Reconciliation at the expense of the Palestinian cause

Breaking:  Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Gaza.
Published Friday, April 25, 2014
If reaching a national reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas was so easy that it could be done in less than 24 hours, which is what happened this week, why have these two parties failed to do so for the past seven years?
Paris: Why did the numerous meetings, discussions, and Arab mediation efforts over the past few years fail to bridge the divide between Fatah and Hamas, while a fleeting visit by a delegation representing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), sent by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to the Gaza Strip, was able to do so without any mediation?
Why did the 2011 Cairo Agreement and the 2012 Doha Declaration fail at a time when the proclaimed reconciliation is being accomplished today based on the terms of the two previous agreements?

 

Why did both sides encumber the Palestinian people with the burden of their dispute all this time if they were able to put an end to it? The more important and vital question is, if the dispute between Fatah and Hamas was a result of their clashing national programs and political visions, as they claim, does that mean that they finally managed to formulate a common national program?

The national reconciliation agreement that was announced clearly postulates the formation of a technocratic government made up of qualified figures in five weeks, having legislative and presidential elections after six months and renewing PLO institutions to pave the way for Hamas to join the organization.
This raises an obvious question about the common national program that will be presented to the Palestinians first and the international community second. 
Have the fundamental differences between a party that sees peace as the only path to reach a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and another that believes in resistance in all its forms as a path to liberate historic Palestine been resolved? Or did one side succumb to the other’s strategy?
Modern Palestine Flaq
The statements issued by both sides indicate that the reconciliation agreement recognizes the Oslo Accords as the framework of the PA, which will renew its institutions through elections. Fatah leader, Azzam al-Ahmed stated very clearly: “We as Palestinians unanimously accept an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, solving the problem of the refugees, full sovereignty over all our territory, and no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.” Saeb Erekat preceded Ahmed stressing that “reconciliation is necessary to achieve peace.” Abbas himself did not miss the chance to assert that “there is no contradiction between reconciliation and negotiations.”
Hamas leaders on the other hand spoke in general terms. Member of the Hamas political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said: “The Palestinian people are the main supporters and sponsors of ending the division,” emphasizing that “the occupation is the sole beneficiary of Palestinian fragmentation.” He did not deny that implementing this agreement will face a lot of difficulties but he insisted on the necessity to “shake the dust and turn a new page by uniting and going forward towards reconciliation.”
But Abu Marzouk needs to tell us how is it possible to go forward if his political party does not answer the questions that were posed in 2006? What if the international community imposed its previous conditions on Hamas? What is his response to what Ahmed said about Palestinian unanimity regarding the two-state solution? Does he agree with Erekat that reconciliation is the way to peace?

 

The clarity with which Fatah leaders confirmed their traditional positions while Hamas leaders were evasive in responding to them clearly indicates that Hamas is the weakest link in this reconciliation. 

Even though Abbas resorted to the reconciliation as a maneuver after failing to procure the bare minimum of his demands from Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, Hamas was forced into it after losing the Muslim Brotherhood – its primary source of support – and losing Syria and Iran as allies without gaining Qatar.

This means that both sides resorted to the so-called national reconciliation to improve their political positions and not because it is going to serve the Palestinian cause as they made it out to be. It is absolutely impossible to serve this cause in the absence of a clear and specific agreement on the nature of core national principles and how they can be achieved, whether through resistance, negotiations or a compromise between the two. The interest of the Palestinian cause can not be achieved given that one of the parties has been mired in futile negotiations for 20 years and another party fluctuates in its position depending on the regional and international circumstances whereby it calls for resistance but hesitates to practice it since 2006.
The reconciliation that they are touting confirms once again that the PA as an institution with the Oslo Accords as its frame of reference has become a point of consensus between all the parties. They disagree on their share but they do not disagree about it, otherwise, what is the point of Hamas returning to this authority through new elections after trying this path before, which has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that maneuvering from within this institution is an impossible task? If it justified its participation in the 2006 elections by the death of the Oslo Accords during the second Intifada, what is their justification this time? 
How can Abbas threaten to hand over the keys of this authority at a time when he will call on the Palestinian people tomorrow to renew its legitimacy?
Had Abbas been serious about his threat, he would have used the national reconciliation agreement as an opportunity to call on all the Palestinian parties to embark on an open national workshop aimed at formulating scenarios and alternatives for the post-PA era. 
If Hamas still adheres to the idea of historic Palestine, it would have refused to go through reconciliation on the basis of elections governed by the Oslo Accords.
But having all these questions lingering without answers, especially from Hamas, indicates that what happened in the Gaza Strip yesterday is nothing but a show, a form of political adolescence and hypocrisy practiced by the leaders of both sides against the Palestinian people. It is also a matter of divvying up interests and not ending the split. But even if we agree that this reconciliation truly ends the division, then it is doubtlessly at the expense of the Palestinian cause and its core principles.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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HOMS IN CROSSHAIRS OF NEW SAA CAMPAIGN; 39 JACKALS KILLED IN EAST HOMS

Ziad Fadel

HOMS:

SAA on a roll.  The number of terrorists in the old city is down to a few hundred foreigners who know there is no benefit to surrendering. They are not protected under the Geneva Conventions since they are not nationals of the country they are trying to devastate and they do not represent a foreign nation at war with Syria.  Their situation is hopeless.
Old City:  The St. George Cathedral is now liberated with all areas surrounding in the hands of the SAA.
Uqayrabaat Junction in the Al-Shaa’er Mountain:  The SAAF and SAA made mincemeat out of a caravan of escaping jackals heading east toward Dayr El-Zor Province.  This was a massacre as use of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles brought in from Libya either misfired or could not reach SAAF fighter-bombers strafing their positions.  The SAAF struck 2 pickup trucks with Doschkas and turned them into useless iron shards. Another pickup with a machine gun cannon was taken in usable condition.  The final count is in: 39 scavengers killed and 12 taken prisoner.  All were Syrians. I have no names. 
URGENT NEWS:
SYRIAN ARMY ADVANCES SUBSTANTIALLY AT JAWBAR (Damascus) KILLING 48 FOREIGN TERRORIST TERRORISTS.  Advance noted in center of town at the Tayyiba Mosque as the onslaught continues from the North-East Axis.  More news coming. 
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_________________________________________
 
Al-Sa’an area at Daar Al-Sa’aada on the Dayr Fool-Al-Sa’an Road: 2 pickups with 23mm machine gun cannon destroyed in an SAA raid. No details.
Al-Kuwaiti Farm:  A rocket launcher was destroyed along with its operator. No names.
 
Al-Naasiriyya Quarter:  Fighting with no details.
 

Talbeesa

near the Sports Arena and Cultural Center, a pack of terrorists was eliminated. 6 killed and 1 taken prisoner.
  • Mu’tazz Hassan Qarqoot
  • Waassef Sa’ood
  • Ahmad Mudarris
No other names sent.
 
Abu Al-‘Anz:  No details about skirmishing.
 
‘Aydoon: Confirmed 19 terrorists took Satan’s Streetcar to Salem’s Lot in a brilliant ambush operation.  I have no names, yet.
 
Fighting also reported here:  Al-Khaalidiyya (launcher seized), Al-Ghantu (mortar destroyed), Al-‘Aamiriyya, Burj Qaa’iy and Kafr Laahaa.
 

Ziad Fadel

Attorney for 33 years and Supreme Court Certified Interpreter for Arabic/English Diploma with Honors from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in 1968; B.A. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor 1968-1972; M.A. University of Michigan Dept. of Near Eastern Studies 1972-1974; Ph.D. Cand. Univ. of Michigan 1972-1977; Then went to law school. Credits: Harvard University for classes in Islamic Philosophy; Fellowships from University of Pennsylvania 1976; 2 from Univ. of Michigan. Read English, Arabic, German, French, Farsi, some Hebrew. Studied Ancient Greek and Latin before grad school. Michigan Supreme Court Certified Interpreter/Translator for Arabic and English

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A new security plan for Ain al-Hilweh

Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Saida, Lebanon. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
Published Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Tensions are escalating in Ain al-Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp. In the past, people feared a clash between the Fatah Movement and Islamist groups, but today they are more concerned about a possible confrontation between Islamists themselves. Such tensions may threaten the Palestinian initiative to isolate the refugee camps from ongoing internal and regional conflicts and undermine the memorandum of understanding signed between different Islamist factions that have come together under the group known as the Muslim Youth.
In a meeting held on April 28 at the Palestinian embassy headquarters in Beirut, members of the parties behind the Palestinian initiative to pacify and protect the refugee camps (19 nationalist and Islamist factions) agreed on a security plan for Ain al-Hilweh, located on the outskirts of Saida in southern Lebanon. Chief of the Palestinian National Security Forces, Sobhi Abu Arab, will today head a security meeting to create a preliminary plan.
According to a Hamas representative in Lebanon, Ali Barakah, a Palestinian higher political committee expects to receive the first draft of the plan within a week, so it can add its own remarks before presenting it to Lebanese political and security forces.
Barakah explained that the plan’s main goal is to support the security forces who have already been deployed in the camp about a month ago. He also revealed that the idea first came up during a recent meeting with the director of General Security, Abbas Ibrahim.
However, concerned parties have yet to agree on the plan’s details and how it will be implemented. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk discussed the prospects of such a plan during a meeting with heads of security bodies held in Saida last week. He also inquired about the feasibility of deploying the army inside the camp and setting up police stations in some of its neighborhoods.
Yesterday’s meeting followed a recent spate of violence in the camp amid rising fears of clashes between moderate and extremist Islamists.
Following the assassination of Sheikh Orsan Suleiman, Ain al-Hilweh residents expected Fatah to take action. However, Osbat al-Ansar was the faction that stormed into the strongholds of rival Islamist groups Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam, and deployed gunmen in their neighborhoods overnight Saturday.

 

Osbat al-Ansar issued a statement later saying that Islamist forces “won’t allow anyone to compromise the camp’s security and the lives of its residents,” warning against “those seeking to spread sedition.”

In a phone interview with Al-Akhbar, Osbat al-Ansar leader, Sheikh Abu Tarek al-Saedi, attributed these actions “to many reasons that have been accumulating,” saying that Osbat is worried that some forces are no longer focusing on Palestine “but on Lebanon or on each other.” Though Saedi refused to give a particular reason behind the deployment of their gunmen, informed sources revealed that it was in retaliation for the shooting of a senior Osbat official identified as Taha Shreidi in Safsaf Street.
Shreidi escaped unharmed but on the next day, Osbat arrested a suspect identified as Ali Abdul-Jabbar belonging to Bilal Badr Islamist Brigade that has already – along with others close to the emir of Fatah al-Islam, Oussama al-Shahabi – targeted Shreidi.
Bilal Badr Islamist Brigade and Fatah al-Islam have both been verbally attacking Osbat and the Jihadi Islamist Movement in private sessions and on social networks for coordinating with Lebanese political forces, mainly with Hezbollah, saying that security bodies allow them to leave the camp whenever they want.
Abu Sharif Akl, an Osbat spokesman, attacked in his Friday sermon those promoting a culture of dissent among Muslims, saying that there is a hit list with leading sheikhs’ names on it. He also linked the assassination of Shehabi’s nephew to the call of Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk and the new chairman of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Hassan Mneinmneh, to disarm the camps.
Since the assassination of Ahbash official, Sheikh Orsan Suleiman, in the camp, Akl has been moving around with a gun on his side, while Sheikh Jamal Khatab has his own armed bodyguards.
In a ten minute audio message, Shahabi refrained from accusing any party of killing his nephew Ali Khalil, but stressed that his group is ready to retaliate against all aggressions.
According to informed sources, Palestinian and Islamist factions now fear a new string of assassinations and car bombs. While they ruled out an imminent clash between moderate and extremist rival Islamist groups, they expressed their concern about the involvement of parties from outside the camp.
In the meantime, Mneinmneh hosted the first Palestinian delegation since he took office and was handed a petition advocating the right of return, rebuilding the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp and refusing displacement.

