebanon to “quickly” leave the country.

• Informed sources quoted by Al Akhbar reported that President Michel Sleiman traveled to Paris to get clear answers regarding the possibility for him to settle in France at the end of his mandate, following his eventual election to head the International Organization of Francophonie. In this context, same sources recall his previous attempts to obtain illegal French passports.

• The Two Omanis nationals kidnapped in the Baalbek area of eastern Lebanon on Thursday, were released, according to a statement of the Foreign Affairs ministry in Masqat on Sunday. Two Omanis were abducted near Baalbek this evening after having taken a taxi from Beirut airport to the Beqaa.

Press review

As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
(December 28, 2013)
The assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammad Chatah on Friday was a blow to a renewed attempt to bridge differences between the March-14 and March-8 groups.
A prominent party within the March-14 coalition proposed an initiative to the March-8 group whereby a new government would be formed that includes the main components of the national dialogue committee.
The proposal, reportedly presented last week, would guarantee a blocking third for the March-8 group, which, in return, would work for facilitating the election of a new president, or, failing that, the new government will be allowed to take over the presidential powers.
According to sources, the slain former minister was “one of the main godfathers of such a proposal.” “These efforts, which aimed at dissociating the internal issues from regional struggles… seemed to be currently prevented from being put into practice.” “The assassination of Chatah, which is not far removed from the regional and international struggle, came to spoil the attempts to rebuild trust between March-14 and March-8.” “Did the assassination of Chatah torpedo the government agreement that was being discussed?” the sources inquired.

As Safir (December 27, 2013)
Elie Ferzli
An observer excludes a government of fait accompli, the extension of Michel Sleiman’s mandate, and the possibility of vacuum at the Presidency of the Republic, considering that all these scenarios are likely to destabilize the country. The analysis of the observer is based on the theory saying that any action taken on the issue of the presidential election is dependent on the answer to the question whether it is likely to affect the stability or not in the country, which still has regional and international coverage. This analysis undermines another perspective which refers to a preconceived plan to generalize the vacuum in state institutions in order to provoke an inevitable conflagration, the objective of such a scenario is to pave the way for a compromise and to establish a new political formula. On an another hand, a leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) considers that the interests of the great powers do not take into account “small priorities.” These countries, the source added, are not interested, for example, in the stability in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. So it is not possible to say with certainty that they have fears for stability in Lebanon, although this fear is motivated by the desire to protect Israel, because sometimes says the source, it is the instability that preserves the interests of Israel.

An Nahar (Lebanese daily, close to March-14 Coalition)
(December 28, 2013)
Kataeb Party leader Amine Gemayel warned against precipitating into launching accusations following the assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammad Chatah.
“It is important to wait for [the result] of the investigation, especially after Takfiri and extremist criminal organizations have cropped up in Lebanon,” Gemayel said in a statement to An-Nahar on Saturday.
“It is therefore too early to launch accusations and point the finger [at suspects] here and there, and what is required is for the security agencies to lead the investigations to uncover the perpetrators as soon as possible.”
The Kataeb Party leader also said that the killing of Chatah was an attack against Lebanon “on all levels.” He added that his death was a loss for the moderate political strand in the country.

An Nahar (December 26, 2013)
A diplomatic source in Paris reports that France follows with great interest the Lebanese issue, and is eager to maintain stability in the country and supports the “Baabda Declaration” which calls to take Lebanon away from regional crises, particularly Syrian conflict. Sources related to the Elysée are reporting growing concern with respect to the vacuum that exists already in Lebanese institutions, given the presence of a caretaker government which does not have all its prerogatives and the inability to establish a new Cabinet, as well as the perspective of vacuum that could take over the Presidency of the Republic, in the event that a new president would be elected on time. Such an eventuality will place Lebanon in danger, especially if the Syrian crisis continues and the Geneva conference 2 fails to achieve the requested objectives, which would prolong the conflict in Syria, which has a negative impact on Lebanon.

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
By Firas Choufi (27 December, 2013)
A Saudi preacher has posted images of himself preaching to residents of the Druze villages of Jabal al-Summaq in the Idlib countryside, leading them in prayer and teaching them about Islam – the Wahhabi version of course. Reports coming from Syria’s Idlib day after day show that a fire is smoldering under the ashes of Druze villages.
Fortunately for Jaramana or Suweida in Syria, or even Aley and Hasbaiya in Lebanon, the takfiri groups wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq cannot hope to impose their absolute control on these Druze-majority regions. However, this does not mean that other Syrian villages, be they Sunni, Shia, Alawi, Christian, or Druze, will not be subjected to the types of deadly attacks that takfiri gangs have been inflicting on the Syrian people. Having said that, it seems that the Druze villages, located in Jabal al-Summaq in the Syrian governorate of Idlib, are the least fortunate.
The validity of the reports, holding that 18 Druze villages in Idlib “had converted to Islam,” was settled when a Said Saad al-Din al-Ghamidi posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts pictures of a trip he had made to Druze villages in Idlib, including Banabel and Qalb Lawzeh. The pictures show Ghamidi leading worshippers in prayer in a Druze temple.
Incidentally, Ghamdi holds a “doctorate” in Islamic law from a religious university in Saudi Arabia. He hails from the city of Dammam. Like many Saudi clerics, he declares non-Sunni Islamic sects and all those who do not adhere to the Wahhabi brand of Sharia as heretical. Ghamdi also sees Christians as dhimmis – second-class citizens – and opposes allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia.
Ghamidi happens to be one of the leading financiers of takfiri groups in Syria, regularly collecting donations from Saudi Arabia to purchase weapons for the jihadis. On one occasion he tweeted that he had supplied funds to one group to acquire rockets to “pound the Nusairis [derogatory term for Alawis] in Latakia.” Very overtly, Ghamdi posted the details of his trip to Syria through the city of Antioch, and his page shows him traveling between Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, and Saudi legally, through official airports in these countries.
Ghamdi did not stop there. The cleric posted pictures of residents of Druze villages receiving him and his companions in their temples and homes, after they declared they were converting to Islam. Other pictures showed a plot of land donated by a Druze elder to build a mosque at Ghamidi’s request, and the Saudi cleric’s aides taking down names to provide them with food aid packages.
Ghamidi told his followers that 18 Druze villages had been converted to Islam, “despite limited capabilities and the difficulties of this path.” Is this the new norm to be expected in the “liberated” areas?
Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the Druze in Idlib have not borne arms on the side of the Syrian army, or formed local armed committees. On the contrary, the Druze community here has taken a stance of “positive neutrality” vis-à-vis the uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
As opposition Local Coordination Committees and what is left of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) attest in Idlib, the Druze have contributed greatly to the protection of Syrians who came to their villages after being displaced from their villages nearby, including families of the militants who, since the beginning of the crisis, were involved in attacks against Syrian army and security positions.
Their story seems similar to that of the fighters from Suweida who defected with dissident Syrian army Lieutenant Khaldoun Zainuddin, and fought alongside the armed opposition in Deraa for more than two years. But when al-Nusra Front grew powerful, it arrested some and killed others.
This doesn’t mean that the Druze in Idlib have endorsed the uprising or that they oppose it. How can they have genuine attitudes to begin with, being scattered across small villages in a vast geographical area that had quickly fallen into the hands of the FSA? The question becomes only more valid when the FSA-controlled areas have now themselves fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda affiliates like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.
This is not the issue anyway. No doubt, images and reports such as the ones involving the Saudi cleric’s feats leave a deep scar on the psyche of every Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian, whether they support the forces fighting the takfiris, or whether they are reassessing their options to choose what is best for their country.
The majority of Druze religious and political leaders do not want to comment on the reports about Ghamidi, believing that “this does not help but could hurt,” despite the popular restlessness and collective anxiety felt in Druze areas. Nevertheless, informed Lebanese sources indicate that all mediation efforts with Turkey to pacify Druze villages have failed.
Meanwhile, other Syrian sources state that Turkey, despite its concern over increased takfiri activity along its border, still wants to turn northern Syria into an ethnically pure region, allowing it to isolate Iskenderun and other regions of Syria that Turkey has seized from the Syrian coast.
Letter Declaring Conversion to Islam: Renouncing Esotericism and the Hindu Doctrine of Reincarnation
Ghamidi posted a text he said was a letter sent by the elders of the Druze villages of Jabal al-Summaq nearly a month ago, declaring their conversion to Islam. The handwritten letter stated:
“We…in the villages of the Idlib governorate named herein … attest that there is no god but God … and that Mohammad, his slave and messenger, is the seal of the prophets … We renounce those who falsely attributed us to the cursed reprehensible man Mohammad bin Islamil al-Darazi, and renounce him and his esoteric doctrine, the founder of the Druze creed which we renounce and declare an infidel all those who follow it.”
The letter then declares a conversion to an orthodox brand of Sunni doctrine, with obvious Wahhabi undertones, renouncing the “Hindu” doctrine of reincarnation that the Druze traditionally believe in.

