Kurdish Plans for Self-Autonomy Pushing Turkey To Contemplate Invasion of Syrian Kurdistan

A three-hour-long emergency meeting on recent developments on the Turkey-Syria border was held at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's office July 24. DHA photo

Turkish PM holds emergency meeting on Syria

hurriyet

A three-hour-long emergency meeting on recent developments on the Turkey-Syria border was held at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office earlier today.

Turkey Reacts to PYD Autonomy Plan in Syria

rudaw kurd logo

by Armando Cordoba

Turkey Reacts to PYD Autonomy Plan in Syria

 

Kurds in the city of Afrin gather to welcome Arab refugees from other parts of Syria. Photo: AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has placed its forces on the Syrian border on alert, following a call by the dominant Democratic Union Party (PYD) to declare an interim Kurdish state in Syria’s northern regions.
PYD officials announced their intention on Friday, claiming their main goal was “to set-up an independent council to run Kurdish regions.”
 

Salih Muslim, the head of the PYD, said in an interview with France 24, “This is not a call for a separation; it’s just that for a year now we have been on our own in our own territories and people have needs, they want some kind of administration to run their issues, they can’t be left like that.”
 

The plan was to establish autonomy on July 19 — anniversary of the liberation of the first Kurdish city in Syria — but the PYD has not yet announced whether it has been successful in completing the transition.
 

Turkey reacted to the announcement by beefing up troops on the Syrian border, and placing its forces on alert.
 

Ankara fears the move by the PYD — an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — could energize the militant PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey since 1984 but is currently engaged in a landmark peace process.
 

The Turkish government believes “it has a parliamentary mandate to intervene in the Syrian territories if there is a serious risk,” according to a report by Shafaq News.
 

The Turkish military, which believes the PYD move is part of a much bigger plan for an independent Kurdish state, has vowed never to accept an autonomous Kurdish entity in Syria.
 

For the past year the PYD’s militia forces have clashed with the main opposition Free Syrian Army forces (FSA) and its offshoots, while denying repeated allegations of shady ties with the Damascus regime. The Kurds say they have so far remained neutral in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which is in its third year and has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives.
 

The PYD has repeatedly expressed fears over the possibility of encroaching sectarian control from Sunni and Shiite factions, which have joined the fight and turned the Syrian civil war into what some have labeled as a holy crusade, or jihad.
 

Recently, the PYD seized and took control of Ras al-Ain, a Kurdish town in Syria on the Turkish border.
 

Nawak Khalil, a spokesman for the PYD, said in an interview with Reuters, “We fought hard to drive out the repressive regime and its army and we liberated the area from oppression.
 

“We will not allow either regime control or these Al-Qaeda linked groups. What is pushing them to fight is their antagonism against our autonomous rule in Kurdish areas,” he vowed.
 

The Syrian civil war has isolated the Syrian Kurds and caused a great humanitarian crisis in their areas, as major trade from Damascus and Turkey has slowed the shipment of food and commodities, causing prices for basic goods to skyrocket.

Syria

Turkey Reacts to PYD Autonomy Plan in Syria

by Armando Cordoba 22/7/2013

Turkey Reacts to PYD Autonomy Plan in Syria
Kurds in the city of Afrin gather to welcome Arab refugees from other parts of Syria. Photo: AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has placed its forces on the Syrian border on alert, following a call by the dominant Democratic Union Party (PYD) to declare an interim Kurdish state in Syria’s northern regions.
PYD officials announced their intention on Friday, claiming their main goal was “to set-up an independent council to run Kurdish regions.”
Salih Muslim, the head of the PYD, said in an interview with France 24, “This is not a call for a separation; it’s just that for a year now we have been on our own in our own territories and people have needs, they want some kind of administration to run their issues, they can’t be left like that.”
The plan was to establish autonomy on July 19 — anniversary of the liberation of the first Kurdish city in Syria — but the PYD has not yet announced whether it has been successful in completing the transition.
Turkey reacted to the announcement by beefing up troops on the Syrian border, and placing its forces on alert.
Ankara fears the move by the PYD — an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — could energize the militant PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey since 1984 but is currently engaged in a landmark peace process.
The Turkish government believes “it has a parliamentary mandate to intervene in the Syrian territories if there is a serious risk,” according to a report by Shafaq News.
The Turkish military, which believes the PYD move is part of a much bigger plan for an independent Kurdish state, has vowed never to accept an autonomous Kurdish entity in Syria.
For the past year the PYD’s militia forces have clashed with the main opposition Free Syrian Army forces (FSA) and its offshoots, while denying repeated allegations of shady ties with the Damascus regime. The Kurds say they have so far remained neutral in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which is in its third year and has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives.
The PYD has repeatedly expressed fears over the possibility of encroaching sectarian control from Sunni and Shiite factions, which have joined the fight and turned the Syrian civil war into what some have labeled as a holy crusade, or jihad.
Recently, the PYD seized and took control of Ras al-Ain, a Kurdish town in Syria on the Turkish border.
Nawak Khalil, a spokesman for the PYD, said in an interview with Reuters, “We fought hard to drive out the repressive regime and its army and we liberated the area from oppression.
“We will not allow either regime control or these Al-Qaeda linked groups. What is pushing them to fight is their antagonism against our autonomous rule in Kurdish areas,” he vowed.
The Syrian civil war has isolated the Syrian Kurds and caused a great humanitarian crisis in their areas, as major trade from Damascus and Turkey has slowed the shipment of food and commodities, causing prices for basic goods to skyrocket.

