American Resistance To Empire

How Elites (Oligarchs) Use Democracy To Enslave Us

From Elections to Mass Movements: How Wealthy Elites Are Hijacking Democracy All Over the World


By Sonali Kolhatkar

  Egyptian Minister of Defense Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi walks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting in Cairo in November. U.S. Department of State


Mass street protests are usually seen as a hallmark of democratic aspirations. And elections are meant to be a culmination of such aspirations, affording people the opportunity to choose their own leaders and system of government. But in country after country these days, the hallmarks of democracy are being dangerously subverted and co-opted by powerful elites. The question is, are we recognizing what is happening under our noses? Three examples unfolding right now are indicators of this trend: Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt.

Thailand has just witnessed its 19th coup in 82 years. Although coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha has promised “genuine democracy,” he has given no timetable for an end to martial law. The U.S. State Department initially refused to call the takeover a coup, insisting that martial law is consistent with Thailand’s constitution. It then changed its tune to issue a strongly worded condemnation.

In Ukraine, voters elected a pro-Western leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled following mass protests over his refusal to sign an accord with the European Union. Although the incoming president, Petro Poroshenko, has promised democratic development, the U.S. has openly sided with pro-Western forces inside Ukraine and raised the tensions of the conflict to near Cold War era levels, rendering any promises of true democracy ineffectual at best.

In Egypt, an army general is in the process of being “elected” following a period of violent military rule after post-revolution elections yielded a leader from the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. quietly condoned the army’s overthrow of the Brotherhood leadership and has made only lukewarm criticisms of violent repression under Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, employing a dangerous wait-and-see approach while Egyptian lives hang in the balance. Once the election is over, Sisi will likely be viewed by the U.S. government as a democratically elected leader.


In Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt, wealthy elites, whether native born or foreign, have used popular movements and elections to ratify decisions in their favor. In an interview on Uprising, filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek, who has traveled recently to all three countries in question, explained that in Thailand in particular, Thaksin Shinawatra, the business-tycoon-turned-prime-minister who was driven from power in 2006, “was trying to bring the country to modern capitalism.” He introduced medical care that is much better than the system in the United States, with “heavily subsidized medicines.” Additionally Thailand now has 15 years of basic education free for all citizens, and according to Vltchek, Thaksin gave citizenship to a population of millions in the north who were disenfranchised. Thaksin’s supporters called themselves the Red Shirt Movement, and consisted primarily of rural Thai farmers and left-wing activists.

To be fair, Thaksin’s rule had several serious problems that Vltchek acknowledged as “terrible mistakes,” including a brutal “war on drugs” and a war against a Muslim minority in the south of Thailand. But it was his progressive social programs for which he was “hated by the elites—the monarchy and the military, because in Thailand it is not just money but the gap between the elites and the majority” that matters.

What most of us viewed from the outside as a major people’s revolution occupying government buildings to oust a corrupt leader—the so-called Yellow Shirt movement—consists in fact of forces allied to the Thai royal family and military. The movement has ironically adopted the name People’s Alliance for Democracy. I asked Vltchek whether its supporters were really in favor of democracy. “No, they were not,” he pointedly replied. In fact, “they have nothing to do with democracy”; rather, “they were against democracy,” said Vltchek, who met with many of the Yellow Shirt protest leaders and heard the “rumors that there were ‘very powerful forces’ behind the protests,” which meant “the monarchy and the military.” Vltchek maintained that Thai elites are afraid of true democracy, as the opposition ran in multiple elections after Thaksin was pushed out and lost time and again.

Obama Sneaking In “Greenhouse Gas” Penalties Into Your Electric Bills

Obama’s boldest move on carbon comes with perils


WASHINGTON (AP) — The new pollution rule the Obama administration announces Monday will be a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy and arguably the most significant U.S. environmental regulation in decades.

But it’s not one the White House wanted.

As with other issues, the regulation to limit the pollution blamed for global warming from power plants is a compromise for Obama, who again finds himself caught between his aspirations and what is politically and legally possible.

It will provoke a messy and drawn-out fight with states and companies that produce electricity, and may not be settled until the eve of the next presidential election in 2016, or beyond.

“It’s going to be like eating spaghetti with a spoon. It can be done, but it’s going to be messy and slow,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

At the crux of the problem is Obama’s use of a 30-year-old law that was not intended to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. Obama was forced to rely on the Clean Air Act after he tried and failed to get Congress to pass a new law during his first term. When the Republicans took over the House, the goal became impossible.

The new rule, as the president described it in a news conference in 2010, is another way of “skinning the cat” on climate change.

“For anybody who cares about this issue, this is it,” Heather Zichal, Obama’s former energy and climate adviser, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “This is all the president has in his toolbox.”

The rule will tap executive powers to tackle the single largest source of the pollution blamed for heating the planet: carbon dioxide emitted from power plants. They produce about 40 percent of the electricity in the nation and about one-third of the carbon pollution that makes the U.S. the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

FILE - This June 25, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama wiping perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. The Obama administration is poised to unveil first-ever rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that dot the U.S. map. President Barack Obama says the rules are essential to curb climate change, but critics disagree.

Charles Dharapak, AP

FILE – This June 25, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama wiping perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. The Obama administration is poised to unveil first-ever rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that dot the U.S. map. President Barack Obama says the rules are essential to curb climate change, but critics disagree.

“There are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. None,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

“We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, sulfur, and arsenic that power plants put in our air and water. But they can dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. It’s not smart, it’s not safe, and it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

While Obama has made major reductions in carbon pollution from cars and trucks by increasing fuel efficiency, manufacturers cooperated after an $85 billion government bailout.

His rule requiring new power plants to capture some of their carbon dioxide and bury it underground, while significant, has little real-world impact because few new coal plants are expected to be built due to market conditions.

Both those rules also prescribed technological fixes or equipment to be placed on the automobile or power plant.

The rule released Monday, though, would allow states to require power plants to make changes such as switching from coal to natural gas or enact other programs to reduce demand for electricity and produce more energy from renewable sources.

They also can set up pollution-trading markets as 10 other states already have done to offer more flexibility in how plants cut emissions. Plans from states won’t be due until 2016, but the rule will become final a year before.

That hasn’t stopped the hoopla over the proposal.

Some Democrats worried about re-elections have asked the White House, along with Republicans, to double the length of the rule-making comment period, until after this November’s elections.

The Chamber of Commerce said the rule would cost $50 billion to the economy and kill jobs. Harvard University said the regulation wouldn’t just reduce carbon but also would have a beneficial side effect: cleansing the air of other pollutants.

Environmental groups, meanwhile, are taking credit for helping shape it and arguing it would create jobs, not eliminate them.

Rep. Nick Rahall, a Democrat from West Virginia, which gets 96 percent of its power from coal, said Thursday that while he didn’t have the details, “from everything we know we can be sure of this: It will be bad for jobs.” Rahall faces a difficult re-election in November.

Obama said such pessimistic views are wrong.

“Now, special interests and their allies in Congress will claim that these guidelines will kill jobs and crush the economy,” Obama said in his address. “Let’s face it, that’s what they always say.”

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and other government officials have promoted the proposal’s flexibility as way to both cut emissions and ensure affordable electricity. But that flexibility could backfire.

Some states, particularly those heavily reliant on fossil fuels, could resist taking action, leading the federal government to take over the program. That happened in Texas when it initially refused to issue greenhouse gas permits through another air pollution program.

Lawyers for states and industry also are likely to argue that controls far afield of the power plant violate the law’s intent.

The rule probably would push utilities to rely more on natural gas because coal emits about twice as much carbon dioxide. The recent oil and gas drilling boom in the U.S. has helped lower natural gas prices and, by extension, electricity prices. But it still generally is cheaper to generate power with coal than with natural gas. Also, natural gas prices are volatile and can lead to fluctuations in power prices.

The rule will push the U.S. closer to the 17 percent reduction by 2020 it promised other countries at the start of Obama’s presidency, it will fall far short of the global reductions scientists say are needed to stabilize the planet’s temperature. That’s because U.S. fossil-fueled power plants account for 6 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.


Follow Dina Cappiello’s environment coverage on Twitter at

Fazlullah’s Freaks State Negotiation Position With Army–16 Dead Terrorists, 1 Soldier

Pakistan border clashes leave many dead


About 16 fighters and one Pakistani soldier are killed in Bajaur tribal district, which borders Afghanistan.

About 16 fighters and one government soldier have been killed during a clash in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, army officers have said.

The attack took place in the Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan on Saturday morning.

Bajaur is one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.

The fighters were killed when they entered Pakistan and attacked a military checkpoint, killing one soldier and wounding two others.

The Associated Press news agency, quoting unnamed Pakistani army officers, said the military was backed by helicopter gunships. Another military official confirmed the attack and casualties, which could not be verified independently.

The military operation in the area is going on, according to reports.

Volatile border

This is the first attack on the Pakistani army since the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) split into factions, with the Mehsud tribesmen parting ways from the main group.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a volatile and porous border that is often the scene of cross-border attacks. Fighters from both countries also cross the border to use the neighboring country’s soil as a safe haven.

Since the TTP rose up against the Pakistani state in 2007, almost 7000 people have been killed in violent attacks around the country.



Obama administration refuses to tell Congress with whom U.S. is at war

Obama administration refuses to tell Congress with whom U.S. is at war

consortium of def analysts

On May 22, 2014, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing entitled “Authorization For Use of Military Force (AUMF) After Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Washington’s Blog reports that according to Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU and director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, representatives of the Obama administration repeatedly refused to answer the question of which groups the U.S. is at war with. Jeffer tweets:

There were four individuals testifying before the committee, including two lawyers representing the Obama administration:

The other two expert testimonies were from:

  • Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor International Law, Yale Law School– Koh_Testimony
  • Michael B. Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States– Mukasey_Testimony

The purpose of the hearing, in the words of committee chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), was to reassess the 2001 9-11 mandate or Authorization For Use of Military Force (AUMF) — the broad war powers given to the president after 9-11 — “in light of new circumstances and new threats,” given “the winding down of significant U.S. military activities in Afghanistan by the end of this year.”

In other words, the committee wants to ensure that the 9-11 mandate doesn’t devolve into a carte blanche or blank check for endless or permanent war. Additionally, as articulated by committee member Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), the Senate also wants to ensure that the administration be given the legal authority and power to continue counter-terrorism activities, especially against new terrorist groups that are independent of Al Qaeda and the Taliban — the two groups that fall under the 9-11 AUMF.

The Obama administration’s concern is to devise “a legal framework” to enable the U.S. to continue to combat terrorists if the 9-11 AUMF is repealed although, as McLeod and Preston repeatedly emphasized, Obama as president already has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to act against terrorists posing “an imminent threat” even without the AUMF.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)

That led to a bizarre exchange between Sen. Corker and McLeod&Preston, on whether an AUMF is even needed given McLeod’s and Preston’s insistence that the president already has the Constitutional authority to act against terrorists. In Sen. Corker’s words, it sounds like Congress and the AUMF are irrelevant.

Beginning at around the 55:00 mark, Corker pretty much lost it. Trying to determine if the AUMF and Congress are irrelevant, Corker asked if there are terrorist “groups, today, that the [Obama] administration cannot go against because the AUMF does not allow you to do that.”

Stephen Preston

Preston first answered that the AUMF as it is today allows the U.S. to go against specifically al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and groups “associated with” al-Qaeda and Taliban.

At that, Sen. Corker blew up and said Preston was not answering the question. So Preston then said, “I am not aware of any foreign terrorist group that presents a threat of violent act against this country that the president lacks authority to use military force to defend against as necessary simply because it has not been determined to be an associated force within the AUMF.” In other words, even if a group not covered by the AUMF presents a threat to the U.S., the president has the authority to act against it.

Sen. Corker noted that what Preston was saying is that the president really doesn’t need or have to rely on the AUMF “to do whatever”! Corker also complained that Obama had not reached out to him or any other member about the AUMF. Corker called the testimonies (by Preston and McLeod) “hollow” and the hearing itself “not gratifying.”

Sen. Menendez then said, quite logically, that given the president already has all the authority he needs supposedly from the Constitution, why not repeal the (irrelevant) 9-11 AUMF?

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis)

Beginning at around the 1:20:00 mark, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said he found the hearing “confusing” because isn’t it true that on May 23, 2013, Obama had declared the global war on terror to be over?

Preston replied that “we are at war with Al Qaeda and the Taliban and associated groups” but it’s not a “global war on terror” like against a religion or something like that. To which Sen. Johnson rightly observed that Obama effectively was quibbling about semantics. Later in the hearing, at around the 2:31:00 mark, Sen. Corker returned to that and wryly remarked that Obama said the global war on terror is over but the United States still goes all around the world fighting terror. LOL

When Sen. Johnson pressed Preston if the AUMF covers what the administration is doing against terrorist groups and if so, why would Obama favor repealing the AUMF? Preston mealy-mouthed and said that what Obama meant is that he eventually favors the repeal, but not right now.

Sen. Johnson then asked Preston what Obama proposes about AUMF — if not repeal, then what changes does he want? But Obama hasn’t conveyed what he wants to Congress throughout the past year. Preston said Obama wants to establish a “legal framework” but refused to elaborate what that is.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) pressed Preston whether he thinks the people who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi are terrorists. Preston said they are part of a terrorist organization. McCain asked if so, then Obama under the AUMF and the Constitution has the authority to strike and eliminate the Benghazi terrorists, to which Preston simply refused to give a straight forward answer of “yes” or “no.”

Mary McLeod, State Dept.

In reference to Preston’s and McLeod’s emphasis on Obama having war-making power, with or without AUMF, from the Constitution’s Article II, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) asked Mary McLeod if Obama has the authority to go to war without Congress’ approval against a sovereign country that’s harboring terrorists posing an imminent threat to the United States, McLeod simply refused to really answer.

Sen. Menendez pointed out that when the U.S. went to war against Libya, that country didn’t pose an imminent threat against America. McLeod had said earlier that the U.S. did that with NATO and UN approval. Menendez asked if Obama had authority to act with UN approval but without asking Congress, to which McLeod again didn’t really answer, except to blabber incoherently about “international law”.

Beginning at around the 2:01:00 mark, Sen. Corker made concluding observations that:

  • Obama really does not have a Syrian policy.
  • Obama really does not have a policy or opinion on the AUMF.

Michael Mukasey made a good case for not repealing the AUMF because that legislation enables Congress, especially the Senate, to exercise its oversight function over the president. Without the AUMF, we’ll be left with the president’s all-encompassing and rather amorphous Article II authority to go to war against an “imminent threat,” however that term is defined. Professor Harold Koh amplified that by pointing out that much can be done by the president long before the War Powers Act’s 60-days condition kicks in. (According to the Act, 60 days after the initiation of conflict, the president must obtain Congress’ approval to continue to fund U.S. forces.)

After watching and listening to 2 hr. 44 minutes of the hearing (click here), I agree with Senator Bob Corker:

The testimonies by the Obama administration’s two representatives Stephen Preston and Mary McLeod were utterly “hollow”; the entire hearing quite pointless and decidedly “not gratifying”; and Obama really doesn’t have a policy about Syria or AUMF or any foreign policy for that matter.


It Is Time To Acknowledge That the Our Govt Is Destroying Our Country

It is time to acknowledge that these people are our enemies

America Under the heel of Liberalism

obama's cold eyesIt should be clear to anyone with a mind and two eyes that this president does not have our interests at heart. They are implementing this strategy on an unprecedented scale by flooding America with a tidal wave of poisonous initiatives, orders, regulations and laws. As Obama advisor Rahm Emmanuel said, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
The real goal of “healthcare” legislation, the real goal of “cap and trade,” the real goal of “stimulus” is to rip the guts out of our private economy and transfer wide swaths of it over to government control. Do not be deluded by the propaganda. These initiatives are vehicles for change. They are not goals in and of themselves, except in their ability to deliver power, and will make matters much worse, for that is their design.
This time, in addition to overwhelming the government with demands for services, Obama and the Democrats are overwhelming political opposition to their plans with a flood of apocalyptic legislation. Their ultimate goal is to leave us so discouraged, demoralized and exhausted that we throw our hands up in defeat. I WILL STAND BY MUSLIMSIt is time to acknowledge that these people are our enemies. They don’t use guns, yet, but they are just as dangerous, determined and duplicitous as the communists we faced in the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam and wars across the globe, and the Nazis we faced in World War II. It is high time we overcome the denial, and fully digest and internalize this fact, with all its ugly ramifications.

valerie jarretThese people are stealing this country while we stand and watch. They have violated countless laws, and could be prosecuted, had we the political power.

Not only are their policies unconstitutional, but deliberately so – the goal being to make the Constitution irrelevant, we could make them live up to their oath of office, had we the political power. Their spending is off the charts and will drive us into hyperinflation, but could be rescinded, had we the political power. Their policies are toxic, but could be stopped and reversed, had we the political power. Their ideologies are poisonous, but could be exposed for what they are, with long jail sentences as an object lesson, had we the political power.

Every single citizen who cares about this country should be spending every minute of his/her spare time lobbying, organizing, writing and planning. Fight every initiative they launch. It is all destructive. If we are to root out this evil, it is critical that we win competent, principled leaders willing to defend our constitution and our country. Otherwise the malevolent cabal that occupies the seat of government today will become too entrenched.
After that all bets are off.hillary-in-blue-hijab-300x205

A million or more people gathered at the Washington, DC Mall on September 12, 2009. Many of these people were middle-aged or elderly. For most this was the first public demonstration they had ever attended. It was an unprecedented spontaneous outpouring of concern over this President and Congress’s reckless policies, expressed by people who one year ago didn’t know each other, had never heard of “community organizing” and had no need to. they were ignored by Pelosi and the liberal democrats who controlled congress.

While Democrat “paid volunteer” SEIU union thugs roved town hall meetings over the summer beating up protesters, the President’s allies dismiss the 9/12 gathering as “Astroturf.”
We stand aghast at these and other astonishing statements, delivered offhandedly by the leader of the free world or his proxies, as we collectively reel from the successive body blows his initiatives are delivering to our economy and morale. We marvel at the appointment of “czars” each more radical than the next, whose unspeakable agendas are ignored by the press

obama cheves iranianObama and his Whitehouse handlers are purposefully destroying our economy. You have to be blind not to see it. They selling us down the river to our enemies. You have to be deaf not to hear the war drums. He is destroying our liberty by centralizing control in the executive branch. You have to be dumb not to perceive it.

America is about to be destroyed from within, Americans and their children, will suffer for years to come. The Progressive Machine will NEVER give up their power over this nation and their people without a horrific fight to the death. Do Americans realize exactly what is at stake?The clearest signal of all: the combined efforts to disarm American citizens and the massive weapons build up within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

jihadist granted usa tax exempt by lois lerner   100_2098

Why Vietnam, Japan play up “China threat”

China Voice: Why Vietnam, Japan play up “China threat”


Editor: Bai Yang 丨Xinhua

by Xinhua writer Cheng Yunjie

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) — A tragic hostility is unfolding in Asia while Vietnam and Japan, who share similar culture heritage with China, see their neighbor much more like a thorn in their sides.

After a Vietnamese fishing boat deliberately entered Chinese waters and collided in a kamikaze-style attack on a vessel protecting an oil rig in China’s Xisha Islands on Monday, Hanoi blamed it on China and quickly sought foreign aid to beef up its marine patrol.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe found this a good chance for finger-pointing and eagerly dressed up Japan as a counterweight to the growing influence of China.

This is ironic. Since his Liberal Democratic Party-led government took power at the end of 2012, Abe has been upsetting Asia with his attempts to reverting to militarism.

A good question is why has the term “China threat” been coined rather than “Japan threat”? Here are three key reasons.

Firstly, China keeps emphasizing its special characteristics or differentia from the other states, which creates mystery and makes it easily depicted as an imaginary enemy.

Still today, many Chinese sadly find their national totem of the dragon and the red flag of the country’s governing party, both majestic in the Chinese culture, seen as evil or dangerous symbols in the West.

Secondly, within a few decades, China effectively eliminated poverty, and quickly rose into the world’s second-largest economy. More disturbing is the fact that all its economic achievements have been made under a political system whose founders had aimed to eliminate capitalism.

Over the past few centuries, the world has been following the Law of the Jungle: the strong get stronger while the weak get weaker. Can China be so different from the previous powers in not seeking hegemony? It is a question upsetting many people across the world.

Many of those who advocate containing China involuntarily make an empirical judgement. It was too bad that Japan was not stopped in the 1930s. So it is time to stop China now, they say.

But believe it or it, empiricism could be wrong. China will never be a second Japan.

With a history of 5,000 years and incorporating diverse culture that they have either created or had imposed on them, the Chinese people have developed a unique perspective on the relationship between man and nature as well as between state and state.

Those familiar with Chinese history know China was the world’s most powerful state for a long period of time but it never colonized or invaded any country.

“However large a country is, bellicosity will cause it to perish,” goes an old Chinese adage that still resonates nowadays.

To the Chinese people, the path to safeguard world peace is not in the battlefield but in people’s minds. Those who are capable of training their mind properly to become compassionate will be capable of securing peace in family, society and the world without resorting to force. And in the eyes of a compassionate person, every individual is equal.

This is why the founders of the People’s Republic of China invented an independent, peaceful foreign policy which forbids entering an arms race and alliance with any big power; which maintains all countries, large or small, rich or poor, are equal; and which sticks to solving disputes through dialogue rather than confrontation.

Thirdly, Chinese culture does not encourage evaluation of others, but instead focuses on self-perfection. As defaming others does not glory ourselves, identifying a threat does not make Chinese feel safer.

But take a second look at how the world has been run over past centuries and one will find that people have been used to the logic of picking a rival and finding the sense of security through competing.

Such logic, however, judged by ancient Chinese wisdom, only reflects the feebleness of humanity as it can hardly prove its own value without making something out of nothing.

To safeguard regional and world peace, a feasible and responsible way is to eliminate hostility first and manage not to be deceived by a troubled mind.

To foreigners, China is different but never incomprehensible. Whether China will become a threat or opportunity depends on whether or not an observer can break down bias and empiricism to embrace unfamiliarity with a good will.

History shows that the visions of political leaders have direct bearing on the future of a country. If a political leader chooses to put forward an imaginary enemy for short-term gains or ballots, the well-being of the people will be sacrificed.

And no political leaders are dignified if their people suffer.

A compassionate political leader will not bow to inner fear by stoking up upset but seek to expand common ground and mutual benefits to help peace and friendliness grow.

The violent riots targeting foreign investors in Vietnam this month were appalling. And no doubt the tragedy stems from the untamed public fear of threats or uncertainties. So please beware, “China-threat” advocates, for the good of the people!

Congressman Proposes Choking Off Funding For DOJ Program Targeting Gun Dealers

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder looks on during a special naturalization ceremony at the Department of Justice in Washington May 28, 2013.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX1045I

Congressman Proposes Choking Off Funding For DOJ Program Targeting Gun Dealers

Daily Caller

Chuck Ross

A Missouri congressman hopes to give the Department of Justice a taste of its own medicine with an amendment to halt an initiative that he says uses “intimidation tactics” and forces banks to sever relationships with legitimate businesses.

Blaine Luetkemeyer wants to choke off funding for “Operation Choke Point.”

“What it does is goes after an entire industry whether it’s obeying the law or not. And that’s just wrong,” Luetkemeyer said of the initiative in an interview with The Daily Caller.

The Republican lawmaker’s amendment was successfully attached to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill which passed a vote in the House late Thursday.

The amendment comes on the heels of a staff report issued Thursday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The report claims that “Operation Choke Point has forced banks to terminate relationships with a wide variety of entirely lawful and legitimate merchants.”

This happens because the anti-fraud initiative, which is operated by the Department of Justice which works in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, forces banks to more closely monitor their business relationships with companies in industries deemed “high risk.”

Banks can suffer “reputational risk” by failing to spot fraudulent practices.

This has had a chilling effect in forcing banks to be overly cautious in who they do business with, says Luetkemeyer.

“They are operating legally, and yet Operation Choke Point is not there to go after the bad actors, which I support them doing,” he said, adding, “the problem I have with Operation Choke Point is it goes one step further.”

Luetkemeyer said that gun sellers, ammunition sellers, coin dealers, tobacco sellers, career repair service providers and many other businesses have been wrongly ensnared because of the initiative’s overreach.

“They’re using intimidation on the banking folks to force them to discontinue financial services to their long term customers in some cases,” he said.

“It’s wrong.”

Luetkemeyer’s proposed amendment reads, simply, ”none of the funds made available in the CJS Appropriations bill may be used to carry out Operation Choke Point.”

He said the amendment is the first attempt at fixing the problem which he calls “this nonsense of government overreach.” He told TheDC that he has talked with DOJ about providing a safe harbor for banks to continue doing business with legal and legitimate companies, but the agency hasn’t listened.

“As a result, this has to be stopped.”

“This is picking and choosing winners and losers,” Luetkemeyer told The Daily Caller.

Choke Point has drawn the attention of gun and ammunition dealers.

They raised concerns after numerous reports that banks have been cutting off business relationships because of their line of business.

Gun sellers are listed along with a long list of businesses — including coin dealers and payday lenders — on an FDIC document of industries that are considered “high risk.”

Last week, as first reported by The Washington Times, the owner of Powderhorn Outfitters, a gun seller in Hyannis, Mass., said that his longtime banker, TD Bank, would not extend a line of credit because he sold guns. (RELATED: Gun Seller Deemed ‘High Risk,’ Dumped By Bank)

And earlier this year, a number of adult film stars reported that banks were closing their accounts because of their industry, which is also deemed “high risk” under the initiative.

Thursday’s House Oversight and Reform committee report, titled “The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point’: Illegally Choking Off Legitimate Businesses?” said “Operation Choke Point is the Justice Department’s newest abuse of power.”

“If the administration believes some businesses should be out of business, they should prosecute them before a judge and jury. By forcibly conscripting banks to do their bidding, the Justice Department has avoided any review and any check on their power,” committee chairman Darrell Issa said in a statement.

POLICE STATE In Action–Flash Grenade In One-Year Old’s Playpen

Bou Phonesavanh, 1, seriously injured when SWAT team throws flash grenade into playpen during drug raid

A flash grenade, which makes a loud noise and bright flash to distract people during raids, landed in Bou Phonesavanh's playpen and went off near his face.

gofundme.comA flash grenade, which makes a loud noise and bright flash to distract people during raids, landed in Bou Phonesavanh’s playpen and went off near his face.

An American toddler was seriously hurt by a flash grenade when a SWAT team carried out a drug raid at their home, the boy’s family said.

gofundme.comBou Phonesavanh’s face was severely burned, and he is in a medically induced coma in a hospital.

Alecia Phonesavanh told local media outlets that her 19-month-old son, Bou, was sleeping in his playpen when the raid began Wednesday morning. She says the flash grenade, which makes a loud noise and bright flash to distract people during raids, landed in the boy’s playpen and went off near his face.

Phonesavanh said the boy’s face was severely burned, and he was in a medically induced coma in an Atlanta hospital. She said her family had been visiting from out of town and were all sleeping when the raid happened around 3 a.m.

Officers did not know children were inside the home and would have done things differently if they had seen anything to indicate that kids were inside, Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby told WSB-TV. He said officers were distraught over what happened.

“You’re trying to minimize anything that could go wrong and in this case the greatest thing went wrong,” Darby told the station. “Is it going to make us be more careful in the next one? Yes ma’am, it is. It’s gonna make us double question.”

Authorities were serving a no-knock warrant on the house after an informant told investigators he bought drugs from the home, Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The suspect wasn’t at the home and was later arrested at a different home on drug charges.

Increasing tensions between nations reveal growing problems for the ruling class

Increasing tensions between nations reveal growing problems for the ruling class


Written by Jonas Foldager

f15-carrier-plane-first-takeoff-2A Chinese built Shenyang J-15 ahead of the first take-off and landing on the country’s newly acquired aircraft carrier. The plane which is specially designed for use on aircraft carriers, has been modelled after the Russian SU-33 plane and fitted with Chinese radar and weapons.The epoch of the Cold War and the relative stability between two major super powers is long gone and was originally supplanted by the Pax Americana: the total world domination by US imperialism. Although still by far the strongest economic and military force on the planet, US hegemony is dwindling compared to what it once was. Now more “normal” imperialist relations are developing. The capitalist crisis and shrinking markets have forced the different national capitalist classes to use each of their individual state apparatuses in a fierce competition over markets, raw materials and control of the major trading routes. But such manoeuvres do not come cheap, and it is the working class that is expected to pay the bill.

Arms race in South East Asia


China bought the 67,500 ton ex-Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, which was only 30% completed and floating in Ukraine, through a private Macau tourist venture in 1998. Since then the carrier has undergone a long refit. Varyag had been stripped of any military equipment as well as her propulsion systems prior to being put up for sale.

In 2007 there were news reports that she was being fitted out to enter service. On 10 August 2011, it was announced that the refurbishment of Varyag was complete, and that it was undergoing sea trials under its new name Liaoning. 

In November 2012, the first flight landing was successfully conduced on Liaoning with Shenyang J-15.

Source: Wikipedia

China is ramping up its naval capability. In line with the refitting of a Soviet era aircraft carrier, which entered service on September 25, 2012 and the subsequent development of its own domestic variant, China is well on the way to acquiring the necessary technology not just to defend its shores, but to assert its imperialist interests in the South China Sea.

On March 25, 2013 an arms deal between China and Russia was announced in which China purchased 25 advanced SU-35 multi-role fighters and four advanced Diesel-electric submarines, amongst other equipment. This is an interesting turn of events because, until now, Russia had been reluctant to sell sophisticated equipment to the Chinese due to their infamous abilities in the field of reverse engineering – that is, to strip down devices in order to uncover and later on use the technology behind them.

China’s growing imperialist ambitions, when set alongside cuts in the American defence budget, means that all countries bordering the South China Sea are increasing their naval capacity. For the first time in 11 years Japan’s defence spending is rising. Vietnam has increased its naval budget by 150% since 2008. And although the USA has cut its military expenditure, it has maintained its naval capacity in the Pacific. The threat from an economically and militarily rising China is simply too great to ignore.

The Russian Bear

Tsezar Kunikov in the Red Sea 2003 Photo-Luis-Díaz-Bedia AstorThe large class landing ship Tsezar Kunikov participated in the Russian ‘Rapid Response’ exercise – Photo: Luis Díaz-Bedia AstorBut South East Asia is not the only region where defence budgets are on the rise. While most western countries are cutting defence spending, Russia is increasing it by 25% this year. The war in Georgia in 2008 already signalled a new turn in international relations between Russia and the NATO countries. The Russian ruling class wanted to assert itself in the international arena after the humiliation of the 1990s. As a continuation of this policy, Vladimir Putin announced surprise exercises in the Russian Caucasus in February and in the Black Sea on the March 28 of this year. A surprise exercise is a serious matter since it risks showing other nations your real capacity (or lack thereof) to respond to a genuine military crisis. A nation only takes such steps either to prepare for offensive operations or to make a statement that “we are ready for war”.

The modernisation of the Russian military, along with the diminishing commitment of the US to NATO due to its own economic problems, is changing the threat scenario in the Northern European countries. Russia is back on the general staffs’ strategic maps. Talk of more cooperation between Russia and NATO, as was the norm at the beginning of the millennium, has now receded. Both the Finish and Swedish forces (which are officially neutral) are openly conducting war games with NATO, especially in the Arctic, which is a whole new field of imperialist competition. The melting of the ice cap in the Arctic is revealing resources and shipping routes which until now have been too expensive to exploit. That is now slowly changing. But the question remains: who will control these valuable assets?

Franco-Germanic alliance eroding

As we have stated repeatedly through the years, the centrifugal forces in the EU are rapidly on the rise. An example of this is David Cameron’s promise of an in/out referendum on the EU. Although still in the distant future, the very talk of an exit from Europe by a major country is a sign of the growing divisions among the European ruling classes.

More alarmingly from the viewpoint of the strategists of capital is the growing divide between Germany and France. The close collaboration between these two countries has long been the central pillar of the EU. The European single market was an attempt on behalf of the European capitalists to overcome the limits of the nation state on a capitalist basis. Politically speaking, the idea was to economically bind Germany’s impressive productive forces to the rest of the European countries, under French political leadership. For a long period they seemed to be succeeding, and they even managed to set up the currency union. The Marxist perspective of the impossibility of uniting very different economies on a capitalist basis seemed to be disproved by reality. That was until the crisis.

As the crisis spreads from the peripheral countries to the “heavyweights” in the EU, the Franco-Germanic alliance is breaking down. Up until now it has primarily been Germany who has had to pay for the huge debt in the peripheral countries, and in turn the German ruling class has demanded harsh conditions and brutal austerity measures. Now the French are in trouble. The French Finance Minister has announced that France will not be able to reach the 3% deficit level by 2013 and that the country needs more time. The Minister added that implementing harsh austerity measures would plunge the French economy into recession. The German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble, according to the news agency AFP, was not impressed: “Telling populations that one way to resolve unemployment is by accumulating deficits, is for us the wrong path”.

