ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Silencing al-Majed Before He Exposes the Saudi Connection To 9/11

[Here is an outstanding piece of analysis from Belgium, which makes the first efforts towards tying together several leads concerning "Saudi intelligence/terrorists," professional Saudi intelligence killers who serve Riyadh as terrorist leaders.  The idea of an "intelligence/terrorist" is not a new concept, but up until now it has been restricted to Pakistan in discussions in Western media. 

Discussion of the phenomenon "intelligence agent/terrorists, must begin in Pakistan, where all known Sunni terrorist organizations had their origins in ISI intelligence, with agents serving both as terrorist trainers and as militant leaders.  The majority of the most notorious of all famous Pak terrorists were military men (men like Omar Sheikh, Amjad Farooqi, "Dr. Usman," Ilyas Kashmiri. etc.).  Extending the concept from Pak ISI to Saudi intelligence is a natural progression in the analysis of Sunni terrorism....One short step away from the concept of "CIA-TERRORISTS." 

The capture, interrogation and subsequent death of Saudi national, "Majed Mohammed Abdullah al-Majed," is surrounded in mystery.  Unraveling his entanglement with Saudi intelligence will solve most major controversies concerning the true nature of the "war on terrorism," beginning in the present with the shenanigans of the "Abdullah Azzam Brigades.  Working backward, to discover the terrorist pedigree of this dead Saudi, uncovers his connections with Al-Qaeda In Iraq, Fatah al-Islam, al-Nusrah, al-Qaeda and the anti-Assad terrorists who have frequented Lebanon since the murder of Rafik Hariri in 2005 .  Majed's period in hiding in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon, which is officially off-limits to Lebanese authorities, provides the cohesion in the narrative now being generated.  

The speculation about American military involvement in the Lebanese Army capture of this key Saudi agent, revolves around the fine line that separates the CIA from "military intelligence."  This all comes at a particularly troubling juncture of Saudi-American relations, when the 911 lawsuit against the Saudi royals has just been given the GREEN LIGHT.  In hindsight, Bandar and Abdullah must be questioning the wisdom of their own council in making their grab for the entire "Greater Middle East," at this time in the struggle.  It is not yet apparent to the royals the ultimate price of their treachery, becoming the next target for regime change.  Bandar's idiotic activation of the old "al-Qaeda" network will definitely blow-up in his face, whenever his "holy warriors" realize that they will not be allowed to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine.  The war that they have been duped into volunteering for is not to be against the Zionist oppressors, but against their fellow Muslims, in a Saudi vanity war to settle old scores against the secular Assad dynasty. 

All are left to ponder the question that is now haunting half of all intelligence agents in the Middle East--Is it possible to prosecute the Saudis as the world's primary sponsor of all terrorism without exposing everybody's secrets, most of them implicating THE CIA, the Saudi royal family's official sponsor?]

Peter Chamberlin  therearenosunglasses@hotmail.com

The liquidation of Majed and 9/11

dedefensa.org

Initially, there is the importance and the various mysteries of the “arrest” (quotes required), 24 or 26 December 2013 in Lebanon by the Lebanese army, it seems, Majed al-Majed, important figure of Saudi nationality, terrorist leader of a close al-Qaeda (AAB or Abudullah Azzam Brigade group, linked to the ISIS group or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, linked to al-Qaeda or so to say and so on …), but maybe, even probably, a prominent member of the Saudi SR with important information. And then there is his mysterious death, January 3, 2014 probably while he was hospitalized, according to an “official” version because it would have succumbed to severe illness from which he suffered, according to other versions speculative but based on the extreme importance of the character, when he was interrogated and even tortured, or even more steeply because it was “just” liquidated …

The importance of character, especially one reads the text of Ibrahim al-Amin, editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar English, a Lebanese daily “pro-resistance” of 4 January 2014 . The text was written while Majed was supposed still living under the title “We must prevent Majed be wound” with a notice of “update” last minute “Majed al-Majed died while in custody on January Lebanese 4 “. Some excerpts from the text with the emphasis we (underlined bold) on what is important to us to highlight.

“As security officers Closely Involved In His case attest, Majed is a strong face Among His supporters and followers. The security sources say Majed That’s associates-have the carried out acts That Demonstrate Their conviction and faith in him, to the extent of Being willing to sacrifice for Their Lives Majed. [...]

“Majed, According To experts on extremist groups, is privy to the secrets of a long era spanned at least That 10 years of live action. Took him His journey from Saudi Arabia to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and Afghanistan and Pakistan aussi, falling on All which he Became Acquainted with quite a Few Individuals Have you would go on to join al-Qaeda. Majed aussi Review: had a key role to play in helping jihadists grouped in Decentralized frameworks Following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and the Dismantling of al-Qaeda’s leadership.

“The information supposedly in His possession covers a wide number of operatives, operational details, the form of sleeper cells and targets, and Introduced amendments to the modus operandi of jihadi groups partner after the US-led invasion of Iraq and Then the Syrian crisis. Majed Also has intricate knowledge of how the group’s leaders and members are Financed, Where the funds are Spent, and aussi Many of the group’s political, security, military, and Economic contacts That Helped it operate in several countries, Including in Lebanon … [...]

“More importantly, Majed, DESPITE His illness, Remained in touch with the cells tasked with attacking Hezbollah and the Lebanese army across Lebanon. Possibly the man knows everything about the database of targets His group intends to attack, aim above all, he holds the Most Important secrets about ties to Arab and Western Governments and agencies, Especially Saudi’s shadow men in the Levant and Iraq.

“Yet as much as Majed Was a high-value target That Many agencies in the area and the world Were tracking down, and as much as His arrest Was a major achievement – Regardless of how and why it succeeded – his case is shrouded in mystery , prompting one to infer His capture That Was a difficulty matter for Those Who Decided to do it, and now That He Has Become a burden.

• The circumstances of the arrest, various mysteries and unknowns appear clearly according to sources. DEBKAfiles, announcing the news on January 1, 2014 , is fairly eloquent speculative and contrary to his habits, sticking to operational information type plunging into the multitude disorder terrorist organizations, Islamists, etc.., Syria. Al-Akhbar, again, gives the 3 January 2014 , from the pen of one of its journalists, Razdwan Mortada various indications substantivant the mysterious and complex nature of this arrest. At this time point, so one day before the item indicated above its editor-in-chief, Mortada stands by the version of the disease but involves interesting sources as a basis for operation, making its “Arrest” nothing less than an emergency medical intervention to try to save Majed Again, a little stressed in bold …

“Nothing about this operation WAS ordinary, as Majed himself WAS no ordinary man. He is one of the emir of the international jihad’s Most prominent and mysterious organisms. Ten days ago, U.S. military intelligence feels an urgent cable to the Strategic Security at the Lebanese Defense Ministry, Majed was in. That revealing a mountainous area near the Lebanese border town of Ersal Branch year. Later, He Was Moved to a house inside the town due to His critical health conditions. Two days later, indicating indication Reviews another cable arrived there WAS talk of Majed Transporting to a Beirut hospital to Undergo an urgent dialysis. On December 24, an ambulance Took Majed from Ersal to Makassed Hospital in Beirut, and Another cable confirmed the transfer.

• Then there is the Saudi intervention and pressures and Iranian issues. On this last point that is justified by the claim that Majed conducted the attack against the Iranian embassy in Beirut, the demand for an Iranian parliamentary joint autopsy Majed (PressTV.ir, supported by the agency Trends.News the 5 January 2014 ) following the Iranian interventions to meet Mejed prisoner, together with the Saudis who had initiated this procedure, and the refusal of the Saudis Iranian presence. Finally, the Saudis have agreed to an autopsy, but because the only Saudi, that being justified by nationality (Saudi) of death. (According to Now, the Lebanese daily on 5 January 2014 .)

• Meanwhile, Iranian sources said that Saudi had offered $ 3 billion to the Lebanese government for the extradition of Mejed. (A long text FARS agency on January 4, 2014 , Majed links to Saudi intelligence Prince Bandar, recalling the various adventures and intrigues of Bandar, particularly vis-à-vis the Russians and on Olympic security Sochi.) A dispatch from the FARS reported January 4 2014 intervention of an Iranian member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on this aspect of the case Mejed, adding that Iran is entitled to file a complaint with the UN against Saudi, because of the bomb attack against the Iranian embassy in Beirut on 25 November.

“Earlier today, senior parliamentary Officials in Tehran Saudi Arabia Disclosed That HAS to pay $ 3bln offert to the Lebanese government in return for the extradition of Al-Majed, the Suspected head of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades Ziad al-Jarrah â Battalion, that ‘Claimed responsibility for the November attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut All which killed 25 people. “The Saudi government HAS Considered $ 3bln for the extradition of the individual behind the Iranian embassy blast in Lebanon, indicating indication That the remarks he might make are vitally significant for the Saudi government,” Vice-Chairman of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mansour Haqiqatpour Told FNA on Saturday. “Saudi Arabia HAS Demanded Lebanon to extradite Majed in return for $ 3bln,” he reiterated. Underlined Haqiqatpour aussi That Tehran is Entitled to file a lawsuit at the UN against Saudi Arabia Because the mid November attack WAS Conducted on the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

• Finally, on 5 January 2014 , Lebanese TV al-Jahud relayed by the Iranian agency FAS, and in this case, the ThereAreNoSunGlasses.wordpress.com website says a Saudi diplomat visited Majed shortly before death of the prisoner. This tour is presented in the umbrella title text as “the kiss of death” to Saudi Majed (“Did Saudi diplomat Majed give the kiss of death?”): “The Lebanese al-Jadid TV channel reported about That A Saudi embassy attaché in Beirut puts Majed at the hospital Where He Was Kept dialysis for 24 hours before His death.

• We see that there is enough evidence to immediately arrest and interpret this death very fast, of course oh so suspicious next claims that Majed had been “arrested” for emergency rather be treated as more dramatic element in a case that mixes many entanglements, some important, concerning the situation of various terrorism, Saudi, and in particular, in the background, links to Saudi Arabia with the U.S. … For it is this latter aspect that chooses MK Bhadrakumar to write a very short note, the January 5, 2014 , on his blog (Indian PunchLine) under the title ambiguous enough considering the content of his text “Majed won ‘t talk but Obama shoulds worry.

Bhadrakumar is generally well informed on these complex cases in the Middle East, involving Iran and Arabia, and the multiple ramifications of terrorism largely funded by Saudi. In addition, as a former respected diplomat, he has no sensationalism or so-called “complotistes” theses … The reference he mentions about the new situation in Washington where the U.S. Justice allowed the examination of the possible involvement of Saudi in the attack of 11 September 2001 (see December 26, 2013 ) in various trials being from families of victims of the attack, is the main point of interest to us in terms of what would be “double-hatting” of Majed (AAB terrorist leader but also a member of the Saudi intelligence informed ” Most Important secrets about ties to Arab and Western Governments and agencies “). Here is the excerpt from Bhadrakumar we actually interested text also focuses on the potential impact the fate of Majed Lebanon, with the risk of a new civil war …

“The Saudi intelligence Feared That Would Have Majed e-Majed might spill the beans about the AAB’s links with Al-Qaeda. The Point is, AAB is backed by the Saudi intelligence, altho it is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. The Saudi doublespeak is typical – Majed Al-Majed is in Riyadh’s list of wanted terrorists aim AAB enjoys covert support. In short, he HAD beens left alive, There Was the dangerous possibility That The U.S. Would Have Been Compelled to examine Saudi Arabia’s links with the al-Qaeda. Recently the U.S. Appeal Court ordered That the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks shoulds bear scrutiny.

“All this once again highlights the U.S. That’s ties with Saudi Arabia need a Careful think by the Barack Obama administration. The thesis That if the U.S. antagonized saudi Arabia, the lathing might look for new alliances is an ingenuous argument. The core issue is Whether it is in the U.S. ‘and the Western world’s (the Middle East’s gold) Interests if Saudi Arabia is allowed to get away with icts links with Al-Qaeda groups. Syria Becomes the test case. The Continued U.S. ambivalence on this score only the suspicion That Strengthens Washington too might-have HAD uses of Al-Qaeda groups as instruments of regional policies icts: such as Afghanistan or Iraq.

It is unclear what exactly Bhadrakumar means when he writes in his song “Obama should be worried.” Are the implications of the USA-type al-Qaeda terrorism financed mainly by Saudi, where the US-Saudi antagonism become extreme, with revelations that may arise on these implications, voluntarily or not disseminated by Saudi who would have replaced complicity with the U.S. by the confrontation? No doubt, but does it then go to the heart about watching these implications with terrorism, combining U.S. and Saudi, can go up to 9/11 when the U.S. Justice has authorized the ongoing trial to investigate the possibility of Saudi involvement in the attack – at a time, in 2001, where the triangular connections US-Saudi terrorist-type al-Qaeda gave full? These issues today all have their meaning in the light of Majed case-terrorist intelligence officer supposed to know a lot about the relationship between Saudi and Western SR (U.S., of course) compared to terrorism such al-Qaeda, and that while sources indicate that it was the U.S. military-intelligence (DIA?) that would have “fixed” Majed to designate the Lebanese army. (The latter also also ambiguous with given accuracy, connecting military [U.S.] Military [Lebanese] may very well be independent of other intelligence forces involved [U.S., Lebanon, Saudi Arabia] or purposes antagonism with them, for example “save” Majed who knows-as-of-things.)

It is impossible to extract all this a solid conclusion on the case as a complex framework of type-a-Qaeda terrorism and Saudi operations, otherwise to engage in a variety of speculations and for us free, since by substantivées nothing. For cons, the direct reference to a commentator of the caliber of the new MK Bhadrakumar examine the involvement of Arabia in 9/11 in light of the deterioration of US-Saudi ties possibility, under Majed the case has a significant implicit meaning. In general, we understand that the present tension between Saudi and the U.S., if it becomes stronger and structural, carries many different effects in current affairs, fighting, conflicts of interest, etc.., But also it now covers a key point that is extremely strong possibility, through an incident or another, a revelation either of which would seize the U.S. justice to revisit the “official version” of the attack of September 11, 2001 – now “officially” in doubt (the intervention of two U.S. parliamentarians in this sense, in the House, as reported in our text December 26, 2013 ). We must therefore confirm that this is indeed a new chapter as a result of the 9/11 attack which is open, where, indeed, the “complotisme” is no longer an argument of controversy and communication Lounge in one direction, as it was previously used by a well-oiled press system, but a concrete hypothesis and unpredictable in its effects, both operational and linked to interest (U.S. and Saudi Arabia) now antagonists, both in the strict legal proceedings of the U.S. justice.