India Warns Against Reconciliation with Taliban

US warned against reconciliation with Taliban

Pajhwok

By Lalit K Jha

WASHINGTON (PAN): Cautioning the United States against reconciliation with the Taliban, an India opposition leader on Tuesday reiterated Delhi’s commitment to continued economic assistance to Afghanistan.

“India is committed to supporting the democratic forces in Afghanistan. The nascent Afghan security forces — the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police — the combined strength of which has reached nearly 350,000, have shown encouraging combat spirit,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president said.

Rajnath Singh said in a major foreign policy speech on Afghanistan at an event at the Capitol Hill: “While keeping the overall political and security balances in view, India is willing to provide its share of training and non-lethal support in bolstering defensive capabilities of Afghan forces.”

Singh said a democratic, developed and progressive Afghanistan had the potential to act as a major springboard for economic progress of the entire region. “This will bring smiles back on the faces of our cousins, lights in their households, dollars in their pockets and most importantly peace in their neighborhood,” he remarked.

Mutually beneficial and supportive India-Afghanistan ties did not stand in the way of Afghanistan’s ties relations with its other neighbours, the BJP leader said. “We would wish Afghanistan to have close, friendly ties with all its neighbours and exercise full freedom of choice in this regard.”

However, Singh cautioned the US against any peace talks with the Taliban, arguing the outfit was unlikely to change its behaviour and the reconciliation effort would be a futile exercise.

“The eagerness to engage with elements that want to return Afghanistan to the status of ‘Islamic Emirates’ in the hope that they would deliver, and in the process humiliating and weakening the democratic leadership, doesn’t augur well for the region,” he said.

If peace with the Taliban was pursued with cooperation from the Pakistani military, as seemed to be the case, the situation would become even more fraught, he warned. Many would call it the strategic ambition of the Pakistan Army to control Afghanistan, Singh said in his key note address.

Singh said the US has had a mix bag of experience in partnering with Pakistan in this war against terrorism. “The results have been a mixed bag. While the Taliban and Al Qaeda have lost many key leaders, they continue to hold on to their strongholds in the south and east of Afghanistan and also inside Pakistan territory.”

What Happens To the US Economy When China Runs Out of Water?

Dluitai coal mine Da Liuta Coal Mine

BLOOMBERG

At first glance, Daliuta in northern China appears to have a river running through it. A closer look reveals the stretch of water in the center is a pond, dammed at both ends. Beyond the barriers, the Wulanmulun’s bed is dry.

Daliuta in Shaanxi province sits on top of the world’s biggest underground coal mine, which requires millions of liters of water a day for extracting, washing and processing the fuel. The town is the epicenter of a looming collision between China’s increasingly scarce supplies of water and its plan to power economic growth with coal.

“Water shortages will severely limit thermal power capacity additions,” said Charles Yonts, head of sustainable research at brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Hong Kong. “You can’t reconcile targets for coal production in, say, Shanxi province and Inner Mongolia with their water targets.”

Coal industries and power stations use as much as 17 percent of China’s water, and almost all of the collieries are in the vast energy basin in the north that is also one of the country’s driest regions. By 2020 the government plans to boost coal-fired power by twice the total generating capacity of India.

