More Murder and Intrigue On Lake Issyk-Kul On Kyrgyz/Kazakh Border

 source

[SEE:  Murder and Terrorism In Ili-Alatau National Park Linked To Strategic Plant Near Almaty, Kazakhstan?]

Five killed in Kyrgyz border shooting

  • From:AAP

A KYRGYZ soldier stationed near the Central Asian state’s border with Kazakhstan has shot dead four of his colleagues and the wife of one of them before fleeing in a car.

The attack, which happened on Monday about 100km southeast of the popular Lake Issyk-Kul resort, was the third such outbreak of violence in the increasingly volatile region in recent months.

The unnamed border guard shot dead the head of the small high-mountain outpost, a senior soldier and a warrant officer as well as a fourth soldier and his wife, an interior ministry spokesman said.

Police launched a manhunt for the killer.

There was no immediate motive given for the attack.

The border region shared by Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China has seen a wave of sporadic violence in the past two months.

Police in Kazakhstan said last week they had discovered the charred and stabbed remains of 11 bodies scattered over large stretches of a remote park popular with international climbers and hikers.

An investigation into that attack is continuing, with police searching for the son of a slain forest park warden.

That incident occurred two months after a Kazakh border guard confessed to killing 14 of his fellow servicemen at a remote frontier post near the border with China.

In twist, Chinese company keeps Syria on Internet

SOURCE

In twist, Chinese company keeps Syria on Internet

COMPUTERWORLD

Sanctions, physical disruptions have left Syrians dependent on PCCW of Hong Kong for free flow of information, Renesys says

Computerworld – In a somewhat ironic turn of events, a telecom company based in China, a country famous for Internet censorship, has become the primary means of Internet access for people looking to get information out of war-torn Syria.

An analysis of Internet traffic flowing into and out of Syria over the past few days, shows that a major portion of it is being routed through Hong Kong-based PCCW, according to Internet monitoring firm Renesys.

Turk Telecom, which used to be the biggest provider of Internet connectivity services to Syria has completely dropped out of the picture since August 12 while other smaller providers like Telecom Italia appear to be fading away as well, the company said.

That has left PCCW carrying a lion’s share of the Internet traffic to and from Syria, Renesys analyst Doug Madory said today.

What’s unclear yet is if the situation is the result of the tightening economic sanctions against Syria or whether it stems from infrastructure damages inside the country as a result of the ongoing conflict, he said.

“While U.S. firms are barred by sanctions, it is China, a country that bans YouTube via the Great Firewall, that is largely responsible for the free flow of information out of Syria,” Renesys general manager Earl Zmijewski added.

The Internet has played a big role in the civilian uprisings in the Middle East over the past two years. The huge protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Iran were fueled to an extent by social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Though the governments in each of those countries attempted to throttle access to social networks by cutting off access to Internet services many still managed to find their way around such efforts thanks in large part to support from companies and organizations in countries friendly to their cause.

The escalating conflict in Syria has already resulted in several major Internet outages over the past six weeks, Madory said. Syria’s only Internet provider, the Syria Telecommunications Establishment (STE) briefly withdrew all 61 of the country’s networks from the global routing table last Friday. It did the same thing intermittently with about 20 networks on Saturday.

“When there’s a big outage we see routes to different networks being withdrawn from the global routing table,” which is what has been happening in Syria for the past several weeks.

In addition to these outages, Renesys has also observed a fairly dramatic shift in the service to Syria being provided by the different telecommunications companies in the region, Madory said. Turk Telecom, which was by far the biggest provider of services to the STE, briefly disappeared for a while on August 3rd before dropping out of sight entirely on August 12.

The change in service levels could be the result of physical infrastructure damage or because of configuration changes made by the company to exclude traffic flowing in and out of Syria. The result is that all 61 of Syria’s networks are now directing traffic through PCCW’s networks.

What’s interesting is that major U.S. telecommunications companies such as Level 3 and Cogent currently provide Internet services to Syria’s neighbors such as Lebanon, but are prohibited from providing the same services in Syria.

