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Commentary: Japanese government must listen to voices of reason
Kenzaburō Ōe: Categorical imperative to renounce war forever
BEIJING: Japanese novelist Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel laureate, has called on the Japanese government to reflect on its view of history and stop creating a “vicious cycle” on the Diaoyu Islands issue.
A civic group’s statement, endorsed by about 1,300 Japanese people, including Oe, said on Friday that the root cause of the souring Japan-China ties on its 40th anniversary is Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s announcement of “buying” the islands, and the subsequent “nationalization” of the islands by the Japanese government.
“The most important thing for Japan is to recognize and reflect on its historical issues,” the statement stressed, referring to Japan’s invasion of its neighboring countries during World War II, and to “honestly express that both to itself and to other countries.”
Such are the voices of reason from the people. The statement has given a remarkably objective analysis of the the crux of the Diaoyu Islands issue that has plunged the China-Japan relations to a historical low.
The Diaoyu Islands have been a silent witness to the Japanese aggression and colonization. The Japanese government has not yet, even to this day, given up its colonialist attitude to Asia, attempting to “legitimize” the land it stole from China and continue its colonization.
Such a move is an open denial of the outcomes of the victory of the world anti-fascist war, and a grave challenge to the post-war world order. Moreover, it severely hurts the feelings of the people in the countries that it had invaded only decades ago.
On the Diaoyu Islands issue, the Japanese government has attempted to turn back the wheel of history, which seriously undermined the political foundation of the China-Japan ties and set the bilateral ties, even the entire region, in a dangerous direction.
As a matter of fact, Japan’s provocation has not only led to worsening tension over the Diaoyu Islands, but also will ultimately boomerang on itself.
China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng has recently warned that Japan should abandon the illusion that it can occupy the Diaoyu Islands and that sending a few envoys to China to explain the issue will be the end of it.
It is clear that China will by no means tolerate a two-faced partner, which talks of friendly ties and cooperation on the one hand but intentionally creates damage on the other.
To maintain a healthy China-Japan relationship, efforts on both sides are needed and the onus does not only fall on China.
Now it is crucial for the Japanese government to make some real efforts to rein in domestic rightist sentiments and to prevent the ugly scenario of a militarism resurrection.
Nobody should be so foolish as to interpret China’s commitment to peaceful development as being weak and easily bullied or to even take advantage of that to grab the Chinese territory.
Any idea that China would sit idle to see its rightful land stolen by a foreign country will always remain a mere illusion.
The recent moves by the Japanese side concerning the Diaoyu Islands have played havoc on the China-Japan relationship, which has entered its 40th year since far-sighted leaders on both sides overcame great challenges and normalized the bilateral ties.
At such a critical juncture, the wise choice for the Japanese government is to listen to voices of reason from both its own people and the international community, give due respect to history and reality, and forgo the illusion that it could grab the Diaoyu Islands from China if it tries hard enough.
It is indeed desirable for all that the China-Japan relations return to the right track as soon as possible.
By Rick Rozoff
In a six-day span the U.S. State Department has bluntly affirmed unequivocal backing for Japanese territorial claims against both Russia and China, even invoking a defense treaty provision that could lead to direct military intervention and war with the world’s most populous nation.
Beginning a 13-day, seven-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region on October 27 in Hawaii, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and met with Admiral Robert Willard, head of U.S. Pacific Command – the largest overseas regional military command in the world – and held a joint press conference with new Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara in Honolulu.
Clinton’s comments on the occasion underlined Washington’s increasingly assertive – and intrusive – role in East Asia and the Western Pacific Ocean. They included:
“This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our alliance, which was forged at the height of the Cold War. At the time, President Eisenhower described the indestructible partnership between our two countries, and time has proven him right. The world’s geopolitical landscape has shifted many times since then, but the partnership between the United States and Japan has endured….This alliance is the cornerstone of American strategic engagement in the Asia Pacific….. I’m grateful that we are the two largest contributors to reconstruction in Afghanistan.” 
Responding to a question from the press corps on an East China Sea island chain contested by Japan and China – the Senkaku Islands in the Japanese designation and the Diaoyu Islands in the Chinese – near which a Chinese trawler collided with two Japanese coast guard ships on September 7, almost leading to an international incident, Clinton added that for the government she represents “the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. This is part of the larger commitment that the United States has made to Japan’s security. We consider the Japanese-U.S. alliance one of the most important alliance partnerships we have anywhere in the world and we are committed to our obligations to protect the Japanese.” 
Clinton’s raising Article 5 of the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which states that “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger,” paralleled and followed by three months a similar attempt to intervene against China in the South China Sea.
On July 23 Clinton spoke at the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam, and alluding to disputes in the South China Sea between China and ASEAN member states Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei over the Spratly Islands and between China and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, she maintained that “The United States, like every nation, has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea….We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant.”  Clinton had the temerity to evoke the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the U.S. has not ratified.
Her allusion to the prospect of force being used is – could only be – a reference to China in the current context. In an indisputable attempt to take up cudgels in alleged defense of the ten members of ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma) the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – against what is being promoted by Washington as a common threat, China, Clinton delivered the opening salvo in what has since been an intensifying campaign to introduce the U.S. as not so much a mediator as a power broker and military guarantor in the Asia-Pacific region.
An outside player whose main “negotiation” tools are U.S. Pacific Command and the world’s largest expeditionary naval force, the U.S. Seventh Fleet, with 50–60 warships, 350 aircraft and as many as 60,000 sailors and marines attached to it at any given time.
In her comments in the Vietnamese capital on July 23 Clinton foreshadowed the renewed American emphasis on East Asia, in particular on isolating and confronting “outposts of tyranny” (her predecessor Condoleezza Rice’s term) Myanmar and North Korea and revivifying and expanding military alliances in the area. 
“The day before, I was in Seoul, my third visit to Korea as Secretary. Together, Secretary Gates and I have sent the strong message that 60 years after the outbreak of the Korean War the U.S.-Korea alliance is strong….I’ve just completed two days of intensive consultations with my ASEAN colleagues and with the other partners who have come here to pursue a common endeavor: strengthening security, prosperity, and opportunity across Asia….[T]he Obama Administration is committed to broad, deep, and sustained engagement in Asia.” 