About half of China’s rivers have dried up since 1990 and those that remain are mostly contaminated. Without enough water, coal can’t be mined, new power stations can’t run and the economy can’t grow. At least 80 percent of the nation’s coal comes from regions where the United Nations says water supplies are either “stressed” or in “absolute scarcity.”

Desert State

China has about 1,730 cubic meters of fresh water per person, close to the 1,700 cubic meter-level the UN deems “stressed.” The situation is worse in the north, where half China’s people, most of its coal and only 20 percent of its water are located.

Shanxi — the nation’s biggest coal base, with about 28 percent of production — has per capita water resources of 347 cubic meters, less than the Middle Eastern nation of Oman. Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi, which together contribute 40 percent of coal output, have less than 1,700 cubic meters per person.

A government plan to boost the coal industry and build more power plants near mines will lift industrial demand for water in Inner Mongolia 141 percent by 2015 from 2010, causing aquifers to dry up and deserts to expand, according to Greenpeace and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources. About 28,000 rivers have vanished since 1990, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and National Bureau of Statistics.

Ordos Wells

“After five years there won’t be enough water in Ordos in Inner Mongolia,” said Sun Qingwei, director of the climate and energy campaign at Greenpeace in Beijing. “The mines are stealing ground water from agriculture. Local governments want their economies to boom.”

Wells drilled near Haolebaoji near Ordos by Shenhua Group, the world’s biggest coal producer, have caused groundwater levels to drop to a depth of as much as 100 meters, drying out the region’s artesian wells, Greenpeace said in a report yesterday. Two calls to Shenhua weren’t answered.

The water that does exist is mostly polluted. A government survey published in February shows that only about a quarter of the groundwater in the North China Plain — an area that’s bigger than Greece and includes Beijing and Tianjin, the province of Hebei and parts of Henan and Shandong — is fit for human consumption.

Severe Pollution

Severe water pollution affects 75 percent of China’s rivers and lakes and 28 percent are unsuitable even for agricultural use, according to the 2012 book “China’s Environmental Challenges,” by Judith Shapiro, director of the Masters program in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at the School of International Service at American University in Washington.

Geneva-based Pictet Asset Management’s $3.17 billion global water fund doubled its exposure to stocks offering water services in China to 10 percent since 2007. For Zurich-based RobecoSAM’s 611 million-euro Sustainable Water fund, “emerging markets offers the best opportunities in the world for water investments and China is the standout.”

Water-treatment companies Beijing Enterprises Water Group Ltd. (371) and China Everbright (165) International Ltd., which Pictet invested in in 2009, are among its best performers this year, partly on prospects for stricter environmental regulation in China, said Geneva-based portfolio manager Arnaud Bisschop.

Beijing Enterprises has risen 55 percent this year to HK$3.10 and Deutsche Bank sees it reaching HK$3.20 within a year. China Everbright is up 83 percent to HK$7.18 and JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimates it will reach HK$7.60 by mid-October.

‘Utmost Urgency’

“The best opportunity is in industrial water re-use, and for the mining industry, it is of the utmost urgency,” said Junwei Hafner-Cai, a manager of RobecoSAM’s Sustainable Water fund. “Water that has been released from the coal mines and from petrochemical plants has resulted in severe pollution on top of the water scarcity.”

A shortage of coal because of the lack of water to mine and process the fuel may force China to increase imports, pushing up world prices, according to Debra Tan, director at research firm China Water Risk in Hong Kong. China, which mines 45 percent of the world’s coal, may adopt an aggressive “coal-mine grab” to secure supplies, said Tan.

Chinese demand will account for 25 percent of global coal imports by 2015, London-based shipbroker ACM Shipping Group Plc said in a report in April. Indonesia is the largest overseas supplier of power-station coal to China, which buys as much as 45 percent of the Southeast Asian nation’s exports of the fuel.

China is responding with harsher limits on water usage, a new tariff structure that allows for steep price gains, and plans to spend 4 trillion yuan ($652 billion) by 2020 to boost water infrastructure and resources.

Water Caps

Caps introduced in January limit the annual increase of water used by the four biggest coal-producing regions to 2.9 percent annually until 2015, while their combined coal output is set to increase almost 5 percent a year, according to CLSA.