“With the diminishing role of western carriers, PCCW is left as a primary means for the Syrian people to document the ongoing conflict, such as via timely YouTube videos, Madory wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. “Ultimately, telecommunications bans could prove counterproductive if they end up placing barriers to the free flow of information,” he said.

 covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at Twitter @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar’s RSS feed Vijayan RSS. His e-mail address isjvijayan@computerworld.com

Significant recession imminent if Congress doesn’t act on fiscal cliff: CBO report

[If American Congressmen cannot immediately stop themselves from passing simultaneous tax hikes and budget cuts, then the American economy will take a nosedive in the first half of next year.  It is that extreme and that certain, Congress is arriving at a very ugly “moment of truth,” which none of us should be ignoring.  The American economy, and by extension, the entire world economy, is about to plunge into another deep dark economic chasm which can only be avoided if all Congressmen and Congresswomen change their own natures overnight.  But that will never happen, Congress will NOT CHANGE until we force it to change.  If we cannot immediately reign-in Congress, then America will enter into an economic downturn far worse than those in the  recent past, which have been described as “worse than the Great Depression.”  In the first half of 2013, we will be in the same boat as the European Union.  Mandated tax increases on the Middle Class and the wealthy will only exacerbate a bad conundrum.   We can no longer afford Congress the luxury of following its own customary, contradictory budget policies.  There has to be some sort of citizen enforcement of Constitutional Law, in order to bind the hands of Congress, so that they can no longer simultaneously add to the budget and cut it at the same time.  The American Congress behaves as if all of them were “Lords,” or other “aristocrats,” who did not have to answer to the people they represent, administering laws arbitrarily, deciding which of their friends and relatives would receive their fortunes from government largess.  Obama’s policies and stop-gap measures have only amplified the existing contradictions in American govt. policies and accelerated the conflict.  The closer we get to the American police state, the more our society of alleged “free choice” comes to resemble a classic totalitarian dictatorship, much like that of the former CIS states dictatorships.  Downtown Portsmouth, Ohio will come to look more and more like downtown Khorog, Tajikistan, where the military now rules in a most brutal manner.  As the clock ticks down to zero, notice just how much Obama clings to the pattern of continually making things more painful by constantly avoiding the appearance of pain.  He is a typical consensus-building politician, who will never try to make things a little better by offering a painful cure.

Can the world be saved or won by belt-tightening alone, even in conjunction with incentives to wealthy investors?  Perhaps during less dire times than the era we are entering it might have worked.  More money is now needed to set the world aright than all of the gold that is now hoarded away.  To set the course of humanity upon a path of progress, one which is far different than the destructive track we have been on, will require massive infrastructure investments, especially in those areas where there has been almost no infrastructure to speak of.  We have run out of road and must therefore, build new roads.   We haven’t the luxury to wait to make these infrastructure improvements until we have saved enough to finance the work; we need that money now–but we will NOT HAVE that money now.  We will instead, blissfully sail the American ship of state off the edge of the cliff.  It is going to be a very rough ride.]

Significant recession imminent if Congress doesn’t act on fiscal cliff: CBO report

The nation would be plunged into a deep recession during the first half of next year if Congress fails to avert nearly $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to hit in January, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday.

The massive round of New Year’s belt-tightening – variously known as the fiscal cliff or Taxmageddon – would disrupt recent economic progress, push the unemployment rate back up to 9.1 percent by the end of 2013 and cause economic conditions “that will probably be considered a recession,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said.

The outlook is considerably darker than the forecast the agency released in January, when CBO predicted that the fiscal cliff would trigger a modest recession in the first half of 2013, followed by a quick recovery.

Since that forecast was issued, Congress has steepened the fiscal cliff by extending a temporary payroll tax break and emergency unemployment benefits, which are now also set to expire in January.

In addition, CBO analysts concluded that the underlying economy is weaker than previously predicted. In its latest budget outlook, the CBO predicts the federal deficit will be $1.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ends in September, marking the fourth straight year of deficits in excess of $1 trillion.

