Reports On Imminent Closure Of Tartus Base Are Wrong

[Russia Today was wrong about closure of Tartus naval base, according to the following (SEE:  All personnel withdrawn from Russian navy base in Syria).  Moreover, Russia is negotiating a permanent base at Cyprus.] 
11

Russia is in the midst of negotiations for a military presence on Cyprus. In addition to being part of a plan to build up its naval forces, analysts say Moscow needs to find an alternative to its base in Syria.

Reports that Russia is withdrawing all military personnel from its naval base in Syria and replacing them with civilian workers are wrong, the Russian Defense Ministry made announced on Thursday (27.06.2013) in Moscow. There is no need for the military to be based in Tartus, a city on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, the press release said, “because maintenance of Russian warships was taken over by civilians long ago.”

According to the ministry’s statement, Tartus would remain Russia’s naval base within the Mediterranean. But at the same time Moscow is clearly preparing for a loss. It has long been speculated that Russia, in the event of a regime change in Damascus, would give up the Tartus base. And now it seems they have found an alternative.

Cyprus instead of Syria

The Russian government is in negotiations with Cyprus about extending their military cooperation. The Russian Air Force could uses a base in Paphos, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said in an interview with the “Voice of Russia” radio station on Monday (24.06.2013). Cyprus and Russia will discuss the specifics soon, the Cypriot diplomat added. Military cooperation agreements could be signed within the coming months.

0,,16907862_404,00 Putin may sign an agreement with Cyprus within the coming months

“This is certainly connected to Tartus,” Margarete Klein of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs told DW. “Even if the Russian government assumes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will retain power, it could change in the future.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s navy is paying an increasing number of visits to Cypriot ports. On June 19, three warships docked in the port of Limassol to refuel and replenish supplies. In May, it was the “Moscow” missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and the vessel that in July will take over command for the Russian Navy’s 16 ships in the Mediterranean.

Russia’s favorite in the Mediterranean

It’s no surprise to observers that Russia is looking at Cyprus for a Mediterranean base as the countries have close economic ties and Cyprus is still regarded as a tax haven for Russian companies. A few years ago, Russia loaned Cyprus billions in credit. In spring 2013, when the EU country was on the brink of national bankruptcy due to high debt, Cyprus’ leader went to Moscow to negotiate a new round of loans. Both sides couldn’t agree in that case and in the end, the European Union bailed out the island.

Back then there was speculation that Russia would offer the credit to Cyprus with the condition that the countries would expand their military cooperation. Should such an agreement come to fruition in the future, it would be a turning point. Almost 20 years have passed since Russia had a military presence in a current EU country.

In Soviet footsteps

Experts put Moscow’s plans in Cyprus in a larger context. “Russia wants to re-establish itself as a great power,” said Klein of the SWP.

Russia wants to build a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean by 2015. President Vladimir Putin described the Mediterranean as a “strategic region” in which Russia has its own interests.

0,,16046779_404,00 Warships, like this one, were tasked with keeping US fleets at bay during the Cold War

During the Soviet era, between 30 and 60 Russian naval vessels were tasked with keeping US Sixth Fleet at bay. In 1992, the Russian Mediterranean fleet was disbanded, and now it seems to have been revived on a smaller scale. It is planned that 10 Russian warships will monitor the Mediterranean.

Vessels to send a clear signal

In professional circles, these plans were met with some skepticism. “I think this policy is about sending a clear signal,” Klein said, adding that the Russian Navy’s military importance is “not very big.”

Russian journalist and analyst Alexander Golz said he has a similar view of the situation. “The task of the Mediterranean fleet will be to show its presence,” he told DW.

He pointed out that the Russian Navy lacks modern warships. “Russia only has one aircraft carrier, the ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ stationed with the Northern Fleet,” added Golz.

Neither Klein nor Golz said they though Russian warships would participate in the Syria conflict. NATO also needn’t worry, the experts said. Golz pointed out that Cyprus is not a NATO member, though two British military bases are stationed on the island, one of them in near Limassol.

DW.DE

State Dept. Nets 119 Middle Eastern, North African “Interns” for Special Brainwashing and Social Agitation Training

[SEE:  A Glimpse Inside of Hillary’s Subversive “Intern Factory”State Dept. Calls Subversive Stable of Activist Geeks, “an underground railroad of trust”]

U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative’s 10th Student Leaders Exchange Program

us state dept
Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 27, 2013

 


Students from 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as the Palestinian territories arrived in Washington D.C. on June 24 to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative’s (MEPI) 10th Student Leaders Exchange Program. These 119 civic-minded undergraduate students will participate in an intensive, six-week exchange program to enhance their leadership skills, expand their understanding of American civil society and democratic processes, and explore ways to enhance democratic participation in their home countries.

All students will attend an orientation session in Washington, D.C. before traveling to one of six host universities: Benedictine University (Illinois), the University of Delaware, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.), Montana State University, Portland State University (Oregon), and Roger Williams University (Rhode Island). They will return to Washington, D.C. on August 2nd for closing sessions.

Since 2004, nearly 1,220 undergraduate students from throughout the MENA region have participated in the MEPI’s Student Leaders Exchange Program. Many have gone on to support their communities through volunteerism and civic activism.

For additional information on MEPI: mepi.state.gov or facebook.com/usmepi.

Media Contact: Gabriel Hons-Olivier at Hons-OlivierG@State.gov or (202) 776-8476

Was Assad’s Only Sin Before All of This, Insulting the Saudi Demi-God?

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia welcomes the Gulf Arab leaders in Riyadh, May 14, 2012. source

What’s Saudi beef with Assad?

thestar_logo

Re: Why Saudi Arabia is arming Syria’s rebels, World June 22

Why Saudi Arabia is arming Syria’s rebels, World June 22

Would someone please remind me why just about everyone wants to oust Bashar Assad. He must have done something horrible since the whole world is in such frenzy to oust him. But what?

In the interview with Prince Turki al-Faisal he was asked what was the Saudi kingdom’s strategic aim in supporting the rebels. His reply: “The immediate downfall of Bashar Assad regime.” Not exactly an illuminating answer.

Why do the Saudis want the immediate downfall of Bashar Assad? Surely it has nothing to do with human rights and freedoms, because I can’t see why the Saudis would be concerned about such trivialities. After all, we just recently learned that at last the women in his country are allowed to ride bicycles. (Well, as long as a male is supervising them, and they ride around in a circle with no destination in mind.)

In response to another question, the prince replied, “The Syrian people are determined to achieve what they aspired to when they began their protest.” My question is, “What exactly were they aspiring to when they began their protest?”

After two years of this terrible conflict, with hundreds of thousands of Syrian citizens dead or facing horrible conditions in refugee camps, I have totally forgotten (if I ever really understood) what the rebels were/are trying to achieve. Does anyone know?

I remember something about a young man setting himself on fire. So what, exactly, is it about Assad that the Saudis don’t approve of? What is it about him that Canada doesn’t approve of? Anyone?

Kaarina Brooks, Alliston

Shias under attack across the globe

 

From Cairo to Peshawar, Shias are under attack by Sunni militants. The sectarian warfare targeting Shias has left thousands dead. The rest of the world watches silently as Muslims self-destruct in sectarian wars.

Earlier on Sunday, a lynch mob near Cairo (Zawyat Abu Musalam), Egypt, murdered four Shias who had taken refuge in a house. The mob dragged their corpses in the street as hundreds watched from the rooftops. In Iraq, a series of bombs continue to kill and maim Shias. In Pakistan, Sunni militants attacked a mosque killing 15 Shias on June 21. In Bahrain, the Saudi-backed regime continues to harass the Shia majority, which is demanding more political rights.

Across the globe, the Shia-Sunni schism has taken a turn for the worst. The Syrian conflict has pitched the Iran-backed Alawite regime against the Sunni majority, who is being supported by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and other Gulf states. What may have started as an internal conflict in Syria has transformed into a sectarian civil war, which threatens to plunge the billion-plus Muslims in a bloody sectarian warfare.

Sheikh Hassan Shehata, a prominent Shia scholar in Egypt, was attacked and killed in his house along with three others in Zawyat Abu Musalam. The mob numbering hundreds set the Sheikh’s house on fire. Initial medical reports suggest that Sheikh’s neck was cut with a sharp object while severe trauma was inflicted on his and others’ skulls. The grisly videos posted on the Internet show the mob, including several women, watching the brutal attack, but making no attempt to stop it.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the right-wing group that supports Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, has been pandering to the Salafists to muster support against the Egyptian National Opposition, who have threatened massive street protests on June 30. The underhand dealings between the Egypt’s ruling party and the Salafists made it possible for the extremists to run a campaign of fear against Shias over the past two weeks that culminated with the murder of the Sheikh and his followers.

If it were not for the brave activist, Hazem Barakat, who tweeted the videos and his willingness to testify against those who orchestrated the lynching, the world would not have known of the brutality of these attacks.

The hitherto unresolved conflict in Iraq continues to add victims as suicide and car bombings by the extremists continue to kill Shias. Earlier on Monday, a series of bomb blasts in and near Baghdad killed 42 people. Since April 2013, more than 2,000 have perished in sectarian violence in Iraq. The blasts were staged strategically in Shia neighbourhoods in Baghdad.

In Pakistan, the militants have literally run over the country where they target Shias and other minorities at will. Even worse, the militants have started to target the judges who have heard cases against the militants. The bomb attack on the High Court judge, Maqbool Baqar, which left him with serious injuries while his driver and eight others in his security details died, is a clear message from the militants that they have no interest in respecting the State or its institutions.

The Taliban spokesperson while speaking to the media revealed that they targeted Justice Baqar for his “anti-Taliban and anti-mujahideen decisions.”

Earlier in the week, armed men dressed as paramilitary police in a remote mountainous area in Pakistan attacked a hotel killing nine foreign tourists. The Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for the attack, which they claimed was in retaliation to a drone strike that killed a Taliban commander, Waliur Rahman.

The attack on the tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan is eerily similar to the attacks on Shias in the past in the same part of Pakistan. In August 2012, armed men wearing uniforms of paramilitary police stopped three buses near Mansehra and killed 20 Shias after removing them from the buses. It was the third such attack in six months.

McDonald’s Refuses To Operate In Jewish Colony On West Bank

McDonald’s refuses to operate in Jewish settlement

1 hour ago  • 

The McDonald’s restaurant chain refused to open a branch in a West Bank Jewish settlement, the company said Thursday, adding a prominent name to an international movement to boycott Israel’s settlements.

Irina Shalmor, spokeswoman for McDonald’s Israel, said the owners of a planned mall in the Ariel settlement asked McDonald’s to open a branch there about six months ago. Shalmor said the chain refused because the owner of McDonald’s Israel has a policy of staying out of the occupied territories. The decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the U.S., she said. In an email, the headquarters said “our partner in Israel has determined that this particular location is not part of his growth plan.”

The Israeli branch’s owner and franchisee, Omri Padan, is a founder of the dovish group Peace Now, which opposes all settlements and views them as obstacles to peace. The group said Padan is no longer a member.

The decision by such a well-known multinational company to boycott the West Bank deals settlers an unwelcome blow.

It also adds the name of an important international brand to a movement that has urged businesses to stay out of the West Bank. International companies like Caterpillar, France’s Veolia and others have faced pressure from a global network of pro-Palestinian activists to sever links with the settlements.

The activists have also pushed consumers to shun products made in settlements. Israeli academics and unions have also been boycotted because of Israel’s settlement policies and European countries are considering stepping up efforts to label settlement-made products sold in Europe.

The Palestinians want the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, as part of their future state. Israel captured those areas, along with the Golan Heights, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians and most of the international community consider Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal or illegitimate.

The mall’s owners, settlers and politicians who back them chided McDonald’s for its decision.

“McDonald’s has gone from being a for-profit company to an organization with an anti-Israeli political agenda,” said Yigal Dilmoni, a leader of the Yesha Council, a settler umbrella group. He urged Israelis to think twice before they buy a meal at McDonald’s following its decision. Pro-settler lawmaker Ayelet Shaked said she would boycott the fast food chain.

Tzahi Nehimias, a co-owner of the Ariel mall, said an Israeli burger chain, Burger Ranch, had offered to take McDonald’s spot. He also said Burger King had shown interest, but Miguel Piedra, a spokesman for Burger King Worldwide Inc. said the company had no plans to re-enter Israel. The company closed its restaurants in Israel in 2010 and turned them over to Burger Ranch.

Nehimias said other international companies who were asked to open a branch at the mall also declined, but none cited the mall’s location in a settlement as a reason. He declined to identify the other companies. Some 19,000 Jewish settlers live in Ariel and it has a large student population.

Peace Now welcomed McDonald’s decision.

“We totally understand and support people who think settlements are bad for Israel’s interests,” said Yariv Oppenheimer, who heads Peace Now. “They don’t want to take an active role by opening a business there and helping to expand and to contribute to the settlement idea.”

Rafeef Ziadah of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement said McDonald’s move “will encourage other corporations to end their complicity in Israel’s occupation.”

This is not the first time McDonald’s has stirred controversy in Israel. The company didn’t open a branch in Israel until 1993 due to the Arab League boycott of the country.

A year later, McDonalds built a branch near a memorial to Israel’s Golani military brigade, and Israelis objected to the large double arches sign there, saying it desecrated the site. The sign was later made smaller. In 2004, McDonalds was criticized for telling its Arabic and Russian speaking staff not to speak those languages at work.

___

Associated Press writers Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem and Candice Choi in New York contributed reporting.

Obama Planning To Silence Snowden, Or To Snatch Him?

Obama “concerned” Edward Snowden could leak more

cbsnews

 

President Obama speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013.

President Obama speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013. / Getty

 

DAKAR, Senegal President Obama said Thursday he won’t engage in “wheeling and dealing and trading” to get NSA leaker Edward Snowden extradited to the U.S., but he remains “concerned” over what other classified information Snowden may still try to disseminate.

“Sanctimonious” Guardian Report Distorts Chinese Editorial Slamming US Cyberwar

[In a subtle twisting of words, the Guardian reporter turns honest Chinese complaint about Snowden spying revelations, into mass of lies and distortions that resembles playground name-calling more than it does actual journalism (SEE:  China’s state newspaper praises Edward Snowden for ‘tearing off Washington’s sanctimonious mask’).]
“In a sense, the United States has gone from ‘human rights model’ transformed into personal privacy ‘eavesdropper’ Internet centralization ‘manipulators’ and for his country network crazy ‘invaders.’ World remember Edward Snowdon, it was his bravery, tore off Washington pious mask.”–“Prism” program who should express their dissatisfaction?, Wang Xinjun

” ‘In a sense, the United States has gone from a ‘model of human rights’ to ‘an eavesdropper on personal privacy’, the ‘manipulator’ of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad ‘invader’ of other countries’ networks,’ the People’s Daily said.”–Guardian

 

 

Definition of SANCTIMONIOUS
1:  hypocritically pious or devout <a sanctimonious moralist>

Definition of PIOUS
1 a : marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship
b : marked by conspicuous religiosity <a hypocrite

“Prism” program who should express their dissatisfaction? 

Wang Xinjun

America ‘Prism’ program broke man Edward Snowden has itself left Hong Kong. Snowdon in handling the issue of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s approach is consistent with the relevant laws, and the Chinese central government has always respected the HKSAR Government law. Media reports, U.S. White House, Hong Kong and China expressed dissatisfaction with the government to allow Snowdon departure and ‘strongly disagree.’ This dissatisfaction and opposition, China can not accept it.

According to the U.S. foreign policy >> << sites and Snowdon revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency on the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, China’s networking and communications systems, carried out for 15 years organized and planned targeted intrusions, attacks, theft, monitoring and other actions. US authorities not only did not give an explanation and an apology, but instead run by the HKSAR things according to the law to express their dissatisfaction. Touliaodongxi was exposed, not only did not apologize for the robber, but also on stolen legitimate behavior expressed dissatisfaction (or even frame )(http://www.best-news.us/)(Technology News http://www.best-news.us/). This logic is probably not a big country with international principles to be followed by it?

For a long time, in its media, business representatives, academics, government officials, the mouth, the United States seems to network security, ‘the biggest victim.’ For this reason, today accused the country tomorrow, the United States condemned the organization became commonplace, especially for China aggressive accusations until this month, former U.S. National Security Agency employee Snowdon leaving Hong Kong, the United States was only laid bare the lies.

With the ‘prism’ insider gradually reveal more and more facts prove that: China is a great victim of cyber attacks a long time, people in the United States, although some knowledge of China’s Internet attacks, but never realized the situation so serious ! More intolerable is that the U.S. one face of China’s large-scale network intrusion, theft of political, economic, technological, military intelligence, the other side was frequently in the international community to take ‘Chinese hackers’ that matter, in the absence of empirical premise, slander the Chinese government and military, to discredit the image of China.

Strong technological advantages for the United States to provide the background cyber attacks its count on the core of computer hardware, operating systems, Internet technologies to develop standards and protocols such as the development of core intellectual property holds control over the well-known software vulnerabilities, network intrusion on other countries to launch and intelligence theft emboldened – seemed to another country it is difficult to seize evidence.

Human rights and freedoms ‘condescending moral sense’ for the United States to provide a coat. U.S. claim to want in the 21st century when the world leader in human rights and other aspects of the country accusing him, but did not think of taking the lead on action to maintain international security, the Internet, and its intelligence institutions and even set their constitutional and fundamental disregard of international law, not only to launch cyber attacks on other countries, but also for its own citizens but also for peeping phone and email, for allies citizen monitoring the implementation of telephone and e-mail.

In a sense, the United States has gone from ‘human rights model’ transformed into personal privacy ‘eavesdropper’ Internet centralization ‘manipulators’ and for his country network crazy ‘invaders.’ World remember Edward Snowdon, it was his bravery, tore off Washington pious mask.

As AP President Pruitt warned Americans that: ‘Faced with a too like to engage in covert action of government, we must remain vigilant.’ ‘Prism door’ also solemnly warn the people and the world: You must give up the fantasy, maintain long-term vigilance.

(The author is a researcher at Academy of Military Science Military Strategy)

DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks To Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile

DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks To Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile

488x325xhomeland-security-mrap.jpg.pagespeed.ic.tN6C46J1W4

[Milwaukee police purchased this armored car conversion that has been aptly described as a civilian “tank.”]

Related Links


DHS To Buy All Ammo: In The Market For 50 Billion .223 Shell Casings

Michael Savage Talks To Expert About DHS Buying Massive Amount Of Ammunition

DHS Purchases 21.6 Million More Rounds Of Ammunition

DHS Buys 200,000 More Rounds Of Ammunition

(Gateway Pundit)  This is getting a little creepy.

According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm.

DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP).

Modern Survival Blog reported:

The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.

Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.

The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization. Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company).

DHS even released a video on their newly purchased MRAPs.
Via Pat Dollard:

 
The MRAP featured in this video is was in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Law Enforcement Day which was held at a local area Target Store. This MRAP is stationed in El Paso, Texas at The Homeland Security Investigations Office. MRAP is a Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicle.

This article first appeared @ the gatewaypundit

Spoken Like A True Zionist Stooge: Hamas Official Advocates Syrian “Jihad” Before Jihad In Palestine

Hamas: Stopping Assad priority over ‘jihad in Palestine’

JPost

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

Abdel Aziz Dweik says Syrian regime is a “stab in the heart,” removal of Assad would boost Palestinian cause.

Hamas official Aziz Dweik [file photo]

Hamas official Aziz Dweik [file photo] Photo: REUTERS/Fadi Arouri

 

A senior Hamas official in the West Bank is facing sharp criticism for stating that toppling the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is more urgent than “jihad in Palestine.”

Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council, told the Arabic newspaper Echorouk that the PLC fully supported the Syrian opposition in its efforts to “stop the bloodshed, which is a priority over anything else, including Jihad in Palestine.” Keeping Assad’s regime in power, he continued, was tantamount to “a stab in the heart and chest,” arguing that removing the Syrian dictatorship would pave the way for boosting the Palestinian cause.

Dweik, who is Hamas’s top political representative in the West Bank, said that although the Palestinian issue remains at the top of the agenda of Muslim scholars, halting the bloodshed in Syria has become a top and urgent priority for Muslims.

Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf condemned Dweik’s statements as “extremely dangerous and harmful to the national interests of the Palestinian people.”

Assaf said that involving the Palestinians in the Syrian conflict and other internal Arab disputes would cause severe damage to the Palestinians’ “national project.”

Dweik’s statements do not represent the Palestinians, he added.

All personnel withdrawn from Russian navy base in Syria

All personnel withdrawn from Russian navy base in Syria – diplomat

Russia-Today
Russia's nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky navy sailors attend a greeting ceremony for the Russian official delegation at Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus. (RIA Novosti)

Russia’s nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky navy sailors attend a greeting ceremony for the Russian official delegation at Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus. (RIA Novosti)

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister says all personnel had been evacuated from the navy resupply base in Tartus, Syria, adding that not a single Russian military serviceman remained in the country.

Mikhail Bogdanov made the announcement in an interview with the Al-Hayat newspaper. “Presently, the Russian Defense Ministry has not a single person stationed in Syria. The base does not have any strategic military importance,” the newspaper quoted the Russian official as saying.

Russian media have verified the statement and the business daily Vedomosti quoted an unnamed source in the Defense Ministry as saying that this was true as all military and civilian personnel had been evacuated from the Tartus base and there were no Russian military instructors working with the Syrian military forces. The source added that the withdrawal was prompted not only by the increased risks caused by the ongoing military conflict, but also by the fact that in the current conditions any incident involving Russian servicemen would likely have some unfavorable reaction from the international community.

Russia currently has a 16-ship flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea but none of them has called at the port of Tartus in recent months and there were no reports of such plans.

Mikhail Bogdanov is also Russian President’s plenipotentiary for Middle East issues and he headed the Russian delegation at this week’s talks between Russia, US and UN on preparations of the major international conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2.

Following the Tuesday round of talks another Russian diplomat – Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadiy Gatilov – told reporters that the sides failed to agree on a number of questions and the terms of the future conference were not yet agreed. In particular, the participants of the talks varied on Iran’s possible role in the future conference.

Moscow supports Tehran’s participation in talks as it would make a positive contribution to the possible political settlement in Syria, the Russian official noted.

Besides, the participation of some of the Syrian opposition groups remains under question though the US side said they were working on this, Gatilov added.

The Russian diplomat said that the supplies of weapons to the Syrian opposition were not discussed at Tuesday’s talks, though he noted that this issue “was not creating positive political environment for the start of the political process.”

Gatilov said that Russia still hoped the plan to call the international conference would end in success. In particular, the issue will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry, due soon within the framework of the ASEAN conference in Brunei.

Who Attacked CIA HQ At the Arianna Hotel In Kabul?

[This latest Kabul attack follows on the heels of last week’s bombing murder attempt (June 18) of prominent ethnic Hazara lawmaker Mohammed Mohaqiq, a member of the Northern Alliance.  It seems as though the Taliban, or whoever has been attacking Kabul are building-up to something real big, perhaps a massive attack upon the Afghan Parliament much like the 2001 ISI-sponsored terror assault upon the Indian Parliament.  Afghan security did recently warn of such an attack upon Parliament to take place the first week of July (SEE:  Afghan Intelligence Warns of Impending Attack By Pakistani Militants/Military On Parliament).  There have been too many evidence trails leading back to Rawalpindi to continue to ignore.  Rule #1 in this war, is that all forensic trails which seem to lead back to Pakistan’s ISI usually lead to Washington, or to Langley, Virginia, except when the target is a CIA installation, as this case seems to be.  The Arianna Hotel has been Afghan CIA HQ since Enduring Freedom ended.  So, this is either another spat between Washington and Islamabad, or an unknown, outside force has just telegraphed a deadly warning to that CIA outpost.  Time will probably NOT clarify this situation, since more evidence on this one attack will not be likely to be forthcoming.]

“The firefight took place in Ariana square, about 500 meters (yards) and several more checkpoints away from the presidential palace.”

Clashes ended near Afghan presidential palace in Kabul

Khaama

By Ghanizada

Attack on Afghan presidential palaceHeavy explosions rocked capital Kabul early Tuesday morning after a number of militants carried out coordinated attacks near the Afghanistan presidential palace. Militants had reportedly entered the highly secured compound with Land Cruiser vehicles and fake VIP cards.

The explosions triggered heavy gun battle between the presidential palace security forces and the assailant militants which continued for more than one hour.

The attack was carried out near the entrance gate of presidential palace in Shash Darak area which is also close to ISAF headquarters and ministry of defense of Afghanistan. Over 15 explosions were heard in the area.

There are no reports regarding the casualties as a result of the incident and clashes have reportedly ended between the security forces and militants.

This comes as Afghan president Hamid Karzai was due to appear in a press conference to brief Afghan media regarding the Taliban political office in Qatar and Afghan peace process.

Taliban group claimed responsibility behind the incident.

A spokesman for the Taliban group Zabiullah Mujahid said the main target of the suicide bombers were Ariana Hotel which is used by United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In the meantime Gen. Daud Amin deputy security chief for Kabul city said clashes have ended near the Afghan president Palace however he said that still there are no reports regarding the casualties.

Gen. Ayoub Salangi security chief for Kabul city said, at least three militants in coalition forces uniform were looking to enter the presidential palace using fake identity cards.

Mr. Salangi further added that clashes started after presidential palace security guards prevented the militants to enter the compound.

Another security official speaking on the condition of anonymity said four militants were looking to enter the presidential palace compound with two Land Cruiser vehicles.

The source further added that all militants were shot dead and Afghan security forces did not suffer any casualties.