US/Saudis Attempt To Build A Kinder, Gentler “Al-Qaeda” To Battle Against Big “Bad Al-Qaeda”

[The new kid on the Syrian bloc, "Army of the Mujahideen," is another offshoot of Abu Musab Zarqawi's "Al-Qaeda In Iraq," as was the second incarnation of the "Abdallah Azzam Brigades."  Army of Mujahideen is another Sunni Iraqi terrorist outfit.  This one fought a blood-feud with Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda in Iraq, before he was removed from power and eventually killed.  The Iraqi Muj group was associated with the Ikhwan, Muslim Brotherhood.  The feud fought was over Zarqawi's brutal murders of Sunni officials and policemen, breaking-out into the open over the murder of Anbar tribal leader Sheikh Naser Abdul Karim al-Miklif in Feb. 2006.  The fact that they have relocated to Syria to continue that feud is unimpressive.  All of this is just the latest slant on Bandar's war against Bashar, which is now moving into Lebanon.]

New Syria rebel alliance declares war on al-Qaeda’s ISIL

ya libnan

Fighters of  al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant parade at Syrian town of Tel Abyad  

Photo: Fighters of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Tel Abyad. Syrian rebels’ uneasy co-existence with the hardline IsiL has turned to outright hostility. Photograph: Reuters  

A newly formed Syrian Islamist rebel alliance has declared war on the powerful al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and joined other opposition groups in battling the extremists. For its part, Syria’s main opposition National Coalition says it backs the rebel fight against al-Qaeda.

“We, the Army of the Mujahideen, pledge to defend ourselves and our honor, wealth and lands, and to fight ISIL, which has violated the rule of God, until it announces its dissolution,” said the new alliance of eight groups, in a statement published on Facebook Friday.

As the statement was issued, it fought in fierce clashes with the ISIL in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces of northern Syria.

The Islamic Front, the largest rebel alliance, which is made up of several powerful Islamist groups, and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, another major rebel bloc, also battled ISIL on Friday, Agence France-Presse reported.

On Saturday, rebels battling jihadists in northern Syria killed or captured scores of the militants loyal to an al-Qaeda affiliate in two days of fighting, a watchdog said.

“At least 36 members and supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been killed since Friday in Idlib and more than 100 have been captured by rebels” in Idlib and Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“The Syrian Opposition Coalition fully supports ongoing efforts by Free Syrian Army elements to liberate towns and neighborhoods from the authoritarian oppression” of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group’s presidency said in a statement.

“The Coalition stands in full solidarity with all Syrians rising up against al-Qaeda’s extremism and calls upon the international community to recognize the importance of supporting revolutionary forces as partners in the fight against al-Qaeda’s extremism and Assad’s sponsorship and encouragement of extremist forces,” it added.

For its part, the Army of Mujahideen, a newly formed group made up of eight brigades, demanded that ISIL fighters join the ranks of other rebel groups “or hand over their weapons and leave Syria,” earlier on Saturday.

The alliance reproached ISIL for “spreading strife and insecurity… in liberated [rebel] areas, spilling the blood of fighters and wrongly accusing them of heresy, and expelling them and their families from areas they have paid heavily to free” from Assad’s forces.

A Arabiya

 

ISIL Takes Credit for Reprogramming “Good Muslim” Boy Into Suicide-Bomber

Koutaiba Alsatm Mohammed

Koutaiba Alsatm Mohammed Abducted in Bekaa Valley. 

[Family statement originally blamed Hezbollah for the abduction, claiming that he disappeared while clearing a Hezbollah check post.  Circumstances were such that first conclusions were wrong, indicating use of "false flag" tactic by Lebanon's Sunni terrorists.]

[SEE:  Leb. Suicide Bomber Identified As Man Kidnapped 5 Days Ago]

Al-Qaeda’s ISIL claims responsibility for Beirut Bombing

ya libnan

haret hreik explosion 2

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Saturday claimed credit for a deadly bombing in the Beirut stronghold of the “criminal” Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

ISIL said in a statement posted online that it had penetrated the “security system of the Party of Satan (Hezbollah)… and crush its strongholds… in a first small payment from the heavy account that is awaiting those wicked criminals”.

Thursday’s suicide car bomb in the Haret Hreik district of Hezbollah stronghold of Al Dhahieh , a souther suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut killed four people and wounded 77.

It was the latest strike against the powerful party, whose fighters are aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that pits him largely against Sunni Muslims, including ISIL.

The army said Saturday that a young man from northern Lebanon was the bomber who blew himself up.

“The DNA test results on the remains of a suicide attacker found in the car used in the bomb attack… confirm they belong to the youth Qutaiba al-Satem,” said the army.

“Investigations are ongoing by the relevant judicial authorities to uncover the full details of the event,” it added.

An official from Satem’s native Sunni-majority area of Wadi Khaled told AFP on Friday suspicions over the 20-year-old’s role were based on a ID found at the scene of the blast.

The tribes of Wadi Khaled disputed the charges and said Satem “does not belong to any political or religious party, is an engineering student, who loved music and intended to travel to France in order to continue his studies.”

They claimed he was kidnapped by Hezbollah on December 30 at a checkpoint.

They also claimed that he does not have a driver’s license, does not know how to drive and is not familiar with Dhahieh area .

They also questioned the accusation against their son. If our son was a real terrorist would he carry with him his real ID ?

They called on the security services to conduct a “fair and transparent” investigation.

Meanwhile in Syria A newly formed Syrian Islamist rebel alliance has declared war on the powerful al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and joined other opposition groups in battling the extremists. For its part, Syria’s main opposition National Coalition says it backs the rebel fight against al-Qaeda.

“We, the Army of the Mujahideen, pledge to defend ourselves and our honor, wealth and lands, and to fight ISIL, which has violated the rule of God, until it announces its dissolution,” said the new alliance of eight groups, in a statement published on Facebook Friday.

Ahram/ Agencies

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

express tribune

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

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.

US Caught With Its Undersea Pants Around Its Knees

[Ongoing events requires the re-re-running of the following article from 2008 (SEE:  Cutting Cables, Lighting Fuses–Rerun).  Der Spiegel is running a series of articles on the NSA/Snowden leaks, the latest of which reveals the Am/Brit tapping of undersea phone and computer lines.  One submarine cable mentioned in the report below is TAT-14, which runs from Germany northward through Denmark and west through the UK.  Both ends of the cable end-up in New Jersey (Burgundy colored line on map below).  The full interactive submarine cable map is HERE.]

TAT 14

TAT 14A

Friendly Fire: How GCHQ Monitors Germany, Israel and the EU

der spiegel

By Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark

Satellite dishes at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where the trans-Atlantic...
REUTERS

Satellite dishes at GCHQ’s outpost at Bude, close to where the trans-Atlantic fiber-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall. From Bude and other GCHQ sites, the agency appears to be systematically monitoring country-to-country telephone calls made through satellite connections.

The American spy stayed in northern Cornwall for three weeks. He was delighted with the picturesque setting, with its dramatic cliffs and views of the Atlantic.

In a classified report, the NSA employee also raved about the British signals intelligence agency GCHQ‘s field of antennas, located high above the Atlantic coast, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of London. Her Majesty’s agents have been working at the site, where 29 satellite antennas are aimed skyward, for decades. The Cornwall intelligence base, once part of the Echelon global signals intelligence network, was previously known as “Morwenstow.” Today the site is known as “GCHQ Bude.”

In addition to its geographical conditions, which are ideal for monitoring important communications satellites, Bude has another site-specific advantage: Important undersea cables land at nearby Widemouth Bay. One of the cables, called TAT-14, begins at German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom’s undersea cable terminal in the East Frisia region of northern Germany.

There were suspicions as early as this summer that the British intelligence service in Bude was eavesdropping on German targets. Now documents from the archive of US whistleblower Edward Snowden contain the first concrete evidence to support this suspicion: German telephone numbers. SPIEGEL, Britain’s Guardian and the New York Times, as part of a joint effort, were able to view and evaluate the material.

List Includes Embassies, Leaders

According to the documents, the GCHQ Bude station listed phone numbers from the German government network in Berlin in its target base as well as those of German embassies, including the one in Rwanda. That, at least, was the case in 2009, the year the document in question was created. Other documents indicate that the British, at least intermittently, kept tabs on entire country-to-country satellite communication links, like “Germany-Georgia” and “Germany-Turkey,” for example, of certain providers.

The name of the European Union’s competition commissioner and current European Commission vice president, Joaquin Almunia, also appears in lists as well as email addresses that are listed as belonging to the “Israeli prime minister” and the defense minister of that country.

The details from the British intelligence agency’s databases could have political consequences. The British will now face an uncomfortable debate over their activities, which are apparently also directed against partner countries in the EU and the political leaders of those nations. SPIEGEL already reported in September on a GCHQ attack on partly government-owned Belgian telecommunications provider Belgacom.

Possible Headache for Cameron

At a dinner during the Brussels EU summit in late October, two days after SPIEGEL’s revelation that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been tapped, French President François Hollande began a debate during the meal over surveillance practices in Europe and called for the establishment of a code of conduct for intelligence agencies.

British Prime Minister David Cameron remained oddly silent during the discussion, in solidarity with his American friends – but also, presumably, because the GCHQ intelligence service doesn’t behave very differently from its big brother, the National Security Agency, and because of their agency’s close cooperation with the NSA in the realm of satellite surveillance. If it is confirmed that the British targeted the phones of German government officials and EU Commissioner Almunia, Cameron will have a problem.

The documents do not indicate the intensity and length of any collection of targets. The German numbers are only a small part of a bundle of documents filled with international telephone numbers and corresponding annotations. The documents viewed by SPIEGEL, the Guardian and the New York Times appear to represent only a small cross-section, and they include hundreds of telephone numbers from more than 60 different country codes. The bundle of documents provides the first glimpse of the scope of Britain’s surveillance ambitions.

EU Figures, Companies Targeted

The documents also show that the surveillance net cast by GCHQ and its political overseers is remarkably comprehensive. From Bude and other GCHQ sites, the agency appears to be systematically monitoring international country-to-country telephone calls made through satellite connections, as well as email communications (known as “C2C,” or computer-to-computer). This is evidenced by, for example, long lists relating to connections between places like Belgium and various African countries.

The entry “EU COMM JOAQUIN ALMUNIA” appears in an “informal” analysis of the communication paths between Belgium and Africa prepared in January 2009. At the time, the peak of the euro crisis, Almunia was still the EU economics and finance commissioner and he already had his own entry and personal identification code in the British target database, with the codename “Broadoak.”

It’s unlikely that the surveillance interest in him — at least when it comes to industrial espionage — has diminished since then. Almunia, now the EU’s competition minister, is currently ruling on, among other issues, whether US Internet giant Google is abusing its market power, thereby harming European companies. Almunia recently imposed fines on US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, as well as financial companies like Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Non-Governmental Organizations Included

The EU commissioner’s name also appears in a second document from 2008, which describes a communication path between France and Africa. According to the document, Almunia, or a number assigned to him in the British target database, called a number in Ivory Coast on Oct. 30 or 31, 2008. SPIEGEL was unable to obtain a response from Commissioner Almunia on the incident by the time it went to press.

In addition to many political and “diplomatic targets,” the lists contain African leaders, their family members, ambassadors and businesspeople. They also include representatives of international organizations, such as those of United Nations agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). A noticeably large number of diplomatic missions to the United Nations in Geneva are also listed.

Even non-governmental organizations like Doctors of the World (Médicins du Monde) appear on the British intelligence agency lists, along with a representative of the Swiss IdeasCentre and others. Individual companies can also be found on the list, especially in the fields of telecommunications and banking. The partly government-owned French defense contractor Thales, along with Paris-based energy giant Total, is also mentioned.

Another Alleged “Rocket Attack” Provocation From Lebanon, According To Zionist Sources

[The following photo is from the last "rocket attack" into Israel from Lebanon, using "wooden rocket launchers."  The "launcher" turned-out to be a single 2" x 12" board.  The "rocket" found had no warhead, meaning that it could not explode by launching it.  No authority has yet confirmed that rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon, except for the lying Zionist press.  This was clearly intended to open the door to Israeli aggression against Southern Lebanon, meaning that this alleged attack, if there really was an attack,was by Sunni terrorists, looking to blame Hezbollah.]

http://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/ee.jpg?w=869

Israel Fires Shells at Southern Lebanon in Response to Morning Rocket Attack

naharnet

W460

Two missiles fired from southern Lebanon exploded Sunday in northern Israel, prompting the Israeli military to hit back with three artillery shells, an army spokesman said.

“The Israeli artillery responded to rocket attacks from Lebanon against Israel that left no victims, targeting the area where these projectiles were fired from,” an army spokesman told AFP.

The Katyusha-style rockets landed in a field west of the town of Kiryat Shmona, without causing any casualties or damage, Israeli military radio reported.

The National News Agency said that the Israeli army retaliated by firing over 20 shells at the region located between Rashaya, Rashaya al-Fakhar, al-Mariyeh, Ibl al-Saqi, al-Wazzani, Kfarshouba Hills, Wata al-Khiyam, and Sarda.

Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said that the Israeli army fired over 100 shells.

The Lebanese army has been conducting a sweep of the region where the rockets were fired from towards Israel and where the Israeli shells landed, reported LBCI television.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon also contacted the Lebanese and Israeli sides, urging them to exercise restraint and to cooperate with the respective armies to determine the details of Sunday’s incident, it added.

“This is a very serious incident… and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area,” UNIFIL chief Paolo Serra said in a statement.