The Pentagon demonstrated what America’s sustained engagement in Asia means starting two days after Clinton’s statements in Vietnam and every month since: With the Invincible Spirit military exercise in the Sea of Japan/East Sea starting on July 25. The first joint U.S.-Vietnamese military exercise – naval drills in the South China Sea – and the Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises in South Korea in August. Anti-submarine warfare maneuvers in the Yellow Sea near where China claims an exclusive economic zone in September. Confirmation late last month that naval exercises will be held in the near future in the Yellow Sea with the participation of the almost 100,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarrier USS George Washington, based in Yokosuka, Japan, which was deployed for the earlier Sea of Japan/East Sea and South China Sea exercises.
During the same period, from late July until the present, U.S. Pacific Command and Central Command led multinational military exercises in the two countries aside from North Korea that border both Russia and China – Kazakhstan (Steppe Eagle) and Mongolia (Khaan Quest 2010)  – and in Cambodia (Angkor Sentinel) and the Philippines (Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011).  The U.S. also conducted this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC 2010) naval warfare exercises, the world’s largest, off Hawaii from June 23 to July 30.
For all of Hillary Clinton’s talk of the use “soft power” to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives, Washington overwhelmingly depends on its (decidedly) hard power: Nuclear aircraft supercarrier strike groups, six regional navy fleets, advanced bombers and jet fighters, nuclear attack submarines and cruise missiles. When Clinton and other American officials pledge to support Japan in future conflicts with China – or Russia – they do not intend to limit themselves to the use of diplomatic niceties.
The U.S.’s top diplomat will end her current Asia-Pacific trip, which includes stopovers in Hawaii, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, on November 8 and in the interim will have strengthened her country’s position in the Asia-Pacific region on the civilian side, with her foreign policy partner Defense Secretary Robert Gates supplementing her efforts on the military one. Though on October 27 it was Clinton and not Gates who assured Japan that in the event of a repetition of last month’s Chinese-Japanese clash over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands Washington would honor its military commitment to intervene.
That is how Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara understood her statement at the time when he responded by saying:
“There was a question about the Senkaku Islands and rare earth minerals [the shipment of which were stopped by China]. As I have been saying, Senkaku Islands, in terms of history and international law, are inherent territory of Japan and have – we have had (inaudible) control over the islands and will continue to do so. Today, Secretary Clinton repeated that the Senkaku Islands would fall within the scope of the application of Article 5 of the bilateral security treaty. That was very encouraging.” 
Clinton had made the same pledge, to abide by Article 5 of the two nations’ military assistance treaty, to Maehara on September 23, and on October 11 U.S. Defense Secretary Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa agree “that their countries will jointly respond in line with a bilateral security pact toward stability in areas in the East China Sea covering the Senkaku Islands that came into the spotlight in disputes between Japan and China….” 
At their recent Hawaiian press conference Clinton and Maehara also confirmed a common position against Iran and North Korea.
As with the disputes over the Spratly and Paracel island chains in late July, Clinton also attempted to intrude the U.S. as a third party in the China-Japan conflict over the eight Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Hanoi on October 30, insisting the U.S. was “more than willing to host a trilateral [meeting] where we would bring Japan and China and their foreign ministers together to discuss a range of issues.” 
Three days later Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ma Zhaoxu responded by stating: “I’d like to stress that this is only the thinking of the U.S. side….The Diaoyu Islands and their adjacent islets are an inalienable part of China’s territory and the territorial dispute over the islands is an issue between China and Japan.
“It is absolutely wrong for the United States to repeatedly claim the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. What the United States should do is to immediately correct its wrong position.” 
Next month Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are to conduct “island-reclaiming drills” in the East China Sea in which “the U.S. military and the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet will provide support” as part of a “newly compiled defense program for the Nansei Islands.” The latter, also known as the Ryukyu Islands, form a 700-mile-long archipelago which includes Okinawa and at its southwest extreme gives way to the Senkaku Islands. In the words of a senior Japanese Ministry of Defense official, “It must be demonstrated to China…that the SDF and the U.S. military form a watertight defense array.” 
Antagonizing China with the threat of military intervention on behalf of Japan – or rather using Japan as the bait to provoke a military showdown with China – does not exhaust American plans in the Far East.
On November 1 President Dmitri Medvedev became the first Russian head of state to visit the Kuril Islands. The four islands were transferred from Japan to Russia after World War Two under terms of the 1945 Yalta agreement to which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a party. Sixty-five years later there is still no peace treaty between Russia, as successor state to the Soviet Union, and Japan because of the dispute over the Kurils.
Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara immediately summoned the Russian ambassador to Japan to lodge a protest over Medvedev’s trip, and after Russia returned the favor Japan recalled its own ambassador from Moscow.
Washington lost no time in entering the fray. Hillary Clinton’s spokesman, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley, stated on November 1 that “We do back Japan regarding the Northern Territories,” [13) employing the Japanese government's name for the islands.
In the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty the U.S., while not recognizing Soviet rights to the Kurils, did accede to Japan losing any rights to them as well as to Russia's Sakhalin island to their northwest. In fact the treaty, to which Washington was a signatory, explicitly states that "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kuril islands, and to that portion of Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it over which Japan acquired sovereignty as a consequence of the Treaty of Portsmouth of 5 September 1905," signed after the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War.  Sakhalin is rich in oil, natural gas and coal. Japanese designs on the Kurils may not be limited to those islands but include the entire Sakhalin Oblast to which they belong.
The State Department now openly expresses its support for Japan’s claims on Russian territory while it repeatedly confirms its willingness to honor a bilateral military agreement to back Japan in an armed conflict with China over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.
According to China’s Global Times, “The Russia-Japan row over the islands coincides with a dispute between Japan and China over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea following Japan’s detention of a Chinese boat captain in September….[T]he strong message by Medvedev’s visit to the island, to some extent, echoes China’s firm stance on its dispute with Japan.” 
U.S. backing for Japanese claims on the Kurils has now progressed from tacit to explicit commitment, part of a policy of World War Two revisionism also evident in Washington’s actions in Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the Balkans which aim at undoing the results of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences and the entire post-war system of international relations.
After the break-up of the Soviet Union and during Russia’s debilitated state under the Boris Yeltsin presidency in the 1990s, the first moves were made to do to Russia what had been done to the Soviet Union: Fragment it. From the Kuril Islands to the North Caucasus, from the Arctic to Kaliningrad and the Republic of Karelia, parts of post-Soviet Russia were coveted by neighboring states or otherwise targeted to be wrested from the country.
Japanese claims, though, have been even more brazen in recent years. In July of 2008 the Japanese government published new textbook guidelines directing teachers to instruct students that Japan has sovereignty over the Kuril Islands. A Russian commentary at the time remarked that in “maps published in…regions of the country even the whole territory of the Kuril Islands is marked as Japanese.