Pak Army Sends Terrorist Proxy Force Into Nangarhar, After Faqir Muhammad’s TTP

[This is the Pak Army sending its surrogate terrorist army into Afghanistan to eliminate the TTP hiding there and staging cross-border attacks into Mohmand.  Episodes such as this should be enough to refute Pakistani denials about the Pak terrorists being the Army’s progeny.  This attack has been on hold since June 8, when Dawn news leaked word of the impending battle and spilled the beans about the attack force including many Afghan Taliban (SEE:  Major militant clash feared near Pak-Afghan border  2013-06-08).  This latest report doesn’t mention the Mullah Omar forces in its report on Pak Army militants hitting the TTP in Kunar and Nangarhar, but rest assured that the attacking force remains the same.  Notice that Lashkar e-Taiba is included as well.]

 

PESHAWAR: Clashes between the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups erupted in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region as hundreds of fighters attacked TTP bases situated in Kunar and Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Taliban sources said hundreds of armed fighters comprising Lashkar-i-Taiba, Ansarul Islam (AI), ‘Mohmand force’ and other local militias (lashkars) were part of a joint attack on Pakistani Taliban positions in Afghanistan.

Earlier, reports had said that the Afghan Taliban were also backing the attacking groups but later the TTP requested Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar to intervene and as a result the clash was averted. Rival groups have now initiated another attack of which the Afghan Taliban are not a part, said TTP commander.

Mukarram Khurasani, spokesman for the TTP’s Mohmand chapter chief Omar Khaliq, told Dawn.com that hundreds of militants had attacked the Pakistani Taliban positions in Shongrai and the bordering village of Jarobi Darra.

Khurasani also accused Lashkar-i-Taiba commander Haji Abdul Rahim of leading the attackers.

The Taliban’s Mohmand chapter chief also claimed that the attack had been repulsed and said that one attacker was killed while three were injured.

Meanwhile, Lashkar-i-Taiba spokesperson Mahmud Ghaznavi rejected the allegations that the group was involved in the clashes. Ghaznavi said that the Lashkar-i-Taiba is operational only in Kashmir and has nothing to do with the TTP or the Afghan Taliban.

The exact number of causalities could not independently verified as the area is a ‘no-man’s land’ where the Afghan government has no writ and militants exercise control.

Most of the militants under attack are believed to be associated with the TTP who had escaped military operations in Mohmand, Bajaur, Malakand division and Khyber tribal region in neighboring Pakistan.

The clash might be a continuation of the killing of militant commander Shah Sahib, who led another Islamist group engaged in fighting US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan and was based in Mohmand Agency since 2006.

TTP militants led by Umar Khalid Khurasani attacked the training centre of the Shah group on July 19, 2008, killing many, including Shah Sahib. Most of the Shah Sahib loyalists were either kidnapped or killed and the group was eliminated from Mohmand tribal region.

Most members of the group are presently part of tribal lashkars (local militias) rivaling the TTP.

When Washington Or Their Saudi Puppets Say “Peace” They Speak of War

Saudi slip signals Iran obsession in Syria

PressTV

By Finian Cunningham

The real, unswerving agenda for Washington, London and Paris is regime change through the use of unremitting state-sponsored terrorism. That agenda is not only confined to Syria; as the Saudi disclosure indicates, the bigger picture has to do with the obsession among the Western imperialist powers and their Persian Gulf Arab dictator stooges towards Iran.

The international criminal conspiracy known euphemistically as the “Friends of Syria” gathers once again in Qatar this weekend to discuss how to expedite their covert war for regime change in Syria.

Some analysts have reckoned that the Obama administration is losing interest in the covert Syria operation, while mainstream media still peddle the ridiculous line that the US and its allies are trying to forge a peace settlement in the Levantine country devastated by 27 months of relentless conflict and more than 90,000 deaths.

On both counts, nothing could be further from the truth. The Western powers, including the US, are stepping up their criminal attack on Syria. This is because, following a spate of recent military victories by Syrian government forces, the Western powers are in danger of outright defeat in their long-term agenda of regime change in Syria and, more importantly, the wider region.

A central part of that Western agenda is to isolate and undermine Iran, an important ally of Syria and a key opponent to Western hegemonic ambitions in the vital oil- and gas-rich Middle East region.

From the Western imperialist viewpoint, if they lose in their covert war in Syria, then Iran’s alliance with Syria and its influence across the Middle East will be even greater. That outcome is anathema to the US and its European allies, Britain and France. A recent Saudi slip in the Western media let the cat out of the bag.

On the eve of the Qatar meeting this weekend, the London-based Financial Times reported:

“Saudi Arabia, which competes with Iran for regional influence, considers the Syrian conflict a direct threat to its national security, with its potential to strengthen an alliance between powerful Shia elements in a string of countries stretching from Iran to Lebanon, via Iraq and Syria.”

The first thing to note from this disclosure is that the conflict in Syria is not about “supporting pro-democracy Syrian rebels” as the Western governments and media and their regional allies have been making out for the past two years. It is clearly about regime change in Syria and a competition for regional influence, in particular between Western-backed Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Because of the deep strategic ties between the House of Saud and Washington and London, it can be safely deduced that Saudi concerns over Syria and Iran are intimately shared by the US and Britain, as well as France.

The Financial Times quotes Jamal Khashoggi, “a Saudi analyst close to decision-making circles” in Riyadh. ”Saudi Arabia will not allow an Iranian victory in Syria,” according to Khashoggi. “Saudi Arabia has to do something now, even if it will do it alone. The goal now must be toppling [Syrian President] Bashar [al-Assad], even if the US is not involved. If Saudi Arabia leads the way, Sunni tribes and other countries, including France, will eventually join.”

The tone is unmistakably one of grave anxiety among the Saudi rulers that they are facing a crucial defeat in Syria – a defeat that is amplified by the perceived strategic gain to Iran from such an outcome.

Underscoring this Saudi and Western anxiety over Syria are reports that their proxy FSA – read Foreign Supplied Army – has in recent days received batches of “game-changing weapons”. These weapons are reported to include anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia via NATO member Turkey. This delivery of new firepower to the NATO-backed mercenaries in Syria coincides with a report in the Los Angeles Times that American Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency have been training FSA militia in the use of the very same weapons from bases in Jordan and Turkey over the past several months.

That clearly means coordinated effort between the US and its allies to ramp up the violence in Syria. In addition, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported last week that France and Saudi Arabia are supplying French-made Mistral anti-aircraft missiles into Syria.

The reason for why the Obama administration is so far maintaining a covert role in this arms supply and training is not to do with ambivalence in the US government towards deepening involvement in the Syria regime-change operation, but more probably because the White House is acutely aware of a political backlash from the American people. Recent polls show that 70 per cent of Americans are opposed to their government arming the Syrian militants and Al-Qaeda affiliates.

That is why the official American position is proffering ostensible support for a political solution in the form of the forthcoming Geneva conference, a conference that is looking increasingly doomed to fail because of Washington’s covert military moves in concert with its NATO allies, as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Voice of America quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of the meeting this weekend in the Qatari capital, Doha. Kerry said: “There is a unanimity about the importance of trying to find a way to peace, and not a way to war.”

VoA also reported: “EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said there is no military solution to the conflict.” Ashton was quoted as saying:

“We are supporting what has become known as Geneva 2, the process of helping to find a political solution, which is in the end the solution.”

The notion that the US and its allies are backing off from Syria or looking for a political way out is flatly negated by the facts on the ground. At the beginning of this month, the EU bloc lifted its embargo on weapons supply to Syrian insurgents; and on 14 June, the Obama White House gave its approval for openly supplying lethal aid.

The real agenda for the “Enemies of Syria” meeting in Doha this weekend – including the foreign ministers of the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – is not to discuss the politics of peace, but the practicalities of how to better arm the mercenaries fighting in Syria to topple the government of President Assad.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted with eminent reason that US and European pledges to increase weapons supplies to the mercenaries in Syria – who have minimal support among the Syrian people – is jeopardizing any efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Officially at least, Washington, London and Paris are saying that they back the proposed peace conference in Geneva, but on the ground in Syria their all-important actions speak far more loudly of the opposite intention.

The real, unswerving agenda for Washington, London and Paris is regime change through the use of unremitting state-sponsored terrorism. That agenda is not only confined to Syria; as the Saudi disclosure indicates, the bigger picture has to do with the obsession among the Western imperialist powers and their Persian Gulf Arab dictator stooges towards Iran.

FC/SL

Finian Cunningham, originally from Belfast, Ireland, was born in 1963. He is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio. More articles by Finian Cunningham

Kerry Joins with Hypocrite Saudis To Denounce Assad for Being Too Much Like King Saud

Abu al-Taib, the leader of Ahbab Al-Mustafa Battalion, demonstrates to female members as he holds a gun during a military training in a mosque in the Seif El Dawla neighbourhood in Aleppo June 24, 2013. REUTERS-Muzaffar Salman

. Abu al-Taib, the leader of Ahbab Al-Mustafa Battalion, demonstrates to female members as he holds a gun during a military training in a mosque in the Seif El Dawla neighbourhood in AleppoCredit: REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

BEIRUT

(Reuters) – Syria’s military pounded rebel bastions in Damascus on Tuesday and Saudi Arabia demanded an arms embargo on what it called President Bashar al-Assad’s genocidal and illegitimate regime.

Attacking Iran, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah for supporting Assad, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom could not be silent and called for arms to be supplied to Syrian rebels, now militarily on the back foot.

Syria is facing a double-edged attack, it is facing genocide by the government and  an [a Saudi] invasion from outside the government, and … a massive [Saudi/Qatari] flow of weapons to aid and abet that invasion and that genocide. This must end,” he told a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah.

“The kingdom calls for issuing an unequivocal international resolution to halt the provision of arms to the Syrian regime and states the illegitimacy of the regime,” Prince Saud said.  [Et tu, Saudi prick]

In Damascus, Assad’s gunners fired mortars and artillery at Zamalka and Irbin, just east of the government-held city centre, in an assault backed by air strikes, opposition activists said.

Mostly Sunni Muslim rebels who grabbed footholds in Damascus nearly a year ago now say they face a grinding advance by the Syrian military, buoyed by support from Assad’s regional Shi’ite allies, notably Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters on the ground.

If the insurgents are driven from the capital’s eastern suburbs, they would lose arms supply routes and suffer a severe blow in their drive to end four decades of Assad family rule.

The Saudi minister’s strongly worded remarks reinforced signs that the Syrian war is entangling much of the Middle East.

Security in neighboring Iraq and Lebanon, where the conflict has aggravated Sunni-Shi’ite tensions, has crumbled.

Suicide bombers killed eight people north of Baghdad on Tuesday, a day after 39 people died when 10 car bombs exploded in the capital. Violence has spiraled in Iraq since April.

“GETTING OUT OF HAND”

In Lebanon, clashes between the Lebanese army and gunmen led by a fiercely anti-Hezbollah Sunni cleric engulfed the southern port of Sidon on Sunday. At least 40 people were killed, including 18 soldiers, security sources said.

Sectarian hatred has even flared in Sunni-majority Egypt, where a crowd attacked and killed five Shi’ites on Sunday.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League mediator, urged the United States and Russia to help “contain this situation that is getting out of hand, not only in Syria but also in the region”.

Speaking in Geneva before preparatory talks with U.S. and Russian officials, he said he doubted that a Syria peace conference proposed by Moscow and Washington could take place next month, citing disarray among Assad’s political opponents.

More than 93,000 people have been killed in Syria since peaceful protests erupted in March 2011. Assad’s violent response helped generate what is now a civil war that has driven nearly 1.7 million refugees into neighboring countries.

Outgunned rebels are looking to Western and Arab nations to help them to reverse Assad’s battlefield gains of the last few weeks. But although the United States announced unspecified military aid this month, it is unclear whether this can shift the balance against the Syrian leader and his allies.

Kerry wants to ensure that aid to the rebels is properly coordinated, in part out of concern that weapons could end up in the hands of Islamist militants who are prominent in their ranks.

“Our goal is very clear, we cannot let this be a wider war, we cannot let this contribute to more bloodshed and prolongation of the agony of the people of Syria,” [Kerry claimed as he made preparations for escalating and expanding the Syrian war]

Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state which views Shi’ite Iran as its arch-rival, has increased aid to Syrian rebels in recent months, supplying anti-aircraft missiles among other weapons.

Prince Saud denounced foreign involvement in Syria “by Hezbollah and other militias supported by the forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard”, and also took a swipe at Moscow.

“There is no logic that allows Russia to publicly arm the Syrian regime and the foreign forces that support it.”  [The Saudi king is obviously an illogical blind old fart who would rather kill fellow Arabs and Muslims than defend anyone’s human rights.]

(Additional reporting by Mahmoud Habboush in Dubai and Lesley Wroughton in Jeddah; Writing by Alistair Lyon, editing by Peter Millership)

Brzezinski Warns the American People About the Dangers of the Regional War Obama Is Steering Us Into

[The old sage of Washington dares to speak the truth that he helped to keep hidden from the American public for so many years.  Being Grandpa to Mika’s kids has probably softened him up a little. 

mika  In this interview, Zbig is at a loss to explain the illogical foreign policy mess that Obama has apparently intentionally created.  It seems that the he is blowing the whistle now before things real fall apart simply out of a fondness for the undereducated American people and our overriding desire to see goodness prevail in our unshakeable naivete.  He doesn’t recommend any changes that could help things, just sending-out his own “heads up,” America.]

Brzezinski on the Syria Crisis

  Editor’s Note: Following is a TNI interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former White House national-security adviser under Jimmy Carter and now a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior research professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. The interview was conducted by Jacob Heilbrunn, TNI senior editor.

Heilbrunn: Here we are five years into the Obama administration, and you’re stating that the West is engaging in “mass propaganda.” Is Obama being drawn into Syria because he’s too weak to resist the status quo? What happened to President Obama that brought us here?

Brzezinski: I can’t engage either in psychoanalysis or any kind of historical revisionism. He obviously has a difficult problem on his hands, and there is a mysterious aspect to all of this. Just consider the timing. In late 2011 there are outbreaks in Syria produced by a drought and abetted by two well-known autocracies in the Middle East: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He all of a sudden announces that Assad has to go—without, apparently, any real preparation for making that happen. Then in the spring of 2012, the election year here, the CIA under General Petraeus, according to The New York Times of March 24th of this year, a very revealing article, mounts a large-scale effort to assist the Qataris and the Saudis and link them somehow with the Turks in that effort. Was this a strategic position? Why did we all of a sudden decide that Syria had to be destabilized and its government overthrown? Had it ever been explained to the American people? Then in the latter part of 2012, especially after the elections, the tide of conflict turns somewhat against the rebels. And it becomes clear that not all of those rebels are all that “democratic.” And so the whole policy begins to be reconsidered. I think these things need to be clarified so that one can have a more insightful understanding of what exactly U.S. policy was aiming at.

Heilbrunn: Historically, we often have aided rebel movements—Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Angola, for example. If you’re a neocon or a liberal hawk, you’re going to say that this is actually aiding forces that are toppling a dictator. So what’s wrong with intervening on humanitarian grounds?

Brzezinski: In principle there’s nothing wrong with that as motive. But I do think that one has to assess, in advance of the action, the risks involved. In Nicaragua the risks were relatively little given America’s dominant position in Central America and no significant rival’s access to it from the outside. In Afghanistan I think we knew that Pakistan might be a problem, but we had to do it because of 9/11. But speaking purely for myself, I did advise [then defense secretary Donald] Rumsfeld, when together with some others we were consulted about the decision to go into Afghanistan. My advice was: go in, knock out the Taliban and then leave. I think the problem with Syria is its potentially destabilizing and contagious effect—namely, the vulnerability of Jordan, of Lebanon, the possibility that Iraq will really become part of a larger Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict, and that there could be a grand collision between us and the Iranians. I think the stakes are larger and the situation is far less predictable and certainly not very susceptible to effective containment just to Syria by American power.

Heilbrunn: Are we, in fact, witnessing a delayed chain reaction? The dream of the neoconservatives, when they entered Iraq, was to create a domino effect in the Middle East, in which we would topple one regime after the other. Is this, in fact, a macabre realization of that aspiration?

Brzezinski: True, that might be the case. They hope that in a sense Syria would redeem what happened originally in Iraq. But I think what we have to bear in mind is that in this particular case the regional situation as a whole is more volatile than it was when they invaded Iraq, and perhaps their views are also infected by the notion, shared by some Israeli right-wingers, that Israel’s strategic prospects are best served if all of its adjoining neighbors are destabilized. I happen to think that is a long-term formula for disaster for Israel, because its byproduct, if it happens, is the elimination of American influence in the region, with Israel left ultimately on its own. I don’t think that’s good for Israel, and, to me, more importantly, because I look at the problems from the vantage point of American national interest, it’s not very good for us.

Heilbrunn: You mentioned in an interview, I believe on MSNBC, the prospect of an international conference. Do you think that’s still a viable approach, that America should be pushing much more urgently to draw in China, Russia and other powers to reach some kind of peaceful end to this civil war?

Brzezinski: I think if we tackle the issue alone with the Russians, which I think has to be done because they’re involved partially, and if we do it relying primarily on the former colonial powers in the region—France and Great Britain, who are really hated in the region—the chances of success are not as high as if we do engage in it, somehow, with China, India and Japan, which have a stake in a more stable Middle East. That relates in a way to the previous point you raised. Those countries perhaps can then cumulatively help to create a compromise in which, on the surface at least, no one will be a winner, but which might entail something that I’ve been proposing in different words for more than a year—namely, that there should be some sort of internationally sponsored elections in Syria, in which anyone who wishes to run can run, which in a way saves face for Assad but which might result in an arrangement, de facto, in which he serves out his term next year but doesn’t run again.

Heilbrunn: How slippery is the slope? Obama was clearly not enthusiastic about sending the arms to the Syrian rebels—he handed the announcement off to Ben Rhodes. How slippery do you think this slope is? Do you think that we are headed towards greater American intervention?

Brzezinski: I’m afraid that we’re headed toward an ineffective American intervention, which is even worse. There are circumstances in which intervention is not the best but also not the worst of all outcomes. But what you are talking about means increasing our aid to the least effective of the forces opposing Assad. So at best, it’s simply damaging to our credibility. At worst, it hastens the victory of groups that are much more hostile to us than Assad ever was. I still do not understand why—and that refers to my first answer—why we concluded somewhere back in 2011 or 2012—an election year, incidentally—that Assad should go.

Heilbrunn: Your response earlier about Israel was quite fascinating. Do you think that if the region were to go up into greater upheaval, with a diminution of American influence, Israel would see an opportunity to consolidate its gains, or even make more radical ones if Jordan were to go up in flames?

Brzezinski: Yes, I know what you’re driving at. I think in the short run, it would probably create a larger Fortress Israel, because there would be no one in the way, so to speak. But it would be, first of all, a bloodbath (in different ways for different people), with some significant casualties for Israel as well. But the right-wingers will feel that’s a necessity of survival.

But in the long run, a hostile region like that cannot be policed, even by a nuclear-armed Israel. It will simply do to Israel what some of the wars have done to us on a smaller scale. Attrite it, tire it, fatigue it, demoralize it, cause emigration of the best and the first, and then some sort of cataclysm at the end which cannot be predicted at this stage because we don’t know who will have what by when. And after all, Iran is next door. It might have some nuclear capability. Suppose the Israelis knock it off. What about Pakistan and others? The notion that one can control a region from a very strong and motivated country, but of only six million people, is simply a wild dream.

Heilbrunn: I guess my final question, if you think you can get into this subject, is . . . you’re sort of on the opposition bank right now. The dominant voice among intellectuals and in the media seems to be a liberal hawk/neoconservative groundswell, a moralistic call for action in Syria based on emotion. Why do you think, even after the debacle of the Iraq War, that the foreign-policy debate remains quite skewed in America?

Brzezinski: (laughs) I think you know the answer to that better than I, but if I may offer a perspective: this is a highly motivated, good country. It is driven by good motives. But it is also a country with an extremely simplistic understanding of world affairs, and with still a high confidence in America’s capacity to prevail, by force if necessary. I think in a complex situation, simplistic solutions offered by people who are either demagogues, or are smart enough to offer their advice piecemeal; it’s something that people can bite into. Assuming that a few more arms of this or that kind will achieve what they really desire, which is a victory for a good cause, without fully understanding that the hidden complexities are going to suck us in more and more, we’re going to be involved in a large regional war eventually, with a region even more hostile to us than many Arabs are currently, it could be a disaster for us. But that is not a perspective that the average American, who doesn’t really read much about world affairs, can quite grasp. This is a country of good emotions, but poor knowledge and little sophistication about the world.

Heilbrunn: Well, thank you. I couldn’t agree more.

Al-Qaida In Iraq Leader Ignores Zawahiri, Absorbs Saudi al-Nusra Group

Al-Qaida’s Syria rift may lead to open conflict among jihadis

reuters_india_logo
 
By REUTERS

By Mariam Karouny

(Reuters) – A rift between Syrian jihadis and their fellow fighters from al Qaeda’s Iraqi wing may lead to internecine war among some of the most effective rebel groups in combatting President Bashar al-Assad.

nusra (1)

The leader of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said his group and Syria’s al-Nusra Front would now jointly go under the name of the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”

 

Trouble has been brewing since April over what Syria’s Nusra Front regards as a power grab by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq. Now, Baghdadi’s insistence that he will keep fighting as head of a united jihadi brigade in Syria, defying orders from al-Qaida chief Ayman Zawahri, has brought the two groups close to turning on each other.

“Tension is increasing, it is about to reach boiling point. Both sides are saying they are right. A clash between them could occur soon and if it happens, it will be ugly,” said a senior rebel commander in Damascus who is following the dispute.

The two-year uprising against Assad has drawn fighters from many foreign countries to both sides, in what is increasingly a sectarian struggle between the main denominations of Islam. Some Iraqi Shi’ites are fighting for Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shia Islam, while Iraqi Sunni radicals who once took on US-led forces at home have joined the Syrian rebels.

Baghdadi’s attempt to unite the Syrian and Iraqi wings of al-Qaida has provoked the dispute at a sensitive time when some Western governments are considering arming more moderate rebels, but fear the weapons might fall into the radicals’ hands.

In April Baghdadi announced his Islamic State of Iraq was merging with the Nusra Front, which has staged some of the deadliest attacks on Assad’s forces.

This apparently unilateral move opened up bitter and public rifts with the Nusra Front leadership – which resisted what it saw as his bid for overall power – and with Zawahri, the global al-Qaida leader who instructed him to put the merger on hold in an apparent attempt to settle the row.

Baghdadi dismissed the demand from Zawahri, who has headed al-Qaida since U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. The merged Islamic state of Iraq and Levant “is staying as long as we have a pulse and an eye that blinks… We will not compromise over its existence,” Baghdadi responded earlier this month.

“After consultation I decided to (follow) the order from God over the order that opposes it,” he added in an audio message.

Nusra fighters, other rebels and Islamic sources reacted by saying Baghdadi had effectively severed his al-Qaida links.

“He rejected the ruling of Sheikh Zawahri and therefore he is no longer a brother of al- Qaida,” said a senior Nusra commander. “After Sheikh Zawahri ruled in our favour, the State (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) is illegitimate.”

PUSHING BAGHDADI OUT

A source close to Nusra leader Abu Mohammad Golani described Baghdadi’s defiance as dangerous. “We have no choice but to confront them, or Zawahri himself has to deal with these people,” he said.

Nusra was ready to fight Baghdadi’s forces and kick them out of Syria, but “Golani does not want bloodshed among brothers in Islam, he added. “Right now there is a decision to avoid them… but if he acts in a way that goes against Syria’s interest he will be pushed out by force, him and his people.”

Beneath the bluster, Nusra fighters appear to be in no position for now to challenge Baghdadi’s forces, and would need time to regroup and find allies among Syria’s other rebels.

A senior commander from a hardline Islamist rebel brigade in the northern province of Idlib said Baghdadi’s men would probably win a direct clash.

“Nusra was weakened by (Baghdadi’s) takeover and weakened even more by the split that happened,” he said. “It will be very difficult for Golani or anybody to bring it back from ashes.”

With powerful, mostly foreign, fighters on his side, Baghdadi forced Golani and some of his men to go underground, confiscating some Nusra weapons. Many other Nusra fighters went home or joined other Islamist brigades.

But the source close to Golani said the fact that most of Baghdadi’s fighters were non-Syrians meant they could end up isolated, even among the jihadis, because they were more concerned with imposing an Islamist agenda than toppling Assad.

Resentment about Baghdadi’s agenda in Syria echoes the way that al-Qaida fighters alienated many Sunni fighters during the Iraqi insurgency against the U.S. occupation forces and the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad. This could encourage other rebel brigades to join a Nusra backlash against Baghdadi.

“Baghdadi and those who believe in his extreme thinking, they are mostly foreigners and they are on their own,” the source said. “Nusra is back to work,” he added, saying Golani had ordered his commanders to prepare to resume operations.

Despite losing ground to Baghdadi’s men in the north, particularly in Aleppo and Raqqa provinces, rebels say the Nusra Front remains active and prominent in operations in the southern province of Deraa, near the border with Jordan.

Any resurgence of the Nusra Front, which fights alongside other rebel brigades against Syrian government forces, would further complicate Western efforts to support Assad’s opponents.

The United States has been reluctant to arm the rebels because of fears that weapons could end up in the hands of anti-Western jihadis such as the Nusra fighters. However, after a string of Assad gains around Damascus and near the Lebanese border, backed by Lebanon’s Shi’ite militia Hezbollah, President Barack Obama said Washington would increase military aid.

“Just 0.2 percent of the Internet” Is Searchable

 

NSA

Illustration by Sang Mun

The debate over the U.S. government’s monitoring of digital communications suggests that Americans are willing to allow it as long as it is genuinely targeted at terrorists. What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens.

People concerned with online privacy tend to calm down when told that the government can record their calls or read their e-mail only under special circumstances and with proper court orders. The assumption is that they have nothing to worry about unless they are terrorists or correspond with the wrong people.

The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.

In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.