The economic problems of France are placing the German ruling class in a difficult position. On the one hand they demand strict austerity from the peripheral countries as the price they must pay for the billions of German Euros. On the other hand they need France as a partner so as not to be seen as “taking over” Europe. As one commentator once put it: France needs Germany to hide its weakness, while Germany needs France to hide its strength. But for every day that passes this alliance is getting into ever greater conflict with the diverging economic interest of the two countries. If the Franco-German alliance breaks then the EU is doomed.

State protects “its” bourgeoisie

This illustrates a general paradox within capitalism: on the one hand the European capitalists have a common interest in maintaining the common market and the Euro. On the other hand, every national capitalist class, in the face of rising international competition as a consequence of the dwindling markets, must seek assistance from “their” national state to protect their interests. We can see this process taking place on a global scale.
This will inevitably lead to conflicts, war by proxy and trade wars. However, we also have to state that in the present period full scale war between the major powers is not on the agenda.

There are two reasons for this. First of all, the US army today is by far the most advanced and powerful army on the planet. No country could stand up to US imperialism in open warfare. At the same time it is also inconceivable that the US army – that is being forced to retreat from much weaker countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan – could wage an offensive war against any of the major imperialist powers.

Secondly modern nuclear weaponry places a big question mark over the survival of the capitalist class itself if a full scale war between developed countries were to occur. For this reason alone, the ruling class will go a long way to prevent a new world war. As the 18th century poet Samuel Johnson said, nothing focuses the mind like a good hanging.

And finally we see today that the working class in the developed countries is too strong. They have not suffered any major defeats in the recent period. Already now the political elite, media and institutions in all countries are discredited. Think of all the mass demonstrations over the war in Iraq, and then try to imagine what would happen if for instance the US were to draft the entire male population with fighting ability to go to war with China. The result would be civil war and revolution.

Full scale wars between developed countries are ruled out in the present period. But this will not mean that stability will prevail. “Small” wars, such as the ones we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, bombing campaigns, blockades, war by proxy, etc., are not just inevitable in the short and long term but are already happening now and will become even more frequent in the next period.

Effects on world trade

As this contradiction rises to the surface, things do not bode well for the state of the world economy. The more fragmented the economy, the more barriers exist to trade on a world scale. This is clearly a problem, because increasing trade across the globe is one of the most fundamental driving forces behind economic growth.

After the crisis severely rocked the global markets in 2009, with a sharp decline in world trade of 12%, according to the World Trade Organisation, we saw a relatively strong rebound in 2010, where world trade grew by 13.8%. Since then, however, it has been steadily decreasing to 5% in 2011 and 3.7% in 2012. This is an indication of the continuing crisis and rising competition between the imperialist countries to secure “their” share of the market and raw materials.

It is a well established phenomenon that major economic crises not only shake the social conditions of the working class and youth, but also international relations between the ruling classes in different countries across the world. Such a crisis is reflected in insecurity and turbulence at all levels.

As this growing frenzy of international competition takes hold, the workers and youth are asked to pay the price for the capitalists to keep their market share. This price is paid through lower wages, casualisation of the workforce, cuts on welfare and a general assault on working and living conditions.

This has two important political effects: first and foremost we witness the radicalisation of the workers and youth under pressure from constant attacks. Secondly, we see the growing conflicts between the national ruling classes – uncertainty and turbulence at all levels both economic and political, but also in the diplomatic and military spheres. This weakens the ruling class and sets the stage for further revolutionary movements, not only in the Arab world and Southern Europe, but also in all the major developed capitalist countries.

the more i think about it, the more suicidally stupid it seems

the more i think about it, the more suicidally stupid it seems to combine armed & unarmed resistance


There can be no doubt the Kiev junta forces are targeting schools and hospitals, or more generally, children and the sick. This is a systematic, ongoing ware crime, sanctioned by Usaia and covered up by the OSCE, which is simultaneously complaining that its spies are being detained in DPR. There is no way out of this. Genocide is happening. The Nazi Big Lie is happening. I mean, if you ever wondered what the Big Lie actually was, well, this is it, get used to it. Russia will not fight back. We all know that. We’ve known it for years. Global Fascism, or worse, outright Global Nazism, is here to stay. Again, get used to it. The only conceivable escape route would be via a major public exposure of how it works, and I have tried to lay the basis for one in my post of early this morning on “layered disinfo”. I shall repeat the essentials here, so no-one can claim I didn’t try.

The basic disinfo line throughout the West is that the Russians are the real Nazis. In a perverse sort of way, Dugin and his fantasy “Red-Brown Coalition” are responsible for the substructure of some of these slurs. What we are dealing with here can only be called “layered disinfo”, and explaining it will underline what I have been saying about the puppet nature of “leaders”, including Putin. In reality, Dugin, like Putin, is controlled by Jewish Lubavitchers. But notwithstanding this, Dugin’s job is to as far as possible to give substance to the “red-brown” myth, precisely so that it can be used to discredit Putin in the murkier sort of western propaganda. If Putin was a real leader, he obviously would not tolerate anybody circulating systematic disinfo of this sort about him, his govt, and the Russian hierarchy in general, from inside its walls, so to speak. But he is not a real leader, he is a puppet, and he has no choice but to tolerate it, because this is an important part of their common Jewish masters’ plan: you all know that constant accusations about “anti-Semitism” are used as small change in this dispute, and indeed in every goddam dispute on the planet, whether Jews have anything to do with it or not. Dugin is now making serious inroads on the French scene, with the aid of the popular and well-known Alain Soral, and with the assistance of Gilad Atzmon, he intends to make inroads on the British scene as well. Now let me make this clear: THERE IS NO RED-BROWN COALITION. No-one educated in Marxism will ever join any ‘coalition’ that involves nazi-fascist pseudo-intellectuals and propaganda agents. Forget it. That’s why the Donbass miners have been marching, yelling: “No to fascism!” and “They shall not pass!” So please, people, use your brains. Figure it out:

  1. “Layered disinfo” with concealed substructures;
  2. puppet “leaders” who have no choice how they’re painted;
  3. phantom accusations of “anti-Semitism” on all sides;
  4. to conceal especially from the ‘Left’ that Jews really do run everything after all.

After reading this post to the end, you may say: “This is too much! If the human mind is that perverse and convoluted, then the possibilities of deception are practically infinite! I might as well just give up!” Well, that’s how you’re supposed to feel. That’s what psychological warfare is all about. And although in this post I use intellectual concepts, because I feel that what I’m explaining is (just) within the reach of the human intellect, yet nonetheless there is a dimension to psychological warfare that can properly be called “spiritual”. It is no accident that the central image that these disinfo structures swirl around is an occult one: the Nazi idea, as understood in the swastika, which is after all an “occult” symbol. Nazism can be explained in merely intellectual terms, but there is this occult quality underlying it, undoubtedly. And its (supposed) antagonist, Judaism, is also a factor with occult undertones. The (imaginary) conflict between Nazism and Judaism undoubtedly has occult undertones. Again, the mere intellect gives up at a certain point, when it tries to penetrate these “mysteries”, and reverts to old-fashioned moral categories. It says to itself: “There must after all be some cosmic absolutes of “good” and “evil” operating here, and even though I can’t explicate them rationally, nevertheless, I know them when I see them.” Well, that’s wrong. There are no such underlying absolutes, nor is there in reality an occult war going on between “Nazism” and “Judaism”. All this is illusion, brilliantly constructed multi-levelled illusion. And so it should be, because all 20th century history and (they hope) as much as possible of 21st century history too, will revolve around it. So “the best minds” are employed upon it.

Donbass Miners Strike Against War


Ukraine: Donbas miners mobilise against oligarchs’ offensive


Miners of the Donetsk region stopped work yesterday, starting an all-out strike in protest against the Ukrainian army’s continuing offensive and demanding an end to the “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) in the region; several pits in the Donbas are taking part already and the strikes appears to be spreading to more mines. Meanwhile, spokesmen of the Kiev government and Ukrainian armed forces threaten escalation of the crackdown, with ATO press-secretary Alexei Dmitrashkovsky stating that the operation will continue “until all terrorists are destroyed or surrender”.

Pictures of protesting miners

donbas-miners-antifascist-strikeThe events follow the presidential elections in Ukraine which saw the pro-Maidan oligarch Petro Poroshenko being elected. While attempting to maintain a moderate and reasonable statesmanlike appearance, the military crackdown exposed his intentions and only reasserted the irreconcilable position of the Kiev authorities regarding the South-East of the country. The Ukrainian ruling class – namely, the oligarchs – is being driven to desperation by the continuing crisis, and it is prepared to make certain concessions. Poroshenko, unlike his closest rival in the elections Yulia Tymoshenko, did not campaign on the basis of a promise of NATO membership for Ukraine, and is said to accept, for the time being, the maintenance of Ukraine’s non-aligned status as a concession to Putin (FT, 27/05/14)[3], as well as declaring an openness to negotiations with Moscow. In turn, the Kremlin has already softened its rhetoric, and foreign minister Lavrov announced that Russia will respect the election results in Ukraine.

Kiev’s reassurances and a diplomatic approach are hinting at a reluctant but necessary willingness to accept Russia’s interests in the region. In return this gives Poroshenko a free hand to intensify the crackdown on the rebellious East of the country, free of active Russian interference, in order to return control over the region to the Kiev authorities and defend the property of Ukraine’s industrialists. This is a pressing question for Kiev as these industrialists own vast complexes of mines, metallurgical plants and steel mills in the Donbas, which have been threatened with expropriation several times by the leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

This prospect of a careful rapprochement with Russia has already reflected itself in the strengthened confidence of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie. Forbes Ukraine is already calling for a Pinochet-like figure to install a “dictatorship of reforms”, capable of carrying out a firm and bloody crackdown in the rebellious regions and implementing radical neo-liberal “shock therapy” to end any “social parasitism” that is perceived to remain in Ukraine.

While Poroshenko is certainly not a Pinochet and prefers to combine bayonets with diplomacy, the aforementioned strategy overall seems to be accepted by the Ukrainian ruling class. Already the government has embarked on a grandiose programme of austerity, with cuts to pensions and tens of thousands of public sector jobs, as well as soaring prices for basic necessities such as food and gas. These neo-liberal reforms are being implemented as part of the IMF bailout programme.

More importantly at the present moment, the military operation against the rebellious eastern regions of the country is in full swing. As we have reported earlier, artillery, fighter jets and helicopters are being used to target the insurgent cities, particularly Donetsk and Sloviansk, causing many civilian deaths and destruction to residential areas. Intense fighting over the Donetsk airport was a major episode of the operation, with ATO spokesman Dmitrashkovsky cynically boasting of over 200 dead on the side of the People’s Republic’s forces. It is following these events that the Donbas miners have taken indefinite strike action, demanding an end to the crackdown and a withdrawal of Ukrainian armed forces.

It is worth reminding ourselves that, since the beginning of the crisis several attempts have been made by the oligarchs to woo the working class, or at least maintain the illusion of workers’ support by staging so-called strikes supposedly in support of either the Maidan or the new authorities. In the run-up to Yanukovich’s expulsion, several “strikes” were either completely fabricated or ordered by the directors of enterprises. More recently, Rinat Akhmetov, the richest oligarch in Ukraine and the owner of much of the South-East’s industry, has called for his workers’ to mobilise against the Peoples’ Republics who are threatening him with expropriation – a call which ended in complete failure.

Today, on the other hand, we see genuine strike action on the Donbas miners’ own initiative. This industrial action is in a similar vein to the Luhansk miners’ strike in April, which demanded wage increases as well as the reinstatement of workers who were sacked for taking part in protests in Luhansk.

Following the beginning of the strike on Tuesday 27 May, this morning (28 May) several hundred miners demonstrated in Donetsk, carrying Donetsk People’s Republic’s flags and chanting the slogan “No to fascism in the Donbas!”; one protester is reported as saying: “We do not want to see troops here. Our children are afraid to go on the streets. Our peaceful citizens are being killed, and we cannot simply stand by and watch”.

Another has stated: “I want peace and to be able to work and make money. I want the occupying soldiers to leave and return to their Kiev junta”. Some officials from the “Independent Miners’ Trade Union”, such as Mykola Volynko, who is not only a trade union bureaucrat but also a former parliamentary candidate of the nationalist “Batkivshchyna” (Fatherland) party in the 2012 elections, attempt to distance themselves from the events and are very eager to point that they “did not organise this action”. This shows how this “Independent” union has become an instrument of capitalist politics rather than working class representation, specifically linked to Tymoshenko’s “Fatherland” party.

These strikes have a clearly political nature, showing the workers’ rejection of the extreme nationalist and radically neo-liberal Kiev authorities which to them can only mean cuts, deteriorating living standards, and attacks of fascist gangs on workers’ organisations.

This is a development of tremendous significance. If this action was to spread to wider layers of workers it could mean a crucial turning point in events. The most important task at the present moment is to carry these developments further, for the working class to turn the People’s Republics’ words about nationalisation and expropriation into deeds. The expropriation of the oligarchs, starting in this case with Akhmetov’s properties, would serve as an inspiration for workers throughout Ukraine and thus bridge the East-West divide.

2 Weeks Ago, Turkey Stopped Flow of Euphrates River Into Syria and Iraq–6 Meter Drop In Lake Assad

New Turkish attack on Syria: Ankara stopped pumping water of the Euphrates


Turkish government finally cut the Euphrates River finally, what major catastrophic affect Syria in first class, second class in Iraq. Al «News» The water level in «Lake Assad» has fallen about six meters, what keeps millions of Syrians without drinking water

Suhaib Angerana

New Turkish intervention in the Syrian crisis began two weeks ago, but this time is different from all its predecessors, and its complications portend disaster of unprecedented threats to Syria and Iraq together. In step violates all international norms, the Turkish government finally cut imports water Euphrates dam altogether. According to information obtained by the «News», Ankara began nearly a month and a half to reduce water pumping Euphrates gradually, leading to completely cut off two weeks ago.

The source, who asked not to be named, that the high water level in «Lake Assad» (which store water Euphrates Dam) has finally dropped from its level six meters of natural (which means the loss of millions of cubic meters of water). The source said that «decline attributed meters further means that the dam is out of service». According to the source, the «action to be taken in such a case is closed or reduction of water from the dam, pending address the fundamental problem of the water contained in stopping him».
This is not done organizing «Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant», which the dam is located in the areas of control, and Staff in the «General Corporation to fill the Euphrates» run under the control of the organization baseband, without that possess the power to make decisions articulated, such as the reduction of the water, as that this procedure, in itself, is nothing more than an ambulatory, loses its effectiveness is no longer contained water to the decision of the Turkish dam.

Catastrophic complication of the Turkish assault began to emerge, where the water level dropped in hand Alkhvsh in Aleppo countryside east (where the station is located suction water from Lake Assad and pumped through the channels of traction to Aleppo and its countryside). According to information «News» that the water in the reservoirs in Alkhvsh backup is on the verge of running out. (Expected to run out completely by this evening or tomorrow morning at the latest). What means the survival of about seven million Syrians without water. As well as the stop dam October for receiving any drop of water, and thus stopped turbines generated electricity, which means reducing the amount of electricity delivered to Aleppo and its countryside, and has entered into a new phase of the electrical imbalance (originally zero).
In Raqqa, has become the northern side of the «Lake Assad» completely out of service, from a small Swedish village, east and west until Jernah, threatening thirsty about two million Syrian them.
Sources confirm «News» that «the loss of the dam for the reservoir water, which means dry silt in the lake, the pressure on the infrastructure construction of the dam, and offer it for cracks and collapse inevitably», and therefore it «must close the dam to prevent drying». The closure of the dam (in the case before Daash) lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, and environmental (animal and agricultural) in Syria, as in Iraq.
Al «News» that «the initiative of the people» (who already have initiatives of several to find compromise solutions for a number of issues in Aleppo) have begun a race against time to put solutions ambulatory of the problem, first and foremost try to re-station thermal Ambassador to the work, which may contribute to the approval «Daash» to dispense the Euphrates dam turbines, and thus keep the water level of the lake in its present borders. This falls under the solution (if successful) in the context of saving what can be saved, and reduce the aggravation of the disaster, which occurred already, and became a water break is inevitable, no solution has radically unless Ankara government decision to re-inject water of the Euphrates. Taking into account the fact that the return of the lake water to natural water level need to be about a month, after the return of pumping.

Historical conflict

The dispute over the actions of Turkey regarding the water of the Euphrates historically, and continuing between Turkey on the one hand, and all of Syria, and Iraq on the other. Ankara insists on the grounds of the Euphrates River «river transboundary», not «NHRA internationally», is therefore «is not concerned with international laws», Turkey is also one of the three countries (with China, and Burundi) objected to the «International Convention for the use of waterways for the purposes of non-international navigation », adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997.
In 1987 was the signing of the Syrian-Turkish agreement, a temporary agreement to share the waters of the Euphrates River between the two countries during the period of basin fill the Ataturk Dam. And provided for the Turkish side has pledged to provide an annual rate of more than 500 cubic meters per second at the Turkish-Syrian border temporarily until a final agreement on the distribution of the waters of the Euphrates River between the three countries located on its banks. The registration of Syria in 1994 to the United Nations Convention, to ensure the minimum of the right of Syria and Iraq in the waters of the Euphrates River.

More S. Waziristan Snafus, $40 Mil. Hydro-Dam Provides No Power Or Water

How the Taliban Use AK-47s and Kidnappings to Keep the Poor in the Dark

On August 15, 2012, eight people were abducted at gunpoint by the Taliban while en route to their jobs in Waziristan, Pakistan. The driver was murdered, and the kidnappers set a ransom in excess of a million dollars per head for the safe return of the remaining seven. Tragedies like this are typical here, in a land that continues to be blighted by the Taliban’s reign — kidnappings, murder, and extortion are routine occurrences in the notoriously lawless tribal region. But those men had an unusually important job: operating a brand new dam that could provide power and water to one of the poorest, blacked-out corners of Pakistan.

The country is in the midst of an energy crisis. Vast swaths of the nation have no access to power in the first place, its grid is perpetually damaged and broken-down due to widespread violence, and even the richest areas face rolling blackouts and regular shortages. Over the summer, 40% of Pakistan was without power, and many areas could count on electricity just four hours a day. The entire utility system is a nightmarish mess; power providers often can’t operate because the dysfunctional government can’t or won’t pay them, electricity theft is rampant, and there’s great difficulty keeping the grid infrastructure in working order.

As such, creating reliable access to power is one of the top priorities for aid groups, NGOs, and government projects throughout the country — and the Taliban surely knows it.

They surely knew that USAID had supplied $40 million in funding to a new, sorely-needed dam in Waziristan, the Gomal Zam Dam. Work on the dam had been abandoned in 2004, when Taliban militants kidnapped two Chinese dam workers, and one was executed during the rescue mission. It had sat idle until USAID offered its infusion of funds. The project had just been completed in April 2011, when engineers began filling the lake with 1.14 million acre feet of water. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also outfitted with turbines capable of generating 17.4 megawatts — enough to power 17,000 American homes, and many more Waziristani homes — and will hold enough water to irrigate 163,000 acres of land.

Andrew Sisson, the USAID mission director, held a press conference at the time and expounded upon the benefits of the new dam. He offered up the typical talking points about how the dam would create jobs, spur economic growth, and “improve the lives of local people.”

The dam had barely been running for a year, however, when AK-47-wielding militants stopped the van containing its mechanical foreman, top engineer, a sub-engineer, two supervisors, a cook, driver, and two day laborers on a dusty road in Waziristan. All of them were, reportedly, swiftly hauled off to the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s mountain sanctuary.

Two weeks after the kidnapping, the Taliban released this video. The abducted dam workers plead for their lives and outline their kidnappers’ demands: 20 million rupees ($209,000) per head. One of the workers is shown to have been killed. There are conflicting reports as to who perished — some say that the driver was killed, others that it was the engineer; it may in fact have been both.

“We appeal to the Government of Pakistan and Wapda to fulfill the demands of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and arrange for our safe release as soon as possible,” the men are saying, according to a translation from a Pakistani newspaper.

A month later, and the crew is still missing. The dam workers’ families have taken to publicly protesting the Pakistani government’s inaction; they’re demanding that the authorities engage the Taliban in diplomatic talks to negotiate their return. But it seems as if their efforts are in vain: the loose association of tribal authorities and government representatives operating in the area appear to want nothing to do with the case — they’ve taken to deferring responsibility in addressing the crime through an endless maze of finger-pointing. It is unclear when, how, and if the authorities will act at all.

Work on the project has halted. Again. The dam sits idle, despite being almost fully functional, providing no power or water to the impoverished residents of South Waziristan. $40 million worth of jobs and improved lives are nowhere to be found.

Whether the Taliban strategically targeted the dam in part to keep locals locked in energy poverty or merely because they knew it was an expensive, high profile projet and therefore rife for ransom-seeking is hard to say. High-ransom kidnappings are on the rise throughout Pakistan, after all; they’re one of the Taliban’s most lucrative endeavors. There were over 100 such kidnappings in Karachi alone last year, and many targets bring in over $1 million each. And militants often target development projects as well, decrying foreign — especially American — aid and investment.

So the husk of a giant dam stands still again, baking under the mountain sun, dormant in one of the poorest, most violent regions on earth. It’s something of a monument for the moment; to the might of modern engineering and the depths of human decrepitude. In its shadow, it leaves tens of thousands of people with the mere promise of electricity or water with which to irrigate crops. It leaves six or seven men, locals who just wanted a solid job, to enter their third month of tortured captivity. It leaves us with yet another reminder in a long line of them that technology alone is just a fraction of the battle to modernize developing regions — getting expensive, power-generating tech built in someplace like Waziristan is just the beginning.

TTP Splits On Wahhabi/Deobandi Schism

[The following is a statement from the legitimate Taliban representative from S. Waziristan, who is speaking for the Mehsud Taliban.  It is a public admission that the Hakeemullah/Fazlullah leadership works for powers outside Pakistan, runs a criminal enterprise and frequently commits acts of terrorism against the Pakistani people.  Fazlullah is the product of a Wahhabi madrassa in Panjpir, Swati Dist.  Mehsud’s statement below is an admission of Deobandi faith, calling for establishing “khalifat” on earth little by little. 

It’s time to recognize the fact that there are two major kinds of Taliban in Pakistan…the terrorists who bomb markets and churches and the militant revolutionaries who bomb govt and military targets.]

Mehsuds part ways with Fazlullah’s TTP

the nation pakistan
Mehsuds part ways with Fazlullah’s TTP

PESHAWAR – Mehsud faction of Taliban Wednesday formally announced parting ways with Mullah Fazlullah-led central outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), accusing the latter of falling into the hands of ‘plotters’ promoting kidnappings for ransom, extortions, killings and robberies.
“The Mehsud group tried to reform the TTP. However, despite its efforts, conspirators in the organisation emerged successful. Thus Mehsud group of Taliban had to disassociate itself from the TTP,” said Azam Tariq, spokesman for Mehsud faction of Taliban, while talking to media persons from an undisclosed location in Waziristan.
The spokesman for the Mehsud group, who was also a central member of the Taliban Shura, accused the TTP of indulging in major crimes. He added the leadership of TTP had fallen into the hands of ‘plotters’ promoting kidnappings for ransom, extortions, killings and robberies.
He said his group, led by Khalid Mehsud alias Sajna and now called as ‘Halqa Mehsud Group’ considers crimes like kidnappings, killings etc as ‘haram’ unlawful). The spokesman for the group said that promotion of belief and ideology of a certain sect created rift among the Taliban and they were deviating from the real cause. And that’s why other Taliban factions were also becoming distrustful of the main organisation. He said that under the umbrella of TTP its members were involved in extortions and robberies.
He said Mehsud Taliban believe that attacks on innocent people, abduction for ransom and targeting public buildings was illegal. He made it clear that his group had immense respect for shrines and other Islamic sites.
Moreover, Azam Tariq said the present Taliban regime was carrying out bomb attacks on public places and claim responsibility for them on fake titles. He added money was also being extorted from madrasas and other institutions.
The TTP is also involved in false propagandas against the Islamic state of Afghanistan and the Afghan Taliban,” Tariq said, adding certain members of the TTP were working as a tool for agencies.
Azam Tariq said that they felt it necessity to expose the real face of TTP in front of the people. He said that Mehsud group would function in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Afghan Taliban, adding that they believed in establishing the system of khilafat to advance the cause of jihad against the false ideology and false system.
Infighting has been going on among Taliban factions since March. Differences among TTP emerged after Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a US drone in November last year and with a dispute over future leadership of the organisation. The infighting among the factions has also impeded and undermined the peace negotiations with the government.
Observers said the split was a victory for the government’s strategy of pitting militant factions against each other and gaining the loyalty of key commanders. Peace talks between the government and the Taliban that began earlier this year faced suspension a month ago.
The breakaway faction belongs to the Mehsud tribe, widely considered the most important within TTP. Khalid Mehsud alias Khan Said Sajna was a contender for the TTP’s leadership, however, the slot was given to Mullah Fazlullah who hails from Swat.

Mehsud Taliban Break With Pakistani Taliban TTP

“[The leadership] within the TTP has gone towards robberies, extortion, unjustified killing [and targeting] Islamic madrassas, and it is taking foreign funding to attack targets in Afghanistan, taking responsibility for attacks under false identities, creating divisions within other jihadi groups, and especially spreading unfounded propaganda against the Afghan Taliban,” said Tariq in the video

Pakistan Taliban splits into factions


Islamabad, PAKISTAN– A major faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has announced that it is no longer associated with the group’s central leadership following months of infighting, according to its spokesperson.

Azam Tariq, a representative of the Mehsud group and also a member of the TTP’s central governing committee, released a video statement on Wednesday saying that his faction had separated from the TTP’s central leadership on ideological grounds.

“[The leadership] within the TTP has gone towards robberies, extortion, unjustified killing [and targeting] Islamic madrassas, and it is taking foreign funding to attack targets in Afghanistan, taking responsibility for attacks under false identities, creating divisions within other jihadi groups, and especially spreading unfounded propaganda against the Afghan Taliban,” said Tariq in the video, which was shot at an undisclosed location.

“The current leadership of the TTP has become a haven for criminals and […] therefore we are announcing that the people of the Mehsud areas are, under the leadership of Khalid Mehsud, severing all ties with the current leadership of the TTP.”

Tariq said that the new Mehsud faction of the TTP will be led by Khalid Mehsud, a local TTP commander in South Waziristan. It is unclear, however, whether Khalid Mehsud commands the more than 2,600 Mehsud tribesmen who fight under the TTP banner, or only a smaller subset of that group.

Leadership row

The two factions of the TTP, an umbrella organisation of armed anti-state groups, have been engaged in violent infighting that has claimed dozens of lives for several months. The rift began over differences regarding the successor to Hakimullah Mehsud, the TTP chief who was killed by a US drone strike in November 2013.

Baitullah Mehsud, a tribal leader of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan, founded the TTP in 2007, and the leadership of the group had since then rested with his tribe, which makes up a majority of the TTP’s fighters. Following Hakimullah’s death, however, Khan Said, a follower of a TTP commander who had previously clashed with Hakimullah, led a rival leadership bid.

Following days of consultations, the leadership was finally given to Mullah Fazlullah, a non-Mehsud Taliban commander from the Swat Valley, on November 7.

That move, however, failed to unite the TTP for long, and clashes have ensued for several months between local Mehsud commanders Shaheryar Mehsud and Khan Said in the South Waziristan tribal area.

Fazlullah, who Pakistani intelligence officials say is based in Afghanistan, has been unable to quell the infighting, and, in fact, saw his sacking of Khan Said in South Waziristan rejected by his own group’s central leadership earlier this month.

It is Khan Said’s group, as represented by Azam Tariq and Khalid Mehsud, that has now broken away from the main TTP.

Peace talks

It is unclear where the split in the TTP’s ranks leaves the government’s dialogue process with the TTP, which Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on May 16 was due to enter a final, “result-oriented” phase.

Analysts say that breaking up the TTP over the issue of talks was always part of the government’s strategy.

“The idea of talks was to try and see which groups could be weaned from this insurgency against the state. [The government was] sure that because there are multiple groups, and not all are reconcilable, that they could split [the TTP],” says Ejaz Haider, a senior journalist and security analyst.

Said’s faction of the TTP had been pro-talks, Haider said, and this distances them from Fazlullah’s group, which has taken a more hardline stance.

Imtiaz Gul, from the Centre for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, said: “The talks are over. I think that whatever the government wanted to achieve with talks has been achieved.”

Also affecting the peace talks will be a renewed military offensive against Taliban targets in the North Waziristan tribal area. On May 21, Pakistani fighter jets bombarded suspected Taliban hideouts in Miranshah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel and Ghulam Khan areas, killing at least 60 people.

Pakistan’s military said that the 60 were all “terrorists”, but Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify that information, as access to the area is restricted. Local residents told Al Jazeera that civilians were among the dead.

Following the airstrikes, there have been several gunfights and bomb attacks between security forces and TTP fighters in the tribal areas, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 security forces personnel and 19 Taliban fighters, military sources told Al Jazeera.

On May 19, TTP chief Fazlullah vowed to fight for the imposition of Islamic law across Pakistan “until martyrdom”, and called upon his groups’ fighters and suicide bombers to prepare for a war to the death.

Follow Asad Hashim on Twitter: @AsadHashim

Pentagon Mad-Scientists Developing Brain TASER for Treatment of PTSD

[The US Army can’t admit that murder is immoral and unthinkable to a majority of the human race.  Vets returning from the horrors that they have voluntarily participated in, carrying the unbearable guilt as baggage, cannot help but to suffer from the stress and shame of what they have done.  Army mad-scientists have convinced the generals that they can succeed where Adolf Hitler’s minions failed, by, in effect “TASERING” the human brain from within, in order to disrupt their natural feelings of guilt, so that other US mind-devils can put new Pentagon-approved thoughts within that tasered mind. 

(SEE:  Report details flaws in Army’s handling of PTSD ; PTSD, Or PTGD (Post Traumatic GUILT Disorder)?—Living With the Guilt ; Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State).


deep brain stim

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is launching a $70 million program to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders using electronic devices implanted in the brain.

The goal of the five-year program is to develop new ways of treating problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are common among service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“We’ve seen far too many times where military personnel have neuropsychiatric disorders and there’s very few options,” says , a program manager at DARPA.

DARPA is known for taking on big technological challenges, from missile defense to creating a business plan for interstellar travel. In 2013, the agency announced it would play a big role in President Obama’s to explore the human brain.

The new program will fund development of high-tech implanted devices able to both monitor and electrically stimulate specific brain circuits. The effort will be led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and Massachusetts General Hospital.

“While those devices have been shown to be effective, they are very much built on concepts from the cardiac pacemaker industry,” he says. “And we know that the brain is very different than the heart.”

Working With Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Patients

The UCSF team will begin its work by studying volunteers who already have probes in their brains as part of treatment for epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease.

That will allow researchers to “record directly from the brain at a level of resolution that’s never [been] done before,” says , a neurosurgeon at UCSF.

By monitoring the electrical activity of brain cells, the researchers will be able to study how brain circuits behave in real time, Chang says. And because many of the volunteers also have depression, anxiety and other problems, it should be possible to figure out how these conditions have changed specific circuits in the brain, Chang says.

“If we are able to understand how the circuit has gone awry, that may give us some very critical clues as to how we may be able to reverse that,” he says.

Once the scientists have those clues, they hope to design tiny electronic implants that can stimulate the cells in faulty brain circuits. “We know that once you start putting stimulation into the brain, the brain will change in response,” Chang says.

That sort of change, known as plasticity, is what allows the brain to learn and adapt throughout our lives. And a device that can deliver the right kind of stimulation to the right brain cells should be able to “heal” malfunctioning brain circuits, Chang says.

At first, the DARPA program will focus on patients with depression, anxiety and symptoms of PTSD. Later, the plan calls for treating conditions including chronic pain and even traumatic brain injury.

Tallying-Up the Saudi Terrorists and Troublemakers

The Saudi Foreign Fighter Presence in Syria


SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-  The foreign fighter trend currently developing in Syria is unprecedented both due to the quantity of fighters as well as the number of foreign nationals involved. For Saudi foreign fighters, this trend is not new. Saudis have been involved in foreign fighting since the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s. They played one of the most prominent roles in that war, as well as in subsequent conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Afghanistan in the 1990s, Afghanistan post-9/11, and Iraq. Similarly, Saudis are one of the leading foreign national groups in Syria in terms of the total number of individuals fighting, and also among those who have died.

This article offers a brief history of Saudi involvement in past jihadist conflicts, the current statistics on how many Saudis have traveled to Syria, and highlights cases of important Saudis who have joined the war. The article finds that similar to past foreign fighter mobilizations, the Saudis have been one of the largest contingents, with some individuals taking important positions on the ground as clerics or leaders. This development could have far reaching implications. Saudi foreign fighters who join jihadist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or al-Qa`ida’s Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) will gain tactical experience and further ideological indoctrination in Syria. Once their “tour” in Syria ends, there is a risk that these fighters could adopt al-Qa`ida’s targeting patterns and conduct attacks against the Saudi government or Western interests.