Water shortages mean “industrial plants are more and more under pressure,” said Guillaume Dourdin, Beijing-based head of the North-West China region for France’s Veolia Water, which treated 1.2 billion tons of waste water in China last year. “In some places we can see it is a constraint for industry. We don’t see a water war in China but obviously there are some tensions on the resource in some parts.” Veolia Water, a unit of Veolia Environnement SA (VIE), Europe’s biggest water company, has more than 13,000 employees in China.

Truck Queue

In Daliuta, the mine is “sucking up the groundwater,” said Sun at Greenpeace. Trains hundreds of cars long rumble along elevated tracks through the town center, hauling coal. On the highway to Yulin, trucks carrying the fuel queue nose-to-tail for more than five kilometers to pass through toll booths.

Daliuta’s coal output surged 26 percent last year to 29.4 billion tons, according to owner China Shenhua Energy Co. (1088), the nation’s biggest coal producer.

The town’s river-turned-pond was dammed about six years ago to beautify the area for new apartment blocks along the banks, said Zhe Mancang, who owns a liquor store nearby. The artificial lake is now contaminated with waste water from the mines.

“I worry about the water,” said Zhe, 58. “But I’ve no choice. My family’s here and my customers are from the mines.”

The effect of water shortages extends beyond the north. New rules this year require the manufacturing hubs of Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces and Shanghai to reduce water use every year even as their economies expand. Nationwide growth in usage is capped at 1 percent annually.

Water Prices

In the city of Guangzhou water prices rose 50 percent for residents and 89 percent for industrial users in May 2012 to help pay for improvements to quality and supply, according to an April report by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Stricter controls will raise the risk of investment in water-intensive industries and heavy polluters including coal, metals and paper production, especially in the north, said Tan.

“In an absolute worst case you’d see a large-scale shift in economic activity and population further south for lack of water, and manufacturing increasingly moving abroad,” said Scott Moore, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Sustainability Science Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To alleviate the shortage in the north, the central government in 2002 approved the 500 billion yuan South-to-North water diversion project, the largest irrigation project in the world. The plan is to carry 44.8 billion cubic meters of water from the Yangtze river along three routes.

Tianjin Canal

The 1,467-kilometer-long eastern canal to Tianjin is scheduled for completion at the end of this year. The central route to Beijing, more than 1,270 kilometers, is slated to open next year. The western route is still being planned.

Even this massive program may not be enough. The Asian Development Bank said in a report last year that China’s demand for water may exceed supply by as much as 200 billion cubic meters by 2030, according to some estimates, unless “major capital investments to strengthen water supplies are made beyond those presently planned.”

More efficient use would help. Chinese industry uses four to 10 times more water per unit of production than the average in developed countries, Tan wrote in a February report. Only 40 percent of industrial water is recycled, compared with 75 percent to 85 percent in developed countries, the World Bank says.

Yellow River

China has had some success. In the late 1990s, so much water was being taken from the Yellow River, the nation’s second-longest waterway, that it dried up before reaching the sea for as much as 226 days consecutively. After quotas controlled by electronic sluice gates were implemented, the amount of water needed to generate 10,000 yuan of GDP fell to 308 cubic meters in 2006, from 1,672 cubic meters in 1990, according to the Yellow River Conservancy Commission.

China’s efforts to expand alternative energy, including investing $65.1 billion in clean energies like solar and wind power in 2012, aren’t enough to match rising demand. The nation’s dependence on thermal power generation, including gas and oil, will decline by just three percentage points to 76 percent by 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts Maxime Serrano Bardisa and Alasdair Wilson wrote in a February report.

Among the biggest losers are farmers, who have to dig deeper and deeper wells to find clean water, or are forced out by local governments who see bigger economic gains from mining.

In Zhanggaijie village, 90 minutes from Yulin city in Shaanxi, Li Qiaoling’s corn harvest slumped to 2 to 3 tons per mu (667 square meters) from 4 to 5 tons four years ago, she said. Li, 43, had to deepen her well to 60 meters from about 30 meters five years ago, she said.

Relocation Wait

Now she waits with about 200 villagers for compensation and news from local officials on where they will be relocated after coal mining polluted the local water supply, said Li.

“We’re angry because we have to leave,” said Li, who still farms and sells produce from her 11 mu plot, despite the contamination. “We’re worried about moving to a strange place.”

Premier Li Keqiang vowed at a March press briefing to crack down on pollution. “Being rich and well-off isn’t OK either if the environment deteriorates,” Li said.

