Syrian opposition says Palestinians are ‘living in paradise’

 

The Ugly Truth

syria-israel

‘Israel’s help is vital,’ says representative of Free Syrian Army in rare meeting with Israelis; Zionist Union MK insists ‘Assad must go’

Times of Israel

A rare public meeting between Israelis and Syrians in Jerusalem on Tuesday was interrupted by Palestinian protesters who expressed outrage that Syrians would work with Israelis. The protesters met with a furious response from the Syrians, who accused them of failing to understand what true oppression involves.

“You are living in a paradise compared to Syria,” Issam Zeitoun, a liaison for the Free Syrian Army with the international community, told the protesters as they refused to stop shouting and allow the event to continue. “You should be ashamed.”

The altercation occurred at a packed hall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where a Free Syrian Army liaison and a Syrian Kurdish representative spoke to students at an event organized by the university’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

“I wasn’t surprised by what happened. I expect that people will behave like this when I speak at an Israeli institution because it is really a serious matter,” Zeitoun told The Times of Israel afterwards.

“Many Syrians and Palestinians see us as traitors,” he said. “I don’t think anyone can judge Syrians for speaking with Israelis in public.

“The intensity of the conflict, and the number of the people we have lost, is too great, and I will personally do all that I can and speak with everyone, not just in Israel, but around the world, in order to change the situation,” he added.

After the protests had died down, Zeitoun told the crowd that Israeli aid to Syrians, which includes Israel’s well-known medical assistance — more than 2,000 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013 — is not enough to influence the population to be more pro-Israel. He said there needed to be some action on the political level for the majority of Syrians to be swayed in its attitude to the Jewish state.

Zeitoun, who has become a familiar Syrian opposition representative in the Israeli press, argued that Israel should help create a safe zone in southern Syria, where he is from.

Zeitoun told The Times of Israel he did not believe Israel should intervene militarily, but should make itself felt politically in the Syrian conflict.

“Israel should play a role in getting the political cover from the Russians and the Americans [for a safe zone], and we’ll do the rest,” he said.

He argued that a safe zone could be created on Syria’s border with Israel, and would mark the start of a return to normalcy in the country, where civilian infrastructures such as schools and hospitals, not to mention civil society institutions, have been decimated by six years of bloody war.

The Syrian war has claimed over 400,000 lives, according to UN estimates, and driven millions from their homes.

The discussion was led by Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a former journalist who covered the Arab world in Israeli and Russian media, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the current chair of the Knesset’s caucus for Israeli-Kurdish relations. Syrian Kurdish author and journalist Sirwan Kajjo, who hails from the Syrian border town of Qamishili but now lives in Washington, DC, was also on the panel.

According to Svetlova, Israeli cabinet ministers, when they meet on Syria, often ask, “Who is there on the other side that we can talk to and prepare for the next stage?”

She noted that the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, which is committed to destroying Israel, has grown stronger after six years of fighting in Syria.

“In 2017 we will see the increasing influence of Hezbollah. We will have to make hard choices in regard to action or inaction in Syria,” she said.

Speaking to The Times of Israel after the event, Svetlova criticized those who argue it would be better to allow Syrian strongman Bashar Assad to retake control of the country and bring the war to an end. That would inevitably lead to another rebellion, she contended.

“Every forceful control of a population will end up in rebellion. When they say we need to bring Assad back from the grave, they forget that the slaughter, and the chaos that erupted after, was his doing. To bring back the dictatorship is never the answer,” she said.

Asked if she would accept Assad’s return alongside political reforms, she responded, “If he was going to bring political reforms, he would have introduced them already.”

“Bringing him back will be much worse. It will strengthen [Islamic State] and [its affiliate] the al-Nusra Front because they will have more relevance,” she said.

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Since last 3 generations US, Turkey had been trying to topple Syrian govts & Every time Russia exposes their agenda

 

Russia exposes US, Turkey agenda

Tens of High-Ranking Turkish Army Officers Resign after Defeats in Northern Syria

 

Tens of High-Ranking Turkish Army Officers Resign after Defeats in Northern Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Turkish journalist disclosed that at least fifty high-ranking officers of the Turkish Army have resigned due to their recent defeats in the course of the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Aleppo.

Ahmad Takan, a columnist in Turkish language Yeni Chaq paper, wrote in an article that the army’s heavy defeats in the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Syria caused 50 senior officers to resign.

He added that the 50 officers have handed over their resignations to army commanders in al-Bab region.

Takan also quoted informed sources in the Turkish army as saying the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) sells the arms and ammunition it receives from the Turkish Army to the ISIL.