 

One of the Accused In Stabbing of Tajik KGB General Is Murdered In His Bed

[The man was an invalid, confined to either bed or wheelchair, yet he is accused of being behind a  gang murder by stabbing of Tajikistan’s top intelligence officer.  After his murder at 3 a.m., either by bomb, or by an armed assault, word spread like wildfire across the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.  By morning, a flash rally called for Khorog had gathered together over 3,000 supporters.  Shortly thereafter, either the protesters came under military assault, or government troops fired on the crowd to stop the takeover of the local government administration building, depending upon which report is true (SEE:Tajikistan: In Khorog rally to protest against the killing I.Imomnazarova ).  After the firing, two thousand of the protesters moved the rally to Imomnazarov’s home, where they are still assembled, I assume.  This really could be the opening salvos in a second Tajik civil war.]

Tajikistan: Imomnazar Imomnazarov accused of murdering General Nazarov, killed in his own home (updated)

Ferghana

Imomnazar Imomnazarov

On the night of August 22, 2012 at his home in Khorog ( Tajikistan ) was killed Imomnazar Imomnazarov (Imumnazarov) – one of the suspects in the murder of the general intelligence Abdullo Nazarov, reports Gazeta . Recall that the desire to find and arrest the killers of General was announced as the official pretext for military special operations of government troops in Khorog. After several days of fighting was reported that the militants began to surrender their weapons, the situation returned to normal.Imomnazarov was one of the informal leaders of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. Tajik Prosecutor General’s Office earlier accusedImomnazarova (as well as three other accused in the murder of Nazarov: Tolib Aembekova, Mamadbokira Mamadbokirova and Yodgorov Mahmadaslamova) in the establishment of illegal armed groups that are “in the period from 2000 to 2012, gathered around him and giving young people made ​​a number of serious and very the number of serious crimes of banditry, murder, assault, riot, smuggling and trafficking of tobacco, armed resistance to state bodies, embezzlement, issued as a loan, tax evasion and other crimes. Overall, during this period were over 20 crimes committed directly by them or members of their armed groups. However, the actual number of crimes committed by them even more, but for fear of victims do not report them to law enforcement agencies and these crimes were not registered, “- said in a press release from the prosecutor’s office. These gangs, allegedly “engaged in illicit trafficking and smuggling of narcotics, gemstones, human trafficking and protection of criminals,” put up armed resistance to public authorities and law enforcement agencies.According to special services of Tajikistan, Imomnazarov was associated with criminal groups in the CIS countries, including Russia and Kyrgyzstan, as well as in Iran, UAE, UK.

According to one version, the attack on the house Imomnazarova was committed by a group of armed men late at night. In a firefight killed himself Imomnazarov, injured his younger brother and other people in the home. Asia Plus said that all delivered to the regional hospital. Who carried out the attack is still unknown.

According to another version, voiced by RIAN , Imomnazarov killed in an explosion at his home. A source in the law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan said that “At 3 o’clock Wednesday night (0200 GMT) at his home, an explosion occurred, resulting in Imomnazarov was killed and his brother was seriously injured, while the nature and type of explosive device is not installed.” By the explosion and death Imomnazarova criminal case under investigation. The source also said that we consider two versions of the explosion and the death of home Imomnazarova – gangsters and suicide.

A couple of hours before the information leader of the Tajik opposition movement “Vatandor” Dodojon Atovulloyev said on his page on Facebook , which, according to its source, the government will work “on the two” versions “: dismantling the Afghan drug lords or suicide.”

Imomnazarov in 1994, during the Civil War, was shot in the spine, which is why he could not walk, was invalid of the first group. According to the “Asia-Plus” because of diabetes on his body appeared not healing boils, so the last few days in bed Imomnazarov.

Many say that after the killing in Khorog change their minds to surrender their weapons .

International news agency “Fergana”

Hecker: The Risks and Dangers of Doing Business in Uzbekistan

By: Dr. Michael Hecker
VP, Strategy, M&A and Corporate Development, MTS

Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Michele Falzone | AWL Images | Getty Images
Bukhara, Uzbekistan

As I write this, four of my colleagues remain wrongfully detained in an Uzbekistan prison.

Their crime? Just showing up for work.

While my company fights for their release and the survival of our business, I hope that our story serves as a cautionary tale for those investors and companies contemplating business in Uzbekistan.