“Such kinds of territorial disputes had long been dubbed as ‘cartographic aggression.’
“For example, if Japan does not want to settle an old dispute with China over the Diaoytai Islands, also known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese, it may mark the territory as Japanese.” 
In November of 2009 the Japanese government reiterated the accusation that “the Russian Federation is illegally occupying four northern islands.” 
The Russian Foreign Ministry responded by labelling as “unacceptable” a document issued by Tokyo identifying the alleged “illegal occupation by Russia” of the Kuril Islands, stating:
“We consider it necessary to stress that the Southern Kuril Islands are an inseparable part of the Russian Federation territory on legal grounds based on the WW2 results in accordance with the legally binding agreements and treaties between the ally states, as well as the UN Charter that was ratified by Japan.” 
Last month then-Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada spoke of the Kurils being “illegally occupied by Russia.”
When similar statements were made by Okada’s successor, Seiji Maehara, chairman of the international affairs committee in the Russian State Duma Konstantin Kosachev remarked:
“Such an inappropriate and tough statement by the Japanese foreign minister is regrettable.
“Like the parliament of that country did earlier, Tokyo is consistently
toughening its stance, pointing out the debatable status of the Kuril islands. That may only drive the situation into a deadlock.” 
It is this intensified policy of Japanese recalcitrance and revisionism that Washington has now squarely endorsed. Although State Department spokesman Philip Crowley qualified his comments of November 1 by saying the Article 5 military component of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan would not be invoked as long as Japan did not administer the Kurils, the door was left open for the activation of the article should Japan succeed, peacefully or otherwise, in gaining possession of the islands and the transition be recognized by Washington.
But the Kuril, as well as the Senkaku/Diaoyu, Spratly and Paracel, islands are minor chess pieces in a far broader stratagem. The U.S. intends to accelerate its return to and domination over the Asia-Pacific region and China and Russia are the main obstacles to its doing so.
The day after Hillary Clinton met with Japan’s foreign minister in Hawaii, weeks after the Chinese-Japanese confrontation in the East China Sea and days before the Japanese-Russian contretemps began, the Japanese destroyer JS Kirishima launched a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA interceptor missile 100 miles into the sky above the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on the Hawaiian island of Kauai and destroyed a multi-stage target missile. The missile intercept was the fourth jointly conducted by Japan and the U.S. Although North Korea will be evoked as the probable target of the bilateral tests, that country’s neighbors to the north – China and Russia – have also been put on notice.
The USS Lake Erie guided missile cruiser and USS Russell Arleigh Burke class destroyer, both part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, simultaneously carried out a mock interception of the target missile. USS Lake Erie shot down a space satellite with a Standard Missile-3 133 miles over the Pacific Ocean on February 20, 2008, with USS Russell part of the task force assigned to the mission.
In September the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded Raytheon Company, the world’s largest missile manufacturer, a $175 million contract to “work with partners in Japan on the cooperative engineering and development efforts for the SM-3 Block IIA missile through the preliminary design process.”
“Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under contract to the MDA and Japan’s Ministry of Defense, are developing the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile, scheduled to begin flight testing in 2014. The company says the new missile will include larger second- and third-stage rocket motors and a larger kinetic warhead to provide a greater area of defense against sophisticated threats.” 
Last month it was disclosed that “Japan is likely to decide by year-end whether to order Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk surveillance aircraft that could later be upgraded to reinforce the country’s ballistic missile defenses.”  The transaction is expected to be authorized in the National Defense Program Guideline to be published later this year.
A Kyodo News report revealed that Japan would pay $150 million for three Global Hawk unmanned high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft to “deal with China’s military rise” and to “defend remote Japanese islands.”
The same news agency divulged in a separate report that “Japan and the US are planning to hold a joint military exercise in December focused on defending the disputed [Senkaku/Diaoyu] islands….said to have vast oil and gas reserves.” 
An analysis in the Japan Times last month indicated the broader parameters of enhanced U.S.-Japanese military collaboration. It stated that “the scope of the Japan-U.S. military treaty has been extended far beyond ‘the Far East,’ roughly defined as areas north of the Philippines. The U.S. bases here support global engagements, including in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean.
USS George Washington and USS Blue Ridge are based in Yokosuka. The second is the flagship of the Seventh Fleet whose “area of responsibility ranges from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic, and from the international date line to the 68th meridian east at the India-Pakistan border.
“The area includes 35 maritime countries and the world’s five largest armed forces outside the U.S. — China, Russia, India, and North and South Korea. Five of the seven U.S. Mutual Defense Treaties are with countries in the area — the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Thailand, according to the 7th Fleet’s official website.
“The U.S. currently deploys 11 ships and units to Yokosuka, including the USS George Washington, the world’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.
“The III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa is tasked with covering the Asia-Pacific to the Middle East.” 
The U.S. is acting in the 21st century much as it did during the most dangerous days of the Cold War half a century ago, for all the world appearing to prepare for a replication of the Taiwan Strait Crises of the 1950s, though now in an Asia with several nuclear powers.
1) U.S. Department of State, October 27, 2010
3) U.S. Department of State, July 23, 2010
4) Asia: Pentagon Revives And Expands Cold War Military Blocs
Stop NATO, September 14, 2010
5) U.S. Department of State, October 27, 2010
6) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010
7) Asia: Pentagon Revives And Expands Cold War Military Blocs
Stop NATO, September 14, 2010
U.S. Marshals Military Might To Challenge Asian Century
Stop NATO, August 21, 2010
8) U.S. Department of State, October 27, 2010
9) Kyodo News, October 11, 2010
10) Radio Netherlands, November 2, 2010
11) Xinhua News Agency, November 2, 2010
12) Yomiuri Shimbun, August 20, 2010
13) Russian Information Agency Novosti, November 2, 2010
14) Treaty of Peace with Japan
15) Global Times, November 2, 2010
16) Voice of Russia, July 1, 2008
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, November 24, 2009
18) Itar-Tass, November 25, 2009
19) Interfax, September 29, 2010
20) Associated Press, September 27, 2010
21) Aviation Week, October 11, 2010
22) Kyodo News, October 3, 2010
23) Japan Times, October 14, 2010
A car goes up in flames near the scene of a blast in Mogadishu, Somalia on April 14, 2013. Despite claims by the corporate media that the country is stable, the war rages on. by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
A car goes up in flames near the scene of a blast in Mogadishu, Somalia on April 14, 2013. Despite claims by the corporate media that the country is stable, the war rages on., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somalia stumbles amid infighting ~ 2013-11-28 18:04
Mogadishu – Bitter divisions between Somalia’s top leaders threaten internationally-backed efforts to battle al-Qaeda-linked insurgents and end decades of anarchy in the war-torn nation, experts warn.
