Syria Petitions Sec. Gen. of UN Security Council To Stop Turkish Aggression

FM: Syria calls for the Secretary – General of the United Nations and the Security Council to compel Turkey to withdraw its invading forces of Syrian territory immediately




Damascus , ( SANA )

It asked the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Security Council and the international community to oblige Turkey to withdraw its invading forces of the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic immediately and stop the attacks and maintain security and stability in the region and the world.

And it came in identical letters their destination Ministry Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council SANA received a copy of them today .. Turkish regime forces pursued during the last days aggressions treacherous on the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic and the inviolability of its territory, in flagrant violation of the UN Charter and the principle of good neighborliness and flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions on combating terrorism.

The ministry said .. represented the blind by the Turkish army to invade more territory of the Syrian Arab Republic Turkish politics and kill more Syrian citizens in Albuehj and Albogaz and Abrianh and high 543 where the existing Turkish regime forces have illegally on Syrian territory on Thursday, March 9, 2017 under the guidance fire Rmayat artillery and rockets at an Arab Syrian army positions and allied forces near a city to Manbej in rural areas of Aleppo province, it has led the Turkish shelling that targeted a border guard points to the fall of a number of martyrs and wounded.

It said the ministry .. The Syrian Arab Republic that holds the Turkish regime responsible for supporting terrorism that has killed tens of thousands of sons of innocent people, destroying Syria’s infrastructure direct instructions from the Turkish regime Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his security forces, which provided all the needs of the terrorist organizations of weapons, financing and harboring and treated patients Reiterates its demand Secretary-General of the United Nations and members of the Security Council to stop the Turkish army attacks and the system of Erdogan and the AKP Almtoslm and development that can only be explained as a direct attempt to stop the successes and progress accomplished by the Syrian Arab army forces and forces allied to him in defeating these terrorist organizations and groups affiliated to restore security and stability to the countryside Aleppo and all Syrian territory.

It ministry .. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic calls for the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Security Council and the international community to oblige Turkey to withdraw its invading forces of the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic immediately what that means from a breach of international law and stop the attacks and maintain security and stability in the region and the world.

She concluded the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry of its letters saying .. Any attempt to cover up the Turkish outrages on the sovereignty of Syria and the unity of its territory was also stressed that all Security Council resolutions on Syria does not only mean keeping an explosive situation and flames in the area and it does not serve inevitably only groups terrorist and those who stand behind them supporters of terrorism as systems Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.


The US Is Sending 2500 Man Back-Up Force To Kuwait,

The US is sending 2500 troops to Kuwait, ready to step up the fight in Syria and Iraq 



WASHINGTON — The U.S. military is sending an additional 2,500 ground combat troops to a staging base in Kuwait from which they could be called upon to back up coalition forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The deployment will include elements of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. About 1,700 soldiers from the same unit are overseas now, spread between Iraq and Kuwait. They’re focused on the U.S.-led effort to train and assist the Iraqi troops doing much of the fighting against ISIS there.

These new personnel, however, will be “postured there to do all things Mosul, Raqqa, all in between,” Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for operations, told House lawmakers Wednesday. He was referring to the Islamic State’s two main strongholds: Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, major urban centers where U.S.-back allies are fighting a well entrenched enemy.

“So the whole brigade will now be forward,” Anderson said.

It’s unclear when this new wave of paratroopers will deploy. Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, an 82nd Airborne Division spokesman, referred additional questions to the U.S. military command in Baghdad. Officials there did not immediately respond to Military Times’ request seeking additional details.

All told, the 82nd Airborne’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team includes about 4,400 soldiers who compose infantry, artillery and cavalry units, plus their supply pipeline.

Russian Oil Giant Rosneft Could Claim Half-Ownership of Citgo Oil

How Russian oil giant Rosneft could claim U.S. oil



Rosneft, an oil corporation majority-owned by the Russian government, says it has the right to claim an ownership stake in U.S. oil company Citgo Petroleum if Citgo’s cash-strapped parent company defaults on billions in loans, according to a lien Rosneft recently filed in Delaware. If that claim succeeds, Rosneft, which is run by one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, would own a sizable chunk of a company that is among the 10 largest petroleum refiners in America.

Russian ownership of a large portion of a U.S.-based oil company would be unprecedented, according to experts contacted by CBS News. Those experts also emphasize that the White House has the power to block the deal — either on national security grounds or simply by leaving in place Obama administration sanctions against Russia.