Sadly, after eight years of operating perhaps the most successful and largest business in Uzbekistan, we have become a target of harassment by nefarious Uzbek authorities. On August 13, 2012, following unsubstantiated accusations of financial impropriety, the wrongful detention of employees and the unwarranted suspensions of our licenses, an Uzbek court granted a government petition to withdraw our license to do business in Uzbekistan.

Who are we, and why does this matter?

Mobile TeleSystems, or MTS, [MBT  18.84    0.17  (+0.91%)   ], is the largest telecommunications provider in Russia and Central Asia. More than a quarter of our company is owned by institutional investors based in the United States, a who’s who of state pension funds, teacher retirement funds and leading asset management firms. As a NYSE-listed company, we subscribe to the highest levels of corporate governance, mandated by US regulators, and we pride ourselves on delivering open and transparent business practices in each and every country we operate. Since 2004, MTS has successfully operated without incident in Uzbekistan through its wholly owned subsidiary Uzdunrobita, the market leader with 38% share, providing mobile communications and Internet access to more than 9.5 million Uzbeks.

While it is no surprise that Uzbekistan presents a challenging business environment, the climate for foreign investors has recently become increasingly toxic. This is of particular concern, considering $500 million in foreign direct investment from the U.S. has entered that country in the last 20 years. We are only the latest in a growing list of companies, including Coca-Cola [KO  39.26    -0.21  (-0.53%)   ]Newmont Mining [NEM  48.25    0.32  (+0.67%)  ]Oxus Gold PLC and Metal-Tech Ltd., which have fallen victim to capricious forces within the Uzbekistan government in the last 10 years.

MTS has long complied with local regulations through regular audits administered by various government agencies. Never have any serious violations been reported; during the latest audit, completed last February, covering the period 2007-2010, tax authorities found that we owed an additional 2.4 billion Uzbek soms ($1.27 million) in taxes and penalties. While we disagreed with this finding, we quickly settled the issue in full.

Still, just a few short months later, the Uzbekistan government arrested five of our employees on the vaguest of charges, denying them even the minimum procedural rights prescribed by Uzbek law or international human rights conventions. While one has been released from the same detention center to which the United Nations has been denied entry, he had remained under effective house arrest until his repatriation late last week. Other employees in the country have also had their passports confiscated and are being routinely harassed by authorities to sign false confessions. Our bank accounts in Uzbekistan have been frozen. And on August 13, 2012, in a hastily convened 20-minute proceeding, the Uzbekistan authorities revoked our operating licenses.

In effect, the Uzbek government is trying to steal more than $1 billion in MTS assets. (Read More: MTS facing fines of $80 million in Uzbekistan)

While the financial and legal aspects of this case will get sorted with time, ultimately, it’s Uzbekistan’s own citizens who are truly suffering.With the cancellation of MTS’s licenses, more than 9.5 million Uzbeks were left without mobile and internet connections. The remaining telecom service providers in Uzbekistan are not prepared to meet the sudden demand, and the outage has caused severe disruptions to people’s daily lives and business activities. This has a serious impact not only on families, small businesses and large corporations, but also on international interests and the region’s future. Meanwhile, as part of its campaign to escalate pressure on MTS and identify pretexts for regulatory actions, Uzbek authorities have detained four MTS employees illegally. (Read MoreRussia’s MTS set to return to Turkmenistan)

As was disclosed recently, a letter authored by the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or the U.S. Helsinki Commission, was delivered to the attention of Uzbek President Islam Karimov regarding the plight of our colleagues. This comes in conjunction with a visit by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, who traveled last week to Uzbekistan as part of the countries’ annual bilateral consultation. It is our hope that these events will shine a light on U.S. interests in the country, including MTS’ investors. And we are also encouraging US-based and European investors to exert their ownership interests by supporting our efforts to urge the government of Uzbekistan to respect the rights of its citizens and the rule of law by expressing their concern to elected officials.

Although risk is a natural part of any investment, companies should not have to worry about the use of intimidation tactics, which threatens their existence and basic rights of their employees. Shareholders of global companies who care about open and transparent business practices and wish to protect their investment should hold accountable those governments that resort to outright thuggery to punish companies who play by the rules.

It’s time to send a powerful message to the Uzbek authorities – and other governments that think they might be able to get away with the same deplorable practices – that the systematic harassment of international investors will not be tolerated.