Palestinian reconciliation: A history of documents

Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (L) speaks with Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya in Gaza City on April 23, 2014 after West Bank and Gaza Strip leaders agreed to form a unity government within five weeks. (Photo: AFP-Said Khatib)
Published Monday, April 28, 2014
Last week officials from rival Palestinian factions announced a national reconciliation agreement. This is not the first time such an announcement has been made. For nearly a decade, various accords promising an end to the division between Hamas and Fatah have come and gone, leaving behind dashed hopes and festering apathy. Will this time be different?
The sudden death of Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2004 marked the beginning of a vicious conflict between two major political factions – the Islamist political movement known as Hamas and the older guard of Fatah, administers of the West-Bank based Palestinian Authority (PA).
The struggle for power in the post-Arafat era is comparable to trench warfare. Each faction remains unmovable in their position, unable to overpower the other, and unswayed by the many internal and external challenges that have emerged periodically.
Since winning democratic elections in 2006, Hamas has survived an attempted coup, a suspension of Arab and international monetary aid, multiple Israeli military invasions, a tightening of an Egyptian-Israeli blockade, and the rapid rise and fall of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, to name but a few significant events. Yet, Hamas still manages to govern the besieged Gaza Strip.
On the other side, Fatah, in the guise of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has survived a series of Israeli military raids, an eruption of Zionist colonization, increasing irrelevancy, dwindling legitimacy, and simmering Palestinian discontent over a series of scandals, wide-spread corruption, and capitulations. Yet, Fatah still maintains control of whatever lands it governs in the ever-shrinking West Bank.
In between the two lie the Palestinian people – trapped in Gaza, under occupation in the West Bank enclaves, and refugees in the region and abroad. They are paralyzed by the divide, watching powerlessly as unceasing attempts for national unity falter one after another.
In order to truly understand the chances of success for this latest national unity agreement announced by Hamas and the PLO on April 24, 2014, one has to take a historical journey that examines the evolution of the Hamas-PA struggle, seen from the perspective of documents and agreements produced throughout this dismal decade.
The timing and location of these agreements not only reflect the shifting political power dynamics amongst Palestinian factions, but even sheds light on the regional factors at play.
Cairo Accord (March 2005):
On March 2005, 13 Palestinian factions, joined by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem, gathered in Cairo. The meeting took place more than a month after the Sharm al-Sheikh summit between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proclaimed the second intifada’s end.
The Palestinians bore the burnt of the death and devastation during the uprising against the Israeli occupation, and the Israelis furthered their colonization and occupation by building a wall that snaked into the West Bank, appropriating more land and water resources, among an array of oppressive acts. In addition to the increase of Israeli oppression, the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004 induced a massive power vacuum, resulting in clashes between various Palestinian factions.
At the heart of the intra-Palestinian conflict was the growth of Hamas’ appeal for the Palestinian public. It had garnered a favorable reputation as a movement that challenged Israel’s occupation and was starkly opposed to the Oslo Accords, commonly viewed as catastrophic for Palestinian rights. Hamas was also seen as a viable alternative to Fatah, which was swamped with allegations of inefficiency and mass corruption amongst its upper echelon.
Naturally, the Islamist movement became a considerable rival to Fatah’s long grip over Palestinian politics, especially within the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and gradually demanded it has more say in the decision-making process. This led to the 2005 Cairo Accords.
The language of the articles of the 2005 Cairo Accord reflected Hamas’ desire to open up the PLO for other factions, as seen from Articles 4 and 5 which called for reform of the political apparatus in order to include all Palestinian factions prior to parliamentary elections planned for the summer.
More so, it reaffirmed the language of resistance, one that remains committed to the right to resist and the right of return, as indicated by the first article’s bluntness in adhering to “Palestinian constants.”
The 2005 Cairo Accord clearly did not end tensions, but it allowed a moment’s respite for the conflicting Palestinian factions as the second intifada drew to a close. Attention had now turned to the planned parliamentary elections, and building up arms for the next battle.
The Prisoner’s Document (June 2006):
The Prisoner’s Document, announced in May and amended a month later, was written by five Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, each representing five Palestinian parties: Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
A few months prior, Hamas had won the legislative elections, scooping up 74 out of 132 seats, ending decades of Fatah’s political monopoly. One of Hamas’ political leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, was selected as prime minister to form a new government.
Almost instantaneously after the election results were revealed, sanctions by the US, European Union, and their allies were implemented against the new government. Israel further restricted mobility in the occupied territories and held back tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority, while also accelerating construction of the apartheid wall and settlement blocs. For Israel and it’s Western allies, Hamas represented a “terrorist” organization, one which would not totally capitulate to the demands and interests of the occupation. Its political ascendancy marked a massive set-back for Israel and the West’s interests.
Eventually, attempts at unity collapsed under the weight of the feud between Hamas and Fatah, particularly over who should command the security forces.
Shortly after the elections, Hamas had formed the Executive Force, a para-military force that was a military opposition to the western-backed PA Presidential Guards. Quick condemnations by Mahmoud Abbas on constitutional grounds followed, which Hamas brushed away.
Under this context, the Prisoner’s Document attempted to alleviate animosity between the parties, especially as Israeli aggression was reaching its zenith.
The document referred to the 2005 Cairo Accord as the main foundation for that unity. Like the Cairo Accord, the Prisoner’s Document called for the reform and expansion of the PLO, as well as other political and security apparatuses. But unlike the previous agreement, the Prisoner’s Document also called for a joint military front to fight the occupation.
Moreover, the language of the Prisoner’s Document took great pains to bridge the ideological divide between Hamas and Fatah by acknowledging both the right to resist and negotiate.
Of great concern for the document’s writers was the plight of thousands of Palestinian prisoners within Israeli jails. They demanded their immediate release, in addition to granting Palestinian refugees – who remained voiceless – more agency in decision-making.
The call ultimately fell on deaf ears.
Mecca Agreement (Feb. 2007):
[20070209HamasFatahMecca03.jpg]
The Prisoner’s Declaration did not amount to much, likely due to it being written by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, unable to influence forces in the West Bank and Gaza.
As 2006 drew to a close, the row over power sharing in regards to who would have authority over security intensified, widening divisions between the two political groups.
By mid-December, Mahmoud Abbas called for early elections, a tactic Hamas considered as an attempt to invalidate electoral results. Pro-Hamas rallies broke out in the West Bank were repressed by PA security forces. Fatah gunmen loyal to Mohammed Dahlan in Gaza also attempted to assassinate Ismail Haniyeh during this period.
Intense fighting erupted within the Gaza Strip between groups linked to either side, interrupted by moments of cease-fire that quickly crumbled as fast as they were made.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia sought to reassert its regional power and legitimacy after it was bruised by it’s support of Israel’s war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and to quell Iran’s growing financial influence among Palestinian resistance groups. The main Palestinian leaders answered the Saudi monarchy’s call for a gathering. Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan, representing Fatah, met with Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal, for Hamas, in Mecca on February 1 and negotiated for eight days.
The result was a promise to end violence and immediately set up a national unity government, outlined in greater detail withineight sub-sections that was released after the agreement was announced.
The ministries would be divided between Hamas and Fatah.
Hamas would hold the seats of the prime minister, the ministries of education and higher education, Islamic waqf, labour, local government, youth and sports, justice, telecommunications, economy and an extra seat as a state minister. Hamas would also be granted the ability to nominate independent figures for the interior ministry, planning, and another person as state minister.
On the other hand, Fatah still held the executive branch, the seat of deputy prime minister, and the ministries of health, social affairs, public works, transportation, agriculture, prisoner affairs, and foreign affairs.
Resistance and negotiations under the norms of formerly signed international treaties were both acknowledged as legitimate means to achieve Palestinian rights, and it reaffirmed previous national reconciliation documents, as well as promised reforms within the Palestinian Legislative Council in the security and judiciary fields. For security, a major point of contention, the agreement vaguely suggested the formation of a national security council that would merely follow the decisions of the political class, delaying the final decision after the establishment of a national unity government.
By March 17, a unity government was formed. It lasted only three months.
Yemen Initiative (Feb. 2008):
Despite the Mecca agreement and the formation of a unity government, hostilities between Hamas and Fatah persisted over who would master security forces.
According to the leaked Palestine Papers, Israel, the US, and the EU were working hard with their local allies such as Egypt and Jordan to support Fatah’s military apparatus with the aim of toppling Hamas in Gaza. Millions of dollars were spent on equipment and training in a plan headed by US security coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton. Meanwhile, Hamas expanded the size and scope of its Executive Force to match Fatah’s own military changes. The result was an on-going confrontation and clashes between the two, especially in the West Bank as PA security forces clamp down on armed resistance movements against Israel.
The infighting peaked to a five day conflict in June known as the Battle of Gaza. All Hamas and Fatah officials, military or political, were targeted in tit-for-tat attacks as fighting spread throughout Gaza. Once the dust settled, Hamas had gained complete control of the territory.
The national unity government was dissolved, and Abbas announced a state of emergency, dismissing Haniyeh as prime minister and replacing him with Salam Fayyad. In response, Hamas condemned Abbas and Fatah for attempting to topple the government. A de facto split – politically and physically – was established between Gaza and the West Bank.
From that point onwards, both sides actively sought to uproot and repress the other through crack-downs, arrests, torture, and antagonistic rhetoric. Clashes commonly flared up. In addition to these events, Israel’s blockade on Gaza tightened, and international financial support flowed away from government institutions under Hamas’ control, and went solely to Fatah.
With this situation, Ali Saleh, Yemen’s dictator, leaped into the diplomatic fray. Hamas and Fatah officials were called to the Yemeni capital, Sana, and quickly inked another agreement promising reconciliation.
The Yemen Initiative called for a return of the pre-June 2007 status quo, the formation of a regional commission to oversee Palestinian national unity efforts, and reaffirmed commitment to the Cairo Accords and the Mecca Agreement. As before, the document echoed the need for the Palestinian political institutions to include all factions.
But like previous attempts, there was no active effort to implement the promises of the Yemen Initiative by either party. Argument broke out only hours after the initiative was announced, the point of contention revolving on how and when negotiations between the factions would occur.
As tensions endured, Israel unleashed a devastating three-week assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, which Fatah subtly supported, in the winter of 2008. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, and much of the civilian infrastructure was annihilated.
Yet, Hamas maintained control of the territory, while Fatah, through the help of Israel and foreign support, deepened it’s hold in the West Bank.
Cairo Accords (May 2011):
Other than the Mecca Agreement, the Cairo Accords of 2011 was a document that somewhat outlined the structure and nature of what a national unity government would entail.
The context of the agreement, which was brokered by the Egyptian intelligence, was during the first year of the Arab uprisings. Both Fatah and Hamas, feeling pressure from both within their ranks and externally, were possibly motivated by self preservation.
Fatah had lost a major ally in the form of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was removed from power after 18 days of intense protests throughout Egypt. The organization was already staggering under the weight of irrelevancy, its legitimacy wavering over the complete failure of the peace process with Israel.
Hamas, for its part, while unsure of what position to take with regards to protests in Syria, was feeling empowered by the surge of its spiritual and ideological brethren, the Muslim Brotherhood, on the Egyptian political scene. For an instant, it seemed like the crippling blockade on Gaza would end, and with it Hamas’ isolation.
The Cairo Accords of 2011, formally signed by Abbas and Meshaal on May 4, reflected these dynamics at play. In particular, the language of the document was more diplomatic and conciliatory in tone, and suggested a shift within Hamas’ long-held stances against Fatah by accepting Abbas remains as head of state, in addition to agreeing to work within the legal framework established by the Oslo Accords that governed how the PLO functions in the Palestinian occupied territories.
Yet as Electronic Intifada founder and editor, Ali Abunimah,noted in his analysis of the accords, much of the agreement was rife with vague clauses and had altogether dropped previous demands to reform the PLO. Of greater concern is the fact that the document itself represented a transformation of Hamas politically, strikingly apparent when compared to the issues stressed by the 2005 Cairo accords.
This agreement also never mentioned anything in regards to Palestinian rights, struggles against the occupation, or the right of return.
Arguably, the 2011 Cairo Accord was a return to square one as it basically placed aside how the ministries and other government apparatuses were to be shared as outlined by the Mecca Agreement. Final decisions for ministry seats, as well as security administration, was simply left up to “consensus” without much clarification.
Doha Declaration (Feb. 2012):
 

 

The Doha Declaration was written at the apex of Qatar’s regional power. Over the course of the first year of the Arab uprising, Qatar had played an aggressive game. The emirate had thrown its full weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as it successfully gained hold of the executive and legislative branches of the Egyptian government. Doha also played a key role in the overthrow of Libya’s dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and was in the midst of escalating support to the various opposition groups battling the Syrian regime.
Moreover, Hamas had decided to transfer its political bureau from Damascus to Doha, a sign that it was willing to reconsider alliances and restructure it’s ideology in an era in which Qatar seemed supreme.
The Doha Declaration was an attempt to re-energize the 2011 Cairo Accords which stalled due to a discord over who should head the transitional government. Fatah had put forward Salam Fayyad as a candidate, promptly rebuked by Hamas, and was not keen to offer an alternative choice. Repression of Hamas members in the West Bank and Fatah members in Gaza were still ongoing, and the plan for elections seemed unattainable due to the fact that democratic elections under an Israeli occupation, which restricted movement and arrested candidates it opposed, were impossible.
The Doha Declaration offered nothing fundamentally new other than a commitment by Fatah to release Hamas prisoners in the West Bank, while Hamas promised to reciprocate by allowing elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
But the declaration was hampered by the reluctance of anyone to take the first, necessary step. Another agreement was signed in Cairo nearly four months later, which sought to further the Doha Declaration by beginning the registration process for voters in the Gaza Strip and gradually laid the foundations for an interim government.
The Gaza Agreement (April 2014):
Since the Doha Declaration, and the Cairo agreement that followed, tensions between Hamas and Fatah eased considerably. Efforts for reconciliation were also motivated by another Israeli assault on Gaza, known as Operation Pillar of Defense, on November 2012 and the success of PA officials in upgrading UN status for Palestine in December 2012.
Both parties eased their respective crackdowns and allowed rallies in support of their rivals within their territories. Talks on reconciliation were announced, under the sponsorship of then-Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi.
New challenges arose during this year, which perhaps forced the parties to take the matter seriously.
After a honeymoon with Egypt under the short reign of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas was confronted by a wholly combative Egyptian military – which had gained power in a coup that overthrew the Brotherhood – and whom were threatening to attack Gaza. The blockade was still in effect, and became even more rigid.
Fatah, for its part, was faced with an ultra-right-wing Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu that was simply not interested in pushing the peace process forward. It had significantly increased settlements in the West Bank, and has publicly voiced unwillingness for the existence of a free, sovereign Palestinian state.
These factors, with others, culminated in the announcement of another national reconciliation agreement on April 24, 2014, signed in Gaza City. The talks began only two days earlier, and the speed in which an agreement was made signified a sense of desperation by both parties to score a much-needed victory.
While this latest agreement recycled promises of following through with previous agreements, particularly the 2011 Cairo Accords, it differed from the rest by specifying the formation of a “technocratic government” within five weeks, and having legislative and executive elections after six months, rather than a year as stated previously.
Like the earlier declarations, the Gaza Agreement renewed calls to immediate reform the PLO in order to include Hamas and its allies in the formal decision making process, as well as prompt implementation of other articles presented within the 2011 Cairo Accords.
As soon as the Gaza Agreement was announced, the Americans condemned it as “disappointing” and “unhelpful” for peace, while Israel unleashed a series of strikes on Gaza. It is a routine rhetoric and tactic by the Americans and Israelis every time reconciliation between Palestinian factions seemed close at hand.
In a way, it could be a return of a similar difficulties faced by Palestinian factions after the 2006 elections, in which foreign sanctions, military attacks, and threats of isolation were let loose.
Despite these challenges, both Fatah and Hamas seem keen to push the agreement forward this year, more likely due to a convergence in their interests to remain relevant and legitimate to the Palestinian public.
However, there is no clarification in regards tackling the inherent differences in regards to negotiations, nor does it offer contingencies in the face of Western and Israeli rejection of Palestinian reconciliation, nor is the agreement clear in terms of how it will commit to Palestinian cause – notably the right of return.
Before, it was a matter of political and security that usually ended the drive for reconciliation. Today, the ultimate failure of the Palestinian reconciliation efforts could hinge on the bigger question: Are Hamas and Fatah’s attempts to reconcile and form a unified government obsolete and disconnected from the original goals of the Palestine cause?

While Israel was involved in fake peace talks with Palestine, Netanyahu approved 14,000 illegal Settlements

Netanyahu Breaks Records by Okaying 14,000 Settlements during Talks

http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?fromval=1&cid=23&frid=23&eid=148773

The Zionist entity had approved plans for nearly 14,000 new illegal settlements undermining the already failed nine months of so-called peace talks with the Palestinians.Israeli settlements

Figures quoted by an Israeli settlement watchdog Tuesday showed that during the talks which had formally ended, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved at least 13,851 new housing through the advancement of plans and the publication of tenders.
  
“This is an unprecedented number representing an average of 50 housing units per day or 1,540 per month,” Peace Now said. “Netanyahu broke construction records during the nine-month peace talks,” Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer told AFP.