Citgo’s parent company, the Venezuela state-owned PDVSA, pledged a 49.9 percent stake in Citgo to Rosneft as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan signed on Nov. 30. That same day, attorneys for Rosneft filed the lien with the Delaware Department of State, asserting that Rosneft — whose CEO, Igor Sechin, has long been considered Putin’s right-hand man — would claim the collateralized 49.9 percent if the struggling Venezuelan debtor defaults or folds.

A PDVSA default in the near future would not be a surprise, said Praveen Kumar, who is the executive director of the Gutierrez Energy Management Institute at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business.

In fact, credit rating agency Fitch reported in January that a default at PDVSA is probable. And in September, another credit rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, downgraded PDVSA to a CCC rating — near the bottom of the junk-bond ladder — after a complex bond swap that Standard & Poor’s called “tantamount to default.” Meanwhile, Venezuela, reeling from the global collapse in oil prices since 2014, has less than $10.7 billion remaining in foreign reserves, down from $30 billion six years ago, according to the latest data from the country’s central bank.

Kumar, whose research focuses on energy finance, said a default would leave the door open for Rosneft to seize the promised stake in Citgo, a company whose U.S. holdings include three refineries and three pipelines

If [PDVSA] gets in trouble and if Rosneft thinks it’s in their best interest to grab Citgo’s assets, they’re going to grab the assets,” Kumar said.

The players involved make the deal particularly newsworthy, said Philip Jordan, an oil, gas and mineral law partner at the Dallas-based firm Gray Reed & McGraw.

“If there was a default under the loan, Rosneft would have ownership on that stock,” Jordan said. “It’s not unusual from a legal perspective — companies use stock as collateral all the time — but it’s very unusual from a geopolitical perspective to have a Russian company and a Venezuelan company doing business in Delaware [where Citgo Holdings is based].”

PDVSA is believed to owe billions of dollars to corporations that sued after the Venezuelan government seized international oil and mining operations based in the country a decade ago during President Hugo Chavez’s reign. The Rosneft lien was included as an exhibit in a federal lawsuit for alleged unpaid debts filed by ConocoPhillips, another oil company, against PDVSA. The Houston-based corporation estimates in the court filing that PDVSA owes it “multiple billions of dollars” in damages.

ConocoPhillips added Rosneft to the lawsuit after the Russian oil company and PDVSA agreed to the loan.

“The key to open all the locks here is the Venezuelan government’s desperation for cash,” Kumar said. He and other experts said PDVSA has been siphoning money from its American company to the Venezuelan government, which for more than a decade has used oil profits to subsidize social commitments.

Both ConocoPhillips and Crystallex, a Canadian mining company that is also owed more than $1 billion from PDVSA, have asked the Delaware federal court to cancel Rosneft’s lien.

Just over 50 percent of Rosneft is owned by Rosneftegaz, a Russian state agency run by Sechin, the Rosneft CEO. A 19.5 percent stake in the company was purchased in December by a consortium of investors that include the Anglo-Swiss commodities producer and trader Glencore, the Qatar Investment Authority and anonymous investors based in the Cayman Islands. The rest is owned by British oil company BP and Russia’s National Settlement Depository, a division of the Moscow stock exchange.

View note
Representatives of PDVSA, Citgo and Rosneft did not reply to requests for comment on this story.

While the terms of Rosneft’s loan to PDVSA could lead it to own nearly half of Citgo — the other 50.1 percent would remain under PDVSA control — there are two major roadblocks in its way.

U.S. sanctions against Russia

Rosneft, with $86 billion in annual revenue, is the world’s largest public oil company in terms of reserves and output. But it is barred from acquiring U.S. holdings because of sanctions imposed by former President Barack Obama’s administration after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014.

However, as a candidate for president, Donald Trump expressed an openness to relaxing those sanctions, which include a ban on business transactions with dozens of companies and officials, including Rosneft and CEO Sechin.

A former British spy’s 35-page dossier about alleged communications between Trump associates and a Russian official, which has gained credibility among law enforcement, includes claims that in July Sechin met with energy industry investor Carter Page, who at the time was a foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign. Page and Russian officials have denied the meeting occurred.

Mr. Trump said in a January interview with the Times of London that he would consider removing sanctions as part of a nuclear arms reduction deal. And ExxonMobil lobbied Congress about the sanctions while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the company’s chief executive, arguing they were harmful to U.S. business interests.

In late December, U.S. surveillance of Russian officials picked up soon-to-be National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s voice on a call with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, discussing Obama administration sanctions on Russia. It is not clear which sanctions were discussed and Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, following media reports about the call. The New York Times later reported that in early February two Trump business associates met with a Ukrainian politician about a plan to lift Russian sanctions as part of an effort to solve the violent conflict simmering between Ukraine and Russia.