If I Were Assad, I Would Kill All the Mercenaries I Could Before They Acquired Their Own Air Force

If I Were Assad

By Andrey MANOYLO (Russia)

If I Were AssadThe situation in Syria keeps on getting hotter. The West is bumping up the pressure on Bashar Assad, hammering him with so-called “opposition” units that the countries of NATO arm, support and supply well with manpower — mercenaries recruited throughout the Middle East and Africa. Most of the mercenaries recruited this way end up dying on Syrian soil — the government troops are successfully countering rebel attacks. However, the stream of “adventurers” is not drying up: The Western coalition countries are paying them big bucks to join the armed rebellion In Syria.

Meanwhile, the conflict is drawing to a close: NATO and its Arab sheikh allies have long been ready to intervene directly. Until recently, Western aggression against al-Assad was held back by Russia’s and China’s veto of the draft UN Security Council resolution supporting radical measures against the regime of the “bloody butcher” Assad, up to and including a military invasion. The resolution has now been adopted (and almost in Saudi Arabia’s original wording); the obstacles to the interventionists have been removed. All that is needed is find a suitable pretext to justify an invasion. A pretext is all the more necessary because they cannot run roughshod over Syria by pointedly ignoring world opinion: The issue has received too much attention.

Such a pretext may already exist, or it may soon: It is no accident that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was succeeded by Hollande, has again emerged on the political stage. Yesterday, he issued a resounding statement saying that Syria must be crushed at any cost, reprising what was done in Libya. Recall that the invasion of Libya also began with statements by the two “lunatics” (as they are called in European politics) — Sarkozy and Cameron, whose unbridled ambitions were cleverly used by Washington to intervene in a civil war on entirely legitimate grounds — as a state coming to the aid of its NATO allies, who were on the verge of a military disaster after several months of their war with Gadhafi. The Libyan scenario is playing itself out again today, and the same actors are taking the same roles they had in Libya. You have to say it is original.

It is also possible that the Americans are delaying the start of NATO operations in Syria so that Obama, who desperately needs a “small victorious war” to gain an edge over his rival, can use it in the presidential race. If the war is begun now, its outcome will have been partially forgotten by election day, or, conversely, it will have acquired a bad connotation once the initial euphoria wears off and sobriety returns accompanied by a “political hangover.” In any event, all of these factors will give Assad some time that he should make good use of.

What can Assad do under the circumstances? What would you do if you were in his position? A few very obvious answers to that question suggest themselves.

First of all, Assad would do well to destroy all of the opposition’s military units before they receive support from expeditionary forces sent by NATO and the Gulf states. There are relatively few rebels at present, and they do not yet have heavy weapons (artillery, tanks, air defense systems, etc.) other than those they have captured. When they advance, they rely less on their own strike force than on the unlimited opportunities to bribe Syrian commanders who stand in their way (as was done first in Iraq and then in Libya). The West and NATO need the rebels not as an organized fighting force but as a political movement that can be passed off as representing the interests of the majority of Syrian citizens who are oppressed by Assad’s regime (who there will count how many actual representatives of the “Syrian people” there are that support the rebels?). They will select some of them to be “a government of national liberation,” officially recognize it as the sole legitimate government of Syria, and then get an official invitation from a surrogate government official to intervene in the conflict.

The Americans used a similar scheme for the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. However, Fidel’s soldiers killed all of the emigrants landed on his shores before they even have time to form a government, much less establish diplomatic relations with the United States. That situation is now being repeated with Assad: He will be under a threat of foreign intervention as long as the rebels control at least an inch of Syrian soil.

Second, it would be good for Assad to clarify the question of who exactly is fighting on the side of the rebels and what percentage of them are Syrian citizens. I suspect that this percentage is small: We know that about half of all the opposition’s so-called field commanders are al-Qaeda section chiefs, and their units are full of Islamists from Egypt, Libya and other countries in Africa and the Middle East. Moreover, American instructors are working hard to recruit mercenaries from other “hot” spots” around the world, from the conflict in Sudan, for example. A situation is developing that resembles the first and second wars in Chechnya, where Mujahedeen from all over the Arab East, including the Gulf countries, fought on the side of the Chechen separatists; we even encountered negroes. Making clear who is fighting for the Syrian opposition could reveal what is really happening and point to the real actors, who are now bringing the world a new Islamic order at the forefront of American foreign expansion.