Washington’s deadline for reaching a Mideast ‘peace deal’ arrived Tuesday with no breakthrough and US Secretary of State John Kerry mired in a row over allegations that he said ‘Israel’ risks becoming an “apartheid state”.
  
After more than a year of intensive shuttle diplomacy by Kerry, with the initial aim of brokering a deal by April 29, Washington’s patience appeared to be growing thin as both Israel and the Palestinians moved to distance themselves from the crisis-hit talks, according to AFP.
  
Kerry on Monday vehemently denied calling Israel an apartheid state, as a furore grew in the Zionist entity over comments the top US diplomat reportedly made during a private meeting.

Inventing a ‘Russian Threat’: Washington’s Full-Spectrum Subversion

http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/04/28/inventing-the-russian-threat-washingtons-full-spectrum-subversion/

 

What do postmodern exhibitionists, Islamic holy warriors and marauding ultra-nationalists share in common?

Seemingly little, aside from the fact that these bizarre bedfellows are the star assets of US policy in Eurasia. And despite their use of very different tactics, they all are tasked with the same mission: to undermine Russia, the only great power consistently opposed to American hegemony.

The Sochi Diversion

Today East and West contemplate the possibility of war over the fate of Ukraine, but the popular narrative was tailored for just such a standoff well in advance. Any attentive reader of Western press sources over recent months will have noticed that a dramatic upswing of negative Russia coverage began after Vladimir Putin thwarted Washington’s planned assault on Syria last summer. For just one example of the establishment’s dissemination of absurd Russophobia, look no further than the recent spy film Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which features Kremlin-directed Orthodox Christian suicide bombers attacking Mammonism’s Holy of Holies, the New York Stock Exchange.

As the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics got underway, executives at the six US media giants plus their counterparts at the BBC and elsewhere had a green light to inflict maximum damage. Journalists were looking to fan the flames of any possible scandal at the games, but the stories didn’t add up to their hype.

1-Eastern-Ukraine-Right-Sector-Putin-Fascists
A number of issues were used to paint Russia in an unflattering light, one at times approaching caricature. Was there some amount of corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency in constructing the new Olympic village in Sochi? Few Russians would doubt it, yet were American reporters really so insular as to expect nothing less than Switzerland? Exposure of bribery and fraud, lest we forget, featured as the epilogue to squeaky-clean Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Games. Meanwhile, threats by Islamic terrorists – the same Mujahedin operatives serving as proxies of US policy from Libya and Syria to Kosovo and Chechnya – against the Black Sea resort were amplified considerably with helpful leaks from “concerned” officials in Washington, to the point of convincing American Olympians’ families to stay home in fear[i]. But where were such warnings before two Chechens with connections to US intelligence allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon in April of 2013?

The media’s favorite manufactured controversy at the Olympics, moreover, had nothing at all to do with winter sports. Western audiences were led to believe that Russia’s laws banning the promotion of sodomy to children had cast a sinister pall over the games; in an expression of unfeigned displeasure, President Barack Obama skipped attendance (Killing Pashtun and Yemeni villagers with drone-launched Hellfire missiles is praiseworthy – upholding any measure of traditional morality is not[ii]). Try as they might, the press corps could find no evidence of “oppression” of homosexuals at Sochi, with the gay American skater Johnny Weir stating that he was treated “fantastically” by the Russian people during his stay. Even State Department-sponsored provocateurs from the cultural Marxist outfit Pussy Riot, famous for previous acts of obscenity and sacrilege, made a sorry attempt at spectacle before beating a hasty retreat. Unfazed, the Russian national team would go on to win first place for both gold medals and the overall count.

Flashpoint: Ukraine

Western vitriol over the Sochi Olympics represents one component of an information campaign, itself part of a wider US-led geopolitical offensive against Moscow. A variety of policy instruments are used for the objective of “containment,” from NATO expansion and power projection to sanctions against Russian companies. Yet by far the most economical means in the quest to weaken and demoralize Russia has been covert action, operations run under plausible deniability and comprising a broad range of activities. From the years of the Cold War, the Trans-Atlantic establishment has built an entire covert-action apparatus that encompasses not only intelligence services and special units of the military, but also nationalist paramilitaries, crime syndicates, transnational terror networks and a host of well-funded NGOs deeply intertwined with academia, major corporations and the media. In other words, an arsenal for full-spectrum subversion[iii].

Secret wars are waged just as intensively as the overt ones, and on multiple fronts. All the commotion over the Olympics amounted to a distraction from the central theater of action – Ukraine. As the curtain closed on Sochi, political unrest in Kiev climaxed with the overthrow of the undoubtedly corrupt but still legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych by pro-Western forces on February 22nd. The liberal-nationalist coalition that took power through mass protests and street fighting enjoyed extensive support – both public and clandestine – from the United States government. Timed for precisely the moment when Russia’s leadership was absorbed with showcasing its Olympics to the world, the coup’s main objective was to finally incorporate Ukraine as an EU/NATO satrapy.  The Washington-Wall Street agenda envisions stripping the country of its agricultural and industrial wealth and the deployment of US missile defense architecture just a day’s drive from Red Square.

What the events of early 2014 show is how quickly “soft power” can transition to the hard variant; subversion makes inroads for aggression. Washington spent two decades and $5 billion to make Ukraine safe for Chevron and Exxon-Mobil, but now it is reaping far more than it anticipated. Moscow has moved decisively to secure its vital interests in the region, leading to Crimea and the key naval base of Sevastopol being reunited with Russia after 60 years of estrangement. And the Russian-oriented south and east of Ukraine are also rising against an illegitimate regime resolved on virtually giving away strategic assets to multinationals – while sending ultra-nationalist militias to enforce the sales[iv]. From the port of Odessa to the Don River Basin, both Russians and Ukrainians share one thousand years of a unified Eastern Slavic civilization, an ideal that endures in blood and spirit; this reality will long outlive predatory IMF “structural adjustments” and the deformed chauvinism on offer from the current junta in Kiev.

After twenty years of eastward encroachment, the US push into Ukraine is the logical application of a policy to cripple Russia’s recovery and attain unchallenged dominance over the Eurasian heartland and its natural resources. Several consecutive rounds of NATO enlargement, the criminal bombardment of Serbia and subsequent overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, a string of CIA-orchestrated color revolutions in the former Soviet space and the 2008 Georgia War – far from isolated occurrences, these events show an ever-tightening ring of encirclement. For Kremlin strategists, the Maidan takeover in Kiev proved the point of no return; they’ve seen that the Pax Americana plays for keeps. With their very future on the line, the Russians are fighting back.

Targeted for destabilization, Russia has demonstrated the will to use force in order to protect its people and interests. Short of outright military action, it possesses formidable covert capabilities. The ruthless Cheka-KGB pioneered the practice of human intelligence, and we should remember that most of Ukrainian territory was once the arena of unrelenting partisan campaigns during the Second World War. Given Ukraine’s importance to Russia’s overall geopolitical position, it’s a safe assumption that the contemporary FSB and GRU have developed robust agent networks and operational infrastructure for just the sort of contingency that Moscow confronts today. At the same time, the West’s feverish search for spetsnaz troops in the country is wholly beside the point; resistance in the pro-Russian southeast is organic and growing.

Russia is perhaps the one nation preventing the United States from becoming the last empire, the progenitor of a tyrannical world-state; it is therefore positioned squarely on the front line of a sustained twilight struggle. Globalist oligarchs, the actual controllers of the liberal order, employ multiple vectors of subversion in their ferocious attack on faith, sovereignty and identity. Whether our telescreens depict jihadists wreaking destruction from the Levant to the Caucasus, cells of NGO “activists” waging psychological warfare through the propagation of deviance, or deranged Ukrainian nationalists bent on fratricide, we are assured that all are heroes marching in the grand cause of democracy.

Though retaining effective deterrence is essential for any independent state, the ultimate strength of a Third Rome resurgent lies in its eternal tradition, that ancient Christianity once adopted by a rough-hewn Viking ruler from Kiev. When the Russian lands were threatened by ideological aggression from the West some eight centuries ago, soldier-prince Aleksandr Nevsky defended his people with spirit and sword:

From Adam to the flood, from the flood to the division of tongues, from the mixing of tongues to the beginning of Abraham, from Abraham until Israel’s passing through the Red Sea, from Israel’s Exodus to the death of Tsar David, from the beginning of Solomon’s reign to Tsar Augustus, from the beginning of Augustus to Christ’s Birth, from Christ’s birth unto the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, from His Resurrection to His Ascension into heaven, from His Ascension into heaven until the reign of Constantine, from the beginning of Constantine’s reign to the First Council, from the First Council until the Seventh – all of this we know well, and from you we accept no doctrine.

In our age Russia is accused by American officialdom of “betraying the New World Order” when the New World Order is betrayal itself, the very crowning of modern apostasy. Let the words of Aleksandr Nevsky be the answer of every free and noble people to the masters of subversion: From you we accept no doctrine.


[i] Dmitro Yarosh, the leader of Ukraine’s fascist Right Sector, called upon the Chechen militant Doku Umarov to carry out terror attacks in Russia just weeks before the latter was killed in March by an FSB special unit. Ukrainian nationalists are known to have fought on the side of Chechen rebels during the 1990s and 2000s. One such figure, the now-deceased Oleksandr Muzychko, “Sashko Biliy,” tortured and murdered at least 20 captured Russian soldiers.

[ii] Coincidentally or otherwise, the top financial donors for the Human Rights Campaign, America’s premiere homosexual lobbying organization, are drone manufacturers from the military-industrial complex.

[iii] Many are unaware that the CIA is far from a simple intelligence service; like Britain’s MI5 and MI6, its business has been social engineering both at home and abroad. Under the guidance of tax-exempt foundations, its programs have included funding and promoting not just jihadists and nationalist paramilitaries, but control of the media, feminism, the arts, the psychedelic revolution and narcotics trade. This is only a short rendering of cases of dialectics in action, giving one nonetheless a more definite sense of the aims of the “New World Order.”

[iv] Another odd partnership forged on the Maidan against Moscow has been that of Right Sector and Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, the head of the European Jewish Congress and a prominent patron of Zionist causes.

Read this and more of Mark Hackard’s work at his online project, Soul of the East.

 Author Mark Hackard is an independent foreign policy analyst. He earned a BA in Russian Language from Georgetown University and an MA in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University. He studies the intersection of political culture, religion and strategic issues, which he approaches from a traditionalist-conservative position. Some of his major influences are Joseph de Maistre, Juan Donoso Cortes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Rene Guenon and Fr. Seraphim Rose.

READ MORE UKRAINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Ukraine Files

USA hopes it can destroy the growing economic and political relationship between Russia and the EU

Ukriane Is Not The Issue, And I Don’t Think It Ever Was
Read more

Ukraine offered a chance to force Russia into a confrontation that the west hopes it can use to destroy the growing economic and political relationship between Russia and European Nations. The USA is not a  part of this mutual economic dependency that has built up between resource rich Russia and resource and job hungry Europe. Car sales alone to Russia are what keeps some Euro car manufacturers in the black. As gas and oil, plus minerals flow from Russia to Europe, lots of European jobs are created filling orders for consumer goods all across Russia, including high value German machine tools and electrical equipment for examples.

Ukraine has enough crazy people in the western regions, living in abject poverty, perfect troops for a coup, once trained and put on a permanent payroll job by the CIA. We all saw how the coup was carried out in one square in one city, while an entire nation is expected to accept what a handful of paid western agents carried out. Now that the USA has a coup government that is a CIA asset, they can use them to provoke Russia until the situation goes out of control. The worse the better as we see economic sanctions, military moves and threats of a cold war isolation of Russia. This makes Europe once again a wholly dependent ward of the USA, not an economic and political part of a greater Europe.

The USA can not accept an independent Russia, it has always been about destroying Russia. Ukraine has just provided the excuse the US has been dreaming of. The US led NATO invasion of South Ossetia failed to break the Russian European links. So the CIA moved on to bigger game, they found a hard core of insane nazis in west Ukraine, took them into the CIA family and trained them up as agents to carry out a fake revolution.

Now the rest of Ukraine is not fully accepting of the US government in Kiev. As many in the East have said, they do not want the IMF leaders running Ukraine. They do not want IMF loans that they will be enslaved to for their life times. They see Brussels communist dictatorship controlling all European social and economic and educational policies in favor of global communism and destruction of white ethnic entities in favor of an African and Asia model of ethnic social orders.

As long as the US can use Ukraine to wage a hot economic war, and hopefully bully Russia into a hot war, the US will be happy. We have a short window to destroy Russia before the US fiat economy goes into free fall, and only a few years before China is the world’s number one economy and the US dollar begins to fall from reserve currency status.

America is awash in social and economic problems, the people are beginning to understand that democrats and republicans are the same party of elite war mongers.

To silence the people, they need a dangerous international enemy. Russia was once an enemy as the old USSR, the government elties believe they can sell this bullshit to America again, and use it to repress all freedom and all economic reform in the US. Our 1% have taken it all, now they seek to hold onto it all, be getting average Americans to focus on a Russian threat, they can divert the people into accepting an illegal corrupt government in Washington.

 

Obama’s NSA refuses FOIA request on MH370 on grounds of classified info

http://www.dcclothesline.com/2014/04/26/obamas-nsa-refuses-foia-request-malaysia-flight-370-grounds-classified-info/

All along, I’ve maintained that, given U.S. satellites and the National Security Administration’s (NSA) massive surveillance capabilities, the Obama administration knows precisely what had happened to MH 370, but is not telling. Notice that at no time has the White House offered its radar and satellite tracking information to help in the search.

Now we have evidence that the NSA indeed knows but isn’t telling.

On March 24, 2014, the gutsy and indefatigable attorney Dr. Orly Taitz made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NSA for any and all documents relating to missing Malaysian Flight MH 370.

This is the letter Dr. Taitz received in response:

NSA FOIA1Here’s the most important paragraph in the NSA’s letter:

We have determined that the fact of the existence or non-existence of the materials you request is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with the Executive Order 13526, as set forth in Sub-paragraph (c) of Section 1.4. Thus your request is denied pursuant to the first exemption of the FOIA which provides that the FOIA does not apply to matters that are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept order in the interest of national defense or foreign relations and are, in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.

Taitz points out that “Typically when the government does not have any records, it would respond to FOIA request attesting that there are no records in question, however this is not what happened in the case at hand. NSA did not deny existence of the documents, but stated that it is classified.