“UNIFIL’s first imperative is to ensure that there is no further escalation of the situation.”

Lebanese army and UNIFIL forces were carrying out patrols in the area after the exchange of fire, an AFP correspondent said.

The Army Command later announced that the army discovered four wooden rocket launchers used in the attack in the Wadi al-Khraybeh region in the Hasbaya district.

Tension has spiked on the border between the two countries since Lebanese troops gunned down an Israeli soldier driving near the frontier on December 16.

Israel’s border with Lebanon has been largely quiet since the 2006 war with Hizbullah.

The last time a soldier was killed there was in August 2010, when two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist also died.

In August, four Israeli soldiers were wounded by an explosion some 400 meters (yards) inside Lebanese territory, in a blast claimed by Hizbullah.

Last week, Hizbullah said one of its top leaders was killed near Beirut and blamed Israel for his murder — a charge denied by Israel, which warned against any retaliation.

UNIFIL troops were deployed along the border following the 34-day war in 2006 which killed some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Who Speaks For the So-Called “Religion of Peace”?

[Normally, I try to respect the beliefs of others, never pointing a finger at any one religion as superior or inferior to the rest.  I especially have accorded a decent respect for Muslim beliefs, believing that modern political Islam as an ideology of violence is a creation of Western intelligence agencies, who have effectively weaponized streams of the religion, to use them against the Muslim people.  The majority of the victims of  Islamist violence are Muslims. 

"Political Islam," "militant Islam," "radical Islam," or "fundamentalist Islam" are all labels given to the phenomenon which British and American intelligence agencies have created, to be used as an instrument of destabilization within the Muslim "Ummah," for the purpose of harvesting the black gold from underneath them, primarily within the Arab tribal region.  This politicized stream of bloody violence in the name of the Muslim religion has worked remarkably well, pitting Muslim against Muslim, maneuvering the world to the precipice of a Muslim world war between a Sunni bloc and a Shia bloc, which apparently lies gaping before us.

Western intelligence agencies have midwifed the birth of Khomeini's militant Shia faith, as well as the radicalized Deobandi and Wahhabi Sunni doctrines which drive the Sunni "jihadi" terrorists who are responsible for 70% of all world terrorism (with "Shia terror" failing to make it to the top ten terrorist list).  Both versions of radical Islam have their own versions of "infidels," or "kfirs," the "unbelievers" or "apostates" of the world, who are under some kind of divine death sentence.  According to radical Islam, believers have a duty to kill unbelievers.  So-called "moderate Muslims" refuse to believe in such nonsense, as adherents of "peaceful Islam" (the Islam we hear so much about, but never really hear from), they don't want to kill anybody.  Apparently, they have a great aversion to being killed, as well, since they have not dared to respond since the 911 attacks with their own chorus of voices, urging fellow moderate Muslims to speak-out against Jihadi Islam.  If "True Islam" is, in fact, a "religion of peace," then true believers should denounce the so-called "Salafists" for the sin against God, that they represent.

It is time to take a stand against the real "unbelievers," those who commit murders and call it "holy war."  That is the primary message in the following fine editorial message against false religions.  The focus may be upon fundamentalist Islam, but it pertains to all fundamentalist radicalism in all of its violent manifestations.]

So-called religion of peace rife with violent extremism

times-standard

Tim Martin/Here’s a Thought

The monotheistic religions of the world — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — have a long history of walking the halls in bold strides, and we clear a path before them. These religions have common roots in fear, oppression, persecution, genocide, and male supremacy. They also have a history of killing unbelievers, heretics, and infidels. This is done for the glory of Yahweh, the honor of God, and the love of Allah.A number of their followers are thinking in a gear so low it’s difficult to believe they’re awake.

Judaism and Christianity are illogical, but Islam is the gold standard for religious insanity. Its teachings are barbaric, its founder revolting, and its practice (in many Islamic countries) is violent. Islam is based on the Quran, an authoritative text that has remained unchanged for 1,400 years. The Quran contains numerous commands that Muslims kill nonbelievers, treat women as inferior beings, and stifle free speech to anyone critical of their religion.

Here are a few passages: (Quran 8:12) “I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle.” (Quran 8:39) “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.” (Quran 8:7) “Allah wished to confirm the truth by His words, ‘Wipe the infidels out to the last.’”

There are “moderate Muslims” throughout the world who defy such inflammatory sections of the Quran, but others want sharia law. Under sharia, women are afforded only half the value of men in both testimony and actual value. Non-Muslims are afforded 1/12th the value of a Muslim. Sharia also allows the enslavement of non-Muslims, along with such punishments as amputations and public flogging.

Evidently, many Muslims do not pick up on the giant tectonic plate of irony that underlies their “peace-loving” religion.

The link between Muslims and hatred for America is obvious. According to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Sunni Muslim terrorists committed “about 70 percent” of the 12,533 terrorist murders in the world last year, many of them on other Muslims. Another interesting tidbit from the survey: In South Asia (defined as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh), 76 percent of people are in favor of executing those who leave Islam.

Despite this, a Pew Research poll reports that only four in 10 Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Islam. An equally small number link the religion with acts of violence. Why do we defend a fanatical faith that is misogynistic and intolerant? Why do we cut Islam so much slack? We have been lied to. Americans are continuously fed a watered-down, peaceful version of the religion.

The truth is that fanatical Islamists — whether they belong to al-Qaida, the Taliban, Egypt’s Army, or any other Muslim group with aggressive political aspirations — demand a stricter version of Islam imposed worldwide; one in which drinking, homosexuality, and blasphemy are punishable crimes. A Dutch filmmaker was assassinated, and Danish cartoonists and the creators of South Park have been threatened with murder by Islamic extremists for their portrayals of the prophet Muhammad.

How soothed am I by Muslim apologists who hope to convince us that we have nothing to be concerned about? I’m very concerned. Sharia law and those who want it should be feared. A recent World Public Opinion poll states that 61 percent of Egyptians and 32 percent of Indonesians approve of attacks on Americans, and that 83 percent of Palestinians and 62 percent of Jordanians approve of some or most groups that attack Americans.

The Quran (like the Bible and the Talmud) is an unconvincing book in terms of proving that a kind and loving god exists. Muhammad declared women as deficient in mind and soul. He had people killed for trivial reasons and married a 10-year-old child (Aisha). His defenders insist that either you worship Muhammad or they will kill you.

Sorry, that’s not a god I choose to respect and honor.

Luckily, many Muslims have a sense of morality that is vastly superior to that of their prophet. For this we should be thankful. But Islam is a totalitarian system. It requires only a small committed core and an intimidated mainstream to grow. Why is it acceptable to protest against Christianity or Judaism, but not Islam? Why do we live in fear of Muslim reprisal if we speak out against Muhammad, the Quran, or Sharia?

We already have a backwards and repressive religion influencing law and politics in the United States. We certainly don’t need another.

Tim Martin resides in Fortuna and writes this column for the Times-Standard. He can be contacted at tmartin@northcoast.com.

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]

Assessing the Saudi-Controlled Terrorist Threat to the Sochi Olympics

Assessing the Terrorist Threat to the Sochi Olympics

geopoliticalmonitor_1

Geopoliticalmonitor.com 

cc Alexander v solomin

On July 3rd 2013, in a video published on YouTube that was almost immediately taken down, Doku Umarov, the self-proclaimed emir of a Caucasus Emirate in the southwest of the Russian Federation, lifted the moratorium on military operations targeting civilians that he unilaterally declared several months ago. He also called on his troops to do everything possible to oppose and to prevent the proper execution of the Sochi Winter Games in February 2014. The Caucasian leader could not forego this ideal occasion to remind the world of the enduring struggle led first by the Chechens in their fight for independence (1994-2005) and then taken up by a very loose network of Islamist armed groups that thrived in the neighboring republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. What does this Caucasus Emirate represent today? And what can its fighters do?

Russian federal security forces regularly launch operations to eliminate local or regional emirs throughout region. In Dagestan for instance, the “republic” leader hardly ever survives for more than one year at a time. In Kabardino-Balkaria as well, the insurgency has been successively decapitated in 2010, in 2011 and in 2012, losing not only its leader but all of its deputies as well. In Chechnya, in January 2013, the Gakaev brothers, famous and well-respected warlords among the Chechen guerillas, were killed after six days of fighting. It is said that, almost out of ammunition, they asked their comrades to shoot them. The two brothers were the last of the reputed second-generation combatants who inherited the historical independence struggle, and who in 2013 were still in control of the most important insurgent groups in Chechnya. As for the Ingush, after losing Commandant Magas, their hero, in 2010, who has been imprisoned in Moscow, his successor, Emir Adam was killed in May 2013. The North-Caucasian guerillas, usually loosely structured, are now outright destabilized. To cope with these recurrent strategic losses, the armed groups have retreated to reorganize and recoup their tactical capacity.

Thus, insurgent actions in the region have become rarer and rarer. Neither Doku Umarov nor any of his regional emirs have engaged in any coordinated and significant operations for at least two years. The guerilla groups have entered into a defensive survival strategy, more reactive and resource-light. In Kabardino-Balkaria, the leadership vacuum has advanced quite a bit, resulting in autonomous groups of just a few fighters, around five usually though sometimes one or two, who get together and act by themselves, without any orders from above. Elsewhere, in Dagestan for instance, the relevant level seems to be the city or the village, where locally-active insurgents operate. Only at this very small scale do engagement and decision-making exist. North-Caucasian armed mobilizations are working on a bottom-up model. This explains the absence of overall coherence between the different victims targeted by the Emirate and the much more diversified militant groups dispersed throughout the region.

The Caucasus Emirate, clearly losing strength against Russia, is benefitting from the growing role played by Syria insofar that some Caucasian nationals have successfully waged war against Assad’s loyalist forces. One of them is Abu-Umar ash-Shishani, a Chechen from Georgia (ethnic Kist living in the Pankissi Valley), who has attained a high position in the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, one of the most powerful organizations within the Syrian opposition. His authority and prestige stem mainly from his operational capabilities, as well as his men’s fighting skills. The “advertisement” effect for the Caucasus Emirate works perfectly here. Beyond Sochi, the Caucasian Islamist struggle has been forgotten by the world. The Syrian struggle has afforded it a chance to recover some visibility. Gradually then, thanks to a few Caucasian relays in Syria, Doku Umarov’s Caucasus Emirate has been noticed by international Salafist-Jihadist movements, and it is now recognized as one of the global Jihad fronts alongside Yemen, Afghanistan or Somalia.

The North-Caucasian insurgency resembles a myriad of anarchic armed groups rather than a proactive and structured movement. It undeniably maintains a capacity to cause harm, but it does not seem to be able to translate that nuisance into an operational and strategic breakthrough. For example, an isolated suicide attack, as the one on October 21st in Volgograd, where a young woman entered a city bus and triggered a bomb, may still theoretically be possible. But considering the heavy security presence that the Russian forces have implemented around Sochi, a successful attack would require an effective and powerful organization behind it. That’s why it is rather unlikely that a suicide bomber, sent by the Emirate, will manage to attack the Games.

 

Dr. Laurent Vinatier is a research assistant at the Thomas Moore Institute and a contributor to the Geopoliticalmonitor.com

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.”

Obama’s Dilemma, Uniting Islamic Front With FSA, Without Alienating Al-Qaeda

Syria: Islamic Front denies meeting US ambassador

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT
Spokesman says group will not fight Al-Qaeda-linked militants
Ambassador Robert Ford appears before a full committee hearing on his nomination to be ambassador to Syria at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington

Ambassador Robert Ford appears before a full committee hearing on his nomination to be ambassador to Syria at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington (AFP)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Syrian opposition sources have denied that talks have taken place between the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, and leaders of the Islamic Front, one of the largest Islamist opposition factions in Syria.

A source within the Syrian opposition, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, said: “The Islamic Front received an invitation from the US administration through mediators to discuss the possibility of returning to work under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), but it has not responded yet.”

A spokesman for the Ahrar Al-Sham group within the Islamic Front, Abu Majd Al-Shami, told Asharq Al-Awsat that no meeting had taken place with Ford and dismissed the possibility of a meeting taking place soon.

He did not, however, rule out meeting with American officials in the future, and said: “Everything depends on the interests of our people in the future, and decisions would be made according to developments.”

Meanwhile, an official of the Islamic Front’s political bureau, Abdallah Al-Hamawi, denied the reports and said they were “lies, and their objectives were clear, and we will not allow them to cause sedition”.

He added on his Twitter account that the Islamic Front “will not fight the Al-Qaeda organization because it [Islamic Front] was founded to form a link for jihadists”, and that it would not fight a proxy war or cause division between the jihadists.

Opposition sources said the Islamic Front was faced with two difficult options—if it accepted dialogue with the Americans it would put itself in confrontation with the extremist forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Al-Nusra Front, which would accuse it of being an agent of the West, while if it rejected dialogue, it would become distant from the international community.

The sources suggested “the timing of the US invitation extended to the Islamic Front after it took control of FSA positions aims at pressuring the Islamic Front to return to work with the FSA.” The US had expressed concerns about the control by the Islamic Front of former FSA positions at the Bab Al-Hawa border point with Turkey, and had suspended its aid to the FSA as a consequence.

Meanwhile, representative of the Syrian National Coalition in the United States, Najib Al-Ghadban, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the US invitation was part of a US and opposition policy aimed at bringing all “moderate” opposition forces under one umbrella to confront government forces and extremist forces such as ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front.

Ghadban said: “Islamic Front leaders [have] previously held meetings with American politicians … The second meeting, if it took place, would lead to decisions which would not include provision of arms.”

He called on the Islamic Front to adhere to the principles of the revolution and avoid extremism, and said he hoped “its factions would join the FSA in a united front against the Syrian regime”.

The Islamic Front was formed by six groups of Islamist opposition fighters in Syria frustrated with the FSA and the Syrian opposition’s political leaders outside Syria. It recently took control of the headquarters and supply depots of the FSA on the Syrian-Turkish border, raising fears in the West that the Syrian opposition was being taken over by religious extremists.