Al Akhbar (December 27, 2013)
Ghassan Saoud
According to most observers concerned with the formation of the new Lebanese government, President Michel Suleiman is relatively convinced that Hezbollah cannot be fooled into extending his term. He understands that the Saudis want him to put the country in the hands of Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, without extending his own term.
Suleiman received information that some of the colleagues of Future Bloc MP Hadi Hobeich, particularly MPs Boutros Harb and Robert Ghanem, who were having dinner at MP Farid Makari’s house, were making fun of Hobeich’s “fanciful and illegal” proposal to keep the president after the end of his term. Later, Hobeich would hear harsh words on his rash proposal from former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and MP Ammar Houri.
Hobeich retracted his proposal in a television appearance, after having promised to propose it to the Future Bloc. Based on that, President Suleiman visited Paris, aiming to get a definitive answer about the possibility of living in France at the end of his term and assuming the general secretariat of the Francophonie.
People close to the president said he was optimistic after the visit. A veteran minister said that from experience, when a president escalates his rhetoric at the end of his term, he is setting up to be a Christian chief. This is out of the question for Suleiman.
Accordingly, March-8 seems certain that Suleiman will fulfill the final item of his presidential agenda and sign the decree for the Salam government, which, at the very least, will not include Hezbollah.
March-8 has also dropped from its plans a scenario, which entailed that its ministers would not deliver their ministries to the new governments, since the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) is certain that caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati will give Salam the keys to the Grand Serail. His ministers and those of MP Walid Jumblatt are also expected to do the same.
In this situation, there will be one government and some rogue ministers. Legal experts also concur that such a government would be legitimate, despite breaking the National Pact, since Article 64 of the constitution stipulates that a government formed by the president and prime minister “shall not exercise its powers before getting a vote of confidence [in parliament], except within the narrow definition of caretaking.” This should supposedly have been reflected in the latest warnings by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, who told Suleiman and Salam not to go along with the Saudi proposal to exclude Hezbollah from the government.
This is the gist of the discussion about the government. However, the debate about presidential candidates has already begun, putting the number of presidential hopefuls at 10: Amin Gemayel, Michel Aoun, Suleiman Frangieh, Samir Geagea, Jean Obeid, Riad Salameh, Jean Kahwaji, Boutros Harb, Robert Ghanem, and Ziad Baroud.
The last candidate is working in the shadows, hopeful for a miracle from the Maronite patriarch, allowing Cardinal Beshara al-Rai to send him to the presidential palace. However, the two independent candidates and Future Movement MPs cannot find any priest, banker, or ambassador to give them a hand. We are left with the “Maronite Four,” in addition to the “Neutral Three,” to use a polite term for their position in the current conflict.
In this context, there are three arenas for the competition. In the first, there is MP Frangieh and Lebanese Forces commander Geagea, who rose to fame after the 1978 Ehden massacre, which Frangieh survived by coincidence. Geagea, “based on his vision,” expects his side to achieve a total victory by taking the presidency and negotiating on the position of parliamentary speaker, after throwing Nasrallah in jail, facilitating the sale of Hezbollah’s weapons, and transferring the money to the Lebanese Forces’ private accounts.
Frangieh, on the other hand, is waiting for a new settlement, which would redistribute powers and give the presidency and the parliament to hawks on his side, with the Future Movement heading the government through Saad Hariri. Hariri’s supporters would chose Frangieh over Aoun at any time. Frangieh’s Marada Movement say they support Aoun’s nomination and are very secretive about the outcome of presidential negotiations with their allies in Dahiyeh and Damascus.
In all events, Geagea will become a serious candidate if his side achieves a resounding victory, and the same goes for Frangieh. But in light of the current balance, two candidates represent the existing schism: former President Amin Gemayel from March-14 and former army commander Michel Aoun from March-8. It is enough to see Gemayel smiling at the Iranian ambassador and Aoun’s joy in receiving the US ambassador, to note the similar plans they have to return to the presidential palace in Baabda. However, Aoun is confronting Geagea to give him a push, while Geagea is completely ignoring Gemayel’s candidacy.
It should be noted that Gemayel had transferred the presidency to Aoun on 23 September 1988. Aoun later became a national hero a month after that date, not because of his actions, but because of what Gemayel and Geagea were doing. In the 2008 by-elections, many residents of Metn said they were unfamiliar with Aoun’s candidate Nazem al-Khoury, but they knew Gemayel, so they will vote for Khoury.
In this context, information from the Lebanese Forces and Walid Jumblatt confirms that they and the Future Movement would prefer Aoun over Gemayel. Geagea does not want to waste all his efforts, dating from 1982, to limit Gemayel’s influence, and Jumblatt cannot imagine him in Baabda, due to bad personal experiences (the war of the mountains and other things). The Future Movement does not want to pay the price of having a president that is only an ally in words.
The third arena will be set in the event of a political agreement – most probably regional – to safeguard Lebanon from the disruption, which would be caused by the two sides fighting it out, a void in the presidency, or the repercussions of a one-sided government. The competition here will be between three candidates who have not yet declared their nomination. The chaos, which would be caused by Suleiman’s departure, will pave the way for the “grip,” according to a former minister, represented by army commander Jean Kahwaji. Several sources in the FPM maintain that Kahwaji is Hezbollah’s number-one choice, despite several official denials by the party.
Although Kahwaji knows that Future Movement MPs will not have an influence on his nomination, he succeeded in winning some of them over. The movement’s General Secretary Ahmad Hariri, and MPs Hobeich, Riad Rahhal, Khaled Zahraman, and Mohammed Hajjar speak positively of him. Kahwaji is actually relying on their ability to change the popular mood in their regions, which are incubating anti-army groups. “Friends of the Leader,” who are putting up signs in several official establishments, such as officer clubs, are promoting European interests in supporting the army, as a sign of adopting Kahwaji’s move from Yarze to Baabda.
However, observers maintain that there is no information about the true position of the Saudis and the United States from Kahwaji, despite the efforts exerted by former Defense Minister Elias al-Murr in promoting his friends to the Americans. Until now, Kahwaji is supported by Michel al-Murr, but there is a strong veto by Aoun regarding his candidacy.
Lebanese Central Bank (BDL) governor Riad Salameh, on the other hand, represents a point of convergence between several opposing sides. The first is between Frangieh and the Lebanese Forces, who had one of its ministers call on Aoun to consent to his candidacy. The second convergence is between the Future Movement and Mikati.
But Nabih Berri, like Aoun and Jumblatt, prefers former minister Jean Obeid to Kahwaji or Salameh, if the choice is limited to these three. Obeid might be able to capitalize on his strong relations with Saudi officials concerned with this issue and his agreement with former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on most issues, including the extension of Emile Lahoud’s presidential term. Obeid believes this saves him from a veto by the Future Movement.
Obeid could get the support of Berri, Aoun, the Future Movement, and Jumblatt in the second phase, if none of the strong Maronite candidates are chosen. The only veto would come from the Lebanese Forces, which is employing all its capacity to convince Qatari diplomacy (which listens carefully to what Obeid has to say) and the public (which knows about Obeid’s visit to Syrian intelligence officer Ghazi Kanaan to pay condolences after Kanaan committed suicide) that Obeid is linked to the Syrians.
Kahwaji is using the military establishment as a crutch to reach the presidential palace. Obeid is dependent on a strangely connected regional network and several local friends.
There is serious fear of a void in the Future Movement, mainly among its MPs. A Beirut MP describes the presidential void, regardless of the government, as a means for Hezbollah to lead all sides to a settlement that does not stop at merely choosing a president. It could be something similar to the 2008 Doha agreement, which included a reconciliation between March-14 and the Syrian regime, in addition to the identity of the new president.
Future Bloc head Siniora has enough experience and pragmatism to convince regional powers that it would be impossible for any Maronite from his side to become president. However, he prefers a president who would repay the Future Movement for its role in his nomination and take the country’s balances into account, especially one whose personal relations with regional and international decision-makers brought him to power. In the offices of FPM MPs, the same anxieties about a presidential void are expressed, which, in their calculations, will only serve to bring Kahwaji into office.
Amin Gemayel likes to say that the candidate is the message. In his case, this would be a bona fide disaster. Obeid, on the other hand, does not believe that a personal resume has anything to do with reaching the presidency. “It has to do with one’s direction” – and his luck.
Luck or God’s will? Hamid Frangieh went and Suleiman Frangieh arrived. Bashir Gemayel was killed and Amin Gemayel took the seat. Rene Mouawad was assassinated and Elias Hrawi elected.