Ilya Ponomarev, a Russian politician and former vice president of Yukos — which was Russia’s largest oil and gas corporation before the early 2000s, when the Russian government seized its assets, absorbing them into Rosneft — said in an interview with CBS News that Rosneft is likely betting the sanctions will be lifted.

“Right now you have Trump and he seems favorable to Russia, and so they think in a year maybe the sanctions are gone, and maybe it goes through,” said Ponomarev, during a phone call from Kiev, Ukraine, where he lives in self-imposed exile after being the lone member of Russia’s State Duma to vote against the annexation of Crimea.

Ponomarev noted that although Venezuela and Russia have long-standing friendly ties, it is unusual that they would agree to a deal involving U.S. assets.

“U.S. markets are interesting for Russian companies, but they stay away because of the sanctions,” Ponomarev said. “Generally, Rosneft is pretty cautious internationally, [because] it’s a state actor. It’s like a state ministry.”

But even if sanctions are lifted, there would still be one more hurdle that Rosneft would have to jump to assert ownership over PDVSA’s collateral after a default: the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS.

What is CFIUS?

When foreign companies make major investments in American properties, each side is expected to voluntarily file a notice with the White House committee known as CFIUS, a collection of nine Presidential Cabinet members who review the national security implications of foreign investments in U.S. companies. Its chair is the U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Mikhail Metzel

CFIUS has never previously had so many members with ties to the oil industry. Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, was closing in on an oil exploration deal with Rosneft reportedly worth in the tens of billions when the Obama administration announced the Crimea sanctions. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross purchased through his investment firm hundreds of millions of dollars in energy debt in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been on the board of directors of two pipeline companies. All three have left their previous positions and taken steps to divest their business interests in the energy industry.

Experts interviewed by CBS News said companies involved in CFIUS reviews are not told if a committee member with potential conflicts has recused himself.

“We don’t know because of the nature of the CFIUS process, which is confidential,” said Mark Plotkin, a partner at the Washington law firm Covington & Burling, who has handled CFIUS cases

Representatives of each CFIUS member agency, as well as the White House, directed CBS News to the Treasury Department for comment when asked whether the department head would support any transaction that would allow ownership of U.S. oil properties by a Russian state-owned firm. A spokesperson for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to comment beyond noting that “information filed with CFIUS may not be disclosed to the public.”

In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, CFIUS reviewed 147 filings, rejecting one. Another 12 filings were withdrawn during the review process.

While rejections are rare, there have been cases in which foreign state-operated companies have withdrawn their bids due to political pressure. In 2005, for instance, the Chinese state-owned oil and gas company CNOOC cancelled its $18.5 billion bid for U.S. oil company Unocal after members of Congress sought to extend CFIUS’ review of the case.

Every expert contacted by CBS News predicted the Rosneft transaction would meet similar, if not fiercer opposition.

LeJ…Mother of All Taliban

LeJ leads international terrorist organisations in Pakistan  


LeJ leads international terrorist organisations in Pakistan   

KARACHI: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a proscribed organization, left with only a 10 percent effective network has become the leader of international terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaida and TTP in the country, particularly in the port city of Karachi , the largest city of Sindh, and Quetta, the largest city of Baluchistan, officials involved in anti terrorist operations have revealed.

LeJ’s terror activities after many years of calm had resurfaced in the middle of last year, 2016, which drew attention of intelligence agencies as some of its key members were effectively neutralized.

The Organization is still the prime target of law enforcement agencies LEAs for its close liaison with banned “Jamat-ul-Ahrar”. Most of the organization’s activists have gone underground to escape arrests.

The officials claim that LeJ’s almost 90 percent network has been disabled by eliminating its top leadership.

According to the officials, LeJ ties with ISIS surfaced last year when terrorists attacked the police academy in Quetta in October.

The group is active in Karachi and Quetta with two deferent off-shoot groups namely the Naeem Bukhari Group in Karachi and LeJ Al-Aalmi in Quetta, after the start of operation “Zarb-e-Azb” the leadership and its workers went underground while the members of TTP and Al-Qaida fled to Afghanistan and from there they launched terror attacks inside Pakistan with the help of LeJ due to its extensive penetration.

It is pertinent to mention here that on Monday the Counter Terrorism Department CTD Sindh had busted a sleeper cell of LeJ Naeem Bukhari Group by killing it chief “Dildar Chacha” and arresting four complies. The raiding team had also recovered a huge cache of explosives and rocket launchers.

The leader of the group Naeem Bukhari was arrested by the intelligence agencies in January this year. Bukhari, said to be expert in terror networking, had formed sub groups with difference tasks assigned to them including target killings, bomb making and financial support.