From Khurasan to al-Sham
Scholars consider the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s as the first contemporary case of the modern foreign fighter phenomenon in the context of Sunni militancy. Due to the fact that this influx was, at the time, a new development, researchers did not track the flow of foreigners as they have for Iraq or Syria in the past decade. It should be noted, however, that the foreign fighter trend in the 1980s was far different than now; many who went in the 1980s were more “tourists” than actual fighters.[1] Therefore, a direct comparison to more recent conflicts may be informative in terms of observing how many left for each warzone, but it does not account for the fact that the situations are from a different time period and context.

Nevertheless, through archival, primary source, and field research, Norwegian academic Thomas Hegghammer believes that “a majority of Arab Afghans were from Saudi Arabia” from 1979-1992.[2] This trend would continue in Chechnya in the 1990s, when the top leaders among the foreign fighters embedded in the insurgency against Russia were from Saudi Arabia—with the most notable being Samir bin Salih bin `Abdullah al-Suwaylim, better known as Umar ibn al-Khattab.[3] Moreover, according to 51 biographies of Arab volunteers to Chechnya that analyst Murad Batal al-Shishani collated, Saudis accounted for 59% of that dataset.[4] In Bosnia, this tendency remained, although not nearly as prevalent. According to Bosnian government intelligence records on the conflict, the Saudis were once again the largest contingent, reportedly making up 25% of the foreign fighters.[5]

Even in the post-9/11 conflicts, Saudis have been the top foreign national group involved in the more significant jihadist wars. In Iraq, for example, Evan Kohlmann documented the foreigners killed fighting in the insurgency from June 2003 to June 2005. Kohlmann concluded that 55% of those killed were Saudi, with the next highest being Syrians at 12.7%.[6] In October 2007, this would later be affirmed when the U.S. military found a cache of documents in Sinjar from al-Qa`ida in Iraq identifying those who entered Iraq from August 2006 to August 2007. Saudis were the highest percentage, comprising 41% of the individuals where records noted their nationality.[7] This trend has continued in the current conflict in Syria.

Current Estimates
In late March 2014, a Saudi official stated that 1,200 Saudis have traveled to fight the Bashar al-Assad regime, placing Saudis at the top of the list of foreign nationals in Syria.[8] More recently, the Saudi Interior Ministry said that 25% of those who had gone have since returned.[9] Based on a database maintained by this author since the fall of 2011 on foreign jihadist “martyrdom” notices, exactly 300 Saudis have died in Syria as of late February 2014, which also is the highest number of fatalities among foreign nationals.[10] This tentatively suggests that there could be close to 600 Saudis in Syria, Iraq (the ISIL uses individuals on both sides of the border) or elsewhere abroad.[11]

While Saudis might currently be the highest foreign national group that has traveled to Syria, this only came to pass around the summer of 2013.[12] In the early days of the conflict, foreign fighters from Syria’s neighboring countries (Lebanese, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Jordanians), many of whom previously fought U.S. forces in Iraq, were the first to arrive.[13] A year later, Saudis began increasing in number, although the largest contingents based on percentage were from Libya and Tunisia, two of the countries that successfully deposed their leaders during the original wave of uprisings in 2011. Many went as “tourists” to continue riding the wave of the “Arab Spring,” while others went to assist the Syrian rebels militarily.[14] A number of fighters joined more radical forces such as JN and other smaller jihadist factions.[15]

What led to the influx of Saudi foreign fighters? While ease of travel certainly accounts for a portion of the rise in the unprecedented numbers of foreign fighters, it is not the main factor in the Saudi case.[16] First, travel limitations have never been an issue for Saudis, as they have been heavily involved in all prior large-scale jihadist foreign fighter mobilizations. Second, if travel was the main factor, then one would have expected to see a large-scale Saudi mobilization earlier in the conflict.

Instead, the public entrance of Lebanese Hizb Allah into the conflict on the side of the al-Assad regime during the battle of Qusayr in late May 2013 precipitated the sudden increase in Saudi foreign fighters in Syria.[17] Less than a week later, in response, mainstream clerics such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi called upon Sunni Muslims to go fight in Syria: “anyone who has the ability, who is trained to fight…has to go; I call on Muslims to go and support their brothers in Syria.”[18] This statement was later praised by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Shaykh.[19] Two weeks after al-Qaradawi’s announcement, Saud al-Shuraym, a Saudi cleric at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, proclaimed that Sunni Muslims had a duty to support the Syrian rebels “by all means.”[20] Before Qusayr, Saudi religious scholars supported helping the Syrian rebels through financial means, but were not overt in terms of foreign fighting. Hizb Allah’s admission of joining the conflict, the sectarianism that is intertwined in Saudi Arabia’s state religion and education,[21] the clerical framing of the conflict as wajib (duty), campaigns of support for the rebels, as well as the summer months coinciding with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan all helped catalyze efforts to send Saudi fighters to Syria.

From Where Do the Saudis Hail?
While it is difficult to determine specifics on the origins of all Saudi foreign fighters, the 300 jihadist death notices provide some insights considering that 203 of them detail the individual’s origination city in Saudi Arabia.[22] The 203 deceased came from 12 of Saudi Arabia’s 13 minatiq (regions). Only Jizan, which is the smallest region in Saudi Arabia, is not represented.[23] While one cannot draw too many conclusions from incomplete data, the strongest recruitment networks appear to be based in the center of the country or on the coasts.[24] This could be because the center of the country is more conservative overall, while all the areas have some of the highest population densities in Saudi Arabia.

Since quantitative analysis regarding the foreign fighter phenomenon only provides one aspect of detail, reviewing some cases of important individuals from Saudi Arabia who have joined the Syrian rebels is informative.

Dr. `Abd Allah bin Muhammad al-Muhaysini
One of the most influential and well-known figures among Saudi foreign fighters in Syria is Dr. `Abd Allah bin Muhammad bin Sulayman al-Muhaysini. According to al-Muhaysini’s autobiography, he was born in Buraydah (Qassim region) in north-central Saudi Arabia. He became a hafiz (one who has memorized the entire Qur’an) by the age of 15. For his bachelors studies, he majored in Shari`a at the University of Umm al-Qura in Mecca. He later completed his master’s and doctorate in comparative fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) at al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, writing his dissertation on legal provisions affecting war refugees in Islamic fiqh. He studied under a number of shaykhs, including the controversial Shaykh Sulayman al-Ulwan who was arrested by Saudi authorities in 2004 for supporting al-Qa`ida. After his studies, al-Muhaysini was an imam and da`iya (missionary) at the Qatar mosque in Mecca, Jami` al-Thani.[25]

Since the Syrian uprising became a civil war, al-Muhaysini has been involved with fundraising to help the rebels procure weapons as well as assisting refugees.[26] Unlike many other high-profile clerics from the Gulf, al-Muhaysini—instead of just traveling to the frontlines for photo opportunities—moved to Syria around 2013. Al-Muhaysini claims no affiliation with any particular group, but he has been seen with Umar al-Shishani, who is now a leader in the ISIL, and Abu al-Walid al-Muhajir of JN.[27] Since the infighting between the ISIL and JN began in January 2014, al-Muhaysini has distanced himself from the ISIL.[28]

While al-Muhaysini has been a presence on social media and has become an important personality, he also is an actual player on the ground in Syria.[29] For one, he has fought and been injured in battle.[30] More importantly, he set up the Da`wa al-Jihad Center in December 2013, which has been involved with Islamic lessons, educating children, and aid.[31] He also set up the al-Faruq training camp in March 2014, potentially as a reference to the infamous one in Afghanistan pre-9/11.[32] Additionally, al-Muhaysini has been vocal in attempting to broker peace between the ISIL and other rebel factions. Most notably, in late January 2014, al-Muhaysini tried to settle the disputes through Mubadarat al-Umma (the Initiative of the Umma).[33] Although the initiative failed because the ISIL did not participate, it highlighted al-Muhaysini’s stature since all of the other key groups cooperated.[34]

`Abd al-Muhsin `Abd Allah Ibrahim al-Sharikh (Sanafi al-Nasr)
Unlike al-Muhaysini, `Abd al-Muhsin `Abd Allah Ibrahim al-Sharikh (also known by his online moniker Sanafi al-Nasr/@Snafialnasr) was not as well known publicly prior to his “reported” death in Syria on March 21, 2014.[35] On April 18, al-Sharikh said that he had been in a coma since March, and that JN claimed he was dead so that he could recover from injuries sustained while fighting.[36] Al-Sharikh is allegedly an important player within al-Qa`ida and tasked as being the head of its “Victory Committee” in Syria.[37] He is third cousins with Usama bin Ladin, and two of his brothers were detained at Guantanamo Bay, but have since been released.[38] He fought in other jihadist battlefronts from Chechnya to Afghanistan to Pakistan.[39] Before arriving in Syria, he was based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.[40]

In 2009, al-Sharikh was placed on Saudi Arabia’s 85 “most wanted” list.[41] His listing states that he was born in 1985 and is from Shaqraa in central Saudi Arabia. In September 2011, he wrote for al-Qa`ida’s Vanguards of Khurasan magazine about Saudi female prisoners.[42] He has kept a low profile during the infighting between the ISIL and the rebels, although he is firmly on JN’s and Ahrar al-Sham’s side.[43] Prior to the death of a key al-Qa`ida leader in Syria, Abu Khalid al-Suri, who was Ayman al-Zawahiri’s emissary for resolving the conflict between the ISIL and JN as well as a founding member and senior leader in Ahrar al-Sham, al-Sharikh stated that Abu Khalid confided in him that he believed the ISIL would send five inghimasi (fully committed) fighters to kill him.[44] Following the initial announcement of al-Sharikh’s “death,” there was a huge outpouring of support through the hashtag in Arabic “#Istishahid_Sanafi_alNasr” (Martyrdom of Sanafi al-Nasr), highlighting his career involvement in jihad on a number of fronts.[45]

Other Saudi Fighters
On October 20, 2012, Abu `Awn al-Shamali died in Aleppo fighting for JN. He conducted a suicide bombing in an explosives-laden vehicle at the French hospital. JN claimed that the attack killed 300 people, while the Syrian government said it only caused damage to the building.[46] The operation was detailed in JN’s official video release, The Beginning of the End #5.[47]

`Abd al-`Aziz Jughayman (also known as `Abd al-Malik al-Ahsa’i), who was from al-Ahsa, was killed fighting in Idlib on November 24, 2012. Jughayman was a former professor at King Faisal University in al-Ahsa. A veteran of previous jihadist conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kashmir, he served in at least two jihadist combat tours in Afghanistan, including one immediately after the 9/11 attacks. After fleeing Afghanistan in early 2002, Jughaiman was captured by Syrian authorities and imprisoned for almost three years.[48]

Khalid al-Suwayd (also known as Abu Himam) died fighting against the al-Assad regime in Damascus on March 5, 2013.[49] Previously, he fought U.S. troops in Iraq, presumably with al-Qa`ida in Iraq as part of a mortar team and later an artillery team.[50] He was arrested for two years after going to fight in Iraq, and Saudi Arabia suspended his passport.[51] Unknown parties were able to transport him to Syria.[52] He fought in eastern al-Ghuta before joining the fight in Damascus.[53] During a raid on the Ghasula security barrier, he conducted a suicide-style attack with four other foreign nationals from Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany and Jordan that allegedly killed 50-60 soldiers.[54] Al-Suwayd and the other assailants were all killed in the attack.[55]

Nayif al-Mutayri (also known as Abu al-Bara’ al-Madani), who was from Mecca, died fighting with the ISIL on January 5, 2014. He was also a munshid (one who does anashid) for the ISIL’s official nashid media outlet, the Ajnad Foundation for Media Production.[56] Abu Basir al-Murqi died fighting in Azaz for the ISIL also on January 5, 2014. Prior to his death, he was the head of the ISIL’s Shari`a institute in Azaz.[57]

On January 18, 2014, `Abd Allah Sulayman al-Dhabah (also known as Abu `Ali al-Qasimi), from Qassim, was killed in al-Bab fighting with the ISIL. He was killed by “sahwat,” a reference to the tribal uprising against al-Qa`ida in Iraq last decade, which has been used by the ISIL as a rhetorical tool against any of their enemies within the Syrian rebellion. Prior to joining the ISIL, he was a member of JN. Previously, al-Dhabah fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan with Abu al-Layth al-Libi and the Pakistani Taliban’s Baitullah Mehsud. The main locations where he fought were Waziristan, Orakzai, and Ghazni. He was also on Twitter: @mlng4455.[58]

In the case of Saudi foreign fighters, past large-scale mobilizations have led to a number of consequences: the rise of Bin Ladin and al-Qa`ida after the original anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, post-9/11 Saudis from the Afghan front returning home and pursuing an insurgency against the Saudi government, and Saudis returning from the Iraqi battlefield to join al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, which led to attacks from Yemen into Saudi Arabia.[59] There are already signs that some fighters have gone to Yemen again to join AQAP after fighting in Syria.[60]

While the Saudi government did not expend great effort to deter travel to Syria,[61] they have tried to be proactive in preventing violence once these fighters return home.[62] In early February 2014, the Saudi government issued a royal order declaring that any citizen who fights in conflicts abroad will face three to twenty years of jail.[63] A month later, the Saudis released a royal decree designating JN and al-Qa`ida in Iraq (now known as the ISIL) as terrorist organizations.[64]

Furthermore, to deter more recruitment, the Saudis used the television program Humumana (Our Concerns) to promote the disillusioned Saudi foreign fighter Sulayman Sa`ud Sbi`i after he returned home from Syria. The fighter described the weaponization of takfir (declaring a Muslim an infidel, which in this context then implies that one can kill that person) among the different rebel groups. He also noted how the Syrian jihad is not as glamorous as it is portrayed in the media and online.[65]

At this juncture, due to the sheer number of Saudis who have gone abroad to fight in Syria, there will likely be future ramifications. How and when these ramifications occur remains to be seen.

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Rena and Sami David Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. He also runs the website

[1] Thomas Hegghammer, Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 47. Tourists can have a number of different meanings in this context. It could either represent those going for thrill and adventure, or could highlight individuals who only go to the front lines to say they have gone, but never actually fight.

[2]  “Arab Afghan” is a moniker that has been used to describe the contingent of individuals who traveled to Pakistan to fight in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. See Thomas Hegghammer, “The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad,” International Security 35:3 (2010/11): p. 71.

[3]  Cerwyn Moore and Paul Tumelty, “Foreign Fighters and the Case of Chechnya: A Critical Assessment,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 31:5 (2008): p. 428.

[4]  Murad Batal al-Shishani, The Rise and Fall of Arab Fighters in Chechnya (Washington, D.C.: The Jamestown Foundation, 2006), p. 17.

[5]  These documents were obtained from Bosnian government records by J.M. Berger for research on the documentary Sarajevo Ricochet (Febris Film, 2010). Berger e-mailed this author a picture of a pie chart breakdown on June 3, 2013.

[6] Evan Kohlmann, “Foreign Fighters Reported Killed in Iraq: June 2003-June 2005,” Global Terror Alert, June 2005.

[7]  Brian Fishman and Joseph Felter, Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2008).

[8]  It is difficult to acquire accurate data from the Tunisian, Jordanian, or Lebanese governments on how many of its citizens have gone to Syria, but based on credible estimates they are just below the numbers from Saudi Arabia. See Peter Bergen, “Why the Saudis Unfriended the U.S.,” CNN, March 26, 2014.

[9]  Fahd al-Dhiyabi, “Saudi Interior Ministry Says 25 Percent of Fighters in Syria Have Returned,” Asharq Alawsat, March 24, 2014.

[10] “Jihadi Martyr Notices,” author’s personal database, last updated February 25, 2014.

[11]  Although jihadists have announced 300 martyrdom notices, this number does not include Saudis who died fighting with non-jihadist units in Syria nor does it provide information on unannounced deaths.

[12]  Based on open source data, the second highest foreign nationals are Jordanians, with an estimated 1,000 Jordanians according to Abu Sayyaf, the top Jordanian Salafist leader in the country. It is possible that higher numbers of Lebanese and Iraqis have gone, but there is not much credible data on either cases due to a lack of government estimates. See “Alf Anasir min al-Tayyar al-Salafi al-Jihadi Bi-l-Urdun yuqatilun fi Suriyya,” al-Quds al-Arabi, October 19, 2013.

[13]  Aaron Y. Zelin, “Foreign Fighters Trickle into the Syrian Rebellion,” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, June 11, 2012.

[14]  Aaron Y. Zelin, Evan F. Kohlmann, and Laith al-Khouri, “Convoy of Martyrs in the Levant: A Joint Study Charting the Evolving Role of Sunni Foreign Fighters in the Armed Uprising Against the Assad Regime in Syria,” and Flashpoint Global Partners, June 2013.

[15]  Ibid.

[16] Thomas Hegghammer, “Syria’s Foreign Fighters,” Foreign Policy, December 9, 2013.

[17]  Hassan Nasrallah, “Kalimah fi Eid al-Muqawama wa-l-Tahrir,” al-Manar, May 25, 2013.

[18]  Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “Khutbah al-Jumu’ah,” May 31, 2013.

[19]  “Mufti al-Sa’udiyya yushid Bi-muwaqf al-Qaradhawi dhid Iran wa-Hizb Allah,” al-Arabiya, June 6, 2013.

[20]  “Al-Shuraym yada’u Li-da’im thuwar Suriyya wa-mudhaharah Bi-Misr,” al-Jazira, June 14, 2013.

[21]  Nona Shea et al., “Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance,” Freedom House, 2006.

[22]  “Jihadi Martyr Notices.”

[23]  This could be due to the small sample size of individuals whose origins are known.

[24]  Since a number of death notices mention only the region an individual is from and not a city, this article identifies only the region. The following is a list of regions in Saudi Arabia along with the corresponding number of dead jihadists in Syria from those regions: Riyadh: 62; Qassim: 40; Makka: 27; Eastern Region: 22; Tabuk: 11; Jawf: 10; Najran: 9; Medina: 7; Northern Borders: 6; Asir: 4; Ha’il: 4; Bahah: 1.

[25] Dr. `Abd Allah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, “Sirah al-dhatiyya,” undated, available at

[26]  Asher Berman, “Saudi Preacher Relocates to Syria,” Syria Survey blog, November 17, 2013.

[27] See the following Twitter posts at and www.

[28] Dr. `Abd Allah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, “Ila hal ballaghat: ‘an mubadarah al-ummah,” February 2, 2014, available at

[29] Miriam Berger, “How One Jihadi in Syria Became a Twitter Sensation,” Buzzfeed, April 1, 2014.

[30] For details, see the YouTube video located at

[31] See, for example, the following posts:,, and

[32] See, for example,; Dr. `Abd Allah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, “Mu’askr al-Faruq,” March 17, 2014, available at Al-Muhaysini announced the establishment of the al-Faruq camp on March 17, 2014, and called for people to join for training.

[33]  Dr. `Abd Allah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, “Mubadarah al-Ummah,” Mubadarah al-Ummah Facebook page, January 23, 2014, available at

[34]   Al-Muhaysini, “Ila hal ballaghat: ‘an mubadarah al-ummah.”

[35]  For details, see

[36]     See his statement posted at

[37]   Thomas Joscelyn, “Head of al Qaeda ‘Victory Committee’ in Syria,” The Long War Journal, March 6, 2014.

[38]      Ibid.

[39] For details, see

[40]      Eric Schmitt, “Qaeda Militants Seek Syria Base, U.S. Officials Say,” New York Times, March 25, 2014.

[41]     “Qa’ima al-Matlubin 85,” Wizara al-Dakhiliyya, February 3, 2009.

[42]  Sanafi al-Nasr, “Hal sayafaji’na al-i’alam al-Sa’udi bi-quwa’im al-matlubat,” Tali’a al-Khurasan, Issue #19, September 11, 2011.

[43]  Joscelyn.

[44]  For details, see

[45]  For the entire archive, search on Twitter for #استشهاد_سنافي_النصر.

[46] “Beginning of the End #5: Battle of the Commander Abu ‘Aisha: Blowing Up the Barracks of the French Hospital in a Vehicle Martyrdom Operation,” Jabhat al-Nusra, January 10, 2013; “Qa’ima al-sharf: shuhada Bilad al-Haramayn fi Suriyya al-habiba,”, January 31, 2013; “Armed Forces Target Terrorists in Aleppo, Foil Terrorists’ Infiltration Attempts from Lebanon,” Syria  News Agency, October 21, 2012.

[47] Ibid.

[48]  “Sur # Istishahid al-Batal `Abd al-`Aziz_,” Ansar al-Mujahidin Forum, November 24, 2012; “Nazafa lakum Khabar Istishahid al-Batal `Abd al-`Aziz al-Jughayman min al-Ahsa’ fi Bilad ash-Sham,” Shamukh al-Islam, November 24, 2012;  “Saudi Man Killed After Three Decades of Jihad,” Saudi Gazette, November 27, 2012.

[49] “Al-Shahid al-Batal (Khalid al-Suwayd) min ardh jazira al-arab – Bilad al-Haramayn – wa-qisa istishahiduhu,” Shamukh al-Islam, March 21, 2013.

[50] Ibid.

[51] It is not clear which government arrested him.

[52] “Al-Shahid al-Batal (Khalid al-Suwayd) min ardh jazira al-arab – Bilad al-Haramayn – wa-qisa istishahiduhu.”

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55]  Ibid.

[56] For details, see,, and

[57] For details, see

[58] For more details, see,,, Also see “Wanted Saudi al Qaeda Militant Killed in Syria: SITE,” Reuters, January 24, 2014.

[59]  Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006); Thomas Hegghammer, The Failure of Jihad in Saudi Arabia (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2010); Gregory D. Johnsen, The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013).

[60]  Rania El Gamal, “Saudis Hardened by Wars in Syria, Iraq Join al Qaeda in Yemen,” Reuters, March 14, 2014.

[61]  Early in the conflict, the Saudi government did not appear to actively try to stop individuals from traveling abroad to fight in Syria.

[62]  It is important to note that not all foreign fighters who have gone to Syria are jihadists. Many in the beginning fought with the Free Syrian Army.

[63]  “182-184 | Royal Order: A Penalty of Imprisonment To All Those Who Participated In Hostilities Outside the Kingdom or Belonging to the Streams or Religious Groups and Radical Ideas,” Wa-Kala al-Anba’ al-Sa’udiyya, February 3, 2014.

[64]  “Full Text of Saudi Interior Ministry Statement Designating Terrorist Organizations,” Asharq Alawsat, March 8, 2014.

[65]  “Al-Halaqa al-Sadisa: tujarib shabab maghrur bi-him,” March 5, 2014, available at

Rafsanjani Attempts Truce Negotiations With Riyadh

Rafsanjani to normalize files starting with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Yemen

رفسنجاني للتطبيع مع السعودية بدءا بملفات البحرين ولبنان واليمن

rasid news  Rasid News Network Monitor

King Abdullah and Sheikh Rafsanjani ( archive)

After months of tensions , bombings and skirmishes , Beirut looks quiet and safe . Except for the subject of the presidential election where there were only a few days before leaving outgoing President Michel Suleiman Baabda Palace .

Suddenly , tourists started flocking to the Lebanese capital , and soon will fill the citizens of the Gulf hotels in the country, where reports indicate that both the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are eyeing to lift the ban on travel to Lebanon . Some may wonder about the reason behind this rapid improvement , but as long as the Tehran and Riyadh are talking , you’ll have to listen quietly Beirut .

In the new Middle East , who grew up in the wake of the Arab Spring , it is believed that both Iran and Saudi Arabia , has figured now more than ever , as players major regional which would either help to stabilize the region or lead to further ignite tensions where .

News from Riyadh and Tehran indicate a new phase in the Saudi-Iranian relations is about to begin , so Among those who denounced important to understand what has changed and helped both sides to take that step .

« Iran and Saudi Arabia are able to restore stability in the region, » said Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran. He added: « We look forward to erase any misunderstandings and strengthen bilateral relations » .

The minister , who oversees his country’s relations with the Arab world , which was expected to visit Saudi Arabia two months ago , but the visit was canceled because of differences in scheduling , and that seems to be playing a leading role with respect to Iran’s foreign relations with the world.

The Iranian official source said that thanks to the Friends of regional and goodwill real , it has restored ties on both sides of the Persian Gulf . He said: « In Iran, there is always the will to open direct lines with the Saudis , and there are many points of interest between the two countries , as a start , let’s call it an attempt to regulate the differences and coordinate moves later » .

According to this source , the Omani government played a vital role in making this convergence a reality. He said: « There was an exchange of messages via Amman , and then there have been some direct talks , the two sides agreed to step up talks to a higher level , in an indication that this process came with the blessing of the senior leadership in both countries » .

A source close to the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani , the strong man who leads a path separate but coordinated with other endeavors to put an end to the worst phase in the relations between the two countries .

The source said before taking any step , got Rafsanjani, the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , also received several letters Avenue of Riyadh , and sent letters similar , but advised from the outset that finding common ground will take time and put the hot issues in the queue , especially Syria , where both sides at opposite ends completely. “

Rafsanjani suggested to begin discussing the roadmap Bahrain, Lebanon , and Yemen , and in the final stage after building a relationship, Syria . He said « in Lebanon and Bahrain conflict is the easiest solution is much , there is a lower proportion of bloodshed and can bridge the differences , where consensus is possible , and the formation of the Lebanese government after months of delay, as a test , then stop it for a period of time when I jumped dilemma Syrian in the path, before resuming again » .

The source said , « We must be the next step is to help the Lebanese to choose a new president. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia may understand the need to achieve Astaqraaloda in Lebanon . And that this needs to be a regional effort and thus , Both countries can cooperate on this » .

In Bahrain , both see a need to reach a fair agreement between the government and the opposition. The source pointed out that Iran will make a real effort to convince the opposition to resume talks with the government , and Saudi Arabia, as well as a very impressive and can be paid to make repairs .

For years, Saudi Arabia has been regarded Yemen as part of its national security. It is a country on the southern border of the kingdom, by many of the armed groups fighting in a separate wars – some looking for self-rule , and others associated with al-Qaeda. A third group , they Houthis who want to gain strength and are looking for a share in the government. And accuses the group of being a strong ally of Iran and for years has been the main concern for Riyadh .

Defuse tensions now is the priority for both sides, and as part of efforts to do so , the road map proposed by the Rafsanjani calls for an end of the war in the media. The next step will be to see is to visit Riyadh and meet with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince .

On April 22 , the Saudi ambassador in Tehran , Abdul Rahman visited monthly Rafsanjani and invited him to visit the King of the Kingdom. The meeting made ​​headlines with pictures of the two parties to kiss each other , is this is the kiss of life to a Saudi-Iranian relations ?

Saudi move to build bridges with Iran should have a positive effect in region


SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – Over the past few weeks, the Arab world has seen multiple changes. Old alliances – such as the one between Egypt and Saudi Arabia – have been reaffirmed, while presidential and legislative elections are taking place in many countries in the region.

Against this backdrop, Saudi Arabia’s extended invitation to Iran to send a representative to Riyadh has given rise to different reactions in the Arabic media.

“Opinion in the Saudi media reflected apprehension, as some considered the invitation to be an outcome of diplomatic concerns that should be taken lightly, while others rushed to depict Iran as a four-dimensional monster,” wrote Teraad Al Ammri, in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

The first element that causes concern is Iran’s interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs. The second one is the sectarian tension between Sunnis and ­Shiites. The third is Iran’s wish to impose its political dominance over the region and the last one is Iran’s growing military power and the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear ambitions, he said.

“Such fear is unjustified and unrealistic. It is but an illusion that was widely promoted in one way or another, portraying Iran as a ‘political monster’. Our view is that such illusions are likely to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy that will stand as a major obstacle to relations between the two countries if wise politicians fail to break these illusions and shed light on them,” added Al Ammri.

Writing in the pan-Arab daily Asharq El Awsat, the columnist Abdallah Al Mahajarani pointed out six essential topics that need to be discussed by the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers in the following order: Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Palestine and Yemen.

He highlighted two important matters. One is that “both Saudi Arabia and Iran have the power, capabilities, legitimacy and deep influence to solve the series of crises in the region, or in the Muslim world in general”.

The other one is that “politics is described as a science or the art of possibilities. They are neither about distant dreams nor wishes. In politics, one has to keep the reality in mind. According to Hindu philosophy, one must use three eyes while seeking a strategy to achieve goals and reach the destination. One of them must be kept on the horizon [on our dreams and wishes], the second one on reality and the third on both.

“Saudi Arabia and Iran can find a positive solution for everyone in the region, one through which both will achieve victory. Furthermore, they can play a larger role in the world if they focus on a common regional strategy,” concluded Al Mahajarani.

The columnist Abdul Rahman Al Wabli wrote in the Saudi daily Al Watan that “dialogue is a means of communication and understanding among human beings, whether individuals, groups or states, and life is solely possible through it. The absence thereof will lead to the absence of understanding and comprehension. They will be replaced with misunderstanding and hatred, leading to conflicts, clashes and wars”.

He considered Saudi Arabia’s initiative as “a starting point to reach an understanding between both countries on absurd and unjustified disputes and conflicts that are going on in the region, as these conflicts have a negative impact on peace and security in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the wider region”.

The Saudi government initiated the dialogue to protect the area from disputes and conflicts.

“Nothing guarantees that these initiatives will lead to predefined and speedy solutions, but they will certainly cool down the current atmosphere and establish strategic understandings in the medium and long term”, Al Wabli observed.

Europe Rejects Neo-Liberalism, Multiple Elections Veer Hard Right

The right storms Europe vote: Your quick guide to the anti-EU hardline


Reuters/Nikola Solic

The EU parliamentary elections have seen a marked shift towards both right-wing and Euroskeptic political parties. From the National Front to UKIP, RT has drawn up a list of the need-to-know political parties coming to prominence in the EU.

The National Front

The National Front far-right party in France gleaned 25 percent of the votes in the latest EU elections, according to early results. It’s well ahead of the opposition center-Right UMP party, which received 20.6 per cent – a 9 percent drop since the last elections.

“Our people demands one type of politics: they want politics by the French, for the French, with the French. They don’t want to be led anymore from outside, to submit to laws.”

The victory was in fact a triple win: Marine Le Pen came top with 32.6 percent in her constituency in the north-west of France, Jean-Marie le Pen (Marine’s father, the party’s founder) was in the first position with 28.9 percent in the south-east and Louis Aliot, Le Pen’s partner, scored 23.7 percent – in pole position – in the south-west.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, France's National Front political party founder (L), France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen (C), Louis Aliot, Front National South-West region candidate (R) (Reuters/AFP)

Jean-Marie Le Pen, France’s National Front political party founder (L), France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen (C), Louis Aliot, Front National South-West region candidate (R) (Reuters/AFP)

“This result is more than a new warning: it’s a shock, an earthquake,” he said, pledging to push on with reforms “faster – there isn’t a moment to lose” – French Socialist Prime Minister Valls

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

The party is known to deny the Holocaust and the impact the Nazi invasion during WWII had on the country.

In 2005, Jean-Marie Le Pen described the Nazi occupation as “not particularly inhumane, even if there were a few blunders, inevitable in a country of [220,000 square miles]” and in 1987 referred to the Nazi gas chambers as “a point of detail of the history of the Second World War.”


The UK Independence Party (UKIP) garnered 27.5 percent of the vote in the latest EU elections, beating off competition from the Lib Dems, Conservatives and Labour.

UKIP has gone from strength to strength since the onset of the European crisis, championing anti-EU and anti-immigration policies.

Nigel Farage heads the party and recently came under fire for alleging that immigrants from Romania were responsible for a crime wave in London.

Their controversial statements include MEP Godfrey Bloom’s speech, in which he referred to countries in receipt of UK government aid as “bongo bongo land.”

Farage was fined 3,000 euro in 2010 for a tirade against then European Council Herman Van Rompuy.

He called Belgium a “non-country” and likened Van Rompuy to a “low-grade bank clerk” with the charisma of a “damp rag.”


Their political peers have described them as racist, xenophobic and homophobic, with Prime Minister David Cameron famously declaring them “a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.”


Greece’s radical, leftist Syriza party snatched victory from the conservative New Democracy party headed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in the EU elections.

Party leader Alexis Tsipras hailed the victory, saying it was evidence the current government has no right to continue with its austerity measures.

He has called for an immediate end to Greece’s “barbarous” bailout deal.

Samaras said that while the party’s victory in the elections sent a strong message to the government, voters had rejected “the overthrow that Syriza wanted.” The party was formed in 2004 as a coalition of left-wing and radical left organizations.

Golden Dawn

Greek far-right party Golden Dawn won three seats in the European Parliament in the elections.

Member of the far right Golden Dawn party hold flags as they take part in a rally in Athens on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Member of the far right Golden Dawn party hold flags as they take part in a rally in Athens on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Despite the fact that most of the party’s 18 lawmakers are under criminal investigations, the Greek Supreme Court ruled to allow the Golden Dawn to take part in the EU elections.

Leader of the Golden Dawn Nikolaos Mihaloliakos is currently in jail after he was arrested last year for participating in a “criminal organization.”