Third, Assad’s propaganda is clearly crippled. Al-Qaeda is among the rebels attacking him. It was the embodiment of evil not that long ago, but he is not exploiting it. It is high time he called the fight with the rebels’ a “counterterrorist operation,” displayed the bodies of dead al-Qaeda fighters, expressed solidarity with the United States in combating international terrorism and thus thoroughly discombobulated NATO’s strategists. Russian politicians successfully used that approach in Chechnya when the West tried to depict the Chechen bandits as “national liberation fighters against the bloody Kremlin regime.” But they failed. Maybe they will fail in Syria, too.

SourceNew Eastern Outlook

The Abundance of Circumstantial Evidence Proving That Western Governments Are the Real Supporters of Terror

Our writer was given exclusive access to the Assad Generals accused of war crimes as they seek to defeat the rebels in Aleppo

Mortars crashed into the middle-class streets around us and a T-72 tank baked in the heat under a road viaduct, but Bashar al-Assad’s most senior operational commander in Aleppo – a 53-year-old Major-General with 33 years in the military and two bullet wounds from last month’s battles in Damascus – claims he can “clean” the whole province of Aleppo from “terrorists” in 20 days. Now that is quite a boast, especially in the Saif el-Dowla suburb of the city, where sniper fire snapped down leafy streets. For the battle of Aleppo is far from over.

But this was a strange sensation, to sit in a private house, commandeered by the Syrian army – 19th-century prints still on the walls, the carpet immaculate – and talk to the Generals accused by Western leaders of being war criminals. I was, so to speak, in “the lair of the enemy”, but the immensely tall, balding General – his officers adding their own impressions whenever they were asked – had much to say about the war they are fighting and the contempt with which they regard their enemies. They were “mice”, the General said – he would not give his name. “They snipe at us and then they run and hide and in the sewers. Foreigners, Turks, Chechens, Afghans, Libyans, Sudanese.” And Syrians, I said. “Yes, Syrians too, but smugglers and criminals,” he said.

I asked about the rebels’ weapons and the clutch of conscripts staggered into the room under the weight of rockets, rifles, ammunition and explosives. “Take this,” the General said, grinning as he handed me a two-way radio, a Hongda-made HD668 taken two days ago off a dead Turkish fighter in Saif al-Dowla a few hundred metres from where we were sitting. “Mohamed, do you hear me?” the radio demanded. “Abul Hassan, did you hear?” The Syrian officers roared with laughter at the disembodied voice of their enemy, perhaps in the same block of buildings. We took this ID from the “terrorist”, the General said. “Citizen of the Turkish Republic” was printed on the card, above a photo of a man with a thin moustache. Born – Bingol (Turkey) 1 July 1974. Name: Remziye Idris Metin Ekince. Religion: Islam.

So, suddenly, we had a name for one of the mysterious “foreigners” who – at least in popular Baathist imagination – staff the “terrorist” army the Syrian military is fighting. And a lot of other names with far larger significance. As I prowled around the weapons – all captured within the past week, according to the Syrian officers – I found sticks of Swedish explosives in plastic covers, dated February 1999 and manufactured by Hammargrens, whose office address was printed as 434-24 Kingsbacka in Sweden; the words “made in USA” was also marked on each stick.

There was: a Belgian rifle, an FN from the town of Herstal, manufacturer’s code 1473224; a set of hand grenades of uncertain provenance numbered HG 85, SM8-03 1; a Russian sniper scope; a 9mm Spanish-made pistol – model 28 1A – manufactured by a Star Echeverria SA Eibar Espana; an ancient automatic rifle; a Soviet sub-machine-gun of 1948 vintage; a mass of Russian rocket-propelled grenades and launchers; and box after box of medical supplies.