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, who has been in office for just over a year, is facing a confidence vote in parliament this week after he resisted President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s demand that he resign.
The precise cause of the power struggle is unclear, but politicians have pointed to wrangling over alleged corruption, personal loyalties as well as Somalia’s complex clan politics, where each community expects to be represented in the corridors of power.
“The prime minister told us he is at loggerheads with the president over several issues including who should be in cabinet,” said MP Mohamed Yusuf.
The government, which took power in August 2012, was the first to be given global recognition since the collapse of the hardline regime in 1991, and billions in foreign aid has since been poured in.
But fighting over who gets what job appears to have become the number-one priority in a badly fractured country desperately in need of a strong central government and struggling to cast of its image as a failed state.
The political squabbling follows the resignation earlier this month of central bank governor Yussur Abrar – the second to step down during this government – complaining she had been pressurised to sign off on corrupt deals, claims the government denied.
Her predecessor, Abdusalam Omer, resigned his post in September amid accusations by United Nations experts the bank had become a “slush fund” for political leaders with millions of dollars siphoned out, claims that were dismissed by the government.
Sources close to the office of the prime minister claimed the president had barred all central bank signatories – including Shirdon – from withdrawing cash amid widespread allegations of graft.
“International backers are still behind the government because it is effectively the only option, and they do provide a chance to continue the push back against al-Shabaab,” said a Western official.
The al-Qaeda Shabaab rebels still control large swathes of rural Somalia.
The Western official said the optimism that greeted the appointment of the new government is now “being tempered with reality”.
“It is worrying, since they appear more and more to be following the example of their TFG (Transitional Federal Government) predecessors,” the official said.
During the TFG’s eight years in power, progress was stalled by political infighting – with loyalties often aligned along clan lines and development frozen by rampant corruption.
Mogadishu’s government, selected in a UN-backed process in August 2012, was hailed as offering the best chance for peace in a generation.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking in May, said then that the steps forward had “exceeded all expectations”.
But Shabaab insurgents, breakaway regions, rival clans and rampant insecurity have conspired to ensure the Horn of Africa nation remains saddled with its basket case image.
Sources close to Shirdon say the latest power struggle broke out between the president and the prime minister in September following a proposed cabinet reshuffle, with Mohamud apparently furious after Shirdon wanted to sack three of his key allies including the powerful interior minister.
Mohamud demanded Shirdon resign but the prime minster has refused.
“The president won his position by election, while the prime minister was nominated by the president,” said MP Abdirahman Hosh Jibril.
“The decision of the president did not come overnight, we have been asking for change for a long time… the prime minister can still refuse to resign but he should come in front of the parliament.”
Behind-the-scenes efforts by foreign diplomats to broker a deal between the two have so far proved fruitless, and a majority of lawmakers now appear to back the president’s bid to sack the prime minster, but others fiercely oppose it as unconstitutional.
“The president has the power to nominate the prime minister, but does not have a constitutional right to ask for the prime minister to submit his resignation,” said Mohamed Yusuf, another MP.
Shirdon earlier this month confirmed a “rift” with the president, but claimed the argument was related to “constitutional issues not political”, in a statement urging citizens to have “confidence in their leaders and lawmakers… to solve the misunderstanding”.
Parliament speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari has also tried to play down the rift.
“Lawmakers must not exaggerate the issue of the rift between the president and the prime minister,” he told reporters. “All issues must be brought to parliament for discussion before rushing to decisions.”
But without resolution, political divisions could impact efforts to battle Shabaab rebels.
The African Union force that fights alongside government troops is awaiting reinforcements to boost it to some 22 000 soldiers, which is expected to kick-start a long-expected fresh offensive.
US-backed forces of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM enter the town of Wanlaweyn. The Horn of Africa nation is being occupied by imperialism utilizing proxy forces from the region. by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
US-backed forces of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM enter the town of Wanlaweyn. The Horn of Africa nation is being occupied by imperialism utilizing proxy forces from the region., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somalia and EU Fight over ‘Lack of Aid’ Claims
EXCLUSIVE: Somalia deputy PM Fawzia Yusuf Adam ‘we get nothing’ claim angers EU commissioner.
A diplomatic spat has erupted in Brussels between a high Somali official and the EU commissioner for development over the level of foreign aid given to the wartorn African country.
Fawzia Yusuf Adam, Somalia’s minister of foreign affairs and deputy PM, said that her country had received “nothing from the European Union – only promises”.
Reacting to earlier remarks by Adam, EU commissioner for development Andris Piebalgs told IBTimes UK exclusively: “I’m very upset because that is false.
“The political process starting in Somalia is not only because of political abilities but investment in different parts of Somalia which brings people to support the federal government,” he said during a private meeting at the European Development Days in Brussels.
“We have a substantial development project in parts of Somalia. We disburse nearly €50m and the biggest parts goes to areas such as Somaliland, Puntland, in education, rural development, healthcare, access to water. Lots of money being invested.
“She’s right we don’t channel any money to federal government but that’s because in order to use that you need public finance management and an accountability system and today that’s not the case,” he went on.
“I pledged to work with the government as close as a I can and I will honour it. We bring very substantial support to Somalia, although we don’t channel any money through the government.”
The European Commission provides development aid in Somalia under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The total allocation for Somalia for the 2008-13 period is €521m.
The EU support supports Amisom (the African Union Mission in Somalia), which aims to create the conditions for peace and stability, and has channelled €594m into it.
Adam said that Somalia had been pledged €1.8bn in a conference in September but claimed “so far, we have received nothing”.
“We ask European countries to honour their pledge,” she said. “We are looking forward to see that [for it to be] realised for development reconstruction and security.
“During the previous transitional government, €200m was pledged in 2010 but we never received it. We want friends to honour their pledge so that we can build our country.”
