The violent intervention of the Bashar al-Asad’s army in the town of Jisr al Shugur has already caused the flight to neighboring Turkey of more than 2,500 Syrians, amid evidence that Iran is not only behind the Syrian repressive apparatus, but Basij militants are participating directly in the operations of punishment. We can add to that, the lack of agreement in the Security Council to bring forward a UN resolution of condemnation, because of opposition from Russia and China, with veto power, and Brazil.
The testimonies of several wounded admitted to the hospital in Antioch involve Iranian agents who shot to protesters trying to disperse them in the city of Idlib, May 20, as recorded by the France Press correspondent in this city in Turkey. “There were policemen in civilian clothes, but also Iranian soldiers, ” Mustafa told through her bed, a young seller of metal shot in the leg and arm. “I saw with my own eyes: we ask you not to attack us, but did not speak Arabic. ” “They had beards, and the Syrian army is prohibited, ” the trader added, evoking also a black uniform unknown in Syria. Akram, a 17-year-old also shot, has no doubts: “They were Basij [volunteer Iranian Islamic militants]. “
“There is no consensus”, stated the Brazilian foreign minister, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, speaking about the European proposal for the UN’s resolution to condemn the Syrian regime for the violent repression of demonstrations. The diplomat stated that “it is unclear whether Lebanon, the only Arab country on the Security Council, would support it or not. ”
European countries of the UN executive body (France, Britain, Germany and Portugal) supported by the United States have submitted a draft resolution to the 15-member Council to condemn the government of Bashar Assad. However, both China and Russia have veto power. Both of them and Brazil have expressed their misgivings.
The 15 countries were due to reconvene on Wednesday to address the issue, although the vote could take several days. At present the highest international security body is composed, in addition to the above countries, also by Bosnia-Herzegovina, Gabon, Nigeria, Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa.
Just in case there is precendent for them and friends, don’t you think?
First thing, a war is a war. It’s not a very loving and caring thing to do, specially when the other “team” is using children, women or elderly people, as spies or as suicide bombers. Or even persons whose intelligence level is disputable or who have psychiatric problems. In every war, since the beginning of mankind there have been episodes which any sane person would find disgusting if he had been told about them.
That said, and considering the insistence on Human Rights abuses on the Iraqi war (someone caring to see how many times Saudi Human Rights abuses in peaceful time are on newspapers and magazines’ main pages? Oh, no, please, these guys have oil!!), there are other things I would like to point out:
- Firstly, the immediate consequences for Iraqi PM could be devastating. “There has been no evidence found in the documents that Mr. Maliki was aware of the grisly acts of torture and beatings. However, the timing of the documents’ release comes just as his Shiite bloc, known as State of Law, has made gains in securing the majority of parliamentary seats needed to form a new government“. Now, his opponents, Mr. Allawi and Haider Mulla, both want an investigation on the leaked documents, specially about some illegal detentions. Well, accountability is natural in any democracy, although let’s hope Islamist terrorists don’t profit from this information. As they are brutal by nature, they don’t care about publicity or accusations. Something which obviously make themselves a little different from “peaceful” politicians.
- Secondly, the Iraqi WMD: there is an article in Wired (found) that speaks about how Wikileaks warlogs prove their existence: “WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction“. Of course, we have to wonder why these warlogs weren’t published to show their existence, something which would have ended a lot of speculations and ferocious critics on the subject.
- And thirdly, the participation of Iran and Syria in the Iraqi war, supporting the so-called “insurgence“, is clear considering the content of the documents. Most of the people are speaking about Iran, that “provided paramilitary training to Shiite Muslim insurgents“, something not specially striking if we consider the good relationship between Al-Sadr, the Iraqi cleric in “charge” of the Mahdi militia, and Iranian Govt, among other data. But there were smuggling operations from Iraq to Syria documented in those documents, with Syrian guards’ support. But not only smuggled things were passing through the Syrian-Iraqi borders: “The WikiLeaks documents describe hundreds of “foreign fighters”, including dozens of Syrian citizens, using the country’s remote eastern desert as a transit point into Iraq. In June 2005, Iraqi border police engaged a group of men who crossed the border illegally to recover a disabled vehicle – which was “believed to be used in smuggling [operations].” The police came under fire – not from the men recovering the vehicle, but from Syrian border guards“.
I mention that “smuggling operations” because there were satellite photos that allegedly proved that Iraqi WMD had been smuggled to Syria. Will Wikileaks’ released documents provide more evidence about that claim?
Syria has banned face-covering Islamic veils from the country’s universities.
The surprise move comes as similar moves in Europe – including controversial calls in Britain for a ban on burkas – have sparked cries of discrimination against Muslims.