No Data

The Netherlands’ security service, which couldn’t find recent data on the size of the Undernet, cited a 2003 study from the University of California at Berkeley as the “latest available scientific assessment.” The study found that just 0.2 percent of the Internet could be searched. The rest remained inscrutable and has probably grown since. In 2010, Google Inc. said it had indexed just 0.004 percent of the information on the Internet.

Websites aimed at attracting traffic do their best to get noticed, paying to tailor their content to the real or perceived requirements of search engines such as Google. Terrorists have no such ambitions. They prefer to lurk in the dark recesses of the Undernet.

“People who radicalise under the influence of jihadist websites often go through a number of stages,” the Dutch report said. “Their virtual activities increasingly shift to the invisible Web, their security awareness increases and their activities become more conspiratorial.”

Radicals who initially stand out on the “surface” Web quickly meet people, online or offline, who drag them deeper into the Web underground. “For many, finally finding the jihadist core forums feels like a warm bath after their virtual wanderings,” the report said.

When information filters to the surface Web from the core forums, it’s often by accident. Organizations such as al-Qaeda use the forums to distribute propaganda videos, which careless participants or their friends might post on social networks or YouTube.

Communication on the core forums is often encrypted. In 2012, a French court found nuclear physicist Adlene Hicheur guilty of, among other things, conspiring to commit an act of terror for distributing and using software called Asrar al-Mujahideen, or Mujahideen Secrets. The program employed various cutting-edge encryption methods, including variable stealth ciphers and RSA 2,048-bit keys.

The NSA’s Prism, according to a classified PowerPoint presentation published by the Guardian, provides access to the systems of Microsoft Corp. (and therefore Skype), Facebook Inc., Google, Apple Inc. and other U.S. Internet giants. Either these companies have provided “master keys” to decrypt their traffic – – which they deny — or the NSA has somehow found other means.

Traditional Means

Even complete access to these servers brings U.S. authorities no closer to the core forums. These must be infiltrated by more traditional intelligence means, such as using agents posing as jihadists or by informants within terrorist organizations.

Similarly, monitoring phone calls is hardly the way to catch terrorists. They’re generally not dumb enough to use Verizon. Granted, Russia’s special services managed to kill Chechen separatist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev with a missile that homed in on his satellite-phone signal. That was in 1996. Modern-day terrorists are generally more aware of the available technology.

At best, the recent revelations concerning Prism and telephone surveillance might deter potential recruits to terrorist causes from using the most visible parts of the Internet. Beyond that, the government’s efforts are much more dangerous to civil liberties than they are to al-Qaeda and other organizations like it.

(Leonid Bershidsky is an editor and novelist based in Moscow. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Leonid Bershidsky at bershidsky@gmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Mark Whitehouse at mwhitehouse1@bloomberg.net.

“Taliban Negotiators” In Doha Are ISI “Ringers,” Who Have Not Seen Mullah Omar In 12 Years

motasim-agha-jan-tolonews

[Agha and any so-called “Taliban” who are associated with him are mutually acceptable to the CIA and to the ISI as replacements for those real Afghan Taliban negotiators who were on Mullah Barader’s team and are under arrest in Pakistan.   They were negotiating with Karzai, NOT the Americans (SEE: Arresting Taliban To Cover America’s Ass).  This alleged “Taliban office” in Doha does NOT represent either the real Taliban, or the Afghan people; it represents the CIA and the ISI. 

In a Tolo News interview with this Agha guy, he admits that he has NOT been in any kind of consultations with Mullah Omar:

Mutasem_Agha_Jan

“Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid currently is in a situation where his position is indeterminable.”

He dismisses testimony from known Taliban spokesmen, that they will not negotiate with occupiers or their puppets, by describing these denials as battlefield propaganda:

“What you referred to are the war-time messages that hostile groups in Afghanistan broadcast against each other.”

This Taliban “jinn” has been given human substance, in order that he might create hope in “reconciliation,” as a preferable choice over the specter of “civil war.”  As with all other CIA grand behavioral manipulations, the realistic vision is created in popular opinion, that certain countries are sliding into “civil war,” or that the world in general is headed for world war.  Any conceivable solution would be preferable to either of those options.  This is the “Hobsen’s choice” that the American Imperialists are presenting to the world.  But they are false choices, intended to hide more realistic, “unprofitable” solutions.  The only real “solution” to Afghanistan is the universal freezing of all hostilities, especially those initiated by outside sources and carried-out by mercenary proxy forces. 

The sooner this latest American “negotiations”/”reconciliation” subterfuge is put down, the more likely it will be that American forces will actually end their destabilization operations and leave Afghanistan, instead of just waiting-out the clock on Hamid Karzai as planned.]

Some Taliban negotiators have links to ISI: Saleh

Pajhwok

by Mohammad Hassan Khitab
[Pajhwok Afghan News]
KABUL (PAN): Some of the Taliban representatives manning their political office in Qatar have links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Afghanistan’s former spy chief claimed on Sunday.

A 10-member team of the insurgent movement, including Maulvi Syed Tayeb Agha, Qazi Din Mohammad, Zahid Ahmadzai, Dr. Mohammad Naeem Wardak, Sohail Shaheen, Sher Mohammad Abbas and Nek Mohammad, recently left for Doha.

Amarullah Saleh, ex-head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), told reporters in Kabul the Taliban negotiators had spent the last 12 years living in Pakistan. During the period, he said, none of them had met Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Saleh added based on his information one of the Taliban negotiators was Maulvi Rahim, who was living in Islamabad and his children were studying in Pakistani schools.

“It’s pretty obvious who issues passports and visas to those going from Islamabad to Doha, who checks their documents and who nominates them,” he asked, suggesting the Taliban representatives had connections with Pakistan.

Also a senior member of the opposition alliance, Saleh said the Taliban negotiators fluently spoke English and closer look at their backgrounds would reveal where they had been living and who had sent them to Qatar.

“One of them is Din Mohammad, who I know very well. Coming from Badakhshan province, he has been in contact with me in the past,” remarked the erstwhile spymaster, who recalled the ISI had shifted Din Mohammad from Peshawar to Quetta two years ago when the Afghan government entered talks with the Taliban.

After staying in Quetta for a month and a half, Mohammad was blindfolded and taken to the port city of Karachi. The man remained for three to four weeks in Karachi, awaiting a meeting with Mullah Omar there, Saleh revealed. However, he did not know whether or not the meeting took place.

Kabul is vehemently opposed to the Taliban bureau’s name — the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — and hoisting of the movement’s flag on it, according to Saleh.

Angered by the sign identifying the office as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai delayed talks with the Taliban and suspended negotiations with the United States on the Bilateral Security Agreement.

Obama’s Secret CIA Hit Squad Detailed in “The Way of the Knife”

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Obama’s Secret CIA Hit Squad Detailed in “The Way of the Knife”

President Barack Obama has converted the CIA into his personal army and granted it unfettered assassination authority.

The story behind the development and deployment of this presidential killing corps is told inThe Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth, the latest book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti.

Mazzetti, who writes for the New York Times, describes a role reversal between the army of agents in the CIA and the actual army:

And just as the CIA has come to take on tasks traditionally associated with the military, with spies turned into soldiers, so has the opposite occurred. The American military has been dispersed into the dark spaces of American foreign policy, with commando teams running spying missions that Washington would never have dreamed of approving in the years before 9/11. Prior to the attacks of September 11, the Pentagon did very little human spying, and the CIA was not officially permitted to kill. In the years since, each has done a great deal of both, and a military-intelligence complex has emerged to carry out the new American way of war.

The “new American way of war” includes not declaring war. Rather than submit to the constitutional authority of the legislative branch’s exclusive power to declare war, presidents for decades have marched brigades of U.S. armies through the barriers that separate the powers of the White House and Capitol Hill.

Admittedly, when the president assumes the power to designate people as enemies of the state, then he feels legally justified in skirting (or completely disregarding) the myriad constitutional and moral checks on the prosecution of war.

For example, President Obama’s nearly daily approval of drone-delivered assassinations is an effrontery to over 650 years of our Anglo-American law’s protection from autocratic decrees of death without due process of law. When any president usurps the power to place names on a kill list and then have those people summarily executed without due process, he places our republic on a trajectory toward tyranny and government-sponsored terrorism.

It would be another matter if those targeted and executed by the president were armed enemy combatants — they were not. Were these suspected “militants” enemy soldiers captured during wartime they would be necessarily afforded certain rights granted to POWs. Those slated for assassination are not allowed any rights — neither the due process rights given to those accused of crimes nor the rights of fair treatment given to enemies captured on the battlefield. The White House has assumed all power over life and death and created ex nihilo a new category of individual — one deprived of all rights altogether.

President Obama, apparently, has a fondness for transformers: He takes one useful thing and repurposes it into something equally useful, although perhaps not equally constitutional.

Apart from the spy-to-soldier switch, Mazzetti writes of how “in a shadow war waged across the globe, America has pursued its enemies using killer robots and special operation troops.”

Again, in The Way of the Knife, Mazzetti displays a penchant for conflating the president (and the federal government and the military) for America, as in “America has pursued its enemies.”

The enemies currently being pursued by drones and CIA/Special Ops death squads are not the enemies of America — not demonstrably — but are people unfortunate enough to have their flash card come up in the Tuesday kill list confab.

An informative piece written by two of Mazzetti’s New York Times colleagues illuminates much of the macabre methodology of aggregating the names of enemies of the state to President Obama’s proscription list.?? Recounting the scene at one of the regularly scheduled Tuesday intelligence briefings at the White House, Jo Becker and Scott Shane wrote, “The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.”

It cannot be too soberly restated that these seemingly cold-blooded conferences are occurring every week in the Oval Office and are presided over by the president.

That last fact is essential if one is to understand the era into which our Republic has entered. The president of the United States, in this case Barack Obama, sits in a chair in the White House rifling through dossiers of suspected terrorists. After listening to the advice of his claque of counselors, it is the president himself who designates who of the lineup is to be killed. As the New York Times explains:

Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.

It is truthfully said by choruses of the president’s men that he inherited this “War on Terror” from President Bush. He must, so the supporters say, continue the operation until the threat to America from extremists is eliminated.

Government ProtectionIn his prosecution of this global search and destroy mission, President Obama displays more than just a grudging obligation to finish what his predecessor started, however. As Mazzetti reminds his readers, “The foundations of the secret war were laid by a conservative Republican president and embraced by a liberal Democratic one who became enamored of what he inherited.”

To his (dis)credit, President Obama has taken that inheritance and turned quite a profit. He now unrepentantly and repeatedly spends this lethal wealth on building an empire on the rubble of the constitutional Republic that was erected based on a constitutional blueprint. He is now — and it is foreseeable that all future Oval Office occupiers will be, as well — a man possessed of nearly unbounded power over life and death, with unitary command over a sophisticated and surreptitious squad of CIA soldiers and special operations manipulators. Again, Mazzetti from The Way of the Knife:

The strange new conflict has also upended how the United States waged war. The traditional wartime chain of command — passing from the White House to the secretary of defense to a four-star commander with a staff of hundreds to build and execute a war plan — had quietly been circumvented. The CIA director was now a military commander running a clandestine, global war with a skeleton staff and very little oversight.

The White House, he later explains, now has the first and final say on “who should be captured, who should be killed, and who should be spared.”

Bloodthirsty Roman dictators only dreamed of such deadly dominion over their political enemies and the entire population of their much smaller worlds.

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth is published by Penguin Press and is available now.

This review was originally published at The New American

“No good guys among Syrian rebels”—UN Chairman Syria Investigation Panel

No good guys among Syrian rebels – Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

in serbia

http://english.ruvr.ru/

 

It is impossible to choose unequivocally good guys among the groups of Syrian rebels and send weapons to them. This warning was voiced by chairman of the UN independent panel investigating possible violations of human rights in Syria Paulo Sergio Pinheiro on Friday.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

Last week the US announced its intention to grant military aid to Syrian rebels on the grounds that the conflict has reached a critical point. Washington states that it has information about the Syrian government troops using chemical agents against the rebels. In doing so, the US Administration reassures that weapons sent to Syria will not get into the hands of groups associated with al-Qaeda, such as Jabhat al-Nusra.

Pinheiro says that it is impossible to guarantee this. After a private meeting of the panel at the UN Security Council he told journalists that there is no clear-cut difference between good and bad guys among the Syrian opposition. He warned that sending weapons to those considered to be good guys would not contribute to the settlement of the conflict but would trigger more violence and military crimes.

Pinheiro disagreed with the opinion that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a red line after crossing which the international community has to use radical measures, such as providing one side of the conflict with weapons.

He said that too many red lines have already been crossed in Syria. Using chemical weapons is a military crime but too many crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights have already taken place. All this is enough for the Security Council to take measures to stop the violence, Pinheiro said.

Pinheiro stressed that crimes against humanity have become routine practice in Syria. He believes that this is the cost of the world community’s inability to use joint effort and put an end to this conflict.

US Afghanistan Strategy: Expecting Jasmine from Skunk Cabbage

US Afghanistan Strategy: Expecting Jasmine from Skunk Cabbage

news central asia NewsCentralAsia

Tariq Saeedi

Ashgabat, 21 June 2013 (nCa) — Let’s pack a lot of gobbledygook in one long sentence: Karzai announced plans to negotiate with Taliban, Americans trumped it within three hours by making counter announcement that they will negotiate with Taliban on bilateral basis in Doha, without anyone else on the table; Taliban opened office in Doha and named it representative office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Karzai objected to it; Taliban killed four Americans within hours of announcement of their agreement to negotiate with Americans, for good measure they also killed four Afghan soldiers; Americans remained adamant they will proceed with talks with Taliban despite setbacks, Karzai said he will boycott all negotiations.

All of this, in less than twenty hours!

It is difficult to resist the temptation to say what every other observer is saying: What was the point of this war if the end had to be bargained with the Taliban on the negotiation table.

The fact – the odious fact – is that Americans have been sowing Skunk Cabbage all along and now they hope that somehow Jasmine will bloom in their garden.

From personal knowledge and experience, I would like to point out some basic flaws in the American strategy:

1. As opposed to their pre-9/11 structure, Taliban are not a unified body anymore. Someone who is in a position to know what is what, told me last year that Mulla Omar is not in a position to impose his will on any group identifying itself as Taliban.

2. The same person told that the real force in Taliban are the young fighters who are comparatively educated, tech savvy and able to learn quickly from their experience. His argument was that over the years the Taliban have learned to hide from the eye in the sky i.e. the drone. Has asked me, have you noticed that lately the Taliban casualties have not been disproportionately high compared to occupying forces casualties, as was the case at the start of this war?

3. Taliban were not the real problem of Afghanistan. Whether we like it or not, the following facts would ultimately determine as to how the history is written:

  • There was no justification for the war because Mulla Omar, on the insistence of his teacher Mufti Shamzai, had agreed that he would expel Osama bin Laden provided he is tried in an Islamic country by a Muslim judge. His only condition was that he will not hand bin Lade to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. The war could have been averted had this proposal been accepted.
  • Someone close to Mulla Omar told me in October 2000 (a year before 9/11 and the war) that they had removed bin Laden from the decision-making circle already and were trying to find some other country that would be willing to accept him and his entourage. This was confirmed again when I spoke to a minister of the Taliban government in December 2000. As far as I know, the Americans were not only aware of this but they had also threatened to shoot down any aircraft that was suspected to be carrying bin Laden. It means that Americans were itching to punish Afghanistan for hosting bin Laden but were also denying any options to eject bin Laden from Afghanistan.
  • There was zero poppy cultivation in the last year of the rule of Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • The reason why Taliban took over most of Afghanistan with hardly any bloodshed was that the people were tired of the corruption and ruthlessness of the warlords. Corruption is at its highest once again, nurturing new leaves on the withered shrub of people’s support for the Taliban.
  • The Taliban justice was rough but swift and real; an eye for an eye, a life for a life. This is rather barbaric but the majority of the Afghan people understands and accepts it.
  • The Taliban did not interfere in the affairs of their neighbouring countries, nor did they declare any intention of doing so. All they wanted was to be left alone.

4. Doha (Qatar) is not a neutral territory. It is home to three American bases: 1. Al Udeid Air Base, 2. As Saliyah Army Base, and 3. Doha International Air Base. The US Central Command Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Centre are based there, covering the whole of Middle East and South and Central Asia. The presence of a Taliban office in Doha already compromises the concept of neutral talks.

5. What started initially as mere speculation is now being repeated by reliable sources such as AsSafir and Lebanon News of Lebanon and Haaretz of Israel (http://www.lebanonews.net/content/sheikh-hamad%E2%80%99s-stepping-down-us-decision and http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/qatar-s-palace-intrigues-and-reshaping-of-the-middle-east.premium-1.530396) that the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is preparing to abdicate in favour of his son, crown prince Tamim. AsSafir says that the ruler has been forced by the Americans to step down and the decision was conveyed to him through a CIA official. It says that the prime minister and foreign minister would also resign and leave Qatar. This puts endless question marks against the American decision to negotiate with the Taliban from their office in Doha.

6. The Taliban point man in Doha office would be Tayeb Agha, who is known as a mean of limited influence. He cannot be expected to speak on behalf of all the groups and factions.

7. General Dostum, and ethnic Uzbek and the most brutal of all warlords, has already started distributing arms and weapons to his affiliate groups in Jowzjan province. In earlier reports, Russia is ready to arm and support some factions of the former Northern Alliance. If Afghanistan returns to warlordism, which is a plausible scenario, it would be because of the shortsighted policies of the United States that came to Afghanistan on the back (actually horseback) of Northern Alliance and created a government and army where the non-Pashtuns carry weight quite disproportional to their actual percentage in the population.

The dirty hand of Qatar in Sudan’s conflicts

althani pig man

[The massive inroads that this puny little pile of Middle Eastern sand pile has made in the world have been made just on the power of bribery alone, since Qatar has no other power.  These penetrations of the civilized world could only have been made with Imperial approval, making it obvious that Doha has served Washington’s interests up until now.  The recent divergeance of opinion between the two came about over Qatar’s shepherding of the war against Syria, using only “al-Qaeda” extremists to do the fighting.  The same holds true for the split between Qatar and the West over Islamist penetration of Mali and Central Africa. Qatar has betrayed their trust with France as well, on some level, the “fat pig of Qatar” has “gone off the reservation,” making his recent removal an imperative for Obama (SEE:  Obama Overthrows Fat Pig of Qatar, Without Firing A Shot). 

Justice itself has been bent and perverted, so as to force humanitarian “watchdogs,” like the various UN authorities, the national and international courts systems and the so-called “free press” from every country, into ignoring documented tragedies and travesties that are ongoing in Africa and throughout the Middle East.  The suppression of truth is a criminal act, especially when the truth is being blocked in legal proceedings and international investigations by organizations which have been empowered by the world legislative body (the United Nations) to protect the basic human rights of all mankind.  It is only due to the coercive power of the Evil Empire, to hide half of the evidence in every war crime and crime against humanity, that America’s dirty little wars can continue (SEE:  8,500 Saudi Terrorists In Syria Are Also “Foreign Fighters,” Just Like Hezbollah).  Any international investigation in such a corrupted atmosphere is doomed to failure from the start. 

To the friends of truth, it is through your individual acts to preserve and to spread the entire truth about places like Darfur and Syria, that the corrosive power of half-truths will be brought to an end.]

The dirty hand of Qatar in Sudan’s conflicts

sudan tribune

By Anne Bartlett

June 20, 2013 – There is a certain intractability to Sudan’s conflicts these days, which defies logic or, it seems, any moral responsibility. The inability to move the international community off its course of pandering to Khartoum’s interests seems both irrational and unreasonable, given the significant upsurge in violence in Darfur and the critical situation now facing the population in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Consider what would happen if any government elsewhere (let’s say North Korea, for example), had the temerity to actually cross borders, drop bombs on innocent people, blatantly shut off oil supplies and sponsor militias to purposefully create instability in a neighboring country. In such a case, the whole world would be up in arms, diplomatic secure phones would be buzzing with telephone traffic and condemnation would be both swift and decisive.

Yet, when it comes to South Sudan and the rights of marginalized people inside Sudan, anything goes. The Sudanese government can cause havoc, force people to work like slaves in gold mines in Darfur, starve local communities who are now corralled in camps, oversee non-existent health provision leading to the worst global outbreak of yellow fever in decades and terrorize people in the Jebel Marra to within an inch of their lives. A wanted war criminal, Ali Kushayb, can drive around as Commander of the Central Reserve Forces (known as Abu Tira) in South Darfur with no sanction at all. In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the government can block humanitarian access, shell local populations and purposely locate itself close to civilian populations in towns like Kadugli so as to create maximum civilian casualties. Being even handed in its dispersal of war criminals, it can install Ahmed Haroun as the Governor of South Kordofan who is currently busy hosting football championships, while also overseeing the murder of innocent people.

The big question is why the silence? Why is the international community so compliant with the Sudanese government while all this unspeakable horror is going on? Why are they so full of what needs to happen elsewhere in the world, while apparently so blind to the rights of the people of Sudan? Why can Obama stand in Berlin talking about freedom and the horrors of the Stasi, while being unconcerned about the horrors of the NISS and indicted war criminals? Why are certain dictators worthy of US attention, while others aren’t?
The answer of course lies in the dirty hand of Qatar in world geopolitics. Across the world today Qatar is so busy in trading its cash for influence in world affairs, that it has been able to compromise the diplomatic credibility of the USA, UK, much of Europe and North Africa. It has been doing this quietly by using its relationships with the likes of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to shine its credentials of having some control over the Muslim Brotherhood and the ikhwan influence that is fast spreading across the Sahel. It has been doing so at the expense of its neighbors in the Gulf, notably the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and also at the expense of people suffering inside Sudan, who, it appears, have no rights at all.
Buying its way into the hearts of governments across the world, Qatar has set its sights high. In the United Kingdom, it has agreed to invest more than £10 billion in infrastructure projects that include energy plants, road and rail projects and even the new ‘super-sewer’ project under the capital, London. Elsewhere in London, Qatar has recently invested in Harrods, the Shard skyscraper and Heathrow Airport. Outside the capital, discussions are also underway to fund a new £14 billion nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset, planned and operated by EDF, the French energy giant.
Not wishing to lose out on Qatar’s largesse, France has also agreed to allow the Emirate to invest millions in its depressed ‘banlieues’ – the rings of poor suburbs with high immigrant populations that surround Paris. What was originally slated to be an exclusively Qatari project was however not taken up by Sarkozy due to the pressure of impending elections. It was however later adapted by François Hollande to include a joint plan between the French government, French private sector and the Qatari government, after accusations that the plan could amount to an ‘Islamic Trojan Horse’ being allowed deep into the heart of depressed Muslim areas. Undeterred the Qataris have continued to work on the issue, promoting a sixty five million dollar fund for young entrepreneurs from these areas. They have also bought football clubs, hotels, office buildings and public companies.

This pattern of influence trading and soft power usage spans much of Europe, including bailouts to the Greek government, interest in privatizing the defense giant Hellenic Defense Systems and buying six of its islands. In Germany the ‘Aamal Company, one of the Gulf region’s fastest growing diversified conglomerates, has signed an agreement with Vivantes International Medicine, the biggest hospital group in Germany, to create a joint venture (JV) outpatient medical centre in Doha’. In a spirit of reciprocity, Qatar is also investing in property and the leisure industry in Berlin.

In the USA, the Emir has developed strong relationships on account of the Defense Cooperation Agreement, which moved the U.S. Combat Air Operations Center for the Middle East from Prince Sultan Airbase in Saudi Arabia to Qatar’s Al Udeid airbase south of Doha, the Qatari capital. Udeid and other facilities in Qatar now serve as logistics, command, and basing hubs for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan’. Education city, Doha, now hosts six top US universities: Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Cornell, Texas A&M and Virginia Commonwealth. US think tanks such as the Brookings Institution also call Doha home. Working closely with Qatar on the current crisis in Syria, the US is also developing strong diplomatic relationships with the Emirate as it moves forward.

Qatar’s spiderlike web of influence is growing at a rapid pace and spreading across the globe. The fact that Qatar has the ear, and has cultivated relations of dependence with many western governments, means that it has a lot of leverage in the case of Darfur, not only to keep pushing the Doha Peace Process as the only game in town, but also to ensure continued support for the Sudanese government and its operations. Elsewhere it can keep the pressure on the government of South Sudan and on the so called ‘rebel’ movements like the SRF operating on the border, while turning attention away from Sudan’s own sponsorship of militias inside South Sudan.

The question is how ill-informed and self-interested the world community can get. Are they so entranced by Qatar’s message that they have failed to notice the fact that the Emirate is speaking out of both sides of its mouth? Do they really think that once they’ve bought into Qatar’s influence over the Muslim Brotherhood, that it will end there? Are they too lazy to look a little further down the road to see what might be heading in their direction? Yes, it is easy to hit the soft targets like South Sudan and the already pulverized people of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Yes, it is easy to sell innocent people out in exchange for economic benefit and fat cat deals. However, getting too involved with such a government, as they will soon find out, can be rather unpredictable. As with so many situations where people get into bed with the devil, the international community had better pay attention to who they will wake up with in the morning.

Dr. Anne Bartlett is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Graduate Program in International Studies at the University of San Francisco. She may be reached at albartlett@usfca.edu

Bipartisan Senate group seeks to block military funds to Syria

Bipartisan Senate group seeks to block military funds to Syria

foxnews
FoxNews.com

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A bipartisan group of senators have introduced legislation to block the U.S. from escalating its involvement in the Syrian civil war as concerns mount on Capitol Hill over the Obama administration’s plan to directly arm rebels.

Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Tom Udall, D-N.M,; and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., introduced the bill Thursday to prohibit the Defense Department and intelligence agencies from funding operations in Syria.

Earlier this month, Obama announced the U.S. would begin providing arms and ammunition, after President Bashar Assad’s military dealt the rebels serious setbacks. The conflict is now in its third year with some 93,000 estimated dead.