Al Akhbar (December 24, 2013)
Suhaib Anjarini
In an interview with Al-Akhbar, the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Antioch, Gregory III Laham, stressed thattakfiris – radical Islamists who declare their opponents as apostates – target all Syrians, “but especially Christians as of late, being the weakest link.” Laham revealed that a meeting will be held by the World Council of Churches in Geneva a week before the Geneva II Syria peace conference, and said he was hoping the three Syrian patriarchs would be invited to attend Geneva II, even as observers.
Damascus – Syria is living a tragedy that is bearing heavily on all Syrians, proclaimed Patriarch Gregory III Laham of Antioch, spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. The patriarch said that the crisis in his country has so far caused the displacement of around six million Syrians, mostly Muslims, in addition to more than 120,000 casualties, also mostly Muslims.
“The devastation has affected nearly 500 mosques and 60 churches,” he added, “which means that it is clear the tragedy has spared no one in Syria.”
Laham continued, “Some takfiris have jumped into the fray and corrupted the Syrian opposition. It seems clear that these people have atakfiri ideology that singles out Christians, Alawis, Druze, and all those who do not subscribe to their ideas, views, and laws. They target everyone. Recently, they have specifically targeted Christians as the weakest link, as we have seen in Maaloula and Sadad. But what is certain is that these people are strangers to Syrian culture, and even Muslims are afraid of them.”
Addressing fears about attempts to completely uproot the Christians of Syria, Laham said, “With God’s help we are steadfast and we shall stay. If anyone is wagering on uprooting Christians from Syria and the Levant then they are deluded. We from time immemorial have been living together as Syrians of all affiliations. This is one of the most important features of Syria in particular, and the Levant in general.”
Laham said, “The Orient without its Christians will inevitably lose its identity.” The patriarch then added, “We have a common history, and there should be joint Christian-Muslim determination to stand by one another. No one should declare anyone an apostate. … We can stay, we want to stay, and we must stay. I believe that this slogan should be upheld by everyone, and I had said in my Christmas message: Give me a united Arab-Islamic world, and I can guarantee you that all my children would remain here.”
Trying to Fulfill Our Duty
Concerning the efforts that the church and the Catholic Patriarchate have undertaken, Laham said, “I would like to assure our children that we never for one day hesitated to do everything that we can do. We have made a lot of efforts since the crisis began. Since 2011, the Patriarchate has provided aid to those affected by the crisis, both Christians and non-Christians. The value of aid is about $40,000 monthly.”
Laham continued, “We have fulfilled our role when it comes to clarifying what is happening to international public opinion and international bodies, be they ecumenical or political. I personally participated in many meetings and made a number of proposals. For example, I called at the Word Council of Churches meeting in Geneva on September 18 for a global church-led campaign, based on three core principles: no weapons, no violence, no war but peace, reconciliation, and dialogue, and the need to go to Geneva II, in addition to entrenching Islamic-Christian coexistence in the Arab Middle East.”
Patriarch Laham told Al-Akhbar that the World Council of Churches called for a new meeting in Geneva to be held next month, one week ahead of Geneva II. The meeting would aim to devise proposals, and produce a working paper in an effort to push forward the political process and stop the bloodshed.
Concerning Geneva II, scheduled for 22 January 2014, Laham said, “We are praying for the conference to be held and for it to succeed. I hope to be invited, I, Patriarch John X Yazigi [Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch] and Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I [Syriac Orthodox patriarch of Antioch] to Geneva II, even if as observers, to fulfill our role in bringing divergent views together to achieve reconciliation. We are not with a particular regime but are with Syria the state and the homeland that accommodates all its people and guarantees peace for them.”
No New Information on Kidnapped Bishops and Nuns
With regard to the kidnapping of Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, Patriarch Laham explained that he is in constant contact with Patriarchs Yazigi and Zakka. He said he spoke to them recently about this matter, and was told that there were no new developments on the two kidnapped bishops or the nuns who were taken from Maaloula.
Laham renewed his prayers throughAl-Akhbar for the safety of the nuns, and said, “Wherever they are, there will be a monastery there, with their constant prayers. We are praying for their safety and the safety of the two dear bishops, and for this ordeal to have a happy ending.”
Laham said he plans to spend Christmas in Egypt in fulfillment of an old tradition “to visit our children and our churches and check in on them, but Syria will most certainly be present in our hearts and our prayers.”
The talk about targeting Christians in Syria sounds trivial in a country where everything is being targeted, beginning with the notion of the homeland itself. Fast-paced developments – especially in the second half of 2013 – make the fact that Christians are being targeted indisputable, yet this is something that should be seen as a more dramatic stage of the onslaught on the entire Syrian people.
In principle, the raids on Maaloula in 2013 cannot be seen in isolation from the chants heard at the beginning of the Syrian crisis, calling on Christians to “leave to Beirut.” On the ground, the outcome of directly targeting Christians, and anti-Christian attitudes, was that up to 450,000 Christians have left their homes in Syria, according to Patriarch Laham.
A quick calculation reveals that up to 10 percent of Syrian Christians have left, bearing in mind that there is no accurate figure on the real number of Christians who were displaced internally.
Along the same lines, the targeting of the Christian clergy cannot be seen in isolation from attacks against Syrian clerics in general. Meanwhile, churches, just like mosques, have had their share of the devastation, and so did Christian antiquities – just like the rest of Syrian antiquities.
Thus, in light of the unchecked spread of takfiri groups, and the growing influence of extremist groups, the more accurate equation is not Christians versus Islamic extremists, but Syrians versus extremism. Indeed, it is important to remember that most Muslims follow the example of Prophet Mohammad bin Abdullah, and not Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, founder of Wahhabism.

United Press International (American press agency, December 23, 2013)
A Salafi movement in Jordan has revealed that nearly 10 000 foreign militants were killed in Syria since the foreign-hatched conflict hit the country in 2011.
The Jordanian Jihadi Salafi Movement said that some 9936 extremist militants from different parts of the world, especially from Tunisia, Libya and Iraq, have been killed during the nearly three years of conflict in Syria. Some 1902 Tunisians, 1807 Libyans, 1432 Iraqis, 800 Palestinians and 202 Jordanians were among the victims. Many extremists are trying to destabilize Syria under the banner of al-Qaeda terrorist network.
According to the data, some 828 Lebanese, 821 Egyptians, 714 Saudis, 571 Yemenis, 412 Moroccans, 274 Algerians, 71 Kuwaitis, 42 Somalis, 21 Bahrainis, 19 Omanis, 9 Emiratis, 8 Qataris, 3 Sudanese, 1 Mauritians, and nearly 30 others from Caucasus and Albania have lost their lives in Syria conflict. The report says most of the dead are affiliated to the terrorist groups of al-Nusra Front and the Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Other news reports say several extremists from Europe, America and Australia are fighting in Syria.
A recent British defense study showed that about 100 000 militants, fragmented into 1 000 groups, are fighting in Syria against the government and people.
The extracts of the study by defense consultancy, IHS Jane’s, were published on September 16.
IHS Jane’s estimates that some 10 000 militants are fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda such as al-Nusra Front, and the rest fight for different militant groups.