Executive Order 13526 – Classified National Security Information was issued by Barack Obama on December 29, 2009. Here’s EO 13536′s Section 1.4, Sub-paragraph c:

Sec. 1.4.  Classification Categories.  Information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security in accordance with section 1.2 of this order, and it pertains to one or more of the following:

(c)  intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology;

Calls for Israel to abide by International Law and join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/04/29/360534/nam-calls-on-israel-to-join-npt/

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), with 120 member states, has called on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The appeal was made on Monday by Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, on behalf of NAM members of the NPT, at the opening of the third and final preparatory conference for next year’s review of the 1970 accord aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear arms.
 
Natalegawa called for an international conference to promote a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United States, Britain and Russia to hold the long-delayed international event.

Natalegawa reiterated the organization’s demand that Israel “renounce possession of nuclear weapons” and join the NPT immediately.

The Israeli regime is widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with up to 400 undeclared nuclear warheads.

The 189 member nations that are party to the NPT, at the last NPT review conference in May 2010 urged convening a conference in 2012 “on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.”

The conference was set to be held in Finland in late 2012, but Washington said it would be postponed, in an apparent attempt to save Israel embarrassment for refusing to attend. No new date has been set for the conference.

The Indonesian foreign minister called on the UN, US, Britain and Russia to concentrate on holding the conference “at the earliest date in 2014,” and to seek “credible assurances” beforehand “regarding the unconditional participation of Israel.”

Tel Aviv has rejected global calls to join the NPT and does not allow international inspectors to observe its controversial nuclear program.

Syria is no longer an American priority


A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) arrives along with Grand Mufti Ahmed Hassun (C-L) a meeting with a group of various religious clerics from across Syria. (Photo: AFP-HO/SANA)

By: Sami Kleib

Published Monday, April 28, 2014

A few days ago, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon requested a meeting for the international quartet on Syria. His goal was to trigger consultations for holding Geneva III. The shocking response from the US Secretary of State John Kerry was: “Now is not a good time, the current priority is Ukraine.” 

The quartet committee consists of the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union (EU). All these parties seem unable at this point to revive the Geneva Conference or discuss any negotiated solution for the Syrian crisis. This was reinforced by everyone’s belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin has become more rigid on the Syrian issue after the crisis in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov now makes several statements a week in support of the official Syrian point of view. One day he criticizes the “West’s duplicity and hypocrisy,” regarding Syrian chemical weapons, and another day he condemns the West’s willingness to recognize the Ukrainian elections without political reforms while rejecting the same conditions for Syria. The tough diplomat makes statements opposing the arming of rebel groups on Syrian soil, alluding to states whose role has become known in that regard.

There is clear Russian support for the nomination of President Bashar al-Assad for a third term. Moscow gave the same support to General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt and to President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in Algeria. Before any of that, Lavrov himself expressed from the center of Baghdad, his country’s support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s war on terrorism.

Moscow went even further. It expanded its oil deals with Tehran. The Russians told whoever would listen that they do not recognize US sanctions but only sanctions by the UN Security Council. Washington was worried. Its treasury secretary said that any deal might fall under US sanctions. The warning was followed by a preliminary agreement between Moscow and Tehran valued at $20 billion stipulating that Moscow supply Tehran with equipment and Russian goods in return for Iranian oil.

It is not easy for Europe and the US to think of the possibility of Moscow’s success on more than one front. Oil and gas from Iran and Algeria raise concern. These two states do not fall within the scope of NATO. One of them is a strong ally of the Syrian regime and the second defends it diplomatically. It is not an easy matter for the US and the West to accept that Russia, once again, will have a serious foothold in Iraq and Egypt.

US diplomacy sprang into action. America rushed to support Bouteflika at the height of his electoral campaign. It opened the door for Egypt’s foreign secretary, Nabil Fahmy, who begins this week important political and security meetings in Washington.

No doubt that Fahmy, who was a powerful force behind pushing his country towards the Russian alternative, today visits Washington proudly. Sisi succeeded in pushing the US administration to reopen its treasury and forget the phase of toppling the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi. Interests always trump principles. Who still remembers the Arab Spring?

Because interests prevail over principles, there is no rush to hold Geneva III. A few days ago, Lavrov stressed in the presence of Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil the importance of returning to Geneva. Perhaps he realizes that this would be embarrassing for Washington. Russia might become more stringent in the next meeting.

Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo who has ties with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US and Turkey says: “It appears that the Russians do not support a political solution, they do not support the interim governing body and they do not support the transition to a democratic system.” Whoever meets Kilo these days will hear that “the Europeans themselves admit that Obama let down everyone with his ineffective and weak policies.”

On May 8, nine European countries will meet in Brussels with representatives from the US, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The goal is to confront “the disaster of the return of jihadis from Syria to their home countries and the continued passage of some of them towards Syria.” A European diplomat who formerly facilitated the passage of fighters, takfiris and terrorists to Syria is the one who characterized the matter as a “disaster.” I wonder what changed his mind.

The US and the West are in a real bind now. The same folly committed in Afghanistan with the Taliban is repeated in Syria. Terrorist cells began to appear in some of the countries that exported them in the first place. Security contacts with Damascus, Tehran, Hezbollah, Ankara, Baghdad and Amman are no longer adequate. A high-ranking French diplomat who is a veteran of the Syrian case goes to Iran. Some believe that it is a new attempt to probe further. Tehran happily opens its doors. The Iranian capital has become the destination for those seeking a solution or save face. The idea of “heroic flexibility” that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei adopted in terms of his country’s negotiations with the West on the nuclear issue applies to other issues as well.

Tehran supports Damascus in developing security contacts into diplomatic contacts. The Iranians told the French that there is no discussion of presidential elections in Lebanon without Syria. They also told them that it is necessary to allow the presidential elections in Syria to take place. Perhaps the French understood on their own that Iranian support contributed in helping Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the last election. The consequences of that might appear later on in the Turkish position vis a vis the Syrian border.

Militarily, information confirms that Saudi funding and French arming continue. An Arab official reports that a retired French admiral made a deal recently for $450 million for weapons that passed through the Aqaba in Jordan.

In brief, the Syrian scene is as follows: gradual US abandonment, giving priority to combating terrorism and dealing with Assad’s re-election as a fait accompli.

Based on the above, a visitor to Europe might hear these days from European officials or from Lakhdar Brahimi himself who suggests that there is no need to make a big issue of the Syrian presidential election. It is more important to focus on what is going on the ground. A few days from now, Brahimi will try to intensify efforts in New York to push the Geneva III wheel into motion but he may not get a lot of attention. No one is compelled to change the international priority at this stage, which is Ukraine.

Debkafile: ’Israel’ Lost Bets in Syria, Hizbullah Stronger

Local Editor

The debkafile “Israeli” website revealed that the appointment of Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi to OC Northern Command, announced Friday, April 25, raised some eyebrows in top “Israeli” army command circles.

During the three years he served as AMAN chief, Kochavi was credited with enhancing the corps’ operational capabilities to the highest standard in its history and transforming it into a combat force.

However, Kochavi was also responsible for three major miscalculations.

According to debkafile, “In 2012, he overestimated the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi’s prospects of lasting the course as Egyptian’s first elected president and failed to pick up on the coup to unseat him when it was hatched by strongman Gen. Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, who is himself running for the presidency next month.”

“This misjudgment affected “Israeli” policy-making adversely up to the present with regard to the Brotherhood’s Palestinian offspring Hamas and the Gaza Strip.”

The website also mentioned that “the general’s second mistake was the opposite of the first. While overrating Mursi’s chances of survival, he underrated those of the Syrian president Bashar a-Assad. In that error, he was in august company. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan made the same mistake and paid for it by losing his job as Director of Saudi General Intelligence on April 15.”
From the early days of the war in 2011, the AMAN chief stuck to the conviction that al-Assad was riding for a fall, refusing to acknowledge that the war had turned in his favor from the beginning of 2013.

Kochavi’s third slip-up was his acceptance of the Netanyahu government’s decision to let Hizbullah lend its fighting strength to al-Assad. This increment became a strong factor in bringing about Syrian military successes against the Syrian insurgency.

This “Israeli” policy, which drew heavily on AMAN’s recommendations and assessments, was motivated by two objectives:1. To get Hizbullah’s forces removed far from the Lebanese border with “Israel”, and2. To let Hizbullah drain its strength by its division between the two fronts.
“Israeli” strategists calculated that to keep Hizbullah’s strength down, it would be enough to apply the brakes to its supply of high-quality and quantities of weapons, by bombing consignments ad hoc as they were transferred from Syria to Hizbullah bases in Lebanon.
Neither objective was achieved.The fighting in Syria did not weaken Hizbullah but, to the contrary, toughened its operatives by hard combat conditions. 

Hizbullah is emerging with a high reputation as the dominant force in Lebanon, facing no real challenge from any Western or Middle Eastern political, military or intelligence quarter.Its intervention in the Syrian conflict has given Hizbullah strategic depth, a great asset in the event of a war with “Israel”.

All these benefits accrued from – and contributed to – Iran’s tightening grip on Syria and the enhancement of their three-way alliance in the region.

Prince Bandar lost his job mainly because he was unable to deliver on the personal promise he gave King Abdullah to bring about the downfall of President al-Assad at the hands of Saudi-backed armed groups. He was also criticized for seeking to attain this goal by associating with extremist elements in the Syrian rebel movement, including some tied to al-Qaeda.

Unlike the Saudi prince, the “Israeli” intelligence chief was not kicked out but sideways. His new appointment as OC Northern Command takes him out of the back rooms at General Command headquarters in Tel Aviv and puts him on the front lines against Syria and Hizbullah.

There, he will have to grapple with the consequences of the mistakes he made far from the action.

Source: debkafile, Edited by website team


28-04-2014 | 12:06

VIDEO: Israel Border Police detain 6-year-old child in Hebron

 

23rd April 2014 | 
Khalil Team| Hebron, Occupied PalestineAt approximately 7 am this morning, Rami Rajabi, a six-year-old child, was 20 meters away from checkpoint 29 when he threw several pebbles in al-Khalil (Hebron).

As Rami walked away towards his school, three Israeli soldiers burst out of an alleyway, grabbed his arm, and detained him in the street.
Rami then burst into tears and was clearly terrified, the Israeli soldier tightly gripped his arm and began to pull him back towards checkpoint 29.
ISM activists tried to intervene, trying to convince the soldiers to release the child. The soldiers dragged him back to the checkpoint where local Palestinians implored the soldiers to release the boy.
While ISMers were filming the incident, Israeli Border Patrol watched on as a settler from a nearby illegal settlement to aggressively confront the ISMers, calling one activist a “killer” and tried to grab the camera.
After approximately 20 minutes of pressure from locals and activists, the child was released and was taken home by a friend of his family.
An ISMer present said, “What happened today is part of an ongoing campaign to intimidate the local population: Israeli soldiers harass children here in Hebron all the time”.

The New York Times Declares the Peace Process Futile

 (27 April 2014)

Part I

 

In 1988 Yasser Arafat declared independence for Palestine based upon the notion of two states living in peace in historic Palestine. The border between those two states was to be set roughly at the armistice line established at the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinian state’s capital was to be located in East Jerusalem.

 

That was 26 years ago. Then on14 April 2014, the editorial board of the New York Times (NYT) decided that Arafat was correct and the “principles” that “must undergird a two-state solution” are those he had proposed. Of course the board did so without ever referencing the great Palestinian leader.

 

Not only does the NYT declare the pre-1967 border and a shared capital at Jerusalem necessary and valid, but it calls on the U.S. government to do the same: “It is time for the administration to lay down the principles … should the Israelis and the Palestinians ever decide to make peace.”

 

Part II

 

Before anyone gets too excited over this seeming miracle on Eighth Avenue (where the paper is headquartered), it should be noted that the NYT editorial board made this pronouncement at a point when its fulfillment was impossible. And the editorial board knew this was the case. “The pointless arguing over who brought the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the brink of collapse is in full swing. The United States is still working to salvage the negotiations, but there is scant sign

of serious purpose. … President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should move on and devote their attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine.”

 

Having reached this point in the editorial board’s text one starts to suspect that the board is being disingenuous. First of all, why is it “pointless” to discuss the reason these talks are collapsing? Secretary of State Kerry’s explanation (the famous “poof” heard around the world), made before Congress, lays blame right where it has always belonged – with Israeli acts of sabotage of those very principles the NYT now espouses. Why does the NYT say that stating this increasingly obvious fact is “pointless”?

 

It is also interesting that the editorial board suggests in what direction the subject should be changed – toward the “major international challenge” of Ukraine. I am not sure the board thought this suggestion through. After all, what is the core Western complaint about happenings in Ukraine? It is the Russian land grab in the Crimea as well as the alleged threat of more such moves in eastern Ukraine. Yet just how different is Russian behavior in this regard from that of Israel in the West Bank and Golan Heights? Obviously the NYT editors do not think it is “pointless” to to discuss land grabs when the Russians do it. It is only pointless when the Israelis do it.

 

The editorial board also surrounds its declaration of principles with an archaic effort to present Israel and the Palestinians as equally at fault. It is not only the Israelis who have decided against making peace, it is both the “Israelis and Palestinians.” It is not just “the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” that is a problem. That “obstinacy” has to be coupled with “resistance from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.” It is not just Israel which is unwilling to “move on to core issues,” it is “the two sides” that are unwilling. This insistence on dualism is an illusion hiding the fact that the two sides are not at all equal and, with the exception of the red-herring issue of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, ninety-nine percent of the obstinacy and all the resistance has been on one side – the Israeli side.

 

Part III

 

The NYT editorial board has the same problem as the Obama administration: they both know the truth but are unwilling to do something about it. They both know the problem is that the Israeli government is not interested in genuine peace (actually, has never been interested in it). Israel is only interested in continuing its conquest of Palestinian land. And thanks to the West, most particularly the United States, Israel has the military wherewithal to ignore not only the Palestinian protests but also those of the rest of the world.

 

Both the U.S. government and the U.S. “newspaper of record” refuse to act on their knowledge of Israel’s history of sabotage and call for punitive action against a nation that is hurting U.S. national interests in an important part of the world. Their main concern is to avoid a confrontation with Zionist lobbyists and NYT advertisers whose devotion to Israel is wholly uncritical. This appears to still be the most favored position even though standing firm over negotiations with Iran has proved the Zionists are not omnipotent.

 

It’s that old two steps forward, one step backward shuffle: heading in the right direction while ensuring we never reach the proper destination.