Paul said he was disturbed by the president’s decision to reverse course and arm the rebels, fearing getting mired in a conflict in which little is known about the fighters battling the regime.

“Engaging in yet another conflict in the Middle East with no vote or Congressional oversight compounds the severity of this situation,” Paul said in a statement. “The American people deserve real deliberation by their elected officials before we send arms to a region rife with extremists who seek to threaten the U.S. and her allies.”

Murphy expressed concern over the possibility that American weapons and money could fall into the hands of terrorist organizations.

“We should be extremely wary of allowing the United States to be drawn into a complicated proxy war that could mire our country for years at a potentially incalculable cost to U.S. taxpayers and America’s reputation at home and abroad,” Murphy said.

The senators said the bill would not apply to non-lethal humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people provided by the U.S.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in May to provide weapons to rebels in Syria, as well as military training to vetted rebel groups and sanctions against anyone who sells oil or transfers arms to the Assad regime.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Obama refused to describe the type of military support the U.S. will give to Syrian rebels. He praised a decision by world leaders at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland to seek a negotiated peace.

Obama said even though leaders could not agree on whether Assad must go, he has decided it is not possible for Assad to regain legitimacy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Syria Complains To UN About Sunni Leaders Issuing Fatwas for Jihad

BLOOMBERG
By Donna Abu-Nasr

Syria’s Foreign Ministry said edicts issued by Arab Muslim scholars that call for jihad, or holy war, “complete the bloody approach” adopted by regional and Western countries toward Syria, the state-run SANA news agency said.

In a letter to the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry singled out several scholars, including Egyptian-born cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Saudi Mohammad Al-Areefi, for urging Sunni Muslims to take up arms against loyalists of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and its Lebanese ally, the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

These calls “aim to justify all acts of systematic murder, rape, massive killing, terrorist bombings” targeting Syrians and the demolition of the country’s infrastructure with the aim of destroying Syria and its culture, SANA said.

Syria holds those “scholars of sedition and instigation” and the governments that support them “directly responsible for the shedding of Syrians’ blood,” the ministry said in the letter, according to SANA.

Al-Qaradawi has called on Sunnis from his base in Qatar to fight a holy war in Syria while Al-Areefi gave a sermon in a Cairo mosque this month urging Sunnis to take up arms against Assad and Hezbollah.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

“Al-Qaeda” Picks Fight With Kurds In Northern Syria

Arab Islamist rebels, Kurds clash in northern Syria

Reuters

Kurdish fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) pose for a picture in Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood, June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

Kurdish fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) pose for a picture in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood, June 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Muzaffar Salman

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN

(Reuters) – Islamist rebels have cut access to a Kurdish area in northern Syria and clashed with Kurdish nationalist PKK fighters whom they accuse of backing President Bashar al-Assad, sources on both sides said on Thursday.

The confrontation threatens to open a new front in Syria’s 27-month-old civil war, in which Kurds, who form about 10 percent of the population, have so far played a limited role.

Fighting erupted overnight on the edge of Ifrin, a rugged, olive-growing area on the Turkish border, the sources said. Four people were killed, bringing to at least 30 the death toll from battles and assassinations in the last few days. Dozens more have been taken in tit-for-tat kidnappings, the sources said.

Tensions between Arabs and Kurds, whose relationship is riven by land disputes, especially in eastern Syria, have risen since the uprising against Assad erupted in March 2011.

Thousands of Kurds joined peaceful pro-democracy protests early on in the revolt but the community has mostly stayed out of the armed and largely Islamist insurgency that followed.

Although Kurdish politicians hold senior posts in the mostly Arab Sunni Muslim opposition, attempts to bring the main Kurdish parties into the umbrella Syrian National Coalition have failed, amid rows over how to define Kurdish rights in a future Syria.

Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, has pulled his troops out of cities in eastern Syria and out of many parts of Ifrin in the northwest, in effect granting the Kurds an autonomy many of them fear losing if he is toppled.

Ifrin was thrust deeper into the conflict when Assad’s forces reinforced Zahra and Nubbul, two Shi’ite villages situated between Ifrin and the divided city of Aleppo, as part of an apparent attempt to capture the rural north, a supply line to Aleppo and to various rebel-held areas in the interior.

Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah fighters deployed in Zahra and Nubbul. The army also airlifted troops and loyalist militia to an area in Ifrin behind rebel lines, opposition sources said.

ECONOMIC DISRUPTION

Accusing PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) fighters of supplying the two villages, Islamist rebels cut main roads from Ifrin to the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo this month, causing prices of basic goods in Ifrin to soar, residents said.

Kurdish farmers are also struggling to market their crops, the sources said, with rebels extorting high fees at roadblocks.

“Ifrin has been sympathetic to the revolution but the rebels are not serving their cause by what they are doing,” said Abboud Hakim, a retired government official in Ifrin.

“They accuse the PKK of delivering supplies to Nubbul and Zahra when they themselves let trucks go there if they pay them at the roadblocks,” he said.

Rebel sources said the overnight clashes began when PKK gunmen attacked a roadblock held by an offshoot of the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front near Jindaris, a Kurdish town southwest of Ifrin city, despite a truce brokered two days earlier by Colonel Mustafa al-Sheikh, a moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander.

Under the deal between the FSA and the Kurdish Protection Units, a de facto PKK unit, the siege on Ifrin was to be lifted on Wednesday and both sides were to have freed their prisoners.

An opposition source in northern Syria said the ceasefire deal had little effect because Sheikh had only limited influence on the Islamist brigades which hold sway on the ground.

The PKK, the source said, also seemed to have little interest in the deal, especially after Arab reconciliation delegates sent to Ifrin were reportedly killed a few weeks ago.

Massoud Akko, a Kurdish activist based in Norway, said the conflict in Ifrin had become turf warfare with scant relevance to the Kurdish cause or the aims of the anti-Assad revolt.

“Even if the Kurdish Protection Units have committed violations, it does not justify besieging 150,000 civilians living in over 300 villages,” Akko said. “The rebel forces are using the same methods of collective punishment as Assad.”

In Aleppo, opposition activists reported the heaviest fighting in months as rebels fought to claw back gains by Assad’s forces in several districts. Pro-Assad forces came under attack in al-Sakhour. Fighting also raged in Suleiman Halabi, a district largely held by Assad’s loyalists.

(Additional reporting by Erika Solomon in Beirut; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Kyrgyzstan sets July 2014 deadline for Manas air base closure

Kyrgyzstan sets July 2014 deadline for US air base closure

Turkish Weekly

– Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted on Thursday to give the United States until July 11, 2014 to shut its airforce base at the main civilian airport Manas, which it uses to fly US troops and cargo in and out of Afghanistan.

A law to end Washington’s lease of the base – the Manas Transit Center outside the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek – was passed by 91 votes to 5. The base has been in operation since the end of 2001.

Russia, vying with the West and China for influence in the resource-rich region, last September secured a 15-year extension to its lease of its air base in Kyrgyzstan.
20 June 2013

JPost

New UN Report Slams Zionist Abuse of Palestinian Children

UN: Palestinian children tortured, used as human shields by Israel

haaretz logo

New UN human rights agency report claims Israeli forces arbitrarily arrest Palestinian children in Gaza and West Bank, subject them to degrading treatment, exploit them to scope out potentially dangerous buildings and use them as shields to deter stone throwers.

Source:United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
6 March 2013


Children in Israeli Military detention

Observations and Recommendations

Abbreviations and acronyms

  • Beijing Rules: United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (1985)
  • CAT: Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • CRC: Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • HRC: Human Rights Committee
  • ICCPR: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Tokyo Rules: United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures (1990).
  • Standard Minimum Rules: United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955)
  • UNICEF: United Nations Children’s Fund

A. Executive summaryAll children in contact with judicial systems should be treated with dignity and respect at all times. For several years, national lawyers, human rights organizations, United Nations experts and treaty bodies have been publishing reports of ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the Israeli military detention system.

Following an increasing number of allegations of ill-treatment of children in military detention, UNICEF has conducted a review of practices related to children who come into contact with the military detention system, from apprehension, to court proceedings and outcome.

The review further considers whether the military detention system is in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Following an overview of policies and norms related to the prohibition of ill-treatment in international law, the paper presents the structure and operation of the Israeli military detention system, including the legal framework, establishment of a juvenile military court, age of criminal responsibility and penalties under military law. The paper also reviews the legal safeguards in place against ill-treatment under military law and discusses their conformity with the norms, guarantees and safeguards found in international law. Subsequently, the treatment of children in the military detention system is presented, following the passage of children through the system.

This paper is a result of this review and analysis of practices. It concludes that the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.

It is understood that in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights. All children prosecuted for offences they allegedly committed should be treated in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, which provide them with special protection. Most of these protections are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The paper concludes with 38 specific recommendations grouped under 14 broad headings designed to improve the protection of children in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international laws, norms and standards.

B. Introduction and framework for analysis

International law requires that all children in contact with judicial systems be treated with dignity and respect at all times. Reports concerning the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (hereinafter ‘ill-treatment’) of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system are not new. For many years credible reports have emerged of ill-treatment within this system. These reports have come from international, Palestinian and Israeli lawyers; human rights organizations; and independent UN experts and bodies such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee against Torture and the Human Rights Committee. International law applicable in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory1prohibits the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances. The prohibition is absolute and unconditional. This prohibition has no exceptions, not even for security considerations or for the threat of war. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, in article 37, also prohibits such treatment.

Since 2007, the UNICEF office in the occupied Palestinian territory has been leading inter-agency efforts to systematically gather accurate, timely and reliable information on grave violations committed against children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including the arrest and detention of children. This information – in addition to data on killing and injuries, recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups, attacks against schools and hospitals, denial of humanitarian access and forced displacement – is reported regularly to the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, via the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. Mounting allegations of ill-treatment of children held in the Israeli military detention system led UNICEF to monitor and review practices relating to children in that system.2

The methodology of this review included the analysis of cases documented through the monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave child rights violations, as well as an assessment of legal and other documents relevant to that system. These include Israeli military orders, domestic legislation and relevant jurisprudence; statistics from governmental and non-governmental organizations; and reports from UN bodies and Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental groups. The effort also involved discussions conducted by UNICEF with Israeli and Palestinian lawyers and Israeli officials and interviews with Palestinian children.

The review further considered whether the military detention system is in conformity with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Israel in August 1991, and the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by Israel in 1991. It also addressed whether the legal safeguards in place against ill-treatment under Israeli military law are in line with the norms, guarantees and safeguards found in international law relevant to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This paper summarizes the findings of the review. It concludes by recommending a number of practical measures to improve the protection of children within the system, in line with applicable international standards. Enforcing these recommendations is possible, as demonstrated by the fact that Israeli authorities have announced a few positive changes over the last two years. This is a welcome development that will help increase the protection of children, provided that these changes are fully implemented.

C. Legal policies and principles

The prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment is universal and absolute. It can be found in both customary international law and in a number of treaties and conventions (see table 1).3 There are no exceptional circumstances in which torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment are permitted, not even security considerations or the threat of acts endangering the security of a State or its population.4he prohibition is absolute.

table 1. international guarantees, norms and safeguards relevant to torture
and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, in article 37, prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (see box). It further provides that parties to the Convention “shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child”.6 The Committee on the Rights of the Child has further stated that “any disciplinary measure […] including corporal punishment, placement in a dark cell, closed or solitary confinement, or any other punishment that may compromise the physical or mental health or well-being of the child concerned” must be strictly forbidden.7As general guidance, following are some examples of practices that amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment according to the Committee against Torture:

  • Restraining in very painful conditions;
  • Hooding under special conditions;
  • Threats, including death threats;
  • Kicking, punching and beating with implements;
  • Excessive use of force by law enforcement personnel and the military;
  • Incommunicado detention without access to a lawyer or doctor or the ability to communicate with family members;
  • Solitary confinement;
  • Sensory deprivation and almost total prohibition of communication; and,
  • Poor conditions of detention, including failure to provide food, water, heating in winter, proper washing facilities, overcrowding, lack of amenities, poor hygiene facilities and limited clothing and medical care.8
Article 37 of the Convention on the rights of the ChildStates Parties shall ensure that:(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

The prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in Israel

In addition to Israel’s obligations under international law, the guiding principles relating to the prohibition against torture in Israel are to be found in a 1999 decision of the Supreme Court, which is also legally binding on the Israeli military courts.9 The Court concluded that a reasonable interrogation is necessarily one free of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and that this prohibition is absolute.10

D. Structure and operations of the Israeli military detention system

The authorities involved in the process of arrest, prosecution, sentencing and detention of children are the army, the police, the Israel Security Agency, the courts and the Israel Prison Service. All these agencies and security officials are responsible for the child at different stages of the process that a child goes through when in contact with the military detention system.

Israel imposed military law on the occupied Palestinian territory in June 1967, through a military order that gives the Israeli area commander full legislative, executive and judicial authority.11

Legal framework

According to the legal framework of occupation under international law, a local population under occupation should continue to be bound by its own penal laws and tried in its own courts. However, under security provisions, local laws can be suspended by the occupying power and replaced with military orders enforced by military courts.12

Based on the establishment of military law,13successive Israeli military commanders in the West Bank have issued over 1,600 military orders. These orders relate to a range of issues, including the establishment and jurisdiction of the military courts; detention, arrest, release, search, seizure and forfeiture; applicable practice, procedure and evidence in military courts; categories of offences; and more recently, the establishment of a juvenile military court.

The Israeli military order most relevant to this report is Military Order 1651. This order came into effect on 2 May 2010 and incorporates a number of previous military orders relating to children, including Military Order 132 (Adjudication of Juvenile Delinquents) and Military Order 1644 (Establishing a Juvenile Military Court). Military Order 1651 also contains the main jurisdictional provisions and specifies the main offences with which Palestinians, including children, who are living in areas under full Israeli control are charged, which were previously contained in Military Order 378 (Security Directives).

In addition to Military Order 1651, some provisions of Israeli civilian criminal legislation also apply in the military courts, including laws relating to criminal procedure and evidence.14

Juvenile military court

In September 2009, in response to documentation of the prosecution of children as young as 12 in adult military courts, Israel established a juvenile military court.15It is understood that this is the first and only juvenile military court in operation in the world. In fact, it uses the same facilities and court staff as the adult military court.16The Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child should establish separate facilities for children deprived of their liberty, including distinct, child-centred staff, personnel, policies and practices.17

With respect to juvenile justice, international child rights law is clear and unequivocal: accountability measures should be guided by the principles of diversion and alternatives to deprivation of liberty. First and foremost, children should be diverted from entering the law enforcement and judicial systems. The deprivation of liberty of children should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Accountability measures for alleged child perpetrators should be in the children’s best interests and should be conducted in a manner that takes into account their age at the time of the alleged commission of the crime, promotes their sense of dignity and worth, and supports their reintegration and potential to assume a constructive role in society.18

The order that established the juvenile military court raises a number of issues of concern:

(i) Although proceedings involving minors (12-15 years) are to be heard before a military juvenile court, remand hearings, bail applications and hearings to determine whether a child remains in detention pending the conclusion of the case are specifically exempted from this requirement and can be heard in the military courts used for adults.19

(ii) Military juvenile judges are selected from the ranks of military court judges and given “appropriate training”.20If a minor (12-15 years) is tried before an adult military court by mistake, and the mistake is discovered prior to the verdict, the adult military court can transfer the case to the military juvenile court, which is “authorized to hear the case from the stage it had reached in the previous court”, rather than starting the hearing again before an appropriately qualified judge. Alternatively, the adult military court can continue to hear the case and is authorized to “act as if it were a military juvenile court”, even though the judge may not have received the “appropriate training”.21 This provision in Military Order 1651 would appear to place little or no value on the skills and expertise that an appropriately trained juvenile judge can bring to proceedings involving a child. It should be noted, however, that in cases of “a grave miscarriage of justice” arising as a result of these provisions, the President of the Military Court of Appeals can order a retrial.22

(iii) The juvenile military court is authorized to conduct hearings in a location away from where adult trials are being conducted, but only “to the extent possible”. Similarly, minors (12-15 years), “to the extent possible”, are to be brought separately to and from court.23

(iv) Regarding the time period during which a child can be denied access to a lawyer and the guidelines relating to a child’s release on bail, the same provisions govern both children and adults – the military order establishing the juvenile military court did not establish specific rules recognizing the special vulnerabilities of children.

Use of hand ties

In March 2010, the Office of the Israeli Military Advocate General stated in a letter to human rights organizations 24that new procedures had been established and disseminated on the use of hand ties, to prevent pain and injury.25

Age of majority

On 27 September 2011, the Israeli military commander in the occupied West Bank issued Military Order 1676, which raised the age of majority in the military courts from 16 to 18 years. Israeli military courts previously considered Palestinian children to be minors only up to 15 years old. This positive development is in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It should be noted, however, that this amendment translates into legislation an existing practice, and that it does not apply to the sentencing provisions; children aged 16 and 17 years are still sentenced based on provisions applicable for adults.

This new order also introduced requirements for the police to notify parents about the arrest of their children and to inform children that they have the right to consult a lawyer. However, it does not stipulate when the consultation should occur. Nor does it impose similar notification requirements on the army, which is the main body conducting arrests and detaining children in the West Bank before handing them over to the police, who carry out the interrogations of children. In addition, at the time of writing, Military Order 1676 had only been circulated in Hebrew and English, not Arabic, as required under international law.26

Age of criminal responsibility and penalties under military law

Military Order 1651 establishes 12 years as the minimum age of criminal responsibility and sets the maximum penalties that can be imposed on children in various age categories. These maximum penalties can vary significantly depending

on the child’s age (see table 2).

Table 2. age categories under Military order 1651 on penalties under military law

The majority of children prosecuted in the military courts are charged with throwing stones,27 which is an offence under Section 212 of Military Order 1651. It provides as follows:(i) Throwing an object, including a stone, at a person or property with the intent to harm the person or property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.28

E. Treatment of children in the military detention system

This section analyses the treatment of children during four critical phases of the military detention process: the arrest, the transfer to an interrogation site, the interrogation itself and finally the hearing. The findings are based on UNICEF interviews with children.

Each year approximately 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, the great majority of them boys, are arrested, interrogated and detained by Israeli army, police and security agents. 31 In the past 10 years, an estimated 7,000 children have been detained, interrogated, prosecuted and/or imprisoned within the Israeli military justice system – an average of two children each day.

The analysis of the cases monitored by UNICEF identified examples of practices that amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture. What amounts to ill-treatment depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. However, the common experience of many children is being aggressively awakened in the middle of the night by many armed soldiers and being forcibly brought to an interrogation centre tied and blindfolded, sleep deprived and in a state of extreme fear. Few children are informed of their right to legal counsel.

“In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

Article 3, Convention on the Rights of the Child

The arrest

Many children32are arrested in the middle of the night, awakened at their homes by heavily armed soldiers. Some children are arrested in the streets near their homes, near bypass roads used by Israeli settlers or at army checkpoints inside the West Bank. Many of the children arrested at home wake up to the frightening sound of soldiers banging loudly on their front door and shouting instructions for the family to leave the house.

For some of the children, what follows is a chaotic and frightening scene, in which furniture and windows are sometimes broken, accusations and verbal threats are shouted, and family members are forced to stand outside in their night clothes as the accused child is forcibly removed from the home and taken away with vague explanations such as “he is coming with us and we will return him later”, or simply that the child is “wanted”. Few children or parents are informed as to where the child is being taken, why or for how long.

The transfer to the interrogation site

Once a child has been identified, he or she is hand-tied and blindfolded and led to a waiting military vehicle for transfer to an interrogation site. Children are often prevented from saying goodbye to their parents and from putting on appropriate clothing for the journey. When the child is not transferred directly to an interrogation centre, he is often taken to another location, frequently a settlement in the West Bank, where he may wait until after daybreak before continuing the trip to the interrogation centre.

“Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age.”

Article 37(c), Convention on the Rights of the Child

Many children are subjected to ill-treatment during the journey to the interrogation centre.33

Some endure physical or verbal abuse; some suffer from painful restraints or from being forced to lie on the hard floor of the vehicle. The transfer process can take many hours and often includes intermediate stops at settlements or military bases where further ill-treatment is reported, including in some cases prolonged exposure to the elements and a lack of water, food or toilet facilities.

During these intermediate stops, many children are brought before medical staff and asked a series of general questions about their health. The blindfold is usually removed, but the child’s hands remain tied. Very few children are physically examined. Some children report informing the doctor about their ill-treatment, but there is little evidence that these medical personnel provide medical attention even when the children have marks on their bodies from beatings or from the plastic ties.34After this medical interview, which lasts about 10 minutes, the blindfold is replaced before the child is taken outside.

The children’s journey from the place of arrest to the interrogation site can take anywhere from one hour to an entire day.

The interrogation

The most common sites for interrogation of children from the West Bank have been the police stations in the settlements of Gush Etzion and Ari’el, as well as Ofer Prison and Huwwara Interrogation Centre. In a few cases, the children have been transferred to Al Mascobiyya Interrogation Centre in Jerusalem or Al Jalame Interrogation Centre, near Haifa in Israel. The children are interrogated soon after their arrival.

“In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality … Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.”

Article 14(3), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The children are questioned by men dressed in civilian clothes or military uniforms, or sometimes in Israeli police uniforms. No child has been accompanied by a lawyer or family member during the interrogation, despite article 37(d) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that: “Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance.”

The children are rarely informed of their rights, particularly the right against self-incrimination, despite another requirement in the same article stating that every child deprived of liberty shall have “the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.” There is no independent oversight of the interrogation process.

The absence of independent oversight of the interrogation process is significant, because third-party scrutiny of the methods of interrogation can be an effective measure to limit the use of ill-treatment and other coercive techniques during questioning. This oversight can be provided by having the child’s lawyer and family member present during questioning and by making an audio-visual recording of the proceedings. Recording the proceedings, implemented in a number of jurisdictions (including the Israeli civilian legal system in certain circumstances) provides some measure of protection to the detainee against ill-treatment. It also protects the interrogator against false allegations of wrongdoing.

The interrogation mixes intimidation, threats and physical violence, with the clear purpose of forcing the child to confess. Children are restrained during the interrogation, in some cases to the chair they are sitting on. This sometimes continues for extended periods of time, resulting in pain to their hands, back and legs. Children have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member.

Most children confess at the end of the interrogation. The interrogator prints out some forms and orders the child to sign them, though the child often lacks a proper understanding of their contents. In most cases the forms are in Hebrew, which the overwhelming majority of Palestinian children do not understand.

Some children have been held in solitary confinement, for a period ranging from two days up to one month before the court hearing as well as after sentencing. (The judge has the authority to extend the initial four-day period to one month, and then to further extend it up to a maximum of 90 days.) The effects of solitary confinement on a detainee were considered by the Special Rapporteur on Torture in a 2008 report to the General Assembly:

“The weight of accumulated evidence to date points to the serious and adverse health effects of the use of solitary confinement: from insomnia and confusion to hallucinations and mental illness. The key adverse factor of solitary confinement is that socially and psychologically meaningful contact is reduced to the absolute minimum, to a point that is insufficient for most detainees to remain mentally well-functioning. Moreover, the effects of solitary confinement on pre-trial detainees may be worse than for other detainees in isolation, given the perceived uncertainty of the length of detention and the potential for its use to extract information or confessions. Pre-trial detainees in solitary confinement have an increased rate of suicide and self-mutilation within the first two weeks of solitary confinement”.35The detrimental impact of solitary confinement on the psychological well-being of a child has prompted the Committee on the Rights of the Child to advise strict prohibition of such treatment, a call echoed by the Special Rapporteur on Torture in a report to the United Nations General Assembly in October 2011.36The hearing and the sentence

After the interrogation children are generally brought before a military court for a hearing. Children enter the courtroom in leg chains and shackles, wearing prison uniforms. This is in contravention of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which stipulate that chains and irons shall never be used, and other forms of restraint should only be used in certain limited circumstances, including “as a precaution against escape during transfer, provided that they shall be removed when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative body” and “such instruments must not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary.”

Most children see their lawyers for the first time when they are brought to the court. Not all lawyers have easy access to the applicable military orders as they are not always made available in Arabic, as is required under international law.37 Further, some Israeli criminal legislation, which also applies in the military courts, has never been translated into Arabic. This failure to make the applicable laws (as amended) and decisions of the courts readily available in Arabic places Palestinian defence lawyers at a distinct disadvantage and jeopardizes an accused child’s chances of receiving a fair trial.38

A military court judge is authorized to extend the initial four-day period39of detention for a period not exceeding 30 days. Each time the period of detention expires, the judge can extend it again, up to a maximum of 188 days, with a military judge reviewing the detention every 30 days.40These provisions are not in line with the international standard requiring that a child be brought before a judge within the first 24 hours after arrest, with a review every two weeks thereafter.41

In most cases bail is denied. This directly contravenes article 37(b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that deprivation of liberty be used “only as a measure of last resort…” The child is then ordered to remain in custody until the end of the legal proceedings.

In the majority of cases, the principal evidence against the child is the child’s own confession, in most cases extracted under duress during the interrogation.42 Sometimes the child is implicated in a confession given by another child. In some cases the children unknowingly sign a ‘confession’, written in Hebrew (which most Palestinian children do not understand), after being advised that ‘confessing’ is their only way out of the military detention system. Although many children reported providing confessions as a result of ill-treatment, few raise this matter before the court for fear that their complaints would lead to harsher sentences, even though international law prohibits the use of evidence obtained under duress by a court.43

Ultimately, almost all children plead guilty in order to reduce the length of their pretrial detention. Pleading guilty is the quickest way to be released. In short, the system does not allow children to defend themselves.

Two of the three prisons run by the Israel Prison Service, where the majority of Palestinian children serve their sentences, are located inside Israel44.The transfer of Palestinian children to prisons inside Israel contravenes article 76 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (hereinafter “Fourth Geneva Convention”). It provides that “protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.”