Jerusalem Post (Israeli daily, December 26, 2013)
By David Bukay
From the first day, the so-called “Arab Spring” was in fact a dark anarchic Islamic winter. Yet, the media has disseminated the idea — as if the internet, Facebook, and Twitter have produced a new situation in the Middle East: a young Arab generation that adopts Western ideals and yearns for democratic values, civil rights, and freedoms. Unfortunately this was just another wishful thinking, a mirror image, a cultural ignorance even a stupidity. In reality, this dark anarchic Islamic winter symbolizes the demise of the Arab state and the retreat towards primordialism. It is not a step forward towards democracy and open modern societies, but a huge retreat to stagnation and Islamism.
This situation takes its highest toll in Syria, where it has become not only a failed state but a demolished one. At the start, the Syrian violence of deep upheaval was not an internal war between an oppressive regime against democratic opposition supported by the people, but against al-Qaida affiliated groups from all over the world that are now concentrating in Syria. It is symbolized by the call of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaida , that Syria is now the most important Islamic front, and victory there means the advent of al-Qaida to regional even world hegemony. Indeed, what we see in Syria are domestic anarchic groups and external ones form Iraq; Lebanon; AQAP al-Qaida Arabian Peninsula); AQIM (al-Qaida Islamic Maghreb); from Afghanistan; Pakistan; Chechnya; Turkmenistan; even from China. Syria is physically demolished; and its cities are ruined, with millions of refugees fleeing to the neighboring states. _The scope and amount of the groups, majority of them are al-Qaida Affiliated groups, is long, exhausting and terrifying. A short list includes the following: Jabhat al-Nusra, the biggest al-Qaida affiliated group; Qatā’ib Ahrār al-Shām; `Usbat Liwā’ al-Tawhīd; `Usbab Qatā’ib al-Haqq; Fath al-Islām; Qatā’ib Abdallah Azām; `Usbat al-Ansār; Qatā’ib Shuhadā’ al-Barā’ Ibn Mālik; Qatā’ib Umar al-Faruq; Jaish al-Islām; Qatā’ib al-Ansār; and al-Majlis al-Thawri. Jabhat al-Tahrīr includes over ten Salafī-Takfīrī sub-groups; and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, includes the same. Some other groups are organized under al-Jabha al-Islāmiyah; and Ahfād Qatā’ib al-Rasul, with four groups. There are also Jihadi converted Muslims from Europe, Africa, and the US, recruited and organized by Abu Ahmed al-Iraqi. The last estimation by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization in London is that between 3,300 and 11,000 foreigners from 70 nations are fighting now against Assad.
Whether we like it or not, the situation in Syria is clear: a legitimate regime is fighting to its existence against the worst enemy of the Free World. The flag of al-Qaida is already waving in parts of Northern Syria, i.e. on May 22, 2012, al-Qaida group coalition in Syria has declared the establishment of the “Islamic Emirate of the Levant” there. Alongside with the terrorist murderous operations, these groups are already perpetrating genocide and ethnic cleansing of the minorities, mainly the Christians. Indeed, if one wishes to understand a selected situation, the plight of the Christian minority is an illuminating symbol. The objective of al-Qaida has already declared by al-Zawahiri: “toppling Bashar Takfīrī (infidel) regime and establishing the Islamic state based on the Sharī`ah.”
More than any other place, Syria exemplifies the free world failures to understand the reality in the Middle East. Syria exhibits the cultural-civilizational dilemma of misconceptions and fallacies. There are many fallacies that hinder us from understanding the situation and establishing a proper policy: political correctness, ignorance, the politics of leaders and stupidity, but the most important component is the mirror image. It means that you look at your opponent and analyze his behavior and actions according to your set of beliefs and values. The mirror image is the projection of you in the mirror. You relate to your opponent with the same definitional attitudes and operational codes and you project your own past situation and experiences to your opponent, as if he is like you.
Questions should be addressed concerning the situation in Syria. When the democratic world condemns Assad as a cruel bloody dictator, and accuses him of butchering his own people, does it really has the accurate knowledge and the reliable information of the domestic situation in Syria and who are the forces operating there? Does the reality match the myths disseminated around about who are the butchers? Moreover, does it take into consideration that all the political leaders in the Arab-Islamic polity during its entire history are coercive brutal and oppressing? By that, is Bashar Assad really different in dictatorial and brutal terms from all other contemporary and previous historical leaders?
Another set of questions relate to outer forces. Does the Assad regime pose a greater threat to international security than the Al-Qaida elements fighting there? Do we really believe that toppling the Syrian regime means weakening Iran and Hezbollah, and turning the balance of power in the ME in favor of Western interests? Are the forces fighting Assad, called ‘the opposition,’ pro-Western and more democratic forces? Shouldn’t we deeply be concerned that toppling Assad regime could strengthen the al-Qaida affiliated groups, thereby endangering the regional and in time even the global security?
A third set of questions are, what will happen to Syria after toppling Assad? Will Syria become more stable and tranquil with the opposition rule? What will be the regional balance of power and the political stability of Jordan and Lebanon, let alone Israel? What will be the fate of the religious and ethnic minorities in Syria, like the Christians and the Druses? Above all what will happen to the Alawite minority? Isn’t it highly probable that pervasive bloodshed massacre, a full-fledged genocide will be conducted against them?
The best of this disastrous policy is seen in Syria, with its climax the threat to intervene militarily to topple Bashar Assad. The best pronouncement of the situation was made by a Syrian general: “why the world does not understand that we are the last dam that blocks the flood of Islamism in Europe? What blindness!” And the US, stubbornly, with huge extent of stupidity, continues to support evil. It is as if it has not learned the lessons of Afghanistan where it supported Bin Laden and al-Mujahidin al-Afghan; and has not learned the lessons of supporting Khomeini against the Shah, both immediately turned against her.
It must be clearly stated: Bashar’s disappearance means the persistence of domestic chaotic anarchic situation in Syria, like Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Contrary to the US (and Israel) wishful thinking, the regime that will emerge will be no democratic and not liberal; not pro-Western and not a secular regime with the Free Syrian Army; even not a Muslim regime like the Muslim Brotherhood style Egypt, Out of the anarchy and chaos reigns in Syria, the highest probability is for al-Qaida affiliated groups to win over. The consequences to the regional stability are horrific: they will endanger the surrounding states. Bashar downfall also means deteriorating and exacerbating the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict to bloody wars.
As for the US: Did the US learn the lessons of toppling Qaddafi in Libya? The result is that the flag of al-Qaida -affiliated groups (AQIM) waves openly in Benghazi and the groups’ activity is now seen in Mali, Niger, and Mauritania, directing to Algeria and Morocco to the west, and uniting with al-Qaida affiliate Boko Haram in Nigeria. On the east, AQIM has reached a collaboration with Somalia’s al-Qaida affiliate group, al-Shabāb, and together they threaten Kenya and Ethiopia. AQIM has also close relationships with Hamas in Gaza, and al-Qaida groups in Sinai.

The Independent (British daily, December 29, 2013)
Patrick Cockburn
Anti-Shia hate propaganda spread by Sunni religious figures sponsored by, or based in, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, is creating the ingredients for a sectarian civil war engulfing the entire Muslim world. Iraq and Syria have seen the most violence, with the majority of the 766 civilian fatalities in Iraq this month being Shia pilgrims killed by suicide bombers from the al-Qa’ida umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis). The anti-Shia hostility of this organisation, now operating from Baghdad to Beirut, is so extreme that last month it had to apologise for beheading one of its own wounded fighters in Aleppo – because he was mistakenly believed to have muttered the name of Shia saints as he lay on a stretcher.
At the beginning of December, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula killed 53 doctors and nurses and wounded 162 in an attack on a hospital in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, which had been threatened for not taking care of wounded militants by a commentator on an extreme Sunni satellite TV station. Days before the attack, he announced that armies and tribes would assault the hospital “to take revenge for our brothers. We say this and, by the grace of Allah, we will do it”.
Skilled use of the internet and access to satellite television funded by or based in Sunni states has been central to the resurgence of al-Qa’ida across the Middle East, to a degree that Western politicians have so far failed to grasp. In the last year, Isis has become the most powerful single rebel military force in Iraq and Syria, partly because of its ability to recruit suicide bombers and fanatical fighters through the social media. Western intelligence agencies, such as the NSA in the US, much criticised for spying on the internet communications of their own citizens, have paid much less attention to open and instantly accessible calls for sectarian murder that are in plain view. Critics say that this is in keeping with a tradition since 9/11 of Western governments not wishing to hold Saudi Arabia or the Gulf monarchies responsible for funding extreme Sunni jihadi groups and propagandists supporting them through private donations.
Satellite television, internet, YouTube and Twitter content, frequently emanating from or financed by oil states in the Arabian peninsula, are at the centre of a campaign to spread sectarian hatred to every corner of the Muslim world, including places where Shia are a vulnerable minority, such as Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Malaysia. In Benghazi, in effect the capital of eastern Libya, a jihadi group uploaded a video of the execution of an Iraqi professor who admitted to being a Shia, saying they had shot him in revenge for the execution of Sunni militants by the Iraqi government.
YouTube-inspired divisions are not confined to the Middle East: in London’s Edgware Road there was a fracas this summer when a Salafi (Sunni fundamentalist) cleric held a rally in the face of objections from local Shia shopkeepers. Impelled by television preachers and the social media, sectarian animosities are deepening among hitherto moderate Sunni and Shia, with one Shia figure in the UK saying that “Even in London you could open the address books of most Sunni without finding any Shia names, and vice versa.”
The hate propaganda is often gory and calls openly for religious war. One anti-Shia satellite television station shows a grouping of Shia clerical leaders, mostly from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, labelled as “Satan’s assistants”. Another asks “Oh Sunni Muslims, how long will you wait when your sons are led to be hanged in Iraq? Is it now time to break the shackles?” A picture of a woman in black walking between what appear to be two militiamen is entitled “Shia men in Syria rape Sunni sisters”, and another shows the back of a pick-up truck heaped with dead bodies in uniform, titled “The destiny of Syrian Army and Shia soldiers”. Some pictures are intended to intimidate, such as one showing an armed convoy on a road in Yemen, with a message addressed to the Shia saying: “Sunni tribes are on the way”.
Sectarian animosities between Sunni and Shia have existed down the centuries, but have greatly intensified since the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the eight-year Iran-Iraq war that followed it. Hatreds increased after the US invasion of Iraq and the takeover of what had been a Sunni-run state under Saddam Hussein by the majority Shia community, which generated a ferocious sectarian civil war that peaked in 2006-07 and ended with a Shia victory. Opposition to Iran and the new Shia-run state of Iraq led to Sunni rulers emphasising the Shia threat. Shia activists point in particular to the establishment in 2009 of two satellite channels, Safa TV and Wesal TV, which they accuse of having strong anti-Shia bias. They say that Saudi clerics have shown great skill in communicating extreme sectarian views through modern communications technology such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, giving them a much wider audience than they had previously enjoyed.
An example of the inflammatory views being pumped out over YouTube is a sermon by Nabil al-Awadi, a cleric in Kuwait, who has 3.4 million followers on Twitter. His speech is devoted to “exposing the biggest conspiracy the Muslim world faces”, which turns out to be a plot “conceived in Qom [the Shia holy city in Iran], and handled by sayyids and chiefs in Tehran, to get rid of the nation of Islam, aiming to desecrate the Kaaba [the building in Mecca that is Islam’s most sacred site] brick by brick”.
Mr Awadi relates that Iraq fell to an enemy whom he does not name, but he clearly means the Shia, often referred to as Safavids after the Iranian dynasty of that name. He says that in Iraq “they were killing the imams with drills in their heads until they are dead and they put the bodies in acid to burn until they died”. But the speaker looks forward to a holy war or jihad in Syria, where a great battle for the future of Islam will be fought and won. He warns that “they did not know that jihad is staying and will put fear in their hearts even if they are in Washington, even if they are in London, even if they are in Moscow”.
In Egypt, the Shia are only a small minority, but a cleric named Mohamed Zoghbi reacted furiously to the suggestion that they appear on satellite television to debate religious differences. “We would cut off their fingers and cut off their tongues,” he said. “I must cut off the Shia breath in Egypt.” Bloodthirsty threats like this have great influence on ordinary viewers, since many Egyptians watch religious channels continuously and believe the opinions expressed on them. An example of what this kind of incitement can mean for Shia living in communities where Sunni are the overwhelming majority was demonstrated in June in the small village of Zawyat Abu Musalam, in Giza governorate in Egypt. Some 40 Shia families had previously lived in the village until an enraged mob, led by Salafist sheikhs, burned five houses and lynched four Shia, including a prominent local figure.
Video films of the lynching, which took place in daylight, show the savage and merciless attacks to which Shia minorities in many countries are now being subjected.
Hazem Barakat, an eyewitness and photojournalist, minutely recorded what happened and recorded it on Twitter in real time. “For three weeks, the Salafist sheikhs in the village have been attacking the Shias and accusing them of being infidels and spreading debauchery,” he told Ahram Online. Film of the incident shows a man, who looks as if he may already be dead, being dragged through a narrow street in the village by a mob. Among the four dead was 66-year-old Hassan Shehata, a well-known Shia leader who had been twice jailed under Hosni Mubarak for “contempt for religion”. Police came to the village but arrived late. “They were just watching the public lynching like everyone else and did not stop anything,” said Mr Barakat.
A significant sign of the mood in Egypt is that immediately after the lynchings, a TV host said that Mr Shehata had been killed because he had insulted the Prophet Mohamed’s relatives. Several Salafist and conservative Facebook pages are cited by Ahram Online as having lauded the murders, saying that this was the beginning of eliminating all the three million Shia in Egypt.
Given that Shia make up between 150 and 200 million of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, they are a small and usually vulnerable minority in all countries aside from Iran and Iraq, though they are numerous in Lebanon, Pakistan and India. In Tunisia last year, a pro-Palestinian march by Shia in the city of Gabes was attacked by Salafists chanting, “There is no god but Allah and the Shia are the enemies of God.” Tunisian eyewitnesses cite the influence of Egyptian and Saudi religious channels, combined with the Salafists claiming to be the last defence against an exaggerated threat of a takeover by Iran and the Shia.
The propaganda war became more intense from 2006 on, when there were mass killings of Sunni in Baghdad which, having previously been a mixed city, is now dominated by the Shia, with Sunnis confined to enclaves mostly in the west of the city. The Sunni community in Iraq started a protest movement against persecution and denial of political, social and economic rights in December 2012. As the Iraqi government failed to conciliate the Sunni with concessions, a peaceful protest movement mutated into armed resistance.
The enhanced prestige and popularity of the Shia paramilitary movement Hezbollah, after its success against Israel’s air and ground assault in 2006, may also be a reason why Sunni governments tolerated stepped-up sectarian attacks on the Shia. These often take the form of claims that Iran is seeking to take over the region. In Bahrain, the Sunni monarchy repeatedly asserted that it saw an Iranian hand behind the Arab Spring protests in early 2011, though its own international inquiry later found no evidence for this. When President Obama said in September that Bahrain, along with Iraq and Syria, suffered from sectarian tensions, the Bahraini government furiously denied that any such thing was true.
Social media, satellite television, Facebook and YouTube, which were praised at the start of the Arab Spring as the means for a progressive breakthrough for freedom of expression, have turned into channels for instilling hatred and fear. Fighters in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and other countries beset by violence often draw their knowledge of the world from a limited number of fanatical internet preachers and commentators calling for holy war by Sunni against Shia; often such people are crucial in sending young volunteers to fight and die in Syria and Iraq.
A recent study of dead rebel fighters in Syria by Aaron Y Zelin of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation indicates that jihadi death notices revealing country of origin show that 267 came from Saudi Arabia, 201 from Libya, 182 from Tunisia and 95 from Jordan. The great majority had joined Isis and the al-Nusra Front, both of which are highly sectarian organisations. A deeply dangerous development is that the foreign fighters, inspired by film of atrocities and appeals to religious faith, may sign up to go to Syria but often end up as suicide bombers in Iraq, where violence has increased spectacularly in the past 12 months.
There is now a fast-expanding pool of jihadis willing to fight and die anywhere. The Saudis and the Gulf monarchies may find, as happened in Afghanistan 30 years ago, that, by funding or tolerating the dissemination of Sunni-Shia hate, they have created a sectarian Frankenstein’s monster of religious fanatics beyond their control.