FOREIGNER MERCENARIES DYING BY THE THOUSANDS IN DAMASCUS

Ziad Fadel 

بينهم شيشان ومصريون وسعوديون.. مقتل عدد كبير من الإرهابيين في المليحة

Al-Maleeha:

The number of foreign vermin dying in this area is a record.  The non-Syrians will not surrender because they believe there is some Paradise awaiting them in the afterlife. They also know that the Syrian government does not offer any amnesty for them – but, instead – reserves for them the kind of end appropriate for war criminals.  Yesterday, in the rural areas around Al-Maleeha, the SAA killed 238 terrorists, all from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  Over 4,000 terrorists have died in this area since the SAA campaign started.

  • Habeebullah Al-Nimraawi (CHECHEN VULTURE. Id pending)
  • Muhammad ‘Ali  (EGYPTIAN COBRA SPUTUM)
  • Abu ‘Ikrima (SAUDI ARABIAN MONKEY PUS)

Only these names were published.

 Adraa Town:

Jabhat Al-Islam got its numbers reduced last night when SAA and NDF found a nest of terrorists, surrounded it and wiped it out before the terrorists could escape:

  • Muhammad Farhaani
  • Ghaazi Al-Hakeem
  • Naader Kurd
  • Muneer Al-Shatti

The other 9 could not be identified because they did not have papers. All foreigners.

 Harastaa east of the Salaahuddeen Mosque: 2 terrorists killed.  No names.

 ‘Adraa Workers’ Residencies:

Jabhat Al-Islam nest operating as a command-and-control center was demolished by SAA and NDF near the Lamees Factory.  24 terrorists killed with 9 taken prisoner in different medical conditions.  Some of the terrorists taken prisoner are Chechens and Jordanians.

 Jayrood in northeast rural Damascus:  At Al-Batraa` near stone quarries, 7 terrorists killed and their 2 RPGs and assault rifles confiscated and given to NDF for use in killing Saudis.

 Dayr Al-‘Asaafeer:  Fighting with no details.

  EAST GHOUTA:

At Zibdeen, Al-Qaasimiyya Farms and Al-Bilaaliyya, SAA killed scores of terrorists in final mop-up of this area.

 LATAKIA:

MORE NEWS OF SAA ADVANCES.

23032014-024426-1-230314074426

Tanks are parked but ready to go into battle on the coast of Latakia.  All the shoreline at Al-Samra has been cleansplague.ed of the terrorist

 

Summit 1017: 

Only 2 hours ago, Damascus time, SAA has cleared this area killing over 20 terrorists with many scurrying back to Turk lines.  Only non-Arabs are allowed back into Turkey.

Summit 959:

Same as above, in a coordinated operation. Here, the momentum is toward an axis between Al-Nab’ayn and Kasab.  Prediction: total victory here in 8 hours.

Ziad Fadel

Attorney for 33 years and Supreme Court Certified Interpreter for Arabic/English Diploma with Honors from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in 1968; B.A. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor 1968-1972; M.A. University of Michigan Dept. of Near Eastern Studies 1972-1974; Ph.D. Cand. Univ. of Michigan 1972-1977; Then went to law school. Credits: Harvard University for classes in Islamic Philosophy; Fellowships from University of Pennsylvania 1976; 2 from Univ. of Michigan. Read English, Arabic, German, French, Farsi, some Hebrew. Studied Ancient Greek and Latin before grad school. Michigan Supreme Court Certified Interpreter/Translator for Arabic and English

 

STL against the media and sovereignty

 

 

Orient Tendencies
Monday April 28, 2014, no181

 

Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by neworientnews.com
Editor in chief Wassim Raad
wassimraad73@gmail.com
New Orient Center for Strategic policies
___________________________________________________________________________

STL against the media and sovereignty

By Ghaleb Kandil

 
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), created to look into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, ordered Lebanese journalists Ibrahim al-Amine (al-Akhbar newspaper) and Karma Khayat (al-Jadeed TV channel) to appear on May 13 for contempt and obstruction of justice. The actions of this court, which lacks legitimacy and credibility, confirmed the suspicions surrounding it. It is actually a tool of American hegemony and a pretext for Washington to intervene in Lebanese affairs.
 
Despite all the complaints against media leaks in the Western press about the work of the court, no serious investigation has been conducted by STL to determine the source of the leaks. CBS TV channel and the German weekly Der Spiegel had published detailed indictment, months before it was made public by the court. Resignations that have succeeded in the STL were linked to the leaks, but no explanation has been made. According to reliable information, circles related to U.S., Israeli and French intelligence are responsible for these leaks to serve political objectives.
 
Despite the severity of these leaks, the court did nothing. No Western journalists who published details of investigations and the contents of the indictment, was questioned or summoned. But the court did not hesitate to summon two Lebanese journalists to appear outside of Lebanon, ignoring the Lebanese justice, which is no more than an intermediary, responsible for transmitting the warrants and other requirements of international judges.
 
The court speaks of “transparency”, “integrity ” and “justice” when it talks about its work. That means it should be willing to share with the media information about its actions and decisions. If the STL had done nothing wrong, it should not fear that the headlamps are fixed on its work and provide clear answers to the public opinion that has many questions about its creation, its financing and operation. This necessarily requires the strengthening of freedom of expression in Lebanon and the role of the press. But by targeting the Lebanese press and freedom of expression, the tribunal proves its real goals are hidden and have nothing to do with the search for truth.
 
Lebanese media are subject to national laws. Any attempt to ignore this reality constitutes an affront to the sovereignty of the Lebanese state and an attempt to impose a precedent for converting the STL in a tutelary power over the Lebanese and their laws.
 
Before and during the creation process of the court, all institutions and archives of Lebanon were available to international investigators who scoured the country under the pretext of wanting to unmask the killers of Rafik Hariri and the authors of other crimes Lebanon since 2005 (the 1500 Lebanese civilians victims of the July-August war in 2006, massacred by the Israeli army, did not deserve, in the eyes of the international community, an inquiry!).
 
These investigators violated hundreds of times Lebanese sovereignty to prepare an indictment responding to political considerations and not justice. It quickly became clear that the work of these investigators sought to prepare the Israeli aggression of 2006. But Israeli defeat caused the collapse of the entire project. However, the court was kept as a reserve tool which can be salvaged and reused. Today, its main mission seems to be chasing all those who dare criticize its action.
 
The most serious is that the Lebanese political authorities do not respond to abuses against freedom of expression. The March-14 movement, who landed all those years as a defender of freedom, swallowed his tongue, or outright supported the STL. However, large parts of Lebanese society refuse these actions and are ready to defend the country’s sovereignty to the end.
_______________________

 

Statements

 

Samir Geagea, Lebanese Forces leader
«I will continue to run for the presidency until the end. My candidacy has nothing to do with Aoun. I will carry on whether Aoun is a candidate or not. Our ambition is to reach the presidency and implement our political program. To Mr. Jumblatt, I say: ‘I have never doubted for a moment that you played a pivotal role in Lebanon’s history. You did not play that role for Lebanon to be as it is today, but to reach a serious nation or state’. It is very strange indeed that a number of years ago supposedly Lebanese courts ruled in favor of the execution of a person whose very name was repeated 48 times in parliament yesterday. The feeling that washed over me during the scene, when the victims’ names were put forward, was disgust and aversion; [to think] that a party that irresponsible and immoral would turn the occasion in that direction!»

 

Boutros Harb, Lebanese Telecoms Minister


«It would be dangerous to continue the policy of blocking the presidential elections. That stance could have negative consequences for the Lebanese state and political order in Lebanon. We must all appeal to the consciences of officials, and encourage them to work in the interests of Lebanon before working for their own interests.»

 

Ali Fayyad, Hezbollah MP


«The next president must be friends with the resistance and must reflect the Lebanese people’s aspiration for consensus and abide by the content of the ministerial statement. He who objected the ministerial statement has no place on the president’s seat. We reject the provocative candidacy. We are destined to deal realistically and responsibly…and [abstain from] opting for nominations that are provocative to the feelings of a big part of the Lebanese people.»

 

Ghazi Youssef, Future bloc MP
 
«There is no agreement between Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri and Aoun concerning the presidency. We will always be unified in our support for one candidate to represent us, and we will try to make him become president.»

 

Khaled Zahramane, Future bloc MP
 
«It seems that things have not changed which means that we are headed next Wednesday toward a session without quorum. There is an external factor regarding the presidential election, whose the effect is significantly bigger than that of the internal factor in [the light of] the situation we are currently going through. Lebanese heads of state have always been consensual presidents. Lebanon is not a democratic country like Western ones; it is a consensus country.»
______________________________________________________________

 

Events

 

  • Seven Lebanese Armed Forces soldiers and two civilians were wounded in Tripoli by a hand grenade that targeted an army patrol on Saturday. Omar al-Hakim threw the grenade at the patrol as the army was carrying out raids in Tripoli’s Bab al-Tebbaneh to arrest wanted men, the army said in a statement. The assault resulted in the slight injuring of two officers, five soldiers and two citizens. The LAF later managed to apprehend the perpetrator in the Al-Zahiriyyeh neighborhood and seized a weapon that was in his possession. On April 1, Lebanese army and security forces began implementing a security plan to end violent clashes between Tripoli’s Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhoods, as well as other areas of the country, after the cabinet approved security measures drawn up by the country’s Higher Defense Council.

 

  • Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Roken Abadi voiced his country’s support for a consensual president to be elected as Lebanon’s new head of state. “The most suitable option [for the presidential election] is that the president be chosen by all the Lebanese,” Abadi said on Thursday following his meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani at Dar al-Fatwa. “Iran… insists on further rapprochement between all [parties],” the Iranian envoy added.

 

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced on Thursday his country’s support for the Lebanese army and security forces. Following a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil, Lavrov said that Russia would offer its contribution to the international community in order to strengthen the army and the state institutions. Lavrov also tackled the Lebanese presidential elections and said that it was a purely Lebanese affair. “Russia does not have any preferences concerning the presidential elections,” he said. In turn, Bassil said that Russia had a major role in contributing to stability in Lebanon and the Middle East region. He also said that Lebanese and Russia should cooperate regarding the oil field in Lebanon and the Syrian refugees issue.
______________________________________________________________

 

Press review

 

As Safir (Lebanese Daily close to March-8 coalition)
(April 26, 2014)
 
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called on Future Movement leader Saad Hariri to end his self-imposed exile and return to Lebanon to lead a new cabinet after the presidential elections are over. “[Hariri should] return to Lebanon today [not] tomorrow because there is no longer any justification for [his] absence,” Jumblatt told As-Safir. “I am for [Hariri] returning and heading an all-inclusive government [after a new president is elected.] That way we would relieve ourselves and the country of a great deal of deadlock and unrest.”
 
Jumblatt told As-Safir that he would continue his sponsorship of parliamentarian Henri Helou for the presidency, saying that the best thing for the country and all parties is to avoid a power vacuum by electing a new president before current president Michel Suleiman’s term ends on April 25.
 
Helou took just 16 out of 128 votes in the electoral session, while Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea took 48 and Kataeb Party Leader Amine Gemayel took 1. The remaining 52 blank votes were cast as well.

 

As Safir (April 25, 2014)
 
Speaker Nabih Berri said that all those who wish to run for the presidential election should announce their candidacy. “I am eager for more announced candidates to push the presidential election forward,” Berri told As-Safir. The speaker also denied that he discussed the election with any foreign ambassador or delegation. He also said that he would keep calling the parliament to convene until it elects a president.

 

As Safir (April 25, 2014)
 
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri said that his country did not intervene in the presidential election in Lebanon. “We do not intervene in the presidential election or in any other Lebanese affair,” Assiri told As-Safir. “Never have we nominated nor will we [ever] nominate any candidate for the presidential election. This is a clear stance that will never be changed,” he added.

 

Al Joumhouria (Lebanese Daily close to March-14 coalition)
(April 26, 2014)
 
Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Walid Succariyeh said in remarks published Thursday that if Lebanese parties did not agree on one consensual candidate for the presidency, then the upcoming sessions might be boycotted. “In case no consensual candidate was suggested for presidency, then all possibilities will be open, and the scenario of [boycotting the second round of elections] might be repeated,” Succariyeh told Al-Joumhouria.
 
Succariyeh also said that Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea imposed himself as a candidate for the presidential election. “The March 14 supported Geagea to prevent the collapse of their coalition, but the others do not want him, this is why he only got 48 votes,” he said.

 

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
Ibrahim Al-Amine (April 25, 2014)
 
What happened was expected, but it is not because of our ability to predict the actions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) or because we have undercover agents that have penetrated it. What was warned about nine years ago continues to occur, and with growing intensity.
 
It is only logical for the STL’s arbitrary measures to grow into direct repression of those who inquire about its activities. Years of constant stalling were not enough. Millions of dollars were spent, half of which came from the pockets of Lebanese citizens who suffer from poverty and destitution. Today, the STL decided it wants to expand its power and force us to remain silent about the atrocities committed.
 
The court president’s announcement of the indictment of Al-Akhbar and New TV yesterday was not coincidental. Those who support the court say the aim was to uncover the truth behind the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and punish its perpetrators. But the decision was published 24 hours after the same political team, in Lebanon and abroad, tried to exonerate Samir Geagea, the killer of former Prime Minister Rachid Karami, by choosing him as president of Lebanon.
 
The STL’s accusations and summons are also not coincidental. They come as we face accusations by the same Lebanese authorities who support the tribunal, from the president, to the justice minister, to the assassin of the prime minister of Lebanon, to the son of the prime minister for whom the court was set up. They have been going after Al-Akhbar for many years, attempting to drown it in litigation and intimidation campaigns in the advertising market, with the collusion of polling agencies. All their intentions were aimed at stopping Al-Akhbar from growing, and it is exactly what their puppet masters the Saudis have done by blocking Al-Akhbar’s website.
 
It is not by chance that this occurred simultaneously with the representative of the Israeli enemy to the tripartite committee (the Lebanese army, UNIFIL, and Israel) announcing that his government filed a complaint at the UN Security Council against Lebanon for violating Resolution 1701. It was based on “Hezbollah’s man and journalist Ibrahim al-Amin,” publishing articles confirming the violation. This was preceded by Israel’s delegate to the UN presenting documents to the Security Council accusing Lebanon of violating the resolution, based on Al-Akhbar, which she accuses of being a Hezbollah “organ.”
 
It is not by accident the decision was announced as the president and the justice minister are trying to sidestep the Court of Publications and refer Al-Akhbar to a criminal court, with the intention of handing down jail sentences.
 
Now the STL says it wants to replace the flailing Lebanese judiciary with the highest international standards. It then calls for jailing journalists for a crime that Lebanon no longer recognizes, as is the case with most respectable countries.
 