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Army eliminates terrorists, destroys their weapons in several areas
Tunnel network, explosives workshop discovered in Damascus countryside
Provinces, (SANA)- Units of the armed forces on Thursday carried out several operations against terrorists in a number of areas in the country, killed and injured terrorists and destroyed their hideouts and gatherings
Officials: Syrian people reject terrorism, extremism
Damascus, (SANA)- Speaker of the People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham said those who call themselves an opposition and the tools implementing the conspiracy against Syria are rejecting…
While the West brags this week about having stopped the military nuclear development programme that Iran ended definitively in 1988, Manlio Dinucci reminds us that the production of nuclear weapons in the world has never ceased. So we’re being offered the celebration of a public relations victory to mask the nuclear reality.
President Obama announces the victory of his diplomacy
Finally « diplomacy has opened a new path towards a safer world, towards a future in which we may be sure that the Iranian nuclear programme is a peaceful one, and that Iran is unable to build nuclear weapons. »  : This is the good news that was announced, a month before Christmas, by President Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – he has also just rendered the world a safer place by ordering the up-date of the hundreds of nuclear bombs that the United States maintains in Europe – the B61-11’s have been transformed into B61-12’s, which can be used as bunker-busters in the case of a nuclear first strike.
This is part of the Obama administration’s road map for keeping a grip on the United States’ nuclear supremacy. They dispose of about 2150 nuclear warheads already posted, in other words, ready for launching by missile or bomber, plus 2500 others in storage which can be activated rapidly. To this we must add more than 3000 others which have been retired but not dismantled, which means that they can still be re-used – in total, about 8000 nuclear warheads. Russia’s arsenal is of similar size, although they have fewer missiles ready for immediate launching – only about 1800.
The new Start treaty between the United States and Russia does not limit the number of operational nuclear warheads in either arsenal, only those which are ready for launching in strategic vectors with a range of more than 5500 kilometres – the ceiling is set at 1550 bombs for each side, but is in fact higher, because each heavy bomber is counted as a single warhead, even it is carrying twenty or more. And the treaty leaves open the possibilities for quantitative updates.
For this reason, the United States is in the process of setting up an anti-missile « shield » in Europe, officially in order to neutralise the possibility of an Iranian attack – impossible at present – but in reality to obtain a strategic advantage over Russia, which itself is already taking counter-measures .
Apart from those in the US arsenal, NATO disposes of about 300 French and 225 British warheads, almost all of which are ready for launching. Israel – which is the only nuclear power in the Near East and, unlike Iran, does not adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty – possesses, according to estimations, between 100 and 300 warheads, and produces enough plutonium to build between 10 and 15 bombs the size of the Nagasaki bomb per year – it also produces tritium, a radioactive gas used to build neutronic warheads, which cause less radioactive contamination, but are more lethal.
At the same time, the Asia/Pacific nuclear confrontation is expanding, a theatre in which the United States are increasing their military build-up. China possesses a nuclear arsenal estimated at about 250 warheads and about 60 intercontinental ballistic missiles. India possesses about 110 nuclear warheads, and Pakistan 120, while North Korea probably also has few. As well as the nine countries which already possess nuclear weapons, 40 others have at least the possibility to build them. In fact, there is no clear separation between civil and military use of nuclear energy, and reactors can be used to obtain the highly-enriched uranium and plutonium adapted to the construction of nuclear weapons. It has been calculated that there is an accumulation of such a quantity of these materials that it is now possible to build more than 100,000 nuclear weapons, and ever larger quantities are being produced – there exist more than 130 « civil » nuclear reactors which can produce the highly-enriched uranium which is adapted to the construction of nuclear weapons.
So here’s the world that has « become safer » because the 5 largest nuclear powers, plus Germany – which provided Israel with their nuclear attack submarines – have signed an agreement according to which « the Iranian nuclear programme will be exclusively a peaceful one ».
Il Manifesto (Italy)
Finalmente «si è aperta la strada verso un mondo più sicuro, un futuro nel quale possiamo verificare che il programma nucleare dell’Iran sia pacifico e che esso non possa costruire un’arma nucleare»: la buona novella viene annunciata, un mese prima di Natale, dal presidente Obama, il Premio Nobel per la pace che ha appena reso il mondo più sicuro ordinando di potenziare le centinaia di bombe nucleari che gli Stati uniti mantengono in Europa: le B61-11 vengono trasformate in B61-12, che possono essere usate anche come bombe anti-bunker in un first strike nucleare.
Ciò rientra nella «roadmap» dell’amministrazione Obama per mantenere la supremazia nucleare degli Stati uniti. Essi dispongono di circa 2150 testate nucleari schierate, ossia pronte al lancio con missili e bombardieri, più altre 2500 stoccate in depositi e rapidamente attivabili, alle quali si aggiungono oltre 3000 ritirate ma non smantellate e quindi riutilizzabili: in totale circa 8000 testate nucleari. Analogo l’arsenale della Russia, la quale però ha meno testate pronte al lancio, circa 1800.
Il nuovo trattato Start tra Stati uniti e Russia non limita il numero delle testate nucleari operative nei due arsenali, ma solo quelle pronte al lancio su vettori strategici con gittata superiore ai 5500 km: il tetto è stabilito in 1550 per parte, ma è in realtà superiore poiché ciascun bombardiere pesante viene contato come una singola testata anche se ne trasporta venti o più. Il trattato lascia aperta la possibilità di potenziare qualitativamente le forze nucleari.
A tal fine gli Stati uniti stanno installando in Europa uno «scudo» antimissili, ufficialmente per neutralizzare un attacco iraniano (impossibile allo stato attuale), in realtà per conseguire una vantaggio strategico sulla Russia, la quale sta prendendo delle contromisure.
Oltre a quelle statunitensi, la Nato dispone di circa 300 testate nucleari francesi e di 225 britanniche, quasi tutte pronte al lancio. Israele – che costituisce l’unica potenza nucleare in Medio Oriente e, a differenza dell’Iran, non aderisce al Trattato di non-proliferazione – possiede secondo le stime da 100 a 300 testate con relativi vettori e produce tanto plutonio da fabbricare ogni anno 10-15 bombe tipo quella di Nagasaki; produce anche trizio, gas radioattivo con cui si fabbricano testate neutroniche, che provocano minore contaminazione radioattiva ma più alta letalità.