Source
New Orient News

New Orient Center for Strategic Policies

Incompetent Japanese Govt. Using the Homeless for Fukushima Clean-Up

[SEE: China says Japan PM not welcome after visit to war shrine ;  US Risking War With China To Defend Imperial Japan’s War Conquests  ; Looming battle: China vs. Japan]

SPECIAL REPORT- Japan’s homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up

Reuters

Homeless recruited for Fukushima at minimum wages

* Labor brokers skim their pay; charge for food, shelter

* Some say better homeless than going into debt by working

* Little oversight on companies getting clean-up contracts

* Gangsters run Fukushima labour brokers; arrests made

By Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski

SENDAI, Japan, Dec. 30 (Reuters) – Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.

He isn’t a social worker. He’s a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.

“This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day,” Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold.

It’s also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.

Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami leveled villages across Japan’s northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.

In January, October and November, Japanese gangsters were arrested on charges of infiltrating construction giant Obayashi Corp’s network of decontamination subcontractors and illegally sending workers to the government-funded project.

In the October case, homeless men were rounded up at Sendai’s train station by Sasa, then put to work clearing radioactive soil and debris in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage, according to police and accounts of those involved. The men reported up through a chain of three other companies to Obayashi, Japan’s second-largest construction company.

Obayashi, which is one of more than 20 major contractors involved in government-funded radiation removal projects, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the spate of arrests has shown that members of Japan’s three largest criminal syndicates – Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai – had set up black-market recruiting agencies under Obayashi.

“We are taking it very seriously that these incidents keep happening one after another,” said Junichi Ichikawa, a spokesman for Obayashi. He said the company tightened its scrutiny of its lower-tier subcontractors in order to shut out gangsters, known as the yakuza. “There were elements of what we had been doing that did not go far enough.”

OVERSIGHT LEFT TO TOP CONTRACTORS

Part of the problem in monitoring taxpayer money in Fukushima is the sheer number of companies involved in decontamination, extending from the major contractors at the top to tiny subcontractors many layers below them. The total number has not been announced. But in the 10 most contaminated towns and a highway that runs north past the gates of the wrecked plant in Fukushima, Reuters found 733 companies were performing work for the Ministry of Environment, according to partial contract terms released by the ministry in August under Japan’s information disclosure law.

Reuters found 56 subcontractors listed on environment ministry contracts worth a total of $2.5 billion in the most radiated areas of Fukushima that would have been barred from traditional public works because they had not been vetted by the construction ministry.

The 2011 law that regulates decontamination put control under the environment ministry, the largest spending program ever managed by the 10-year-old agency. The same law also effectively loosened controls on bidders, making it possible for firms to win radiation removal contracts without the basic disclosure and certification required for participating in public works such as road construction.

Reuters also found five firms working for the Ministry of Environment that could not be identified. They had no construction ministry registration, no listed phone number or website, and Reuters could not find a basic corporate registration disclosing ownership. There was also no record of the firms in the database of Japan’s largest credit research firm, Teikoku Databank.

“As a general matter, in cases like this, we would have to start by looking at whether a company like this is real,” said Shigenobu Abe, a researcher at Teikoku Databank. “After that, it would be necessary to look at whether this is an active company and at the background of its executive and directors.”

Responsibility for monitoring the hiring, safety records and suitability of hundreds of small firms involved in Fukushima’s decontamination rests with the top contractors, including Kajima Corp, Taisei Corp and Shimizu Corp, officials said.

“In reality, major contractors manage each work site,” said Hide Motonaga, deputy director of the radiation clean-up division of the environment ministry.

But, as a practical matter, many of the construction companies involved in the clean-up say it is impossible to monitor what is happening on the ground because of the multiple layers of contracts for each job that keep the top contractors removed from those doing the work.

“If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn’t move forward. You wouldn’t get a tenth of the people you need,” said Yukio Suganuma, president of Aisogo Service, a construction company that was hired in 2012 to clean up radioactive fallout from streets in the town of Tamura.

The sprawl of small firms working in Fukushima is an unintended consequence of Japan’s legacy of tight labor-market regulations combined with the aging population’s deepening shortage of workers. Japan’s construction companies cannot afford to keep a large payroll and dispatching temporary workers to construction sites is prohibited. As a result, smaller firms step into the gap, promising workers in exchange for a cut of their wages.