Implementing such promises has proved elusive. In April, a group of 60 officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection told Zhang Haibin, an associate professor at Peking University, that they “don’t dare to really monitor” pollution because it would affect growth, Zhang said at a forum. The officials said when “economic growth conflicts, environmental targets always give way,” Zhang said.

A manufacturing report today from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics only highlighted that pressure, pointing to a deeper slowdown this month in the Chinese economy.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Kevin Hamlin in Beijing at khamlin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

Hard To Believe, But….I Agree With the Political Statement That Madonna Is Making Here

Modernizing Islam? Madonna shocks with latest pic wearing chainmail Niqab

albawaba news

What could this mean? Madonna in chain-mail Muslim niqab. (Image: Facebook)
What could this mean? Madonna in chain-mail Muslim niqab. (Image: Facebook)
[How is this image different from this one?]
ishr-burka
[Or this one?]
12653311_img9939
[Or this?]
burka mob
[I would prefer to see Muslim women liberated from their Burkas, starting small…
burka 2
[Finally working up to something like this.]
burka
[Or something even more delightful.]
Nasrim bajo el burka
Jose Tandem

Syria: disillusioned rebels drift back to take Assad amnesty

 

Syria: disillusioned rebels drift back to take Assad amnesty

the telegraph

Hundreds of men who took up arms against President Bashar al-Assad are defecting back to the government side, The Telegraph has learnt.

A member of the Free Syrian Army aims his weapon as fellow fighters stand behind him in Deir al-Zor

A member of the Free Syrian Army aims his weapon as fellow fighters stand behind him in Deir al-Zor  Photo: REUTERS


Disillusioned by the Islamist twist that the “revolution” in Syria has taken, exhausted after more than two years of conflict and feeling that they are losing, growing numbers of rebels are signing up to a negotiated amnesty offered by the Assad regime.

At the same time, the families of retreating fighters have begun quietly moving back to government-controlled territory, seen as a safer place to live as the regime continues its intense military push against rebel-held areas.

The move is a sign of the growing confidence of the regime, which has established a so-called “ministry of reconciliation” with the task of easing the way for former opponents to return to the government side.

Ali Haider, the minister in charge, said: “Our message is, ‘if you really want to defend the Syrian people, put down your weapons and come and defend Syria in the right way, through dialogue’.”

Mr Haider, who has a reputation as a moderate within the regime, has established a system in which opposition fighters give up their weapons in exchange for safe passage to government-held areas.

 

 

Army Chief Calls-Out To Egyptian Democrats for Counter Demonstrations To Islamists

Egyptian army head calls for street protests

BBC

Breaking news

The head of the Egyptian army has urged people to come out on Friday to demonstrate against “terrorism”.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he wanted the people to give the military a mandate to confront violence and terrorism.

Supporters of Mohammed Morsi have been protesting against the army intervention which removed him as president of Egypt on 3 July.

But Gen Sisi said he was not calling for public violence and wanted national reconciliation.

Bandar Organizes Betrayal of SNC, Prepares American Al-CIA-da/al Nusra Offensive from Jordan

[According to Al Manar (SEE:  Europe Bandar informed of his refusal to arm Syrian opposition), Bandar was also present at this meeting with the Syrian National Coalition, since the Saudis had taken their sponsorship away from Qatar.  According to Mossad source, the Debka report (SOURCED HERE:  Assad Set for Two Simultaneous Warfronts: Aleppo and Golan), Bandar has since moved to cut-off contact the SNC and to isolate all of the non-Nusra forces in the north.  This follows the news that both Britain and France have reversed course on the Syrian resistance, judging post-Qusayr that they were a losing cause.  The Syrian rebels are most unhappy over these developments, claiming that they can’t hold-out until American supplies being amassed in Jordan are shipped-out (SEE: US to send arms to Syria within a month).  Add all of these link together and it becomes apparent that the non-Nusra Syrian forces have been cut-off at the knees in the north, making ready a new American-led Al-Qaeda in the South.]