Even more, this court is not merely intimidating journalists. Today it wants to intimidate the whole commercial sector behind the media industry. Taking legal action against juridical persons – a precedent in international courts – is another indication of an attempt by decision-makers and those who support them politically and legally to undermine commercial establishments like New TV S.A.L. and Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.. The STL is trying to intimidate establishments, and their current and future owners and shareholders. This arbitrariness might even lead the STL to criminalize all commercial and legal relations with the two companies.
 
The direct functional aim of the decision is to allow the STL to practice the worst kind of clamp down against the media in preparation for issuing arbitrary rulings. By taking this step, the political and legal team behind the tribunal’s establishment and financing is driven by the extreme weakness of the court’s work on the original case. Various facts were revealed; some were made public, some leaked, and others are still unpublished. They point to the general inadequacy of the indictment. The evidence they speak of is still based on technicalities and could be overturned, as was shown by telecommunications experts. It is also based on witnesses who remain hidden under the pretext of their protection. However, in the previous stages of the investigation, they had shown that they were pushed, for various reasons, to give testimonies closer to tales, hearsay, and exegesis.
 
It is clear, as it is to all legal experts, that the accusations levelled against us are an integral part of the political and legal prosecution team’s plan to hang a dark shroud over the whole issue. Lebanese citizens and the families of the victims, whether plaintiffs, defendants, or the audience, will not be informed of the details of STL’s work. It will all be concealed in the name of secrecy and the suppression happens in the name of violating the rules of confidentiality.
 
We have three problems with the court.
 
First, it is rejected in principle and in its selectivity. The STL looks similar to the regime we suffer under, the system of prestige, where justice is a privilege for the powerful, while thousands are left to suffer from injustice. With all due respect to all the victims, it is not acceptable to hold a court for the powerful, providing it with all that is needed, while justice in Lebanon remains neglected and while victims remain deprived of any justice. The world needs to remind Lebanon of the seriousness of crimes against humanity and war crimes, not just the crimes committed against some influential figures.
Second, it is rejected in its structure and the way it functions. The STL appropriated Lebanese citizens’ personal data, without any proportionality between the demands of the investigation and the desired outcome. It now wants to appropriate press freedoms, initiating its indictment by attacking a newspaper and a television station, who probably care the most about the affairs of citizens and other people in Lebanon. In this sense, it appears the court wants to expand and extend its tentacles into the lives of the Lebanese.
 
Third, it is rejected for attempting to stifle any voice criticizing or reporting on its work. We know that some voices in Lebanon played down the politicization factors, claiming the Tribunal will be transparent. However, it began its work by attacking the press, sending a message that would undoubtedly create media taboos and self-censorship on anything related to the STL. It is enough to point out to citizens that this is the first time a juridical person is accused in an international court. Is there anything in the Tribunal or in the actions of Al-Akhbar and al-Jadeed, which warrants a precedent in international law going against all acts of jurisprudence and judicial systems?
 
Based on the aforementioned, our defense in the STL will be founded on challenging its legitimacy, in order to safeguard our understanding of justice and liberty.
 
Last but not least, we, in Al-Akhbar, are working on the legal aspect of the case and are in contact with those concerned with the issue. We will take a position related to the whole farce and hope for a practical stance from our colleagues, in Lebanon and abroad, and the mobilization of the Lebanese authorities to protect our individual rights and freedoms.
 
However, it is important to clarify one simple issue to avoid any confusion in the minds of those who participated in this crime and stood by it. Al-Akhbar published its first issue the day Lebanon and its resistance announced their victory in the devastating war launched by Israel in 2006. We had announced that we have been and will continue to be part and parcel of the resistance movement against all occupiers and every colonialism. We will keep standing by the rights of individuals to protect their humanity and prevent repression and tyranny. We always knew that we would pay a price for our positions.
 
Thus, we repeat that we are part of a resistance, which gives all the blood and lives needed for our unrestricted freedom. Being part of the resistance means we are fighting for justice. We will not be terrorized by indictments or subpoenas, whether in Lebanon or elsewhere. We will remain at the forefront of a confrontation with all types of arbitrary decisions, tyranny, and murder, be it by an occupier, biased authority, corrupt rule, or partial courts. These attempts will not scare us and all we can say to those fools at this moment is that our voices will haunt you, wherever you are. You will not silence us, neither with your courts nor through your crimes.

 

Al Akhbar (April 24, 2014)
Suhaib Anjarani
 
The village of Deir Foul is the last remaining gathering of Syrians of Dagestani descent. Prior to the crisis, the small village had a population of less than 2000. Most of them left, but the number remained the same. They were replaced by refugees from nearby villages and Homs. Today, the village has fallen under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their brutal policies.
 
For decades, they have been living around the villages of Malta, Khafiya, Jissin, and Aidoun, east of Homs, and al-Naem, Douaier, and Khirkhir, west of the city, in addition to Deir Shmayel in al-Ghab plains and Deir Foul in Talbiseh. The eight villages had been cleared of their Dagestani residents years ago. Most of them fled to the big cities and some moved to Deir Foul, which they called Syria’s Dagestan. Since 1886, it had been populated by Dagestanis, a people from the northern Caucasus, and according to their descendants, they settled there on their way to Mecca with the permission of the Ottoman sultan. Others call it Syria’s Caucasus, due to intermarriage between its families and families from nearby Circassian villages.
 
The village’s strategic location seems have turned into a curse for its residents. It is 10 kilometers away from al-Rastan and close to Talbiseh, al-Zaafarana, and al-Saan in the Homs countryside and Silmieh in the Hama countryside. After losing most of its influence in Homs, ISIS used this as an excuse to take over the village. Its strategic location is also the reason behind al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Front’s diehard attempts to regain the territory from ISIS.
 
Getting to the village is not easy, but not impossible. Coordinating with the residents is indispensable, but it has to be with one of the refugees and not an original inhabitant. This makes it easier to claim kinship to a host with a good revolutionary reputation who regularly attends congregational prayers, which makes it more difficult to accuse him of lying.
 
As a precaution, it is also good to have a solid story for staying in the village such as “fleeing the infidel Alawite regime,” or “yearning for a life under an Islamic state.” Try to remember Quranic verses and the Prophet’s traditions as much as you can. Make sure you smell of mastic and not tobacco. To be more careful, look up information about the new jihadists. Listen to the latest declarations of [ISIS official spokesperson] Abu Mohammed al-Adnani and head to the village “under God’s protection.” However, none of the aforementioned precautions will mean anything if one breaks one of ISIS’ rules, such as remaining in the street after the call for prayer. To avoid committing such a crime, do exactly as your host says.
 
The detailed information provided by Ahmed (a pseudonym) on the situation of the village ensured that I was not shocked by the scenes reminiscent of historical TV series. When it is prayer time, the (few) shops close and everyone rushes to the mosque behind ISIS fighters who bring their weapons inside. It is easy to notice the explosive belts some are wearing, which are not hidden and sometimes even flaunted. I feel we are being carefully watched. But Ahmed’s earlier warnings prevent me from turning around to verify this feeling. “Keep looking in front of you. It’s better to look down when walking. They are strict about the rule of averting one’s gaze.” This piece of golden advice echoed in my mind all the way to the mosque, and even though the distance was short it felt endless.
 
We leave the mosque directly after prayers. It is time to go to Ahmed’s home to talk over a cup of tea, away from the gaze of ISIS. Ahmed reminisces about arriving to this forgotten village after being displaced from Homs. He speaks about the demonstrations where they said whatever they wanted and which “were not safe from the bullets coming from the checkpoint set up by the shabbiha at the village entrance at the time, in addition to some security raids.”
By the end of 2012, the village saw a turning point. Gunmen from al-Farouq Brigade attacked the nearby headquarters of the air defense battalion and took over the village. “Since then, warplanes began launching repeated air raids,” Ahmed explains. The village suffered repeated power and communications outages and scarcity of food items like in many Syrian regions.


However, the most dangerous turning point was four months ago, when ISIS fighters took control of the village. “They treated us well at first,” he says. “Then, bit by bit, they started to subdue us, under the pretext of Islamic law.”


“The time to err is over. By God, we will enforce the rule of Sharia even if by the sword.” This sentence, from a fiery speech by an ISIS commander in the village, stuck in the minds of the residents. ISIS had declared their right to be imams and only their sheikhs were allowed to give sermons. The edicts came one by one: “flogging for anyone who missed prayers,” “flogging any girl over 12 if she does not wear the niqab, shows any adornment, or is seen walking without a mahram.”


Ahmed recalls that the second decree was later amended after a particular incident. “They were about to flog a female school teacher, claiming she smelled of perfume,” he says. “But the men of the villages gathered in the square and declared that this will only happen over their dead bodies.” The ruling was cancelled and an ISIS sheikh later changed the fatwa to say, “flogging the father of any unmarried woman not wearing a niqab, shows any adornment, or is seen walking without a mahram.” In case she is married, this will apply to her husband.


Most of the residents abided by the ISIS fatwas and there was only one case of a sentence being carried out. An 11-year-old boy was given 20 lashes after he was heard “swearing during a football game.”


The battle between rival jihadist militias ultimately reached Deir Foul. Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Front sent a strong warning to the ISIS fighters, giving them a choice between “retreating peacefully” from the village or “leaving as lifeless bodies.” Naturally, the ISIS fighters refused to leave. This was followed by several attempts by the two groups to seize the village and several battles between the jihadis.


We hear the sound of intermittent bullets. Ahmed says “there is nothing to worry about.” It is a daily occurrence and a mere reminder of the gunmen’s presence. “The past two days were relatively calm. But there were fierce battles before that. Two mortar shells fell in the village square and one civilian was martyred,” he adds.


I expressed my surprise about the inconsistency of information given by search engines about attacks on the village and the limited damage I saw. Had the news been true, the small village should have been completely destroyed. My host refused to go for a walk around Deir Foul, as this might raise suspicion. But he took us to visit someone he knows who is originally from the village.


Mohammed (also a pseudonym) greets us with the accustomed rural generosity and repeats some of the stories heard from Ahmed. “Yes. My roots go back to Dagestan. But I am Syrian,” he explains. “Those strangers ruined our lives.” He talks about what they did in the nearby villages of Ezzeddine and Abu Humama, mostly composed of Circassian Syrians. “They blew up the shrine of the Prophet’s companion Sheikh Abu Umama al-Bahili, whom the village is named after. They also blew up the shrine of Sheikh Ezzeddine Abu Jarra in the village carrying his name. The excuse was the same: Shrines are a novelty. They should be destroyed because people worship them,” he continues. “What kind of Islam is this?”


There is no need to answer the question. We spend the remaining time talking about the old days and making painful comparisons between Syria of yesterday and today’s Syria, while I wait for the green light to leave Syria’s Dagestan in the same covert manner I got in.

 

Al Akhbar (April 23, 2014)
Radwan Mortada


The global jihad movement has split in two. Members of al-Qaeda will now have to choose between two different emirs. The so-called “Khorasan pledge” was the final nail in the coffin of the reconciliation between al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The rift no longer pertains to Syria only, but has spread to the other arenas of global jihad.


Nine al-Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran declared their allegiance to the new emir of the faithful, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the head of ISIS – in what is being termed as the “Khorasan pledge.” A few days later, ISIS spokesperson Mohammed al-Adnani declared that “al-Qaeda deviated from the rightful course,” indicating that “it is not a dispute about who to kill or who to give your allegiance. It is a question of religious practices being distorted and an approach veering off the right path.”


This is a turning point in the clash – currently limited to the Syrian arena – between Baghdadi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, threatening to create an open conflict throughout jihadist movement. The anticipated split had been declared by ISIS advisor Abu Ali al-Anbari. “Either we eliminate them or they will eliminate us,” he said in one of the reconciliation sessions, repeating the sentence three times.


The nine defected emirs’ declaration have put Baghdadi in a direct confrontation with current al-Qaeda leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. They want to attack al-Qaeda’s leader, saying his rule was “a thing of the past and today’s triumphs are made by the soldiers of ISIS.”


Mullah Omar had been the emir of emirs of al-Qaeda, enjoying both Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s allegiance. During his reign, Afghanistan was destroyed after he refused to deliver Bin Laden and others to the United States.


Baghdadi’s challenge to Mullah Omar is a major confrontation on the jihadi scene. He identified his adversary, bypassing al-Joulani and Zawahiri and going for their senior sheikh. Although it was thought that Mullah Omar was killed, after news of him stopped in the wake of the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, some facts and indicators point to the opposite.
 
On the eve of the September 11 attacks in 2012 in Libya, Zawahiri came out with a eulogy of Abu Yehia al-Libi, considered to be the number two man in al-Qaeda. “I announce to the Islamic nation, the mujahideen, Emir of the Faithful Mullah Mohammed Omar, and the mujahideen in Libya, the news of the martyrdom of Sheikh Hassan Mohammed Qaed [al-Libi].”
 
The Khorasan pledge, circulating on jihadi online sites such as the Shumukh al-Islam forum, was all that was needed by the war raging in Syria between al-Nusra Front and ISIS. It will be adding more fuel to the fire between the two sides. However, a jihadi officer in al-Qaeda gave little weight to the news.
 
“Only a few people pledged allegiance, but it was blown out of proportion in the media,” he told Al-Akhbar. “The people mentioned are not in a leadership position and do not carry any notable responsibilities.” The nine emirs are Sheikh Abu Ubaidah al-Lubnani, Abu al-Muhannad al-Urduni, Abu Jurair al-Shamali, Abu al-Huda al-Soudani, Abdulaziz al-Maqdisi (brother of Sheikh Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi), Abdullah al-Punjabi, Abu Yunus al-Kurdi, Abu Aisha al-Qurtubi, and Abu Musab al-Tadamuni.
 
Those who follow jihadi affairs say it was a “referendum on the leadership of global jihad.” They base this on “the first seeds sowed in Iraq at the time of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” when the group was known as the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Mesopotamia. Zarqawi pledged allegiance to Bin Laden, who was responsible for the events of September 11. According to them, Zarqawi was a key component of the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) at the beginning. The emirs of the Khorasan pledge see him as the man who created the first al-Qaeda cell in Iraq and consider him the father of ISI.
 
In the Khorasan pledge message, the nine emirs elaborated on the stages of jihad against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. They talk about the experience of the Tawhid and Jihad group under Zarqawi, who pledged allegiance to Bin Laden from Iraq to Khorasan. Then they spoke about Zarqawi’s death in 2006, which was followed by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir taking the reign of al-Qaeda’s emirate in Iraq. This coincided with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi announcing the establishment of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Muhajir gave him his support and merged his emirate with ISI.
 