Below these official subcontractors, a shadowy network of gangsters and illegal brokers who hire homeless men has also become active in Fukushima. Ministry of Environment contracts in the most radioactive areas of Fukushima prefecture are particularly lucrative because the government pays an additional $100 in hazard allowance per day for each worker.

Takayoshi Igarashi, a lawyer and professor at Hosei University, said the initial rush to find companies for decontamination was understandable in the immediate aftermath of the disaster when the priority was emergency response. But he said the government now needs to tighten its scrutiny to prevent a range of abuses, including bid rigging.

“There are many unknown entities getting involved in decontamination projects,” said Igarashi, a former advisor to ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan. “There needs to be a thorough check on what companies are working on what, and when. I think it’s probably completely lawless if the top contractors are not thoroughly checking.”

The Ministry of Environment announced on Thursday that work on the most contaminated sites would take two to three years longer than the original March 2014 deadline. That means many of the more than 60,000 who lived in the area before the disaster will remain unable to return home until six years after the disaster.

Earlier this month, Abe, who pledged his government would “take full responsibility for the rebirth of Fukushima” boosted the budget for decontamination to $35 billion, including funds to create a facility to store radioactive soil and other waste near the wrecked nuclear plant.

‘DON’T ASK QUESTIONS’

Japan has always had a gray market of day labor centered in Tokyo and Osaka. A small army of day laborers was employed to build the stadiums and parks for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. But over the past year, Sendai, the biggest city in the disaster zone, has emerged as a hiring hub for homeless men. Many work clearing rubble left behind by the 2011 tsunami and cleaning up radioactive hotspots by removing topsoil, cutting grass and scrubbing down houses around the destroyed nuclear plant, workers and city officials say.

Seiji Sasa, 67, a broad-shouldered former wrestling promoter, was photographed by undercover police recruiting homeless men at the Sendai train station to work in the nuclear cleanup. The workers were then handed off through a chain of companies reporting up to Obayashi, as part of a $1.4 million contract to decontaminate roads in Fukushima, police say.

“I don’t ask questions; that’s not my job,” Sasa said in an interview with Reuters. “I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That’s it. I don’t get involved in what happens after that.”

Only a third of the money allocated for wages by Obayashi’s top contractor made it to the workers Sasa had found. The rest was skimmed by middlemen, police say. After deductions for food and lodging, that left workers with an hourly rate of about $6, just below the minimum wage equal to about $6.50 per hour in Fukushima, according to wage data provided by police. Some of the homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say.

Sasa was arrested in November and released without being charged. Police were after his client, Mitsunori Nishimura, a local Inagawa-kai gangster. Nishimura housed workers in cramped dorms on the edge of Sendai and skimmed an estimated $10,000 of public funding intended for their wages each month, police say.

Nishimura, who could not be reached for comment, was arrested and paid a $2,500 fine. Nishimura is widely known in Sendai. Seiryu Home, a shelter funded by the city, had sent other homeless men to work for him on recovery jobs after the 2011 disaster.

“He seemed like such a nice guy,” said Yota Iozawa, a shelter manager. “It was bad luck. I can’t investigate everything about every company.”

In the incident that prompted his arrest, Nishimura placed his workers with Shinei Clean, a company with about 15 employees based on a winding farm road south of Sendai. Police turned up there to arrest Shinei’s president, Toshiaki Osada, after a search of his office, according to Tatsuya Shoji, who is both Osada’s nephew and a company manager. Shinei had sent dump trucks to sort debris from the disaster. “Everyone is involved in sending workers,” said Shoji. “I guess we just happened to get caught this time.”

Osada, who could not be reached for comment, was fined about $5,000. Shinei was also fined about $5,000.

‘RUN BY GANGS’

The trail from Shinei led police to a slightly larger neighboring company with about 30 employees, Fujisai Couken. Fujisai says it was under pressure from a larger contractor, Raito Kogyo, to provide workers for Fukushima. Kenichi Sayama, Fujisai’s general manger, said his company only made about $10 per day per worker it outsourced. When the job appeared to be going too slowly, Fujisai asked Shinei for more help and they turned to Nishimura.

A Fujisai manager, Fuminori Hayashi, was arrested and paid a $5,000 fine, police said. Fujisai also paid a $5,000 fine.

“If you don’t get involved (with gangs), you’re not going to get enough workers,” said Sayama, Fujisai’s general manager. “The construction industry is 90 percent run by gangs.”

Raito Kogyo, a top-tier subcontractor to Obayashi, has about 300 workers in decontamination projects around Fukushima and owns subsidiaries in both Japan and the United States. Raito agreed that the project faced a shortage of workers but said it had been deceived. Raito said it was unaware of a shadow contractor under Fujisai tied to organized crime.

“We can only check on lower-tier subcontractors if they are honest with us,” said Tomoyuki Yamane, head of marketing for Raito. Raito and Obayashi were not accused of any wrongdoing and were not penalized.

Other firms receiving government contracts in the decontamination zone have hired homeless men from Sasa, including Shuto Kogyo, a firm based in Himeji, western Japan.

“He sends people in, but they don’t stick around for long,” said Fujiko Kaneda, 70, who runs Shuto with her son, Seiki Shuto. “He gathers people in front of the station and sends them to our dorm.”

Kaneda invested about $600,000 to cash in on the reconstruction boom. Shuto converted an abandoned roadhouse north of Sendai into a dorm to house workers on reconstruction jobs such as clearing tsunami debris. The company also won two contracts awarded by the Ministry of Environment to clean up two of the most heavily contaminated townships.

Kaneda had been arrested in 2009 along with her son, Seiki, for charging illegally high interest rates on loans to pensioners. Kaneda signed an admission of guilt for police, a document she says she did not understand, and paid a fine of $8,000. Seiki was given a sentence of two years prison time suspended for four years and paid a $20,000 fine, according to police. Seiki declined to comment.

UNPAID WAGE CLAIMS

In Fukushima, Shuto has faced at least two claims with local labor regulators over unpaid wages, according to Kaneda. In a separate case, a 55-year-old homeless man reported being paid the equivalent of $10 for a full month of work at Shuto. The worker’s paystub, reviewed by Reuters, showed charges for food, accommodation and laundry were docked from his monthly pay equivalent to about $1,500, leaving him with $10 at the end of the August.

The man turned up broke and homeless at Sendai Station in October after working for Shuto, but disappeared soon afterwards, according to Yasuhiro Aoki, a Baptist pastor and homeless advocate.

Kaneda confirmed the man had worked for her but said she treats her workers fairly. She said Shuto Kogyo pays workers at least $80 for a day’s work while docking the equivalent of $35 for food. Many of her workers end up borrowing from her to make ends meet, she said. One of them had owed her $20,000 before beginning work in Fukushima, she says. The balance has come down recently, but then he borrowed another $2,000 for the year-end holidays.

“He will never be able to pay me back,” she said.

The problem of workers running themselves into debt is widespread. “Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages,” said Aoki, the pastor. “Then at the end of the month, they’re left with no pay at all.”

Shizuya Nishiyama, 57, says he briefly worked for Shuto clearing rubble. He now sleeps on a cardboard box in Sendai Station. He says he left after a dispute over wages, one of several he has had with construction firms, including two handling decontamination jobs.

Nishiyama’s first employer in Sendai offered him $90 a day for his first job clearing tsunami debris. But he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work. On those days, though, he would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt.

“We’re an easy target for recruiters,” Nishiyama said. “We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and we’re easy to spot. They say to us, are you looking for work? Are you hungry? And if we haven’t eaten, they offer to find us a job.”

Israel Holding Hezbollah To Blame for Sunni Terrorist Attacks

Dangerous new strategic reality taking shape around Israel

haaretz logo

Even though Israel’s military believes Sunni jihadists could be behind Sunday’s rocket attack, Netanyahu blames Hezbollah.

 

Sunday’s Katyusha rocket fire from Lebanon has created a certain lack of clarity in the Israeli defense establishment.

No organization took responsibility for firing the rockets, most of which fell on the Lebanese side of the border. The cautious and non-committal assessment of military sources is that it seemed to be the work of a Sunni Jihadist faction, meaning one of the extremist factions identified with a loosely-connected network that intelligence officials call Global Jihad.

In addition to its enmity for Israel, Global Jihad devotes most of its time to the battle to depose Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and engages in lengthy tit-for-tat murderous attacks with Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently doesn’t share the cautious view. At the outset of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, he informed the media that there were two entities that should be seen as the address regarding the rocket fire: the Lebanese government, which bears responsibility for any attack from Lebanese territory, and Hezbollah, which has thousands of missiles and rockets positioned within the civilian population of southern Lebanon.

Confiscatory Socialism Alive and Well In Hollande’s Effete Empire

napoleon-hollande

Sacrebleu! Top French court approves 75% ‘millionaire’s tax’ on country’s highest earners

daily mail

 

By This Is Money Reporter

 

 

A controversial tax of 75 per cent on the highest earners in France has been approved by the nation’s top court.

A key policy of President Francois Hollande, a new ‘millionare’s tax’ will levied on companies that pay salaries of more than €1million-a-year after it was approved by France’s Constitutional Council today.