The crackdown was ordered by the secular government in Damascus amid fears of increasing Islamic extremism among young Muslim students.
Syria is not a Muslim country. An official at the ministry says the ban affects public and private universities and aims to protect the country’s secular identity.
Are they also going to call Syria racist?
“We have a little bit of freedom,” said Khaled al-Ekhetyar, a 29-year-old journalist for a Web site whose business card shows a face with hands covering up the eyes and mouth. “We can say things that can’t be said in print.”
But that slim margin is threatened by an ever present fog of fear and intimidation, and some journalists fear that it could soon be snuffed out. A draft law regulating online media would clamp down on Syrian bloggers and other journalists, forcing them to register as syndicate members and submit their writing for review. Other Arab countries regularly jail journalists who express dissident views, but Syria may be the most restrictive of all.
Most of the Syrian media is still owned by the state. Privately owned media outlets became legal in 2001, as the socialist economy slowly began to liberalize following the accession of President Bashar al-Assad. But much of the sector is owned by members of the Syrian “oligarchy” — relatives of Mr. Assad and other top government officials. All of it is subject to intimidation and heavy-handed control.
“The first level is censorship,” said Ayman Abdel Nour, the founder of All4Syria.info, the independent Web site where Mr. Ekhetyar works. “The second level is when they send you statements and force you to publish them.” Like many other journalists and dissidents, Mr. Abdel Nour has left the country and now lives abroad.
“The Syrian government ordered the closure of numerous ‘house churches’ for meeting in places the government deems inappropriate for worship. Many congregations in Syria cannot afford to buy a plot of land and build a church, so instead they purchase an apartment and turn it into a place of worship. However, during the past few months, the government has enforced a law stating that congregations must only gather in buildings that resemble a church.
Many Syrian Christians, however, believe that the government’s ‘legal’ excuse for closing churches is merely a cover-up for a wider government crackdown against evangelical Christian activity in Syria. ‘Syrian Christians that are active in their faith know that they are watched very closely and the government is waiting for an excuse to crack down on them,’ a Syrian Christian told ICC. ‘The government is targeting all religious activities which are considered ‘extreme’ — from Muslim extremists all the way to Christians… It is generally believed that the government is getting reports from Orthodox and certain denominations as well as secret police and certain Islamic congregations.'”
Italian police have seized seven tons of the powerful RDX explosive which they found in a shipping container they believe were likely destined for a terrorist organization.While the origin and destination of the contraband is still being investigated, police are convinced the huge amount of explosive was in transit, possibly from Iran to Syria.“The truly astonishing amount (of explosive) we seized leads us to believe the recipients could be large international criminal organizations, perhaps tied to terrorism,” Carmelo Casabona, the chief of police said at a press conference in Reggio Calabria today, according to the ANSA news agency.
Well-informed Saudi sources have confirmed to the “Beirut Observer” that the delay of Lebanon’s PM return to Beirut came in response to advice by Saudi officials. The Saudis are extremely concerned in regards to information became available to them indicating that an imminent Hezbollah coup is in on the horizon. The Saudis are fearful that Hezbollah’s threats are not mere political rhetoric this time. The Iranian-armed militia has set all the needed logistic preparations for the coup and is only waiting for the zero hour.
According to the report, Hezbollah’s planned coup will take a camouflaged cover of civilian protection this time. But the reality on the ground is that it will not be different from Hezbollah’s bloody and cruel invasion of Western Sunni Beirut and Druze Mount Lebanon in May 2008. The coup will be initiated by putting government officials under house arrest. This will include Lebanon’s PM, Saad Al Hariri, General prosecutor Said Mirza, Internal Security Forces General Director General Ashraf Rifi as well as many other officials and politicians. Sources said that Information Branch President Colonel Wesam Hassan will be spared from house arrest in the early hours of the coup.
The report went on to conclude that at the present time the centre of attention is a scheduled visit by a Saudi envoy to Damascus today and on the results of his talks with Syrian officials. The Saudi mission to Syria will focus on the current volatile situation in Lebanon, the avoidance of bloodshed, strife and and the repetition of what happened on May 2008. The Saudis fear that the impact of any military coup executed by Hezbollah in Lebanon will spread chaos over the entire region.