He further added that on January 8, a group of Turkmen militants affiliated to the Turkish army arrested a group of FSA near the village of Akhtari South of al-Bab region as they were dispatching two trucks of arms and munitions to the ISIL-held regions.

Takan went on to say that the Euphrates Shield Operation has been defeated and its casualties have been hidden by the operation commanders from the public opinion.

Hospitals in Dilouk, Kilis and their countrysides are full of injured soldiers of the Turkish army, Takan added.

He said that Ankara has also been forced to hand over ISIL’s dead members to the terrorist group to take back its dead soldiers’ bodies.

Turkey has also increased duration of mandatory military service to make up for the loss of forces in a fresh wave of resignations.

Media sources disclosed on Sunday that tens of Turkish soldiers were suspended after selling their weapons and military equipment with the help of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) on the sidelines of the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Aleppo.

Al-Watan newspaper said that social media activists released reports along with images showing that “50 Turkish military men have been suspended and ordered to drop their operations in the Euphrates Shield Operation”.

Meantime, dissident activists from Northern Aleppo reported that “after the Euphrates Shield Operation, we witnessed new equipment and guns in Northern Syria, and after investigation it became clear that the warfare equipment belonged to the Euphrates Shield Operation forces”.

Opposition sources had also disclosed in September that militants affiliated to the Turkey-backed FSA have received a batch of advanced military vehicles in Northern Aleppo.

“The FSA-affiliated terrorist group of al-Hamza that is under the command of the Euphrates Shield Operation Room has received a number of military vehicles from the US army officers deployed in Northern Aleppo,” the sources said.

Opposition sources have also released several photos showing the US army vehicles with al-Hamaza terrorist group’s emblem.

Al-Hamzah had previously claimed that it is independent and is not working with any foreign country.

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A Foreign Nation Did Interfere in a US Election: in 1980

A Foreign Nation Did Interfere in a US Election: in 1980

WAYNE MADSEN | 17.01.2017 | WORLD

A Foreign Nation Did Interfere in a US Election: in 1980

It was October and the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate was faltering in the polls after the Democratic National Convention. The Republican Party’s presidential candidate began negotiating with a foreign government to cook up a scheme to embarrass the Democratic candidate. The scheme was successful and the Democratic candidate went on to lose the election to a Republican candidate who was feared by many for his unorthodox stance on several domestic and foreign issues.

If one thinks the above description is about the recent 2016 election, he or she would be wrong. In 1980, Democratic President Jimmy Carter, running for re-election under the cloud of the U.S. embassy in Tehran having been seized by radical Iranian students and 52 members of its staff being held hostage, was trying desperately to pull off an «October Surprise» to salvage his presidency. Unbeknownst to Carter, the campaign of his Republican rival, Ronald Reagan, had secretly negotiated an «arms-for-no-hostages» deal with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in Iran.

In return for the shipment of embargoed military items, including spare parts for Iran’s U.S.-supplied F-14 Tomcat fighter planes and Phoenix air-to-air missiles for the planes, before the November 4 election, the Reagan team was promised by the Iranians that Tehran would hold the hostages until after the November election. Upon Reagan’s defeat of Carter, Iran held true to its promise and did not release the American hostages until noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 1981, the very moment Reagan raised his hand to take the presidential oath of office.

Although the media today is rife with reports of so-called «treasonous» contacts between Donald Trump advisers and officials of the Russian government, the media was not to be found anywhere in October 1980 when the Central Intelligence Agency, working with the Reagan campaign, contracted with a U.S. merchant vessel, the «SS Poet», to deliver the U.S. military contraband to Iran. In 1980, vice presidential candidate George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager William Casey secretly met with Iranian government officials, reportedly in Paris, and worked out the covert «arms-for-no-hostages» plan. The Reagan team was worried that Carter would beat them to the punch because of the White House’s own secret negotiations with Iranian representatives to have the hostages freed in October, giving Carter a much-need campaign boost.

The Reagan conspirators included, in addition to Bush and Casey, Robert Gates and Donald Gregg, the CIA’s moles inside the Carter National Security Council. Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, not happy with Carter’s human rights stance, may have given a «wink and a nod» to the treason. The entire caper was conducted without the knowledge of Stansfield Turner, Carter’s friend and U.S. Naval Academy classmate who served as CIA director.