The Govt. of the United State Has A Moral Responsibility To Help Bashar Assad Eliminate the Islamists

Islamists drive out US-backed Syrian rebel general Salim Idris

Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis

[Saudi Arabia has complete immunity to wage its "holy war" of Sunni terrorism all over the world, with the  intention of controlling American and Western govt. foreign policies.  We know that the Saudis are the SOURCE OF ALL SUNNI TERRORISM and that 90% of all global terrorism is Sunni, yet our leaders ignore these obvious truths that confirm Saudi Arabia as the source of the terror which we fight in the American "War on Terror."  We fight against Sunni terrorists worldwide, as we strive to find an avenue to war against the Shia.  

If this knowledge, that the entire American govt. is colluding with a foreign govt. which sponsors "al-Qaeda" terrorists who kill American soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere doesn't merit violent revolution as a solution, then I don't know what does!  Bandar bin Sultan and his cousin Prince Turki have always presided over the royal assets which have sustained have Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Boko Haram, Fatah al-Islam, PKK, TTP, Taliban, IMU, and all the rest, especially in their capacity as Saudi spy chiefs.  Bandar has merely come out of the closet smiling broadly due to Obama's attempts to remove the stigma from Al-Qaeda, by legitimizing Ayman al-Zawahiri's latest incarnation in Syria and after using Al-Qaeda militant leaders openly in the Western aggression against Libya.

Whenever enough Americans are made to realize the cold, inexplicable fact that we are using the Saudis, Pakistanis and others to create the very same terrorist armies that are killing American soldiers everyday, then the current government will be violently overthrown by an armed populace grown weary of a tyrannical govt. that uses our tax dollars to fund the terrorist threat to America.] 

Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis

the independent

World View: Everyone knows where al-Qa’ida gets its money, but while the violence is sectarian, the West does nothing

Public grief: Mass funerals after a car bomb in a Shia area of Karachi in March

 

Patrick Cockburn

Donors in Saudi Arabia have notoriously played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining Sunni jihadist groups over the past 30 years. But, for all the supposed determination of the United States and its allies since 9/11 to fight “the war on terror”, they have showed astonishing restraint when it comes to pressuring Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies to turn off the financial tap that keeps the jihadists in business.

Compare two US pronouncements stressing the significance of these donations and basing their conclusions on the best intelligence available to the US government. The first is in the 9/11 Commission Report which found that Osama bin Laden did not fund al-Qa’ida because from 1994 he had little money of his own but relied on his ties to wealthy Saudi individuals established during the Afghan war in the 1980s. Quoting, among other sources, a CIA analytic report dated 14 November 2002, the commission concluded that “al-Qa’ida appears to have relied on a core group of financial facilitators who raised money from a variety of donors and other fund-raisers primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia”.

Seven years pass after the CIA report was written during which the US invades Iraq fighting, among others, the newly established Iraq franchise of al-Qa’ida, and becomes engaged in a bloody war in Afghanistan with the resurgent Taliban. American drones are fired at supposed al-Qa’ida-linked targets located everywhere from Waziristan in north-west Pakistan to the hill villages of Yemen. But during this time Washington can manage no more than a few gentle reproofs to Saudi Arabia on its promotion of fanatical and sectarian Sunni militancy outside its own borders.

Evidence for this is a fascinating telegram on “terrorist finance” from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to US embassies, dated 30 December 2009 and released by WikiLeaks the following year. She says firmly that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. Eight years after 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, Mrs Clinton reiterates in the same message that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups”. Saudi Arabia was most important in sustaining these groups, but it was not quite alone since “al-Qa’ida and other groups continue to exploit Kuwait both as a source of funds and as a key transit point”.

Why did the US and its European allies treat Saudi Arabia with such restraint when the kingdom was so central to al-Qa’ida and other even more sectarian Sunni jihadist organisations? An obvious explanation is that the US, Britain and others did not want to offend a close ally and that the Saudi royal family had judiciously used its money to buy its way into the international ruling class. Unconvincing attempts were made to link Iran and Iraq to al-Qa’ida when the real culprits were in plain sight.

But there is another compelling reason why the Western powers have been so laggard in denouncing Saudi Arabia and the Sunni rulers of the Gulf for spreading bigotry and religious hate. Al-Qa’ida members or al-Qa’ida-influenced groups have always held two very different views about who is their main opponent. For Osama bin Laden the chief enemy was the Americans, but for the great majority of Sunni jihadists, including the al-Qa’ida franchises in Iraq and Syria, the target is the Shia. It is the Shia who have been dying in their thousands in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and even in countries where there are few of them to kill, such as Egypt.

Pakistani papers no longer pay much attention to hundreds of Shia butchered from Quetta to Lahore. In Iraq, most of the 7,000 or more people killed this year are Shia civilians killed by the bombs of al-Qa’ida in Iraq, part of an umbrella organisation called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which also encompasses Syria. In overwhelmingly Sunni Libya, militants in the eastern town of Derna killed an Iraqi professor who admitted on video to being a Shia before being executed by his captors.

Suppose a hundredth part of this merciless onslaught had been directed against Western targets rather than against Shia Muslims, would the Americans and the British be so accommodating to the Saudis, Kuwaitis and Emiratis? It is this that gives a sense of phoniness to boasts by the vastly expanded security bureaucracies in Washington and London about their success in combating terror justifying vast budgets for themselves and restricted civil liberties for everybody else. All the drones in the world fired into Pashtun villages in Pakistan or their counterparts in Yemen or Somalia are not going to make much difference if the Sunni jihadists in Iraq and Syria ever decide – as Osama bin Laden did before them – that their main enemies are to be found not among the Shia but in the United States and Britain.

Instead of the fumbling amateur efforts of the shoe and underpants bombers, security services would have to face jihadist movements in Iraq, Syria and Libya fielding hundreds of bomb-makers and suicide bombers. Only gradually this year, videos from Syria of non-Sunnis being decapitated for sectarian motives alone have begun to shake the basic indifference of the Western powers to Sunni jihadism so long as it is not directed against themselves.

Saudi Arabia as a government for a long time took a back seat to Qatar in funding rebels in Syria, and it is only since this summer that they have taken over the file. They wish to marginalise the al-Qa’ida franchisees such as Isil and the al-Nusra Front while buying up and arming enough Sunni war-bands to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

The directors of Saudi policy in Syria – the Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, the head of the Saudi intelligence agency Prince Bandar bin Sultan and the Deputy Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan – plan to spend billions raising a militant Sunni army some 40,000 to 50,000 strong. Already local warlords are uniting to share in Saudi largesse for which their enthusiasm is probably greater than their willingness to fight.

The Saudi initiative is partly fuelled by rage in Riyadh at President Obama’s decision not to go to war with Syria after Assad used chemical weapons on 21 August. Nothing but an all-out air attack by the US similar to that of Nato in Libya in 2011 would overthrow Assad, so the US has essentially decided he will stay for the moment. Saudi anger has been further exacerbated by the successful US-led negotiations on an interim deal with Iran over its nuclear programme.

By stepping out of the shadows in Syria, the Saudis are probably making a mistake. Their money will only buy them so much. The artificial unity of rebel groups with their hands out for Saudi money is not going to last. They will be discredited in the eyes of more fanatical jihadis as well as Syrians in general as pawns of Saudi and other intelligence services.

A divided opposition will be even more fragmented. Jordan may accommodate the Saudis and a multitude of foreign intelligence services, but it will not want to be the rallying point for an anti-Assad army.

The Saudi plan looks doomed from the start, though it could get a lot more Syrians killed before it fails. Yazid Sayegh of the Carnegie Middle East Centre highlights succinctly the risks involved in the venture: “Saudi Arabia could find itself replicating its experience in Afghanistan, where it built up disparate mujahedin groups that lacked a unifying political framework. The forces were left unable to govern Kabul once they took it, paving the way for the Taliban to take over. Al-Qa’ida followed, and the blowback subsequently reached Saudi Arabia.”

Israeli Saudi Union On Full Display In UAE with Shimon Peres Addressing Iran War Rally

Israeli President Briefed 29 Arab and Muslim leaders in a Secret Summit Organized by UAE Against Iran

jafria news

Israeli Presidernt Shimon PeresDubai : Israeli President Shimon Peres has secretly addressed a number of Arab and Muslim politicians two weeks ago during a summit organized in Abu Dhabi. 

According to a report published in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday, Peres appeared before 29 foreign ministers from the Persian Gulf states, Arab League countries and other Muslim nations. The king of Saudi Arabia’s son was also among the participants of the meeting.

Peres appeared on a video screen at the (Persian) Gulf States Security Summit, sitting in his office in Jerusalem with an Israeli flag behind him.

The foreign ministers of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen and Qatar were present, as well as foreign ministers from the Arab League and other Muslim countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

UN-Under Secretary-General Terje-Roed Larsen and U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Martin Indyk interviewed Peres in the meeting. As agreed upon beforehand, the foreign ministers would not ask their questions and address Peres directly, and in return he would only speak with the interviewers. In addition, the organizers of the event stipulated that Peres would participate only if the content of the meeting remain confidential.

“The UAE, which organized the summit, chose Peres to open the assembly, a testimony to the importance of the Israeli president during this point in time, and more so, the importance of a good relationship with Israel against the common enemy, Iran,” the daily said.

New York Times chief analyst Thomas Friedman, who attended the event said the Israeli president Tackled many issues during his address.

According to Friedman, Peres had stressed that “Israel can be a major factor in the Middle East, and that there is an opportunity for dialogue for a common goal – a struggle against radical Islamism and a nuclear Iran, and he also talked about his vision for world peace.”

Bandar’s Counterpart Prince Turki Runs Financial/Diplomatic Operations for Saudi Police State

[The following was written by Saudi prince Turki.  It is trash.]

How to Win in the Middle East

Photo of Turki bin Faisal al-Saud

Turki bin Faisal al-Saud

RIYADH – Analysts the world over are assessing the situation in the Middle East in 2012 by listing the region’s “winners” and “losers.” Hamas won. Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi won, then lost. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won. Syria lost. Iraq lost. Iran had a draw (tougher sanctions, but closer to nuclear-weapons capability), as did Saudi Arabia (growing clout, but unable to stop the killings in Syria [LYING TURKI--order your al-qaeda fighters to stop the killing, you royal asshole, everything else will fall into place] or Gaza) and Israel (avoided massive bloodshed, but became even more isolated).

All of these lists, however, are merely the pastimes of policy wonks. In the bloody, hostile miasma of the Middle East, being a “winner” in any sense of the word is fallacious. The region continues to breed only losers. The victims of the conflicts in Syria, Iran, and Palestine; the friends and families of the victims; those who hope for peace: all lost. This is a grim reminder that when it comes to killing one another, repeatedly missing opportunities for peace, and botching all efforts at progress, no one can beat the Middle East. In 2012, the region proved once again that it is truly the best at perpetrating the worst.

When will these vital, eclectic, and prosperous (or potentially prosperous) countries stop their ravenous infighting and start nurturing, protecting, and sustaining their people? While there have been many prescriptions, I will provide my own 2012 Middle East roundup, with a look toward what must happen in 2013 if we want it to bring fewer losses.

The Israeli killing machine must be stopped by a determined United States using its leverage to bring about implementation of the land-for-peace principles of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, the Madrid Conference, the Oslo Agreement, and the Abdullah Peace Initiative. This is the only way out of the current unworkable predicament.

Borrowing a term from nuclear strategy, the situation between Israel and the Palestinians can be described only as “mutually assured destruction,” also known, fittingly, as MAD. It benefits no one, so why let it continue? Only the US has the ability to push the Israelis out of their MAD-ness, so I look forward to the Obama administration recognizing and acting on that moral obligation in the coming year.

The Assad killing machine must also be stopped. In this case, it is through the West agreeing with Saudi Arabia to arm the Free Syrian Army with the defensive weapons that it needs to ground Bashar al-Assad’s aircraft and immobilize his tanks and artillery.  [LYING TURKI--pretending that the answer is to support the FSA, while his country's "Islamist Front" attacks the FSA in Syria, stealing their weapons, and now one of their bases.  Saudi royal lies are coming back to haunt them in a blitzkrieg of outrage, whenever enough people realize that "al-Qaeda" has ALWAYS been an arm of the Saudi royal family.]

Unlike some conflicts in the region, this is a case with a clear and simple solution. Those being attacked merely need weapons to defend themselves; if they get them, the entire dynamic of the conflict will shift, in turn ending the bloodshed. [LYING TURKI--there is only ONE SOLUTION to the Syrian conflict, for foreign entities to stop all support operations.  Stop arming and transporting Islamist terrorists into Syria.  Stop Turkey and Jordan from allowing war materiel and fighters across their borders.  Prevent covert Israeli and American supply of the Syrian foreigners.  Failure to oppose the Saudi initiative will result in another Talibanized Muslim country, bought and paid for by Saudi Arabia and friends.]

By now, all of the actors in Syria are known. There are no hidden jihadis, terrorists, or gangsters. They are all well documented. So the moderates are the ones who should get the anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. Having them, their prestige among other fighters will soar, and so will support for their moderate stance.  [LYING TURKI--by "moderates," the Saudi spokesperson means the least extremist of all of the extremist radicals, who fight under the "Islamist" banner.  THERE ARE NO MODERATE EXTREMISTS!]

Iranian intervention in Iraq must stop. It is tearing Iraq apart and endangering the countries around it. Western and Iranian support for Nouri al-Maliki’s government, which is controlled by Iran’s Basij militia, must be withdrawn, enabling the Iraqi people to determine freely their own destiny. [TURKI YOU LYING BASTARD--Iraq has been brought to boil again by Sunni (al-Qaeda) terrorists, who are hell-bent to overthrow the Maliki democratically-elected govt.  Turki is urging Obama to abandon Iraq to these Sunni terrorists and the second Iraqi civil war, which they intend to fight.]