Ibrahim Za’ir, columnist for the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, stated
that the U.S. had carried out the attacks with the aim of forcing Russia into making concessions to help resolve the crisis with Iran, and also to push Russia into signing the arms reduction treaty: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that regional and international elements may have been behind the criminal operation that caused… the killing of 40 innocent civilians…
“Like the innocent victims of terror operations in Moscow, Dagestan, and other places in the world, the perpetrators of these operations also did not know the political goals of the operations [that they carried out]. [These perpetrators are] young men or women, in the full flower of their youth, who have been brainwashed with hatred and whose minds have been filled with elements of religious and ideological consciousness removed from the textual context of the books [holy to] the monotheistic religions – particularly [those] of the religion of Islam [i.e. the Koran] that bans the killing of innocents.
“But the planners of the terror operations know full well how to exploit the religion to accomplish their unique goals. It is they who are the most distant from Islam and its commandments… [The fact is that] the leader of the terror operations in the Caucasus, who was killed by Russian intelligence about a month before the recent Moscow operations, was… Sa’id Buryatsky, a Russian whose real name is Alexander Tikhomirov, who was connected to several foreign intelligence networks, particularly the American CIA.
“The U.S.’s condemnation of this does not mislead us. Many terror organizations have weapons and explosives… manufactured by the U.S. and Israel, sent to them via Georgia and other countries close to the U.S.
“Against this backdrop, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s trip to Venezuela to sign 30 agreements with President Hugo Chavez can be understood. Several U.S. and Western newspapers [saw these agreements] as Russia’s response to Washington, and as an indirect accusation against it, vis-à-vis the two Moscow subway bombings… [Washington had] hoped that this terror operation would pressure the Russian leadership to make many concessions in all things regarding the signing of the Strategic Missile Arms Limitation Treaty – SALT II [sic] with Russia not demanding that the U.S. stop its missile defense project in Eastern Europe and change its position towards Iran, and [forcing] Russia to impose harsh sanctions on Iran [in accordance with Washington’s wishes]…
Syria, that country which is a dictatorship and which is giving Scud missiles to Hizbullah.
According to the rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), present at the Re:publica digital media conference in Berlin, about 120 bloggers and online reporters are currently in jail because of their work.
More than half of them are imprisoned in China, one of the countries most criticized for its rigid online censorship. Last month, RSF welcomed Google’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese language search engine and to move its operations to Hong Kong.
“Companies who obey the demands of oppressive regimes are accomplices to censorship,” said Lucie Morillon, the head of Reporters Without Borders’ new media desk. “They are helping to silence basically those people who want to express dissident views. They are helping regimes to stay in place.”
Lucie Morillon, head of the New Media desk at Reporters Without Borders talks about internet censorship at Re:publica conference Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Reporters Without Borders’ Lucie Morillon, says many companies help state censorsMorillon hopes that other major international players follow Google’s lead, especially Yahoo, which has a history of collaborating with the Chinese authorities. In 2005 it handed over information that resulted in the imprisonment of a Chinese activist for 10 years.
In recent weeks more allegations against Yahoo have surfaced. Morillon said the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China reported “13 cases of foreign reporters whose accounts have been hacked.”
…In 2009, more than 60 countries experienced some form of internet censorship, according to Reporters without Borders. In March, RSF published a list of 12 so-called “enemies of the Internet,” which are countries that seriously violate their citizens’ free speech online.
Apart from China and Iran, the list also includes Saudi Arabia, Burma, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Cuba and Egypt, who use a range of measures from Internet filtering and blocking Web sites, to imprisoning bloggers and journalists.
With 70 million people writing over 700,000 blogs, Iran has a strong Internet presence. Twenty-seven-year-old Farnaz Seifi, was one of the first Iranian women to start her own blog seven years ago. She worked for many years as a women’s rights activist and journalist in reformist newspapers, which were shut down. Seifi now lives in the Netherlands.
“Iranian cyber army” hacked Twitter last year
Seifi has noticed the Iranian government’s increasingly sophisticated range of strategies to suppress freedom of speech, including using blogs.
“Three years ago suddenly we had this huge wave of Muslim bloggers, very religious ones, very loyal to the Islamic Republic. And they are working for spreading the propaganda of the Islamic Republic regime,” she said. “So it shows that the government of Iran thought, ‘If we want to control them, we need to be active in what we are doing as well and spreading our own propaganda’.”
Has Ban Ki-Moon something to say about this? Is it going to investigate this or investigations are only made when Israelis are involved?
Syria has transferred long-range Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Israeli and U.S. officials alleged, in a move that threatens to alter the Middle East’s military balance and sets back a major diplomatic outreach effort to Damascus by the Obama administration.
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday publicly charged President Bashar Assad‘s government with transferring Scud missiles to Hezbollah’s forces inside Lebanon. Syria and Hezbollah both denied the charges. But the allegations already are affecting U.S. foreign policy: Republicans pressed on Capitol Hill to block the appointment of a new American ambassador to Damascus, according to congressional officials. The White House said it was pressing ahead.