Saudi Crown Prince Meets With Syrian National Coalition

as safir lebanon AS SAFIR

Mohammad Ballout
Yesterday [July 18], Saudi Arabia became the exclusive patron of the Syrian National Coalition [SNC]. Two weeks after removing Qatar from the leadership of one of the most prominent Syrian opposition formations and putting in place a leadership composed of tribal, secular and Muslim Brotherhood types, Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz received a SNC delegation headed by Ahmad al-Jarba.A member of the delegation told As-Safir that the meeting lasted a little more than an hour and discussed only generalities. But the message Riyadh wanted to send was clear: Saudi Arabia is still betting on the SNC despite its repeated failures. The other message was that the coalition is no longer just a security issue run by Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, but an essential political ally in the war on the Syrian regime.At the same time, the members of the Friends of Syria coalition are dragging their feet with regard to supporting the armed opposition. The United Kingdom and France have not yet fulfilled their promise to provide weapons. The Pentagon denied that it intends to train opposition fighters, which would change the course of fighting in southern Syria and in Daraa. That area still awaits the arrival of fighters from US training camps in Jordan. US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The situation doesn’t allow for a no-fly zone.” The British government has leaked that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may remain in power for years. Assad was not even mentioned in the discussion between the Saudi crown prince and the SNC in Jiddah.

The SNC delegation included Jarba, Secretary-General Badr Jamous and Vice Presidents Salem al-Muslit al-Jabouri, Suheir al-Atassi and Farouk Tayfur. They were accompanied by Michel Kilo, Kamal al-Labwani and SNC President George Sabra.

The Saudi crown prince met with the SNC delegation and listened to their demands. But, according to what one coalition member told As-Safir, he provided no answers because the issues raised during the meeting are not for Salman to decide. They require meetings with the Saudi “specialists” who are following up on the Syrian file.

A member of the delegation said that the Saudi crown prince, who listened to Jarba describe the Syrian people’s suffering, did not mention Assad during the meeting and did not criticize the Syrian regime. Salman told the delegation that Saudi Arabia has no special interests in Syria and all what the kingdom wants is to see a secure and stable Syria that is an ally.

When asked about Saudi Arabia’s position regarding one of the proposed settlements to be discussed in Geneva, Salman remained noncommittal.

A coalition source said that Saudi Arabia, like other countries that are helping the opposition, has no long-term strategy on how to confront the Syrian regime. The source said that — in the coming days — Jarba, Kilo and Brig. Gen. Salim Idriss will discuss relief aid and armament issues with Saudi officials.

The SNC is awaiting a Saudi decision to boost its armament aid tenfold and increase the number of joint operation rooms that are managing the distribution of weapons from Turkey and Jordan to Syria. Only the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will distribute the weapons. The SNC is asking for more pressure on Jordan so that the latter would allow the passage of weapons into southern Syria. The SNC also wants Turkey and Jordan to mobilize thousands of officers and soldiers present in the Syrian refugee camps, to reduce the number of civilians in the FSA and strengthen it.

Jarba, Kilo and Idriss are expected to meet with Bandar bin Sultan to coordinate the armament operations. According to diplomatic sources in Paris, during his trip to France, Germany and Britain, Prince Bandar sought to assure those countries that Saudi Arabian weapons will only be given to the right people in north Syria, and that some anti-aircraft missiles donated by Saudi Arabia will not fall into the hands of extremists.

Bandar urged those countries to fulfill their promise of arming the opposition. August is nearing, which frees EU states from the arming ban.

With the exception of the Jiddah meeting with the Saudi crown prince, there is no encouraging news for the Syrian opposition abroad. Kerry toured the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where some refugees asked that the United States impose a no-fly zone. Kerry replied, “I wish it were that simple.”

Kerry complained, “Many young American men were killed or disabled while fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have been fighting for 12 years. We are trying to help you in various ways. We are looking into establishing safe areas and other options, but it is not that simple.”

The chief of staff of US forces, Gen. Martin Dempsey, was even less positive than Kerry. Dempsey told a congressional committee that the Pentagon is not planning to train Syrian opposition fighters. “It will not happen through the Defense Department, but maybe through other ways or other countries,” he said. He also said that the United States seeks to strengthen the opposition, but asserted that the situation is tilting in Assad’s favor.

The outgoing British army’s chief of staff Sir David Richards washed his hands from the Syrian file. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph published yesterday [July 18], he said that imposing a no-fly zone will not be enough without a military intervention on the ground.

Reuters quoted sources as saying that the British government has abandoned its plans to arm the Syrian opposition, and now believes that Assad may remain in office for years — and that the Geneva II conference may not happen until next year, if at all.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that Paris’ “position has not changed” regarding not giving the Syrian opposition highly deadly weapons.

This article was first published in Arabic on 7/19/2013. Read original article.