The tax was ruled ‘unconstitutional’ by the same council just last year, but it has now been given the green light after it was changed so that the tax was levied on employers rather than individuals.

Policy: The new tax is a key policy of Francois Hollande's.Policy: The new tax is a key policy of Francois Hollande’s.

 

It was originally designed as a 75 percent tax to be paid by high earners on the part of their incomes exceeding €1million euros.

This prompted outrage, with celebrities such as iconic actor Gerard Depardieu leaving the country in protest

The involvement of Salafism/Wahhabism in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world

EUR PARLIAMENT

The involvement of Salafism Wahhabism in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world

The involvement of Salafism/Wahhabism in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world

DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR EXTERNAL POLICIES OF THE UNION
DIRECTORATE B
POLICY DEPARTMENT
STUDY

Corporate author(s):

European Parliament,
Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union
Private author(s):
Claude Moniquet

Abstract
The war in Afghanistan is undoubtedly a key moment in the emergence of an armed
rebellion in the Muslim world. The impact of this conflict quickly exceeded the borders of
Afghanistan to extend Pakistan. Since then, the Iraq war, the civil war that engulfed Syria
and the armed conflict in the Sahel have helped to increase guerrillas in the Muslim
world. This study aims to analyze the role of the Salafi / Wahhabi networks in financing
and arming rebel groups.

Erdogan Slams US Ambassador for Gulen Islamist Subversion

[SEE: For first time, Fethullah Gülen curses purge of police officials in emotional speech]

Turkey’s Erdogan says ‘dark alliances’ behind graft inquiry

Cyprus mail

Turkey’s Erdogan says ‘dark alliances’ behind graft inquiry

 

By Humeyra Pamuk and Ece Toksabay
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced “international groups” and “dark alliances” on Saturday for entangling Turkey in a corruption scandal that has exposed deep rifts between him and a US-based Muslim cleric who helped him rise to power.

Sixteen people, including the sons of two ministers and the head of state-owned Halkbank, were formally arrested on Saturday, local media said, in a corruption inquiry that Erdogan has called a “dirty operation” to underminine his rule.

The Turkish leader raised the stakes by accusing unnamed foreign ambassadors of “provocative actions”.

Some pro-government newspapers had accused the US envoy of encouraging the move against Halkbank – a charge denied by the embassy.
“There are extremely dirty alliances in this set-up, dark alliances that can’t tolerate the new Turkey, the big Turkey,” Erdogan in a speech in the northern town of Fatsa. “Turkey has never been subjected to such an immoral attack.”

The furore, which has roiled markets, is seen as reflecting a power struggle between Erdogan and his former ally Fethullah Gulen, who wields influence in the police and judiciary.
Dozens of police chiefs have been removed from their posts since the detentions of bribery suspects began.

“Those who don’t see the thief but go after those trying to catch the thief, who don’t see the murder but try to defame others by accusing innocent people – let God bring fire to their houses, ruin their homes, break their unity,” Gulen said in a recording uploaded to one of his websites on Friday.

Erdogan has refrained from naming Gulen as the hand behind the investigation when he blamed an internationally-backed conspiracy. But Gulen’s Hizmet (or Service) movement has been increasingly at odds with the prime minister in recent months.

“This is an operation ordered by some international groups, and their subcontractors within Turkey are carrying it out, as a step taken against the government. We will not bow down to it,” Erdogan said on Saturday.
“When we took power 11 years ago, Turkey’s national income was $230 billion, now it’s more than $800 billion. Can you increase the income so much in a corrupt country?” he demanded, proudly listing highway and airport construction projects his government has implemented during more than a decade in power.

Erdogan’s position is under no immediate threat, but the row between his ruling AK Party and Gulen’s Hizmet movement could help decide local elections due in March.
“A major political struggle has started in Turkey,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. “Ironically, this battle is being fought within the ranks of the governing party.”

He said the definitive battle would come in March, involving the race for mayor of Turkey’s commercial capital Istanbul.
“If the Gulen movement can now use its influence among voters and financial base to tilt the race in favour of the opposition, it will prove itself an effective power against Erdogan, as well as helping deliver Istanbul to the left.

“If, on the other hand, Erdogan wins Istanbul, despite the Gulen movement, he will emerge as Turkey’s most dominant political figure in modern history as well as having potentially subjugated the Gulen movement,” Cagaptay said.

Erdogan, just as he did when he faced a wave of protests in the summer, has pointed to foreign hands in the crisis.
“These recent days, very strangely, ambassadors get involved in some provocative acts,” he said, telling them not to meddle and warning: “We do not have to keep you in our country.”
Several pro-government newspapers had the US Embassy of encouraging the move against Halkbank, saying the United States wanted the bank to stop its dealings with Iran.
“Get out of this country,” read Yeni Safak’s headline, with a photo of US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone. It said the Foreign Ministry was considering declaring him persona non grata. Sources at the Foreign Ministry denied such plans.

The US Embassy reacted sharply. “All allegations in news stories are downright lies and slander,” it said in a statement.
Halkbank’s general manager, Suleyman Aslan, was formally arrested alongside Baris Guler, the son of the interior minister, and Kaan Caglayan, the son of the economy minister, CNN Turk and other local media reported.

A total of 24 people have now been formally arrested and are awaiting trial on corruption allegations.
A court on Saturday ordered the release of 33 others, including the mayor of Istanbul’s Fatih district, Mustafa Demir, and the son of the environment minister, local media reported.

On The Trail Of The Saudi Cutouts Who Set-UpThe 9/11 Patsies

On The Trail Of The Saudi [Cutouts] Who [Set Up] The 9/11 [Patsies], Part 4: The Cutouts

 winter patriot
A cutout is a link …

[Previous: 1: 28 Pages | 2: No Vortex | 3: The Lawsuit ]

The term “cutout” is intelligence jargon for a special sort of role that must be played in covert operations. A cutout acts as a go-between, bringing support and instructions from the planners to the perpetrators.

By doing this, the cutout becomes a link in the chain of evidence that connects the planners to the perpetrators. And the cutout’s most important job is to be “cut out” of the chain if and when necessary.

The timely disappearance of a cutout can break the trail that would otherwise lead back from the crime to the people who wanted it to happen. By making cutouts disappear, covert operators can maintain a certain level of “plausible denial,” even if the perpetrators are caught in the act, or tracked down later.

In the case of 9/11, where the “hijackers” were apparently patsies who were intended to be caught, the role of the cutouts was especially important — and especially dangerous.

… in the chain of evidence that connects …

It is sad and strange and very pathetic that we still know so little about the nature of the 9/11 attacks. It’s bad enough that that we don’t know who did it. But we don’t even know what they did! That complicates everything except the government story, the litigation based on it, and the mainstream coverage.

We do know a little bit, and presumably Walter Jones, Stephen Lynch, Bob Graham know a lot more, about some well-connected Saudis who helped to put the patsies in a position from which they could take the blame — and who then disappeared!

From Paul Sperry in the New York Post [or here]:

Some information already has leaked from the [28 redacted pages], which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally….

LOS ANGELES: Saudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy allegedly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Saudi hijackers — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — as they arrived at LAX in 2000. One of the advance men, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi intelligence agent, left the LA consulate and met the hijackers at a local restaurant. (Bayoumi left the United States two months before the attacks, while Thumairy was deported back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11.)

… the planners of a covert operation …

Watch how this happens. The timing is very interesting. al-Bayoumi, who was directly connected with the patsies, disappeared two months before the attacks. Thumairy, who was connected to al-Bayoumi but not to the patsies directly, didn’t disappear until after the attacks.

SAN DIEGO: Bayoumi and another suspected Saudi agent, Osama Bassnan, set up essentially a forward operating base in San Diego for the hijackers after leaving LA. They were provided rooms, rent and phones, as well as private meetings with an American al Qaeda cleric who would later become notorious, Anwar al-Awlaki, at a Saudi-funded mosque he ran in a nearby suburb. They were also feted at a welcoming party. (Bassnan also fled the United States just before the attacks.)

Bassnan (sometimes also “Basnan”), who was also in direct contact with the patsies, also disappeared before the attacks.

WASHINGTON: Then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and his wife sent checks totaling some $130,000 to Bassnan while he was handling the hijackers. Though the Bandars claim the checks were “welfare” for Bassnan’s supposedly ill wife, the money nonetheless made its way into the hijackers’ hands.

Other al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy — so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client. The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.

“Our investigations contributed to the ambassador’s departure,” an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for “personal reasons.”

… to the perpetrators.

Prince Bandar, who as Ambassador was under diplomatic immunity, didn’t have to disappear until he could leave for “personal reasons” by being “recalled.”

FALLS CHURCH, VA.: In 2001, Awlaki and the San Diego hijackers turned up together again — this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Pentagon-area mosque built with funds from the Saudi Embassy. Awlaki was recruited 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awlaki helped the hijackers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a handler to help them acquire apartments and IDs before they attacked the Pentagon.