The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles—placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s nuclear installations all within range of Hezbollah’s military forces. During a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used rockets with ranges of 20 to 60 miles.
The Scuds could be made with North Korean or Russian technology. Anyway, in 2005, Hizbullah was using already Russian missiles sold to Syria, although till now they weren’t long-range ones.
Hizbullah’s terrorists are trying to infiltrate themselves in several other countries, specially from South America and in the US.
Federal authorities have identified Hizbullah-aligned cells in several cities in the United States. In February 2010, four Florida men were charged in a plot to relay millions of dollars to Hizbullah through a shopping center in Paraguay. The suspects were said to have been working with Mohammed Yusef Abdullah, identified as Hizbullah‘s main liasion in South America.
Relations between Turkey and Israel, already at a low point, took a further battering Wednesday when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Israel as “the principal threat to peace” in the Middle East.
…Mr. Erdogan’s clashes with Israel and rapprochement with Iran and Syria have led some analysts to believe Turkey is making a fundamental foreign-policy shift away from its Cold War partners in the West, in particular the U.S., and toward Middle Eastern powers such as Iran. At a recent meeting of foreign-policy analysts in Istanbul held by the Turkish Policy Quarterly, Israeli and Turkish analysts agreed on one point—the alliance those two countries built on shared security concerns in the 1990s is probably unsalvageable.
But a 38-page report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group think tank on Turkey’s new role in the Middle East, released Wednesday, said the belief Turkey is turning away from the West is “incorrect.” The report noted that Turkey’s trade with Europe continues to outweigh its trade with the Middle East by a wide margin, and European Union membership remains its core goal. But the report also warned that Mr. Erdogan risks losing the trust of Western allies.
And… Turkey is going to raise the subject of the (alleged) Israeli nuclear arsenal on the next Washington meeting. We’ll see what happens…
Related articles by Zemanta
- Turkey’s Diplomatic Sparring with Israel (time.com)
Some days ago, it was the Balkans.
Today, banners calling on women to wear headscarves or on Muslims to show devotion to the prophet Mohammad are displayed in much of Damascus. Many restaurants refrain from serving alcohol and men praying at the sides of streets have become a common sight.
“Syrian people have always been observant, but religious devotion was moderate and open, and more focused on the essence of religion rather than appearances,” said Wael al-Sawwah, a Damascus-based author and researcher.
“What is happening in Syria today is a drift towards fundamentalism,” he added.
Sawwah believes that this trend is mainly the result of the spread of Wahhabism, a conservative strand of Islam coming from Saudi Arabia. He said that large numbers of Syrians left to work in the Gulf in the 1970s and 1980s and returned as adherents to the strict Islamic values of these societies.
Even officials have started worrying about the impact of religion in Syrian society.
… A Taliban (Sunni) commander who has been trained in Iran (Shia) said last week: “Our religions and our histories are different, but our target is the same — we both want to kill Americans.”
The governments of Turkey, Syria, and Iran announced on Tuesday that they were calling for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to hold an emergency meeting on recent Palestinian-Israeli developments.
…The emergency meeting, either to be held in Damascus or in Istanbul, is to discuss the latest developments in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel‘s attempts to judaize and annex the religious shrines in the occupied Palestinian territories, the report said.
I haven’t found the OIC’s answer. That meeting is going to be very interesting.
Anyway, this confirms (again) the shift that Turkey is experiencing under Erdogan. Turkey has been a traditional ally of Israel, till AKP rose to power.
Another case of Christian persecution in Iran:
An Assyrian pastor the Iranian government accused of “converting Muslims” is being tortured in prison and threatened with execution, sources close to the case said.State Security agents on Feb. 2 arrested the Rev. Wilson Issavi, 65, shortly after he finished a house meeting at a friend’s home in Isfahan. A city of more than 1.5 million people, Isfahan is located 208 miles (335 kilometers) south of Tehran.
According to Farsi Christian News Network, Issavi’s wife, Medline Nazanin, recently visited her husband in prison, where she saw that he had obvious signs of torture and was in poor condition. Iranian intelligence officials told Nazanin that her husband might be executed for his alleged activities.
Issavi is the pastor of The Evangelical Church of Kermanshah in Isfahan, a 50-year-old church body affiliated with The Assemblies of God that caters to the local Assyrian population.
via Compass Direct News.
Western MSM continue to be silent on the matter.
Comments on T&P 2.0.
This is an update on this story:
The teenage daughter of the world’s most wanted man spent 112 days living in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran after escaping house arrest in a family compound.