Did the Americans defeat Saddam Hussein, and did more than 100,000 Iraqis die in the process, so that their country could become a puppet of the hostile Iranian regime? Iran’s meddling in Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, and other Gulf states must end as well.  [LYING TURKI--Saudi money, tanks and planes have been used to upset the democratic process in all of the aforementioned countries, blaming popular expressions of discontent upon "Iranian spies and agents."  More than anything else, the Saudis are at war with "Democracy" within all of the Middle East.  The implication, hidden within the Saudi initiative, is the unspoken intention of Riyadh to use its fortune as a weapon, to conquer and to assimilate the entire region (SEE:  Gulf union is inevitable: Saudi Prince Turki Al Faisal).  The Saudi royal family are a threat to the human race and should be stopped BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.]
In addition to these major tasks, Palestine’s main political rivals, Hamas and Fatah, must reconcile and turn their united efforts toward improving the lives of the Palestinian people. Egypt must get over its post-revolutionary squabbling and reassume its leading role among the Arab states. And all Arab states must coordinate their efforts to realize common ambitions, rather than continuing to pursue only narrow national interests.

Central to all of these tasks is a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that is united into a confederation that can meet the challenges of Iran’s regional ambitions and bring major military deployments to bear on regional conflicts.  [LYING TURKI--Saudis will not be satisfied until they have divided the Muslim Ummah into two warring halves in the Middle East.  He should worry less about meeting "the challenges of Iran's regional ambitions" and worry instead about reforming the Middle Eastern Arab dictatorships, who have always lived fat while their people suffered.]

If anything has become clear in the last year, it is that states like Israel, Iran, and Syria will act with impunity if no one is ready, willing, and able to stand up to them. It is time for the GCC, anchored on Saudi Arabia’s power, to take up that role.

The Middle East has been losing for too long, because its national leaders have been seeking to win in their own way, for their own purposes, and at everyone’s cost but their own. Such unilateralism is impossible in today’s globalized world. We must join together, or else we will rip each other to shreds. The choice is simple: Do we want to be winners or losers?

Saudi Islamist Terrorists Disrupting Free Syrian Army Democrats

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE, NOT AN OPPORTUNITY TO SWITCH ALLEGIANCE TO THE ISLAMIST TERRORISTS!

[The homegrown Free Syrian Army forces are being forcefully disbanded by the Saudi-backed foreign terrorists, who may or may not claim linkage to "Al-Qaeda."  Washington and London are throwing their support to the allegedly "non-al-Qaeda Islamists," as if that made everything all right.  It makes nothing right.  Our tax dollars are going to support an invasion of Syria by foreign Islamist terrorists, whose mission is to disrupt the legitimate democratic-revolutionaries who are the only Syrians fighting to overthrow the Assad govt., to make Syria the first state in the Al-Qaeda "global caliphate."]

Syrian Islamists Reportedly Seize Western-Backed Rebel Bases

voa

FILE - Free Syrian Army fighters carry the body of a fellow fighter who was killed during what FSA rebels say were clashes with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near Aleppo International airport.

FILE – Free Syrian Army fighters carry the body of a fellow fighter who was killed during what FSA rebels say were clashes with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near Aleppo International airport.

Reuters

December 07, 2013

BEIRUT/ISTANBUL — Syrian rebels from an Islamist alliance formed last month have occupied bases and warehouses belonging to a Western-backed rebel group on the Turkish border, rebels and activists said on Saturday.

Fighters from the Islamic Front, a union of six major rebel groups, took control of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) bases at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the northwestern border with Turkey late on Friday night, the opposition sources said.

Louay Meqdad, an FSA spokesman, said the Islamic Front fighters had entered the bases after saying they wanted to help to secure them. They then asked officers and employees to leave and replaced an FSA flag with one of their own, he said.

“We believe that those brigades are our brothers, that they know that we are not the enemy,” Meqdad said.

Infighting among Syria’s rebel groups has undermined their fight against President Bashar al-Assad in the 2-1/2-year-old civil war and made Western governments hesitant to back them.

The rise of hardline Islamist groups among the rebels, including some linked to al-Qaida, has also unsettled powers such as the United States, who fear that if the militants came to power, they would eventually turn their weapons on Western targets.

On Tuesday the Islamic Front said it had withdrawn from the military command of the FSA, notionally charged with coordinating the war, and criticized its leadership.

While the Islamic Front does not include either of Syria’s two al-Qaida-affiliated units – the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – it does include radical Islamists who have coordinated with them.

Difficulty of uniting rebels

On Friday, the opposition Syrian National Coalition published statements by an FSA official playing down the Islamic Front’s withdrawal and denying that the groups were in disagreement.

But the events in Bab al-Hawa, confirmed by activists in the area, underscored the size of the task facing the Western powers as they try to unite rebel groups under FSA command and sideline more hardline groups.

Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said five rebel fighters had been killed in clashes in Bab al-Hawa, but it was not clear which side they were on.

It is difficult for Reuters to independently verify reports from inside Syria because of media restrictions.

The Observatory, which has a network of sources across Syria, said fighting also broke out between ISIL and the Nusra Front on Friday in the northeastern city of Raqqa, the largest city to fall under rebel control so far.

The fighting started after a unit loyal to the Nusra Front killed a Saudi Arabian ISIL fighter who did not stop at one of the unit’s checkpoints, the Observatory said, quoting its sources in the area. There were no reports of casualties.

Separately, an air raid killed at least 20 people, including eight children and nine women, in parts of Bezaa in the northern Aleppo province, the Observatory said.

Syria’s conflict has killed more than 100,000 people since it started in 2011 as a peaceful uprising against four decades of Assad family rule.

The weekly death toll often climbs above 1,000, and world powers remain deadlocked over how to resolve the crisis.

Qatari Media Bemoan the Loss of Arab/Israeli Control Over Obama

“For a moment, it seemed that the Saudi-UAE-Jordanian coalition, with its strong influence in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and with declared Israeli support, was close to achieving a significant change in the balance of forces on the ground in Syria through the force of the anticipated American strike…pressuring or using the latter to serve their regional interests, even when Washington did not view it in its interest.”

Potential Maps: The Western-Iranian Rapprochement

aljazeera

An unprecedented meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif (far right) and his American counterpart, John Kerry (far left) [AP]

Abstract

There are signs that Iran’s relations with western countries, particularly the United States, are experiencing fundamental changes. During September and October, Iran began new rounds of negotiations on its nuclear programme, considered by Iranian and western officials to be the most serious and a cause for optimism since 2002. There are economic and financial reasons, and technical difficulties within the programme, that pushed Iran to express its willingness to accept the international conditions, as the USA seeks to avoid a military solution to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear power. It is not unlikely, if the parties reach a final and lasting solution on the nuclear crisis, that the improvement of Iranian- western relations will reflect on the map of regional balances, especially in light of regional disagreements on Egypt, and the aggravation of the Syrian crisis.  [LINK TO ALJAZEERA]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Comes Out of the Closet, Revealing Sponsorship of Saudi “Islamist” Army

Bibi and Bandar Badger Obama: Better Six Billion than Six Trillion!

Al ManarAL-MANAR

 

Franklin Lamb

Damascus

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—along with certain Arab League countries, plus Turkey and Israel, have this past week reportedly committed themselves to raising nearly $6 billion to “beef up” the just-hatched Islamic Front (IF) in Syria. These “best friends of America” want the Obama administration to sign onto a scheme to oust the Syrian government by funding, arming, training, facilitating and generally choreographing the movement of fighters of this new front, a front formed out of an alliance of seven putatively “moderate” rebel factions.

BandarRepresentatives of Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan reportedly told staff members on Capitol Hill that committing several billions to defeat the Assad regime by supporting the IF makes fiscal sense and will cost much less than the six trillion dollar figure tallied by the recent study by Brown University as part of its Costs of War project. According to the 2013 update of the definitive Brown study, which examined costs of the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the total amount for all three topped six trillion dollars. This never before released figure includes costs of direct and indirect Congressional appropriations, lost equipment, US military and foreign contractors fraud, and the cost of caring for wounded American servicemen and their families.

Among the Islamist militia joining the new GCC-backed coalition are Aleppo’s biggest fighting force, Liwa al-Tawhid (Tawhid Brigade), the Salafist group Ahrar al-Sham, Suqour al-Sham, al-Haq Brigades, Ansar al-Sham and the Islamic Army, which is centered around Damascus. The Kurdish Islamic Front also reportedly joined the alliance.

IF’s declared aim is to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whatever the human and material cost it may require, and replace it with an “Islamic state.” Abu Firas, the new coalition’s spokesman, declared that “we now have the complete merger of the major military factions fighting in Syria.”

Formally announced on 11/22/13, the IF includes groups from three prior umbrella organizations: the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), and the Kurdish Islamic Front (KIF). From the SIF, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya (HASI), Kataib Ansar al-Sham, and Liwa al-Haqq all joined, as did the KIF as a whole, and former SILF brigades Suqur al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, and Jaish al-Islam. None of these groups have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the US, and therefore, as an AIPAC

Israeli official argued in a meeting with AIPAC and Congress this week, nothing stands in the way of US funding and support for them. The Israeli official in question is the country’s new national security advisor, Yossie Cohen, who assures key congressional leaders that the tens of thousands of rebels making up the IF will all support “one policy and one military command.” Cohen also pledges that the new group is not as “insane” as other Muslim militia—Daash or al-Nusra or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for instance—that comprise the IF’s chief rivals. Cohen and AIPAC are further telling Congress members and congressional staffers that the emergence of the IF is one of the war’s most important developments, and he vows that the new organization in effect brings seven organizations into a combined force that will fight under one command, a force estimated by the CIA to number at around 75,000 fighters. Reportedly the objective will link the fight in the north with that in the south in a manner that will stretch loyalist forces, and the Saudi-Israel team is also asking the Obama Administration to more than double the monthly “graduation class” of CIA-trained rebels in Turkey, Syria and Jordan—from its current level of 200 per month, up to 500 a month.

What the GCC/Arab League/Israeli team is asking of its western allies (meaning of course mainly the US) is to immediately fund the IF to the tune of $ 5.5 billion. This, Israeli security officials argue, is pocket change compared to the $6 trillion spent in US terrorist wars of the past decade. Plus it will have the presumed “benefit” of toppling the Assad regime and truncating Iran’s growing influence. The plan has reportedly been dismissed by some in the Obama administration as “risible and pathetic.” Nonetheless, Tel Aviv, the US Congressional Zionist lobby, and to a lesser extent Ankara, are pressing ahead under the assumption that linking with the IF now makes sense and that they can take their chances will al-Qaeda later. Ironically these are some of the same voices from AIPAC’s Congressional Team who four years ago were claiming that al-Qaeda was “on the ropes and will soon collapse.” Yet they are optimistic that if Assad goes, “we can deal with the terrorists and it won’t cost six trillion dollars.”

One House member who strongly agrees with AIPAC is Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who recently declared that “in my heart I am a Tea Party guy.” A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Hunter believes the US should use nuclear weapons against Tehran. In a Fox TV interview this week he declared his opposition to any talks with Iran, insisting that US policy should include a “massive aerial bombardment campaign” utilizing “tactical nuclear devices” to set Iran “back a decade or two or three.”

According to sources in Aleppo and Damascus, the IF’s top leadership positions have been parceled out among five of the seven groups. This at least is as of 12/5/13. Four days after the IF was announced, the organization released an official charter. In terms of its basic architecture, the document is similar to that put out by the SIF in January, but the new version is filled with more generalities than other militia proclamations, and seems designed to accommodate differing ideas among member groups. The charter calls for an Islamic state and the implementation of sharia law, though it does not define exactly what this means. The IF is firmly against secularism, human legislation (i.e., it believes that laws come from God, not people), civil government, and a Kurdish breakaway state. The charter states that the group will secure minority rights in post-Assad Syria based on sharia, which could mean the dhimma (“protected peoples”) system, or de facto second-class citizenship for Christians and other minorities. According to Saudi officials in Lebanon, the IF seeks to unify other rebel groups so long as they agree to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Given this ‘moderate’ wording, the expectation of some is that that the southern-based Ittihad al-Islami li-Ajnad al-Sham will join the IF.

According to the Netanyahu government, the IF’s leading foreign cheerleader, this new coalition gives substance to that which states who have been wanting regime change in Syria have been calling for. One analyst on the Syrian conflict, Aron Lund, believes a grouping of mainstream and hardline Islamists, excluding any al-Qaeda factions, is significant. “It’s something that could be very important if it holds up,” he explained. “The Islamic Front’s formation was a response to both regime advances and the ‘aggressive posture’ of jihadists against other rebels, plus a good deal of foreign involvement, not least of which is Saudi and GCC pushing to unify the rebels.”

Contrary to reports out of Occupied Palestine that the Netanyahu regime is not worried about or much interested in the crisis in Syria, a measure of delight seems to be felt in Tel Aviv that Muslims and Arabs are once more killing each other, along with smugness over Hezbollah’s loss of key mujahedeen as it faces, along with Iran, its own “Vietnam experience.” Yet all this notwithstanding, near panic is reported to have been felt in Israeli government circles over Hezbollah’s achievements in Syria. Truth told, Tel Aviv knows that despite manpower losses by Hezbollah, the dominant Lebanese political party is bringing about major enhancements of its forces. It also knows that there is no substitute for urban battlefield experience with regard to effecting such force regeneration, and Israeli officials have also stated their belief that the Resistance is organizing non-Hezbollah brigades that share one goal in common despite disparate beliefs. That sacred goal is liberating Al Quds by any and all means.

Martyr Hassan Lakkis

A US Congressional source summarized the Obama administration’s take on this week’s assassination of a key Hezbollah commander as part of a major new Netanyahu government project to weaken Hezbollah. Hassan Houlo Lakkis’ assassination on the night of December 3-4 is deemed in Washington to be particularly significant since Lakkis was in charge of strategic files related to Israel and the Palestinians and also oversaw a number of key operations. The Resistance commander was deeply involved in the development of drones for Hezbollah, as well as smuggling weapons to Gaza via Egypt. He also had good relationships with the Palestinian factions in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon. Lakkis was known by Washington to be a highly important cadre and a second rank Hezbollah official. According to one analyst “Israel appeared as if it was telling Hezbollah, come and fight me. Israel is upset over the Western-Iranian agreement. It is also upset over the new position that the West has concerning Hezbollah whereby the West is now viewing the party as a force that opposes the Takfiris. Thus, Israel’s objective behind the assassination is to lure the party into a confrontation thus allowing Tel Aviv to tell the West: Hezbollah is still a terrorist organization.”