Leader of the Golden Dawn Nikolaos Mihaloliakos (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Leader of the Golden Dawn Nikolaos Mihaloliakos (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

The party has a strong anti-immigration policy and champions slogans such as “Clean up the stench,” and “Greece for the Greeks.”

Golden Dawn began as a fringe party in 1985 and rose to popularity during the crisis in Greece, winning 18 seats in the Hellenic Parliament in 2012.

Alternative for Germany Party

Branded as “unelectable mavericks” by the German Political elite, the Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) won 7 percent of the vote in the EU elections and will enter the 28-nation bloc’s parliament.

Under the banner of “Have Courage to Be Germany” to party demands no less than Germany’s return to the Deutschmark and the repatriation of powers from Brussels.

The organization is headed by 51-year-old Bernd Lucke, who infamously referred to poor immigrants as “social dregs.”

Lucke has denied allegations of flirting with far-right populists in the run up to the European elections.

The Sweden Democrats

Nationalist party the Sweden Democrats took their first ever European Parliamentary seats in the elections.

In 1999 the organization rejected links to Nazism, but still retains a strong anti-immigration and anti-EU polices.

Party leader Jimmie Akesson said his organization’s critical stance on the EU had attracted voted from the Swedish public.

New Right Party

Leader of the Polish New Right Party Janusz Korwin-Mikke has won a seat in the European Parliament.

The eccentric politician harbors many controversial views and has called for the restoration of the Polish monarchy. He also suggested the European Commission building should be turned into a brothel.

GOV EX.COM Mocks Latest Citizen Effort To Remove Obama

[This is why there will NEVER be an “American spring,” no matter that the rest of the world is fully capable of rousing the concerned and the angry into a political “critical mass.”  Between the masses of Am. unemployed (who cannot waste scarce resources to flock to DC), those fighting the “minimum wage” struggle to survive day to day, the disabled (who need the help of others to go), war veterans (who love war) and the shrinking Middle Class (who are either too afraid to endanger their own jobs, or the rest, who could care less), American resistance is impossible….UNTIL….resistance becomes a means for survival, or after the New Dark Ages overtakes us all. 

UNTIL “We The People” become a nation of economic refugees, who are willing to mass around Washington by the millions, like the “BONUS ARMY” of WWI veterans, led by heroic Gen. Smedley Butler.

But….we can continue to hope, or to look for such a mass-movement to save us, since most of us refuse to do anything like this to save ourselves, our families, or even to save our own country. 

Until PROTEST becomes PATRIOTIC, like the motivated veterans of the first great war, Americans will helplessly, watch with envious, unfounded anticipation, as American psywarriors and an army of effete diplomats manage to ignite “Springs” and “colored revolutions” around the world.  

Perhaps the CIA subversives adapted the many lessons learned in the process of turning the American people into a nation of SHEEP into an opposite plan of action, giving them a template for social agitation.  Such a template, if applied to selected target audiences, would allow the psy-operators to produce a nation of ravenous wolves, who would to serve as proxy forces for the Empire builders.]

How to Manage Expectations for Your Rally to Overthrow the American Government

gov exec

A protester holds a "Don't Tread on Me" flag during a protest outside the statehouse on the first day of the South Carolina Legislature. A protester holds a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag during a protest outside the statehouse on the first day of the South Carolina Legislature. Rainier Ehrhardt/AP

10,000,000 protestors?  MORE LIKE 1,000

Retired Army Col. Harry Riley expects that somewhere between 10 million and 30 million people will help him shut down Washington on Friday for Operation American Spring. Operation American Spring, in case you didn’t get your invitation, is a militia-heavy protest explicitly aiming to force Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and Eric Holder from office. This is not going to happen. 30 million people will not show up for Riley’s protest. And the protest will not overthrow the government.

So, for the benefit of the future of the Overthrow Obama protest movement, here is a guide to managing expectations and making your attempted coup the best version of itself.

Learn from the Examples of Others

Had Riley based his estimate on anything other than, we presume, the numbers he’d like to see in the papers, he’d know that promises to send We the People to the door of American power rarely meet lofty turnout estimates. Last October, “10,000” truckers were reportedly on their way to literally clog the Beltway and shut down traffic in protest of Washington politics. In reality, about 30 truckers showed up, and they caused no delays worth mentioning. In November, Larry Klayman promised that “millions” would show up at his rally “to occupy Washington D.C” and call for the overthrow of President Obama. Instead, the crowd looked more like this:

Embedded image permalink

Of course, this advice applies beyond the realm of the “overthrow America” protest genre. In 2012, a coalition of progressive groups planning to march on the Tampa RNC failed to top 500 in attendance, despite estimates of thousands. And Glenn Beck famously estimated that his 2010 “Restoring Honor” rally would draw 300,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial. While still an indisputably enormous event, Beck had a crowd of about 87,000 people instead, based on the most generous of reliable estimates.

Despite the symbolism of crowd size, journalists who have ever actually tried to cover a protest or rally know that it’s very difficult to get accurate head counts. In other words, there is some leeway here when it comes to numbers — no one will fault you for saying 10,000 people would come to your protest, if it’s really only more like 8,000. The effect is the same. The best estimate of the crowd at the famous Million Man March is 837,000, for instance, with a large margin of error of plus or minus 20 percent. But you have to make sure the crowd will be big enough to fake it, at the very least. If you say that 10 million people will attend your weekday rally, you’re setting yourself up for a great disappointment that would impress even the Millerites.

Look at Some Polls

Riley’s high estimate of 30 million people amounts to a little under 10 percent of the entire U.S. population. While no one has polled reliably on whether Americans want to forcibly remove Obama and several other members of the federal government from office by force, we do have some polling on American attitudes towards the president and the government in general. Polling on impeachment is tough, but the most reliable figures out there seem to estimate that as much as 35 percent of the entire population would favor the House of Representatives bringing impeachment proceedings against the president (depending on how the Huffington Post asked that question, however, results varied widely).

35 percent! That’s more than 10 percent, so Riley’s in the clear, right? Not exactly. Take a look at those attendance figures up above. Under a million people showed up for the Million Man March. Glenn Beck’s highly publicized rally, at the height of his influence and with a still-fresh Tea Party, was under 100,000. By comparison, Operation American Spring’s Facebook Page has 800 likes, and Riley’s explanatory video promoting the rally has about 9,500 views:

Larry Klayman promised that “millions” would show up at his rally “to occupy Washington D.C” and call for the overthrow of President Obama. Instead, the crowd looked more like this:

In order to get even the low Riley estimate, nearly a third of all Americans who would support some sort of impeachment proceedings would have to take Friday off from work, travel to Washington, and stand with the militias for the protest. It’s not impossible that such a thing would happen. But it almost certainly won’t.

Have a Back Up Plan

Operation American Spring has a very detailed, widely-circulated plan. Mission? “Restoration of Constitutional government, rule of law, freedom, liberty “of the people, by the people, for the people” from despotic and tyrannical federal leadership.” It continues:


  • Millions of Americans will participate.
  • American veterans and patriots are energized to end the tyranny, lawlessness, and shredding of the US Constitution.
  • Government is not the target, it is sound; corrupt and criminal leadership must be replaced.
  • Those in power will not hesitate to use force against unarmed, peaceful patriots exercising their constitutional rights.
  • Patriots may be incarcerated, wounded or god forbid; killed.

It goes on, outlining the plan of action, with the assumption that 10 million people show up to participate:

Phase 1 – Field millions, as many as ten million, Patriots who will assemble in a peaceful,non-violentphysically unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed), display of unswerving loyalty to the United States of America Constitution and against the incumbent government leadership in Washington D.C., with the mission to replace with law-abiding leadership. Go full-bore, no looking back, steadfast in the mission.

Phase 2 – One million or more of the assembled must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holderresign or be removed from office.

Consistent with the US Constitution, as required, the U.S. Congress will take appropriate action, execute appropriate legislation, deal with vacancies, or U.S. States appoint replacements for positions vacated consistent with established constitutional requirements.

Phase 3 – Principled leaders such as, Former Representative Allen West, Senator Ted Cruz, Doctor. Ben Carson, Senator Mike Lee, Former Senator Jim DeMint, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker, Senator Jeff Sessions, Representative Trey Gowdy, Representative Jim Jordan, appointed by their peers, would comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by the new President.

This plan would certainly send a message, but given the above, it seems prudent to make sure you have a Plan B in case the crowd is less than historically unprecedented.

Uighur Terrorism In China Panalizing Afghanistan Over Terrorist Training and Money Laundering

[SEE: Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: on-going process – 14 February 2014]

Exclusive: Afghanistan suffers trade blow as China halts dollar deals with its banks



(Reuters) – Chinese banks have halted dollar transactions with most Afghan commercial banks, the central bank governor said on Thursday, making it difficult for businesses to pay for imports from one of Afghanistan’s biggest trading partners.

China is a major country that was handling those bank transfers, and now they have told the banks they can’t do it,” governor Noorullah Delawari told Reuters.

The impact on business had been felt immediately, he said.

Despite intense pressure from Western backers, Afghanistan has so far failed to pass laws meeting global standards against money laundering and terrorist financing.

That has prompted banks from various countries to halt trade with its commercial banks.

The Chinese move was part of a trend that was making it increasingly difficult for the banks to execute international transactions, Delawari said.

“Some of our banks cannot do any direct transactions” because their correspondent banks in the United States, Europe, Germany or Turkey had halted dealings, he said. “Now even transferring money to China to import goods has been affected.”

The Afghan government’s failure to pass key measures means that it could in June be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that sets standards on how countries combat money laundering.

Banks have been struggling since FATF threatened Afganistan with the punishment early this year.

“That has been affecting our banks’ ability to transfer money for anything,” Delawari said, describing for example how students abroad were unable to receive money from their parents.

Chinese banks and officials were not immediately available for comment.


Time is running out before the FATF decision in June. The draft legislation recently submitted to parliament, in its current form, will not save Afghanistan from the blacklist even if it is passed in time.

The governor said this was because certain provisions included in the central bank’s original draft had been removed without its knowledge by the Ministry of Justice.

“They made some changes to the law without discussing it with us,” Delawari said.

The governor said emergency meetings were being held with members of parliament and other officials to get the provisions written back into the draft before it was passed to the upper house for approval.

It was unclear why the law had been changed without the bank’s knowledge.

“Frankly, no one wants to talk about it. Very sensitive issue,” said a financial sector official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

The impact of being added to the blacklist would be “devastating”, he added.

In the meantime, the central bank is hoping to convince FATF to delay its decision because Afghanistan’s presidential elections are under way.

Afghans will head to the polls on June 14 for a second round of voting after no candidate won an absolute majority in the first round on April 5.

“It would be unfair to have the new government deal with the major problems caused by the blacklist. So we are hoping this process will be extended,” Delawari said, adding that this was a long shot.

“The blacklist will cause serious problems that would affect our banks’ ability to transfer money in and out of the country. We want to avoid that.”

(Reporting by Jessica Donati, Editing by Maria Golovnina and Mark Trevelyan)



From Benghazi to Boko Haram–Big War Crimes Flow From Even Bigger Mistakes

You can’t understand the threat posed to Nigeria by Boko Haram, or the ghastly destruction of Syria over the past three years, outside the context of “the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.” One huge crime begets many consequences, including the death of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. The Left should be outraged at Obama policies – in North Africa, in Syria, and in backing neo-fascists in Ukraine.

From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I support the Benghazi Inquiry

black agenda report

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

The destruction of Libya not only led to the strengthening of Boko Haram – it also led to arms being transferred out of Libya to Syria.”

Seemingly out of nowhere, Boko Haram burst into the awareness of people around the world as a shadowy group of Islamists with the ability to carry out audacious attacks that paralyzed the army of the most populous country in Africa. People now want to know the group’s origins, where they came from, why they are kidnapping girls and how they became such a powerful threat. All important questions – but questions that cannot be answered by just looking at the internal politics of Nigeria, as important as those are, because Boko Haram is incomprehensible when decontextualized from the destabilization, death and destruction unleashed across Africa from the Sahel into West Africa as a result of one historic event – the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.

African Union Commission chief Jean Ping warned NATO, during its bombing campaign and arming of so-called rebel forces in Libya, that the weapons they provided the “rebels” would end up in the hands of al Qaeda throughout Africa. He said, “Africa’s concern is that weapons that are delivered to one side or another … are already in the desert and will arm terrorists and fuel trafficking.”

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed what many in Africa feared from the NATO attack on Libya:

“We knew that at the end of the Libya operations, there would be fallouts. And the fallout would be where would all the weapons go? Where would be some of those who have been trained how to use weapons [and] how would they be accounted for? … Part of what is happening in Mali is part of the fallout from Libya, and we should not expect that Mali will be the last.”

Reports from the United Nations, the Guardian newspaper and many other sources reveal how Boko Haram benefited from the destabilization of various countries across the Sahel following the Libya conflict, receiving arms and training from an emboldened al Qaeda and its Saudi backers.

That is just one reason why the Benghazi hearing is important, especially for people concerned about the abduction of the school girls in Nigeria. The destruction of Libya not only led to the strengthening of Boko Haram – it also led to arms being transferred out of Libya to Syria, in violation of international law, to overthrow the sovereign government of Bashar al-Assad. This ended up increasing the military capacity of right-wing Salafi/Jihadi Islamists in a half dozen countries and setting the stage for the blowback on the anniversary of 9/11 that resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. citizens.

But of course there is significant opposition to the hearings.

House Republicans appear poised to give the Obama Administration its Iran-contra affair.”

In what House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi characterized as a “political stunt,” “subterfuge” and a “diversionary tactic,” House Republicans voted last week to form a 12-member committee to investigate the Obama Administration’s handling of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.

Claiming that they now have a “smoking gun,” with the forced release of previously suppressed emails that suggest the Obama Administration deliberately misled the U.S. public about what it knew about events that led to the attack and death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, House Republicans appear poised to give the Obama Administration its Iran-contra affair– not with the objective to further weaken the Administration, but rather to destroy Hillary Clinton.

The response from the Democrats has been predictable. Democrats already lined-up behind a Clinton campaign understand that no matter what comes out this inquiry, Benghazi has the potential to become a permanent yoke that wears down the Clinton candidacy. But in another bizarre display of political and ideological subordination to the Democrat Party and its rightist elite, elements of the left have also expressed opposition to this inquiry.

One would think that those on the left would support this inquiry, as limited and partisan as it will be, on the democratic principle that the people have a right to know what occurred before, during and in the aftermath of the attack. But even more importantly, by demanding a more comprehensive examination of all the activity of the U.S. in Libya in the aftermath of the destruction of that state, including the mission of the CIA in Benghazi, the left can and should raise serious questions that expose the dangerous strategy of empowering anti-democratic, right-wing forces, from al Qaeda-connected jihadists in Syria to neo-fascists in Ukraine.

We understand that there will be an attempt to keep the focus narrow. Members of both parties and everyone in the higher echelons of the military/intelligence community knew that the U.S. had aligned with groups in Eastern Libya that were known to be jihadists. The fact that both parties supported the NATO intervention knowing that jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda played a major part in the overthrow of Gaddafi and that the largest CIA station in North Africa was established in Benghazi where it provided arms and was used as staging ground for inserting jihadist’s forces into Syria, means that both parties share an interests in avoiding the serious legal and moral implications of U.S. actions in Libya.

The left can and should raise serious questions that expose the dangerous strategy of empowering anti-democratic, right-wing forces, from al Qaeda-connected jihadists in Syria to neo-fascists in Ukraine.”

I welcome the hearings and could not care less about the implications for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton or the reputation of Barack Obama. I am more interested in curbing the rightward militarist trajectory of U.S. policy. As an African American the plight of the more than 200 school girls captured by Boko Haram holds a special outrage for me. But I am also outraged by the murder of people defending their rights to self-determination at the hands of U.S.-supported thugs in Odessa Ukraine, outraged by the fact that people are daily terrorized by the constant buzz of U.S. drones that kill women and children in wedding parties and individuals who may “act” like they might be so-called terrorists, outraged that people can call themselves moral and even progressive and support the brutal Israeli occupation and de-humanization of Palestinians.

And I am outraged knowing that U.S. policy-makers don’t give a damn about the school girls in Nigeria because their real objective is to use the threat of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country to justify the real goal of occupying the oil fields in the South and to block the Chinese in Nigeria.

Exposing the whole sordid story of the destruction of Libya and the role of Al-Qaeda as the “boots on the ground” for U.S. geo-strategic objectives in North Africa and the Middle East represents the only strategy that an independent and principled left could pursue in wake of the fact that the hearings are going to occur. Anything other than that is capitulation, something that the left has routinely done over the last six years, and some of us still struggle against in the hope that one day the “responsible” left will eschew the privileges that stem from its objective collaboration with the interests and world-view of neo-liberal white power and re-ground itself in authentic radical principles and the world-wide struggle against Western domination.

Ajamu Baraka a long-time human rights activist and organizer is an editor and contributing columnist for Black Agenda Report. He is currently an Associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.

Ajamu Baraka’s blog

North and South Korean Navies Exchange Fire, While Nearby Chinese and Russian Navies Conduct “Joint Sea 2014” Drills


[SEE:   Russian, Chinese Warships To Simulate Ship Escort Missions In Both Chinese and S. Korean “Defense Zones” ]

Russian naval vessels have arrived in Shanghai. They will join the Chinese navy in a joint military exercise to be staged in the waters and air space near Shanghai, in the East China Sea. (Xinhua)

A Russian naval vessel arrives in Shanghai. It will join the Chinese navy in a joint military exercise to be staged in the waters and air space near Shanghai, in the East China Sea. (Xinhua)

Russian naval vessels have arrived in Shanghai. They will join the Chinese navy in a joint military exercise to be staged in the waters and air space near Shanghai, in the East China Sea. (Xinhua)

A Russian naval vessel arrives in Shanghai. It will join the Chinese navy in a joint military exercise to be staged in the waters and air space near Shanghai, in the East China Sea. (Xinhua)

Koreas exchange fire near disputed sea boundary



North and South Korean warships exchanged artillery fire Thursday in disputed waters off the western coast, South Korean military officials said, in the latest sign of rising animosity between the bitter rivals in recent weeks.

Officials from the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Ministry said a South Korean navy ship was engaged in a routine patrol near the countries’ disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea when a North Korean navy ship fired two artillery shells. The shells did not hit the South Korean ship and fell in waters near it, they said.

The South Korean ship then fired several artillery rounds in waters near the North Korean ship, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules.

South Korea was trying to determine if the North Korean ship had attempted to hit the South Korean vessel but missed, or if the shells were not meant to hit the ship.

Officials said that residents on the frontline Yeonpyeong Island were evacuated to shelters, and fishing ships in the area were ordered to return to ports. In 2010, North Korea fired artillery at the island, killing two civilians and two marines.

Kang Myeong-sung, a Yeonpyeong resident, said in a phone interview that hundreds of residents were in underground shelters after loudspeakers ordered them there. He heard the sound of artillery fire and said many people felt uneasy at first but later began to stop worrying.

Both Koreas regularly conduct artillery drills in the disputed waters. The sea boundary is not clearly marked, and the area has been the scene of three bloody naval skirmishes between the rival Koreas since 1999.

North Korea has in recent weeks conducted a string of artillery drills and missile tests and has unleashed a torrent of racist and sexist rhetoric at the leaders of the US and South Korea.

On Tuesday, South Korean navy ships fired warning shots to repel three North Korean warships that briefly violated the disputed sea boundary. On Wednesday, North Korea’s military vowed to retaliate.

North Korean military ships and fishing boats have routinely intruded into South Korean-controlled waters that the North doesn’t recognize. The Yellow Sea boundary was unilaterally drawn by the US-led UN Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Selling Oil To Fund Two-State Caliphate

Jihadists seek Islamic state on Syria-Iraq border

daily star LEB

In this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 file photo, a gunman holds his weapon in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo, File)
In this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 file photo, a gunman holds his weapon in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo, File)

BEIRUT: Jihadists have launched a fresh bid to take over the Syria-Iraq border area and set up a so-called Islamic state they can control, rebels, activists and a monitoring group say.

“Their name is the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Their goal is to link together the two areas (Syria, Iraq) to set up their state and then to continue spreading,” said activist and citizen journalist Abdel Salam Hussein.

Speaking from Albu Kamal on the Iraq border, Hussein said ISIS seeks to crush Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, and control the eastern, energy-rich province of Deir Ezzor bordering Iraq.

“ISIS is trying to end Al-Nusra Front’s power in the area, and if they do they will take over” the whole province, he said.

ISIS’s long-time ambition of creating an area under its control stretching across Syria and Iraq was undermined by a massive January offensive against it by rival Islamist rebels.

The campaign cornered ISIS fighters in Raqqa province, its bastion in northern Syria.

Once welcomed into the rebellion against President Bashar Assad, ISIS’s aim to dominate and its horrific abuses of civilians and rival fighters sparked the wrath of much of Syria’s opposition, including former ally Al-Nusra.

Rooted in Al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS split from the network after overall Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered it to stop fighting Al-Nusra.

In February, ISIS withdrew from most of Deir Ezzor after pitched battles with Al-Nusra and other Islamist groups, said rebel spokesman Omar Abu Layla.

But ISIS has since deployed “3,000 fighters from Raqa to Deir Ezzor”, Abu Layla told AFP.

“Most of them are foreigners, including Europeans, Tunisians and Saudis,” he said.

“ISIS have orders from their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to focus on Deir Ezzor, to take it over. It’s their main gateway to Iraq.”

Activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said violence is escalating in Deir Ezzor, with daily battles pitting ISIS rebels against Al-Nusra fighters, and a spike in car bombings.

One such attack by ISIS on Friday killed 12 people, including three children, the Observatory said.

The watchdog’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman, confirmed ISIL was expanding.

“They are pressing their bid by pushing tribes to swear oaths of loyalty to them, and by fighting rival factions in an attempt to ensure they emerge the strongest,” he said.

“ISIS have oil, money and weapons,” he added.

Over the past year ISIS fighters have seized regime weapons depots even after they were captured in joint battles with other groups, said Abdel Rahman.

Both the Observatory and activist Hussein say ISIS now holds sway in much of the area east of the Euphrates river in Deir Ezzor province.

Hussein said the tribal nature of the area means the war there is more over oil and loyalty than ideology.

He also said some rebel commanders in Albu Kamal, a key crossing point between Iraq and Syria still beyond ISIL control, “have sworn oaths of loyalty to ISIS”.

Hussein added that anti-ISIS rebels and jihadists are fighting back, but that they have suffered heavy losses.

“And with all the oil money coming in to Deir Ezzor, ISIS is able to keep its ammunition supplies well stocked,” he added.

The group has distributed food to families in flashpoint areas to try to gain popular support in an area impoverished by decades of marginalisation and three years of conflict and displacement.

“The other day they were giving out fruit to families. It’s a tactic to win support,” Hussein said.

But rebel spokesman Abu Layla, who opposes both ISIS and the Assad regime, said he believes ISIS has no future in Deir Ezzor.

“They want to use force to set up a brutal, extremist state that has nothing to do with Islam, and people reject that,” he said.

“Every day we are fighting ISIS and the regime, without a single bullet or dollar of support from the outside world,” Abu Leyla said.

“They can never claim real, grassroots support. Nobody in Syria wants ISIS.”


Urumqi Terrorists Detonate Dozen Bombs In Xinjiang Open Market–31 Dead

Dozens killed as blasts rock open market in northwestern China (PHOTOS)


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Blast rocks capital of China’s Xinjiang region

The Hindu

Ananth Krishnan

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, police officers stand guard near a blast site which has been cordoned off, in downtown Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday.In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, police officers stand guard near a blast site which has been cordoned off, in downtown Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday.

Powerful explosions rocked a crowded open market in the provincial capital of China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang region on Thursday morning, leaving an unknown number of people killed and injured.

Authorities were working to establish the number of casualties, officials said an hour after the blast shattered a market at 7.50 a.m. local time (5.20 a.m. IST).

The official Xinhua news agency said two “cross-country vehicles” had been seen by witnesses driving through the market, as attackers threw out explosives from the car. At least one of the explosives exploded in the market.

Photographs posted on China’s Twitter-equivalent Sina Weibo showed a scene of devastation at the market: at least four people were shown lying injured as debris was scattered through the street.

Xinhua reported the market was located in downtown Urumqi, which is usually under tight security. Xinjiang’s capital was the site of ethnic riots in 2009 that left at least 197 people killed and more than a thousand injured as ethnic Uighurs clashed with majority Han Chinese.

Chinese officials say recent months have seen a surge in terror attacks, linked to Uighur separatist groups. More than 30 people have been killed and at least two hundred injured in knife attacks that struck railway stations in Urumqi, southwestern Kunming in Yunnan province and southern Guangzhou.

The attacks were thought to be carried out by Uighur Islamist groups. Only on Wednesday, a court in Urumqi sentenced 39 Uighurs on terror charges.


Abdullah/Baitullah/Fazlullah Terrorists Kidnap Another Chinese National

[Another Chinese national abducted by the Abdullah Mehsud/Baitullah terrorists of S. Waziristan.  These are the descendents of the Gitmo-brainwashed Abdullah Mehsud, meaning that this Chinese guy has been abducted by CIA/ISI.  Shehryar Mehsud, representing the Guantanamo faction of the TTP (Hakeemullah/Fazlullah) is repeating Abdullah’s infamous attack upon Chinese engineers, which forced the Pak. Army into action.

(SEE: Fazlullah Floundering In Attempt To Dominate Waziri Taliban)]

Hong Xudong  (WEBSITE)

Pakistani Taliban says responsible for kidnapping Chinese tourist

Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong’e 

The Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday afternoon claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Chinese tourist from the northwestern region of the country, local media reported.

According to the reports, a commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in South Waziristan, Abdullah Bahar, told media that they kidnapped the Chinese tourist and shifted him to some safe hideout.

Bahar said they kidnapped the tourist from Dera Ismail Khan district for future negotiations with the Pakistani government for the release of their arrested members.

Earlier on Tuesday, local media Dawn News said on its website that a Chinese tourist had been kidnapped by unknown militants in Pakistan’s northwest Dera Ismail Khan district on Monday afternoon.

Dawn quoting police officials said that the abducted tourist was on his way from eastern Lahore city to southwestern Quetta city when he went missing in Darban area of Dera Ismail Khan, a district located in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The tourist, named Hong Xudong, was traveling in Pakistan on his bicycle and was heading for the country’s southwestern restive region of Balochistan, usually prohibited for foreigners traveling without security.

Police found Hong’s bicycle and other belongings from the area and launched a search operation in the region.

According to police, Hong was kidnapped at about 2:30 p.m. ( local time) on Monday but there has been no report of progress in his search so far.

Following the incident, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Pervez Khattak ordered the police to utilize all resources to ensure an early recovery of the tourist, local media reported.

The reported kidnapping of the Chinese tourist has not been confirmed by the Chinese embassy in Pakistan.

An official of the Chinese embassy, when approached by Xinhua, said the embassy is contacting Pakistan’s relevant departments to verify the incident.

Russia Gas (Gazprom) and China Gas (CNPC) Sign Huge Gas Agreement

Gazprom, China’s CNPC strike deal on gas supplies to China

itar tass

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller reported that the contract has been concluded for $400 billion for 30 years
© AP Photo/Mark Ralston, Pool


SHANGHAI, May 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Gazprom and China’s CNPC have stricken a deal on natural gas supplies to China. The document has been signed in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.


Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller reported that the contract has been concluded for $400 billion for 30 years.

In the gas contract for China the sides envisaged granting preferential mineral extraction tax regimes, said Gazprom CEO.

The shares of Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom in Moscow have grown by 2% to 148.55 rubles ($4.30) after the signing of the long-term contract on gas supply to China.

Preparations for the deal

The parties were preparing to sign the contract for several years. October 2009, Gazprom OJSC and CNPC concluded a framework agreement on the main terms of natural gas supplies from Russian to China, which envisaged gas export to China in the amount of up to 60 billion cu. m. annually.

In September 2010, the expanded terms of gas supplies from Russia to china were signed. In March 2013, Gazprom and CNPC signed a memorandum of understanding on the project of pipeline supplies of natural gas to China through the ‘eastern; route. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller stated then that Russian fuel could be supplied to China in advance.

May 17, Alexei Miller stated that the gas contract with China would be signed on conditions reasonable for Russia. “Anyhow, we are at the final stage of negotiations,” he confirmed. “The contract as a document is completely ready. It is a very serious and extensive document. There is only one question — the so-called p-zero, the starting, base price in the formula, which is already completely negotiated with our Chinese partners. Therefore, a little is left: to put down just one figure. And a 30-year contract for supplies of 38 billion cu. m. Of gas from Eastern Siberia to China will be signed,” Miller said.

Gazprom CEO noted: “38 billion is just to start. We have agreed with our Chinese partners that as soon as we strike the deal upon the eastern route, we start talks on the western route. As regards the western route, there is one fundamental difference concerning the resource base: this is the same base, from which we are making gas supplies to Europe.”

Gazprom expected to get $400 as a starting price for 1 thousand cu. m. of gas for China. The Chinese side wanted to buy gas for $350-360.

IED Explosion Refutes Claims That Lebanon’s Terrorist Problems Are Over

[More murders and attempted assassinations at Ain al-Hilweh surrounding key figures from the allegedly disbanded Fatah-al-Islam group and Fatah prove that the crazed militant problem will continue into the foreseeable future in Lebanon (SEE:  Assassination attempt adds to Ain al-Hilweh woes ).]

Has Lebanon ended Al-Qaeda attacks?

daily star LEB

By Alex Rowell

In the first two months of 2014, Lebanon appeared to be descending rapidly, almost inexorably, into a mire of alarming bloodshed and instability. An unprecedented wave of Al-Qaeda-linked attacks on civilians was accelerating, adding 34 deaths to the more than 50 men, women and children that such attacks had already killed in the second half of 2013.

And then, almost without anyone noticing, the attacks ceased. April 2014 was the first month to witness no explosion since October 2013. Even before then, a slowdown had been detectable – from five suicide bombings in February 2014 to two in March, the latter confined to the Syrian border region.

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, stated confidently in an April interview that “the risk of [further] explosions has diminished very significantly.” While this was a plainly political statement – aimed at retroactively justifying his group’s controversial military intervention in the Syrian war on the side of President Bashar Assad – it appears to have held up so far and has been echoed by the head of the Lebanese Army.

How, then, did a weak and fragmented state like Lebanon manage to prevail against Al-Qaeda? The principal reason was that Al-Qaeda groups in Lebanon, the Nusra Front’s extension in Lebanon and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, united Lebanon’s most powerful actors against them. Foremost among these actors is Hezbollah, which, in addition to its paramilitary manpower and hardware, also maintains its own intelligence-gathering and telecommunications networks that allowed it to keep close tabs on the two groups. The Nusra Front and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades made hostility to Hezbollah their raison d’être, branding it a heretical “Party of Satan” (playing on its name, which means “Party of God”) and stating after every attack that they would continue until the party’s militants withdrew from Syria.

Then there are the state forces, which also run multiple and sizeable intelligence-gathering operations. The general outline of the response to the attacks, then, consisted of a manhunt carried out by state security forces in tandem with Hezbollah, based on their combined intelligence, with the blessing of the political establishment and its international backers, including the United States.

This manhunt involved both arrests and targeted killings. In March, a militant wanted for involvement in at least one of the car bombings in Beirut’s southern suburbs was gunned down in a Lebanese Army ambush in the mountainous outskirts of the town of Arsal, near the Syrian border.

Less clear were the circumstances of the October 2013 killing of a suspect wanted in connection with two car bombings. His vehicle was reportedly targeted by rocket fire in a remote area, also near Arsal. While state media described it simply as an “armed ambush,” Hezbollah was also accused.

Similar mystery surrounded the death in custody of Majid al-Majid, an internationally wanted Saudi leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, credited with masterminding a double suicide attack on Beirut’s Iranian Embassy in November 2013. His demise in December, just nine days after his arrest by Lebanese Army Intelligence, was officially attributed to natural causes – but the Azzam Brigades blamed Hezbollah, who in turn pointed the finger at Riyadh.

State authorities also made swift progress on other fronts. A jihadist preacher from Arsal arrested in January 2014 reportedly informed the Army of the identity of Naim Abbas, a Palestinian refugee who became Lebanon’s most wanted suspect and was arrested the following month. Abbas was charged with overseeing two suicide bombings in Beirut’s southern suburbs and reportedly revealed the locations of several explosive-laden vehicles, which were subsequently intercepted by the Army. Various other associates of Abbas were also arrested.

As the arrests and indictments mounted, a clearer picture began to emerge of how the militants operated. Prosecutors identified a network linking the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in Sidon with Arsal. A common denominator in more than one attack was the fugitive Lebanese preacher, Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, who went into hiding after his militiamen fought a bloody battle with the Army and Hezbollah near Sidon in June 2013. At least three suicide bombers claimed in video testimonies to have fought alongside Assir’s men in the clashes.