Cresce allo stesso tempo il confronto nucleare nella regione Asia/Pacifico, dove gli Stati uniti stanno attuando una escalation militare. La Cina possiede un arsenale nucleare, stimato in circa 250 testate, e circa 60 missili balistici intercontinentali. L’India possiede circa 110 testate nucleari; il Pakistan 120, la Corea del nord probabilmente qualche testata. Oltre ai nove paesi in possesso di armi nucleari, ve ne sono almeno altri 40 in grado di costruirle. Non esiste infatti una netta separazione tra uso civile e uso militare dell’energia nucleare e, dai reattori, si ricavano uranio altamente arricchito e plutonio adatti alla fabbricazione di armi nucleari. Si calcola che se ne sia accumulata nel mondo una quantità tale da fabbricare oltre 100mila armi nucleari, e si continua a produrne quantità crescenti: vi sono oltre 130 reattori nucleari «civili» che producono uranio altamente arricchito, adatto alla fabbricazione di armi nucleari.
Questo è il mondo che «diviene più sicuro» perché le 5 maggiori potenze nucleari, più la Germania (che ha fornito a Israele i sottomarini da attacco nucleare), hanno concluso l’accordo secondo cui «il programma nucleare iraniano sarà esclusivamente pacifico».
Il Manifesto (Italia)
By Ghaleb Kandil
Groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda emerged in Lebanon 25 years ago, under various names. 22 months ago, the Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn has launched a warning against the danger of the presence of this organization in Lebanon. He was referring to the cocktail of terrorist groups, which were established in some regions benefiting from local politics coverage by Sheikh Saad Hariri, his party and its allies in the war plan against Syria.
The existence of Al- Qaeda is now indisputable evidence, even for politicians who covered Minister Ghosn with criticism and launched against him a virulent campaign of intimidation, thereby ensuring a coverage for the activities of Takfirists-terrorists groups in their strongholds of North Lebanon, Bekaa valley, other Lebanese regions as well as in the Palestinian camps.
Whatever names they bear -Al-Nosra front, Abdallah Azzam Brigades, Jund al-Sham, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and other movements evolving under the banner of Free Syrian Army-, these groups have carried their terrorism in Lebanon. In Syria, these movements are facing serious difficulties after the rejection of the population, the advance of the Syrian Arab Army and their internal wars. In Lebanon, these groups have targeted the Lebanese Army more than once and are a danger to all Lebanese without exception. A return on the atrocities they have committed in Syria -beheadings, cannibalism, executions, rapes, abduction of civilians and Muslims and Christians men of religion, killing great scholars like Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti- is enough to get an idea of their criminal nature and their thinking, based on the extermination of all those who do not like them.
14-Mars has offered protection to terrorist hideouts in the context of its role in the implementation of the Saudi-American plan, Today, this coalition is trying to shirk its responsibility in the occurrence and development of Al-Qaeda plague, mulling statements on the role of Hezbollah in Syria. However, the presence of terrorism in Lebanon, thanks to the benevolence of the Future, is prior to the participation of Hezbollah in Syria’s war. Hezbollah is fighting against extremist groups that threaten the Lebanese social tissue. The arguments raised by the 14-Mars represent additional coverage to Al-Qaeda, making it more difficult and expensive to fight this terrorist organization.
The speech of “haririsme” in Lebanon is a justification for terrorist acts, even if it is presented as a condemnation of the attacks. Because between the words of denunciation we find an understanding of the motivations of assassins, in order to mobilize part of the Lebanese along sectarian lines and turn them into fertile ground for extremist ideas. The fight against terrorism requires a firm, strict and unambiguous stance to bar the way to the work of recruitment and indoctrination of youth. The fact that one of the suicide bombers against the Iranian Embassy in Beirut is a Lebanese from the city of Saida, and close to the extremist Sheikh Ahmad al- Asir, who was sponsored and politically covered by Hariri, shows the damages that double standard speech of the Future Movement can cause.
Political boycott of the Syrian state by senior Lebanese officials is no less severe than the 14-Mars and the Future Movement speech. This destructive attitude also provides coverage and protection for terrorism. These leaders have fled since the beginning of the crisis in Syria behind the so called “distancing policy”, while ignoring the operating rooms installed by the 14-Mars in Lebanon to coordinate the actions of extremists in Syria, not to mention the involvement of the media of this political camp in the war against the Syrian state. These leaders have ignored the smuggling of weapons to Syria, the seizure of ships packed with huge arsenals, the import of terrorists from around the world to send them, through Lebanon, to destroy Syria and kill its people.
The attitude of some senior Lebanese officials is now a danger to Lebanon, while Hezbollah is trying to protect the country from the threat of Al-Qaeda terrorism by fighting extremists directly on the Syrian ground. The imminence of the danger, however, would need these official leaders to call for a general mobilization to provide coverage to the Lebanese Army to allow it to dismantle terrorist sanctuaries established by the “harirism”.
The fight against terrorism has become a major concern in many European countries, working to restore cooperation with the Syrian state. This is the case of Germany, Italy, Spain and France, countries located several thousands of kilometers away, while Lebanon, Syria’s neighbor, exposed to the worst dangers, remains committed to the Saudi-American decision to break contact with Damascus.
It is time to end this bad joke, because people’s lives and the fate of Lebanon are at stake.
Michel Sleiman, President of the Lebanese Republic
«The bitter truth is that it is difficult to speak of independence if we fail to organize elections, to form a new government, to sit at the table of dialogue without denying our past commitments, or if we not succeed the next year to organize presidential elections within the constitutional time. Independence would not be complete if we continue to consolidate sectarianism in the minds instead of reinforcing the idea of citizenship and the logic of absolute allegiance to the country, and it cannot be complete if we fail to keep us away from the negative impact of regional crises because we make the best interests of Lebanon dependent on regional or subject to the dictates of foreign interests and will. There is no independence when some Lebanese factions disregard national consensus, risk Lebanon’s stability and get involved in the fighting in a neighboring country’s war. There is also no independence if security forces were not the only groups authorized to carry arms in the country. Terrorism will fail to bring Lebanon back and reopen a black page in the history of the country.»
Saad Hariri, former Lebanese Prime Minister
«The president’s message is the last line of defense of Lebanon’s independence and coexistence among its people. It should be supported in words and actions by all Lebanese who are keen on protecting their country’s independence and coexistence. Suleiman’s speech is the highest form of political rhetoric that could be reached during this extraordinary time in Lebanon’s history. On the occasion of Independence Day, Lebanon is standing at a fateful crossroads.»
Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement
«The degree of brutality indicates what we would expect in the future if they [the jihadists] come to power. We should stop hoping and start confronting these backward groups.»
Sheikh Naïm Kassem, deputy secretary general of Hezbollah
«The Takfirists groups-Israel axis take responsibility for the made bombing. What happened is part of a terrorist option against everyone. Those who think they are safe from the enemy, in Lebanon or in the region, are deluding themselves.»