“Every unit of the terrorists has a field ambulance,” an intelligence officer said. “They steal medicines from our pharmacies but bring other packets with them.” True, it seems. There were painkillers from Lebanon, bandages from Pakistan, much of the stuff was from Turkey. Interesting to know who the Spanish, Swedish and Belgian manufacturers originally sold their guns and explosives to. The haul went on and on, a newly out-of-date Visa card under the name of Ahed Akrama, a Syrian ID card in the name of Widad Othman – “kidnapped by the terrorists,” another officer muttered – and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The General agreed that weapons may have been taken from dead Syrian troops or soldiers who had been captured. Army defectors existed, he said, but they were “drop-outs, soldiers who had failed their basic tests who were motivated only by money”. This is what they say under interrogation, he said.

It wasn’t difficult to work out just how the fighting in Aleppo is developing. Walking the streets for more than an hour with a Syrian army patrol, individual snipers would shoot from houses and then disappear before government soldiers arrived. The army had shot dead one man with a sniper’s rifle who fired from the minaret of the El-Houda mosque. The Salaheddine district had been “liberated”, the Syrian officer said, and the Saif el-Dowla district was only two blocks from a similar “liberation”.

At least a dozen civilians emerged from their homes, retirees in their 70s, shopkeepers and local businessmen with their families and, unaware that a foreign journalist was watching, put their arms round Syrian troops. One told me he had stayed in his home as “foreign” fighters used his courtyard to fire on government soldiers. “I speak Turkish and most were speaking Turkish but some of the men had long beards and short trousers like the Saudis wear, and had strange Arab accents.”

So many Aleppo citizens talked to me, out of earshot of soldiers, about armed “foreigners” in their streets along with Syrians “from the countryside” that the presence of considerable numbers of non-Syrian gunmen appeared to be true. While much of the city continues its life under occasional mortar fire, tens of thousands of civilians displaced by the fighting between the Free Syrian Army and what the government always calls the “Syrian Arab Army” are now housed in vacant dormitories on the Aleppo University campus. And President Assad’s enemies are never far away.

Returning to the city centre yesterday afternoon, I discovered five Syrian soldiers – exhausted, with sharp, tense eyes – walking back to their barracks with a civilian called Badriedin. He had alerted the soldiers when he saw “10 terrorists” in Al-Hattaf street and the government troops had killed several of them – their bodies taken away on motor scooters, Badriedin said – and the rest escaped. The soldiers were high on their story, how they had been outnumbered but fought off their enemies. Even the operational commander of all Aleppo told me that a major battle was beginning in an area containing a mosque and a Christian school where his men had surrounded a large number of “terrorists”. “The Syrian army doesn’t kill civilians – we came here to protect them, at their request,” he said. “We tried to get civilians out of the area where we have to fight, with loudspeakers we give lots of warnings.”

I prefer the words emblazoned on the T-shirt of young man who said he was trying to reach his apartment in the snipers’ zone to see if it had survived. They read: “You see things and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say ‘Why not?’ – George Bernard Shaw.” Not a bad motto for Aleppo these days.

US Desperation Surfaces in Syria

US Desperation Surfaces in Syria

 
Obama’s bizarre threats indicative of losing strategy and increasing desperation. 
by Tony Cartalucci August 21, 2012 – US-led NATO forces armed, funded, trained, and even provided air support for Libyan terrorists emanating out of Libya’s eastern Cyrenaica region – most notably Benghazi which had served as the premier international terrorist recruiting ground in the world, according to the US Army’s Combating Terrorism Center, producing a percentage per capita of militants outstripping even that of Saudi Arabia.

Operating under the banner of the “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group” (LIFG), a US State Department,British Home Office, and United Nations-listed international terrorist organization, and officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007, its commanders including Abdul Hakim Belhaj and Mahdi al-Harati led NATO’s military proxy forces on the ground as US, French, and British planes destroyed the nation from the air.

These very same commanders of this very same listed-terrorist organization would then turn its cash, weapons, and fighters on Syria, as early as November 2011, arriving on the Turkish-Syrian border to enjoy yet another NATO safe haven and logistical networks overseen by Western intelligence along with US funding and arms laundered through Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) members such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State DepartmentUnited Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as “foreign invasion.” 

….

In essence, just as Al Qaeda had served as an “Arab Foreign Legion” for the US in Afghanistan in the 1980’s during its inception, it once again is serving as a foreign legion inside Syria, fighting Washington’s proxy war against the Syrian government.