It was Arsal, however, that Hezbollah officials repeatedly branded as the principal gateway for extremists entering Lebanon from Syria. Three kinds of checkpoints were set up around the town – two manned by the Army, and one by Hezbollah gunmen (aptly symbolizing the partnership between the two). Though the latter checkpoints became notorious for harassment and even violence against those passing through, and were eventually removed, the system did have some success as a barricade against attacks – both of the two most recent suicide bombings took place at these checkpoints.

Undergirding all these efforts was the carte blanche given to the Army and Hezbollah by the political class, including the patrons of the Sunni community. This in turn was encouraged by influential regional and international powers, including the United States, which has reportedly been sharing intelligence with the Lebanese authorities since July 2013. This was apparently instrumental in the arrest of Naim Abbas. “What happened proves once again that the security situation in Lebanon is directly related to the political situation,” said Riad Kahwaji, head of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. “Whenever we have political agreement, the security situation suddenly becomes very good.”

With that said, the “mission accomplished” attitude struck by Nasrallah and the Army commander may yet prove premature, as well as counterproductive. For while Hezbollah may tout its recent advances in Syria’s Qalamoun region on the Lebanese border as a “grand victory” against “terrorism,” this will only harden the hostility felt toward the Shiite group by the many Lebanese Sunnis who continue to see the Syrian rebel cause as a just struggle against tyranny. While Lebanon’s Sunnis are on the whole moderate, any inflammation of sectarian animosity can only be a boon to the extremist minority, which has grown in numbers and resources as a result of the Syrian war – particularly after Hezbollah’s intervention there.

That Hezbollah has given no indication it intends to withdraw any time soon means a fundamental underlying cause of the jihadists’ proliferation is set to remain for the foreseeable future. Moreover, it is possible that Hezbollah’s displacement of Syrian rebels, including Al-Qaeda-linked militants, from Qalamoun has in fact had the effect of drawing them across the highly porous border into Lebanon. Recently, reports of the Nusra Front conducting kidnappings in Arsal, following a series of skirmishes between Syrian gunmen and the Lebanese Army in the area, suggest this process may already be underway. In which case, Lebanon’s Al-Qaeda problem may not have been resolved so much as merely interrupted.

Alex Rowell is a Beirut-based journalist reporting for NOW Lebanon, among other outlets. This commentary first appeared at Sada, an online journal published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (

Russian, Chinese Warships To Simulate Ship Escort Missions In Both Chinese and S. Korean “Defense Zones”

[Maneuvers held “over the horizon” from Shanghai harbor will put the armada in the middle of China’s defense zone, as well as that recently announced by S. Korea]

Russian, Chinese leaders to open joint naval drills off China’s coast

itar tass

Joint Sea 2014 drills are regular exercises held by the Chinese and Russian navies, which are aimed at enhancing practical cooperation between the two militaries

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping

© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druxhinin


SHANGHAI, May 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met on Tuesday at a naval port in Shanghai to officially open joint Russia-China naval drills.

Six warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet, led by a missile cruiser, the Varyag, entered Shanghai’s port of Wusong on Sunday for the joint naval drills with China code-named Joint Sea 2014 and running on May 20-26 in the northern waters of the East China Sea.

President Putin, who is on an official visit to China on May 20-21, was greeted by Chinese leader Xi Jinping as he had arrived at the port.

The Russian delegation to China, led by Putin, includes Deputy Prime Ministers Arkady Dvorkovich and Dmitry Rogozin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chief of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Alexander Fomin and Navy chief Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov.

The Chinese delegation represented at the port of Wusong includes Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and other high-ranking officials.

Besides the Varyag, a Slava-class missile cruiser with anti-aircraft and anti-submarine striking capabilities, the grouping of Russian warships includes the destroyer Bystry, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev, the large amphibious ship Admiral Nevelskoy, the tanker Ilim and the sea-going tugboat Kalar.

The Russian side also brought two Su-30MK2 fighter jets, combat helicopters and special task marine forces as the Chinese Navy added six of its warships for the drills, which enter the active phase on May 23-24.

China’s cited on Sunday Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Navy Tian Zhong as saying that the exercise would be “different from previous China-Russia joint sea drills.”

“The two sides will mix all the warships together for the first time, and the ships will carry out battle exercises beyond visibility for the first time,” Tian Zhong was quoted as saying.

Chinese Defense Ministry earlier reported that the Joint Sea 2014 drills are regular exercises held by the Chinese and Russian navies, and are aimed to enhance practical cooperation between the two militaries and to strengthen their capabilities to jointly deal with maritime security threats.

The two nations held naval drills off Russia’s Far East coast in the Sea of Japan last July. Exercises assembling some 20 warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet and China’s North and South Sea Fleets were described by China as the largest the country had undertaken with a foreign force.

Chinese, Russian presidents hold talks in Shanghai

Chinese, Russian presidents hold talks in Shanghai

Xinhua net

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday morning started talks with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian president arrived in Shanghai earlier Tuesday to start his state visit to China and attend the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign a joint statement aimed at expanding cooperation in all fields and coordinating diplomatic efforts to cement the China-Russia all-round strategic partnership of cooperation after their talks in Shanghai, east China, May 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Chinese, Russian presidents hold talks in Shanghai

Xinhua net  Editor: Xiang Bo

putin and xi

SHANGHAI, May 20 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Shanghai on Tuesday.

At the start of the talks, Xi extended a warm welcome to Putin on his China visit, his first since Xi took office.

Recalling their last meeting in Sochi during the Winter Olympics in February, Xi said the meeting had made full arrangements for China-Russia ties and also marked a good start for relations this year.

Various cooperation committees and departments of both countries have actively implemented the results of the Sochi meeting, Xi said, adding the efforts had laid a solid foundation for his Shanghai meeting with Putin.

Xi said he will sign a “substantial” joint statement with Putin aimed at expanding cooperation in all fields and coordinating diplomatic efforts to cement the China-Russia all-round strategic partnership of cooperation.

They will also witness the signing of a range of important cooperation agreements and contracts, Xi said, adding that Putin’s current trip will be very fruitful.

“Further facilitating the China-Russia all-round strategic partnership of cooperation based on common interests is a requirement for promoting international fairness and justice, maintaining world peace, and realizing prosperity in both countries,” he said, adding that the partnership is also an “inevitable choice” for the development of a multi-polar world.

Calling China the largest trading partner of Russia, Putin said bilateral trade volume hit nearly 90 billion U.S. dollars last year.

Hailing the sound momentum of two-way trade this year, Putin said he believes bilateral trade volume will total 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.

He urged closer cooperation in the areas of aviation, aerospace, industrial production, energy and culture.

Putin said China-Russia cooperation, including in the United Nations, has become an important factor for global peace and stability.

He also called for both countries to strengthen coordination in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The Russian president arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday to start his state visit to China and attend the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.


Chinese Press Blocked By Google—Accessed On Tor

[SEE:  Chinese, Russian presidents hold talks in Shanghai–[TEMPORARILY ACCESSIBLE ON TOR NETWORK ONLY–report follows on NoSunglasses]

Chinese Russian pres at Shanghai

Commentary: Closer China-Russia cooperation needed for world development, stability

Xinhua net

by Xinhua writer Tian Dongdong

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) — By holding their second face-to-face talks within three months, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have infused new vitality into bilateral ties and cooperation.

The frequency of top-level meetings is an indication both of the increasing amity between Beijing and Moscow and of the deepening personal friendship between the two leaders — two cornerstones for the future development of China-Russia relations.

Hailing China as a reliable friend, Putin said on Monday in Moscow that expanding cooperation with China is undoubtedly Russia’s diplomatic priority.

With bilateral trade nearing 90 billion U.S. dollars in 2013 and their political coordination growing smoother, China and Russia have advanced their relationship to its all-time best.

Yet they should and can do more. Closer China-Russia cooperation is a requirement for achieving common development, promoting international fairness and justice, and maintaining world peace.

The extensive consensus reached by the two presidents will undoubtedly inject fresh impetus into the various bilateral cooperation projects as well as their coordination in the international arena.

For one thing, in a turbulent global economy it is of crucial significance for the two countries to strengthen mutually beneficial economic and trade relations and expand mutual investment.

For another, complicated political and security challenges are still haunting the world, which demands that the two global heavyweights work more closely to safeguard the international order and world stability.

China-Russia cooperation in this area is particularly necessary amid alarming attempts by the likes of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to tamper with World War II history and disrupt the post-war order.

That said, the two large economies and hefty players should seize the historic opportunity to further boost their cooperation in various fields for the sake both of themselves and of the world at large.

Editor: Lu Hui

Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil Valve

[The pattern displayed so far is too consistent to be the result of chance, or a blundering foreign policy….
All of the wars started within the greater war (which used to be called “war on terror”) have blocked oil and gas which was about to be brought onto the market.  There must be hard evidence floating around somewhere on the Internet which proves that the US, the Saudis and all Western governments have been following a foreign policy of exporting wars wherever they cannot control the harvesting of oil and gas. 

Whether my opinion on this matter is right or wrong, it has become obvious that oil and gas prices would bottom-out if all of these untapped resources were allowed to be brought online now, through international cooperation.  This renewed civil war in Libya provides us with a perfect demonstration of what we have been doing to Africa and to the sovereign nations of the Middle East.  By destroying the govts. of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria and the rest, we have made it impossible to bring their oil and gas plans to fruition.

We are fighting in Syria to keep its gas “bonanza” under the ground.  Until the Syrian landmass and outlet to the Mediterranean is secured by Imperial terrorist puppets, there will be no gas pipelines built through the Middle East, or through any Muslim country under our influence.  The beneficiaries of this treacherous policy have been the Saudis, the United States and the Big Oil giants.

Afghanistan violence prevents the building of the TAPI pipeline from Turkmenistan to the Arabian Gulf. 

The two major wars against Iraq, and the punitive sanctions in between them, have prevented the pumping and piping of Iraqi oil and gas (more oil than in Saudi, with gas reserves only estimated), helping to maintain inflated fuel prices since the first Gulf War.  From 1988 on, there has been fighting in southern Iraq.  The Iraq War was reportedly started by Halliburton’s tapping of Iraqi oil from Kuwait, using “slant-drilling,” allegedly using “unbalanced drills” (also known as “horizontal drilling” (used in “fracking”)

The renewed Libyan civil war has taken the world’s finest crude oil off the market, although the tap can be opened periodically, whenever oil stocks need a little nudge upwards.  This latest ploy to take Libya’s sweet oil off the market has been led by a man who has lived in Virginia for the past 20 years, General Khalifa Hifter.

The Pentagon plans to defend the resources of the world (as if they were all our own) by bottling those resources up, to be tapped in the future, whenever doing so would become profitable.  No one has the power to challenge this Imperial arrangement.]

[SEE:  Khalifa Haftar: Libyan CIA Asset  ;  Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya? The Libyan Bedlam: General Hifter, the CIA and the Unfinished Coup ]

  General Khalifa Hifter instigated the attack on the parliament building in Tripoli (AP)

Libya in crisis: Rival militias position themselves for civil war as country disintegrates

the independent

Patrick Cockburn


Libya is tipping toward all-out civil war as rival militias take sides for and against an attempted coup led by a renegade general that has pushed the central government towards disintegration.

In a move likely to deepen the crisis, the army chief of staff, whose regular forces are weak and ill-armed, called on Islamist-led militias to help preserve the government.

His call came after forces commanded by General Khalifa Hifter stormed the parliament building in Tripoli at the weekend, after earlier attacking Islamist militia camps in Benghazi.

The fighting has been the heaviest since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and there are signs that opposing militias and elements of the security forces in different parts of the country and with differing ideologies may be readying to fight a civil war.

A Libyan air force base in Tobruk in the east of the country on Monday declared allegiance to Gen Hifter while Benghazi airport has been closed after being hit with rockets. Some 43 people were killed and 100 wounded in fighting in Benghazi at the end of last week.

The attack on the parliament building in the capital on Sunday was made by militiamen armed with truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The parliament leader Nouri Abu Sahmein – in sympathy with the Islamists – called on an alliance of Islamist militias known as the Libyan Central shield to stop Gen Hifter’s forces.

Al-Qa’ida type movements such as the Lions of Monotheism have pledged to resist Gen Hifter, a spokesman saying on its website that “you have entered a battle you will lose”.

The most powerful competing paramilitary movements are based in Misurata on the coast east of Tripoli and Zintan in the mountains to the west. Zintan appears to be backing Gen Hifter, whose own support inside and outside the country is shadowy, with the powerful Qaqaa and Sawaiq brigades.

The latest step in the dissolution of the Libyan state underlines the degree to which the opposition has proved unable to fill the vacuum left by the fall of Gaddafi. The war which led to his defeat in 2011 was largely fought by NATO air power.

Paradoxically, both the militiamen attacking and defending the government are paid out of the central budget. In addition, Gaddafi had 100,000 men under arms who still receive a monthly salary as if they were part of the regular forces, but few turn up to work.

Al-Qa’ida type militias such as Ansar al-Sharia are strongest in Benghazi where they are held responsible for much of the mayhem. In Tripoli, Islamist militia leaders and their staffs have taken over whole floors of the best hotels such as the Radisson Blu.

On news of fresh fighting in Libya, the international price of oil rose to $110 a barrel for Brent crude. The Libyan oilfields had just been reopened after a prolonged closure of oil export terminals in the east of the country but are now shut again. Libyan oil output has fallen to 200,000 barrels a day, compared to 1.4 million barrels a day produced last year.

Many people in Tripoli express sympathy with General Hifter’s denunciations of the Islamic militias as the popular mood becomes increasingly desperate over the collapse of civil order and the central state. Gen Hifter said “this is not a coup against the state, we are not seeking power. Terrorism and its servants want it to be a battle”. The general, who in the 1980s fought for Gaddafi in Mali but defected to the US, where he lived for many years, returned to Libya in 2011 but played only a limited role in the revolt. His hostility to the militias will go down well with many Libyans, but his forces are in practice just one more militia faction and dependent on his alliance with other militias.

Nevertheless, Libyans express growing support for anybody who can restore order and public safety by whatever means necessary.

Fazlullah Is A Has-Been, A Joke…

Maulana Fazlullah was born Fazal Hayat to Biladar Khan, a Pukhtun of Babukarkhel clan of the Yusufzai tribe of the Swat District in 1974.–Wiki

[SEE: Fazlullah Floundering In Attempt To Dominate Waziri Taliban ]

TTP Shura rejects Fazlullah’s decision

the news pak

Mushtaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Leader of the Pakistani Taliban Mullah Fazlullah on Saturday suffered a serious setback after the central shura of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) refused to endorse his verdict about the sacking of senior militant commander, Khan Said alias Sajna, in South Waziristan with some Taliban leaders feeling it may divide the conglomeration of militant organisations.


Mullah Fazlullah had taken notice of heavy fighting between two militant factions of the Taliban of South Waziristan and removed Commander Khan Said alias Sajna from his position and appointed a militant commander Khalid Omar Khurasani to look into the affairs of the two tribal regions — North Waziristan and South Waziristan.


Omar Khalid Khurasani is the TTP commander of Mohmand Agency and is reportedly based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.Mullah Fazlullah had also given him the task to resolve internal differences between the two warring factions of the Mehsud Taliban and appoint a leader for them who is acceptable to all of them.


Mullah Fazlullah had alsoappointed Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, deputy chief of the TTP, as acting ameer of the South Waziristan-based Mehsud Taliban in place of Khan Said. Taliban sources said the decision of sacking Khan Said and appointing Sheikh Khalid Haqqani in his place and then giving the task to Maulvi Omar Khalid to nominate another commander for them had aroused criticism from a majority of members of the TTP shura.


“After some meetings, the shura finally refused to endorse Mullah Fazlullah’s decision. Mullah Fazlullah behaved like a dictator. First he made a decision and then asked the shura to endorse it. Under the rules, the ameer can ask the shura for advice before making important decisions. But in this case, he made the decision and then asked the shura to endorse it,” said a senior member of the TTP shura.


According to him, the shura had conveyed its decision to the TTP chief, reportedly living in Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nooristan provinces.According to sources, Maulvi Omar Khalid Khurasani could not go to North Waziristan or its neighbouring South Waziristan, where two factions of the Mehsud militants had been fighting against each other, to resolve their differences after Mullah Fazlullah gave him the difficult task.


Pleading anonymity, he said before the shura decision, Commander Khan Said had already declined to surrender when Mullah Fazlullah sacked him a few days ago.The Taliban leader said that the TTP has been passing through a difficult phase of its history due to serious internal differences among various commanders.


“Most of the senior commanders of the TTP are not happy with Mullah Fazlullah for this and some other decisions and are now supporting Khan Said,” the TTP leader said.He feared that there were strong indications that Commander Khan Said may form his own faction separate from the TTP.


“The TTP is likely to be divided as Khan Said had made up his mind to form his own organisation. He is popular and the Taliban factions of the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa such as Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu may join his organisation. Besides them, the Punjabi Taliban are also close to him and may join his faction,” the Taliban commander maintained.


The TTP commander argued that after the split, a third faction may also emerge and those neither supporting Fazlullah nor Khan Said could join the third forum.


“The TTP commanders of different places are very much concerned about the ongoing crisis and are holding meetings and seeking advice on who should lead the Taliban in case the Taliban are divided in two factions and Mullah Fazlullah is removed. Maulvi Khalid Khurasani, who in fact had given the idea of forming the TTP in 2007, is considered an important player and he may form the third group,” one of the Taliban leaders said.


He however said that Omar Khalid Khurasani had not cleared his position, whether he would support Fazlullah or Sajna or the third faction.


“In case the TTP is split, the Taliban of the southern districts along with South Waziristan would join hands and the militants of Malakand, Mohmand and Bajaur and Charsadda and Mardan would form their own faction on the basis of their school of thought and ideology,” said the Taliban leader.


There has been fighting between two groups, one headed by Commander Khan Said and another led by Commander Sheharyar Mehsud, in South Waziristan for the past three months and both sides have made conflicting claims of inflicting losses on their rival side.


Senior members of the TTP had made several attempts by appealing to the warring factions to stop their clashes, but in vain.Commander Khan Said belonged to the Maulana Waliur Rahman group, the then deputy to Hakimullah Mehsud.


Maulana Waliur Rahman wanted to become a central leader of the Pakistani Taliban when Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack on August 5, 2009 in Zangara village of South Waziristan.


It had caused serious differences between them when Hakimullah Mehsud announced himself as the leader of the TTP. Both of them didn’t like each other during their life.Both Commander Sajna and Commander Sheharyar had similar differences that existed between their two slain leaders, Waliur Rahman and Hakimullah Mehsud.


Taliban sources said that like his slain leader, Sajna is in favour of peace talks with the Pakistan government while Sheharyar, who replaced Hakimullah, opposed the peace process.


After the killing of Hakimullah and Waliur Rahman in drone strikes, Khan Said first wanted to be made central ameer of the TTP and then chose to lead the Mehsud Taliban in South Waziristan.


NNI adds from Islamabad: Mullah Fazlullah has said the government, army and intelligence agencies will have to accept the writ of Almighty Allah.


In a video message released by the TTP Darra Adamkhel chapter, the TTP chief did not comment over the peace talks with the government. He had however been opposed to the talks in the past.


His statement came at a time when there is a deadlock in the peace talks between the government and the Taliban.Talking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the Taliban in Darra Adamkhel claimed that the seven minutes video message was a fresh policy statement of the TTP chief.


In the video, Mullah Fazlullah was welcomed by armed militants when he came down from a mountainous area and recorded his message.Mullah Fazlullah asked his suicide bombers to be ready against tanks and artilleries of inimical forces.


“Those who have received this message should disseminate it to other suicide bombers who are not in a direct contact,” Fazlullah said in the video.He said implementation of Shariah was his mission and he will continue his efforts in this respect.


Putin Backing-Up In the Baltic—40,000 Troops Ordered Back To Bases

Putin orders troops back to bases after drills in regions bordering Ukraine

RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga

RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga

​Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to send troops back to bases from drills they were having in the southwestern regions of Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk, on the border with Ukraine.

“As the planned spring stage of the drills, which included redeployment of the troops to training areas in Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions, has come to an end, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to send troops back to their permanent bases and to go on with their military exercises at training areas nearby,” the Kremlin’s press service said.

In the same statement, Moscow called on Kiev to cease violence in southeastern Ukraine, immediately.

“Russia calls for the immediate cancellation of the punitive operation and violent actions, on troop withdrawal and finding a peaceful solution to all the problems,” the statement reads, adding that President Putin would welcome meetings between the government in Kiev and supporters of federalization.

Sporadic military clashes between Ukrainian troops and self-defense forces have been reported throughout the weekend in the towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region – two hotspots of the ongoing military operation conducted by Kiev to suppress anti-government forces there.

The gunfire is a fabric of daily life now in Slavyansk, but this is the heaviest fighting I’ve heard in Slavyansk since I got here over a month ago,” said freelance journalist Graham Phillips, who is reporting for RT from southeastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, where the majority of voters supported self-rule. Now the breakaway regions are rejecting the idea of participating in the Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25.

On Sunday, two Russian LifeNews journalists were detained near the town of Kramatorsk, presumably by the Ukrainian military.

News Media Holding, which owns LifeNews, has appealed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, asking him to help with the release of the journalists. Moscow has condemned the detention and asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for assistance in releasing the journalists.

Iraq’s “Pipeless” Pipe Dreams

Iraq’s Pipe-dreams

by Georgina Enzer


Iraq has ambitious production plans for 2017 and beyond, but infrastructure and security woes are choking production growth

Iraq’s reserve oil capacity could well exceed that of Saudi Arabia, lying fifth on the list of worlds highest proven oil reserves, Iraq is an oil industry behemoth poised to take back its crown after years of political strife, security issues and violence.

However, an over-enthusiastic government sponsored report, the Integrated National Energy Strategy, (INES), launched in 2013, has put forward oil production profiles that are not only ambitious, but almost certainly completely unattainable. These figures form Iraq’s energy plan.

The INES report puts forward three different production scenarios. At the high end of the spectrum, the Iraq government plans to increase crude oil production capacity to 13mbpd by 2017, an increase of over 9mbpd in just three years.

Production would then plateau until 2023 and then gradually decline to 10mbpd. The second mid-range production scenario is for Iraq to reach 9mbpd by 2020, and the final scenario, is reaching production of 6mbpd by 2025.

The figure of 13mbpd by 2017 put forward in the report is a direct result of IOCs over estimating production levels from individual fields.

This is a result of the Iraq government making production targets a criteria for successful bids in the round one and two field licensing, according to Dr Faleh Al Khayat, former director of planning, Iraq Oil Ministry.

“Iraq not only put the remuneration fee as the criteria for winning, it put the production target as well. So IOCs put very high production targets for each field based on preliminary studies, when they entered their bids,” he states.

For example, the Majnoon field was studied by the Iraqi government over a period of 40 years.
When Total began to study Majnoon between 1990 and 2003, it was given all the relevant field data by the government. Total and the Iraqi government agreed that the appropriate target to hit for the Majnoon field was 600,000bpd for 10 to 15 years.

“If 2003 [and the war] did not happen, Iraq would have signed a production sharing agreement with Total based on 600,000bpd. But in the licensing round, Shell and its partners put 1.8mbpd for Majnoon; that is three times the original target and they won it,” explains Al Khayat.

“Ironically, Total, who knows much more about Majnoon, gave 750,000bpd for the field in its bid. So everyone realised that reaching 13mbpd in 2017 is impossible.”

If all of the targets that were overestimated by the IOCs for the initial licensing round are added up, the total is 13mbpd, the INES profile for 2017.

“There is absolutely no way the country can reach the 13mbpd scenario,” states Al Khayat.

Iraq’s current production capacity, is 3.4mbpd, however average exports over the whole of 2013 reached just 2.979mbpd, January 2014 production was 2.8mbpd and February skimmed 3.4mbpd, the highest recorded figure since 1979. While the increase is positive, experts say that the country will not reach any of the three huge targets outlined in the Integrated National Energy Strategy, (INES).

“My view of the stated 13mbpd target is that it is overly ambitious, perhaps just a dream,” states Terry Willis, director, Middle East, Africa & CIS, EICUK Middle East. “They certainly would have no chance without the engagement of the IOCs and to do this, they would have to radically overhaul the current terms that have been offered in the past.”

There is also the very high cost of operating in the country due to the ongoing social unrest and, to put in place production facilities to exceed Saudi’s oil output is totally unrealistic in the current environment.

“Perhaps with a 10 year target, it may be possible, but within three years? No chance,” said Willis.

The mid-range projection is also challenging. Production in recent years has been inconsistent.
In 2009 Iraq produced 2.4mbpd, figures then dropped in 2010, before reaching an annual average of 3mbpd last year. Looking at southern Iraq production, the area where all the fields and international oil companies are situated, production jumped from 1.74mbpd in 2009 to 2.340mbpd in 2013.

“In three years’ time production will increase by another 1mbpd. This means every year production will increase by 300,000bpd. At the moment we need 3.4mbpd to reach to 9mbpd in 2020, that is 5.6mbpd in seven years.

We require 800,000bpd increment per year to reach that, yet we have only done 330,000bpd over the last few years with all the incentives to international oil companies for reaching commercial production. The INES report also calls for Iraq to reach 4.5mbpd total production in 2014. This figure must also be dismissed outright,” says Al Khayat.

“We cannot increase production by a total of 1mbpd during 2014. Even the increase of 800,000bpd to reach the 9mbpd for 2020, the Iraq energy minister does not believe in it. He said we can only aim for 500,000bpd. If we look at what has happened in the last three years, we can only reach 6mbpd in 2025. That 6mbpd is the figure which the Iraqis have always aimed for since the 1970s,” he states.

The major stumbling block preventing Iraq from hitting more ambitious production projections is the lack of infrastructure. There is a huge amount of work to be done; replacing pipelines, securing and replacing aging infrastructure and developing adequate production and transportation.

The southern Iraq crude oil pipelines can take a maximum of 3mbpd, and the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline has a capacity of 650,000bpd; creating a total capacity of 3.65mbpd. The northern pipeline is damaged, so there is no chance of throughput increasing from there. The current storage capacity in the south is also 7mbpd, only two days’ worth of production, and will need to be massively expanded as production increases.

“I think no more than 10 storage plants will be built in the next three years, so storage will go to 10mbpd, by 2020 it will only go to 20mbpd. This is half of what the strategy needs. Critically we need the Al Fao onshore terminal to be completed, because the terminal has enough pumps to receive the oil and push it to the jetties. Without that terminal we cannot achieve the 7mbpd required to export from the south,” explains Al Khayat.

“The southern Iraq pipeline capacity is 2.6mbpd, so if we are going to increase production to export more than 2.6mbpd we will bottleneck on the total pumping capacity. By 2015 the country’s crude oil production total will be approximately 6.2mbpd.”

To attain the higher production figures in the report, the country would need 300 new wells a year, plus 200 injectors per year, plus 125 rigs per year.


“The ports cannot handle this, the roads cannot handle it, the materials cannot be found. We need about 16 production centres and connection pipes. Most of all, a common water supply. There is a big desalination plant project currently in the pipeline, which will cost about $10-12bn. It will be used to treat the water to make it suitable for injecting into the wells,” explains Al Khayat.

“This desalination station is important because a lot of new oil is medium oil and production cannot increase unless this common water supply is finished and operational.”

Building the infrastructure is one challenge, however, security is anothermajor stumbling block for oil companies in Iraq.

The main northern Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has been repeatedly bombed by militants throughout 2014 and both international oil companies and national oil companies are pulling staff out of the area for their own security. This pipeline, which is unable to be fixed at the moment due to repair crews being killed, carries approximately one fifth of Iraq’s oil exports.

While Baghdad is optimistic the pipeline will open soon, the continued threat of attacks is hampering oil flows and affecting monthly production targets, as well as dramatically raising the costs for oil companies operating in the area. According to professional security experts operating in Iraq, it costs on average of $3,000 per day to secure staff operating in high risk environments in Iraq.

According to analyst firm, Lloyds Register Energy, the challenge to Iraq’s crude ambitions is the ability to build a robust and sustainable energy infrastructure supported by a strong safety culture to meet the 2017 scenario.

The firm said that it is not a completely impossible task to reach the INES scenarios if the infrastructure challenges are overcome but the supply chain issues, from drilling to exploration and production, and security concerns have not been resolved.

According to the INES report, if Iraq has any chance of attaining the scenarios it has set out, Iraq’s energy-sector ministries will need to focus on rapid, sustained, and balanced growth in the medium and long-term phases of INES, encourage international investment, and develop a strong INES governance mechanism that sets benchmarks, monitors progress, addresses obstacles, adapts plans to new circumstances, and ensures continued coordination amongst Iraq’s ministries.

It currently looks unlikely that all of these steps will be put in place to the degree necessary to hit the scenarios laid out in INES.

The Dangerous Spread of Wahhabi “Holy Fascism”

This spread of ‘holy fascism’ is a disaster

the independent

Patrick Cockburn

World View: ‘Wahhabisation’ is being used against other Muslims and Christians alike to subjugate women and crush dissent

Earlier this month, Saudi liberal activist Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a heavy fine for insulting Islam. In fact, his crime was to establish an online discussion forum where people were free to speak about religion and criticise religious scholars.

He had been charged with “apostasy” in 2012, because of his writings and for hosting discussion on his Saudi Arabian Liberals website, and was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes but on appeal a heavier sentence was imposed.

Mr Badawi will appeal against the verdict, but it is complicated by the fact that his lawyer and brother-in-law, Waleed Abulkhair, is himself in jail. He was detained without explanation last month when on trial for damaging the image of the kingdom and breaking his allegiance to the king. Under Saudi Arabia’s harsh Sharia code, almost any critical word or deed makes a person liable to severe punishment.

Lashings and beheadings generally get little publicity except where a foreigner is involved. The local media is muzzled and foreign press for the most part excluded. This contrasts with the blanket coverage of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, the al-Qa’ida type movement in northern Nigeria.

Heavy publicity is also being given to the introduction by the Sultan of Brunei of a new, supposedly more Islamic, penal code. Hassanal Bolkiah said at the beginning of May: “Tomorrow will see the enforcement of Sharia law phase one.” Later phases will include flogging, amputation of limbs and death by stoning.

No such legal innovations are necessary in Sudan, where, earlier this month, Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced in Khartoum to be hanged for apostasy after first receiving 100 lashes. Born a Muslim but raised a Christian, she was given three days by a judge “to return to Islam” or be executed. The 100 lashes are apparently because she is married to a Christian and is eight months pregnant with their child. Raif Badawi Raif Badawi

Of these four events the one that has received least international attention is the sentence imposed on Mr Badawi. This is a pity, because it is the spreading influence of Wahhabism, the fundamentalist, exclusive and intolerant Islamic creed of Saudi Arabia, that is a common feature in the deepening sectarianism, regressive legislation and mistreatment of women in the Islamic world.

The “Wahhabisation” of mainstream Sunni Islam is one of the most dangerous developments of our era. Ali Allawi, the historian and authority on sectarianism, says that in country after country, Sunni communities “have adopted tenets of Wahhabism that [were] not initially part of their canon”. Other Islamic believers such as the Shia and Sufi are denounced as apostates or heretics who are no longer Muslims.

A crucial feature in the rise of Wahhabism is the financial and political might of Saudi Arabia. Dr Allawi says that if, for example, a pious Muslim wants to found a seminary in Bangladesh, there are not many places he can obtain £20,000 other than from Saudi Arabia. But if the same person wants to oppose Wahhabism, then he will have “to fight with limited resources”. The result is deepening sectarianism as Shia are targeted as non-Muslims, and non-Muslims of all descriptions are forced to flee, so that countries such as Iraq and Syria are being emptied of Christians who have lived in them for almost 2,000 years.

Dr Allawi says that it is naive to imagine that small Shia minorities in countries such as Malaysia or Egypt were not frowned upon in the past by the majority Sunni, but it is only recently that they have been ostracised and persecuted. He says that many Shia now live with a sense of impending doom “like Jews in Germany in 1935”. As with European anti-Semitic propaganda down the ages, Shia are demonised for supposedly carrying out abominable practices such as ritual incest; in a village near Cairo last year, four Shia men were murdered by a mob while carrying out their usual religious ceremonies in a private house.

“The Wahhabi try to ignore the entire corpus of Islamic teaching over the last 1,400 years,” says Dr Allawi. The ideology of al-Qa’ida type movements in Iraq and Syria is not the same as Wahhabism, but their beliefs are similar though carried to a greater extreme. There are bizarre debates about whether it is forbidden to clap or whether women should wear bras. As with Boko Haram in Nigeria, militants in Iraq and Syria see no religious prohibition in enslaving women as spoils of war.

There are signs that the Saudi rulers may now be coming to regret giving quite so much support to the jihadis trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. In the past few days, they have invited the Iranian foreign minister to visit the kingdom. But it may be too late: having had their government denounce Mr Assad as the root of all evil in Syria, Saudi jihadis will see it as a betrayal and the height of hypocrisy if the state now threatens them with prison terms when they return home. Sultan of Brunei Sultan of Brunei

The Saudi rulers are not the only hypocrites involved. Western governments express horror at what happens in Nigeria or Iraq but are diplomatically mute when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Sharia law is disregarded as an exotic and traditional, if unpleasant, part of local culture which should not interfere in the business of securing lucrative arms contracts – some $87bn-worth (£53bn) impending for the US alone.