In practical terms, this makes family visits difficult, and in some cases impossible, due to regulations that restrict Palestinians with West Bank ID cards from travelling inside Israel and to the length of time it takes to issue a permit. This contravenes article 37(c) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child “shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances”.

Incarcerating children has lasting harmful effects. By cutting them off from their families, sometimes for months, it causes emotional distress. It also interrupts their access to education, further contravening their rights. For these reasons children in conflict with the law should be granted bail whenever possible. It bears repeating, as noted in article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that detention of a child shall be used only “as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”.

F. Conclusions

Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized. This conclusion is based on the repeated allegations about such treatment over the past 10 years and the volume, consistency and persistence of these allegations. The review of cases documented through the monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave child rights violations, as well as interviews conducted by UNICEF with Israeli and Palestinian lawyers and Palestinian children, also support this conclusion.

The pattern of ill-treatment includes the arrests of children at their homes between midnight and 5:00 am by heavily armed soldiers; the practice of blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties; physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints; lack of access to water, food, toilet facilities and medical care; interrogation using physical violence and threats; coerced confessions; and lack of access to lawyers or family members during interrogation.

Treatment inconsistent with child rights continues during court appearances, including shackling of children; denial of bail and imposition of custodial sentences; and transfer of children outside occupied Palestinian territory to serve their sentences inside Israel. The incarceration isolates them from their families and interrupts their studies.

These practices are in violation of international law that protects all children against ill-treatment when in contact with law enforcement, military and judicial institutions.

The April 2010 announcement by Israeli military officials of changes to the hand-tying procedure is a positive development. So too is military order 1676 (September 2011), which introduced requirements for the police (though not the army) to notify parents about the arrest of their children and to inform children that they have the right to consult a lawyer. Further measures should be introduced to ensure the protection of children under military detention and compliance of the system with international norms and regulations, as well as to dissipate false allegations of misconduct by the authorities.

G. Recommendations

The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.45

The following recommendations are intended to assist Israeli officials to adopt a series of practical safeguards that would improve the protection of children under military detention and prevent practices that breach the absolute prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Some of these safeguards would also assist the authorities in dispelling any false allegations of wrongdoing.

The recommendations take into consideration the situation of unrest prevailing in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its duty to protect from violence its citizens and other persons underits jurisdiction or de facto control.46 However, the absolute nature of the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment requires immediate implementation of measures to ensure that children held in the military detention system are never subjected to treatments that breach the pledges Israel agreed to fulfil in ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1. Compliance with international norms and regulations

With respect to the arrest and detention of children, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international norms and standards,47the following principles must apply under all circumstances:

(i) The best interests of the.child shall be a primary.consideration. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social-welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.48

(ii) Non-discrimination. States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child shall respect and ensure that the rights set forth in the Convention apply to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parents’ race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.49

(iii) Use of detention only as a measure of last resort. Children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.50

(iv)Alternatives.to.detention. Alternatives to detaining children should always be considered and encouraged, at both the pre-trial and post-sentencing stages of any judicial or military detention system.

(v) Diversion..Children in conflict with the law should be channelled away from judicial proceedings through the development and implementation of procedures or programmes that enable many – possibly most – to avoid the potential negative effects of formal judicial proceedings, provided that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.51

2. Notification

(i) All children shall be informed of the reasons for their arrest at the time of arrest and in a language they understand.52

(ii) The competent military authority shall, on its own initiative, notify the legal guardian or close family member of the child about the arrest, reasons for arrest and place of detention, as soon as possible after the arrest, and in Arabic. A legal guardian must be authorized to accompany the child during transfer and stay with the child at all times during interrogation.

(iii) All children and their legal guardian or close family member should be provided with a written statement in Arabic informing them of their full legal rights while in custody.

3. timing of arrests and arrest warrants

(i) All arrests of children should be conducted during daylight, notwithstanding exceptional and grave situations.

(ii) Copies of all relevant documentation, including arrest warrants and summons for questioning, should be provided to the child’s legal guardian or close family member at the time of arrest or as soon as possible thereafter, and all documentation should be provided in Arabic.

4. Methods and instruments of restraint

(i) Children should only be restrained for the time that is strictly necessary. Use of restraining methods and instruments should respect the child’s dignity and not cause unnecessary pain or suffering.

(ii) The use of single plastic hand ties should be prohibited in all circumstances, and the prohibition must be effectively monitored and enforced.

(iii) At all times during transfer, children should be properly seated, not blindfolded and treated with dignity.

(iv) Except in extreme and unusual circumstances, children should never be restrained during interrogation, while detained in a cell or while attending court.

(v) The practice of blindfolding or hooding children should be prohibited in all circumstances.

5. strip searches

(i) Strip searches should be carried out only under exceptional circumstances and used only as a last resort. When conducted, strip searches should be done with full respect for the dignity of the child and be conducted by more than one person of the same gender as the child, in the presence of a parent, guardian or other responsible adult, wherever possible. The strip search should be done in a private location and should not involve the removal of all garments at the same time.53

6. Access to a lawyer

(i) All children in detention shall have prompt and regular access to an independent lawyer of their choice.54

7. Judicial review of the arrest and detention

(i) All children in detention shall, within 24 hours of their arrest, have prompt and effective access to an independent judicial review of the legality of their arrest and detention.55

(ii) The military courts should review every child’s detention at least every two weeks, to ensure that detention is used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible; that the child is not being subjected to any form of ill-treatment; and that the child is being granted access to relatives, a lawyer and a medical doctor.

8. Medical examinations

(i) Both prior to and after questioning, as well as upon transfer to another place of detention, the detained child should undergo a medical inspection by an independently qualified medical doctor.56The medical inspection should abide by the highest standards of medical ethics, document objectively any complaints and findings, and assess the child’s physical and psychological state.57Any immediate medical needs should be attended to.

(ii) Subject to the consent of the child’s legal guardian, all medical records should be made available to the child’s lawyer.

(iii) Children deprived of their liberty shall have access to prompt and adequate medical care at all times.58

9. Questioning or interrogation

(i) The questioning or interrogation of a child should always take place in the presence of a lawyer and a family member, and should always be audio-visually recorded for the purpose of independent oversight.59

(ii) At the commencement of each interrogation session, the child should be formally notified of his or her rights in Arabic, and in particular, informed of the privilege against self-incrimination.

(iii) Each interrogation session should begin with the identification of all persons present. The identity of all persons present should be included in the record and available to the child’s lawyer.

10. Solitary confinement

(i) In no circumstances whatsoever should a child be held in solitary confinement.

11. Confessional evidence

(i) No statement or confession made by a child deprived of his or her liberty, other than one made in the presence of a judge or the child’s lawyer, should have probative value at any stage of the criminal proceedings, except as evidence against those who are accused of having obtained the confession by unlawful means. Cases involving children in military courts should not be determined solely on the basis of confessions from children.

(ii) All confessions written in Hebrew and signed or adopted by a Palestinian child should be rejected as evidence by the military courts.

12. Bail and plea bargains

(i) Incarceration of children should always be a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time. Except in extreme circumstances, release on bail should be the standard procedure.

(ii) The conditions under which bail and plea bargains are granted should be revised to make them consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

13. location of detention and access to relatives

(i) In accordance with international law, all Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military detention system shall be held in facilities located in the occupied Palestinian territory.60

(ii) Wherever a child is detained, the right of family members to visit should be fully respected. All necessary measures should be taken to ensure that the administrative procedures in support of family visits, including all necessary permits, are promptly facilitated no later than 14 days after arrest.

(iii) All children should be entitled to regular telephone communication with their families in order to maintain close social relations.

14. Accountability

(i) Any complaint by a child, at any stage of his or her detention, regarding any form of violence and unlawful treatment, shall be promptly, diligently and independently investigated in accordance with international standards. All perpetrators shall be brought promptly to justice.61

(ii) Unless the allegations are manifestly unfounded, the personnel allegedly involved in the unlawful treatment of children should be suspended from duties involving contact with children, pending the outcome of an independent investigation and any subsequent legal or disciplinary proceedings.

(iii) In addition to efficient and effective complaint mechanisms, Israeli military authorities should take all necessary measures to establish effective and independent internal oversight mechanisms to monitor the behaviour of all personnel in contact with children in Israeli military detention.

(iv) Child victims of ill-treatment should obtain redress and adequate reparation, including rehabilitation, compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. (v) The Israeli authorities should give immediate consideration to establishing an independent investigation into the reports of ill-treatment of children in the military detention system, in accordance with the 2002 recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.62

Endnotes
1This report adopts the international legal definition of the occupied Palestinian territory, which includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
2UNICEF Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism Database (hereinafter referred to as the MRM Database).
3CRC, article 37(a); CAT, article 2; ICCPR, article 7; and the Fourth Geneva Convention, common article 3.
4CAT, article 2(2).
5For formal names/titles of rules, please see Acronyms and Abbreviations, pg. 2.
6CRC, articles 19 and 37(a).
7Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10, paragraph 89.
8‘The United Nations Convention Against Torture – A Commentary’, Nowak and McArthur, 2008, pp. 62, 66, 542, 551, 557, 559 and 566-568.
9Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and others v. The State of Israel (1999) 53 (4) PD 81 (The Torture Ruling). The ruling related to any interrogation performed by Israeli authorities, not limited by territory, and to Israeli Security Agency interrogations in particular.
10Ibid., paragraph 23.
11Israel Defense Forces Proclamation No. 2, Proclamation Regarding Law and Administration (7 June 1967).
12Hague Regulations (1907), article 43; and Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), articles 64 and 66.
13Israel Defense Forces Proclamation No. 2, Proclamation Regarding Law and Administration (7 June 1967).
14Military Order 1651, Section 86 provides that: “Concerning the laws of evidence, the military court will act in accordance with the obligatory rules in criminal matters in courts within the State of Israel.” The relevant Israeli domestic criminal legislation is: Evidence Ordinance [New Version], 1971; Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Testimony), 1927 Sections 1–3; and Military Order 1651. Section 88 provides that: “The military court is authorized to order, in any matters of trial procedure not determined under this order, trial procedures that appear to it most appropriate for ensuring a just trial.” This section is frequently used to import criminal procedural elements from Israeli civilian legislation, including: Criminal Procedure Law [Consolidated Version] 1982; Criminal Procedure Law (Powers of Enforcement – Arrest) 1996; and Criminal Procedure Law (Interrogation of Suspects) 2002; Prisons Ordinance (New Version), 1971 Sections 1-68E and First and Second Addendums; Criminal Procedure Regulations (Powers of Enforcement – Arrests) (Conditions in Detention), 1997; and Procedures Regulations (Prisoners’ Petitions), 1980.
15See Committee against Torture, Concluding Observations (2009), CAT/C/ISR/CO/4, paragraph 28. As to criticism of attempts to incorporate principles of juvenile justice into military courts, see: Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations (2010), CRC/C/OPAC/ISR/CO/1, paragraph 33.
16Ofer juvenile military court is presided over by Youth Court judge Sharon Rivlin-Ahai.
17The UN Standard Minimum Rules stipulate that chains and irons shall never be used, and other forms of restraint should only be used in certain limited circumstances including “as a precaution against escape during transfer, provided that they shall be removed when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative body” and “such instruments must not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary”. Further, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child should establish separate facilities for children deprived of their liberty, which include distinct, child-centred staff, personnel, policies and practices.
18Sharanjeet Parmar, Mindy Jane Roseman, Saudamini Siegrist and Theo Sowa, eds., Children and Transitional Justice: Truth-Telling, Accountability and Reconciliation (Boston: Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, Harvard University Press, 2010), Annex I, p. 408.
19Military Order 1651, Section 138(A) and (B).
20Military Order 1651, Section 137.
21Military Order 1651, Section 140(A) and (B).
22Military Order 1651, Section 142.
23Military Order 1651, Section 143.
24In 2009, the Public Committee Against Torture filed a petition in the Supreme Court (Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v Prime Minister of Israel (HCJ 5553/09). Prior to judgment, lawyers for the State informed the Supreme Court that new procedures relating to the use of hand ties had been introduced to prevent pain and injury, thereby making further court action unnecessary.
25These new procedures instruct the following: hands should be tied from the front, unless security considerations require tying from behind; three plastic ties should be used, one around each wrist, and one connecting the two; there should be the space of a finger between the ties and the wrist; the restraints should avoid causing suffering as much as possible; and the officer in charge is responsible for ensuring compliance with these regulations.
26Fourth Geneva Convention, article 65. This article provides that “the penal provisions enacted by the Occupying Power shall not come into force before they have been published and brought to the knowledge of the inhabitants in their own language”.
27Data based on the work of organizations providing legal support to children show that children charged with throwing stones and prosecuted in the military courts are receiving prison sentences in the range of 2 weeks to 10 months.
28Military Order 1651, Section 212(2).
29Military Order 1651, Section 212(3).
30Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10 (2007), Children’s rights in juvenile justice.21
31Exact figures on the number of Palestinian children detained each year by Israeli authorities are not published. The estimated number of 700 children prosecuted in the Israeli system is based on figures provided by the Israel Prison Service of the number of children in prison facilities, and the best estimate of lawyers from organizations that appear daily in the military courts and conduct regular prison visits.
32The UNICEF MRM database includes over 400 cases of detention and ill treatment that have been documented since 2009, which constitute the evidence base for this report.
33UNICEF MRM Database.
34For more on the role of doctors in the military court system, visit the website of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, at http://www.phr.org.il/default.asp?PageID=22.
35Report of the Special Rapporteur: Question of torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (2008) – A/63/175.
36Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10, paragraph 89; Interim report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, August 2011, A/66/268.
37Fourth Geneva Convention, article 65. This article provides that “the penal provisions enacted by the Occupying Power shall not come into force before they have been published and brought to the knowledge of the inhabitants in their own language.” See also Haaretz, Civil Administration wants Palestinians to submit requests in Hebrew only, 12 December 2010, available at http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/civil-administrationwants-palestinians-to-submit-requests-in-hebrew-only-1.330111.
38In July 2008, Machsom Watch published a set of laws applicable in the military courts in Arabic, Hebrew and English. But as the authors of this publication note, Military Order 378 alone has been amended at least nine times since their work was first published: Machsom Watch, The Law of the Israeli Military Courts in the West Bank, Military Orders and Israeli Domestic Legislations, Source Book (2009), edited by Adv. Smadar Ben Natan, Adv. Tahreer Atamleh-Mohana and Adv. Lymor Wolf Goldstein.
39Previously it was 8 days but was changed to 4 days by Military Order 1685, which came into effect on 1 August 2012.
40Military Order 1651, Sections 32(A), 37 and 38.
41The primary sources for this Standard are: CRC, article 37(d); Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10, paragraphs 52 and 83; ICCPR, article 9(3) and (4); and the Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 8, paragraph 2.
42UNICEF MRM Database.
43Convention against Torture, article 15. Evidence Ordinance [New Version] 1971, Section 12. Further, under Israeli law applicable in military courts, judges are given wide discretion as to whether or not to admit illegally obtained evidence: Prv. Yisacharov v. The Chief Military Prosecutor (2006) (C.A. 5121/98). This wide discretion to admit illegally obtained evidence was recently criticized by the Committee against Torture, which recommended the introduction of legislation prohibiting its use: Committee against Torture, Concluding Observations, Israel (2009), paragraph 25.
44Israel Prison Service figures for December 2010.22
45CRC, article 37(b).
46See CAT/C/ISR/CO/4 (14 May 2009), paragraph 10.
47See in particular CRC articles 37(b), 40.1, 40.3(b) and 40.4.
48CRC, article 3.
49CRC, article 2.
50CRC, article 37(b); and Beijing Rules, Rule 13.
51Beijing Rules, Rule 11.
52ICCPR, article 9(2); and Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (A/RES/43/173 (9 December 1988), Principles 13, 14 and 16.
53The child should keep a top garment on while searched on the lower part of the body and keep a lower garment on while searched on the top part of the body.
54ICCPR, article 14; Body of Principles on Detention, Principle 17; and CAT/C/ISR/CO/4, paragraph 15.
55CRC, article 37(d); Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10, paragraphs 52 and 83; ICCPR, article 9; Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 8, paragraph 2; and Body of Principles on Detention, Principles 11, 32 and 37.
56Body of Principles on Detention, Principle 24.
57See in particular: The Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1982; and the Declaration of Tokyo adopted by the World Medical Association in 1975.
58See in particular the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Rules 22,
24, 25, 26, 52 and 82; and the Body of Principles on Detention, Principle 24.
59See CRC, article 40(2)(b)(ii); Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10, paragraph 58; ICCPR, article 14(3)(b); Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 20, paragraph 11; Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations, Israel (2010), ICCPR/C/ISR/CO/3, paragraph 22; Committee against Torture, Concluding Observations, Israel (2009), CAT/C/ISR/CO/4, paragraphs 15, 16, 27 and 28. The primary sources for the audio-visual recording of interrogations are: CRC, article 40(2)(b)(iv); Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 10, paragraph 58; CAT, article 2; Committee against Torture, General Comment No. 2, paragraph 14; Committee against Torture, Concluding Observations, Israel (2009), CAT/C/ISR/CO/4, paragraph 16; and the Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations, Israel (2010), ICCPR/C/ISR/CO/3, paragraph 22.
60Fourth Geneva Convention, article 76.
61See Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 55/89.
62UN Special Rapporteur (OPT), available at: www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/co/
IsraelCO27.pdf.

– See more at: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.nsf/fd807e46661e3689852570d00069e918/1ee6b43ba34634f885257b260051c8ff?OpenDocument#sthash.KXMVAm8k.dpuf

Kayani Begs Mehsud Refugees To Please Come Home—“You Are Making Me Look Bad”

[Kayani’s little pretend paradise in S. Waziristan cannot succeed, as long as a majority of its people remain missing—too distrustful of Army intentions to return.  The disarmament requirement for Waziristan’s heaven on earth is blowing the deal for everyone.]

Kayani asks S.Waziristan IDPs to return

WANA: Chief of the Army Staff General, Ashfaq Pevez Kayani on Thursday appealed to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from war-ravaged South Waziristan Agency to return to their areas, assuring them of military support.

Speaking after the inauguration of 50-kilomtere road from Wana, main town of South Waziristan Agency to Angoradda, the army chief said that the army would maintain its presence in the area as long as people were satisfied with the law and order situation.

He noted that nobody would indulge in terrorism if the tribal region prospered. He said that roads, electricity, education, health and other uplift schemes were completed in the area and the projects would fulfill the purpose only after the people of the area returned to their houses.

United Arab Emirates Ambassador was also present during the inauguration of the project called Third Corridor, which the Pakistan Army chief announced to name after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayad Al Nahayan.

He also thanked the people of South Waziristan for their support to the armed forces in bringing peace in the region.

Afghanistan urges Pakistan to free Taliban leaders

 

Afghanistan urges Pakistan to free Taliban leaders

 

Khaama

By Ghanizada

Afghanistan urge PakistanAfghan foreign ministry on Thursday urged the government of Pakistan to free Taliban detainees from the Pakistani jails.

 

The foreign ministry following a statement said that the freedom of the Taliban detainees from the Pakistan jails is crucial for the government of Afghanistan for peace negotiation efforts with the Taliban group.

 

The statement further added that all Taliban leaders are based in Pakistan, and Islamabad should assist the government of Afghanistan in the freedom and return of the Taliban group members.

 

Afghan foreign ministry in its statement also added that this is the time that government of Pakistan should take practical for the success of Afghan peace process, if Pakistan is truly supporting Afghan peace talks.

 

This comes as Islamabad welcomed the opening of Taliban political office in Qatar.

Pakistan Using Religious Extremism to Destabilise Afghanistan: Karzai

alt

President Hamid Karzai said that the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan are adopting extremist methods based on religion to destabilise Afghanistan.

In an interview with Pakistani private TV channel Geo, President Karzai said, “I have no complaints against the people of Pakistan because they shared their home and food with Afghans during the ‘Jehad’ years but we seriously have issues with the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan because they are using extremist methods based on religion to destabilize Afghanistan.”

“The use of extremism as a tool against Afghanistan will one day put Pakistan itself into trouble,” Karzai’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

President Karzai said that the military apparatus of Pakistan and its intelligence agency has been always misusing the Afghan good-will to make the Afghan government work as their puppet and surrender to the evil will of that country (Pakistan).

Afghanistan and Pakistan have had strained relations since the time Pakistan was formed in 1947, after the British colonial rule in India ended.

On the Durand Line issue, President Karzai said that Pakistan is trying to make Afghanistan recognise the Line.

“It is a clear fact that Pakistan is carrying out destructive activities to force Afghanistan recognise the Durand Line, but it will never succeed in achieving this evil goal,” Karzai said in the statement.

He said that the people of Afghanistan will never allow the government to make their country a place for implementing Pakistani strategies.

“Despite all these differences the people of Afghanistan want friendly relations with Pakistan. A relation based on mutual respect, observing national sovereignty of each other and safeguarding rights of the two nations, and not a relation of servant and boss,” the statement said.

Karzai said that in the history of Pakistan no government in Afghanistan had such relations with the country which the Afghan government has had during the last ten years, and it should be mentioned that the Afghan government was the initiator of those efforts.”

He said that Afghan government has strived hard by holding numerous meetings in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Britain, the US and other countries to boost and improve bilateral and multilateral relations with Pakistan.

The comments came in at a time when the US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to visit India and Pakistan later this month, to discuss about the crucial security and counterterrorism issues with the Pakistani civil and military leaderships.

The US Secretary of State during his visit will be discussing regional security issues, ways to reconcile with the Taliban, safe exit of the US-led Nato forces by 2014 and counterterrorism cooperation.

John Kerry who sought to visit Pakistan shortly after his appointment as the Secretary of State could only have direct interaction with the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani twice, once in Jordan and another in Brussels where he discussed the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

In Brussels, he hosted talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani since both the neighbouring countries were locked in a state of mistrust over border disputes.

Gen. Dostum Handing-Out Weapons To Followers, Preparing for Post 2014

[The bloodthirsty Uzbek leader is no doubt preparing to carve-off a piece of northern Afghanistan for himself (SEE:The Death Convoy Of Afghanistan).  Watch this one, as awareness grows that there will be NO PEACE in Afghanistan in the near future, either through diplomacy or through fighting.]

Gen. Dostum Distributing Weapons to His Followers: Jowzjan Governor

tolo news

 

by Saboory Ghafoor

Jowzjan Governor Mohammed Alim Sayee on Tuesday said that the Founder of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum is illegally distributing weapons to his followers.

The Governor said that Gen. Dostum is trying his best to make the northern part of the country insecure and distributing weapons to his followers.

He has asked the central government to take immediate action and prevent the illegal distribution of weapons. He added that if the government does not act now then northern Afghanistan will become extremely insecure.

“Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum has distributed weapons to his followers in some districts of Jowzjan province and this is creating concerns among the people,” Mohammad Alem Sayee said.

Meanwhile, Spokesman of the National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan Kanja Kargar has accepted the claims and said that the weapons are being distributed by Dostum with an aim to assure security in the district.

The Spokesman further went on to say that it is not being done to oppose the government.

“Gen Abdul Rashid Dostum enjoys certain popularity in the Northern provinces because he is the Head of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan as well as the Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Afghan Army. Gen. Dostum has distributed weapons in some regions which is not concerning because the step has been taken to enhance security in the region,” Spokesman Kanja Kargar told TOLOnews over phone.

Moreover, a number of Jowzjan’s residents have raised concerns over the ongoing activities in the province.

Mohammad Alem Sayee who is also the Deputy of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan, asked the government to take legal action against Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum.

The development happened after an armed clash took place near the house of Jawzjan’s Provincial Governor Mohammed Alem Sayee, in Sheberghan city, on Monday.

According to reports, the attackers belonged to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, founder of the National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan.

The clash took place when a group of armed men belonging to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum attacked the Governor’s house. Three of the Dostum’s men were also injured in the clash.

Afghan Intelligence Warns of Impending Attack By Pakistani Militants/Military On Parliament

 Parliament alerted on massive Taliban raid

Pajhwok

By Abasin Zaheer

KABUL (PAN): The Afghan spy service has alerted the Meshrano Jirga, upper house, against a possible coordinated Taliban assault that has been planned in Pakistan, a senator said on Wednesday.

The Afghan Taliban leadership in Pakistan has prepared a plan to carry out a group attack on the parliament house, lawmaker Shakiba Hashmi said of a letter the National Directorate of Security had sent to the house.

The Kandahar public representative told the house that the Taliban Quetta Shura had finalised the plan late on Sunday at a meeting held under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban supreme leader.

Quoting from the letter, she said the attack would be launched six days before the holy month of Ramadan that begins July 9-10.

Some Pakistani army generals, intelligence officials and Taliban-designated governors for Afghanistan’s 34 provinces were present at the Quetta meeting, she said.

The attack would be carried out by a 20-member group that would include three fighters of Mullah Mansoor, she continued.

The attackers, who would be laced with machineguns, rocket launchers, hand grenades and suicide vests, would enter Kabul in a Parado type jeep with a fake license plate of another vehicle, she said.

“I disclosed this secret report in order to prevent bloodshed and make aware security forces to be ready,” she told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi also confirmed receiving the letter, saying security officials were ready to prevent the attack.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ghulam Siddique Siddiqui said that preventive measures had been adopted to ward off any massive attack against public representatives.

myn/ma

Welcome to the Turkish Republic of Police State

 

Welcome to the Turkish Republic of Police State

hurriyet

 

 

 

SERKAN DEMİRTAŞ

serkan.demirtas@hurriyet.com.tr

Turkey has become a country where the ruling party representing half of the country’s electorate is exercising the state’s police (and military if needed) force in the most brutal way on the other half of electorate, who launched a massive uprising against the government’s growing authoritarian inclinations.