The «SS Poet», a World War II-era U.S. merchant vessel, was at the center of the Reagan team’s treasonous plot. Little has been written about the fate of the vessel because the CIA arranged to have it sunk while outbound from the Persian Gulf after it delivered its weapons cache to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The ship was officially listed as «lost at sea» somewhere in the mid-Atlantic after departing from Philadelphia’s Girard Point marine pier #3 on October 24, 1980. The ship was ostensibly bound with a cargo of 13,500 tons of corn for Port Said, Egypt, but, in reality, had military equipment loaded in its rear number four cargo, contraband bound for Iran.

The crew of 34 U.S. citizens was declared «missing at sea» by a U.S. Coast Guard board of inquiry, which was under heavy pressure from the CIA to cover up the ship’s fate in the Gulf. The Reagan team sweetened the deal with a cash payment to Iran. Gates was said to have overseen the transfer of money to an Iranian bank account at Banque Worms in Geneva.

The Coast Guard report on the «Poet’s» disappearance was tainted by an individual who claimed to have been a former third assistant engineer on the vessel. A year after the «Poet» disappeared, the witness told the Coast Guard, after the Board of Inquiry had already issued its conclusion about the fate of the ship, that the vessel was not seaworthy. However, this individual later was discovered to have been an impostor, likely hired by Casey’s CIA, who never served on board the «Poet».

The CIA’s cover story, dutifully echoed by the Coast Guard, was the Poet sank without a trace in three minutes and without a distress call. One of the Poet’s previous trips, in the months prior to sailing to Iran, was to Israel. The vessel had been chartered by Hawaiian Eugenia Corporation, the Poet’s owner and a firm with murky CIA links, to sail to Israel. There is a strong possibility that the Israelis rigged the ship with explosives that would be detonated after its delivery of weapons to Iran on behalf of the CIA and Reagan-Bush campaign plotters.

There was a feeble attempt by certain remaining pro-Carter elements within the CIA and Justice Department to investigate the involvement of a foreign power – Iran – in the 1980 election. A March 16, 1981, memo written by then-unconfirmed Associate Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani to the Acting Criminal Division chief, John Keeney, which was titled «CIA Referral – Alleged Foreign Government Interference With 1980 Presidential Election», suggests that the CIA referred to the Justice Department certain evidence that there was criminal activity involving a foreign power in the 1980 presidential election.

Keeney and Giuliani agree to draft a letter from Deputy Attorney General Edward C. Schmults to the CIA to ask for a full report on the criminal referral. The CIA report, which was never written, would have been available to Justice personnel on a strict need-to-know basis. It can be assumed that after Casey took over at the CIA, he immediately quashed the investigation of the involvement of Iran in the 1980 election.

In any case, the investigation was stopped dead in its tracks. The Attorney General at the time of the Giuliani memo was Reagan confidante William French Smith. Smith’s special assistant at the time was David Hiller, who later became the publisher, president, and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. Hiller’s fellow special assistant for Smith was John G. Roberts, Jr., later nominated by George W. Bush to the Supreme Court as Associate Justice, followed by his nomination to be Chief Justice.

The «Poet’s» official charter to sail a cargo of corn to Port Said was oddly appended with a «war risk» clause, even though Egypt was not in a state of war. The only state of war that existed at the time was in the Gulf between Iran and Iraq. The charter also involved Universal Shipping Company, a CIA front company headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia, along with other firms controlled by CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson. Later convicted and imprisoned for smuggling weapons to Libya, Wilson, a «retired» CIA operative, contended that his weapons smuggling operations were carried out with the approval of the CIA.

There is an interesting current news peg to the story of the 1980 election and the «Poet.» The Iranian side in the «arms-for-no-hostages» conspiracy was led by the then-speaker of the Iranian parliament, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He would later become a key cog in the Iran-contra scandal that almost brought down the Reagan administration. Rafsanjani died recently at the age of 82. Considered a leading Iranian moderate, Rafsanjani traveled widely throughout the United States prior to the Iranian revolution in 1979 and he may have served as a deep cover CIA asset. With his death disappears from the scene another witness to the treachery involving the disappearance of the «SS Poet».

When the CIA wants to advance a meme that a foreign nation interfered in a U.S. election, it can coax its puppets in the media to hype the story, as seen now with the frivolous allegations about Russia and the Trump campaign. However, when the Langley boys want to bury their own chicanery and skullduggery in election interference, as is currently the case with CIA and British MI-6 involvement in the 2016 election on behalf of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton and as was the situation in 1980 with Iran and the Reagan campaign, the media dutifully follows.

The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan

JANUARY 16, 2017

Photo by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

As Donald Trump prepares for his inauguration, he is struggling with opposition from the US media, intelligence agencies, government apparatus, parts of the Republican Party and a significant portion of the American population. Impressive obstacles appear to prevent him exercising arbitrary power.