Of course, there are other reasons for the spread of Wahhabism and its tenets. It gives absolute governments a capacity to secure and legitimise their power by treating their critics as irreligious. Religious justification for lashing is limited, but its opponents can be portrayed as attacking Islam. Fomenting sectarianism between Sunni and Shia diverts attention from the failings of authoritarian rule.

A creed such as Wahhabism is useful to many movements because its exclusivity justifies any brutal action against an opponent. In Chechnya, semi-criminalised bands of fighters against the Russians, known as Wahhabis, used their fundamentalist religious beliefs to excuse banditry and kidnapping.

The ever-increasing impact of Wahhabism over Sunni Islam is a disaster, the effects of which are felt from the villages of northern Nigeria to the courts of Khartoum and the Sultanate of Brunei. It has everywhere produced persecution of minorities, subjugation of women and the crushing of dissent.

In a prophetic description of this trend, an Afghan editor denounced jihadi leaders in Kabul in 2003 as “holy fascists”, misusing Islam as “an instrument to take over power”. Unsurprisingly, he was accused of insulting Islam and forced to flee abroad.

US Using Drones To Drive Militant Leadership Battles

By Sajjad Shaukat:   Majority of our political experts see CIA-operated drone attacks in Pakistan in isolation, while these are co-related with other subversive activities, which have perennially been taking place in various regions as part of the US secret strategy against the country.

When in the past, the elected government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had signed the peace agreement with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), US had opposed it, and had accelerated predator strikes so as to castigate it. As a result, Pakistan faced dire consequences because TTP not only suspended peace agreement, but also occupied Swat, Dir, Buner and other adjoining areas. In that backdrop, Pakistan’s armed forces successfully ejected the TTP militants out of these regions. And leader of the TTP Maulvi Fazlullah who has close connections with Pakistan-based TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, had run to Afghanistan. Based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, his insurgents intensified subversive activities in Pakistan by sending suicide bombers and heavily-equipped militants in the country. Pakistan’s civil and military leadership lodged a strong protest with their counterparts in Afghanistan, but no action was taken against these terrorists. Besides, Kabul also rejected Islamabad’s demand to hand over Maulvi Faqir, former deputy commander of the TTP to Pakistan along with four other accomplices who were from Pakistan’s tribal areas, and had been arrested by Afghan security forces in February 2013.

In fact, in order to fulfill collective covert designs of India, Israel and US, TTP has been given a free hand by these countries to continue acts of sabotage in Pakistan because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. In this regard, Pak-China strategic ties and Pak-Iranian close friendship also irritate them.

In these terms, America has been acting upon a secret strategy against Pakistan by continuing drone attacks. While the newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for an end to predator strikes, but on June 7, this year a US drone attack killed six persons in North Waziristan. After the results of elections 2013, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which have now formulated their governments had repeatedly favoured peace dialogue with the TTP and to make efforts to stop attack by the spy planes. While during election campaign, TTP which conducted terror attacks on the leaders and election-sites of other political parties such as ANP, MQM and PPP had said that it will not target PML-N and PTI as these are liberal parties. But ambitions of the newly-elected government received a greater blow when on May, 29 2013; US pilotless aircraft killed four men in North Waziristan.

In this context, US State Department stated that Wali-ur-Rehman, the TTP second in command was killed in a drone attack on a tip off provided by an informer from Hakimullah Mehsud group. This has been a grave blow to Wali-ur-Rehman’s faction of TTP, while Hakimullah Mehsud succeeded in eliminating his major opponent in TTP. Notably, killing of Wali-ur-Rehman has been an outcome of split between TTP high command and Hakimullah Mehsud who is responsible for the death of Wali-ur-Rehman.

The new leader Khan Saeed alias Sajna hailing from Mehsud tribe of Shobikhel must realise that their leader has been eliminated by Hakimullah Mehsud group to get the award of $5million from US. The US State Department refused to disclose the real name of informer belonging Hakimullah group, however, it confirmed that the award will be paid. In the past, Hakimullah Mehsud made numerous attempts to kill Wali-ur-Rehman and this time his plot succeeded by providing information to CIA about his location.

 Nevertheless, TTP has lost the visionary leader who had supported to start negotiations with the newly-elected government of Pakistan to reach a peace accord and bring peace in the country. But under the pretext of drone attacks, Hakimullah Mehsud who has clandestine connections with CIA withdrew its offer of having peace talks with the elected government. On the other hand, US President Barack Obama who has recently stated that America will continue these strikes on Pakistan also seeks to create obstacle in the way of any peace process between the TTP and Pakistan Government as his policy remains to destabilise our country through subversive acts. 

Repercussions of these predator strikes and the coming ones are dangerous for Pakistan as the entire nation now expects retaliation from TTP terrorists who would create difficult challenges for the newly-elected government of the country. It means, in connivance with CIA, TTP-led by Hakimullah Mehsud, which has already started terror-attacks in some places of Pakistan would re-commence suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and assaults on security forces’ check posts including sectarian violence.

These strikes by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which continued on Pakistan’s tribal areas since 2004 have intensified under the Obama era.

 As regards civilian casualties, on August 11, 2011, a report of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said, “The Guardian published some of the pictures, we have obtained…as many as 168 children have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan during the past seven years.” While rejecting CIA’s false claim, the report disclosed, “It is a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought.”

 A story published in the Washington Post recently, pointed out the deaths of more civilians than militants by these drone machines. For example, it disclosed that on June 3, 2012, the US spy planes killed one militant commander and 20 innocent people in Pakistan’s region of North Waziristan.

 Details collected by the Pakistani journalists show that civilian casualties are higher as indicated by the US officials in this respect. In the last four years, more than 900 innocent civilians and only 20 Al Qaeda commanders have been murdered by the US spy planes.

 Although President Obama and his counterterrorism advisor John Brennan have defended attacks by the CIA-controlled unmanned planes by justifying their success in eliminating Al Qaeda militants, yet these strikes are proving counterproductive for Pakistan.

While, addressing the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2012, President Asif Ali Zardari said, “Drone strikes and civilian casualties on our territory add to the complexity of our battle for hearts and minds through this epic struggle” against terrorism.

 In fact, American such a duplicity contans many other covert designs. Now, US seeks to incite the Haqqani network as in the past 18 months, most of these strikes have targeted the North Waziristan. Besides, America wants to provoke the tribal people against Pakistan’s security forces, and to increase recruitment of insurgents through drone attacks.

In this respect, a report of the New America Foundation revealed, “When the US drones attack Pakistan’s tribal areas, it is not just the 10, or 50 innocent civilians they kill, these killings provide reason to the youngsters for joining terrorist groups waging war against US and of course Pakistan…while killing 10 militants, the US has murdered more than 1400 Pakistanis, not involved in any terrorist activities. Could it not imply that it gave birth to another 1400 militants?”

 America’s drone campaign could give a setback to the democratic system in Pakistan. Its another aim is to create a rift between Pakistan’s armed forces and the newly-elected government on one side and opposition parties including general masses on the other.

However, by setting aside the previous resolution of parliament, new rapprochement between Islamabad and Washington after the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan in wake of public protests—meeting of the Pak-US spymasters on August 4, last year and despite the opposition of civil and military leadership, without bothering for any internal backlash, President Obama seems determined to continue drone attacks on Pak tribal areas as part of his so-called counterinsurgency programme.

The New York Time on May 26, 2011, disclosed, “President Obama has become personally involved in the process” and “has normalised extrajudicial killings from the Oval Office, taking advantage of America’s temporary advantage in drone technology. Without the scrutiny of the legislature, Obama is authorising murder on a weekly basis.”

 Now, even by neglecting criticism at home and abroad that predator strikes are illegal, unethical and violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty as well as the UN Charter, US warrior President Obama remains intransigent to continue his secret war through these drone attacks as part of US secret strategy against Pakistan.

 So, it is the right hour that the entire leadership of Pakistan must stand united to get rid of drone attacks and settle the issue of war on terror as well.

 Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Fazlullah Floundering In Attempt To Dominate Waziri Taliban

[SEE:  Mullah Omar Makes Plea To Unite Afghan and Pakistani Taliban for Spring Offensive ]


[Forget whatever you thought was going on in S. Waziristan, between the factions of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).  This is a contest between the American CIA and the Pakistani ISI, over which narrative the TTP will play in the next phase of the terror war.  One side, led by Sajna Said, favors the option of publicly pursuing a new peace deal with the Pak government, while the other side, the Hakeemullah/Fazlullah faction, pretends publicly to be negotiating, but the only proof of their intent to talk has been with reps of the Karzai govt, where Lt. Latif Mehsud was captured by US forces, while negotiating with the Afghan govt.]

Taliban differ over new TTP chief appointment

November 02, 2013
Taliban differ over new TTP chief appointmentSajna

MIRANSHAH: A difference has surfaced in the ranks of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) over the appointment of new chief after Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike.

According to reports, two separate meetings of the TTP were underway. The meeting of the Majlis-e-Shura (Central Advisory Committee) which is being held in North Waziristan has agreed on appointing Khan Said alias Sajna as the new chief. This meeting is being attended by Taliban leaders from Orakzai, Kurram Agency, Tank and Khyber Agency.

The AFP is reporting that the Majils-e-Shura are taking opinions from all shura members and senior commanders. “The decision may take more time because the shura members are constantly changing the meeting place,” a Taliban commander told the foreign news agency.

Meanwhile, the second meeting being held in Nuristan has opposed the appointment of Khan Said alias Sajna. Sources add that the meeting in Nuristan is being attended by Taliban leaders from Malakand, Swat, Bajaur and Mohmand Agency.


Hakimullah’s death is the third major setback suffered by the TTP in a short span of six months – beginning with the death of TTP’s No.2 Waliur Rehman Mehsud in a drone attack in May 2013, followed by the September 2013 arrest of Latif Mehsud, who was made the deputy Ameer of the TTP only recently by Hakimullah while replacing Khan Said alias Sajna, a close adviser of Waliur Rehman.

Latif was arrested by the American troops from the Logar province of Afghanistan on October 5, 2013, where he had gone to hold talks with Afghan intelligence officials. Latif was elevated as the deputy Ameer of TTP after Hakimullah had developed serious differences with his No2 — the 36-year-old Khan Said alias Sajna.

However, after Latif’s arrest, Hakimullah was quick to elevate commander Abdullah Bahar as his No2 who too is reported to have been killed in the US drone strike along with his boss.

With commander Latif having already been arrested and commander Abdullah killed, commander Khan Said alias Sajna has bright chances of succeeding Hakimullah as the TTP Ameer keeping in view his guerilla skills and the goodwill he still enjoys among the various Taliban factions. But he had to face tough resistance from Hakimullah’s loyalists.

Even though Hakimullah’s death is being described as a major blow to the TTP-government peace efforts, there are those in the establishment circles who believe that the peace efforts would speed up if commander Khan Said becomes the new Ameer of the TTP. In the wake of Waliur Rehman’s death in a US drone attack in Waziristan on May 29, 2013, Sajna was not only appointed Hakimullah’s No2, but he was also made the commander of South Waziristan chapter of the TTP, a position which was being held by Waliur Rehman till his death.

A resident of the Shobikhel area of South Waziristan, Khan Said alias Sajna was a close aide and a longtime personal assistant of Waliur Rehman. Like many other Taliban commanders, Sajna too has been involved in fighting against the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

But Hakimullah had replaced Said with Latif in August following rising differences with him over numerous issues, the most important being the matter of peace talks with the government and mishandling of the TTP coffers. While Khan Said alias Sajna had a leaning for peace talks with the government just like Waliur Rehman, Hakimullah was under the influence of those who believe in bloodshed instead of peace.

Subsequently, Latif was not only made the deputy Ameer of TTP but was also appointed the commander of the terror outfit in Miramshah, the capital of North Waziristan which also headquarters the Hakimullah-led Taliban. However, while refusing to relinquish his position as the deputy Ameer of the terror outfit, Sajna had stepped up his efforts to put together a parallel set-up of his own loyalists within the TTP in South Waziristan.

While Sajna maintained that the key slot of the TTP’s deputy Ameer should not have been given to a driver and that too without consultation, Hakimullah had justified his decision, saying he too had been the driver of TTP’s founding Ameer Baitullah Mehsud before being elevated as the TTP Ameer.

On the other hand, despite being removed by Hakimullah, Khan Said Sajna remained a part of the TTP. He not only strengthened his clout in the militant circles of South Waziristan but has also managed to garner the support of all the 12 Mehsud tribal chiefs of North Waziristan. However, the selection of the new TTP Ameer would be an uphill task for the Taliban especially at a time when the TTP faces a leadership crisis because of the frequent deaths of its top commanders.

Are cracks appearing in the Tehrik-i-Taliban?

eturbo news

Are cracks appearing in the Tehrik-i-Taliban?

Taliban commander Mullah Fazulullah / Image via

Nov 04, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Mullah Fazulullah, leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), a banned Pakistani Islamic fundamentalist militant group allied to the Pakistani Taliban, has refused to accept Khan Said Sajna as the new Chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP). The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is a Taliban movement of Pakistan, often referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, and is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the northwestern federally-administered tribal areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan.

According to sources, Mullah Fazlullah has categorically refused to accept any Mehsud as the new Chief of TTP, stating that TTP must have come out from one family or one clan and other people should also be given a chance to lead the group. Sources confirmed that Fazlullah has indicated support of Arab, Chechen, and Tajik splinter groups that are no more part of Taliban Afghanistan and are living in restive areas of the tribal belt of Pakistan.

TTP Majlis-e-Shura (the Central Advisory Committee) met at an undisclosed location in the North Waziristan tribal area on Saturday and placed Khan Said, alias Sajna, as the new Chief of TTP who received 43 out of 60 votes of the members of the TTP Shura. However, other groups of TTP, including the Bajur group, refused to accept this development and helped a meeting in Kunar, a province of Afghanistan, and decided to install Mullah Fazlullah as the new chief of TTP.

Afghan war experts believe that the TTP decision to install another Mehsud as Chief confirms that the TTP has become a political party instead of a guerrilla warfare outfit. All previous chiefs were one family and one clan from the Mehsud tribe.

Another “New World Order,” One That We Can Live With

[SEE: International Security Umbrella for Lebanon To Be Guaranteed By Superpower Pact?]

The unfolding Ukraine crisis signals a new world order


The best outcome for Ukraine, and for the west, would be an agreement with Russia to get the great powers out

way out of the Ukraine crisis may now be faintly discernible. The round-table negotiations promoted by the Germans has the support of all the key governments. It is intended to produce a ceasefire, discussion of future Ukrainian constitutional arrangements, and the election of a new Ukrainian president on 25 May. There are still all sorts of ways it could go wrong: the east Ukrainian dissidents are not yet involved and will need to be; and polarisation continues, with both sides gradually losing control of their thuggish surrogates. But things now look marginally more hopeful than they have since the ill-fated Geneva agreement of a month ago.

The west has had to learn some hard lessons to get to where we are now.

It is generally accepted that the EU (in a mode splendidly described by one commentator as of “impotent megalomania”) precipitated matters by blundering into the most sensitive part of Russia’s backyard without seriously asking itself how it might react. This was not an isolated error but the culmination of 20 years of the west simply not taking Russia seriously, most notably with the Kosovo war and the expansion of Nato. When Russia did react in the (legally indefensible, but historically understandable) form of annexing Crimea and destabilising east Ukraine, the western view then swung 180 degrees to focusing on the need to “contain” a revanchist Russia intent on rebuilding the Soviet Union.

In the absence of any willingness among western publics to fight for the independence of Simferopol, the only weapon available was sanctions. These allowed western leaders to claim they were “doing something”, but in fact cruelly exposed their unwillingness to take real economic pain on Ukraine’s behalf. They have also become something of a badge of patriotic pride for those Russians targeted by them – of the six uses of sanctions by the west against the USSR/Russia since the second world war none have worked.

Happily, we now seem to be waking up to the reality that we are dealing not with a revanchist Russia, but with a coldly calculating one – a Russia that is neither patsy nor praying mantis. They don’t want to fight a war or take on the economic burden of rebuilding eastern Ukraine, but they do have a minimal list of requirements – Ukrainian neutrality, more autonomy for Russian speakers – which have to be met before they will back off.

Should we concede these points? Ukraine is a big heterogeneous country where provincial autonomy makes sense, and in such a mess that Nato membership is certainly at least decades off. Nevertheless, I regularly hear two quite compelling arguments why we should not. First, if the Russians get what they want this time, they – and by extension others – will come back for more. We cannot let the annexation of Crimea go unpunished. Second, what business does Russia have telling Ukraine how it can govern itself anyway? The world has moved beyond the point where big states can tell small states what to do.

Link to video: ‘Ukraine is trying to stand on its feet’: the crisis discussed by a panel of experts

I am afraid my answer to these arguments has to be an uncomfortable one. Indeed, in a rules-based world aggressors would be punished and small states would not be pushed around by big ones. But the rules-based world we imagine we have been living in since 1991 was always an illusion, and is now a fading one. It was an illusion because the rules, as admirably set out in the UN charter, were in fact interpreted and enforced by an economically and militarily predominant west.

When the west saw need for an exception – Iraq, Kosovo, Israel – the rest privately grumbled but went along with it. And the illusion is now fading because, of course, western predominance is also fading. President Obama’s trip to Asia two weeks ago saw a circle of allies diminishingly convinced by his assurances of support in their dealings with China. In Ukraine, perhaps the first real crisis of the new order, we are dealing with a newly confident Russia, and it is striking that the other “rising powers”, which might have been expected to deplore an illegal annexation, have in fact stood carefully aloof.

Through the crisis the US has regularly charged Russia with behaving in a “19th-century way”. This has provoked a leading Russian commentator to suggest that the time has indeed come for the world to relearn the diplomatic arts of that period. He was right. We are no longer in a world where the west can simply enforce its view. Great power politics is back. No doubt we could have a knockdown, drag-out showdown with Vladimir Putin about Ukraine’s right to join Nato. But the result would be a split Ukraine, a lot of economic disruption, an even more aggrieved and destructive Russia, and a further enfeebled world order. The only winners would be the likes of China and Iran. As Henry Kissinger, the arch doer of deals with global pariahs, has noted, “We cannot abandon national security in pursuit of virtue”.

The best outcome for Ukraine, and for us, would be an agreement with Russia to get the great powers out, as with Finland during the cold war, and give the country space to turn itself into an economic and political success, which would then be an example to Russia itself. And I am afraid we are going to have to brace ourselves for more such transactions in the future.




Intervening (in Syria) Like It’s The End of the World?

Thenewmahdijpeg.jpg“Did I behead six infidels, or only five? In all the excitement, I kinda forgot myself.”  Wonderful art by Ahat al-Ghareb.

Intervening (in Syria) Like It’s The End of the World?

Syria no doubt appears to many Americans as simply yet another foreign, Islamic land which the POTUS (this time Democrat, for a change) wants to bomb and/or invade despite (or even perhaps because of) the natives’ penchant for scimitar-wielding, jihad-waging and mass killing—like Afghanistan, Libya or Iraq.   While perhaps necessary, this view is woefully insufficient to do justice to the importance of Syria in Islamic history and eschatology.   And any understanding of apocalyptic Islam in the modern Syrian fitnah, or “civil strife,” is impossible without, first, a basic grasp of the historical and eschatological background to that crucial region. So put away your video poker games and pay attention!
Afghanistan, with apologies to our (shrinking list of) Muslim allies there, has always been a backwards periphery of the Islamic world vis-à-vis the Arab Middle Eastern heartland.  It did have some eschatological resonance, however, stemming from the ancient traditions—enshrined in hadith, alleged sayings of Islam’s founder, Muhammad—that “black banners from the East” would come to Syria and Iraq and (re)establish true Islamic rule after a period of Islamic devolution.  This trope was, indeed, exploited early on in Islamic history when the fomenters of the Abbasid revolution (and eventual caliphate) invaded from Khurasan (eastern Iran/western Afghanistan) and overthrew the extant Umayyad Caliphate, centered in Damascus.   But Afghanistan has never been a major locus of Islamic learning or power since then, and its eschatological utility has been as a mere staging area, not a center of action.

Jabhat al-Nusra’s Black Banner, emblazoned with the Shahadah

As for Libya, after the Islamic conquest it was little more than a barely-Islamized Berber frontier between Egypt and the more powerful and sophisticated polities to its west, and even after the Ottomans came “Cyrenaica” was of little import in any Islamic equations before the Sanusi Sufi jihad against the occupying Italians in the 20th century.  In terms of eschatological significance, Libya had and has none. Iraq has always been more more critical to Islamic history than far-eastern Afghanistan or thinly-populated North African Libya—albeit less so than Syria.  Iraq was on the fault-line between Western and “Eastern” civilizations, going back to Roman and Byzantine times, when it was a contested buffer zone between those empires and the various Persian ones.  The region of Iraq itself was divided, after the coming of Islam, into Sunni and Shi`i sections—the former often under Ottoman Turkish rule, the latter in the orbit of (or at least doctrinally sympathetic to) the Safavid , and subsequent other Shi`i, Iranian states.   To this day, especially post-American occupation (which empowered the Twelver Shi`i Iraqi majority to take power), Iraq is religiously and even eschatologically important for the Twelvers of the world primarily because six of the twelve Imams’ tombs are there and, after his reappearance, the returned 12th Imam al-Mahdi will rule from Kufa, Iraq.  However, despite Baghdad’s undeniable importance as a political and intellectual center from its founding in 750 AD to its demise at the hands of the Mongols in 1258,  Iraq pales in importance next to Syriafor the majority Sunni Muslims, particularly Arab ones.  Syria was the first area outside the Arabian peninsula to be conquered, and not only was it wrenched away from the superpower al-Rum (the Byzantine Christian Empire), but al-Sham, “Greater Syria” centered on Damascus included Jerusalem, the capture of which “proved” Islamic superiority to the other, corrupted monotheistic religions: Judaism and Christianity.  This fervent triumphalism only intensified after the hated Crusaders were expelled from their 88-year occupation by the Syrian Kurd Salah al-Din in 1187,  and the “Zionist occupation” of al-Quds  (“The Holy” [city], Jerusalem) since 1948 is seen by many Arab (and other) Muslims are merely a temporary setback, which the Mahdi and Jesus will rectify—perhaps soon.  Thus many hadiths predict eschatological events transpiring in what the French and Brits used to call “the Levant,” the most important among them including:  al-Sufyani,  (a “type” of the Muslim antichrist, al-Dajjal, “the Deceiver”) will emerge from Syria; Christians will (re)conquer Syria;  the Mahdi will reveal himself; the Dajjal himself appear; Jesus will return by descending into Damascus;  the armies of the Mahdi and the Sufyani will battle; and Jesus will kill the Dajjal in or near Jerusalem.  After all this the Mahdi and Jesus will jointly rule over a Muslim planet, and eventually both will pass away. The true end of history, and the Final Judgement, will not come for some years after that.  Interestingly, the Sunni Mahdi and the Twelver Shi`i one perform virtually the same role, the major differences being 1) the former will step onto the stage of history for the first time, whereas the latter will return from a millennium-old mystical ghaybah, or “occultation;” and 2) Sunni eschatologists prognosticate that the person whom Shi`is believe to be their 12th Imam will actually be the Dajjal—and Shi`is say the same about the Sunni Mahdi!  Thus, Syria is the most important eschatological venue of Islam, bar none. Quoting sayings of some of their twelve Imams,  at least one Iranian government official has superimposed eschatological themes on the Syrian conflict—Hujjat al-Islam (or “Hujjatollah,” a cleric ranking below  Ayatollah) Ruhollah Husayniyan, who claims that the strife in Syria is the prelude to the Imam al-Mahdi’s coming and revolution.  (This sort of “newspaper exegesis” has been going on for years in Tehran and Qom, actually.)  And Twelver Shi`is in neighboring Iraq and Lebanon are not only enthused about this idea, but have been motivated by Mahdism to go join the fight for Bashar al-Asad and the Alawi regime over against its Sunni opponents!   As I pointed out in a recent article on Syria, the Twelver Shi`i Islamic Republic of Iran has supported the Syrian Alawi-Ba`athist rulers for decades, despite the latters’ heterodox, at best, quasi-Muslim (Alawi) beliefs and official Arab secular-socialist (Ba`athist) political affiliation. Why?  Because the ayatollahs have geopolitical and economic concerns that override mere doctrinal differences between Twelver Shi`ism and its offshoot sect Alawism:  access to their non-state proxy Hizbullah in Lebanon, giving them a salient against Israel;  an Arab state ally in Damascus; and potential access to the Mediterranean for any oil and gas pipelines, via Iraq.  Sunnis, particularly Salafi-jihadist ones, find it far harder to dismiss  Alawi religious aberrations, considering that the intellectual “godfather” of modern Sunni fundamentalism, Ibn Taymiyah (d. 1328) issued fatwas against the Alawis some 700 years ago, and those condemnations—which make Alawis legally killable for Sunnis—have recently been reiterated by Salafi clerics.   There are credible reports that both the leadership and many members of Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham min Mujahidin al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad (“The Front of Support to the People of Syria from the the Holy Warriors of Syria in the Battlefields of Jihad”), the most formidable opposition fighting force, and one of the most vociferous Salafi-jihadist ones—as its name clearly indicates—“believe that the Syrian revolution provides a golden opportunity for them to work towards the realisation of this prophecy, and they work in the hope that they may become the people mentioned in these hadiths.”  JaN also advocates re-establishment of the caliphate, imposition of shari`a to include relegation of Christians to second-class dhimmi status,and killing of Alawis.  All of these views are also present, to varying degrees, in the other major Islam-based opposition groups, which in toto comprise about half of the Syrian regime’s opponents (and a majority in the north and east of the country):  Ahrar al-Sham, “Free Men of Syria;” Kata’ib al-Faruq, “Battalions of Faruq” (a name for the second caliph of Islam); Liwa al-Tawhid, “Banner of Unity” (meaning strict monotheism—an implicit critique of Christian Trinitarianism;) Suqur al-Sham (“Falcons of Syria”); Ansar al-Islam, “Protectors of Islam;”  Ahfad al-Rasul , “Descendants of the Messenger [Muhammad]; and Ghuraba, “Strangers” or “Expatriates.”


Ahfad al-Rasul’s crest.  The scimitar is mightier–or at least longer–than the rifle.

The  Faruq Battalions were initially part of the Free Syrian Army, the largest opposition group, composed mainly of Syrians and military units that had deserted the Syrian Alawi-dominated military.  The FSA has been trying to downplay connection to the KaF, since one of the latter’s members was filmed eating the heart of a dead regime soldier.   Even “moderate Islamists” like those in Suqur al-Sham [SaS] favor imposing the jizyah tax on Syria’s million of Christian, should they overthrow al-Asa.   No doubt the eschatological fervor varies across groups, as well—but is almost certainly extant, to some extent, in all of them, not just the ones deemed “extremist.”   As evidence thereof, I shall adduce Syrian Sunni Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqubi, a highly- and Western-educated Islamic scholar and preacher who supports the opposition—and also believes that the eschatological end game of Islam is playing out in Syria, with the Mahdi and the Sufyani soon to appear.  Al-Yaqubi, it should be noted, is also a Sufi, an Islamic mytic of the Shadhili order.   Islamic apocalyptic thought and praxis have often been connected to Sufism, and I have warned in numerous posts and articles about the threat posed by a confluence of mystical and Salafi-jihadist thought.   Now, this appears to be happening in Syria—as well as, it should be noted, in neighboring Iraq, where the Naqshbandi Sufis have waged jihad against not just the former American occupiers but Baghdad government forces.

Eschatology is making both sides in the Levant—Sunni and Shi`i—more violent and zealous.   The quasi-Shi`i Alawi regime (backed by its Twelver Shi`i patron) may have used chemical weapons; but some of the Sunni groups it is fighting are increasingly employing  the equally-horrific practice of decapitation–which may have now passed from the mundane Qur’anic-based register of just deserts for infidels into a macabre realm of  sacrifices to Allah intended to “hotwire the apocalypse.” While certain writers in the US obsess about Evangelical Christians trying to fit the Syrian Islamic civil war into a Christian eschatological blueprint, the truth is that they have no significant political power (and the ones I know are adamantly against President Obama’s proposed strikes on the al-Asad military)—they just like to opine, talk, and sell books.  The true believers in the Mahdi, the Sufyani and the return of the Islamic Jesus—who comprise hundred of millions of Muslims, according to polling data—should be the real focus of concern, most especially those of their ranks putting their beliefs into practice in Aleppo, Dayr al-Zur and Idlib.   The Obama Administration would do well to consider the apocalyptic aspects of the Syrian civil war before committing our forces  to helping those of the Mahdi (if we back the Sunni jihadist “opposition” via air strikes)  or the 12th Imam (if we do nothing, and tacitly assist al-Asad and his Twelver Shi`i allies).

Timothy R. Furnish


Jordanian king/”Project Loon”/Syrian Psywar

[The Jordanian king was brought here to UC Berkeley to flatter his royal ass and to twist his Hashemite arm into agreeing to participate in the wild Google scheme called “Project Loon.”  He, no doubt, was brought together with project director Mike Cassidy in order to convince him to approve the construction of satellite relay stations in Jordan, which will serve CIA plans to use Google as an instrument of Imperial psywar in Syria. 

After conducting an abysmal failure of a test run in N. Zealand, (where a majority of the balloons were lost at sea and only one made it to the intended target in S. America), Google executive Ross LaJeunesse had the following to say.]

“The access issues in the Middle East and New Zealand, in some way, are similar because you have very dispersed populations in vast areas,” he told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the international Freedom Online conference in Tunis.”

UC Berkeley Hosts Jordanian King Along With GoogleX Balloon-Based Internet Chief

CBS 5 San F

By Brandon Mercer

His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan speaks during the Opening Ceremony & Leaders Panel at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum at ExCel on October 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Miles Willis/Getty Images for 9th World Islamic Economic Forum)

His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan speaks during the Opening Ceremony & Leaders Panel at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum at ExCel on October 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Miles Willis/Getty Images for 9th World Islamic Economic Forum)

BERKELEY (CBS SF) — He may be royalty, but Jordan’s King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship and technology, which he’ll be sharing Tuesday morning at a UC Berkeley forum on innovation in the Middle East.

King Abdullah will share the stage with Mike Cassidy from GoogleX’s Project Loon, a plan once thought to be just a parody, but later confirmed to be a real effort to bring the Internet to the world using balloon-based Internet stations floating in the stratosphere.

Other leaders speaking include Jordanian dignitaries and the CEOs of Twindom and Zaytouneh.

The event is 10:45 a.m. at Chevron Auditorium.

Keeping Ukraine Alive Long Enough for Civil War To Begin

Client states, near and far

philly com

James Howard Kunstler

MY COUNTRY can cry all it likes about the referendum vote in eastern Ukraine, but we set the process in motion by sponsoring the overthrow of an elected Kiev government that was tilting toward Russia and away from NATO overtures. The president elected in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, might have been a grifter and a scoundrel, but so was his opponent, the billionaire gas oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. The main lesson that U.S. authorities have consistently failed to learn in more than a decade of Central Asian misadventures: When you set events in motion in distant lands, events, not policy planners at the State Department, end up in the driver’s seat.

And, so, now they’ve had the referendum vote and the result is about 87 percent of the voters in eastern Ukraine would prefer to align politically with Russia rather than the failing Ukraine state governed out of Kiev. It’s easy to understand why. First, there’s the ethnic divide at the Dnieper River: majority Russian-speakers to the east. Second, the Kiev government, as per above, shows all the signs of a failing state – that is, a state that can’t manage any basic responsibilities, starting with covering the costs of maintaining infrastructure and institutions. The Kiev government is broke. Of course, so are most other nations these days, but unlike, say, the U.S. or France, Ukraine doesn’t have an important enough currency or powerful enough central bank to play the kind of accounting games that allow bigger nations to pretend they’re solvent.

Kiev owes $3.5 billion to Russia for past-due gas bills and Moscow has asked Kiev to pre-pay for June deliveries. This is about the same thing that any local gas company in the U.S. would demand from a deadbeat customer. The International Monetary Fund has offered to advance a loan of $3 billion, of which Kiev claims it could afford to fork over $2.6 billion to Russia (presumably needing the rest to run the country, pay police salaries, etc.).

Ukraine is in a sad and desperate situation for sure, but is Russia just supposed to supply it with free gas indefinitely? As wonderful as life is in the U.S., the last time I checked most of us are expected to pay our heating bills. How long, exactly, does the IMF propose to pay Ukraine’s monthly gas bill? In September, the question is liable to get more urgent – but by then the current situation could degenerate into civil war.

The U.S. and its NATO allies would apparently like to have Ukraine become a client state, but they’re not altogether willing to pay for it. This kind of raises the basic question: If Russia ultimately has to foot the bill for Ukraine, whose client state is it? And who is geographically next door to Ukraine? And whose national histories are intimately mingled?