Turkey sees a threat in U.S. plan against ISIS in Raqqa, Syria

Turkey sees a threat in U.S. plan against ISIS in Raqqa, Syria




ANKARA, Turkey —  U.S.-Turkey relations would be harmed if the United States goes ahead with its plan to partner with a Kurdish militia in Syria to clear the Islamic State from its de facto capital of Raqqa, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday.

Turkey will not participate in the Raqqa operation, Yildirim said, if the U.S. does not heed the warning that was repeated this week by several Turkish politicians here, .

The U.S. military says it has already begun isolating Raqqa with Syrian Arab forces allied with the a Kurdish militia linked to a Kurdish separatist group that the State Department has designated as a terrorist organization.

Time is of the essence because the fight for Raqqa will be easier while the Islamic State leadership is preoccupied with defending western Mosul, the militants’ last stronghold in Iraq, Col. John Dorrian, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, told USA TODAY.

“This operation should be carried out jointly by the U.S. and Turkey,” Yildirim said during a lunch with several American journalists at his office compound in Turkey’s capital. “You cannot use one terror organization to fight another terrorist organization.”

He warned that if the United States insists on working with the Kurds in Syria, “the friendship between the United States and Turkey will be damaged.”

Yildirim said Turkey can prove that weapons the U.S. supplied to Kurdish allies have been used against Turkish forces by Kurdish separatists inside Turkey. Dorian said the U.S. military has not seen “any evidence the (Kurdish force) is doing anything to threaten Turkey.”

The U.S., Turkey and other members of the coalition fighting the Islamic State have been consulting for months about the makeup of the force that will participate in the Raqqa operation, Dorrian said.

“For months, we have said we are open to a Turkish role in liberating the city,” he said. But the liberating force should reflect the city’s Arab population, “so you have a legitimate force ruling there,” he said.

The Turkish-backed forces have yet to field a group large enough to tackle Raqqa and had a difficult time in liberating Al Bab, which “was a much smaller problem set,” he said.

The Kurdish militia has secured major roads in and out of Raqqa, disrupting the Islamic State’s ability to replenish manpower and supplies, as well as the group’s ability to launch attacks on targets in the United States and Europe, Dorrian said.

The attack on the city could happen as soon as coalition partners decide on the makeup of the force, but it will go easier, meaning fewer coalition casualties while the fight in Mosul in ongoing, he said.

“The more problems they have at the same time, the more overwhelmed they’re going to be,” he said. “The command and control of (the Islamic State) has not been able to handle that in the past.”

Yildirim said he hopes President Trump will abandon what Turkey considers the flawed policy of former president Barack Obama, whose administration developed the current Raqqa campaign.

Turkey wants Raqqa liberated by Syrian Arab troops it trained and supported in recent battles to free the cities of  Al Bab and Jarabolus from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Those Turkish-supported forces recently took up positions near Manbij, where they clashed with Arab forces allied with the U.S.-backed Kurdish force.

Adding to the tensions in the region: Last week, those Kurdish militias were displaced by Russian-backed forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Now the Turkish-backed forces cannot advance toward Raqqa without dealing with Assad’s troops and Russia’s air force.

And Turkey, whose leaders have called for Assad’s ouster since the civil war began six years ago, will never cooperate with his regime, Yildirim said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to Moscow Friday to discuss this issue, among others, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow Refutes False Al-Jazeera Reports Suggesting “Green Light” To Attack Hezbollah In Syria

(TASS) Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected information on Thursday that Moscow would allegedly allow Israel to fight Hezbollah Islamist militant group from the Syrian airspace.

“I cannot comment on the information. This has nothing to do with reality,” the presidential spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, this theme “was not discussed.”

“There is no talk about that,” Peskov added.

The Qatar-based TV Channel Al-Jazeera earlier reported, citing a source close to the Israeli prime minister, that Moscow would allegedly allow Israel to fight Hezbollah from the Syrian airspace.

Trump Making His First Moves In Syria As Ground Forces Begin Illegal Build-Up

Exclusive: US weighs deploying up to 1000 ‘reserve’ troops for IS fight
Nearly 1,000 U.S. Troops in Syria to Fight Against ISIS, Pentagon Says

An earlier Al-Masdar News report has said that hundreds of US troops have entered Syria. This number can now be confirmed to be around 400 US Marines have illegally arrived in northern Syria to participate in an offensive aimed at retaking Raqqa from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Dozens of US military vehicles were filmed near the US base in Manbij on Thursday.

According to the US coalition command center, the Marines will assist the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their push to re-establish control over Raqqa.

This would make it the first time since the beginning of the Syrian conflict that this formation has been deployed in action.