According to sources on the US Foreign Relations Committee, the White House is being heavily pressured by the US Zionist lobby and the Netanyahu government to take “remedial measures” for the “catastrophic historic mistake” it made in defusing the Iranian nuclear issue and refusing to bomb Damascus. The measures being pushed for, of course, are funding and support for the IF, though doubts persist in Washington as to how “remedial” they will in fact be. The $5.5 billion “investment” is to be paid in large part by GCC/Arab League countries, with US and Zionist contributions. Cash from the latter two sources will come directly and indirectly out of the pockets of American taxpayers—with Israel paying nothing.

Some Washington officials and analysts are wondering if US participation would help unify notoriously hostile rebel ranks and curtail the growing power of al-Qaeda in Syria, or whether it is simply another zany Bander bin Sultan-concocted project, the latest of many—in this case to create a hierarchical revolutionary army with the aim of fighting the Syrian regime essentially alongside al-Qaeda? Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed his personal suspicions this week that “the Israel-Saudi team is trying to drag the US back into a potentially deepening morass,” alluding to what apparently is an effort to head off any plans the Obama administration may have of living with the Assad government until such time as Geneva II happens, that is if it happens, according to one congressional staffer.

Many among the American public also have doubts because they have been told that their government was ‘winding down’ its Middle East wars in favor of rebuilding America’s infrastructure, roads, health care and education systems, all of which, especially the latter, appear to be suffering dramatically. According to the most recent international survey, released this week, the average Chinese student, aged fifteen in Shanghai, is two full years ahead of America’s best students surveyed in Massachusetts. Recent top scores among secondary school youngsters, particularly in math, reading and science, were considerably lower than those achieved by students in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan. The US is far down the list and declining, and the survey suggests that the gap is widening.

It’s too early to say whether this latest Saudi-Israel-Arab League collaboration will fail as others have recently, but given the continuing Obama administration efforts at taking back US Middle East policy from Tel Aviv, plus the perceptible movement away from support for the Netanyahu government along with growing angst among American taxpayers over funding the occupation of Palestine, it just might collapse.
Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Damascus University Faculty of Law.  He volunteers with the SSSP (sssp-lb.com) and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com.

Sublimating Syrian Big War In Lebanon’s Drive-Bys and Car-Bombs

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut's suburbs, on Nov. 14, 2013.

Khalil Hassan / ReutersLebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut’s suburbs, on Nov. 14, 2013.

Hizballah’s War of Shadows with Saudi Arabia Comes Into the Light

time mag.

As the sectarian violence of Syria’s conflict spills over, the proxy struggles between Lebanon’s influential Shiite organization Hizballah and the staunchly Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia have turned into open war

Speeches by Hizballah head Hassan Nasrallah are usually predictable affairs. Each time he speaks, be it in front of the podium or from a secure, undisclosed location, the bearded, turbaned and bespectacled leader blends fiery rhetoric, anti-western exhortations and bombast in a familiar pattern designed to inspire his followers, fire up new recruits and strike fear into enemy Israel. But in an interview with Lebanese TV station OTV late Tuesday night, he went radically off script, zeroing in on a new target for his rhetorical darts: Saudi Arabia.

Nasrallah rarely mentions Saudi Arabia by name, only referring to the monarchy in vague terms in order to maintain plausible deniability. But that all changed on Tuesday, when he accused Saudi agents of being behind the suicide bomb attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last month that claimed 23 lives. (The assassination of a senior Hizballah commander on Wednesday, though the assailants remain unknown, deepened the group’s sense of embattlement.) In doing so he has openly declared a war that has long been fought in the shadows, first in Lebanon where Hizballah-allied parties are at a political impasse with the Saudi-backed Future Movement of Saad Hariri, and now in Syria, where Hizballah, with Iranian assistance, is fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad against Saudi-backed rebels. “This is the first time I have ever seen such a direct attack [by Nasrallah] against Saudi Arabia,” says Lebanon-based political analyst Talal Atrissi. “This was the formal declaration of a war that has been going on in Syria since Saudi first started supporting the rebels.”

In a wide-ranging interview that lasted more than two and a half hours, Nasrallah defended Hizballah’s role in Syria, claiming that without it Lebanon would have already descended into Iraq-style sectarian violence: “What is the future of Lebanon, should Syria fall into the hands of the armed groups? If we had abandoned our responsibilities…Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria would have been infiltrated by armed groups and there would be have been 100s of explosive-rigged vehicles sent to… Lebanon.”

And he crowed about the successful conclusion of initial nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West, saying that it strengthened Iran, and as a result Hizballah. But he returned to the subject of Saudi Arabia multiple times, declaring that it was Saudi that was prolonging the agonizing civil war in Syria, not the Syrians themselves, or even Hizballah. “Saudi Arabia is determined to keep on fighting until the last bullet and last drop of blood.”

The group behind the embassy bombings has not yet been identified, though a Lebanese offshoot of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. Nasrallah, in the interview, said that the group was directly financed by Saudi intelligence, something that the Saudis have vehemently denied. Nasrallah only cited vague intelligence for his claim, but that is immaterial, says analyst Atrissi. By blaming Saudi for Lebanon’s, and Syria’s problems, Nasrallah has seized on a moment of Saudi weakness and isolation to deflect growing criticism about Hizballah’s role in Syria. Saudi disgruntlement over the Iranian nuclear negotiations has put it at odds with traditional Gulf allies that were quick to praise the process. Furthermore, the Saudis have been the most recalcitrant about Syrian peace talks slated for January 22 in Geneva. The Saudis say they won’t accept any Iranian role and are skeptical that the talks will bring peace. Instead they insist on continuing to back the rebels in the hopes that the opposition can gain more leverage.

“Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the same influence in the Gulf as it used to,” says Atrissi. “So Hizballah has seized on this weakness to advance its own cause.” In Lebanon the open declaration of war may only manifest in a continuation of tit-for-tat car bombings, he says. But in Syria, it’s about to get a lot more serious. Nasrallah forecast the same thing. “I predict there will be harsh confrontations between now and January 22 on several fronts,” as Saudi-backed rebels do everything they can to gain ground and make the regime look weak and prevent the talks from taking place, he said. Those attempts, he added, will fail. What he didn’t need to say is that Hizballah is likely to be doing the exact same thing for the Syrian regime, guaranteeing a bloody two months to come.

with reporting by Hania Mourtada / Beirut

China Plan To Quit Dollar Impetus for War In S. China Seas?

China plan to quit dollar infuriates US: Analyst

PressTV
The decision by the Central Bank of China to no longer accumulate foreign exchange reserves in dollar has infuriated the United States, an analyst says.

Finian Cunningham made the remark in a Sunday column for Press TV amid escalation of tensions between US and China over Beijing’s enforcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

“The escalation of military tensions between Washington and Beijing in the East China Sea is superficially over China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone. But the real reason for Washington’s ire is the recent Chinese announcement that it is planning to reduce its holdings of the US dollar,” he wrote.

Cunningham said China “move to offload some of its 3.5 trillion in US dollar reserves” poses “a mortal threat to the American petrodollar and the entire American economy.”

“China – the second biggest economy in the world and a top importer of oil – has or is seeking oil trading arrangements with its major suppliers, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, which will involve the exchange of national currencies,” he wrote, warning that the development threatens “the petrodollar and its global reserve status.”

Cunningham said Beijing’s November 20 notice about plan to “shift its risky foreign exchange holdings” in US dollars for other currencies “is a harbinger that the American economy’s days are numbered.”

“But, in the imperialist, megalomaniac mindset of Washington, the ‘threat’ to the US economy and indebted way of life is perceived as a tacit act of war. That is why Washington is reacting so furiously and desperately to China’s newly declared air corridor. It is a pretext for the US to clench an iron fist,” concluded the analyst.

 

 

US has made a blunder in its reaction to air defense zone

By Clifford A. Kiracofe
Illustration: Peter C.Espina/GTIllustration: Peter C.Espina/GT
Washington’s maladroit handling of China’s newly announced Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) unnecessarily muddies the waters and raises tensions over the East China Sea. Rather than reacting calmly in a diplomatic manner, the US immediately militarized the situation by sending B-52 bombers into China’s zone.

No doubt Asians will draw conclusions from Washington’s latest “bull in the China shop” approach to regional security issues. Some conclusions may not be favorable to the US and its long-term interests, given this latest example of US cowboy behavior.

Aviation around the globe is governed under international law by the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and is coordinated and regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a part of the UN system.

An ADIZ is defined by legal experts to be an area in airspace over water or land which may not necessarily be over the sovereign territory of a state in which identification, locations, and control of all aircraft must be provided in the interest of national security.

Washington’s berating China over its new ADIZ gives the appearance of double standards. The US in fact maintains four ADIZ zones: the Contiguous US ADIZ, Alaska ADIZ, Guam ADIZ and the Hawaii ADIZ.

There are over 20 countries in the world which have ADIZs including the UK, Pakistan, and India. South Korea established its ADIZ in 1951, and Japan established its ADIZ in the 1960s and extended it in 2010.

ADIZ areas are not directly under the Chicago Convention, but can lend support to the convention’s objectives of promoting peace and security, legal scholars say. ADIZ areas operate under the procedures given by the countries which establish them.

The US has its own unique procedures for its four ADIZ areas, and it has its own unique procedures for the US military to deal with foreign ADIZ areas, such as the procedures found in the US navy’s Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations.

The Obama administration’s heated reaction to China’s ADIZ announcement was directed not only against the Chinese ADIZ generally, but also against China’s inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands in it.

Washington’s accusation that the zone is a destabilizing move implies that China does not have the right to establish such a zone while Japan does.

But how is it that over 20 countries around the world established such zones and have been within their rights to do so while Washington berates China?

In fact, the US action is unprecedented as no such formal protest against the establishment of an ADIZ has been lodged before against any country, experts say.

Japan includes the Diaoyu Islands within its ADIZ. Why should China not do the same? Given that the islands are a well-known matter of international legal dispute, both sides would seem to have the right to include them in their respective ADIZ areas.

For over four decades, there has been disagreement in US policy circles over the issue of the Diaoyu Islands with respect to their inclusion in the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.

Some US officials, such as Walter Mondale when he was vice president of the US, maintained that the islands do not fall under the treaty obligations of the US. Other officials leaning toward the Japanese side, such as Kurt Campbell, alleged that they do fall under the treaty. The Obama administration follows the Campbell line.

Washington says it is neutral in the territorial dispute, but its actions clearly do not match its words.

By including these disputed islands within the mutual defense treaty, Washington binds itself unnecessarily to the Japanese side, and thus is not neutral. Irresponsible actions concerning these islands by an increasingly extremist Japan could quite unnecessarily plunge the US into a war in a worst-case scenario.

China is well within its rights under international law and practice to establish an ADIZ in order to enhance its national security. It is certainly time for Washington to drop its Cold War thinking and cowboy behavior in the Asia-Pacific region.

The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Clifford A. Kiracofe, Jr., teaches political science at Washington and Lee University and history at the Virginia Military Institute. He was formerly a Senior Professional Staff Member of the United States Senate on Foreign Relations and has extensive inside experience of American federal government.

US Risking War With China To Defend Imperial Japan’s War Conquests

 

[SEE: Forget Trade Talks, Biden Is in East Asia to Stop a Potential War ]

[Obama was so frustrated with his failed attempt to engineer world war with Russia in the Middle East, that he has now "pivoted" to his next intended war front in the South "China Seas."  The US and Japanese Navies are now skirting around the Chinese Navy and their new aircraft carrier, in order to reinforceJapan, which was forced into relinquishing its claims to the Paracel/Spratly Islands as a condition of the WWII surrender document.  The dubious claims made upon the Spratlys by the Japanese are related to Japan's many aggressions committed against China. 

First, Obama confirmed that Bush's terror is now his own, before he escalated the war in the Middle East against multiple nations, revealing for all to see that he is waging a true "war of aggression" against the entire world.

Next, Obama anoints the new Imperial Japanese government with his blessing, in the form of a promise to invoke the American postwar commitment to defend Japanese territory, even those defined by previous war claims.  Obama, the self-celebrated legal expert, doesn't have a legal leg to stand on in this intricate, pre-arranged dogfight.  Is WWIII to begin with a revival of WWII?]

TREATY OF PEACE WITH JAPAN

Signed at San Francisco, 8 September 1951
Initial entry into force*: 28 April 1952

CHAPTER II, TERRITORY, Article 2, (f) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Spratly Islands and to the Paracel Islands.

 

The Inconvenient Truth Behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands

new york times logo

By HAN-YI SHAW
Diaoyu Island is recorded under Kavalan, Taiwan in Revised Gazetteer of Fujian Province (1871).Han-yi ShawDiaoyu Island is recorded under Kavalan, Taiwan in Revised Gazetteer of Fujian Province (1871).

Japan’s recent purchase of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands has predictably reignited tensions amongst China, Japan, and Taiwan. Three months ago, when Niwa Uichiro, the Japanese ambassador to China, warned that Japan’s purchase of the islands could spark an “extremely grave crisis” between China and Japan, Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro slammed Niwa as an unqualified ambassador, who “needs to learn more about the history of his own country”.

Ambassador Niwa was forced to apologize for his remarks and was recently replaced. But what is most alarming amid these developments is that despite Japan’s democratic and pluralist society, rising nationalist sentiments are sidelining moderate views and preventing rational dialogue.

The Japanese government maintains that the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory under international law and historical point of view and has repeatedly insisted that no dispute exists. Despite that the rest of the world sees a major dispute, the Japanese government continues to evade important historical facts behind its unlawful incorporation of the islands in 1895.

Specifically, the Japanese government asserts, “From 1885 on, our government conducted on-site surveys time and again, which confirmed that the islands were uninhabited and there were no signs of control by the Qing Empire.”