Awlaki worked closely with the Saudi Embassy. He lectured at a Saudi Islamic think tank in Merrifield, Va., chaired by Bandar. Saudi travel itinerary documents I’ve obtained show he also served as the ­official imam on Saudi Embassy-sponsored trips to Mecca and tours of Saudi holy sites. Most suspiciously, though, Awlaki fled the United States on a Saudi jet about a year after 9/11.

A cutout’s most important job…

Awlaki needed a lot of help to disappear … and he got it! Where do you suppose it came from?

As I first reported in my book, “Infiltration,” quoting from classified US documents, the Saudi-sponsored cleric was briefly detained at JFK before being released into the custody of a “Saudi representative.” A federal warrant for Awlaki’s arrest had mysteriously been withdrawn the previous day.

This timing is also very interesting, is it not? Normally, federal arrest warrants are not mysteriously withdrawn — let alone just in time to facilitate a disappearance!

HERNDON, VA.: On the eve of the attacks, top Saudi government official Saleh Hussayen checked into the same Marriott Residence Inn near Dulles Airport as three of the Saudi hijackers who targeted the Pentagon. Hussayen had left a nearby hotel to move into the hijackers’ hotel. Did he meet with them? The FBI never found out. They let him go after he “feigned a seizure,” one agent recalled.

Hussayen “feigned a seizure” to disappear. Such a clever lad. He has even disappeared from the official story, as did they all, according to Sperry:

Hussayen’s name doesn’t appear in the separate 9/11 Commission Report, which clears the Saudis.

Poof! They’re all cleared! Isn’t that amazing?

Guess who else got “help” from a high-ranking Saudi, who then disappeared?

SARASOTA, FLA.: 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and other hijackers visited a home owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of King Fahd. FBI agents investigating the connection in 2002 found that visitor logs for the gated community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi luxury home was abandoned. Three cars, including a new Chrysler PT Cruiser, were left in the driveway. Inside, opulent furniture was untouched.

… is to disappear …

Esam Ghazzawi disappeared in a big hurry. That’s the way it goes sometimes, especially when you’re in contact with the “ringleader.”

Some folks have more pull than others, apparently. The cutouts got away, but the senator chasing them ran into a stone wall.

Democrat Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who chaired the Joint Inquiry, has asked the FBI for the Sarasota case files, but can’t get a single, even heavily redacted, page released. He says it’s a “coverup.”

Of course it’s a coverup. Sperry asks:

Is the federal government protecting the Saudis?

But that question is beneath consideration, is it not? The interesting question is “Why is the federal government protecting the Saudis?” But perhaps Sperry can’t ask such questions in the New York Post. He does say this, though:

Case agents tell me they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.

… and they all did! Isn’t that amazing?

Yes, curious indeed … unless you prefer a stronger word. In my view, there is no plausible explanation, unless people in very high places wanted it to happen this way.

Just days after Bush met with the Saudi ambassador in the White House, the FBI evacuated from the United States dozens of Saudi officials, as well as Osama bin Laden family members. Bandar made the request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 — just hours after he met with the president. The two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony while discussing the attacks.

And that’s how all the cutouts disappeared. Funny how that worked, isn’t it? — probably just the way it was supposed to.

Some of the cutouts didn’t disappear safely enough. As Sperry notes,

A US drone killed Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.

We also know about some other cutouts who didn’t disappear fast enough. We’ll talk about them soon.

[to be continued]

September 11, Opening Act of The Saudi War Upon the American People

[Bush's low-down redaction of hard Saudi truths from the 911 Report was merely a temporary holding action.  The groundswell of American retribution awaiting the vile monarchs is a huge body of water, just waiting to be released.   When the dam of truth is finally broken down, vengeance will sweep the Saudi monarchy from the pages of time itself, reducing them to a mere footnote, designating a tribe of ruthless "camel jockeys" who made themselves into a real threat to Western civilization.]

Do the Saudis really control the terrorists they court?

new york post

 

 

 

In a 2003 Rose Garden press conference, a reporter asked President Bush why he was sealing a congressional report “incriminating the Saudi government when it comes to 9/11.”

 

Bush, without denying the description of the report’s contents, argued he had to seal it “so that those who are being investigated aren’t alerted.”

 

Only, the Saudi suspects named in the report weren’t really “being investigated.” Several months earlier, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted as much during a closed hearing with the 9/11 Joint Inquiry staff on the Hill. Mueller sheepishly acknowledged the only people aggressively investigating the Saudi connections were sitting there across the table from him.

 

This was beyond odd. At both the FBI and CIA, there were files thick with memos and other documents detailing connections between the Saudi hijackers and Saudi officials and agents in at least seven US cities coast-to-coast. They revealed a vast Saudi support network spanning from Los Angeles and San Diego in the West to Washington, DC, Falls Church, Va., and Herndon, Va., in the East; and from Sarasota, Fla., in the South to Paterson, NJ, in the North.

 

Yet the only people connecting the dots were congressional staffers, as case agents and detectives assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in San Diego and Washington complained of being frustrated by brass in their attempts to run down Saudi leads, particularly ones that led back to the Saudi Embassy.

 

There was so much Saudi-related evidence that it took 28 pages just for Hill investigators to summarize it all.

 

In fact, there arguably was more evidence for the Justice Department to indict Omar al-Bayoumi, the suspected Saudi intelligence agent who aided two of the hijackers in San Diego, than there was to indict Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker. The attorney general could just have easily thrown material support of terrorism charges at Bayoumi. But he did not. The only real difference is Bayoumi’s a Saudi.

 

If Bush’s objective really was to avoid tipping off subjects of ongoing investigations, he could have carefully redacted the names of Bayoumi and other Saudis cited in the 28-page section. Instead, he elected to censor the entire section, scrubbing out anything and everything Saudi.

 

The day before he did that, he met with the Saudis in the White House to discuss that secret Saudi section, which remains classified today. Walking away from that hour-long meeting, the Saudis no doubt felt reassured their secrets were safe. Confident Bush would never release the 28 pages, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar made a show of demanding they be released, arguing the Saudis have nothing to hide.

 

It was an obvious, if effective, ploy.

 

The congressional report safely sealed up, the Saudis had only the 9/11 Commission Report to worry about — and, lo and behold, it cleared the Saudis (even though the commission director never let investigators see the 28 pages from the earlier congressional report). Upon its release, Bandar clucked that the panel exonerated the Kingdom, not to mention himself, conveniently.

 

The report curiously leaves out evidence tying Bandar and his wife to the hijackers through a Saudi bag man, Osama Bassnan, who received personal checks from the Bandars while handling the hijackers in San Diego. Bandar appears a few times in footnotes, and only in passing.

 

The Bandars claim the checks were “welfare” for Bassnan’s supposedly ill wife, and that they did not know what Bassnan was really up to.

 

Maybe so. The Saudis have a history of turning a blind eye to the extremists among them, funding radical mosques as a way of placating their population and keeping themselves in power.

 

But even if you take Bandar’s ignorance at face value, as he sows the wind, we reap the whirlwind.

 

Last year, Bandar was promoted to chief of Saudi intelligence. Saudi Arabia very much wants to see Bashar al-Assad removed from power in Syria. Bandar, frustrated with Obama’s inaction, has been letting Saudi jihadists cross the border to fight in the civil war — and has been funneling arms and support to the Islamic Front rebel group, according to the Daily Beast, weapons that can easily end up in the hands of al Qaeda.

 

Bandar also has pushed Russia to drop its backing of Assad. In August, according to the Telegraph, he gave President Vladimir Putin both a carrot — oil deals — and a stick:

 

“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year,” Bandar allegedly said. “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

 

By Chechen groups, he means Islamic terrorists — just like the ones who bombed the Boston Marathon. It’s a startling, shocking admission.

 

Which is the more scary scenario? That members of the Saudi government provide funding to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups but can’t control them — or that they can?

 

Either way, we can’t find out the full story without an investigation. And the necessary first step is declassifying those 28 pages. Let’s finally connect those dots.

 

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.”

Saudi Man Gets 30 Years For Practising Democracy


Saudi Shiite

Saudi Arabia Shiite demonstrating in the Eastern Province (Photo: Reuters)

 

A Shiite citizen of mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for violence and protesting against Riyadh’s 2011 intervention in neighbouring Bahrain, media reported Monday.

The defendant, whose name was not given, was found guilty of taking part in protests in Qatif in Eastern Province and calling for the withdrawal of Saudi forces sent to Bahrain.

Saudis helped Bahraini security forces to crush a Shiite-led uprising demanding democratic reforms in Sunni-ruled but Shiite-majority Bahrain in March 2011.

The defendant was charged with throwing petrol bombs at security forces who intervened to disperse protests in Qatif, Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

It said both the accused and the prosecutor, who had demanded the death penalty, will appeal.

Protests first erupted in Eastern Province, where the majority of the kingdom’s two million Shiites are concentrated, in March 2011.

Ten people were killed in a series of clashes with security forces, and the fighting intensified after the arrest in July last year of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, considered to be a driving force behind the protests.

However, tensions eased when seven Shiite dignitaries from Qatif hailed a call by King Abdullah for the creation of a centre for Sunni-Shiite interfaith dialogue.