He should take heart: much the same was said in Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2002 when he led his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the first of four election victories. He faced an army that, through coups and the threat of coups, was the ultimate source of power in the country, and a secular establishment suspicious of his Islamist beliefs. But over the years he has outmanoeuvred or eliminated his enemies and – using a failed military coup on 15 July last year as an excuse – is suppressing and punishing all signs of dissent as “terrorism”.

As Trump enters the White House, the AKP and far right nationalist super majority in the Turkish parliament is this month stripping the assembly of its powers and transferring them wholesale to the presidency. President Erdogan will become an elected dictator able to dissolve parliament, veto legislation, decide the budget, appoint ministers who do not have to be MPs along with senior officials and heads of universities.

All power will be concentrated in Erdogan’s hands as the office of prime minister is abolished and the president, who can serve three five year terms, takes direct control of the intelligence services. He will appoint senior judges and the head of state institutions including the education system.

These far-reaching constitutional changes are reinforcing an ever-expanding purge begun after the failed military coup last year, in which more than 100,000 civil servants have been detained or dismissed. This purge is now reaching into every walk of life, from liberal journalists to businessmen who have seen $10bn in assets confiscated by the state.

The similarities between Erdogan and Trump are greater than they might seem, despite the very different political traditions in the US and Turkey.

The parallel lies primarily in the methods by which both men have gained power and seek to enhance it. They are populists and nationalists who demonise their enemies and see themselves as surrounded by conspiracies. Success does not sate their pursuit of more authority.

Hopes in the US that, after Trump’s election in November, he would shift from aggressive campaign mode to a more conciliatory approach have dissipated over the last two months. Towards the media his open hostility has escalated, as was shown by his abuse of reporters at his press conference this week.

Manic sensitivity to criticism is a hallmark of both men. In Trump’s case this is exemplified by his tweeted denunciation of critics such as Meryl Streep, while in Turkey 2,000 people have been charged with insulting the president. One man was tried for posting on Facebook three pictures of Gollum, the character in The Lord of the Rings, with similar facial features to pictures of Erdogan posted alongside. Of the 259 journalists in jail around the world, no less than 81 are in Turkey. American reporters may not yet face similar penalties, but they can expect intense pressure on the institutions for which they work to mute their criticisms.

Turkey and the US may have very different political landscapes, but there is a surprising degree of uniformity in the behaviour of Trump and Erdogan. The same is true of populist, nationalist, authoritarian leaders who are taking power in many different parts of the world from Hungary and Poland to the Philippines. Commentators have struggled for a phrase to describe this phenomenon, such as “the age of demagoguery”, but this refers only to one method – and that not the least important – by which such leaders gain power.

This type of political leadership is not new: the most compelling account of it was written 70 years ago in 1947 by the great British historian Sir Lewis Namier, in an essay reflecting on what he termed “Caesarian democracy”, which over the previous century had produced Napoleon III in France, Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany. His list of the most important aspects of this toxic brand of politics is as relevant today as it was when first written, since all the items apply to Trump, Erdogan and their like.

Namier described “Caesarian democracy” as typified by “its direct appeal to the masses: demagogical slogans; disregard of legality despite a professed guardianship of law and order; contempt of political parties and the parliamentary system, of the educated classes and their values; blandishments and vague, contradictory promises to all and sundry; militarism; gigantic blatant displays and shady corruption. Panem et circenses [bread and circuses] once more – and at the end of the road, disaster.”

Disaster comes in different forms. One disability of elected dictators or strongmen is that, impelled by an exaggerated idea of their own capacity, they undertake foreign military adventures beyond their country’s strength. As an isolationist Trump might steer clear of such quagmires, but most of his senior security appointments show a far more aggressive and interventionist streak.

A strength of President Obama was that he had a realistic sense of what was attainable by the US in the Middle East without starting unwinnable wars as President George W Bush did in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the presidential election campaign, Trump showed signs of grasping – as Hillary Clinton did not – that Americans do not want to fight another ground war in the Middle East or anywhere else. But this naturally limits US influence in the world and will be at odds with Trump’s slogan about “making America great again.”

The disaster that Namier predicted was the natural end of elected dictators has already begun to happen in Turkey. The Turkish leader may have succeeded in monopolising power at home, but at the price of provoking crises and deepening divisions within Turkish society. The country is embroiled in the war in Syria, thanks to Erdogan’s ill-judged intervention there since 2011. This led to the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) establishing a de facto state in northern Syria and Isis doing the same in Syria and Iraq. At home, Erdogan restarted the war with the Turkish Kurds for electoral reasons in 2015 and the conflict is now more intractable than ever.