When Baghdadi and his war minister, Muhajir, were killed, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took over ISI with the blessings of Bin Laden and Zawahiri. They believed it to be an “extension of jihad.” It was also highly praised by Sheikh Atiyyah Allah and Sheikh Abu Yehia al-Libi. The nine emirs continue with assessing the events up to the war in Syria, “where it was the duty of ISIS to reach out and provide support for its people, to defeat the conspiracy of the two armies, the Syrian Army and the Free [Syrian] Army (FSA).”
 
According to the nine sheikhs, after the expansion of ISI, “the forces of infidelity and apostasy quickly sowed the seeds of hypocrisy, using new groups under Islamic sounding names to be a rival and an obstacle to the Islamic state.” They criticized Zawahiri and al-Nusra Front without naming them, saying “the group did not have any courage to enforce judgements over those who disobey sharia, under the pretext of avoiding a clash with the people or due to their inability and incapacity, although they enforced in secret more than they did out in the open.”
 
The emirs denounced the “former Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who was proven to be an apostate, even for those who had a semblance of comprehension. Or was it an indication of a new kind of jihad?” They believed Mursi’s discourse to “be a political call, without mentioning the question of arms. They replaced many sharia terms with new concepts, which carry different interpretations.” The emirs criticized Mursi for “congratulating the Arab peoples for the Arab Spring and claiming that [deceased Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque sheikh Mohammed Sayyid Tantawi and [TV preacher Sheikh Yusuf] al-Qaradawi were Islamic scholars.” They also criticized Mursi for “repudiating ISI, which enforced religion, called for teaching monotheism and innocence from polytheism and its people, and was a symbol of justice and equality.”
 
They concluded by saying, “we ask God for forgiveness for being late to reveal the truth and fix what we corrupted, disobeyed, and did not accept. Thus, we wrote this message to the Muslim nation and to ask forgiveness from our Lord. We showed that ISIS was right. It raised the banner without hesitation, weakness, or account to anyone by God. We count them as such and, as long as they persevere, they have [our support and allegiance] for its Emir of the Faithful Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Qurashi and our obedience in fortune and adversity and in hardship and prosperity, without challenging his command. But if it alters or deviates, it will only get from us what others had gotten before before.”
 
The war between ISIS and al-Qaeda is no longer confined to Syria. It is an open conflict with each side vying for legitimacy. ISIS emirs, in turn, recalled past events. They argued about the origin of the disagreement between Zarqawi and Zawahiri in 2005. “Zawahiri had always been lax,” they replied. “It is not enough that he does not declare Shia as infidels. He objects to Zarqawi’s methods, accusing him of being a takfiri.”

 

Al Akhbar (April 23, 2014)
Chloé Benoist
 
Lebanese parliamentarians voted on Wednesday in the highly anticipated first round of presidential elections, with the majority of votes split between Samir Geagea and blank ballots in protest of his candidacy. The first count of the ballots gave 52 blank votes, 48 votes for Geagea and 16 for Henri Helou. Seven votes nominating people who were allegedly killed by Geagea were declared void. The names included Dany and Tareq Chamoun and Jihane Frangieh.
 
No candidate managed to obtain 86 votes, a quorum necessary to be elected in this session. A second vote is expected to take place on April 30. In the next session, a candidate will only need to secure 50 percent of votes, meaning 65, to win the presidency.
 
The elections have heightened the rivalry between the March 8 and March 14 coalitions, as March 8 strongly opposed the candidacy of March 14-backed Geagea, who spent 11 years in prison for crimes committed during the civil war.
 
Three people had declared their candidacy prior to the vote: Geagea of the Lebanese Forces, Helou of the Progressive Socialist Party and independent candidate Nadine Moussa, who is the first woman to officially present herself in presidential elections in Lebanon. She did not receive any votes.
 
In a press conference after the vote, Geagea pushed aside questions about his controversial status as a candidate, accusing his opponents of trying to get foreign powers involved in the electoral process.
 
Referring to the votes nominating deceased opponents and their family members, Geagea said he “was hoping that the other camp would have resorted to honorable means to express its disdain for the elections.” Geagea’s wife, MP Strida Geagea, vowed the March 14 candidate would “remain in this battle till the end.”
 
Helou called the vote “perfect and democratic without any foreign interference.” “The only solution is through moderation and agreement over one candidate that brings all parties together,” he said.
 
However, Moussa slammed Wednesday’s elections, calling it a “tragic farce.”
 
“I feel sorry for Lebanese democracy. This vote was a tragic farce,” she toldAl-Akhbar, saying that her program had not been distributed to the MPs despite her official request, and that the request by an MP for candidates to present their programs ahead of the vote had been swept aside. She added that she had submitted a formal request to speak in front of Parliament ahead of the next round.
 
Moussa said “total reform” was necessary in Lebanese politics, calling the system a “masked monarchy” and a “dictatorship of sectarian leaders.”
 
With no strong contender for the post, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun has been considered as a potential consensus candidate for the second round. Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel, who received one vote on Wednesday, officially declared his candidacy for the second round.
 
“People have vivid memories and have demonstrated a great deal of aggravation regarding Geagea’s candidacy for the Presidential post,” the Lebanese National News Agency quotes Aoun as saying. Presidents in Lebanon are chosen through a parliamentary and cabinet vote as opposed to a general election.
 
The parliamentary session began at 12:10 pm with 124 MPs present out of 128. The absent MPs were independent Elie Aoun, March 14’s Oqab Saqr, Khaled Daher, and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri. The vote started at 12:15 pm, with an ballot box passed on from MP to MP, and ended at 12:23 pm. The votes were then read one by one.

 

Al Anbaa (Kuwaiti daily, April 27, 2014)
 
Development and Liberation bloc MP Abdel Majid Saleh said that next parliamentary session will probably not come out with a new president to replace Michel Suleiman, whose term ends on May 25. “Discussions among [Lebanese] parties have not matured yet, and no agreement was reached on a consensual candidate,” said Saleh. Saleh also voiced the importance of having a consensual president “who does not belong to any of the rival coalitions.” “We have to wait and see what the March 14 coalition will do, if they will continue supporting [Lebanese Forces leader] Samir Geagea for presidency or if they will open the way for another candidate.” “There are other [possible] candidates in the March 14 coalition, such as Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel, MPs Boutros Harb and Robert Ghanem. Let us see what will happen in the coming few days,” he added.

 

Asharq Alawsat (Saudi daily, April 26, 2014)
 
Kataeb Party MP Eli Marouni said that while his party would vote for Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for Wednesday April 30, Kataeb parliamentarians might vote for their party’s leader Amine Gemayel in the third round. “[Kataeab] will vote for Geagea … to maintain closed ranks in the March 14 [alliance] and to work towards the success of a March 14 candidate,” Marouni told Asharq Alawsat .
 
“After that it will be necessary to evaluate the results of the two sessions and an electoral strategy presenting party leader Amine Gemayel as a candidate in the third round may be necessary.” He stressed that: “The nature of the battle and Gemayel’s personality and history are elements that make him an automatic candidate for March 14 after Geagea.”
 
Meanwhile, Gemayel himself told Asharq Alawsat that he would not make any decisions on running for the presidency without first discussing the matter with his March 14 allies. “I have received many signals concerning my candidacy for the presidency,” The Kataeb leader said. “But we will only dwell on that subject in light of developments and the results of [internal] March 14 debates.”

 

As-Seyassah (Kuwaiti daily, April 26, 2014)
 
Presidential Candidate and MP Henri Helou denied that he represents the interests of Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, and called the first round of Lebanon’s ongoing presidential elections on Wednesday “democratic” and “Lebanese.” “I am not Walid Jumblatt’s candidate, or a Trojan horse, as certain writers in the press have circulated,” Helou told As-Seyassah.
 
The parliamentarian went on to praise the results of Wednesday’s electoral session, and called the casting of a large number of blank votes “democratic.” “The first round of presidential elections was not just democratic; it was also one hundred percent Lebanese. [It still happened, despite] the many rumors that certain parties were aiming to sabotage the session and destroy the presidential elections completely.”
“The March 8 team chose voting with blank cards over not [providing] a quorum [for the session,] and that was a democratic expression and democratic behavior, even if it is not agreeable.”
 

– See more at: http://www.neworientnews.com/news/fullnews.php?news_id=133542#sthash.w3OflRpZ.dpuf

Syrian Army Regains Control over Height 724 in Latakia

Local Editor

Syrian army

Syrian Army on Monday continued operations against the armed groups across the country, killing scores of them and destroying their weapons.

In Latakia, a military source said that army units – in cooperation with the national defense forces – regained full control over Height 724 to the north of Point 45 in the northern countryside, and inflicted terrorist groups heavy losses.

In Homs countryside, national military continued operations in the old city and regained control over a building near Mar Gorgeous Church, killing a number of terrorists and injuring others.

A military source told SANA that army units confronted a group of gunmen trying to attack a military checkpoint near Akiribate roundabout in Sha’ar Mountain. More than 30 terrorists were killed and 3 cars equipped with heavy machineguns were destroyed, claiming all the terrorists inside.

Units of the armed forces also targeted a group of mercenaries near Dar al-Saadeh in al-Sean and destroyed 2 cars equipped with heavy machineguns on Deir foul –al-Sean al-Shamali road.

Moreover, the army units destroyed a rocket launcher pad in al-Kuwaiti farm, killing a number of terrorists in Abu al-Anz farm, near the sports hall and the cultural center in Talbiseh, while another unit destroyed rocket launcher pad in al-Khaldieh village and a mortar in al-Ghanto village, killing and injuring a number of terrorists in Aidon, al-Ameriyeh, Burj Qaae, al-Nasiryeh neighborhood and Kafr Laha in Homs countryside.

In Aleppo, units of the armed forces foiled terrorists’  attempts towards al-Khudr and Saad Mosques into Salah Eddin area in Aleppo city, killing and injuring a number of their members.

Army also destroyed a terrorists’ den while a group of gunmen was hiding inside it in Daret Ezza in Aleppo countryside.

SANA reported that units of the armed forces targeted militants gatherings in the old city of Aleppo, Alliramoun, Saif al-Daoula, al-Kalaseh, al-Rashideen, al-Sheikh Said and al-Mansourah, killing a number of them.

It added that terrorists’ gatherings in Rasem al-Abboud, Jadideh, Kwairis, Erbid, Ezaz, Tal Refaat, Babis and surrounding the Central Prison in Aleppo countryside, were also targeted along with a number of cars in Haritan, to the north of Daret Ezzqah in Fah area in Aleppo countryside.

In Daraa, army units thwarted an armed terrorist group’s attempt to infiltrate from al-Yarmouk park in Daraa al-Balad city into a military checkpoint, killing all the group’s members, a military source told SANA.

The source told SANA that army units also killed a number of terrorists to the east of al-Masara and surrounding al-Yarmouk school in the city.

Army units targeted terrorists’ gatherings in Nawa, al-Nua’imeh, to the north west of Etman, on Salmin road, Jasem and Saida in Daraa countryside, killing and injuring a number of them.

In Hama, SANA reported that army units eliminated all members of an armed terrorist group in Mourek in the northern countryside of Hama, among them the leader of the so-called Ushaq al-Hour group, nicknamed Abu Farouk.

In Idlib countryside, army units eliminated a number of terrorists, injured others, and destroyed their equipment around Jabal al-Arbayeen, Kafr Najd, al-Rami, and Mariyaan in Idleb countryside.

Source: Agencies
28-04-2014

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Journalists denounce STL charges against Al-Akhbar, Al-Jadeed

Ibrahim al-Amin (left) and Karma Khayat (right) listen to speakers at the Lebanese Press Syndicate in Beirut on May 28, 2014. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Monday, April 28, 2014
Updated 2:05 pm Journalists and supporters of media freedom gathered at the Press Syndicate in Lebanon’s capital Monday in solidarity with the editors of Al-Akhbar and Al-Jadeed who have been charged by an international court with contempt and obstruction of justice.
The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) last week announced that it was summoning Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin and Al-Jadeed Television’s deputy director Karma Khayat for publishing a list of the prosecution’s witnesses.
“As a journalistic body we have our differences but today we need to unite. The STL did what it did, the STL dared to do what it did, because the Lebanese government allowed it to do this,” Amin told the participants at the event.
“The information minister is not doing his job, he is not taking responsibility. The Lebanese government has given up our right to freedom of speech,” he added.
Information minister Ramzi Jreij chose to send a letter instead of showing up and supporting freedom of the press. In his letter he claimed to be waiting for the completion of the investigation.
The tribunal, set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, has charged the journalists and their media organizations with “knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice by broadcasting and/or publishing information on purported confidential witnesses.”
The court set May 13, 2014 as the date for Amin and Khayat to appear before it, either in person or via video link. If found guilty, they could be jailed for seven years and fined up to 100,000 euros.
Journalists from different news outlets and Lebanese officials have denounced the STL for targeting media.
“This case is not just about Ibrahim and Karma,” MP Hassan Fadlallah, who heads the media and telecommunications committee in parliament, told the room filled with journalists and government officials. “This case concerns all the Lebanese citizens.”
“It’s a shame not all media are participating in this event,” Pierre al-Daher, CEO of LBCI Television, said. “The STL’s arbitrary decision is a clear violation of freedom of speech and of the press.”
“Every time I think about the $500 million we [the Lebanese public] paid to the STL, I start trembling,” Tahsin Khayat, owner of Al-Jadeed, declared. “Instead of wasting all this money on the STL, we should have paid it to Lebanon’s judiciary.”
Many of the participants faulted the STL for steering the investigation away from its stated mission.
“The STL’s mission is to find out the truth behind Hariri’s assassination. But instead of doing its job, it’s going after journalists,” lawyer Rashad Salameh, a lawyer defending plaintiffs in the STL case, said.
Journalists gather at Lebanon’s press syndicate to denounce the charges against their colleagues. (Photo: Rana Harbi)
“The tribunal was set up to investigate the killing of our former prime minister, so why is it going after journalists? That doesn’t help its case,” MP Ziad Aswad told Al-Jadeed during a broadcast before the start of the event.
“The Lebanese state needs to take a stand against this,” he added.
“This shows that the tribunal is a politicized court,” MP Ismail Sukariye told Al-Jadeed. “We stand in solidarity with Al-Akhbarand Al-Jadeed.
Journalists from various Lebanese and Arab media organizations, some of them at politically at odds, set aside their differences in a show of support for press freedom.
“At the end of the day we are all reporters and we all stand in solidarity with one another,” Najat Charafeddine, from Future TV, told Al-Jadeed.
Dima Sadek, anchorwomen with LBCI, said it was ridiculous that the STL could threaten Lebanese journalists for merely publishing information from an inside source at the court.
“I would understand if they went after the source inside the court who leaked this information, but to give a seven year jail sentence to the journalists who published it” would be outrageous, she said.
The Press Syndicate also announced a demonstration for May 6 at Martry’s Square in solidarity with the journalists.
(Al-Akhbar)

How the West Gassed Thousands to Death in Damascus

http://journal-neo.org/2014/04/19/how-the-west-gassed-thousands-to-death-in-damascus/

The bombshell report by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh titled, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” contains many shocking revelations for those following the West’s version of reality regarding the Syrian conflict. It particularly sheds new light on the August 2013 chemical attack that left over a thousand dead (US estimates) and thousands more affected. 