“She looks healthy, and she’s just adjusting to outside life,” Zeina Bin Laden, Iman’s sister-in-law, told ABC News. She said Iman was 7-years-old when she last saw her mother, and will now be homeschooled after a childhood without formal education.
Dozens of Osama Bin Laden‘s family members, including 11 grandchildren, have been held in Iran since fleeing Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2001. The bin Laden family has described their conditions as comfortable with frequent shopping trips, swimming pools, computers, and Playstation video games.
“The Iranian government has showed very good caring to my brothers and sisters. The only mistake is that until now they haven't been released,” Omar Bin Laden, Osama’s fourth-born son, told ABC News last month. Continue reading
Umran Javed, from Washwood Heath, was a normal IT student at the University of Aston, before he came under the influence of Al Muhijaroun in 2000.
He studied radical Islam with Choudary’s spiritual guide Omar Bakri Mohammed. Hate preacher Bakri, who once called for Tony Blair to be assassinated, led the group for nine years before fleeing Britain for Lebanon following the 7/7 London terror attacks in 2005.
Javed, 30, became increasingly caught up in Muslim extremism and the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2006 saw him turn his radical views into action on the streets.
Filmed by undercover cops outside the Danish Embassy in London, he screamed “bomb, bomb Denmark. Bomb, bomb USA” and “Jihad is the path to Allah” .
He was jailed for six years for incitement to murder in 2007.
Other young Midland Muslims who have joined Choudary’s hate groups do not simply threaten murder, they carry out deadly acts of terror overseas.
Omar Sharif, 27, killed three Israelis and injured 50 others in 2003 when he blew himself up in a packed cafe in Tel Aviv.
His journey to the bloodied scene began on the streets of his home city of Derby when he joined his local Al Muhijaroun chapter.
At University in London his devotion to radical Islam deepened, leading him to shun his non-Muslim friends and travel to Syria for further Arabic studies.
When he returned he devoted himself to Al Muhijaroun, dropping leaflets, attending Bakri’s lectures and influencing other young men to take up violent Jihad.
He later recorded a martyrdom video for Palestinian terror group Hamas, before strapping on a vest filled with explosives and becoming the first foreign suicide bomber in Israel’s history.
Wolverhampton-born Hassan Butt, who has since renounced extremism, also previously acted as a spokesman for Al Muhijaroun. He was arrested after claiming he helped to recruit 200 Muslims to fight for the Taliban against British troops in Afghanistan.
He defiantly says that he “challenges anyone to prove any of our members have been involved in any violent activities“, as if those boys’ stories were completely not related to him. But he was one of the leaders of Al Muhajiroun together with Omar Bakri Mohammed.
Secondly, he also says he “is smiling because Shariah is coming to Britain”.
So, why hasn’t he been deprived of the social benefits all English citizens are paying for him to glorify Jihad and ask for Shariah Law?
PS: Where is UNICEF? Oh, I forgot: it is just making friends with terrorist entities.
Portugal has agreed to take two Syrian detainees from Guantanamo prison, the foreign ministry said Friday.
The pair will be accepted on humanitarian grounds and granted special visas, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site. The ministry did not provide details on the detainees’ identities.
Portugal is the third EU nation, after France and Ireland, to make a firm commitment to take specific prisoners. Many European states have been cool to the idea of taking Guantanamo prisoners off American hands.
The foreign ministry statement said the decision “safeguards aspects related to security (and) the prospects for the successful integration of the chosen former inmates.”
So, these guys, Syrian Nationals (why aren’t they taken back to Syria?), are going to be given “visas” on humanitarian grounds to move freely through Portugal? Because in that case, their movements will be free throughout the whole European Union (have the rest of the countries being asked about this?).
And why didn’t they give their names?
Disgracing her family by leaving an abusive husband while with child, Fellah* was meant to die. After her brother mistakenly thought she was dead, dropping her body in a field, fate would have it she would escape the Southern Syrian village alive.
Fellah speaks softly, afraid to share her story too loudly, but needing it to be heard. Although Fellah has relocated and changed her name, she still fears that her family will find her. She doesn’t leave her home alone and her four daughters are watched over with a protective eye. Ten years earlier, when Fellah was seventeen and with child, she was the victim of a would-be honor killing.
You know? This is the problem… It is not that someone tries to kill another human being. That happens in all societies. The special characteristic regarding Honor Killings is that they are performed because it’s socially demanded. Yes, some people will tell me that this is a religious custom. But if that religious custom, wouldn’t be socially demanded, would they do it? I really don’t think so.
Read it all. Surely, you would be angry afterwards. But it would be good to know that Syrian first lady is more interested in her shoes than in this kind of things happening in her country. Another case of lazy conscience.