I’m not persuaded that Russia and its president, Mr. Vladimir Putin, are thrilled about the dissolution of Ukraine. Conceivably, they would have been satisfied with a politically stable, independent Ukraine and reliable long-term leases on the Black Sea ports. Russia is barely scraping by financially on an oil-, gas- and mineral-based economy that allows them to import the bulk of their manufactured goods. They don’t need the aggravation of a basket-case neighbor to support, but it has pretty much come to that. At least, it appears that Russia will support the Russian-speaking region east of the Dnieper.

My guess is that the Kiev-centered western Ukraine can’t support itself as a modern state, that is, with the high living standards of a techno-industrial culture. It just doesn’t have the fossil-fuel juice. It’s at the mercies of others for that. In recent years, Ukraine has even maintained an independent space program (which is more than one can say of the U.S.). It will be looked back on with nostalgic amazement. Like other regions of the world, Ukraine’s destiny is to go medieval, to become a truly post-industrial, agriculture-based society with a lower population and lower living standards. It is one of the world’s leading grain-growing regions, a huge advantage for the kind of future that the whole world faces – if it can avoid becoming a stomping ground in the elephant’s graveyard of collapsing industrial anachronisms.

Ukraine can pretend to be a ward of the West for only a little while longer. The juice and the money just isn’t there, though. Probably sooner than later, the IMF will stop paying its gas bills. Within the same time frame, the IMF may have to turn its attention to the floundering states of Western Europe. That floundering will worsen rapidly if those nations can’t get gas from Russia. You can bet that Europe will think twice before tagging along with America on anymore cockamamie sanctions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is passing up the chance to care for a more appropriate client state: itself. Why on Earth should the U.S. be lending billions of dollars to Ukraine when we don’t have decent train service between New York City and Chicago?




MY COUNTRY can cry all it likes about the referendum vote in eastern Ukraine, but we set the process in motion by sponsoring the overthrow of an elected Kiev government that was tilting toward Russia and away from NATO overtures. The president elected in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, might have been a grifter and a scoundrel, but so was his opponent, the billionaire gas oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. The main lesson that U.S. authorities have consistently failed to learn in more than a decade of Central Asian misadventures: When you set events in motion in distant lands, events, not policy planners at the State Department, end up in the driver’s seat.

And, so, now they’ve had the referendum vote and the result is about 87 percent of the voters in eastern Ukraine would prefer to align politically with Russia rather than the failing Ukraine state governed out of Kiev. It’s easy to understand why. First, there’s the ethnic divide at the Dnieper River: majority Russian-speakers to the east. Second, the Kiev government, as per above, shows all the signs of a failing state – that is, a state that can’t manage any basic responsibilities, starting with covering the costs of maintaining infrastructure and institutions. The Kiev government is broke. Of course, so are most other nations these days, but unlike, say, the U.S. or France, Ukraine doesn’t have an important enough currency or powerful enough central bank to play the kind of accounting games that allow bigger nations to pretend they’re solvent.

Kiev owes $3.5 billion to Russia for past-due gas bills and Moscow has asked Kiev to pre-pay for June deliveries. This is about the same thing that any local gas company in the U.S. would demand from a deadbeat customer. The International Monetary Fund has offered to advance a loan of $3 billion, of which Kiev claims it could afford to fork over $2.6 billion to Russia (presumably needing the rest to run the country, pay police salaries, etc.).

Ukraine is in a sad and desperate situation for sure, but is Russia just supposed to supply it with free gas indefinitely? As wonderful as life is in the U.S., the last time I checked most of us are expected to pay our heating bills. How long, exactly, does the IMF propose to pay Ukraine’s monthly gas bill? In September, the question is liable to get more urgent – but by then the current situation could degenerate into civil war.

The U.S. and its NATO allies would apparently like to have Ukraine become a client state, but they’re not altogether willing to pay for it. This kind of raises the basic question: If Russia ultimately has to foot the bill for Ukraine, whose client state is it? And who is geographically next door to Ukraine? And whose national histories are intimately mingled?

I’m not persuaded that Russia and its president, Mr. Vladimir Putin, are thrilled about the dissolution of Ukraine. Conceivably, they would have been satisfied with a politically stable, independent Ukraine and reliable long-term leases on the Black Sea ports. Russia is barely scraping by financially on an oil-, gas- and mineral-based economy that allows them to import the bulk of their manufactured goods. They don’t need the aggravation of a basket-case neighbor to support, but it has pretty much come to that. At least, it appears that Russia will support the Russian-speaking region east of the Dnieper.

My guess is that the Kiev-centered western Ukraine can’t support itself as a modern state, that is, with the high living standards of a techno-industrial culture. It just doesn’t have the fossil-fuel juice. It’s at the mercies of others for that. In recent years, Ukraine has even maintained an independent space program (which is more than one can say of the U.S.). It will be looked back on with nostalgic amazement. Like other regions of the world, Ukraine’s destiny is to go medieval, to become a truly post-industrial, agriculture-based society with a lower population and lower living standards. It is one of the world’s leading grain-growing regions, a huge advantage for the kind of future that the whole world faces – if it can avoid becoming a stomping ground in the elephant’s graveyard of collapsing industrial anachronisms.

Ukraine can pretend to be a ward of the West for only a little while longer. The juice and the money just isn’t there, though. Probably sooner than later, the IMF will stop paying its gas bills. Within the same time frame, the IMF may have to turn its attention to the floundering states of Western Europe. That floundering will worsen rapidly if those nations can’t get gas from Russia. You can bet that Europe will think twice before tagging along with America on anymore cockamamie sanctions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is passing up the chance to care for a more appropriate client state: itself. Why on Earth should the U.S. be lending billions of dollars to Ukraine when we don’t have decent train service between New York City and Chicago?

Filipinos Complain About Chinese Construction On Chigua Reef–Hindu Press Screams AIRSTRIP!!

Johnson South Reef

[NDTV (New Delhi TV) claims in the report below that China is building an airstrip on Johnson South Reef, even though Chigua Reef is only above water during low tide…pretty tricky, those Chinese, don’t you think?)

Johnson South Reef (Chigua Reef)

“Naturally above water only at low tide, but many rocks above water at high tide. Site of 1988 PRC/Vietnam clash”….(from Google Maps)

China May be Building Airstrip at Disputed Reef: Philippines


Agence France-Presse

Manila:  The Philippines warned on Wednesday that China may be building an airstrip on a reef in the South China Sea as the Asian superpower asserts its claim to most of the strategic area.

Filipino military surveillance aircraft have been documenting large-scale earthmoving activity on Chinese-held Johnson South Reef since January, the defence department said.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters the Philippines had filed a diplomatic protest against China’s reclamation works on the reef last month, but Beijing rejected it on grounds the reef is part of Chinese territory.

Asked if China was building an airstrip on the reef, also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, del Rosario said: “That’s one possibility”.

“On 04 April 2014, the Philippines protested Chinese reclamation on Mabini (Johnson) Reef. The Chinese side rejected the protest,” a defence department statement said.

China had earlier built structures on the reef after seizing it and other outcrops from Vietnam in a deadly 1988 skirmish.

“We can confirm that there is ongoing reclamation or earthmoving activities in that portion,” Filipino defence department spokesman Peter Galvez told reporters.

“Is that a possible airfield? We cannot speculate at this point,” Galvez said.

“It has been getting bigger and bigger,” he added.

Chinese embassy spokesmen in Manila could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Philippines calls the outcrop the Mabini Reef while China calls it Chigua Reef.

It is part of the Spratly chain and is located about 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of the large western Philippine island of Palawan.

China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, which straddles vital sea lanes and is believed to sit on vast oil and gas reserves, has strained its ties with Southeast Asian countries.

Earlier this month Vietnam accused China of ramming its ships in an encounter near another part of the sea where Beijing had deployed a deep-sea oil rig.

Those actions were described as “provocative” by US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone call to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The Philippines in March filed a formal plea to the United Nations challenging Beijing’s alleged territorial claims to about 70 percent of the South China Sea, in defiance of Chinese warnings that it would seriously damage their already frayed relations.

Manila claims it has exclusive rights to exploit the resources of waters and outcrops within its “exclusive economic zone” that lie within 370 kilometres (200 nautical miles) of its coastline under international law.

Beijing has rejected UN arbitration and urged Manila to settle the dispute through bilateral talks instead.

PHOTOS FROM PHILSTAR NEWS detailing ongoing Chinese work on Chigua Reef:

Chigua ReefChigua Reef 2

Anti-Wahhabi Cleric Stands Alone Against Wave of Saudi Radicalism

A cleric who could have redeemed Congress

The Hindu

Rahul Pandita

Rahul Gandhi

As the Congress leadership tries hard to shift the blame for its widely predicted electoral debacle from him, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi would perhaps sit down at some point and mull over what went wrong. He may then remember a man he had met about 30 months ago. More recently, even Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met this man during her campaign in Rae Bareli. But by then, it was too late; Syed Babar Ashraf could do nothing to salvage the situation for the Congress.

But 30 months ago, he says, he could have made a difference.

Mr. Ashraf is a prominent Muslim cleric; he is the general secretary of the All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), an umbrella organisation of different sects of Sufi Muslims.

In the past few years, Mr. Ashraf has been fighting against what he calls the “Wahhabi takeover” of Muslim affairs in India. He says the concerns of Indian Muslims have been hijacked by the extremist Wahhabi elements with the political patronage offered to them by successive governments.

“The Indian state remains oblivious to how Muslim institutions like the Waqf Board have become the biggest tools to promote Wahhabism,” Mr. Ashraf says. “They forget how Wahhabism alone is responsible for extremism all over the world.”

Mr. Ashraf alleges that these elements are funded with Saudi petrodollars and hence owe their allegiance to their foreign masters. “The Wahhabis have snatched away the identity of Indian Islam. The reins of the Muslim affairs have been handed over to these people who have no connection with 90 per cent of Muslims,” he says.

Mr. Ashraf cites the example of Delhi where, according to him, 250 out of 254 mosques propagating Sufi Islam have been usurped by the Wahhabis. “They call us idolaters, but have no qualms about getting their salaries from donations that our mosques get,” he says.

Mr. Ashraf believes that the spread of Wahhabism is a major threat to peace in India. “We are fighting it, but we do not have any political support,” he says.

Mr. Ashraf says he had met Rahul Gandhi to apprise him of the “dangerous virus of Wahhabism.”

“Rahul Gandhi asked me to support him, but I told him that was not possible until he paid heed to our concerns,” says Mr. Ashraf.

Mr. Ashraf alleges that the Wahhabi extremists have seized Muslim properties and are using them to spread hatred. “Suppose we had an old well near a mosque that was originally meant to quench the thirst of passers-by. But then a Wahhabi will take over and try and build a wall around it,” he says.

Didn’t something similar happen in Meerut on May 10?

Afghan Taliban Install New Military Commander Hand-Picked By Pakistani Intelligence

Taliban appoints new military commander close to Pakistani intelligence


By Ghanizada


A Taliban leader close to Pakistani intelligence agency has been appointed the new military commander of the Taliban group.

According to reports, the new military commander, Ibrahim Sadar, was in Pakistani jail and was released from the custody this year at the request of the Afghan government.

Sadar is believed to be a close ally of Mullah Mansoor, a senior figure close to Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

He succeeds Mullah Abdul Qayum Zakir who was reportedly sidelined after failing to disrupt the elections earlier last month.

Senior Afghan officials have said they view the appoint of the new Taliban military commander as a sign Islamabad was reasserting control over the insurgency as the US-led forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

The officials believe that Pakistani intelligence services are making much more determined effort to dirupt the second round of election and control the Taliban’s leadership and any future peace moves by changing the group’s military leadership.

However, Pakistani officials have repeatedly said that Islamabad is strongly supporting the Afghan election and peace process.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said Islamabad follows a policy of non-interference and all possible help have been extended to the Afghan reconciliation process.

NNA Delivers Defense of Leb. Freedom of Press Against STL Hariri Court

[SEE: Hariri court begins Lebanon media contempt hearings]

National Audiovisual Council condemns STL



NNA – The National Audiovisual Council stressed the importance of taking into consideration the unique reference for Lebanese laws to deal with all aspects of the media sector in the country, as this principle is mentioned in the Constitution.

In this context, and in a statement released Sunday, the Council condemned the approach of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon against Al- Jadeed TV and the daily Al -Akhbar , considering that it represented ” a breach of Lebanese sovereignty and a violation of the freedom of press.”

The Council did not fail to express its concern about a possible “transformation of the STL to a tool of foreign tutelage over Lebanon and the Lebanese.”

“Notifying the public is the duty of the media as it represents a direct expression of transparency, honesty and citizens’ right to know, according to the Declaration of Human Rights and international conventions,” the statement said.

The Council finally hoped that the Lebanese media body would deal with “this blatant violation,” calling on the government to assume its responsibilities in this context.

Son of Biden Joins Cyprus-Based Corp. with Ukrainian “Fracking” Contract In Crimea and Dneper-Donetsk Basin

[Son of Biden joins Burisma Holdings, with a trustee of the Heinz family fortune, who was senior adviser to John Kerry’s campaign, along with a lifelong executive from Sberbank of Russia, in a former shell company, which used to manage a scheme that provided a 90/10 split between Shell Oil and Ukr. Pres. Yanukovych, for the profits expected from the Dneper-Donetsk Basin “fracking” wells. Burisma also owns the oil and gas rights to Crimea and the offshore Black Sea assets.  No matter which Dem. big shot runs against Hillary next time, Kerry or Biden, he will have all of the inside info on the fight for Eastern Ukraine.]

Video of Shell operations in Kharkov area:

Son of U.S. Vice President Biden Joins Ukraine Gas Company

Moscow Times

In a statement published Monday on its website, Burisma Holdings announced Hunter Biden would join its board of directors and head the company’s legal unit.

“As a new member of the board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine,” Hunter Biden said in the statement.

Burisma owns several Ukrainian oil and gas companies, including Esko Pivnich and Pari, reported Tuesday.


The company also has assets in Ukraine’s Dnepr-Donetsk, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuvan basins.  [Dneper-Donetsk is the primary area being developed by “fracking” in Ukraine.  Before now, Shell Oil had the contract for this basin sewed-up, in a 90/10 contractual arrangement with “Nadra Yuzivska LLC,” an alleged front for President Viktor Yanukovych.  “Shell has a permit to drill for shale gas in an area of nearly 8,000 square kilometers between the cities of Kharkov and Donetsk,” ]

ukrainemap-non-premiumMap of Shale Gas Basins in the Ukraine

Burisma produced 11,600 barrels of oil equivalent, or boe, in 2013 and was planning to increase its production in Ukraine by 35-40 percent in 2014, U.S. financier and member of the board of directors Devon Archer told newspaper Capital in late April.

Hunter’s father, as U.S. Vice President, has repeatedly rebuked Russia for its reported involvement in Ukraine and has pledged to support efforts to reduce its dependency on Russian energy.

Alan Apter chair Alan Apter, Chairman appointed as Non-Executive Chairman and a Director of the Company in May 2013. 

Mr. Apter joins Burisma after a 27 year career in investment banking, including spending time at Merrill Lynch, Renaissance Capital, Troika Dialog and Morgan Stanley.  (Troika Dialog is headquartered in Moscow, a subsidiary of Sberbank…the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe, and the third largest in Europe…50+% owned by The Bank of Russia.)

Devon Archer dir Devon Archer, Director was appointed as a Director of the Company in April 2014.

Mr. Archer served as a senior advisor to John Kerry during his 2004 Presidential Campaign and co-chaired the National Finance Committee…and is a Trustee for the Heinz Family Office.

Hunter Biden dir Hunter Biden, Director was appointed a Director of the Company in April, 2014.

Chairman’s Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute…served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Qatar suspiciously involved in abduction of Al-Itan

Qatar suspiciously involved in abduction of Al-Itan and attempt to abduct our envoy to Libya 


(photo by REUTERS/Yousef Allan/Royal Palace)

Gerasa News , by Islam Sawalha —  In fact , dispersing a tribal fight using gas tear or breaking a peaceful sit-in in front of the Zionist Israeli Embassy in Amman or even controlling the riots in Ma’an by imposing force , all these ways may bring back prestige and strong status to the Government and its security forces. However , it will not bring it back  to the Jordanian State for real , what really does so is following the terrorists who killed Judge Ra’ed Zuaiter ,liberating our abducted ambassador in Libya , Fawaz al-Itan and unveiling the conspiracy plotted to threaten the stability and security in Jordan.

While the preparations for the Pope’s visit to Jordan are continuing , the City of Ajloun witnessed a wide rang of riots and was promoted by media as riots on a sectarian basis after a christian girl ” Batoul Haddad” converted to Islam and was killed by both her father and uncle.

Apparently, those who worked to promote the incident as a beginning of sectarian clash in Jordan , only wanted to foil the Pope’s visit intentionally or not it is all the same. However, Jordanian people were quite aware and tolerant putting an end to these suspicious plots operated by remote controls from certain people outside Jordan.

Now , the plot targets Jordanian interests in foreign countries where the abduction of Jordanian envoy to Libya by unknown group is a clear evidence. Up to this moment the motives and demands of the abductors are not known yet opposing to what is published on media outlets. Sources told Gerasa News that the Government is not aware of Al-Itan’s fate , neither have contacts with his abductors which means that when the Foreign Ministry says they have no updated information about Al-Itan’s case not out of secrecy to avoid any negative consequences on the releasing negotiations , but because the Ministry really has no information about his fate.

The same sources connect between the Qatari offer to help in releasing Al-Itan and the assumptions and doubts of the involvement of Qatar in the incident, especially after the role Qatar played in mediating between armed groups and Libyan authorities.

Noteworthy that the Jordanian Prime Minister wanders around Amman in a huge escort vehicles while our ambassadors are accompanied with one or two escort vehicles in countries with no security.

In the same context , Gerasa was informed that the withdrawal of Jordanian Ambassador to Yemen , Sulaiman al-Ghuweiri came after discovering a plan to kidnap him which if it happened would cost Jordan’s prestige too much. Earlier , the UAE envoy to Yemen survived an abduction attempt , was not published, which sheds the light on the theory of the Qatari involvement in an attempt for Doha to break the isolation caused after the withdrawal of envoys of Saudi Arabia , Bahrain and UAE from Doha.

اIn light of all events , it is very shameful to limit the Jordanian diplomacy role on asking the other countries for help for hosting Syrian refugees at the time where international community does not consider the refugees’ case as priority, especially after the Turkish Foreign Minister proposal to open refugees camps inside Syria under a regional protection. However , some local parties insist to beg at the expense of Syrian refugees.

Finally , we do not know when these parties will pay attention to the danger coming from Sinai , Iraq and Syria , as well as our interests in the countries that lack security such as Libya, Yemen , Sudan and even Lebanon.

Jordanian Ambassador to Libya Returned Home, After Jordanian Terrorist Dursi Handed To Libyans






Mohamed Dersi

Al-Itan arrives to Marka Airport


Gerasa News — Jordanian Ambassador to Libya , Fawaz al-Itan ,  has just arrived to Marka Airport in Amman on Tuesday morning , according to our correspondent.

Fawaz al-Itan arrived to Marka Airport , Amman  Photo from Deema Alam Farraj account on Facebook

The Ambassador had medical tests to assure his health condition , our correspondent reported.

Al-Itan was abducted by an armed group in Libyan Capitol , Tripoli one month ago and has been released today morning.

Prince Faysal Bin Hussain ,deputy of King Abdullah II, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour , Foreign Minister Nassir Judeh and Head of Central Intelligence Department , Faysal al-Shobaki received Al-Itan upon his arrival to the airport.

Al-Itan is heading now to his home town, Al-Mafraq City.


Jordanian Christian Stones Daughter for Converting to Islam

Jordanian Christian kills daughter for converting to Islam

world bulletin

The woman was killed by her father on Wednesday a short time after she converted to Islam when she attended a lecture by prominent Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Arefe at the Jordanian University in Amman.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Scores of Jordanians on Thursday tried to break into a church in the northern Ajloun province in protest against the reported killing of a local girl by her Christian father on the background of her recent conversion to Islam, a Jordanian security source said.

“Some residents of Al-Wahadinah village besieged and tried to storm into the church, a short time after some youth attempted to burn it down before security forces intervened,” the security source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

He added that the woman was killed by her father on Wednesday a short time after she converted to Islam when she attended a lecture by prominent Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Arefe at the Jordanian University in the capital Amman.

“He hit her with a stone on the head,” the security source said of the woman. “She died immediately,” he added.

The protesters, who gathered outside an administrative province building before they headed to the church on Thursday, called for burying the slain woman in a cemetery designated for Muslims.

Jordanian authorities have not commented on the accident yet.

Christians make up 2.2 percent of Jordan’s eight million population, according to a 2014 census.

The War Crime of Intentional Refugee Creation

[Obama and friends have created something that it is so monstrous in intent and ruthlessness that it is incomprehensible to most “normal” human beings.  The CIA has weaponized the refugees who flood the highways surrounding the live war zones, or die in great numbers, while bobbing about on the Mediterranean.  In modern Imperial warfare, they are just a free-flowing asset, that can be turned on and off whenever and wherever the Empire needs them. 

This can best be described as a reverse “human wave assault” tactic (the Chinese tactic which literally cost us the Korean War).  Waves of armed men have been replaced by mobile masses of the poorest and most desperate human beings on the face of the planet, who can be covertly directed to overrun “enemy lines,” which impede the Empire’s progress.  This strategy of using human beings as an ocean of refuse causes far more damage than could have been wrought in a controlled attack.  More important, is that it is acceptable to use brutal violence against attackers, while refugees have to be fed, clothed and cared for, in a transparent humanitarian operation.

Now we see the two major strategies of the CIA and State Dept. merging in Libya and the other puppet states of North Africa.  This is enabling a greater international strategy to legally bind the EU to American will, utilizing the terror war (which generates both refugees and new terrorists, in large numbers) to provide the human fodder needed by State Dept. in its  campaign to use refugees and the UN. The State Dept. is Washington’s “spear,” which is being wielded to create a legal mechanism for forcing European compliance with American directives, pertaining to refugees and the international migration of the unwanted.

If the new Libyan Interior minister has threatened to unleash his substantial refugee weapon against Europe, it is because that is what his international bosses want him to do next.  It is NO COINCIDENCE that a tsunami of African refugees has been set in motion upon all of the main arteries of North Africa, just as they are needed for the invasion of Europe, where Obama will use them as a living battering ram to knock-down the wall separating Africa and Europe.  Africa’s poor and destitute have long been suffering and waiting in the wings, much like the people of Palestine, who have served as everyone’s pawns, moving the international drama forward.

(SEE:  THE CAMP OF THE SAINTSObama’s War-Generated Tsunami of Dark-Skinned People Turning Mediterranean Into Massive Watery Cemetary  ;  Spying eclipses migrant deaths at EU summit ]  

Libya threatens EU over African immigrants

Interior minister says Tripoli will allow migrants to “flood” Europe if it does not help Libya combat illegal entries


Mazek said he had just returned from France where he had asked his counterpart for help over the issue [AFP]

Libya’s interim interior minister has warned that Tripoli could “facilitate” the passage of those people seeking to get to Europe illegally unless the European Union (EU) helps it combat the problem.

“With regards to illegal immigration, I am warning the world, and the European Union in particular, that if they do not shoulder the responsibility with us, the state of Libya will take a position on this matter that could facilitate the quick passage of this flood of people through Libya since God has made us a transit point for this flood,” Salah Mazek told a news conference on Saturday.

Mazek said Libya was “suffering” because thousands of mainly sub-Saharan Africans were spreading disease, crime and drugs in the North African nation, the AFP news agency reported.

“Libya has paid the price. Now it’s Europe’s turn to pay,” Mazek added.

For years, Libya has been a springboard for hundreds of thousands of Africans seeking a better life in Europe.

Many cram into makeshift boats to attempt the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Malta or the Italian island of Lampedusa off Sicily. Hundreds lose their lives each year.

More than 22,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year, 10 times more than the number during the same period in 2013.

Former leader Muammar Gaddafi, deposed and killed in the 2011 uprising, turned on and off the flow of illegal migrants as a way of exerting pressure on Brussels.

Shortly before the uprising erupted in February that year, he demanded nearly $7bn a year from the EU to solve the problem.

Mazek said he had just returned from a trip to France where he had asked his counterpart for help to tackle the problem, but without specifying the nature of any such assistance.

The Fascist Kherson Region of Ukraine

“The new sand bag construction is being erected in the Kherson region about 40km from the border with Crimea.”

Elsewhere in Kherson, we have this:

Kherson governor calls Hitler ‘liberator’ addressing veterans on Victory Day

Ukraine builds dam cutting off Crimea water supply


Satellite images of the North Crimean Canal.


Satellite image of the North Crimean Canaldam 2

Recent satellite images show that Kiev is deliberately trying to cut off Crimea peninsula’s water supply by building a dam. In the meantime Russian scientists are trying to find ways to supply Crimea with fresh water.

Experts from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources are developing ways to supply fresh water to the Crimea from the Kuban River in the Krasnodar region to the North Crimean Canal which now receives limited water-flow, as Kiev tightens the lid on Simferopol.

“As one of options of providing the peninsula with water, we are considering an option of drawing water supply from the Kuban River and channeling it through the Strait of Kerch to the end portion of North Crimean Canal,” director of the department of public policy and regulation in the field of water resources ministry of Russia Dmitry Kirillov told Ria Novosti.

He added in order to do so the transfer an underground pipeline has to be built in three segments, with each stretching about 130 kilometers.

The options of laying a pipeline through the sea bed of Kerch Strait on special supports or as part of a bridge is now only in the design stage. Transferring water stock from the Kuban River via the Kerch Strait is estimated to cost up to 100 billion rubles ($ 2.8 billion).

“The topography allows to run the water in the opposite direction, from the east to north-west, using the cut off North Crimean Canal. Water from Kuban will be enough to meet the needs of housing, utilities, and agriculture of Crimea,” Kirillov explained.

Before Crimea joined Russia in March, Ukraine provided up to 85 percent of the peninsula’s water needs, through the canal stretching from the Dnepr River. The Crimean authorities have repeatedly asked Kiev to renegotiate water supply contracts.

Instead Ukrainian authorities cut the flow of water from the normal spring level of 80-85 cubic meters per second to 4 cubic meters per second, the lowest technically feasible volume. Kiev justified their action by claiming that Crimea has an outstanding debt on water supplies.

Recently released satellite photos seem to confirm earlier reports that Ukraine is purposefully trying to create a drought in Crimea by building a dam.

The new sand bag construction is being erected in the Kherson region about 40km from the border with Crimea. Photos depict cranes operating on the side of the Armyansk – Kherson highway on a bridge in the town of Kalanchak.

“With the help of cranes and other construction equipment, the dam in the canal is being built right from the bridge,” one eyewitnesses told Itar-Tass.

However the head of Kherson Regional State Administration, Yuriy Odarchenko, claimed that the newly built dam is related to construction of a “water metering station” which “will be finished soon” and will give precise measurement on the “amount of water that will be transferred to the Crimean peninsula,” RBK Ukraine reported.

Kiev closed sluices of the North Crimean Canal in April. At the time of the closure, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov called Kiev’s move an act of sabotage.

“Ukraine’s act of sabotage to limit the supply of water to the republic through the North Crimean Canal is nothing but a deliberate action against Crimeans,” he said, hinting at the possibility of drilling wells to compensate for water shortages on the peninsula, especially for the agricultural sector.

“The rice situation … is the worst. Crimea is redrawing the map of crop areas in regions where irrigation may not be available,” he added.

Crimean farmers are estimated to lose up to 5 billion rubles ($140 million), according to Russia’s Agriculture Ministry.

“The harvest will be partially or fully lost across 120,000 hectares of farmland that should be irrigated [by water from the canal],” Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said in April, as cited by the Moscow Times.

Fyodorov said that Russia is willing to compensate farmers for some of their losses, as he stressed that Kiev refused to accept advance payments for Crimean water.

According to the Crimean Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the agriculture sector is responsible for around 10 percent of Crimea’s economy, estimated at $4.3 billion in 2012.

Japan Criminalizes Reporting “Special Secrets” Like Fukushima Cancer Statistics

“What are the criteria of these possible secrets?” “Well…it’s a secret.”

japan subculture research

Japan’s Kafkaesque Special Secret Protection Bill threatens to destroy freedom of speech

 A committee within Japan’s lower house is currently deliberating a new bill that will punish leakers of designated “special” state secrets.  The LDP Cabinet  recently approved a bill to punish civil servants, lawmakers, and journalists who leak information that it deems will harm national security. The government will be able to determine what they will call “special secret”— almost without limit— because the definition of these possible secrets are “too broad and vague”, according to critics of the new bill. The Abe administration says that the secrecy bill is necessary to protect sensitive information given to Japan by the United States and other foreign countries.

Whistleblowers and journalist face up to ten years in jail for exposing anything the Japanese government declares "a special secret." And what is a "special secret"--that is also secret.


from left to right: Taro Yamamoto Independent lawmaker, Ryo Shuhama, People's Life Party, Sohei Nihi, Coomunist Party, Mizuho Fukushima, Social Democratic Party

Four lawmakers from four different political parties, briefed reporters today on the dangers of the Designated Secrets Bill at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ). Earlier this week, the FCCJ issued a strong statement of opposition to the bill as well.

Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party and wife of a famous anti-nuclear lawyer explained, “This bill represents a great threat to journalism.” A citizen or journalist investigating an arbitrarily declared state secret who reveals it could be prosecuted and jailed for up to 10 years. “The criteria for prosecuting an individual are too vague,” she added. “If a journalist or a member of an NGO accidentally overheard a state secret, he/she would be prosecuted.” Fukushima explained that if a lawmaker got hold of a state secret and wants to reveal it, he/she could also be prosecuted.

“A citizen or journalist  investigating an arbitrarily declared state secret who revealed it could be prosecuted and jailed for up to 10 years.”

Article 19, an organization based in the U.K. and the  Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan have both issued a declaration earlier this week to urge Japan’s National Diet to reject the pending Secrecy Bill, as it “unreasonably” violates international standards on freedom of expression and the right to information.

The FCCJ statement admonished the Japanese government that investigative journalism is “not a crime, but rather a crucial part of the checks-and-balances that go hand-in-hand with democracy.” Fukushima added that from the standards of the international community, the drafted Japanese bill has too many flaws. Freedom and human rights were suppressed under Japan’s military government’s rule before and during World War II, she pointed out, and discussed how this bill represents a regression for Japan. As the definition of secrecy is “too vague,” there would be a possibility that the government haphazardly restricts the general public’s knowledge by designating anything embarrassing for the ruling powers a “state secret.”

Sohei Nihi, from Japan’s Communist Party said that the “most dangerous aspect of this bill” is that the average person will not be informed that a particular piece of information has been designated as a secret. “The Japanese people would be ignorant of these secrets and the bill will lead to a general suppression or reluctance of people to seek for information, ” he added. Considering the huge amount of opposition to this bill, the ruling party inserted a clause, which says that “there will be due consideration given to people’s right to know and journalists’ right to research and seek information.” However the seeking of information will have to be done in an “appropriate manner,” (正当な行為) and it is questionable and unclear by who and how will this “appropriate manner” be determined. As a result of some deliberation within the Diet committee, it was decided that the courts would make the fundamental decisions and the individual targeted could be subject to arrest and interrogation before a case is even brought to court. In effect, the law will work as presumed guilty until proven guilty.

The “most dangerous aspects of this bill” is that the average person will not be informed that a particular piece of information has been designated as a secret

Of course, exceptions would be made to individuals not aware of holding information classified as a state secret who make it public. “This sounds good in theory but who and how will it be determined that the leaker really wasn’t aware in advance before disclosing a state secret?” Sohei Nihi pointed out. “The government could force the individual to confess, as this kind of practice has taken place in Japan in the past,” he added. Ryo Shuhama, member of the upper house and representative of the People’s Life Party said that the general public was seriously concerned about this bill. According to some newspapers polls about 30% of the Japanese population favor the bill, 42% are against the bill, 68% have concerns over the definition of “secrecy” could be eventually expended, and 64% feel that this bill should not be passed in this current Diet session.

Taro Yamamoto, actor turned lawmaker last summer, is well known for his anti-nuclear stances and his audacious behavior. Yamamoto breeched imperial etiquette last month by handing a letter to the Japanese emperor in the middle of a royal garden party to which he was invited. Yamamoto, who was one of the first politicians to point out the harms of the secrecy bill even before it changed its name from “secrecy preservation law” to “secrecy law,” said that the bill is basically already in effect. He explained a situation in which the authorities told him that information regarding nuclear facilities exported to Vietnam could not be revealed. According to Yamamoto, the government spent the equivalent of 2.5 million dollars in securing a deal to export nuclear technology to Vietnam—tax money that was taken out of the reconstruction budget for earthquake and nuclear accident ravaged northern Japan.

“There is already a great deal of secrecy preservation in Japan,” he said. Yamamoto said that the government is truly trying to increase the power of the state and that the secrecy bill will eventually lead to the oppression of the average person and freedom of expression. “The path that Japan is taking is the recreation of a fascist state. I strongly believe that this secrecy bill represents a planned coup d’état by a group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he warned.