My research of over 40 official Meiji period documents unearthed from the Japanese National Archives, Diplomatic Records Office, and National Institute for Defense Studies Library clearly demonstrates that the Meiji government acknowledged Chinese ownership of the islands back in 1885.

Following the first on-site survey, in 1885, the Japanese foreign minister wrote, “Chinese newspapers have been reporting rumors of our intention of occupying islands belonging to China located next to Taiwan.… At this time, if we were to publicly place national markers, this must necessarily invite China’s suspicion.…”

In November 1885, the Okinawa governor confirmed “since this matter is not unrelated to China, if problems do arise I would be in grave repentance for my responsibility”.

“Surveys of the islands are incomplete” wrote the new Okinawa governor in January of 1892. He requested that a naval ship Kaimon be sent to survey the islands, but ultimately a combination of miscommunication and bad weather made it impossible for the survey to take place.

Letter dated May 12, 1894 affirming that the Meiji government did not repeatedly investigate the disputed islands.Japan Diplomatic Records Office.Letter dated May 12, 1894 affirming that the Meiji government did not repeatedly investigate the disputed islands.

“Ever since the islands were investigated by Okinawa police agencies back in 1885, there have been no subsequent field surveys conducted,” the Okinawa governor wrote in 1894.

After a number of Chinese defeats in the Sino-Japanese War, a report from Japan’s Home Ministry said “this matter involved negotiations with China… but the situation today is greatly different from back then.” The Meiji government, following a cabinet decision in early 1895, promptly incorporated the islands.

Negotiations with China never took place and this decision was passed during the Sino-Japanese War. It was never made public.

In his biography Koga Tatsushiro, the first Japanese citizen to lease the islands from the Meiji government, attributed Japan’s possession of the islands to “the gallant military victory of our Imperial forces.”

Collectively, these official documents leave no doubt that the Meiji government did not base its occupation of the islands following “on-site surveys time and again,” but instead annexed them as booty of war. This is the inconvenient truth that the Japanese government has conveniently evaded.

Japan asserts that neither Beijing nor Taipei objected to U.S. administration after WWII. That’s true, but what Japan does not mention is that neither Beijing nor Taipei were invited as signatories of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, from which the U.S. derived administrative rights.

When Japan annexed the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in 1895, it detached them from Taiwan and placed them under Okinawa Prefecture. Moreover, the Japanese name “Senkaku Islands” itself was first introduced in 1900 by academic Kuroiwa Hisashi and adopted by the Japanese government thereafter. Half a century later when Japan returned Taiwan to China, both sides adopted the 1945 administrative arrangement of Taiwan, with the Chinese unaware that the uninhabited “Senkaku Islands” were in fact the former Diaoyu Islands. This explains the belated protest from Taipei and Beijing over U.S. administration of the islands after the war.

Report dated August 12, 1892 from navy commander affirming the islands were not fully investigated. Source:  Library of The National Institute for Defense Studies.Report dated August 12, 1892 from navy commander affirming the islands were not fully investigated. Source:  Library of The National Institute for Defense Studies.

The Japanese government frequently cites two documents as evidence that China did not consider the islands to be Chinese. The first is an official letter from a Chinese consul in Nagasaki dated May 20, 1920 that listed the islands as Japanese territory.

Neither Beijing nor Taipei dispute that the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands — along with the entire island of Taiwan — were formally under Japanese occupation at the time. However, per post-WW II arrangements, Japan was required to surrender territories obtained from aggression and revert them to their pre-1895 legal status.

The second piece evidence is a Chinese map from 1958 that excludes the Senkaku Islands from Chinese territory. But the Japanese government’s partial unveiling leaves out important information from the map’s colophon: “certain national boundaries are based on maps compiled prior to the Second Sino-Japanese War(1937-1945).”

Qing period (1644-1911) records substantiate Chinese ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands prior to 1895. Envoy documents indicate that the islands reside inside the “border that separates Chinese and foreign lands.” And according to Taiwan gazetteers, “Diaoyu Island accommodates ten or more large ships” under the jurisdiction of Kavalan, Taiwan.

The right to know is the bedrock of every democracy. The Japanese public deserves to know the other side of the story. It is the politicians who flame public sentiments under the name of national interests who pose the greatest risk, not the islands themselves.

Update: The author would like to include an updated image of the Qing era documents that recorded, “Diaoyutai Island accommodates ten or more large ships”, as mentioned in his blog post.

Record of Missions to Taiwan Waters (1722), Gazetteer of Kavalan County (1852), and Pictorial Treatise of Taiwan Proper (1872).National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan.Record of Missions to Taiwan Waters (1722), Gazetteer of Kavalan County (1852), and Pictorial Treatise of Taiwan Proper (1872).

Han-Yi Shaw is a Research Fellow at the Research Center for International Legal Studies, National Chengchi University, in Taipei, Taiwan.

Ending Riyadh Support for Terrorists Can End Syria War

Assad: End of Riyadh Support for Terrorists Can End Syria War

farsnews

 
Assad: End of Riyadh Support for Terrorists Can End Syria War
TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that as long as Saudi Arabia continues sending arms and money to Takfiri extremists, the war in Syria can see no end.

According to an article in Lebanese daily Al Akhbar newspaper, Bashar Assad met with several political leaders from regional Arab countries ’10 days ago’ in which they discussed the condition in Syria and ways to end the ongoing deadly crisis in there, Al-Alam reported.

The paper quoted one of the attendants of the meeting who interviewed with Al Akhbar on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, Assad said, Syrian government is dealing with terrorism in several fronts and the country is facing with a massive war supported by foreigners.

“We knew from the beginning that this is a war against our independent rule and this independent ruling has been the main factor driving our resistance and victory,” the source quoted Assad as saying.

He added that Assad appreciated those countries that allied with them in their resistance against terrorism, especially the Russian government which Assad said their support to Syria was not just for Damascus but also for protecting their interests.

The source says Assad told the meeting that foreign support to the militants must stop if an end to the war is sought.

“Time” and “requirements” for ending the war depends highly on halting illegal foreign supports to the armed groups.

“Saudi Arabia and others are strongly supporting terrorism and have deployed tens of thousands of Takfiris in Syria; Saudi Arabia has even been paying 2,000 dollars a month to each militant as a salary,” the source quoted Syrian president.

Stopping supporting militants at the side of Saudi Arabia will have ‘definite results’ in all aspects, Assad told the meeting adding that, “now everyone knows Al-Qaeda is not just a threat to Syria”.

Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar and Turkey have been strongest supporters of the war in Syria with Riyadh and Doha spending billions of dollars to support militants.

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who is Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency has been referred by many as a one of the main figures leading the war against Syria.

The source further said Assad was not optimistic about finding a solution to the war in the near future and said as long as foreign threat and support exists, they can’t stop fighting against them.

Syrian president also said Saudi Arabia’s role in the war cannot be neglected. “Saudi Arabia is leading the most extensive vandalism operation in the whole Arab world,” the source quoted him as saying.

Assad was also critical of what he reminded the attendants of Saudi Arabia’s role in Camp David Accord that normalized Israel’s ties with Egypt and also Riyadh’s support to the war against Lebanon in 1982.

In return, he praised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his ‘brave’ stance towards those who wished to harm Iraq.

Syrian president warned Arab political leaders in the meeting about threat of extremism and Wahhabis, as the source said.

Assad was quoted that presence of extremist in the region was a plot for keeping the Arab world retarded.

“I want to remind you that the West never wants to see us developed. I remember when I met former US foreign minister Colin Powell in 2003, he was telling me US conditions about managing relations with Iraq and he asked us not to ever let an Iraqi scientist to set foot in Syria and we rejected this offer, and the US and Israeli spying organizations killed many of these scientist and now they want to empty Iran from brains,” the source quoted Assad as telling the meeting.

Assad furthermore stressed that his government rejects all kinds of Takfiri and Wahhabi thoughts.

The crisis in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.

France and Spain Demand UNIFIL Chief’s Head For Blocking Zionist Incursioins

UNIFIL Lebanon Navy

UNIFIL Maritime Task Force joint exercise with LAF Navy

Lebanese, UNIFIL navies carry out exercises to enhance cooperation

The Lebanese and UNIFIL navies carried out a training exercise off the Lebanese coast on Monday during which UNIFIL Commander General Claudio Graziano said that the drills are to strengthen cooperation and coordination between naval and ground forces.

He emphasized the importance of the Lebanese navy’s participation in the exercises, since “it will be fully responsible for safeguarding Lebanon’s waters in the future.”

-NOW Staff

France and Spain want to replace UNIFIL commander, Al-Anbaa reports

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anbaa reported on Wednesday that France and Spain are coordinating to replace Italian UNIFIL Commander General Claudio Graziano with a French or Spanish general.

A source told the paper that Israel supports the decision, since it has never been on good terms with General Graziano and had always accused him of not shouldering his responsibilities.

-NOW Staff

Saudi/Israeli Terrorist Union

The Wahhabi-Likudnik war of terror

Asia Times

The double suicide bombing targeting the Iranian embassy in Beirut – with at least 23 people killed and 170 wounded – was a de facto terror attack happening on 11/19. Numerology-wise, naturally 9/11 comes to mind; and so the case of the Washington-declared war on terror metastasizing – largely conducted by oozy forms of Saudi “intelligence”.

Yet don’t expect the “West” to condemn this as terror. Look at the headlines; it’s all normalized as “blasts” – as if children were playing with firecrackers.

Whether carried out by a hazy al-Qaeda-linked brigade or by

Saudi spy chief Bandar bin Sultan’s (aka Bandar Bush’s) goons, the Beirut terror attack is essentially configured as a major, Saudi-enabled provocation. The larger Saudi agenda in Syria implies getting both Hezbollah and Iran to be pinned down inside Lebanon as well. If that happens, Israel also wins. Once again, here’s another graphic illustration of the Likudnik House of Saud in action.

Nuance also applies. Bandar Bush’s strategy, coordinated with jihadis, was to virtually beg for Hezbollah to fight inside Syria. When Hezbollah obliged, with only a few hundred fighters, the jihadis scurried away from the battlefield to implement plan B: blowing up innocent women and children in the streets of Lebanon.

While Hezbollah welcomes the fight, wherever it takes place, Tehran’s position is more cautious. It does not want to go all out against the Saudis – at least for now, with the crucial nuclear negotiation on the table in Geneva, and (still) the possibility of a Geneva II regarding Syria. Yet the House of Saud is not welcoming Geneva II anytime soon because it has absolutely nothing to propose except regime change.

On Syria, the main pillar of Bandar Bush’s strategy is to turn the previously “Free” Syrian Army into a “national army” of 30,000 or so fully weaponized hardcore fighters – mostly supplied by the “Army of Islam”, which is nothing but a cipher for the al-Qaedesque Jabhat al-Nusra. King Playstation of Jordan, also known as Abdullah, collaborates as the provider of training camps near the Syrian border. Whatever happens, one thing is certain; expect Bandar Bush’s goons to be carrying out more suicide bombings on both Lebanon and Syria.

The Zionist/Wahhabi/Salafi axis
The dodgy al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades in theory exist since 2005, placing the odd bomb here and there. One sheikh Sijareddin Zreikat tweeted responsibility for the Beirut terror attack. Curioser and curioser, the claim was “discovered” and translated into English by the Israeli disinformation website SITE. [1]

Yet another Israeli intelligence disinformation site, DEBKAfile, claimed the terror attack was an Iran/Hezbollah false flag, based on a “Saudi warning” reaching “Western intelligence agencies, including Israel”. [2] The rationale, according to “Saudi intelligence”, was “to convince Hezbollah fighters consigned against their will to the Syrian battlefield”.

This does not even qualify as pathetic. Hezbollah is basically defending the Lebanese-Syrian border, and has only a few hundred fighters inside Syria. Moreover, no string of suicide bombings will deter Hezbollah and Tehran from regaining control of what really matters in the Syrian strategic context; the Qalamoun area.

Qalamoun, ringed by mountains, is a 50-kilometer stretch bordering the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, between Damascus and al-Nabk, and right on the absolutely critical Damascus-Homs corridor of the M5 highway. The Syrian army is on the offensive in Qalamoun. Recapturing the whole area is just a matter of time. This means controlling the northern approach to Damascus. Hezbollah is helping in the offensive out of Bekaa valley. This does not mean they will camp out in Syria afterwards.

Now for the false flag accusation. As far as real false flags are concerned, one just has to re-examine three recent international bombings that supposed victimized Israel. In India the bomb had no projectiles; it barely injured an Israeli attache. In Azerbaijan the bomb was miraculously “discovered” before it went off. And in Thailand, the bomb exploded too soon, injuring only a nearby Iranian.

Crass Israeli disinformation is unmasked when it leaps into this conclusion:

If Tehran is capable of such atrocities merely as a diversionary tactic, then perhaps Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin ought to take a really hard look at their negotiating partner across the table before signing a major deal Wednesday, Nov. 20, which leaves Iran’s nuclear program in place.

So this neatly ties up with the current Israeli hysteria about the Geneva negotiations, which also includes the umpteenth report by a News Corporation outfit, London’s Sunday Times, that Saudi Arabia will help Israel to attack Iran. [3]

It also ties up with the proverbial US shills spinning, gloating rather, that, “strategically, this de-facto Israeli alliance with the Saudis is an extraordinary opportunity for Israel”. [4]

Even such shills have to admit that the House of Saud is “blocking formation of any government in Lebanon, for example, to obstruct Iran’s ally, Hezbollah”. “Blocking” of course is a euphemism to normalize suicide bombing.

And then comes the ultimate wishful thinking disguised as “analysis”; Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu “bidding to replace the United States as military protector of the status quo”. Translation; the Likudniks dreaming of becoming the new military Mob boss of petrodollar Wahhabis.

The enablers
Bandar Bush’s strategy – weaponizing and providing cover to Salafis, jihadis and every patsy or mercenary in between – will go on unabated. After Bandar Bush convinced Washington to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Qataris, the Saudis are the supreme warfare go-to channel. The Bandar Bush machine has ties with virtually every jihadi outfit in the Levant.