It appears however that unlike in Afghanistan where Al Qaeda fought alongside a sizable indigenous force against foreign Soviet troops, the tactical environment is revered – where Washington’s proxy terrorist forces are foreigners facing a highly motivated, well organized, and better armed indigenous Syrian Army.

US Machinations Unraveling  – Shareholders Face Liquidation 

Coordinated attempts by NATO and its proxy forces to invade and overrun the cities of Damascus and Aleppo in July and early August have failed, with proxy forces being expelled after suffering sizable loses. An attempt to decapitate Syria’s leadership in a bombing in central Damascus also fell flat, with high ranking officials quickly replaced, followed quickly by a cohesive military counter offensive.

The bombing was also followed by the mysterious disappearance of Saudi Arabia’s Bandar “Bush” Bin Sultan, who if confirmed assassinated, may indicate that NATO’s plans are suffering at even the highest levels of organization.

Compounding the West’s attempts to overthrow the government of Syria, is the increasing support Syria has been receiving due to Iranian efforts to assemble international forums representing half of the world’s population, condemning the support of foreign interference and promoting alternatives to the violent destabilization being carried out by the West. A 30 member conference was held ahead of the annual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Tehran, Iran – and another meeting will be held again on the sidelines of NAM toward the end of August.

Image: An impressive counter to the so-called “Friends of Syria” confabs held by Wall Street and London corporate-financier interests in an attempt to sway global opinion toward a repeat of Libya’s destruction at NATO’s hands, the International Consultative Conference hosed by Iran seeks to end the flow of foreign arms into militant hands and resolve political differences through more civilized means. 

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With the tactical situation inside Syria deteriorating for Western proxies and international consensus shifting in unprecedented directions against Washington and London, shareholders in the West’s latest adventure appear to be making tacit moves to divest their support and protect their own interests, lest they be left with the ignominious results of an increasingly compounding failure.

Obama’s Recent Threats 

With this in mind, the US has been making increasingly unhinged “Bush-esque” remarks regarding “weapons of mass destruction” in Syria and attempting to expand the pretexts under which it could “militarily intervene.” Even the very “movement” of Syria’s “unconventional weapons” in a “threatening manner,” US President Barack Obama claimed in a recent statement, would constitute a “red line.”

Obama claims that the US “fears” Syria’s unconventional weapons “falling into the hands of the wrong people.” If the US is willfully arming, funding, and threatening to back militarily, listed Al Qaeda terrorist organizations, then whose hands is the US referring to? And while the US struggles to foment victory in Syria, it seems to have stretched its support for terrorism all the way to Russia’s Caucasus Mountains, reigniting violence there, linked to Al Qaeda as well.

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Image: The Washington Consensus’ shrinking legitimacy is proportionally matched to its increasingly untenable perpetuation. Its unjustified, disastrous military adventure in Libya seems to have resulted in a Pyrrhic victory, hobbling the institutions and legitimacy it needed to likewise undermine and overthrow the Syrian government in a timely fashion. Overstretched, it appears the West is even trying to strike at Russia with terrorist proxies that now span from North Africa all the way to the Caucasus Mountains.   

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To say that the US is overstretched is an understatement. It is overstretched politically, economically, and tactically. It risks a historically unprecedented collapse that would destroy all shareholders invested in its increasingly unhinged and transparently illegitimate ambitions. Nations, in particular GCC members, are beginning to realize with acute alarm that their support of Washington’s agenda is now threatening their very self-preservation. A victory even at this point would still likely be Pyrrhic.

No matter how well Syria goes for the West from this point on, the mechanisms it has used to get here, including its “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, the legitimacy of the UN, the West’s so-called commitment to “human rights,” and the narrative of the so-called “War on Terror” have been undermined beyond salvage.

One can only imagine the mountains Washington is promising to move in order to keep its allies lined up behind them, particularly the ruling governments of Turkey and the GCC. For an elitist clique that has prided itself in “realist” political discourse, it has become increasingly surrealist. Whether or not Washington’s allies mirror this surrealism all the way to their own demise, remains to be seen.