It reveals that not only was the Syrian government not behind the attack, but that it was a false flag operation designed specifically to serve as an impetus for Western military intervention.  It also reveals that the West’s desire to intervene in the wake of the chemical attack was not to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons as was stated to the public, but instead was intended to completely destroy the Syrian military and save its militant proxies who were already well on their way to losing the war.

However, for all the revelations it contains, it provides only a glimpse into the greater conspiracy the West has been engaged in, grossly understating the unfolding truth of the West’s role behind the devastating conflict that is consuming Syria. To understand the entire picture, one must examine Hersh’s work stretching back as far as 2007. 

Hersh’s Syrian Trilogy  

Taken alone, Hersh’s latest report is damning. Taken together with two previous pieces, spanning a total of 7 years of analysis and investigative journalism, Hersh’s work paints a picture of a West engaged in a diabolical, premeditated conspiracy to mire Syria in a sectarian bloodbath for the purpose of achieving regime change in Damascus and undermining neighboring Iran. It becomes clear upon reading Hersh’s work, that the chemical attack in Damascus was not only perpetrated by the West, but was done to trigger a greater war on top of the carnage the West has already intentionally sown.

Hersh’s first piece published in the New Yorker in March 2007 titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” reveals that the current conflict in Syria was in fact first engineered during the Bush administration. It states in no uncertain terms that (emphasis added):

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

The same report would reveal that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel had already begun funding Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood to begin preparations for the impending conflict, and that analysts within the US intelligence community foresaw a humanitarian catastrophe in the making, spurred by the arming of large groups of sectarian extremists.  

Hersh’s second piece would come in the aftermath of the August 2013 chemical attack in Damascus. Published in December of 2013, Hersh’s piece titled, “Whose Sarin?” stated (emphasis added):

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

The lengthy report goes on in detail, covering the manner in which Western leaders intentionally manipulated or even outright fabricated intelligence to justify military intervention in Syria – eerily similar to the lies told to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the escalation of the war in Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

The report also reveals that Al Nusra, Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, was identified by US intelligence agencies long ago for possessing chemical weapons. These are the same terrorists Hersh warned about in his 2007 article, and mentioned again as being at the center of Western designs in his most recent piece.

 The West’s Coverup…  

324324In an attempt to counter Hersh’s report in 2013, the Western media conducted a smear campaign against him and his work. It centered around “weapons expert” Eliot Higgins – an unemployed blogger with no military training who watches YouTube videos – coupled with the commentary of Dan Kaszeta, an expert-for-hire who currently heads the security contractor firm, “Strongpoint Security.”

The entirety of their argument was not who, but how the attack was carried out, proving nothing beyond the fact that the false flag operation was executed very convincingly. Higgins, in a post published by Foreign Policy arrogantly titled, “Sy Hersh’s Chemical Misfire,” claims (emphasis added):

I asked chemical weapons specialist Dan Kaszeta for his opinion on that. He compared the possibility of Jabhat al-Nusra using chemical weapons to another terrorist attack involving sarin: the 1996 gassing of the Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo cult.

“The 1994 to 1996 Japanese experience tells us that even a very large and sophisticated effort comprising many millions of dollars, a dedicated large facility, and a lot of skilled labor results only in liters of sarin, not tons,” Kaszeta said. “Even if the Aug. 21 attack is limited to the eight Volcano rockets that we seem to be talking about, we’re looking at an industrial effort two orders of magnitude larger than the Aum Shinrikyo effort. This is a nontrivial and very costly undertaking, and I highly doubt whether any of the possible nonstate actors involved here have the factory to have produced it. Where is this factory? Where is the waste stream? Where are the dozens of skilled people — not just one al Qaeda member — needed to produce this amount of material?”

Of course, to call Al Nusra a nonstate actor is entirely untruthful. Al Nusra and other extremist networks inside of Syria have had the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel’s backing since at least as early as 2007. Since 2011, Qatar and Turkey have also played immense roles in supporting Al Nusra – with NATO-member Turkey providing them sanctuary and even logistical support. 
Higgins and his “expert” ask where the factories, waste streams, and skilled people are – the answer is somewhere within one of the many axis nations supporting Al Nusra. They have the capacity to both manufacturer the gas and transport it into Syria – or conversely – provide Al Nusra with the supplies and personal to do it inside of Syria. 
And this, in fact, is precisely what Hersh proves in his latest article, not through YouTube videos and paid-for commentary from security contractors, but from sources within the US government itself.

Hersh beings his latest piece, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” by quoting US defense officials who claimed (emphasis added):

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

Hersh also reports that (emphasis added):

‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF [Al Nusrah Front] attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’

Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators constitute the “the factories, waste streams, and skilled people” used to enable Al Nusra to carry out the attack. Hersh’s report also reveals that training had been given to Al Nusra in the handling of chemical agents by Turkey:

‘The MIT [Turkey’s  national intelligence agency] was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said.

Hersh’s Immense Work is Still Incomplete 

But this is only part of the story. While Hersh lcaims Turkey was training terrorists on Syria’s northern borders to carry out the attack, it has been revealed that the United States itself was too, as well as training Saudi-backed terrorists staging in Jordan to the south of Syria. CNN’s December 2012 report titled, “Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons,” stated that:

The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.

The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

Though Hersh’s article suggests that the chemical attack was a false flag operation carried out by terrorists from Turkey with Turkish backing, it is just as likely, if not more so keeping in mind logistical considerations, that terrorists out of Jordan with US-Saudi backing carried out the attack instead.

Washington’s initial eagerness and expediency to launch a war against Syria may have been blunted by resistance within the US Department of Defense as suggested by Hersh, but was certainly laid to rest by an utter lack of public confidence, with the proposed war with Syria perceived as the most unpopular conflict in US history. Slate’s “Least Popular War Ever?” stated:

As Secretary of State John Kerry made the Obama administration’s most forceful statement yet on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds just 9 percent of Americans supporting intervention in Syria, with about 60 percent opposed.

Hersh also reveals that not only was the US eager to militarily intervene based on flawed and fabricated intelligence, but that it was eagerly expanding the scope of its intervention – from disarming Syria of its chemical stockpiles, to decimating all of Syria’s military – to give the militants it was backing an upper-hand in a conflict they were sorely losing. Hersh’s report states:

It [US target list in Syria] became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings. 

If Turkey Carried Out the Damascus Attack, America Helped…  

345345Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952 – and its involvement in Syria has most certainly not been unilateral. Its role in handing weapons, funding, and support to militants along the Turkish-Syrian border has been admittedly augmented by US CIA officers. In June of 2012, the New York Times in an article titled, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” claimed:

A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said.

The New York Times in their March 2013 article titled, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” admits that:

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

A June 2013 LA Times article titled, “U.S. has secretly provided arms training to Syria rebels since 2012,” admitted:

CIA agents and special operations troops have trained the rebels in anti-tank and antiaircraft weaponry in Jordan and Turkey. 

The LA Times continued:

 CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders. 

The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey, along with Obama’s decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels, has raised hope among the beleaguered Syrian opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well. So far, the rebels say they lack the weapons they need to regain the offensive in the country’s bitter civil war.

If Turkey aided and abetted terrorists in carrying out a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Damascus, it is inconceivable that the US CIA did not know about it, and very unlikely they did not participate, however indirectly.

Ultimately, Hersh’s work is incomplete, and leaves the impression that Turkey went rogue, carrying out an attack to bring an unwilling US into a war they did not desire. In reality, to this day, the United States is still openly backing and arming militants it itself has designated as terrorist organizations, providing them with increasingly deadly armaments that will perpeuate the bloodbath they themselves, on record, began engineering as early as 2007.
What Hersh’s work reveals, however immense, is but one of several grotesque tentacles breaking the surface of very murky waters beneath which lurks a leviathan of state-sponsored terrorism that is responsible for the gassing of thousands, and the deaths of tens of thousands within and along Syria’s borders, and a region now teetering on the edge of a much larger and more costly war. It illustrates how the world is run by “the bad guys” who perpetrate crimes against humanity not only with absolute impunity, but with so-called international agencies covering up their tracks.

The United Nations is expected to be utterly silent over these revelations, while it continues to disingenuously wring its hands over a humanitarian crisis the West is both intentionally creating and then leveraging for geopolitical gain. What the world is left with is the need for a “non-international” response – one multipolar in nature, with Syria’s allies assisting in anti-terror operations and humanitarian relief conducted through Damascus. It may fall short of what could be accomplish if and when the nations of the West decide to genuinely commit to peace in Syria, but it is a far better alternative to capitulating to the West’s now naked conspiracy against the Syrian people.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

New candidates enter Syrian presidential race

Update

Assad announce his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections

الرئيس بشار الأسد يعلن ترشحه للإنتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة

بشار الأسد


 New candidates enter Syrian presidential race

Damascus, (SANA) Mohammad Firas Yassin Rajjouh, Abdul-Salam Youssef Salameh, Sawsan Omar al-Haddad and Sameer Ahmad Mo’alla have submitted four applications to the Supreme Constitutional Court announcing their candidacy for President of the Republic.

Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham during a session held Sunday, said the Assembly received two notifications from the Supreme Constitutional Court statting that Sawsan Omar al-Haddad, who is from Lattakia province and was born in 1963, and Sameer Ahmad Mo’alla, who is from al-Quneitra province, born in 1961, have submitted candidacy applications to the Court.

Al-Laham added he also received notifications from the Supreme Constitutional Court stating that Mohammad Firas Yassin Rajjouh, who is from Damascus province and was born in 1966, and Abdul-Salam Youssef Salameh, who is from Homs province and was born in 1971, submitted candidacy applications for the post of the President of the Syrian Arab Republic. 

The court clarified the four presidential candidacy applications were added to its record and it informed the Speaker of the People’s Assembly of them pursuant to the constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Supreme Constitutional Court’s law.
The Higher Constitutional Court started receiving the applications of candidacy as of April 22nd until May 1st, 2014.  
F.Allafi
Mikdad brushes aside skepticism about Syria’s upcoming presidential elections
Damascus, (SANA) Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Dr. Fayssal Mikdad said Syria is at once waging a war against terrorism and fulfilling international obligations …Read more
Tehran: No one can impose dictations on Syrian people
Tehran, (SANA) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated that peaceful solution is the only solution to crisis in Syria, noting that presidential elections in Syria are helpful…Read more

مرشحين آخرين لمنصب رئاسة الجمهورية العربية السورية


المرشحين 5 , 6 لمنصب رئاسة الجمهورية السورية

Ukrainian Soldiers Killed by Neo-Nazi for Refusing to Fire at Own People

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/04/28/ukrainian-soldiers-killed-neo-nazi-refusing-fire-own-people.html

Olga SHEDROVA | 28.04.2014 | 00:00

The «anti-terrorist operation» announced by the Kiev-based regime to quell the protests in the south-eastern parts of Ukraine is unpopular in the army.

The local police units in the Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov and other south-eastern cities refused to take action after the administrative buildings were captured by Donbass protesters. In response acting Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov ordered to start the formation of new police units across the whole country. They should be trained for punitive actions. Billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, a citizen of Israel appointed governor of Dnepropetrovsk region by the Kiev interim regime, promised cash rewards for the capture of protesters.

The army is also involved into the operations in Donbass. Reservists began to dodge their duty and even switch sides from the very beginning. For instance, on April 11 the soldiers of Alfa security service special operations unit refused to assault administrative buildings in Donetsk and Lugansk captured by local people. One of commanding officers said, «We’ll act in strict accordance with the law. Our unit is created for the mission of liberating hostages and fight against terrorism». On April 24, the unit did not join combat as another attempt to re-capture the building was undertaken.

On April 14 the soldiers of the 25th airborne brigade deployed near Slavyansk switched sides to join the people’s militia. There was internal revolt in the 93th mechanized brigade based in Cherkassy, the Dnepropetrovsk region.

Reservists called for 10-days active duty account for the major part of army personnel used for the mission of putting the protests down. The mobilization plans have failed, so the age limit for people to be called for active duty has been increased to 55 years. The employees are to hold reservists’ jobs for two weeks, but they are kept on active duty for over a month. Many of them lose employment and have no means to care about their families. In some unites they are made to sign long-term active duty contracts. Due to lack of money their everyday life conditions are not up to par, many a time they are not even provided food rations. Many military units taking part in the operation are based in the city of Izium, the Kharkov region. There are cases of plundering committed by servicemen. Often military just take food away from local population. There was a failed attempt to re-take Slavyansk when Ukrainian servicemen stole away all the food for militia’s block posts. But Kiev turns a blind eye to the needs of its military as well as the people of Donbass. The authorities said the 25-th brigade servicemen who gave in their weapons to «terrorists» in Slavyansk will face trial. Chairman of the Lustration Committee under the Junta’s Cabinet of Ministers Yegor Sobolev said every commanding officer of Alfa who refused to carry out orders during the Slavyansk operation should face dishonorable discharge from service.

Having failed to make the military shoot at their own people, the Kiev interim rulers and their stooges like Kolomoisky, for instance, use the neo-Nazi Pravy Sector forces of execution for the mission of countering the people’s protests. They opened fire at the soldiers of the 93th brigade during the revolt. Andrey Kiselev, a young conscript assigned to the 25th airborne brigade, was killed by Pravy Sector militants in the Dnepropetrovsk airport. His murder is a real tragedy. According to formal version, he was scared after an accidental discharge to the ground. Being afraid to face responsibility for the random shot, he committed a suicide. But before that he had made a call to parents to say he was to be killed for refusal to fire at people. Now the parents want justice but they are haunted by special services, military prosecutors and the military.

How many servicemen must be killed to make the army eliminate its own citizens whose only fault is the refusal to support the coup and the policy of new rulers aimed at discrimination of Russians? Having lost the support of the army, the Kiev junta can rely only on neo-Nazi chasteners. 

Is it what the Western curators of the junta will paint as an example of democracy? 

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