It certainly helps that Bandar has the perfect cover; the fact that he knows and has cajoled every significant player in Washington. In the US, Bandar Bush remains a dashing hero, even eliciting fawning comparisons with Gatsby. [5] Right. And my name is actually Daisy.

Even with its own embassy attacked in Lebanon, Iran is maintaining an extremely calibrated approach. The number-one priority is the nuclear negotiations in Geneva with the partner that really matters, the US. This explains Iran blaming the Beirut terror attack on the proverbial “Zionists”, and not Saudi-enabled jihadis posing as “rebels” and part of the whole Bandar Bush nebula.

For the moment though, enough of Orwellian newspeak. What happened in Beirut was a terror attack, cheered by Israel, and fully enabled by Saudis; a graphic display by the Likudnik-House of Saud axis.

Notes:
1. Al-Qaida-linked group claims responsibility for deadly Beirut attack, Ha’aretz, November 19, 2013.
2. Incredible! Beirut bombings killing 25 people were self-inflicted by Iran and Hizballah as a diversionary tactic, DEBKAfile, November 19, 2013.
3. Israel, Saudi Arabia Unite For Attack On Iran, RT, November 17, ’13.
4. The stakes of an Iranian deal, Washington Post, November 15, 2013.
5. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Gatsby, Master Spy, The Daily Beast, November 16, 2013.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

Witnesses Confirming the Brainwashing (Reprogramming) Initiative At Guantanamo

File photo of Mehsud, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate, talking on a radio at an undisclosed location in the tribal region near Afghan border

[Many researchers and analysts have long ago come to the conclusion that Abdullah Mehsud switched sides after his long visit at Guantanamo.  Whether the changes which were induced in Mehsud (and in other Guantanamo and Bagram Prison parolees) by the special attention that he received in Cuba were the result of bribery or brainwashing, Abdullah Mehsud was thereafter, a Pakistani terrorist fighting against Pakistan.  He was released in Afghanistan, where he joined-up with an unknown number of Tahir Yuldashev's IMU terrorists.  This was the original core group which trained many of the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan terrorists. 

Abdullah joined hands with cousin Baitullah Mehsud, a man who could easily be bought, to later be reinforced by Afghan legend Mullah Dadullah.  This line of succession directly confirms the American Creation of the Pakistani Taliban terrorist group.  These groups merged with the homegrown Taliban, trained by the Pakistani ISI.  Both groups staged terrorist attacks throughout FATA, but the really shameful bombings of Shia funerals and mosques was largely the handiwork of the Mehsud faction (SEE: Arresting Taliban To Cover America’s Ass).]

abdullahmehsudnov2004chzp1 Abdullah Mehsud

Penny Lane: Secret CIA Guantanamo Facility Trained Prisoners To Be Double Agents

HuffingtonPost

By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned some Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents then sent them home to help the U.S. kill terrorists, current and former U.S. officials said.

The CIA promised the prisoners freedom, safety for their families and millions of dollars from the agency’s secret accounts.

It was a risky gamble. Officials knew there was a chance that some prisoners might quickly spurn their deal and kill Americans.

For the CIA, that was an acceptable risk in a dangerous business. For the American public, which was never told, the program was one of the many secret trade-offs the government made on its behalf. At the same time the government used the risk of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA.

The program was carried out in a secret facility built a few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The eight small cottages were hidden behind a ridge covered in thick scrub and cactus.

The program and the handful of men who passed through these cottages had various official CIA code names.

But those who were aware of the cluster of cottages knew it best by its sobriquet: Penny Lane.

It was a nod to the classic Beatles song and a riff on the CIA’s other secret facility at Guantanamo Bay, a prison known as Strawberry Fields.

Nearly a dozen current and former U.S officials described aspects of the program to The Associated Press. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret program publicly by name, even though it ended in about 2006.

Some of the men who passed through Penny Lane helped the CIA find and kill many top al-Qaida operatives, current and former U.S. officials said. Others stopped providing useful information and the CIA lost touch with them.

When prisoners began streaming into Guantanamo Bay in January 2002, the CIA recognized it as an unprecedented opportunity to identify sources. That year, 632 detainees arrived at the detention center. The following year 117 more arrived.

“Of course that would be an objective,” said Emile Nakhleh, a former top CIA analyst who spent time in 2002 assessing detainees but who did not discuss Penny Lane. “It’s the job of intelligence to recruit sources.”

By early 2003, Penny Lane was open for business.

Candidates were ushered from the confines of prison to Penny Lane’s relative hominess, officials said. The cottages had private kitchens, showers and televisions. Each had a small patio.

Some prisoners asked for and received pornography. One official said the biggest luxury in each cottage was the bed — not a military-issued cot but a real bed with a mattress.

The cottages were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.

Current and former officials said dozens of prisoners were evaluated but only a handful, from a variety of countries, were turned into spies who signed agreements to work for the CIA.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd declined to comment.

The U.S. government says it has confirmed that about 16 percent of former Guantanamo Bay detainees rejoined the fight against America. Officials suspect but have not confirmed that 12 percent more rejoined.

It’s not clear whether the men from Penny Lane are included in those figures. But because only a small number of people went through the program, it would not likely change the figures significantly either way. None of the officials interviewed by the AP knew of an instance in which any double agent killed Americans.

Though the number of double agents recruited through Penny Lane was small, the program was significant enough to draw keen attention from President George W. Bush, one former official said. Bush personally interviewed a junior CIA case officer who had just returned home from Afghanistan, where the agency typically met with the agents.

President Barack Obama took an interest the program for a different reason. Shortly after taking office in 2009, he ordered a review of the former detainees working as double agents because they were providing information used in Predator drone strikes, one of the officials said.

Infiltrating al-Qaida has been one of the CIA’s most sought-after but difficult goals, something that other foreign intelligence services have only occasionally accomplished. Candidates for Penny Lane needed legitimate terrorist connections. To be valuable to the CIA, the men had to be able to reconnect with al-Qaida.

From the Bush administration descriptions of Guantanamo Bay prisoners at the time, the CIA would have seemingly had a large pool to draw from. Vice President Dick Cheney called the prisoners “the worst of a very bad lot.” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said they were “among the most dangerous, best trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth.”

In reality, many were held on flimsy evidence and were of little use to the CIA.

While the agency looked for viable candidates, those with no terrorism ties sat in limbo. It would take years before the majority of detainees were set free, having never been charged. Of the 779 people who were taken to Guantanamo Bay, more than three-fourths have been released, mostly during the Bush administration.

Many others remain at Guantanamo Bay, having been cleared for release by the military but with no hope for freedom in sight.

“I do see the irony on the surface of letting some really very bad guys go,” said David Remes, an American lawyer who has represented about a dozen Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo.

But Remes, who was not aware of Penny Lane, said he understands its attraction.

“The men we were sending back as agents were thought to be able to provide value to us,” he said.

Prisoners agreed to cooperate for a variety of reasons, officials said. Some received assurances that the U.S. would resettle their families. Another thought al-Qaida had perverted Islam and believed it was his duty as a Muslim to help the CIA destroy it. One detainee agreed to cooperate after the CIA insinuated it would harm his children, a former official said, similar to the threats interrogators had made to admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

All were promised money. Exactly how much each was paid remains unclear. But altogether, the government paid millions of dollars for their services, officials said. The money came from a secret CIA account, codenamed Pledge, that’s used to pay informants, officials said.

The arrangement led to strategic discussions inside the CIA: If the agency’s drones had a shot at Osama bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, would officials take the shot if it meant killing a double agent on the American payroll?

It never came to that.

The biggest fear, former officials involved with the program recalled, was that a former detainee would attack Americans then publicly announce that he had been on the CIA payroll.

Al-Qaida suspected the CIA would attempt a program like this and its operatives have been very suspicious of former Guantanamo Bay detainees, intelligence officials and experts said.

In one case, a former official recalled, al-Qaida came close to discovering one of the double agents in its midst.

The U.S. government had such high hopes for Penny Lane that one former intelligence official recalled discussions about whether to secretly release a pair of Pakistani men into the United States on student or business visas. The hope was that they would connect with al-Qaida and lead authorities to members of a U.S. cell.

Another former senior intelligence official said that never happened.

Officials said the program ended in 2006, as the flow of detainees to Guantanamo Bay slowed to a trickle. The last prisoner arrived there in 2008.

Penny Lane still stands and can be seen in satellite photos. A dirt road winds its way to a clearing. The special detachment of Marines that once provided security is gone. The complex is surrounded by two fences and hidden among the trees and shrubs of Guantanamo Bay.

It has long been abandoned.

____

Associated Press writer Ben Fox in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report

Islamic Jihadists are poodles for wealthy Gulf elites and Pakistan–Qatar, Saudi Arabia and terrorism

Islamic Jihadists are poodles for wealthy Gulf elites and Pakistan: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and terrorism

 

modern tokyo timesMODERN TOKYO TIMES

 

Islamic Jihadists are poodles for wealthy Gulf elites and Pakistan: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and terrorism

 

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

 

Modern Tokyo Times

 

jihadists

 

Al-Qaeda affiliates and a plethora of Sunni Islamic jihadist movements in Syria are highlighting the ultra-reactionary reality that exists wherever jihadists are based because of sinister forces throughout the Gulf region. In the Gulf you have certain families and individuals with enormous wealth and who purchase the most expensive things that you can find on this planet. At the same time, these feudal Gulf nation states seek to preserve their feudal power bases at all costs. Therefore, Gulf petrodollars are investing heavily on spreading Salafi Islam; supporting reactionary Sunni Takfiri clerics who spread sectarianism based on their anti-Shia agenda; forcing women into the shadows; and garnering financial support for terrorist movements – and other negative realities.

 

Of course, it doesn’t concern al-Qaeda affiliates and other Sunni Islamist movements that feudal monarchs spend vast sums on enormous palaces, buy sublime yachts, invest in football clubs, and so forth; no, issues related to social justice doesn’t even enter the equation. Therefore, while Sunni terrorist reactionary forces blight parts of Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and other countries – it is clear that wealthy Gulf monarchs don’t fear a threat to their respective power bases by the very same terrorist groups. Obviously, this isn’t surprising because the main source of funding terrorism and sectarianism in many parts of the world emanates directly from the Gulf region irrespective if state sanctioned; based on Sunni Islamist Salafi organizations; funded by extremely wealthy individuals; ratlines within the banking sector; or based on powerful charities which hide behind slick advertisements based on media propaganda.

 

In other words, religious militancy in the Gulf is the perfect ticket to spread compliant Salafi and Takfiri Islam based on brainwashing individuals into supporting a monoculture based on “year zero.” These ultra reactionary forces can be manipulated easily by inciting hatred towards “the other” based on rhetoric related to jihad, Sharia and oppressing all moderate forces. Therefore, Kurdish Islamists are killing fellow Kurds; Syrian Islamist sectarians are killing fellow Syrians; Islamists in the Sinai are killing fellow Egyptians; and it goes on and on. Indeed, in Bangladesh it is clear that Islamist militant forces even fought against their own people and committed mass atrocities for Pakistan while the people of this country were fighting for independence. This reality highlights the fact that Islamic jihadists are mere fodder for wealthy Gulf monarchs, the intrigues of Western powers (CIA and MI6 supported jihadists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya and so forth), the policies of Pakistan and so forth.

 

In Pakistan this nation helped Islamic jihadists from all over the world to fight in Afghanistan in the 1980s and early 1990s in cohorts with America, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf powers. The same Pakistan allied itself with Bangladesh Islamist movements in order to try to crush the independence of this nation. Likewise, Islamist militancy in Kashmir is based on the intrigues of Pakistan and several major terrorist attacks in India relate to Pakistan and the ISI.

 

Turning the clock forward to 2013 and even now Pakistan is playing a dangerous game whereby the ISI and other intrigues in this nation are enabling militant Sunni Islamist forces to have a foothold aimed at Afghanistan and India. Therefore, the Shia and other religious minorities suffer enormous persecution because Sunni Islamist militant forces are allowed to flourish in this country. Indeed, even Pakistan soldiers are fodder to the elites in this nation because many known terrorists mingle freely in parts of this country. The killing of Osama bin Laden highlights the double-game that Pakistan is playing and the same applies to the recent killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani in Islamabad. After all, both individuals were not afraid of authorities in Pakistan.

 

Therefore, in Pakistan it is clear that Sunni Islamic jihadists remain to be a fixture within the geopolitical ambitions of this nation. After all, Pakistan can’t defeat the military of India based on past conflicts that erupted between both nations. However, Kashmir can be taken by stealth by Pakistan based on spreading Islamic militancy and indoctrinating the people of Kashmir. Hindus therefore have fled many areas of Kashmir despite residing in India. Also, indigenous Sunni Islam in this part of India is being transformed by Gulf versions of Islam and the militant message of Takfiris in Pakistan.

 

Takfiris and militant Salafists in nations like Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria adore beheading, blowing up people, destroying the economy of nations they are based in, infringing on the rights of non-Muslims, persecuting the Shia, shackling women and other draconian realities. Overwhelmingly, these militant Sunni fanatics are mainly slaughtering Muslims and destroying Muslim dominated nation states. Nothing is productive and now from Afghanistan to Nigeria in West Africa you have an enormous belt of chaos, daily massacres and destabilized nation states. These ultra reactionaries are a mirror to the reality of modern day Saudi Arabia whereby all non-Muslim faiths are banned, the Shia are persecuted, women are forced to cover-up and marrying little girls is legal based on Sharia Islamic law.

 

Of course, wealthy elites in the Gulf invest in major fashion houses, buy property all over the world, travel first class, invest in powerful football teams and enjoy a life which is completely free from the shackles that they enforce on society. Despite this, modern day al-Qaeda affiliates and radical Salafi and Takfiri forces ignore this reality because they are doing the bidding of the same wealthy Gulf elites. Therefore, wealthy feudal monarchy states are not threatened by “year zero Sunni Islamists” but in Pakistan the situation isn’t so clear because draconian forces are also based internally.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

 

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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