Every few weeks in Turkey there is another terrorist attack which is usually the work of Isis or a faction of the PKK – although the government sometimes blames atrocities on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, who are alleged to have carried out the attempted military coup last July. In addition to this, there is an escalating financial crisis, which has seen the Turkish lira lose 12 per cent of its value over the last two weeks. Foreign and domestic investment is drying up as investors become increasingly convinced that Turkey has become chronically unstable.

Erdogan and Trump have a further point in common: both have an unquenchable appetite for power and achieve it by exploiting and exacerbating divisions within their own countries.

They declare they will make their countries great again, but in practise make them weaker.

They are forever sawing through the branch on which they – and everybody else – are sitting.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

Aleppo: the famous Street Market re-opens for first time in two years

RSFP

Aleppo’s main shopping area was swarmed with customers as it reopened for the first time in two years, Saturday. ~ Shopkeepers displayed their goods and fixed shop entrances, while families walked between the different shops. ~ Al-Tall street market was closed after being targeted with missiles by armed groups. Aleppo locals begin to get back to normal life after the Syrian Army’s announcement on December 22, that it had recaptured the whole of eastern Aleppo following four years of militant occupation. Prior to the conflict, Aleppo was Syria’s industrial and financial center.

Daesh Generations أجيال “داعش”

15 كانون الثاني ,2017  13:54 مساء

يعمل تنظيم “داعش” الذي ملأ الدنيا بالدماء وشغل الناس بالقتل والتفجير والتفخيخ والحرق والإبادة على توريث منهاجه من أجل إقامة الخلافة الإسلامية لأجيال جديدة من “داعش” والتي لا تتوفر عنها أي قاعدة بيانات ومعلومات كصورهم وأسمائهم الحقيقية وتاريخهم في العمل المسلح ومناطق وجودهم في العراق أو سورية والعالم العربي والإسلامي والغرب، ويمكن القول إن الجيل الأول من الجهاديين هو الجيل المتدين والذي تبنى العنف والتشدد وحمل على الدول الطاغوتية الكافرة بزعمه، ثم الجيل الثاني الذي تمثل في القاعدة حيث بدأت هذه الأخيرة تهتم بالتنظيم والسرية والعمل الاستخباري، وبرز بعد ذلك جيل ثالث من الجهاديين ممثلاً في “داعش” الذي استفاد من كل الذين قادوا العمل المسلح ضد دولهم ومجتمعاتهم وأضاف المزيد من الأساليب المبتكرة باجتهاد الدم.

ويذهب الخبراء الغربيون ومنهم جيل كيبل إلى القول أن الجيل الثالث من “داعش” موجود في معظم العواصم الغربية كخلايا نائمة بناء على تنظير لأبي مصعب السوري الذي طرح مشروع استهداف أوروبا التي تبقى في جميع الأحوال أقرب إلى ساحة العمليات وأضعف من أميركا، فضلاً عن أن أوروبا تمثل بيئة خصبة لتجنيد الملايين من المسلمين الأوروبيين أو المهاجرين أو حتى المعتنقين الجدد للإسلام، والجيل الثالث للسلفية الجهادية هو جيل شاب فغالبية عناصرها من جيل عشريني وثلاثيني ويتسم خطابهم بتشدد وعدوانية للمخالفين أكثر من الأجيال السابقة، فقد تميز كل من الجيل الأول والثاني من السلفية الجهادية بمحاربة العدو البعيد، بينما ركز الجيل الثالث على المخالف الطائفي والعقائدي فقط.

ويذهب بعض الخبراء إلى القول أن نهاية “داعش” لن تكون وشيكة لأنها مرتبطة بمصالح استراتيجية عملاقة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية والكيان العبري وبريطانيا ثالوث التخصص في تدمير العالم العربي والإسلامي، و قد بدأت “داعش” تتمدد في سيناء المصرية وليبيا وصولاً إلى إفريقيا وتعمل على التمدد في الدول الخليجية والساحة الأوروبية، ويسود لدى فئة من الشباب الأوروبي المسلم شعور بالإحباط والسخط تجاه المجتمع، هم شباب ثائرون يبحثون عن قضية يضحون من أجلها، ويجدون في الجهاد ضالتهم المثالية، لأنهم يعتقدون أن الجهاد عمل بطولي، وأن صورهم ستنتشر في ليلة وضحاها على أعمدة جميع الصحف وسيصبحون حديث الجميع.. كما يقول الخبير الفرنسي أوليفر روي الباحث في الحركات الإسلامية.

 

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