The secrecy bill has been compared to the peace preservation law (治安維持法) that passed in the period before World War II. Mizuho Fukushima explained that when that law passed it was not considered to be a frightening or threatening law. However, once people started to be arrested, it had a chilling effect on media, citizens’ groups and the general population. During the military rule and the war years in Japan, laws and rules were strengthened so that towards the end, it is said that even weather reports were considered state secrets. There was a famous case involving a young student in Hokkaido (the Miyazawa case) who happened to reveal the location of a particular airport to a foreigner and was sent to prison for divulging a state secret. “Once you open the door to such kind of laws, the government will have the right to designate anything as a state secret and by speaking about it or mentioning it, you can be arrested and prosecuted.” Fukushima explained, “Especially during war time, it was very difficult for defendants and lawyers to fight their court cases, because they were not told what exactly what was the state secret that they had been accused of having revealed.” she added.

 “The path that Japan is taking is the recreation of a fascist state. I strongly believe that this secrecy bill represents a planned coup d’état by a group of politicians and bureaucrats”


Is China Prepared To Defend Ukraine Against Russian Thermonuclear Arsenal?

Why is China entering a nuclear security pact with Ukraine?


  • Yu Ligong
  • 2013-12-15

Xinhua News Agency on Dec. 10 reported that China and Ukraine on Dec. 5 signed a cooperative agreement which included this article: China, according to the UN Security Council Resolution 984 and the Chinese government statement on providing security guarantees to Ukraine on Dec. 4, 1994, promises unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear Ukraine, and to provide security guarantees to Ukraine if Ukraine is attacked by nuclear weapons or threatened by such aggression.

Clearly, this is a guarantee for strategic alliance and an unusual nuclear protection umbrella. Ukraine is far from China and in no way affects the latter’s national security. What ,then, is the need for such an agreement?

First, we need to examine UN Security Council Resolution 984, which promotes nuclear non-proliferation and encourages denuclearization. To achieve its goals, the agreement not only requests the Security Council to regulate countries who may carry out nuclear attacks or threaten to do so, but also promises to offer emergency assistance to their targets. Emergency assistance may refer to non-military aid, but a security guarantee definitely means military support.

Second, the Chinese government’s announcement on Dec. 4, 1994 about offering security guarantees to Ukraine didn’t mention nuclear attacks or the threat thereof, but this time its guarantees focus on nuclear weapons. Therefore, the two are quite different.

Then, under the agreement, against the threat of which party will China offer security guarantees to Ukraine? As we know, bordering Ukraine is Russia, a nuclear power and Belarus, which had 81 nuclear missiles stationed in its territory at the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, though these were all transferred to Russia by 1996. Ukraine inherited 5,000 nuclear weapons when it gained independence and may still have some nuclear weapons undestroyed. Under such circumstances, the NATO would not dare to attack Ukraine. It is likewise inconceivable that Russia would start a military conflict with Ukraine, because the Kiev region was once the cradle of the common culture of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as early as in the ninth century.

On the surface, Ukraine does have some pro-US forces demanding to move closer to the European Union as soon as possible. In fact, some of the western Ukraine’s youth groups trained and aided by some western NGOs have yet to reach the status of possibly destroying their cultural connection and race recognition. Therefore, chances for their collaboration with foreign forces to result in the case of military tension are also very slim.

Then, what’s Beijing’s real intention? I believe its main purpose is to amend its consistent position of “no first use of nuclear weapons.” This is probably the reason why countries in the East China Sea and South China Sea have dared to provoke China in recent years over territorial claims. Since Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang took office, they have repeatedly taken new measures that are in contrast to Beijing’s previous low-profile move to conceal its capability — that’s probably because it’s a reaction provoked by other neighboring countries or an inevitable result after it has significantly raised its compound power.

(Yu Ligong is an associate professor at Shih Hsin University in Taipei.)

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant Hands Homs Back To Syrian Army

[The reclaiming of this major portion of Homs from the Syrian rebel forces was arranged by the UN and the government of Iran.  According to reports, this ceasefire was arranged between ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) and the government, helping to validate opposition produced reports which claim that the Army has been coordinating its attacks upon the rebel forces with ISIL. 

ISIL fighters can be seen boarding a bus in Homs, under police supervision, in the following video.

After the ceasefire and withdrawal of ISIL fighters, the Saudi-controlled “Islamic Front” detonated tunnels packed full of ammonium nitrate, dug under the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, a reported Army command post.]

This image made from amateur video posted by Shaam News Network (SNN), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The rebel-claimed bombing Thursday in the northern Syrian city leveled the once luxurious hotel near the ancient Citadel that government troops used as a military base, causing multiple casualties, activists and militants said. Photo: Uncredited, AP / Shaam News Network

Syria Rebels Evacuate ‘Capital of Revolution’ Homs



The evacuation of rebel-held parts of Syria’s Homs began Wednesday under an unprecedented deal which hands back control to the government weeks before the presidential election.

After nearly two years of government siege, weary civilians and rebel forces made their way out of the shelled-out ruins of Old City and surrounding areas on buses taking them to opposition territory in northern Homs province.

The deal effectively turns over the city once dubbed the “capital of the revolution” to government control ahead of a June 3 election expected to return President Bashar Assad to office and marks a symbolic defeat for rebels seeking his ouster.

The evacuation began at around 10 am (0700GMT), with three buses carrying civilians and fighters, some of them wounded, departing from the devastated Old City.

Videos posted online by opposition activists showed a group of fighters, some with their faces covered with black or white scarves, walking in a line towards green buses.

They carried backpacks and light weapons as they boarded the buses, under the gaze of regime police and accompanied by a white U.N. car.

By late afternoon, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said around 400 of the approximately 1,200 people believed to be in the Old City had left.

Governor Talal al-Barazi told Agence France Presse a third and possibly a fourth convoy were set to leave the city before nightfall, with the operation continuing Thursday morning.

The evacuees are being transferred to the rebel-held town of Dar al-Kebira, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Homs.

Wael, an activist in the northern Homs province village of Termaaleh, told AFP he had received some of the evacuees.

“I asked one of my friends, who is now resting in my house, and he said to me that he felt hungry, and in pain and tearful over leaving Homs,” he said.

“He said he felt his soul being pulled out of his body as he left Homs.”

The deal between the regime and rebels, mediated by Iran’s ambassador to Syria, was reached as part of an exchange for a number of hostages being held by opposition fighters in the northern city of Aleppo.

Under the agreement, fighters will also allow aid into two Shiite majority towns in Aleppo province, Nubol and Zahraa, where some 45,000 people are under rebel siege.

A rebel spokesman in Aleppo said 36 hostages, including “11 Iranians, some Lebanese, and the rest Syrians, all of them fighters”, would be handed over.

By late Wednesday afternoon, 15 had already been transferred, said the source, speaking to AFP via the Internet on condition of anonymity.

He also said vehicles carrying aid had started to enter Nubol and Zahraa.

Once the Homs operation is complete, the evacuated areas are to be turned over to the government, which is expected to send in forces to sweep for mines and explosives.

The regime will then have control of all but one major area of Homs city.

While the area being reclaimed by the government is relatively small, it retains huge symbolic importance for the opposition.

At the start of Syria’s uprising in March 2011, Homs came to be known as the “capital of the revolution” because of its massive anti-regime protests.

And after the opposition took up arms in response to a brutal government crackdown, the city gained iconic status among the opposition for resisting multiple offensives.

During a nearly two-year government blockade, which left around 3,000 people trapped, food and medical supplies dwindled, leaving residents to survive on little more than herbs in the final months of the blockade.

In February, a U.N.-Red Crescent operation successfully evacuated around 1,400 people and delivered limited aid to the besieged areas.

But hundreds of fighters and wounded people unable to make it to evacuation points were left behind, and government forces launched a fresh assault last month.

Many of those evacuated in February moved to the rebel-held Waer district, which will be the only remaining opposition area left in Homs city after the Old City operation.

Negotiations are under way for a similar deal to be implemented in Waer, according to government and opposition officials.

MUOS and drones , Sicily platform of the wars of the twenty-first century

[The following report from Italy, on the controversy surrounding the new US Navy MUOS Satellite ground station and the high-frequency radiation emanating from the facility, much like the HAARP issue.]

NO MUOS event in Niscemi of March 1, 2014

Il Muos è completo, Crocetta si nasconde ma la lotta continua

(The Muos is complete, spreader is hidden but the struggle continues)


MUOS and drones , Sicily platform of the wars of the twenty-first century


The MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) embodies the many contradictions of neoliberal globalization . Kills in the name of peace and order supra . Destroys the climate, the environment, land . Squander human and financial resources endless. Regenerate injustice. Deprives each control from below . Expropriates democracy. Reinforces the transnational power bloc . Irrevocably pollute the nature and reason. Violates the right to health of entire populations .


It is in Niscemi (Caltanissetta ) , in the heart of an important nature reserve, that preparations are underway for the installation of three large satellite dishes with a diameter of 18.4 meters , operating in Ka-band for transmissions to geostationary satellites and two transmitter coil UHF (Ultra High Frequency) , 149 meters high, the geographical positioning . While the maxi -ante transmit frequencies that reach values ​​between 30 and 31 GHz , the two transmitters will have a helical transmission frequency between 240 and 315 MHz Electromagnetic waves that penetrate the ionosphere and tissues of every living being .


The earth terminal of Niscemi will be one of four facilities around the world that will ensure the operation of the latest generation of satellite network in the UHF ( ultra high frequency ) that will connect between their centers of command and control of the U.S. military , logistics centers and more than 18,000 military radio terminals existing groups operating in combat, cruise missiles and Global Hawk ( UAV- UAV ), etc. ..


At the Sicilian project , the U.S. Navy has invested more than $ 43 million , of which 13 for the preparation of the reserved area to the ground station , control center , megageneratori of Electrical and storage of diesel fuel ; $ 30 million for shelter and the purchase of technological equipment of the MUOS system .


Star Wars Made in Sicily


In fact, originally the chosen base terminal of the new satellite system was to Sigonella, the main Naval Air Station Navy of the United States in the Mediterranean. Then, the U.S. Navy has decided to hijack the Earth’s plant at the nearby station Niscemi , which since 1991 provides communications both super and non- surface forces , submarine , aircraft and ground-based command centers and intelligence the U.S. and NATO . The change of use was dictated by the findings of a study on the impact of electromagnetic waves generated by large antennas MUOS , developed by AGI – Analytical Graphics , Inc., a leading company based in Exton, Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Maxim Systems San Diego , California. The study, called “Sicily radhaz Radio and Radar Radiation Hazards Model” , included the development of a model of risk assessment of electromagnetic radiation on weapons systems , ammunition, propellants and explosives at the airport Naval Air Station hosted Sicilian ( HERO – Hazards of Electromagnetic to Ordnance ) . The computer simulation of the model led to an unexpected “No” to the hypothesis of using the base in Sigonella .


“The model radhaz Sicily – we read on the website of AGI – has been implemented with success in Sigonella, playing a significant role in the decision not to use the site for the terminal terrestrial MUOS and to find a new destination .” Even Philip Gemma , administrator Gmspazio Srl in Rome ( in Italian society that represents the U.S. AGI) , has confirmed the negative results of the study on electromagnetic . During an interview with RaiNews 24 , passed November 22, 2007 during the special ” Use Base at Sigonella . The danger announced , ” Gemma said that” one of the recommendations of AGI was that this type of transmitter should not be installed close to aircraft with weapons , detonators which could be affected by the electromagnetic emissions of the transmitter itself. ” Researchers that is established that the strong electromagnetic emissions can initiate the detonation of ordnance in the military base.


With the transfer of the MUOS ground station in Niscemi , the U.S. Navy has given to solving the problems to weapon systems and aircraft housed in Sigonella, ” eliminating ” the possible risks to the military and U.S. civilians who live and work on the base. No consideration instead for the effects on the health and safety of the people living in areas close to the railway telecommunication call to accommodate the new satellite system . The severity of sweat and inconsistencies that have paved the way for the granting of authorizations of MUOS have pushed the municipal administration of Niscemi to permit the Polytechnic of Turin an Analysis of the risks of the Mobile User Objective System at the Naval Radio Transmitter Facility district Ulmo .


The report, filed November 4, 2011 by Professors Massimo Zucchetti (professor of nuclear facilities at the Polytechnic and research affiliate at MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Thecnology ) and Massimo Coraddu ( external consultant of the Department of Energy ) , noted the environmental unsustainability of the new system and the “serious shortcomings ” of studies carried out by the Americans . ” In the assessment report drawn up by the U.S. Navy in 2008 – write and Zucchetti Coraddu – is not even looked at what is probably the worst of all possible risks : an accident that leads to accidental exposure to microwave beam , dangerous and potentially lethal , even for short exposures at distances of less than about 1 km . “


“Despite the meager data available – add the two researchers – with the creation of the new antennas will occur an average increase of the field strength in the vicinity of the nearest houses as a few volts per meter compared to the existing level , with the possibility of the occurrence of hot spots , with an increase of the field considerably higher. There is also the risk of acute effects associated with exposure to the direct beam emitted from the parables MUOS a result of malfunction or a pointing error . The damage to people accidentally exposed to distances less than 20 km will be severe and permanent , resulting in tissue necrosis . “


MUOS nightmare for the airport of Comiso


Electromagnetic waves also have heavy effects on air traffic in the skies Sicily and in particular the nearby airport of Comiso , near the opening . ” The power of the microwave beam of MUOS is certainly capable of causing severe interference in the instrument panel of an aircraft that had to be invested accidentally ” explain Zucchetti and Coraddu . “Accidents caused from direct aircraft away tens of km event are anything but remote and incomprehensible as negligible and is not taken into consideration by the Design Studies . The risks potentially interfering invest all air traffic in the area surrounding the site of installation of the MUOS . Within a radius of 70 km there are three airports in Comiso , a little more than 19 km from the railway Niscemi , and airports Sigonella military and civilian Fontanarossa (Catania ), which are respectively 52 Km and 67 Km ” . Sigonella, among other things, is the subject of reckless operation of aircraft landing and taking off from war unmanned Global Hawk , Predator and Reaper at the disposal of the U.S. military and NATO.


A system -business for the merchants of death


Until now , the “revolutionary” MUOS system has seen very little . The launch of the first satellite in orbit took place just last February 24 twenty-four months in arrears with respect to chronograms design .

5102 relay road, chesapeake, va

5102 relay road, chesapeake, va

According to what was originally planned , by the end of 2012 had come into operation four terminals on the ground , one in Hawaii ; one at Norfolk, Virginia ; one in Australia and the fourth in Niscemi . In addition, the giant antennas had to be betting and communicating with two of the four geostationary satellites scheduled . However, it has been an impressive number of ” unexpected ” technical , have failed numerous tests , alternative solutions have been added to the equipment ground and space and has been amended on the link with the most powerful central espionage planetarium , NSA – National Security Agency USA . Eventually, he also discovered a glaring design error : the four satellites provided were insufficient to ensure coverage of all the continents. And manufacturers have had to submit to Congress to ask for a special loan of $ 340 million for achieving a fifth.


According to the programs reviewed and corrected , the ground infrastructure will be fully operational only within the first quarter of 2013 , while the satellites will be launched in order one a year (the second by the end of 2012, the third in 2013 , fourth in 2014, the latest by October 2015). But it is to believe that the time for the full operation of MUOS will expand further , as yet grow the costs of design and construction . With great joy of the lords of the U.S. military-industrial complex , the only beneficiaries of a system whose usefulness and increasingly challenged by congressmen and military analysts .


The MUOS program was entrusted in 2002 to Lockheed Martin , the most powerful companies in the U.S. defense sector , the producer of the infamous F -35 fighter-bombers , over 126,000 employees and an annual turnover of 45.8 billion dollars. As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems , the subsidiary of Sunnyvale (California) has the task of designing and producing almost all the components and equipment of satellite and terrestrial systems . A few crumbs of the deal MUOS goes to other major arms companies : General Dynamics C4 Systems ( Scottsdale, Arizona), called to install the mega- satellite antennas and preserve the bond between the four distinct segments of land ; Boeing Defense Space and Security (El Segundo, Calif. ) for the commissioning and testing of compatibility of the system; Harris Corporation ( Melbourne , Florida) for the provision of the network of reflectors ; the branch of the Swedish Texan Ericsson for the construction of certain portions of the integrated terrestrial segment .


The total cost of the MUOS ? Still a mystery because even in the budgets of the Department of Defense satellite system intended for the voices multiply over the years and make order of the numbers is Sisyphean task . In some official documents , reference is made to a total expenditure of $ 3.26 billion . One thing that absolutely does not believe the Government Accountaibility Office (GAO ), the Court of Auditors of the United States of America, in a report of March 2011 on the weapon systems being acquired by the Pentagon has estimated a final cost not less than 6 billion and 830 million dollars , unless other twists .


The mafia MUOStro


Environmental damage has been added to circumvent the institutional protocols in terms of legality and public works. With the start of work , the subcontractor has appeared as ” Concrete Steps Ltd” , a company under observation by the investigating bodies for alleged criminals contiguity .


According to Senator Giuseppe Lumia (Pd ) and February 14, 2012 presented a specific question to the Ministers of Defence and Interior , ” the Concrete Square has as its sole director Concetta Valenti , whose husband is partner Vincent Piazza, who , according investigations of the district Anti-Mafia Directorate (DDA ) as well as other elements of Caltanissetta info- investigative reported by the police , it would appear strongly related to the well-known exponent of the mafia clan June- Arcerito , Giancarlo June , currently available in Niscemi . “


Senator Lumia notes that in the course of Atlantis – Mercury ‘s anti-mafia prosecutor in Caltanissetta ( January 2009) ” have emerged contacts with members of the Square mafia ” that ” show interference and constraints of Cosa Nostra in the tender for the work of recovery , consolidation and landscaping of the area below the Belvedere , commissioned by the City of Niscemi . ” On 7 November 2011, the Prefecture of Caltanissetta announced that after inspections ordered by the regulations governing the certification mafia , ” are no elements which can not rule out the existence of mafia infiltration attempts aimed at influencing the choices and addresses of the aforementioned company . ” The basis of the ruling of the prefect , the contents of a report by the Police Anti-Crime Division of the Police of Caltanissetta of 6 October 2011, and that of the Organized Crime Section of the same police station on 27 December 2010.


Following the intervention of the prefect , November 25, 2011 the director of the Area Technical Services of the Province of Caltanissetta suspended ” Concrete Steps ” from the Register of companies for procedures piecework – contract . Twenty days later the head of the general affairs division of the City of Niscemi ordered the exclusion of the company from the list of suppliers and the Register of enterprises of confidence. Against the measures , the Square have filed an appeal , threatening lawsuits against Senator Lumia and journalists who reported the company’s presence in the work of MUOS . “The knowledge or the attendance of Giancarlo June by Vincenzo Piazza did not affect the personal choices of the second , which instead have been exactly the opposite sign with respect to the proximity to a mafia behavior ,” say the lawyers of the ” Concrete ” . ” It is not clear , therefore, according to which the first logical step would have such a profound influence on the second and extended to make it probable meddling in the management of the company, the second of which, however, is not a shareholder or director .” A thesis that has convinced and reassured the Department of Defense , the U.S. Command in Sigonella , the U.S. Embassy in Rome and the Consortium Team MUOS Niscemi . In this way, with impunity , the company has been able to complete its work . A visit to the places , in the middle of the nature reserve zone B ” Sughereta” ( SCI ), shows the painful scenes of devastation in the area. Following complaints of directors and environmental groups, the public prosecutor of Caltagirone has opened a file for ” alleged” offenses.


The countless lawlessness and arrogance of criminals potentates have reported Niscemi back a few years. The City had been dissolved for mafia infiltration twice in less than twelve years, before July 18, 1992 , the day before the assassination of Judge Borsellino and his escort , the second on 27 April 2004. Laboriously were then been ransomed spaces practicability of democratic legality and , above all thanks to the courage and leadership of the new generations. But with the MUOS and work in the hands of the friends of the boss , the weather is back to being heavy .


Danger in the skies Sicilian UAV


For two years, Catania Fontanarossa, the third busiest airport in Italy such as traffic volume , over six and a half million passengers a year , is subservient to dronomania Navy and Air Force of the United States of America. Landings and take-offs , delayed, suspended tasks on the track and platforms , timetable for that crazy domino effect across the continent , contingencies and tiring hijacking of Palermo. Flying from Catania to say or inconvenience which add to the discomfort , new dangers that are added to the old ones. In the future it will be worse . By 2015, the largest Naval Air Station Sigonella will be consecrated global capital of unmanned aerial vehicles ( UAVs ) and will accommodate up to twenty Global Hawk drones and swarms of attack and death. And Fontanarossa will be choked , imprisoned , enslaved to the war .


Despite attempts by the company that manages the airport to reassure the public , in recent months the situation has become definitely heavier. 8th March this year to Fontanarossa were suspended all instrument procedures standard in the early stages of access, departure and arrival of aircraft, ” due to the activities of Unmanned Aircraft” , unmanned aircraft supplied to the U.S. armed forces and allied as specified by a note to the pilots of aircraft ( NOTAM ) issued by the authorities responsible for the control of traffic. The restrictions were to last until the 5th of June, but a day before the deadline, NOTAM three distinct codes B4048 , B4049 and B4050 have extended the suspension of standard procedures until next September 1. Again the transit of civilian flights in full summer season , it will be subject to the evolution of the drones . Yellow light for the fighter-bombers and aircraft radar and transport men and equipment of the armed forces . Another warning , code M3066/12 , in fact, ordered the suspension of all standard equipment take-off and landing in Sigonella Airport, from 4 June to 1 September 2012 , again for the activities of Unmanned Aircraft. Inconveniences and limitations to air traffic throughout the summer due to the evolution of the drones out well Trapani Birgi three NOTAM similar to those of Catania, issued on the morning of 1 June , require the suspension of the standard procedures for pilots civil aircraft until 29 August 2012.


Affaire drones


Sicily trampoline war turns into an experimental laboratory of the plan of hyper- liberalized airspace incursions of the unmanned aircraft . The safety of the population and passengers sacrificed at the altar of economic interests of the U.S. military industrial complex . In Europe and across the Atlantic , governments and international agencies seem powerless against the intolerable pressure of producing drones. The business is enormous : according to economic analysts , over the next ten years, the annual expenditure for the unmanned systems will grow from $ 6.6 to $ 11.4 billion , and there must be a vast expansion in the civil sector . Only in reference to the type of UAVs also hosted at Sigonella ( the RQ- 4 Global Hawk, the MQ -9 Reaper and MQ- 1 Predator ) , the Pentagon wants to bring them from the current 340 to 650 in 2021 . They each have unsustainable costs . Each of the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk , the oldest one , it costs $ 50 million ( in Sicily there will soon be five) . The other five UAV to Sigonella provided with the program Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) ground surveillance of NATO, will cost a total of $ 1.7 billion . Expense record of 233 million Global Hawk drone for the version purchased by the U.S. Navy as part of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance ( BAMS ) that will still see the Sicily advanced platform for raids in Africa , the Middle East and Southeast Asia .


Two years ago, but the car was still governed the use of unmanned aircraft in the system of European air traffic , the Air Force and the National Authority for Civil Aviation ( ENAC ) have signed a technical agreement to allow ‘ use of Global Hawk Sigonella air spaces within the ” certain ” ( terminology completely new compared to that used in the NOTAM where space is prohibited , dangerous or restricted ) . In theory, announcing the adoption of procedures for coordination between civil and military authorities ” aimed at minimize the impact on civil aviation activities ” and ” respect for the principles of flight safety ,” even though it is recognized that for operations ” linked to situations of crisis or armed conflict,” the use of drones will not be subjected to restrictions of any kind. In the Mediterranean chronically in flames is like giving unlimited freedom of action to the global hawks and predators of the sky and the sea.


The UAVs represent an untenable risk to civilian traffic and the people who live in the vicinity of the airports used for takeoff and landing maneuvers . In the United States the rate of accidents at unmanned aircraft is significantly higher than that of the commercial and general aviation , as repeatedly pointed out by the Federal Aviation Administration , the administration responsible for the management of activities within the national airspace . On 15 July 2010, during a hearing on the Commission for the internal security of the Congress , the Vice President of the FAA has expressed serious concerns about a “rapid and full integration ” of unmanned systems in general air traffic , as advocated by the Pentagon and President Obama . “Many of the available data come only from Customs and Border Protecion (CPB ) who patrol our borders ,” says the Federal Aviation Administration . ” They reveal that the accrual of UAS accidents are very large. From fiscal 2006 to the date of 13 July 2010 , for example, the CPB has reported a rate of 52.7 per 100,000 incidental serious flight hours, which is more than seven times higher than in the general aviation and 353 times higher than commercial aviation. We must not forget that the number of flight hours reported , 5,688 , is very low compared to what is usually considered in aviation to secure the data on the safety and accidents … ” .


Accidents, incidents and accidents still


A recent report by Bloomberg , the largest U.S. company analysis of the economic and financial market , has put his finger on drones. Since when are operational with the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk , Reaper and Preador have been 129 incidents in which the damage resulted in spending more than $ 500,000 , or the destruction of the aircraft took place on a mission. ” These three types of UAVs are those with the highest accident rate of the entire Air Force fleet ,” writes Bloomberg. ” Together they have accumulated 9.31 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, three times more than the aircraft pilot .” The Global Hawk , alone, has a rate of 15.16 .


” Indeed, the rate of accidents of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is not encouraging ,” admits the Air Force major , Louis Caravita , author of an in-depth study on drones published by the Military Center for Strategic Studies ( CEMIS ) . “The lack of a mature capacity to sense & avoid (listen and avoid ) to other traffic can become even more critical when associated with vulnerability or loss of data link between the ground segment and flight segment : on more than one occasion a Predator has been lost as a result of interruption of the data link , “said the major. ” To date, the military UAS are not allowed to fly , if not in segregated airspace , why not have a protected aeronautical band , are not yet considered sufficiently reliable , have not yet achieved a sufficient number of flying hours to constitute a safety case representative and convincing , has not yet been demonstrated adequate resistance to attack by cyber warfare . “


Similar remarks were made by the General Command of the U.S. Air Force in the document that outlines the strategic vision on the use of these systems of War ( The U.S. Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – Strategic Vision) . ” The unmanned aircraft are sensitive to extreme environmental conditions and vulnerable to threats of kinetic and non- kinetic weapons ,” wrote the U.S. military . For this Eurocontrol , the organization for the safety of air traffic in which 38 participating European states , was established in March 2010 guidelines for the management of air traffic destined for the falcons global chessboard mainland . In particular , it is recommended to isolate the spy drones from other users by making use of airspace. “Given that the Global Hawk does not possess certain skills , such as sense and avoid, it is necessary for take-offs and landings take place in segregated airspace by the levels normally used by conventional aircraft pilot , while missions will be carried out at cruising altitudes not occupied by them. ” In the case of Fontanarossa , airport less than a dozen miles as the crow flies from Sigonella , the recommendations of Eurocontrol are just paper.


The wicked choices of U.S. and NATO install Global Hawk in Sicily is one of the leading aviation experts spoke Italian , Renzo Dentesano the commander , Air and Alitalia pilot for forty years , then the registry aeronautical consultant and expert witness for several Procure in proceedings related to aircraft accidents. “These military aircraft will be able to leave and return to base in Sicily after performing dangerous and secret missions , of which no one has to know anything in order to be able to successfully perform their tasks of surveillance and espionage ,” writes Dentesano . “This type of reconnaissance aircraft , designed precisely for missions too risky to be handled by means carrying human beings , despite all the security measures of which have their receivers on board, can be caught by electronic signals capable of penetrating the their guidance and control systems , so as to cause its destruction , “he adds Dentesano . ” The Global Hawk , as well as the Predator , are not able to ensure the safety of civil air traffic . They are not able to vary their flight path in the vertical direction , going up or down in altitude, as the situation to avoid a collision readily require . And the only change in the direction of motion , staying at the same altitude , it may not be enough to prevent a disaster involving a civil traffic . “


The alarm was raised some time ago but the Government, State and local governments do not see, do not hear, do not speak. The DC 9 shot down by a missile in the sky over Ustica, June 27 to 32 years ago , is a faded memory . With the drones are free to glide over the heads of Sicilians took the count down for the umpteenth massacre in the state.


Sheet drawn up at the initiative for the thirtieth anniversary of the CEPES , Palermo June 26, 2012 .
Antonio Mazzeo , peace- researcher and journalist, he has made numerous inquiries on the process of rearmament and militarization in Italy and in the Mediterranean. He recently published the books The Godfathers of the Bridge. Business Mafia over the Strait of Messina ( Alegre Editions , Rome, 2010) and An Eco MUOStro in Niscemi . The perfect weapon for the conflicts of the twenty-first century (published by The Point Sicily , Ragusa, 2012). In 2010 he received the First Prize ” Giorgio Bassani ” Our journalism in Italy . He is a member of the Campaign for the demilitarization of Sigonella and No Network Bridge . To read articles and publications :
Posted by Antonio Mazzeo

Saudi Press Lobbies for Jeb Bush for Pres.


(CNN) – Barbara Bush made national headlines last year when she said on NBC that her son Jeb shouldn’t run for president in 2016 because “there are a lot of great families. It’s not just four families, or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified.

We’ve had enough Bushes.”

New president of the Bush family!

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Al-Sharq Al-Awsat

Mamdouh Muhaini 
Tells President Bush after he decided to run for election as governor of Texas, he made contact with his mother to tell her the news, but happy that they responded by saying: «Do not try, you can not win!». Mother is encouraging expressed objection with the news about her son, Jeb Bush candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections. The mother said once again that there are other families of the Bush family is able to produce political leaders. No one cares among Republicans for their views «negative» and describes some of whom she does not hold her tongue and graduated from the text always, in an attempt to reduce the impact on the voters. But the fact that the name of the pocket (61 years) now seems more popular among the Republican candidates who are seeking to regain the White House and end the days of President Obama’s dismal for them.
Pocket seems more than any other person to fight the most powerful Democrats and winning them. Experts senior Republicans course races to rally around their perception of his ability to compete and triumph. As for why this desire Republic to pay for the growing ranks of the front? For more than a reason. Pocket more than any other is able to raise funds and aid, which plays a major role for the success of his campaign and give them momentum and vitality for the longest possible time. Donors met recently and most important fund-raisers and declared their support to him and this great guide on their trust in him. According to the «Washington Post», List cent more importantly, who supported Romney announced the lineup behind him. Of course, this also goes back to the power and prestige of the Bush family and its influence within the Republican Party and its relations influential and wide. The reason for this is the name of the last pocket supportive element to reverse the opinion of the mother.
But the pocket well respected within the broad spectrum of Republicans and even among Democrats. It reflects the moderate line within the Republican Party away from the mob figures intransigent obsessed media and «Sushil Media». Describes Kissinger, Secretary of State famous expert and moderate. Add to this that the man tried to work as governor of the state of a large and important Klforeda, and this great feature everyone started paying attention after her reign of President Obama. One of the biggest problems that seemed clear that the American president suffered it without any experience, his hands were not stained with mud and every policy of the Provisions of the conflicts and compromises. Brilliantly used his skills in public speaking and hired conditions for the rise of the family, but these skills or television star and not a religious preacher and head of the most powerful nation in the world. One of the most prominent criticism of Ted Cruz, a Republican star is that he wants to re-Obama scenario again. Which goes to Congress and opens his mouth and earns a mass-borne quickly to the White House without any real experience and shaped by experience and learning.
This pocket has the experience and has important knowledge and grasp of foreign affairs, and this is one of the most important advantages that will discuss about the voters in the next election. Everyone knows now that the strength of America’s fallen so much beyond its borders. American mass trauma externally weak country did not occur after the red lines that President Assad’s regime bypassed several times, but after the Russian occupation of Crimea. Even those who have defended for years about the approach the administration in foreign affairs acknowledged this weakness, they see the Russian tanks crossing the Ukrainian border. Putin, for almost all, the strongest and fiercest of Obama, not only in his words and movements of his body, but even by his actions. President AC apologist is unlikely for the American psyche that you want to be president to appear strong and confident, who does not hesitate to use his tongue and teeth and claws to defend the United States and its interests around the world. Jeep is able to play this role. His father played this role, and his brother also played the same role too much as critics say.
For this reason it seems pocket stronger than Hillary Clinton, who are difficult to defeat, but from this angle. The chaos of the world these days, and need a strong president is re-arranged. America has lost its interests and its allies and angered the need to head expert regain influence and reconciles friends. This is what makes the pocket even more chances of star Republican Gov. Christie of New Jersey, who in spite of its advantages and charismatic personality, but it is not the Bush family is not able to stand her face, and has no experience in foreign affairs, it does not seem so interested in him.
Testament Alawpami promised to introduce the world to a new international era. Imagined multipolar era in which wars disappear, and where everyone speaks the language of economic interests, money and numbers. Putin and Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah and «Daash» and «Front victory» and «Brotherhood» and others smashed this illusion. Jeb Bush, the only one who seems at this stage to restore the administration of reality instead of living in the world of idealistic theories and pleasant dreams.
m.almahenei @