How we have managed to arrive at this point surely requires a substantial analysis. I leave this task social and political scientists but my reading of this behavior is as follows:

At the core of this behavior lies the “us and them” policy/rhetoric of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose purpose is to discriminate against those who do not share the conservative lifestyle of a pious Muslim and create a sort of “neighborhood pressure” on them. But this oppression is not limited to the scope of the secular-conservative debate in Turkey as the trend of this behavior is to expand its influence on different segments of the society through intimidation.

The other half of this equation (i.e. them) includes social democrats, some nationalist groups, Alevis, communists, socialists, academics of dissident universities, trade unionists, artists, social media activists, “twitterers” in English, sympathizers of the Gezi Park demonstrators, alcohol-cigarette consumers, those who are against having three kids, defenders of the right to abortion. Intellectuals and journalists are also in this camp but they do not necessarily have to be in either camp as their full obedience or self-censorship is must to keep their job.

Another piece of rhetoric he frequently uses is “majority vs. minority” and the dominance of one group over the other. For Erdoğan, “us” is the majority against them (the minority) and has the right to say the last word on almost all issues concerning society. In the end, he believes “us” will transcend the ongoing social conflict and will bring about a better world for all living in this country.

While favoring those who belong to “us” by granting special privileges, his understanding is inclined to silence the oppositional groups from different segments of society by restricting the freedom of speech and right to assembly. Mass detentions of critical voices, calling government opponents “traitors,” describing peaceful demonstrators as marauders and illegitimate are only some ways to silence the opposition under this rule.

In the meantime, taking measures to increase the degree of state intervention in personal, social and political matters has also been much more visible in Turkey. Increasing the powers of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and decorating it with the unquestionable authority of providing detailed information about every individual was the latest attempt of the government, which caused resemblance to Syria’s intelligence unit, known as al-Muhabarat. This growing “statist” approach has found itself in the latest remarks of EU Minister Egemen Bağış, who said “From now on, the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there [Taksim Square] a supporter or member of a terror organization.” Apart from Erdoğan’s harshest descriptions of the demonstrators, Bağış’s was one of the most serious calls from “us” to “them.”

One other point worth examining is the importance Erdoğan and his senior male attaches on the “charismatic leadership” of the prime minister. It was bizarre to hear Erdoğan self-promoting before nearly 1 million of his supporters in his Istanbul rally on June 16 when he said, “You can never find a prime minister like this in the world.” One of his advisers found out that the target of protests was in fact to tarnish the image of Erdoğan as plotters were getting disturbed by his strong image.

Political science has various definitions to describe the abovementioned elements of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) political behavior but I am leaving this to the interpretation of readers.

Instead, I would better express my concerns that this trend unfortunately does not promise more democracy, freedom and tolerance will flourish in this country. Even worse, this trend will cause isolation of Turkey from the democratic world and let it sail into uncharted waters. This growing nationalist-conservative language/policy that has a divisive effect on political and social life of Turkey will not only nix hopes for a new pro-freedom Constitution but will also have destructive shocks on the ongoing Kurdish peace process and on Turkey’s European Union relations. One last thing to do, then, would be changing the country’s official name as introduced in the headline of this column.

Conspiracy Theorists Proven Correct Once Again—TWA Flight 800 WAS SHOT DOWN!

Are the conspiracy theorists who say TWA flight 800 was shot down right? Flimmakers claim jet that crashed over Long Island killing 230 was hit by explosions OUTSIDE aircraft

daily mail

  • Members of the original investigation team claim their report into the 1996 crash was subject to a government coverup

 

By David Mccormack

 

 

A new documentary features interviews with six whistle-blowers who claim that the official explanation given for the ill-fated Trans World Airline Flight 800 crash in 1996 is wrong.

The flight crashed off the coast of Long Island 17 years ago, killing all 230 people on board in what is the third-deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history.

 

The official explanation given by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) at the time was that the crash was caused by a gas tank explosion.

The remains of the TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris that exploded off Long Island, New York, reassembled from recovered wreckage

The remains of the TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris that exploded off Long Island, New York, reassembled from recovered wreckage

Many alternative theories exist, the most common is that a missile strike from a terrorist or U.S. Navy vessel caused the crash, and that it was subject to a government cover-up.

The documentary – TWA FLIGHT 800 – premieres on July 17, the anniversary of the crash, at 8PM ET on cable network EPIX. 

 

It features interviews with key members of the original investigation team, who now claim that their investigation was systematically undermined.

‘..This team of investigators who actually handled the wreckage and victims’ bodies, prove that the officially proposed fuel-air explosion did not cause the crash,’ said the film’s producers.

TWA
TWA

The documentary – TWA FLIGHT 800 – premieres on July 17 at 8PM ET on cable network EPIX

 

The documentary features interviews with key members of the original investigation team, who now claim that their investigation was systematically undermined

The documentary features interviews with key members of the original investigation team, who now claim that their investigation was systematically undermined

‘They also provide radar and forensic evidence proving that one or more ordinance explosions outside the aircraft caused the crash.’

However, the statement said they did not speculate about the source or sources of any ordinance explosions.

The incident occurred just 12 minutes after take-off from JFK International Airport on the flight bound for Paris, France.

More than 600 people gave eye-witness accounts after seeing the plane crash and the majority described seeing a ‘rising streak of light’ moments before the crash’ which many believed was a missile hitting the plane.

Many conspiracy theories exist, the most common is that a missile strike from a terrorist or U.S. Navy vessel caused the crash, and that it was subject to a government cover-up

Many conspiracy theories exist, the most common is that a missile strike from a terrorist or U.S. Navy vessel caused the crash, and that it was subject to a government cover-up

 

The whistleblower team claim that at the time they were placed under a gag order by the NTSB, which they charged falsified the official conclusion of the cause of the crash, reports Fox News

 

Many witnesses to the accident had seen a ‘streak of light’ that was usually described as ascending, moving to a point where a large fireball appeared, with several witnesses reporting that the fireball split in two as it descended toward the water.

 

There was intense public interest in these witness reports and much speculation that the reported streak of light was a missile that had struck TWA 800, causing the airplane to explode. These witness accounts were a major reason for the initiation and duration of the FBI’s criminal investigation.

Approximately 80 FBI agents conducted interviews with potential witnesses daily. They conducted a 16-month investigation and concluded that there was no evidence to indicate that any criminal act occurred.

Karzai Announced New Taliban Peace Talks At Noon—By 3:00 pm American Diplomats Had Undermined Them

[No sooner had Karzai announced the start of preliminary negotiations with Taliban, when American military spokesmen announced the opening of a Taliban office in Doha and the start of American negotiations with them in two days., before Karzai could set a firm date.  No big surprise, that the new office in the Qatari capital would be run by perrenial American favorite, Tayeb Agha, the substitute for the real Taliban negotiator, Mullah Baradar, since Pakistan placed him under arrest, out of Obama’s reach.  There will be no “Peace” in Afghanistan, except on Obama’s terms.  Only a fake treaty with fake Taliban can end a staged false flag war.]  

Afghan government to shun U.S. talks with Taliban

Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following a security handover ceremony at a military academy outside Kabul June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following a security handover ceremony at a military academy outside Kabul June 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Omar Sobhani

By Hamid Shalizi

KABUL | Wed Jun 19, 2013

(Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday his government would not join U.S. peace talks with the Taliban until they were led by Afghans and would suspend negotiations with the United States on a troop pact.

U.S. officials have said talks with the Taliban would begin in Doha, capital of Qatar, on Thursday, raising hopes for a negotiated peace in Afghanistan after 12 years of bloody and costly war between American-led forces and the insurgents.

Afghan to talk with Taliban in Qatar: Karzai

zee news

June 18, 2013

Kabul: Some members of Afghan High Peace Council will travel to the Gulf state of Qatar to hold formal peace talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday.

“Members of peace council will go to Qatar to initiate peace talks with the Taliban,” Karzai told a joint press conference with the visiting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Earlier on Tuesday, Afghan local media reported that the Taliban had opened a political office in Qatar earlier in the day.

Iraqi Kurds Report First US Weapons Shipment Arrives At Syrian Border

National Kurdish Movement: First shipment of US military aid for terrorists arrived to borders

Sana

Jun 15, 2013

 

Damascus, (SANA) – The National Kurdish Movement for Peaceful change said in a statement issued on Saturday that it received information that the first shipment of US military aid arrived on Friday to the Syrian-Turkish borders.

The statement said that this shipment includes advanced heavy weaponry and heat-seeking missiles, and that this coincides with attempts to rally armed groups to attack Efrin area in Aleppo countryside.

The statement underlined some recent developments in Aleppo province, which include an attack by armed groups on the village of Maarsaka in Efrin on Thursday, a random shelling by terrorists on the village of al-Mazra’a under cover of units from the Turkish army.

H. Sabbagh

Obama, Americans Really Do Understand That You Have Hired A Terrorist Army To Wage the Terror War

 

Obama on Syria: Americans Just Don’t Understand

foxnews

“What I’m saying is, that if you haven’t been in the Situation Room… Unless you’ve been involved in those conversations, then it’s kind of hard for you to understand the complexity of the situation and how we have to not rush into one more war in the Middle East.”

President Obama in an interview with the Public Broadcasting Service.

President Obama and other Democrats keep talking about avoiding “another Iraq” and avoiding a “rush to war” similar to the 18-month run up to the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

And while Obama seems to be following much of the U.S. playbook for Iraq between 1992 and 2001 – secretly training, encouraging and equipping rebels, but not enough for them to succeed – there’s no reason to think that anything on the scale of the 2003 invasion is remotely close to happening in Syria.

Instead, the Iraq invasion straw man is key to Obama’s approach to the genocidal civil war between Muslim sects in the impoverished nation of 20 million at the crossroads of the Middle East.

Much as he is defending his domestic surveillance programs by asserting that he is not like former Vice President Dick Cheney, he is defending his arming and training of Islamist rebels in Syria by saying he is not like George W. Bush.

But Obama needn’t reach back a decade for an example of how U.S. military interventions work in the region.

Obama and other NATO leaders in Northern Ireland for an economic summit met today with Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

Zeidan is the man who helped convince Obama and his European counterparts to depose Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi and install a new government ultimately led by Zeidan, a liberal reformer Libyan exile, who worked as a human rights lawyer in Switzerland.

The promise, articulated a few times by Obama, was that Islamism would be a transitory state for the new nation. Zeidan and his fellow exiles promised that, in order to take out Gaddafi, who had brutally oppressed Islamists.  A moderate theocracy, they argued, was the only way to unite the opposition and usher in a new era. In time, Libyans would cease to bitterly cling to their rocket launchers and religion–and become enlightened.

But it hasn’t worked out so swimmingly.

Libya has remained a hotbed of Islamist extremism, most notably for Americans with the raid on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four Americans, including the first American ambassador killed on the job in a generation.

The topic of discussion with Zeidan today was likely focused on the fact that the radicals don’t seem to be moderating. The only thing keeping the Western-backed government in power are Islamist militias who, in some cases literally, defend it against popular unrest.

But to keep the Islamists and their Kalashnikovs on board with the new government, the reformers have had to give away the store. When angry mobs are outside the door, the demands of one’s protectors tend to sound quite reasonable. The hard-line Islamists, though, are losing patience and may soon enough decide to oust the Western-backed crew entirely.

Zeidan was likely asking his Western benefactors for some cash and protection. Obama and the Europeans were likely asking that Zeidan do something about the al Qaeda affiliated goon squads roaming the streets.

And so it has been in other places where America and Europe less directly encouraged Islamist overthrow of secular strongmen. Egypt may make it to Western liberalism as Obama promises, but for now it is the world’s most populous theocracy.

The net effect is that Iran is having a great run, as the Great Satan and the Little Satans in Europe help spread Islamism in a way that would have been beyond imagining a decade ago. Obama promises that these are the good Islamists, but sometimes it’s rather hard to tell.

Obama, though, says he can tell. He told Charlie Rose that if Americans, strongly opposed to U.S. intervention in Syria, could see what he saw in the Situation Room at the White House they would be cool with the idea of arming the rebels, but not too well.

The rebel crew in Syria seems to be the roughest lot of any to emerge in the Islamist awakening across the region. But Obama’s implicit promise is that we can help the ones who don’t eat the internal organs of their enemies or shoot children in the face for telling a joke about Mohammed.

In the interview, Obama also pooh-poohed the notion that acting more forcefully or swiftly might have prevented the massive genocide or prevented the really, really bad Islamists from gaining a foothold. It’s complicated, he said. And it requires all of the secret knowledge he has to understand.

The president argues that those people who want air strikes, etc. are trying to remake the Iraq invasion. And for those who don’t want to go in at all, he says he can make sure to help the good guys and not the bad ones.

Obama’s nibbling interventionism – famously dubbed “leading from behind” – has produced plenty of unhappy results so far. But if you knew what he knew, Obama promises, you would be on board.

That seems to be the new motif of this presidency, whether it’s domestic spying, taking it easy on the IRS and Department of Justice scandals or implementing his creaking and groaning health law. Americans can’t understand the details here, but Obama and his team of experts understand things in a way we can’t.

Obama can’t tell you why he’s doing what he’s doing because it is too complicated. But if you could understand, you’d be all for it.

For a government and a president suffering a crisis of confidence, “trust me” takes a mocking tone.

And Now a Word from Charles

“Look, the search for Iranian moderates is perpetual.  And the answer is always the same — it’s a mirage.  We go back to the hostage crisis in ’79.  We were looking for the moderates.  Then Iran-Contra started because the national security advisor of Ronald Reagan of all people had had the idea that he knew of some moderates in Iran and he went over on a secret trip.  In the end he was swindled and humiliated.  But this happens over and over again.  This is a wish.  It’s not a reality.”  

Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com. Catch Chris Live online daily at 11:30amET  at  http:live.foxnews.com.

the enemies of Islam are attempting to destroy it from within—200 Years of New Kharijism

200 Years of New Kharijism: the Ongoing Revision of Islam

By Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

Chairman, Islamic Supreme Council of America
We live in a time when the enemies of Islam are attempting to destroy it from within.
Resourceful and determined, they announce new mode of leadership that pretends to restore
the purity of the faith as a guise to gain the confidence of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The
unwary observer is readily misled by their portrayal, which is eagerly disseminated by the
media. In fact, it is these proponents of extremism who are themselves outside the realm of true
Islam. “The Religion of God,” al-Khatib said, “lies between extremism and the laxity.”i

1.0 Prophetic Traditions

The advent of these extremists was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (s).
Prophet Muhammad’s authentic traditionsii detail for us the characteristics and behavior of the
extremists, stating that their existence in our world would be revealed when “…the destitute
(al-buhm) camel-herds compete in building tall structures,”iii or in another narration “…the
barefoot, naked, indigent (al-‘âla) shepherds compete in building tall structures.”iv “…The
barefoot and the naked are the heads of the people,”v or “…the barefoot and naked, the deaf
and dumb are the kings of the earth.”vi

“Barefoot and naked” and “deaf and dumb” are metaphors to describe in figurative
speech just how depraved the new leaders would be. “Barefoot and naked” relates to people of
the desert, and implies their utter ignorance in matters pertaining to organized society.vii “Deaf
and dumb” implies that they would fail to use common sense in anything concerning religion,
though they are perfectly sound in mind and limb.viii Implied as well is the notion that the
extremists’ ultimate goal is world domination, to be “kings of the earth.”

The traditions reveal another of the signs of the extremists’ onset is “the affectation of
eloquence by the rabble and their betaking to palaces in big cities.”ix Prophet Muhammad
predicted a reversal in society whereby these depraved leaders would take over the rule of
every region by force. They would become extremely rich and their primary concern would be
to erect the tallest buildings, rather than maintain order or care for the common welfare.x

2.0 A Reversal of Values

Sadly, we have witnessed the realization of the Prophet’s prediction in the dominance of
extremist ideology in the Middle East and its increasing influence in the West. Because of their
influence and their reversal of values, we now see doctrinal, political, and physical wars of
exclusion being waged everywhere in the name of Islam. In the United States, extremist
ideologues have waged a fifty-year long campaign to exclude moderate, traditional Muslims
from political arenas as well as the mosque. The effect has been to create the impression that the
200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 2 Council of America
extremists are the majority whereas they are simply the most vociferous, having made it more
comfortable for the majority of Muslims to stay at home, away from their doctrinal wrangling.

These two phenomena, depraved leadership and exclusionism, are the mainstays of
New Kharijism in our time. What clearer proof of this than what took place in Makka on
November 20, 1979, when hundreds of armed men seized the Holy Mosque under the 36-year
old Juhayman al-‘Utaybi and proclaimed him as the new leader of the country? They held the
mosque for two weeks during which they practiced lewd sexual behavior with the women they
held captive and those they had brought with them.

According to the New York Times, “There were hundreds of casualties on both sides
before Saudi forces were able to drag out the last remnant of what by then was a bunch of filthy,
bedraggled young men.” Al-‘Utaybi and sixty-three of the captured were later executed by
public beheading. According to As Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa‘i, these wild young people learned
their ways from the same teacher as Abdel Aziz Ibn Baz (d. 2000), a famous Wahhabi scholar.

3.0 The Original Khawârij

Before we speak of the modern phenomenon of New Kharijism it is important to define
the principal constituents of Khariji doctrines. The name “Khawârij” was applied to those who,
in the time of the Successors of the Companions to the Prophet (one generation after Prophet
Muhammad’s lifetime), parted ways with other Muslims and declared them disbelievers, just as
the followers of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, or “Wahhabis” (also known as the “Salafis”), do today.xi

The Khawârij or “Kharijites” were tens of thousands of Muslims mostly comprised of
Qur’an memorizors and devoted worshippers who prayed and fasted above the norm. Yet, they
declared every one of the Companions and all who associated with them to be apostate
disbelievers and took up arms against them. The practices of declaring Muslims apostate
(takfîr/tashrîk) and taking armed action (baghî) against the central Muslim authority – the
Caliphate – became and continues to remain the hallmark of the Khawârij.

In addition, the Khawârij altered the interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna, and used
them to declare it lawful to kill and take the property of Muslims, as do their modern
counterparts, the Wahhabis.xii

The classification of the Wahhabis as Kharijis has been a leitmotiv of Sunni heresiography
for the past 200 years. Only now has it become politically incorrect among the scholars of Islam
(ulema).

4.0 Three Principles of the New Kharijis

The chief brand of New Kharijism, or Wahhabism, distinguishes itself from traditional

Islam by three main principles:

1. Anthropomorphism of the Deity: Attributing a body to the object of Islamic worship.
2. Disrespect of P rophet: Harming the Prophet through:
200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 3 Council of America
! Disrespect of his noble person, mosque, grave, vestiges, Family, or Companions.
! Disrespect of those who visit, love, and praise him.
! Disparaging or holding his status as an intercessor in disdain.
3. Disregard for the schools and methods of the Sunni Imams including:
! The Imams of Sunni doctrine (‘aqîda): al-Ash‘ari and al-Maturidi.
! The scholars of traditional Sunni jurisprudence (fiqh): Abu Hanifa, Malik, ash-Shafi‘i,
and Ahmad.
! The Imams of Sunni morals (akhlâq) known as the Polesxiii of the science of soulpurification
(tasawwuf): al-Junayd, al-Gilani, al-Shadhili, al-Rifa‘i, al-Chishti, al-
Suhrawardi, Shah Naqshband, and al-Tijani.xiv

Since all sincere Muslims believe God is transcendent and love their Prophet, it follows
that this third principle, disregard for the Sunni Schools and their jurisprudential authority, is
by far the most harmful tenet of New Kharijism and its most devastating achievement. The
attack on the schools of thought has resulted in the pollution of pure belief, the arrogant
rejection of Islamic authority, and the discrediting of pious Muslims striving to follow the
straight path.

The traditional schools were immediately supplanted by extremist ideologues and
radical centers of education. Africans tell the story of a young man sent to study Shari‘a at great
expense by his Sunni parents. Upon his return a few years later, he refused to eat a chicken
slaughtered in his honor by his father stating, “my father is an apostate.” Scenarios like this one
quickly caused a great rift between the generations of peace-loving Muslims and the chaosdriven
youth who were their children.

More ugly still is the violence wreaked by extremists on the Muslims of Syria, Egypt,
Algeria, Afghanistan, Daghestan, Chechnya, and within the Indian Subcontinent. Violence and
societal upheaval were instilled at the new schools by radical ideologues like Egyptian ex-
Communist Sayyid Qutb. Sayyid Qutb declared a Muslim is either a “revolutionist” or an
infidel,xv and went so far as to declare all the Islamic societies of his time apostate and fit to be
overthrown. He stated, “Islam is a force that runs to gift freedom to all people on the earth with
no regard to the variety of their religious beliefs. When this force meets with aberrant forces, it
is the duty of his so-called “Islam” to struggle and annihilate them.”xvi Invoking the memory of
the original Kharijis, he also wrote, “Islam is a whole: its separated parts should be united and
the differences removed.”xvii

5.0 Prohibitions of the New Kharijis

Today Sayyid Qutb’s spiritual children – such as the followers of Taqi al-Din al-
Nabahani, who are outlawed in most Muslim countries – tell Muslims not to:

! Participate in government.
! Sit on jury duty.

200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 4 Council of America
! Vote.
! Collaborate with other faith groups.
! Recite the remembrance of God in collective gatherings of dhikr.xviii
! Commemorate the birthday of our Prophet (mawlid) nor read poetry in his honor.
! Wear turbans or attempt to revive Prophetic traditions concerning dress.
! Show deference or respect to religious scholars or pious elders.
! Visit the tombs of saints.

5.0 The Ongoing Revision of Islam

The Neo-Kharijis and their sponsors are mounting a worldwide offensive to convince
Muslims and the rest of the world that theirs is the only way. To this end, a vast publishing
campaign to revise Islam has been under way since the early thirties, an effort that has been
redoubled since the eighties. This campaign is waged on five fronts:

5.1 Tampering with the Texts

A wanton, unethical manipulation of the great books of Islam has removed words or
entire chapters from classical works by the great Imams such as al-Nawawi, al-Sawi, and Ibn
‘Abidin. Quranic exegeses such as Tafsir al-Jalalayn and the works of ‘Abd Allah Yusuf ‘Ali have
all been reprinted with changes. This corrupt tampering of these guiding texts has been
documented at length.xix

5.2 “Improving” on the Foundational Books of Islam

They have unabashedly published corrective comments on manuals whose contents
were long ago established as normative in the scholarly community of Islam. Many such
instances have also been documented. xx

5.3 Revising Their Own Source Texts

Not content to fiddle with historically accepted books, they also find fault with the
minor texts they publish and distribute in order to gainsay their own putative authorities. This
is a patent illustration of the principle that each new generation of innovators rejects the
previous one as too moderate.xxi

5.4 Reprinting Discredited Works

The Neo-Kharijis are supplementing their own works by re-circulating books that have
already been condemned by the majority of scholars. Though heretical and un-Islamic,
numerous books are now being promoted as the fundamental guides for the practice of Islam.xxii
200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 5 Council of America

5.5 P romoting the Works of Unqualified, Self-styled Scholars to Attack Sufis and Asharis

Including:

! Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd al-Salam,
! Muhammad al-Shuqayri,
! Ibn Abi al-‘Izz,
! Muhammad Nasiruddeen al-Albani,
! Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Bin Baz,
! Muhammad bin Saleh Al-‘Uthaymin,
! Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips,
! Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali,
! Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan,                                                                                                                                                   ! And many others. xxiii

Their dismissal of the traditional schools of thought, their development of schools as
incubators for radical ideology, their attack on the source texts of Islam and generations of
recognized scholars, and their financing by ideological counterparts worldwide, have truly
enabled the Neo-Kharajite movement to dominate the vision of Islam in the world. Finding
roots in the Khawârij of ca. 750 CE, and given new life by Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab in
the 19th century, these extremists have only really succeeded in their efforts to subvert Islam in
the past 75 years.

Traditional Muslims, the silent majority, remain numerous and confidant enough to
repel the Neo-Kharajite movement from within Islam, given the necessary support. However,
backed by the oil-wealth of their ideological counterparts overseas, Neo-Kharajites have a
definitive advantage over the majority of Muslims, who have only their own humble resources
at their disposal. Only with real financial and political support can classical Muslim scholars
and moderate, mainstream Muslims reclaim the banner of Islam from these usurpers, retake the
podium they have hijacked, repel these extremists and discredit their heretical ideology. Truly,
this is a battle worth fighting. And it is a battle which, with the help of Almighty God, we can
and must win.

Truly we belong to Allah and to Him is our return, and there is no power nor might except in Allah the
Exalted and Almighty Lord.