Francis, Pope of the Roman Catholic Church
«We do not resign ourselves to think of a Middle East without Christians, who for two thousand years, profess the name of Jesus, inserted as citizens in the social, cultural and religious life of the nations to which they belong.»
Maher Hammoud, Imam of al-Qods Mosque in Saida
«I think the recent double suicide bombing are a natural extension of what is going on in Syria. Those parties that have been fomenting sectarian hatred in Syria, and those who are funding it, are prepared to do anything in the service of the United States and Israel. At first, Qatar took on the task of toppling the regime and financing the fighters, and they failed. Now it is Saudi Arabia’s turn, with a green light from the Americans. We know today that Bandar bin Sultan has the upper hand in Saudi politics. And he is the most pro-American and pro-Israeli, even according to members of the royal family. But I imagine the outcome of the Saudi adventure will be very much like Qatar’s failure. It’s apparent from the scale of the explosions that this was planned by much larger organizations than Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which had precise information about the ambassador’s schedule that day and had targeted him as he was departing for an appointment. There is no justification in Islam related to suicide attacks. They act according to their whims, and their sheikh is the Internet. No clergy worth their weight are carefully considering such matters. They are pretenders who take bits and pieces of religious texts and issue fatwas that are suitable to them. We cannot underestimate the influence of Saudi and Wahhabi thought. Whether we like it or not, the Saudis control many of the Islamist movements, and many more seek its acceptance. The Salafi approach to dealing with religious texts is extremely superficial. They believe that the sect to which most Iranians belong is flawed, and therefore reject everything the country does.»
Samir Geagea, Head of the Lebanese Forces
«This criminal act and the previous ones force us to call for distancing Lebanon in practical terms from everything that is going on around us. The Lebanese-Syrian border should be better controlled by the Lebanese Army and U.N. troops if possible.»
• After a shootout on Friday between a Buick passengers, registered G/409107, and occupants of another unidentified car in an area between the towns of Makné and Younine in Bekaa, a patrol of the intelligence services of the Lebanese Army was deployed. The soldiers found the Buick crashed. Inside, an artificer of the army discovered 400 kilograms of explosives connected to two mortars of large caliber. The bomb was operational. A security cordon was established and residents of nearby houses were evacuated before the bomb was defused. After the discovery of this new car bomb, the President of the Municipality of Ersal, Ali Hojeiri, issued an order prohibiting the circulation in the locality of vehicles registered in Syria.
• The Speaker of the House Nabih Berri called the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Information and Telecommunications to a joint session, Thursday, Nov. 28, dedicated to espionage of Lebanon by Israel. An invitation was also sent to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Telecommunications, the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council, Ambassador of the European Union, ambassadors of European countries, the representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Lebanon and commander of UNIFIL.
• Al-Akhbar reported that unknown person tried Tuesday to get an identity extract on behalf of a member of Hezbollah, A.F. in Sidon. But when he presented the document to the mukhtar, the latter, who knows the applicant personally, noticed that the pictures shown do not correspond to the real person. When he asked to meet the applicant, the stranger fled. The intelligence services of the army were informed of the case.
• Saudi authorities announced that six mortar shells fell near a Saudi isolated post close to Iraq and Kuwait border, without damage. The shells landed in an uninhabited area near a center for border guards in the area of the city of Hafr al Batin in the Eastern Province, says the command of border guards quoted by the official agency Press SPA .
As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
Ghasseb Al-Moukhtar (November 21, 2013)
Informed sources questions the logic of the Future Movement, which wants to end Hezbollah military intervention in Syria while it provides for a military, financial and logistical support to Lebanese and non-Lebanese armed elements. It even covers the entry of terrorist-Takfirists groups in Lebanon.
As Safir (November 21, 2013)
Diplomatic information deliver a forecast on the the situation by the end of the year. Thus, the Arab League will cancel its decision in which it had suspended the membership of Syria to the League as a member state. It is Egypt that will back this decision, with the blessing of the United States. In addition, several European countries announce the resumption of diplomatic relations with Syria and the return of their embassies in Damascus.
After the Geneva-2 Conference, Ambassador of the United States could be part of diplomats who will be back to business in Syria.
According to the same information, the United States have indicated to their allies that discussions with Russia and China aimed less to settle the Syrian crisis to form an international alliance can deal with Islamo-takfirist terrorism, that represents now a threat to global security. Washington has also asked its allies to stop all forms of support to Takfirists fighting in Syria, since nationals of these countries are among those Takfirists.
An Nahar (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
Samir Tueni, Paris (November 21, 2013)
The Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said that Lebanon cross dangerous steps in 2014 and warned against a Syrian intervention in case of armed conflict between Sunnis and Alawites. “The first danger is will occur in January when the trial before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will start. Then there will be presidential elections, followed by presidential elections in Syria, and the election of a new mufti of the Republic, and finally the parliamentary elections. These steps will be the hardest for Lebanon,” said Charbel. “These issues are closely related to what is happening in Syria. When the trial begins certain truths will be known and could affect the situation in Syria and complicate the situation in Lebanon”, he added. “The decision to elect a new president is not in the hand of Lebanese. It is an international decision which was attributed in the past to the Syrians,” he said.
Minister Charbel has also warned against a large-scale armed conflict between Sunnis and Alawites in Lebanon. “Both parties receive their orders from abroad. Alawites are an extension of the Syrian regime. In case of Sunni-Alawite conflict, the Syrian army will enter Lebanon and bomb regions of Akkar which will cause a Sunni exodus,”said Mr. Charbel.
Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
Mohammad Nazzal (November 23, 2013)
In spite of their continued reign of terror, the armed fighters of the North Lebanon city of Tripoli are ready to become part of the formal security forces. The proposal is the brainchild of Lebanese caretaker-Prime Minister Najib Mikati, yet the interior minister is perplexed.
Imagine Ziad Allouki, an armed gang chief in Tripoli, as an official commander of a police precinct. Should the Lebanese prepare themselves for such an event? Anything goes in this country. Anything includes the prospects of appointing wanted criminals accused of terrorizing innocent civilians no less, into positions of maintaining security.
Around two months ago, in a public chat with journalists, Mikati said he “discussed with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel the possibility of the integration of these people [gang members and leaders] into the Internal Security Forces (ISF), just like with the militias after the civil war, especially since there is a new cycle to recruit 2,000 new members soon.”