200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 6 Council of America

NOTES:

i In al-Dhahabi, Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’ (1997 ed. 13:598).
ii Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and advice communicated through verifiable chains of transmission, known as
the ahadith. The body of traditions are called the Sunna, and form the second basis for Islamic law, in addition to the
Holy Qur’an.
iii The well-known hadith of Gibril in Sahih al-Bukhari.
iv Sahih Muslim.
v Ibid.
vi Ibid
vii see Al-Taymi, Sulayman.
viii Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari.
ix Related by Al-Tabarani, through Abu Hamza, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas.
x Al-Qurtubi.
xi Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (3:309), “Bab al-Bughat” [Chapter on Rebels].
xii Al-Sawi, Hashiya ‘ala Tafsir al-Jalalayn (v. 58:18-19) in the Cairo, 1939 al-Mashhad al-Husayni edition (3:307-8)
repr. Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi in Beirut.
xiii Aqtâb, sing. qutb
xiv The schools of tasawwuf are known as Paths, turuq, sing. Tarîqa.
xv Qutb, Sayyid, World’s Peace and Islam.
xvi The Future is Islaam (p. 203).
xvii Social Justice in Islam (p. 35).
xviii Dhikr is considered by traditional Muslims as the most excellent form of devotion for a servant of God, and is
stressed over a hundred times in the Holy Qur’an. For the spiritually-inclined, it is polish for the heart, the essence of
the science of faith, and the key to all success. Nor are there any restrictions on the form, frequency, or timing of
dhikr whatsoever.
xix Cf. Appendix, “Albani and Company,” in Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Exposing the Scholars of Najd and
the Wahhabi/Salafi Movement, paragraph on Ibn Baz.
xx For example: Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s commentary on al-Tahawi’s ‘Aqida. Al-Tahawi’s `Aqida is a normative classic of
Islam but Ibn Abi al-‘Izz is unknown and unacceptable as a source for Ahl al-Sunna teachings. Examples of his
unreliability are his rejection of al-Tahawi’s articles:
! §35: “The Seeing of Allah by the People of the Garden is true, without their vision being all-encompassing
and without the manner of their vision being known” and
! §38: “He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs, nor is He
contained by the six directions as all created things are”.
Al-`Izz states, “Can any vision be rationally conceived without face-to-face encounter? And in it there is a proof
for His elevation (‘uluw) over His creatures,” and “Whoever claims that Allah is seen without direction, let him verify
his reason!” [Ibn Abi al-‘Izz, Sharh al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiyya, p. 195]. He also endorses Ibn Taymiyya’s view of the finality
of Hellfire, in flat contradiction of the al-Tahawi’s statement, §83. “The Garden and the Fire are created and shall
never be extinguished nor come to an end.” [Ibid. p. 427-430] There is also doubt as to Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s identity and
authorship of this Sharh.
xxi Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi objects apoplectically to Ibn Taymiyya in his edition of the latter’s Iqtida’ al-Sirat
al-Mustaqim in the section entitled “Innovated festivities of time and place.” He criticizes Ibn Taymiyya for saying
that “some people innovate a celebration out of love for the Prophet and to exalt him, and Allah may reward them
for this love and striving.” Al-Fiqqi writes a two-page footnote exclaiming, “How can they possibly obtain a reward
for this?! What striving is in this?!”
200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 7 Council of America
xxii Including:
! Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s Tawhid, which is replete with doctrinal errors such as:
o Calling the Ash‘aris “Nullifiers of the Divine Attributes” (mu‘attila) [chapters 2, 16]
o Declaring the Lesser shirk an integral part of the Greater. [7]
o Misinterpreting the hadith “do not make my grave an idol” to mean: do not even pray near it
whereas the agreed-upon meaning is: Do not pray towards or on top of it. [20]
o Stating: “The disbelievers who know their disbelief are better-guided than the believers.” (inna
al-kuffâr al-ladhîna ya‘rifûna kufrahum ahdâ sabîlan min al-mu’minîn) [23]
o Stating: “Among the polytheists are those who love Allah with a tremendous love” [31].
o Stating that “the two opposites [belief and disbelief] can be found in a single heart” [41] in
violation of the verse [Allah has not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body] (33:4).
This and the previous four concepts are fundamental to understand their propagation of
mutual suspicion among Muslims.
o Stating that Allah is explicitly said to have two hands: the right holds the heaven and the other
holds the earth, and the other is explicitly named the left hand. [67]
! ‘Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s al-Sunna, a foundational book of the Wahhabi creed. According to
Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut, “at least 50 percent of the hadiths are weak or outright forgeries” in this book. Its
publication was sponsored by His Highness King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Sa‘ud and a Jedda businessman
named Muhammad Nasif in Cairo in 1349/1930 at al-Matba‘a al-Salafiyya.
The same Muhammad Nasif financed:
! an attack on Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari and the Hanafi School by ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mu‘allimi
al-Yamani (d. 1386 H) entitled al-Tankil li Ma W arada fi Ta’nib al-Kawthari min al-Abatil.
o the reprinting of al-Qari’s hapless fatwa against the parents of the Prophet.
o the dissemination in India of al-Khatib’s derogatory biography of Imam Abu Hanifa from Tarikh
Baghdad.
Also:
! Ibn Taymiyya: Fatwa Hamawiyya; ‘Aqida W asitiyya; Hadith al-Nuzul; Awliya’ al-Shaytan; Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-
Mustaqim; Qa‘ida fi al-Tawassul; Ziyarat al-Qubur, etc.
! Ibn al-Qayyim: al-Qasida al-Nuniyya; Ijtima‘ al-Juyush al-Islamiyya.
! al-Harawi’s Dhamm ‘Ilm al-Kalam wa Ahlih
! al-Biqa‘i’s takfîr of Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi – may Allah have mercy on him – in his book Masra‘ al-
Tasawwuf, Tanbih Al-Ghabi Ila Takfir Ibn ‘Arabi, ed. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Wakil (Bilbis: Dar al-Taqwa, <1989>)
xxiii In Arabic:
! Muhammad al-Shuqayri who wrote the book al-Sunna wa al-Mubtada‘at
! Muhammad Khalil Harras wrote a commentary on Ibn Taymiyya’s ‘Aqida W asitiyya – distributed for free
in the Arab world
! Al-Albani
! ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abd al-Khaliq, al-Albani’s student and deputy in Kuwait, al-Fikr al-Sufi (“Sufi Thought”)
and its abridgment Fada’ih al-Sufiyya (“The Disgraces of the Sufis”).
! ‘Abd al-Rahman Dimashqiyya
! Mahmud ‘Abd al-Ra’uf al-Qasim al-Madkhali, al-Kashf ‘an Haqiqat al-Sufiyya (“Unveiling the Reality of the
Sufis”), 1993. The book was refuted by Dr. ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Isa in his 700-page Haqa’iq ‘an al-Tasawwuf.
! Al-Tuwayjiri (Hamd ibn ‘Abd al-Muhsin). With all respect to his person, he demanded that women caught
driving in Saudi Arabia be labeled as prostitutes in the courts.
200 Years of New Kharijism – The Ongoing Revision of Islam Islamic Supreme 8 Council of America
! Al-Jaza’iri (Abu Bakr)
! Al-Wadi‘i (Muqbil ibn Hadi), Nashr al-Sahifa fi Dhikr al-Sahih min Aqwal A’immat al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dil fi Abi
Hanifa. Fada’ih (“Disgraces”), 1999.
In English
! Ibn Baz, Sunnah and Caution against Innovation
! An anonymous tract entitled A Brief Introduction to the Salafi Da‘wah.
! Muhammad Ma‘soomee al-Khajnadee (d. 1961 ce), Blind Following of Madhhabs (Birmingham: al-
Hidaayah Publishing, 1993).
! A. A. Tabari, a fictitious name for the author of The Other Side of Sufism, a tract distributed in Wahhabifunded
mosques and posted on the Internet.
! The Naqshbandi Tariqat Unveiled, al-Hidaayah, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The “Last Hour”—When The Barefoot Camel-Herders Compete With Each Other To Build the Tallest Building

Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:2:48,  “When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of tall buildings.”

Saudi billionaire prince eyes world cities for mile-high tower

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

Fighting Iran and Hezbollah By Arming Al-Qaeda In Syria

Fighting Terrorism by Arming Terrorists

the american conservative

The Syrian intervention John McCain and the Clintons want would be a war for Islamism, not democracy.

The Obama administration appears to be moving toward arming rebels in Syria, though the White House has only publicly confirmed an increase in the “scope and scale” of its military support.

By one estimate, seven of nine key rebel combatant groups are Islamist. “As the civil war has dragged on, the rebels have become more Islamist and extreme,” the Economist reports. Thus the administration’s decision to arm only the non-Islamist rebels may soon resemble O.J. Simpson’s search for the “real killers.”

Arms shipments approved by the Obama administration have already ended up in the hands of jihadists in Libya. “The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya,” reported the New York Times, “allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government.”

Operation Fast and Furious meets American foreign policy.

In his apparent Syria about-face, the president has been egged on by the Clintons. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already proposed arming the Syrian rebels, only to see cooler heads prevail. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has also clamored for greater U.S. involvement.

Upon reports that President Obama was reconsidering his position, Bill Clinton patted his successor on the head. “It looks to me like this thing is trending in the right direction,” he told MSNBC. He urged Obama to ignore opinion polls showing massive public opposition to any Syria intervention beyond humanitarian assistance.

“What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they’re not telling you not to do these things,” Clinton said, according to Politico. “They hire you to win … to look around the corner and see down the road.”

The Clintons’ foreign-policy views are aligned with those of Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Hawks of a feather flocked together in support of the bipartisan Mendendez-Corker bill, which contains a provision for arming Syrian rebels and easily passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The only Republican to vote against the bill rebuked his colleagues. “This is an important moment,” Rand Paul said. “You will be funding, today, the allies of al-Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”

Yet the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may be the only place where Paul stands alone among Republicans on this issue. “We have entire Christian villages slaughtered, women and children, by the Syrian rebels,” Laura Ingraham said on Fox News. “The idea that were going to send arms to these people who are slaughtering Christians, and have one goal, which is to establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East—and, if they get their way, throughout Africa as well—is ludicrous.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein argues, “It’s hard to believe that the same administration that brought us Benghazi would have such perfect information about which rebel groups in a bloody war-torn country are completely free of Islamist links, let alone have the logistical ability to ensure the weapons don’t end up in the hands of bad actors.”

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that only 11 percent of Republicans favored arming Syrian rebels while just 15 percent backed U.S. military involvement. Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to want to take no action at all. A Gallup poll found that Democrats, Republicans, and independents were all opposed to the United States entering Syria’s civil war by majorities greater than 60 percent.

For years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, conservatives who spoke out against U.S. wars in the Middle East were smeared as apologists for Islamic terror. But the evidence is mounting that these wars and “kinetic military actions” have done much to unleash the very forces they were launched to combat, leaving militant Islamists on the march from Iraq to Mali.

Foreign aid dollars are being spent where Americans are reviled. U.S. troops are dying in countries that don’t seem to be trending toward liberal democracy.

Syria may be the clearest case yet of how an intervention against an indisputably brutal dictator could cut against American national interests. Even with promises of no boots on the ground, it may be the Clinton-McCain contingent’s toughest sell.

Perhaps they have already closed the deal with Obama. But the perpetual hawks are losing the American people, left, right, and center.

W. James Antle III is editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation and author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?

8,500 Saudi Terrorists In Syria Are Also “Foreign Fighters,” Just Like Hezbollah

[SEE:  Gulf Source Says Saudi Supplying Missiles to Syria Rebels]

Bodies of 70 Saudi fighters return from Syria: Report

PressTV

Foreign-backed militants in Syria (file photo)

Foreign-backed militants in Syria (file photo)

The source said there are currently 8,000 Saudi nationals fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to a report by mirataljazeera.net published on Friday, a Saudi source said the bodies were delivered to the country in King Fahad International Airport.

The source said the Saudi regime had sent a number of diplomats to Turkey in order to facilitate the transfer process.

According to the source, the Saudi regime did not dispatch anyone to fight in Syria, and that the 70 people had been fighting on their own will.

The source added that there were four women among the 70 killed. He also said there are currently about 8,000 Saudi nationals fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country.

According to the report, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence sources help with transferring fighters to Syria through Jordan.

The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

Damascus says the West and its regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants.

In an interview broadcast on Turkish television in April, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that if the militants take power in Syria, they could destabilize the entire Middle East region for decades.

“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control… the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he stated.

NT/AS

We Must Arm The Turkish Rebels Now!

Mr. Obama! Mr. Cameron! We Must Arm The Turkish Rebels Now!

.

Recent polls show that only 48% of the country living outside Instanbul support Turkey’s Prime Minister, Mr Erdogan while inside Istanbul that figure collapses to a mere and shocking 30%.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/163061/turks-grew-discontent-leaders-freedom-unrest.aspx

Similar polls in Syria as revealed by NATO sources, no less, reveal that Mr Assad enjoys 70% support from the Syrian people while only 10% oppose his rule.

http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/05/31/nato-data-assad-winning-the-war-for-syrians-hearts-and-minds/

Mr Obama! Mr. Cameron! Of course we must arm the Syrian rebels. This goes without saying……

….but let us be consistent in our principles and hold firmly to our high moral standards.

THE UNDEMOCRATIC HUMANITARIAN NIGHTMARE THAT IS MODERN TURKEY MUST BE ADDRESSED FORTHWITH.

THE TURKISH PEOPLE HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH!

Act now.

Arm the Turkish rebels immediately in order that we may all sleep soundly at night and bestride our various narrow worlds in continuing good conscience.

Did IDF Bomb Mezzeh Airport In Damascus?

A picture shows destruction in Sbeneh, south of the Syrian capital Damascus, on June 16, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/WARD AL-KESWANI) The Daily Star

IDF not commenting on report Israel attacked Syrian airport

JPost

By JPOST.COM STAFF
The IDF was not commenting on a report on a Syrian TV station associated with the rebel forces that Israel attacked on Sunday night the military airbase Al-Miza, West of Damascus, Israel Radio reported. The report noted that a rebel organization had taken responsibility for the attack after the explosion to took place on Sunday night.

The TV station reported that Israel bombed advanced weapons and radar systems that were recently brought to the airport, according to Israel Radio.

Eye witnesses said that the explosions were large and that neither the Assad regime nor the rebels had the capability to create explosions of such a magnitude.

U.S. puts jets in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone

[The “Eager Lion” exercise playing-out in Jordan this week is an international Special Forces war game, involving the 5th Fleet’s Expeditionary Strike Group 5 and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, commanding more than 40 amphibious assault ships, carrying at least 7 helo aircraft carriers, with up to 200 helicopters, as many as 50 Harrier jump-jets and an unknown number of tilt-rotar Ospreys.  It has been reported that a “detachment of F16s” (24 aircraft?) and Patriot missile batteries would be left in Jordan after the exercise. 

Since Jordan is almost a landlocked country, except for the port of Aqaba, on the Red Sea (Damascus is 286.1 miles away from Aqaba), this means that most of these 40 ships are probably in the Med, where they will be face-to-face with the Russian fleet, now stationed off Syria.  The USS Nimitz Strike Group, with 90 fixed-wing aircraft, is also currently consigned to the 5th Fleet.  Regardless of the number of F16s left behind in Jordan, the Navy alone, has enough assets on hand to put a Syrian “no-fly-zone” in place.  This says nothing about the sabotage potential of nearly one thousand Navy Seals and Marines, that are also on board those ships.  It looks like Obama plans on making Syria a navy operation. 

Hell is coming, probably within a week.  Look for Eager Lion to “go live” at the end of the war game, just like the Sept. 11 attacks and the London train bombing.  I guess that I was getting tired of waiting for Armegeddon to begin, anyway.  We all will have ringside seats to the big Big Show.]

U.S. puts jets in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone

Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter communicates using a walkie-talkie in the Mouazafeen neighbourhood in Deir al-Zor, June 14, 2013. Picture taken June 14, 2013. REUTERS-Khalil Ashawi

By Oliver Holmes

BEIRUT

(Reuters) – The United States said on Saturday it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman’s request, and Russia bristled at the possibility they could be used to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria.

Washington, which has long called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, pledged military support to Syrian rebels this week, citing what it said was the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons – an allegation Damascus has denied.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a Jordanian request for American F-16s and Patriot missiles to remain in the Western-backed kingdom after a joint military exercise there next week, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Western diplomats said on Friday Washington was considering a limited no-fly zone over parts of Syria, but the White House noted later that it would be far harder and costlier to set one up there than it was in Libya, saying the United States had no national interest in pursuing that option.

Russia, an ally of Damascus and fierce opponent of outside military intervention in Syria, said any attempt to impose a no-fly zone using F-16s and Patriots from Jordan would be illegal.

“You don’t have to be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The idea of a no-fly zone was endorsed by Egypt, the biggest Arab nation. President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist more distant from Washington than his deposed military predecessor, made a keynote speech in Cairo throwing Egypt’s substantial weight more firmly than before against President Bashar al-Assad.

Despite their differences, the United States and Russia announced in May they would try to convene peace talks involving the Syrian government and its opponents, but have set no date.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said chemical attacks by Syrian forces and Hezbollah’s involvement on Assad’s side showed a lack of commitment to negotiations and threatened to “put a political settlement out of reach”.

Kerry had not previously expressed such pessimism about prospects for the conference, which has run into many obstacles.

These include disarray in the Syrian opposition and military gains by the Syrian army and its Lebanese Hezbollah allies against rebels who have few ways to counter Assad’s air power.

The involvement of Hezbollah fighters on the side of Assad, a fellow ally of the main Shi’ite power Iran, has galvanized Arab governments, including Egypt, behind the rebels, who mostly follow the Sunni version of Islam that dominates the Arab world.

That has hardened sectarian confrontation across the region, which some Arabs hope might be softened by the election of the moderate Hassan Rohani as Iran’s president – though few believe he can truly influence Tehran’s supreme leader.

Mursi, addressing thousands of cheering supporters at a stadium gathering organized by Egyptian Sunni clerics, demanded Hezbollah pull out of Syria and, after his Muslim Brotherhood joined calls for jihad against Assad and his Shi’ite allies, the president said Cairo had now cut diplomatic ties with Damascus.

Egypt’s powerful, U.S.-backed army seems unlikely to involve itself in Syria, but religious passions are running high and more Egyptian volunteers could travel to join the rebels.

AIR STRIKES

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian jets and artillery had again attacked Jobar, a battered district where rebels operate on the edge of central Damascus.

It said heavy artillery was also shelling opposition fighters in the provinces of Homs, Aleppo and Deir al-Zor.

Western powers have been reluctant in the past to arm Syrian insurgents, let alone give them sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles that might fall into the hands of Sunni Islamist insurgents in rebel ranks who have pledged loyalty to al Qaeda.

Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Salim Idriss told Reuters late on Friday that rebels urgently needed anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, as well as a protective no-fly zone.

“But our friends in the United States haven’t told us yet that they are going to support us with weapons and ammunition,” he said after meeting U.S. and European officials in Turkey.

A source in the Middle East familiar with U.S. dealings with the rebels has said planned arms supplies would include automatic weapons, light mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

The United Nations says at least 93,000 people, including civilians and combatants, have died in the Syrian civil war, with the monthly death toll averaging 5,000 in the past year.

Abu Nidal, from the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham rebel group, said U.S. help was welcome, but questioned how effective it would be.

“I doubt the influx of weapons will significantly tip the balance into our favor,” he said via Skype. “They might help push back regime offensives of the last few days.”

SYRIAN OFFICERS DEFECT

Abu Nidal’s faction is not part of the more moderate FSA, Washington’s chosen channel for military aid, but he said the two groups fight alongside each other on the battlefield.

The FSA was set up by defectors from the Syrian military in August 2011, but many rebel factions operate independently.

Assad’s armed forces have remained relatively cohesive, although a Turkish official said 71 Syrian army officers, including six generals, had just defected to Turkey, in the biggest such mass desertion in months.

Western nations have stopped short of arming Syrian rebels or mounting an air campaign as they did, with U.N. approval, to help Libyan insurgents topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Intervening against Assad is considered riskier because Syria has a stronger military, sits on the sectarian faultlines of the Middle East, and is supported by Iran and Russia, which has vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Yet an apparent shift in the military balance in Assad’s favor, especially with the arrival of thousands of Shi’ite fighters from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, has made his swift removal look unlikely without outside intervention.

However, Israel’s defense minister suggested the pendulum could still swing the other way, despite the capture this month of Qusair, a former rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border.

“Bashar al-Assad’s victory in Qusair was not a turning point in the Syrian civil war, and I do not believe that he has the momentum to win,” said Moshe Yaalon, who is visiting Washington.

“He controls just 40 percent of the territory in Syria. Hezbollah is involved in the fighting in Syria and has suffered many casualties in the battles, and as far as we know, it is more than 1,000 casualties,” Yaalon said in a statement.

“We should be prepared for a long civil war with ups and downs.”

Israel has not taken sides in Syria, but does not want to see any Western anti-aircraft missiles or other advanced arms reach Islamist militants hostile to the Jewish state.

(Additional reporting by Jonathon Burch in Ankara, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Mark Hosenball in Washington, Thomas Grove in Moscow and Tom Perry and Alastair Macdonald in Cairo; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Obama Set To Seal the Fate of Humanity By Exploiting Sunni/Shia Schism

storyD_main

[Obama is such a conceited bastard that he really believes that he can pull all of this off, without setting-off a true global conflagration.  Iran has no choice but to reinforce Syrian govt. positions, since the war on Syria is merely the first step in the war on Iran itself.  Obama and the chickenhawk Zionists, who are all afraid to launch a frontal attack against the forces of the Revolutionary Guard, are opening the back door to Iran, leading from Syria, then to Lebanon, before it backfires across the deserts of Jordan and Iraq.  Any fool would already know that the Pentagon will NOT be able to prevent the burning of Syria and Iran from spreading to the oil assets of Saudi Arabia.  Where is “Red Adair,” when we are about to need him much more now, than when he answered the calls coming from “Desert Storm” to put-out the wells fired by Saddam Hussein?]

Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria

the independent

 

World Exclusive: US urges UK and France to join in supplying arms to Syrian rebels as MPs fear that UK will be drawn into growing conflict

Robert Fisk

Washington’s decision to arm Syria’s Sunni Muslim rebels has plunged America into the great Sunni-Shia conflict of the Islamic Middle East, entering a struggle that now dwarfs the Arab revolutions which overthrew dictatorships across the region.

For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East.

The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.

In years to come, historians will ask how America – after its defeat in Iraq and its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for  2014 – could have so blithely aligned itself with one side in a titanic Islamic struggle stretching back to the seventh century death of the Prophet Mohamed. The profound effects of this great schism, between Sunnis who believe that the father of Mohamed’s wife was the new caliph of the Muslim world and Shias who regard his son in law Ali as his rightful successor – a seventh century battle swamped in blood around the present-day Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala – continue across the region to this day. A 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbott, compared this Muslim conflict to that between “Papists and Protestants”.

America’s alliance now includes the wealthiest states of the Arab Gulf, the vast Sunni territories between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey and the fragile British-created monarchy in Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – flooded, like so many neighbouring nations, by hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – may also now find himself at the fulcrum of the Syrian battle.  Up to 3,000 American ‘advisers’ are now believed to be in Jordan, and the creation of a southern Syria ‘no-fly zone’ – opposed by Syrian-controlled anti-aircraft batteries – will turn a crisis into a ‘hot’ war.  So much for America’s ‘friends’.

Its enemies include the Lebanese Hizballah, the Alawite Shiite regime in Damascus and, of course, Iran. And Iraq, a largely Shiite nation which America ‘liberated’ from Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority in the hope of balancing the Shiite power of Iran, has – against all US predictions – itself now largely fallen under Tehran’s influence and power.  Iraqi Shiites as well as Hizballah members, have both fought alongside Assad’s forces.

Washington’s excuse for its new Middle East adventure – that it must arm Assad’s enemies because the Damascus regime has used sarin gas against them – convinces no-one in the Middle East.  Final proof of the use of gas by either side in Syria remains almost as nebulous as President George W. Bush’s claim that Saddam’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

For the real reason why America has thrown its military power behind Syria’s Sunni rebels is because those same rebels are now losing their war against Assad.  The Damascus regime’s victory this month in the central Syrian town of  Qusayr, at the cost of Hizballah lives as well as those of government forces, has thrown the Syrian revolution into turmoil, threatening to humiliate American and EU demands for Assad to abandon power.  Arab dictators are supposed to be deposed – unless they are the friendly kings or emirs of the Gulf – not to be sustained.  Yet Russia has given its total support to Assad, three times vetoing UN Security Council resolutions that might have allowed the West to intervene directly in the civil war.

In the Middle East, there is cynical disbelief at the American contention that it can distribute arms – almost certainly including anti-aircraft missiles – only to secular Sunni rebel forces in Syria represented by the so-called Free Syria Army.  The more powerful al-Nusrah Front, allied to al-Qaeda, dominates the battlefield on the rebel side and has been blamed for atrocities including the execution of Syrian government prisoners of war and the murder of a 14-year old boy for blasphemy.  They will be able to take new American weapons from their Free Syria Army comrades with little effort.

From now on, therefore, every suicide bombing in Damascus – every war crime committed by the rebels – will be regarded in the region as Washington’s responsibility. The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration. This terrible irony can only be exacerbated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adament refusal to tolerate any form of Sunni extremism.  His experience in Chechenya, his anti-Muslim rhetoric – he has made obscene remarks about Muslim extremists in a press conference in Russian – and his belief that Russia’s old ally in Syria is facing the same threat as Moscow fought in Chechenya, plays a far greater part in his policy towards Bashar al-Assad than the continued existence of Russia’s naval port at the Syrian Mediterranean city of Tartous.

For the Russians, of course, the ‘Middle East’ is not in the ‘east’ at all, but to the south of Moscow;  and statistics are all-important. The Chechen capital of Grozny is scarcely 500 miles from the Syrian frontier.  Fifteen per cent of Russians are Muslim.  Six of the Soviet Union’s communist republics had a Muslim majority, 90 per cent of whom were Sunni.  And Sunnis around the world make up perhaps 85 per cent of all Muslims.  For a Russia intent on repositioning itself across a land mass that includes most of the former Soviet Union, Sunni Islamists of the kind now fighting the Assad regime are its principal antagonists.

Iranian sources say they liaise constantly with Moscow, and that while Hizballah’s overall withdrawal from Syria is likely to be completed soon – with the maintenance of the militia’s ‘intelligence’ teams inside Syria – Iran’s support for Damascus will grow rather than wither.  They point out that the Taliban recently sent a formal delegation for talks in Tehran and that America will need Iran’s help in withdrawing from Afghanistan.  The US, the Iranians say, will not be able to take its armour and equipment out of the country during its continuing war against the Taliban without Iran’s active assistance.  One of the sources claimed – not without some mirth — that the French were forced to leave 50 tanks behind when they left because they did not have Tehran’s help.

It is a sign of the changing historical template in the Middle East that within the framework of old Cold War rivalries between Washington and Moscow, Israel’s security has taken second place to the conflict in Syria.  Indeed, Israel’s policies in the region have been knocked askew by the Arab revolutions, leaving its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, hopelessly adrift amid the historic changes.

Only once over the past two years has Israel fully condemned atrocities committed by the Assad regime, and while it has given medical help to wounded rebels on the Israeli-Syrian border, it fears an Islamist caliphate in Damascus far more than a continuation of Assad’s rule.  One former Israel intelligence commander recently described Assad as “Israel’s man in Damascus”.  Only days before President Mubarak was overthrown, both Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Washington to ask Obama to save the Egyptian dictator.  In vain.

If the Arab world has itself been overwhelmed by the two years of revolutions, none will have suffered from the Syrian war in the long term more than the Palestinians.  The land they wish to call their future state has been so populated with Jewish Israeli colonists that it can no longer be either secure or ‘viable’.  ‘Peace’ envoy Tony Blair’s attempts to create such a state have been laughable.  A future ‘Palestine’ would be a Sunni nation.  But today, Washington scarcely mentions the Palestinians.

Another of the region’s supreme ironies is that Hamas, supposedly the ‘super-terrorists’ of Gaza, have abandoned Damascus and now support the Gulf Arabs’ desire to crush Assad.  Syrian government forces claim that Hamas has even trained Syrian rebels in the manufacture and use of home-made rockets.

In Arab eyes, Israel’s 2006 war against the Shia Hizballah was an attempt to strike at the heart of Iran. The West’s support for Syrian rebels is a strategic attempt to crush Iran. But Iran is going to take the offensive.  Even for the Middle East, these are high stakes. Against this fearful background, the Palestinian tragedy continues.

Erdogan Copies Bashar Assad’s Mistakes—Ordering Police To Treat Protesters As “Terrorists”

[This rebranding of democratic protesters as “terrorists” is a prelude to unleashing lethal force upon the assembled Turkish patriots.   They are there to “redress grieveances,” namely Erdogan’s subversion of Turkey’s democracy to create his Islamist Dictatorship.  At this point, the only thing that can save these people is further demonstrations, which will undoubtedly lead to a massive demonstration of superior firepower by the dictator’s minions and the mass death of dozens patriotic democratic forces.  If Erdogan is not very careful he may inadvertantly rebrand all of the protesters as “freedom fighters, when he starts calling them all terrorists.  

The international community has absolutely NO use for honest reporting on these Imperial subjects, but the people are NOT blind to the fact that the weapon of “democratic-revolution,” which Erdogan has so eagerly helped the Evil Empire to deploy against Bashar Assad, has now been turned upon Erdogan himself.  Zbigniew Brzezinski was right, very SOON… It will also be unleashed upon Obama, too.

I pray to God that I might be worthy of seeing that joyous day arise very soon.]

Police to consider protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square terror organization members: Minister

hurriyet

ISTANBUL

Egemen Bağış has been very critical of foreign media reports of the ongoing protests in Turkey. DHA photo

Egemen Bağış has been very critical of foreign media reports of the ongoing protests in Turkey. DHA photo

Everyone who enters Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the heart of nearly 20-day-long protests against the government, will be considered a member or a supporter of a terrorist organization, Turkey’s European Union minister said in a televised interview late last night.

“I request our citizens who supported the protests until today kindly to return to their homes,” Egemen Bağış said in an interview on broadcaster A Haber.

“From now on the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there a supporter or member of a terror organization,” he said. “Our prime minister has already assured [activists] about their aim with the protests. The protests from now on will play into the hands of some separatist organizations that want to break the peace and prioritize vandalism and terrorism.”

High-ranking Turkish officials have been posting warnings on the issue and everyone should act in a sensitive manner, he said.

Clashes between the police and protesters in Istanbul continued around the square along with some other parts of the city until this morning.

Bağış repeated his criticism of foreign media for exaggerating the protests in Turkey.

“Unfortunately, the foreign press has made a big mistake on this issue,” he said, saying that they wanted to reflect Turkey as a country where life has halted.

“Hours-long broadcasting that is even not interrupted by commercials has damaged Turkey’s image,” he said.

“But these long broadcasts surely have a financial reason, and this will be revealed. International channels such as BBC and CNN never do such broadcasting without any advertisement. Somebody somehow financed these broadcasts. Like our prime minister said, the losses of the interest rate lobby due to low interest rates have exceeded $650 billion in Turkey,” he said, adding that this was a result of the government’s dedication. “This drives them crazy and they are doing everything to disturb the calm in our country and win back their losses.”

Saudi Stocks Take A Hit In Reaction To Riyadh’s Illegal War In Syria

Saudi stocks plunge to 13-month low

 

SaudiGazette

Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s stock market plunged 4.32 percent to a 13-month low on Saturday, closing at 7,294.38, with its biggest listed companies losing value.

Only one of the 156 companies listed on the Tadawul All-Share Index, the food-manufacturer Herfy, gained ground. All 155 others fell. Al Rajhi Bank, the largest Saudi lender by market value, fell the most since March, while Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC), known as Mobily, slid the most since November 2012.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic), the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, fell to the lowest level since May 19.

Al Rajhi slid 4.2 percent to SR69, while Mobily lost 4.4 percent to 76.75 riyals. Sabic dropped 4 percent to 90 riyals.

“The Saudi market is being pressured today mainly due to the escalating geopolitical tensions in the region,” Turki Fadaak, head of research and consultancy at Albilad Investment Co., was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

US crude hit a nine-month intraday high on Friday, after news that the United States had authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels led to concerns about Middle East supplies.

US stocks fell on Friday on low volume to end their third negative week in four on lingering concern over whether the world’s central banks will soon start to trim their stimulus programs.

Pakistan’s Taliban Terrorists Prove Their Wahhabi Credentials By Bombing Father of Pakistan’s House

  pakistan-ziarat-Residency-Quaid-i-Azam-Mohammad-Ali-Jinnah-360

[It is typical Wahhabi terrorism against revered and symbolic targets, in their attempts to cover-up the truth about their pretend substitute for “True Islam.”  They cannot enforce their terrorist “Shariah” if the people know real Islam, this is why they blow-up monuments and mosques, and dig-up markers at cemetaries.  They want to destroy Islam by burying it under piles of Saudi dung.  In Saudi Arabia itself they bury history with development projects, the dozers and diggers work overtime to destroy revered relics, in order to cover them with a new history.]

Militants destroy Jinnah’s historic residence in Pakistan

times of india

PTI

Militants destroy Jinnah's historic residence in Pakistan
The militants targeted the Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat, a holiday resort located about 120km from the provincial capital of Quetta.

ISLAMABAD: Militants on Saturday attacked a historic 121-year-old building in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province that was used by the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, killing a policeman and causing extensive damage to the structure.

The militants targeted the Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat, a holiday resort located about 120km from the provincial capital of Quetta, at 1.15am.

They planted and set off four bombs and then opened fire. The explosions and gunfire triggered a blaze that was extinguished after four hours.

A policeman was killed in the shooting, police officials said. The wooden parts of the building, furniture and memorabilia associated with Jinnah were destroyed by the fire.

Footage on television showed that the roof of the building had collapsed and only its structure made of bricks was left intact.

District police chief Asghar Ali said a bomb disposal squad had found and defused six more bombs, each containing about three kilograms of explosives.

He said it took longer than expected for the fire to be controlled as there are no fire tenders in Ziarat. A fire tender sent from Quetta was used to put out the blaze.

Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation though they were unable to trace the attackers.

The residency, built in 1892, was originally used as the summer residence of the agent of the British Governor General.

Jinnah spent the last days of his life in the building while suffering from tuberculosis and the structure was later declared a national monument.

Istanbul Protesters Regroup To Retake Taksim Square

Thousands gather in different areas of Istanbul to march to Taksim Square

hurriyet

 

ISTANBUL

 

 

Thousands in Istanbul walked across the arterial roads hours after the police's crackdown in Taksim.

Thousands in Istanbul walked across the arterial roads hours after the police’s crackdown in Taksim.

Thousands in Istanbul gathered on the streets in several districts of the city to march to Taksim Square, hours after the police’s muscled evacuation of Gezi Park.

Hundreds at the Asian Kadıköy district gathered to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot in the direction of the European side of the city. People joined the protesters from their houses, banging pots to make noise while cars on the road sounded their horns. Police intervened against the group, barring the road to prevent the protesters reaching the bridge. The security forces also called on them to continue demonstrations on Bağdat Avenue, the commercial street of the Asian side, where many also gathered following the crackdown in Taksim. Clahses later broke out at Fikirtepe between as police used tear gas to quell protesters.

Many protesters also gathered on the European side in neighborhoods such as Etiler, Bakırköy and Mecidiyeköy, walking on the arterial roads disrupting the car traffic. Clashes broke out between police and protesters near Mecidiyeköy and spread to the side streets of the centric neighborhood.

People in the sensitive Gazi neighborhood, home to many Alevis and where clashes had continued on the sidelines of the protests, also gathered in the streets.

The police’s heavy-handed intervention to evacuate Gezi Park came only an hour after the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ultimatum to protesters, giving them a day to end demonstrations.

Clashes between the police and protesters are continuing around the park.

Erdogan Now Where Assad Was On January 26, 2011

[Erdogan is now precisely where Bashar al-Assad was on 26 January 2011, the day protests began across Syria.  We will see how serious the Turks are compared to the Syrians.  Will some of them now take-up arms as they did at this point in Syria?]

Erdogan’s sneer is clear to see

Joan Smith

Turkey’s prime minister addressing supporters last week

In the early hours of Friday morning, the Turkish government pulled back from the brink. After making apocalyptic noises about a “final” confrontation with protesters who had occupied an Istanbul park, the prime minister suddenly offered talks. With five dead and 5,000 injured, Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to suspend plans to turn part of Gezi park into a shopping mall until a court challenge is heard, defusing an alarming situation which had prompted condemnation of his government’s tactics in the European Parliament.

This is far from marking the end of Erdogan’s problems, however. What began as a protest in defence of one of Istanbul’s few green spaces became a focus for anger against a government which has become nakedly authoritarian. Journalists have been in the frontline, and, last year, more than a fifth of the world’s imprisoned journalists were in Turkish jails. But when the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, raised the jailing of journalists at a joint press conference earlier this year, Erdogan snapped that only a handful had been arrested. “They are not imprisoned for their journalistic work,” he said, accusing them of plotting a coup, having illegal arms or working for terrorist groups.

The rhetoric is typical of a politician who habitually sneers at legitimate expressions of disagreement; his language is inflammatory, verging on paranoid. He has compared abortions with air strikes on civilians, describing them as “a sneaky plan to wipe the country off the world stage”. He’s even enraged by Caesarean sections. He says every woman should have at least three and preferably five children, plays down Turkey’s huge domestic violence problem, and dismisses evidence of a 14-fold rise in “honour” killings between 2002 and 2009.

But cities such as Ankara and Istanbul have substantial populations of modern, educated men and women who are robust in defence of their rights. Millions believe that Erdogan imposes his religious views in a way that far exceeds his democratic mandate. They point to new laws banning the sale of alcohol within 100 yards of a mosque, a prohibition all the more effective because 17,000 new mosques have been built during Erdogan’s premiership. They don’t like his promise to “raise a religious youth”, especially after an official from his AK party tweeted recently that atheists “should be annihilated”.

In the modern world, there is a limit to how much of this stuff reasonable people will tolerate. In the past couple of weeks, Turkey’s profoundly intolerant prime minister has discovered the limits of trying to govern without consent.

politicalblonde.com

in for a penny they are in for a pound,

[It is good to see that Assad’s air force intends to wipe-out the “Al-Qaeda” enclaves in Aleppo, the pre-recipients of American weaponry, before the USAF can once again become “Al-Qaeda’s air force” there, as they have previously done in Yugoslavia and in Libya.  (Obama’s project to carve-up the world actually began with Clinton, if not with Reagan himself.)  “In for a penny, in for a pound,” Bashar Assad must use all of his tools NOW to uproot the terrorists or to kill them all, before the invasion of Damascus gets underway.  Whenever Western boots get on the ground, he will be hunted-down and killed, just like Saddam and Qaddafi.  If he wants to live through the treachery that is set to wash over him, he must act now.  He probably doesn’t realize the level of subterfuge that is headed at him.  Remember that the “Resounding Fall” of Damascus has already been filmed.  Sound stages and mock-ups have already been constructed in Qatar, before Obama fired the “Fat Pig,” who had grown  impatient and taken it upon himself to turn Obama’s planned Syrian “free-for-all” into an Islamist jihad.  Hezbollah has confirmed  the report for us, that Palestinian “tunnel rats” are already busy helping the terrorist army to construct secret passages, first in Qusayr, then no doubt, in Aleppo, followed by Damascus itself.

Hezbollah Footage Shows Vast Tunnel Network in al Qusayr Syria War 2013

Russia would do well to physically oppose any threatened long-range missile strikes by NATO or US forces.  The tragedy that will be made from any attempt to impose a nationwide “no-fly-zone” upon Syria, is being mere words.  If we are all even a little bit “lucky,” Obama has NOT just opened the gates to World War III.]

Syrian jets hit rebels awaiting promised U.S. weapons

Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks through a periscope while instructing his colleague on where to shoot in the Mouazafeen neighbourhood in Deir al-Zor, June 14, 2013. REUTERS-Khalil Ashawi

By Oliver Holmes

BEIRUT | Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:51pm BST

(Reuters) – Syrian artillery and warplanes pounded rebel areas in Damascus on Saturday as President Bashar al-Assad’s foes pleaded for advanced weapons from the United States, which has promised them unspecified military aid.

Western powers have been reluctant in the past to arm Syrian insurgents, let alone give them sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles that might fall into the hands of Sunni Islamist insurgents in rebel ranks who have pledged loyalty to al Qaeda.

Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Salim Idriss told Reuters on Friday that rebels, who have suffered setbacks at the hands of Assad’s forces in recent weeks, urgently needed anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, as well as a protective no-fly zone.

“But our friends in United States, they haven’t told us yet that they are going to support us with weapons and ammunition,” he said after meeting U.S. and European officials in Turkey.

A source in the Middle East familiar with U.S. dealings with the rebels has said planned arms supplies would include automatic weapons, light mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Russia, an ally of Damascus and fierce opponent of outside military intervention, warned on Saturday against any attempt to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria using F-16 fighter jets and Patriot air defence missile systems from Jordan.

“You don’t have to be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference with his Italian counterpart in Moscow.

Western diplomats said on Friday the United States was considering a no-fly zone over Syria, but the White House said later that it would be far harder and costlier to set up one up there than it was in Libya, stressing that the United States had no national interest in pursuing that option.

Outgunned rebels have few ways to counter Assad’s air power. The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said jets and artillery had attacked Jobar, a battered district where rebels operate on the edge of central Damascus, on Saturday.

It said heavy artillery was also shelling opposition fighters in the provinces of Homs, Aleppo and Deir al-Zor.

A Turkish official said 71 Syrian army officers, including six generals, had defected to Turkey, in the biggest single mass desertion from Assad’s military in months.

The United Nations says at least 93,000 people, including civilians and combatants, have died in the Syrian civil war, with the monthly death toll averaging 5,000 in the past year.

MILITARY BALANCE

On Thursday, a U.S. official said President Barack Obama had authorised sending U.S. weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, after the White House said it had proof the Syrian military had used chemical weapons against opposition forces.

Abu Nidal, from the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham rebel group, said U.S. help was welcome, but questioned how effective it would be.

“I doubt the influx of weapons will significantly tip the balance into our favour,” he said via Skype. “They might help push back regime offensives of the last few days.”

Abu Nidal’s faction is not part of the more moderate FSA, Washington’s chosen channel for military aid, but he said the two groups fight alongside each other on the battlefield.

“We are not at odds with the Free Syrian Army now. We fight in one formation,” the Islamist fighter said.

Other opposition sources have also voiced scepticism over what type and quantity of arms the United States would deliver.

The surface-to-air missiles that rebels say they need to ward off Assad’s air force are particularly worrisome for Western powers as they could be used against commercial jets.

Since the anti-Assad revolt erupted in March 2011, Western nations have demanded the Syrian leader’s ouster, but have not used force as they did to back Libyans fighting Muammar Gaddafi.

Intervening against Assad is considered riskier because Syria has a stronger military, sits on the sectarian faultlines of the Middle East, and is supported by Iran and Russia, which has vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Yet an apparent shift in the military momentum in Assad’s favour, especially with the arrival of thousands of fighters from Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, has made his swift removal look unlikely without outside intervention.

However, Israel’s defence minister suggested the pendulum could still swing the other way, despite the capture this month of Qusair, a former rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border.

“Bashar al-Assad’s victory in Qusair was not a turning point in the Syrian civil war, and I do not believe that he has the momentum to win,” said Moshe Yaalon, who is visiting Washington.

“He controls just 40 percent of the territory in Syria. Hezbollah is involved in the fighting in Syria and has suffered many casualties in the battles, and as far as we know, it is more than 1,000 casualties,” Yaalon said in a statement.

“We should be prepared for a long civil war with ups and downs.”

It was not immediately clear why the group had deserted. Just hours ago, the United States said it would arm Syrian rebels, having obtained proof that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against fighters trying to end the president’s rule.

(Additional reporting by Jonathon Burch in Ankara, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Mark Hosenball in Washington and Thomas Grove in Moscow; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Economic Shock Testing In Afghanistan To Time Attacks

[The fact that we can now read “conspiracy” articles in a top-notch magazine like Forbes, which discuss the same principles of “shock testing” that were previously revealed in the infamous Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars document, tell us two things—that the conspiracy masters are getting either scared or overconfident, and that The Big  Conspiracy” is about to be revealed.  Why else would the people who run the big show, who normally keep their tracks covered, let The Big Secret out—that they actually control all things economic, without being physically in control of the manipulated economic event.  The article from Forbes below, really misses the point in discussing the odd relationship between Afghan potato prices and Talliban attacks.  Fluctuations in commodity prices do NOT predict when attacks will occur, except in the sense of predicting the prime time of the highest civilian agitation and frustration, in order to know WHEN to order the attack which will unleash the shock wave upon the targeted population.  “Shock testing” civilian populations grew out of the Operations Research “Strategic Bombing Surveys” of WWII.  Contrary to popular perception, the studies were NOT carried-out to predetermine the “breaking points” of our civilizations, in order to avoid those conditions, but to find the breaking points of enemy populations and human beings in general, in order to more easily break them with the nightly European terror-bombing of German cities, or whenever the times called for it.

After the war ended, the United States and Britain had to become more inventive, in order to develop instruments of “shock” of sufficient power to break targeted populations without resulting to physical war.  This led to things like “Gladio” in Europe and small-scale terrorism and death squads in the West.  The terror war has brought all of these elements together, in one great symphony of terror, which resounds across the face of the earth. The key is to use your terrorists and death squads after the local citizenry has been prepped by small, local incidents, hyped to outlandish distortions by the local subservient press.  This is the process that the Forbes article dances around, without ever touching.  Economic shock testing is a science.  Its successes can be measured by the means mentioned in the Forbes piece, developed by New England Complex Systems Institute.

source

There are definitely correlations between social tensions and mass-violence, but in the West’s many war zones, the violence is by the Western forces, associated with the Real Time Regional Gateway (RTRG), is timed to coincide with optimum local tensions, military action serving as a release valve, used to limit the intensity ot the managed conflict.  In the Afghan studies, the points of violence are predicted, but only to know the best time to strike.  That is the true connection between Afghan potato prices and local violence.  The potato prices are manipulated by the violence, and used as an instrument of social agitation.  The Silent Weapons explanation of “Shock Testing” is given below.]

Economic Shock Testing

“In recent times, the application of Operations Research to the study of the public economy has been obvious for anyone who understands the principles of shock testing.

In the shock testing of an aircraft airframe, the reclikoil impulse of firing a gun mounted on that airframe causes shock waves in that structure which tell aviation engineers the conditions under which some parts of the airplane or the whole airplane or its wings will start to vibrate or flutter like a guitar string, a flute reed, or a tuning fork, and disintegrate or fall apart in flight.

Economic engineers achieve the same result in studying the behavior of the economy and the consumer public by carefully selecting a staple commodity such as beef, coffee, gasoline, or sugar, and then causing a sudden change or shock in its price or availability, thus kicking everybody’s budget and buying habits out of shape.

They then observe the shock waves which result by monitoring the changes in advertising, prices, and sales of that and other commodities.

The objective of such studies is to acquire the know-how to set the public economy into a predictable state of motion or change, even a controlled self-destructive state of motion which will convince the public that certain “expert” people should take control of the money system and reestablish security (rather than liberty and justice) for all. When the subject citizens are rendered unable to control their financial affairs, they, of course, become totally enslaved, a source of cheap labor.

Not only the prices of commodities, but also the availability of labor can be used as the means of shock testing. Labor strikes deliver excellent tests shocks to an economy, especially in the critical service areas of trucking (transportation), communication, public utilities (energy, water, garbage collection), etc.

By shock testing, it is found that there is a direct relationship between the availability of money flowing in an economy and the real psychological outlook and response of masses of people dependent upon that availability.

For example, there is a measurable quantitative relationship between the price of gasoline and the probability that a person would experience a headache, feel a need to watch a violent movie, smoke a cigarette, or go to a tavern for a mug of beer.

It is most interesting that, by observing and measuring the economic models by which the public tries to run from their problems and escape from reality, and by applying the mathematical theory of Operations Research, it is possible to program computers to predict the most probable combination of created events (shocks) which will bring about a complete control and subjugation of the public through a subversion of the public economy (by shaking the plum tree).”—Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars

therearenosunglasses@hotmail.com

Snooping On Potato Prices In Afghanistan To Predict Attacks

forbes

Nadia Arumugam

Nadia Arumugam, Contributor

Among the cornucopia of reportage on government espionage, one article in particular caught my eye. Earlier this week a Wall Street Journal story on surveillance technology used by the National Security Agency makes mention of a program called Real Time Regional Gateway (RTRG).

An Afghan vendor sells potatoes from the back ...

An Afghan vendor sells potatoes from the back of a truck at a market in Kabul on October 6, 2011. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

Used to predict insurgency attacks in Afghanistan, RTRG monitors intelligence gathered from drones with high-powered cameras and sensors. The “snooping” program also analyzes in-country data including phone conversations, road-traffic patterns, public opinion and, somewhat unexpectedly, the price of potatoes at market.

According to the WSJ, this system, when analyzing 90-day batches of data, has the ability to forecast attacks 60 percent to 70 percent of the time.

The price of potatoes might just one of a plethora of metrics correlated by the program, but it is not an insignificant factor. Indeed, research and real-world case studies have shown that rising food costs are sure and reliable drivers for conflict.

Just take the Arab Spring. Ironically, the rich arc of marshlands that stretches from the Egyptian Nile to the Biblical lands of Tigris and Euphrates known for centuries as the Fertile Crescent is now the biggest importer of food. According to The Economist, most Arab countries today import half of what they eat from abroad. Consequently, when global commodity prices rise, the region suffers.

So when grain prices rocketed in 2007 to 2008 triggered by spikes in oil prices, drought in grain-producing nations and increased demand in Asia, the price of bread in Egypt, for example, rose nearly 40 percent.  These price hikes ultimately instigated “bread riots” in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria and Bahrain in 2008. Arab governments responded by increasing subsidies, driving up wages and adjusting food prices. But this did little to provide a long-term solution.

As if we could forget the pro-democracy protests in Tunisia in December 2010 with protesters brandishing baguettes, or the iconic “bread helmet” worn by an anti-Mubarak protester in Tahrir Square in 2011. Political uprisings have since toppled the Tunisian, Libyan and Egyptian regimes, and fostered civil war in Syria. Of course, these revolutions were about so much more than simply bread. But when cheap food, a substitute for democracy and human rights and a tool for commanding obedience, was not so cheap any more, sparks of social unrest were ignited.

Indeed, just last year researchers at New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Mass developed a mathematical model that relies on food prices to predict when social unrest is likely to erupt. Specifically, they had identified “a very well-defined threshold [for food prices] above which food riots break out,” lead researcher, Yaneer Bar-Yam told NPR’s food blog, The Salt.

In fact, Bar-Yam and his team published a paper in 2011 showing precisely what I’ve described above, how big spikes in food prices coincided with food riots in 2007 to 2008 and precipitated the events of the Arab Spring.

According to NPR, on December 13, 2010 the Cambridge researchers had submitted analysis warning of potential social unrest in Tunisia to the U.S. government. “Four days later, Tunisian fruit and vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire – an event widely seen as the catalyst for the Arab Spring,” says NPR.

Is this really relevant to Afghanistan you might ask? Even when wheat prices in May 2008 had risen by over 100 percent since March of the previous year; even when at least 18 million of the country’s 26.6 million people failed to meet their basic nutritional needs according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); and even when some Afghans were so desperate they were forced to eat grass, no large -scale food riots were reported.

What was noted, however, was that mounting food inaccessibility and costs were driving hungry, aggrieved youth into the arms of the Taliban. In a 2008 article, a UN article published by its news service IRIN ran this quote from the man in the southern province of Kandahar; “I will do whatever I have to – robbery, killing others or blowing myself up – if my children are hungry and I cannot give them food.”

A paper published earlier this year in the Southern Economic Journal, by James A. Piazza at the Pennsylvania State University, not only makes the link between terrorism and food price fluctuations but determines that “rapid food price increases promote terrorist attacks. ” The logic is simple:

Consumer price increases create significant hardships for individuals, which makes them more prone to provide various levels of active and passive support for terrorist group activities. Rapidly increasing prices produce hardships that lead to the formation of strong antiregime, anti-status-quo grievances that can be exploited by extremist movements engaged in terrorism…

 Perhaps unsurprisingly, Piazza found that volatile energy and housing prices did not have the same impact on terrorism levels. A parent can rationalize that a child can live without a roof over its head, but not without food in its belly.