Mikati, whose portrait is displayed publicly in the offices of some of the militias, said he was “ready to help these young men find jobs, if they truly believed in remaining under the ceiling of the state and its authorities.”
Charbel does not seem excited about the suggestion, however, he did not reject it “in principle.” He used to be in the corps and was a brigadier general, therefore it is difficult for him when “the corps is insulted or undervalued.”
Charbel informs Al-Akhbar that Mikati’s proposal is “merely a suggestion, an idea for discussion and debate. But what I am certain of is that the law requires from all recruits to the security forces to have a clean judicial record and no prior criminal convictions. Therefore, I definitely cannot accept the enlistment of wanted criminals or prior convicts. Other than that, there’s no problem.”
Charbel confirms the ISF will be accepting 2,000 new recruits. “The security forces are still lacking in numbers according to the original mandate,” he explains. “But those who want to join need to clean their judicial record first.” Of course, the Lebanese do not need reminding that the state can withdraw arrest warrants as it wishes and even clear judicial records, no matter how sullied.
Al Akhbar (November 21, 2013)
The revolutionary spirit in Qalamoun is felt by the fighters alone. The residents are pro-Assad, which is something the armed men confirm. Mohamad Salloum, AKA Abu Salloum, from the town of Abu Houri (in Rif al-Qusayr), an opposition fighter who was injured in the battle of Qusayr, tells Al-Akhbar that “most of the residents of the region support the Syrian regime, but they cannot do anything due to the area being controlled by the rebels.”
This conviction is well established among most of the opposition brigade commanders in Qalamoun who indicate “incidents we saw up close.” Some even go further. “Citizens who are loyal to the regime,” says Sheikh Abu Abdullah, “are an army of informants carrying out clandestine operations for their leader Bashar [al-Assad].”
The Sheikh explains his remark by saying that sometimes “when the rebels are gathering, rounds fall on our positions based on coordinated that can only be determined by the use of informants.”
As for the Christians, who make up one third of Yabrod’s residents, “they brought woe upon themselves,” one fighter says. “We fought some of them because they chose to be informants and thugs.” Another one continues, “Al-Nusra Front closed down their alcohol bars around a month ago after they had warned them to leave.”
Al Akhbar (November 20, 2013)
The rules of the game have changed. “Iraq-style” suicide bombers have been introduced to the mix with the double bombings that targeted the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday, November 19.
The first suicide bomber is thought to have opened the way for the second – and for a new phase of confrontation on Lebanese territory. The radical jihadis thus carried out their previous threats of converting Lebanon from an arena of “solidarity” to an arena of direct “jihad,” blaming the hostilities on Hezbollah because of its involvement in the fighting in Syria.
The sound of the blasts had barely subsided when Sirajuddin Zureiqat, leader of the Lebanese branch of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Abdallah Azzam Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, declaring the suicide bombers “two heroes of the Sunnis in Lebanon,” and dubbing the attack “the Iranian Embassy raid in Beirut.”
With this, a hitherto-unknown branch of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades entered the limelight. In addition to the already known Ziad Jarrah Brigades, Zureiqat unveiled the Hussein bin Ali Brigades, warning, “Operations in Lebanon will continue, God willing, until two things are achieved: withdrawing the members of Iran’s Party [i.e. Hezbollah] from Syria, and releasing our prisoners from the prisons of oppression in Lebanon.”
The two explosions that rocked Beirut yesterday were unexpected in that their timing was surprising, and they caught everyone off-guard. Although there was a general anticipation that a car bomb would hit on the Shia festival of Ashura, the assailants decided otherwise.
But Tuesday’s bombing follows the two car-bomb attacks in Bir al-Abed and Roueiss, both in the same general area of Beirut’s southern suburbs. So are the Abdullah Azzam Brigades really behind the Iranian embassy attack on its own? Security sources revealed to Al-Akhbar that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recently made a decision to carry out suicide attacks against “Shia targets” in Lebanon, pointing out that its list of targets also includes pro-Hezbollah figures.
Reports corroborated by multiple security sources indicate that ISIS seriously intends to move the battle with Hezbollah inside Lebanon. This premise is supported by the confessions of a Hassan M., who was detained by the Internal Security Forces Information Branch in the Bekaa.
Hassan confessed that he sold a car to members of ISIS. After a car rigged to explode was found in the Maamoura district of the southern suburb, M. complained to ISIS leader Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi that the car was still registered in his name.
Iraqi told him that they had not rigged his car, but used it to transport suicide bombers. Yet Hezbollah apprehended the men on board before claiming in the media that it was a car bomb in order to keep the men in its custody.
According to security reports, the group is also involved in the Roueiss bombing, with the perpetrators crossing into Lebanon through Ersal with assistance from one of the town’s residents. According to security sources, “What applies to investigations over the car bombs in Roueiss and Mreijeh may also applies to the Iranian embassy bombings.”
In other words, ISIS, led by Abu Bakr al-Iraqi, has declared war in Lebanon. This could also mean that ISIS is collaborating with the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, especially since ISIS has better capabilities, while the brigades could have been assigned to claim responsibility through Zureiqat.
According to security reports, the latter has been in Syria for more than a year, and travels to Lebanon from time to time. Furthermore, there is information holding that the IP address Zureiqat used to log on to his Twitter account came from Syria, and that he had only resumed his presence on Twitter in the past few days. By Tuesday evening, Zureiqat and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades’ Twitter accounts disappeared, and it was unclear whether the group or Twitter deleted them.
On the other hand, other security sources told Al-Akhbar that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades were planning to engage Hezbollah in this kind of confrontation. The same sources asserted that cells affiliated with Saudi cleric Majed al-Majed and Palestinian cleric Tawfiq Taha would not hesitate for a moment in carrying out such attacks, based on the statements the clerics made threatening Shias and Hezbollah unless they distance themselves from Bashar al-Assad and “withdraw from the war on Sunnis in Syria.”
Lebanese cleric Sirajuddin Zureiqat claimed the twin suicide attack on the Iranian embassy on behalf of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Zureiqat was previously detained for a few hours by Lebanese army intelligence in 2011 on charges of engaging in terrorist activities.
Zureiqat was let go after strong political pressure, including from Grand Mufti of Lebanon Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, who, from Turkey, called the commander of the Lebanese army Jean Qahwaji denouncing Zureiqat’s arrest without regard to Dar al-Fatwa and the “dignity of the turban worn by the sheikh.”
Shortly after he was released, he disappeared for a while before appearing months later in a recording on behalf of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. According to reports, Zureiqat lived in the Tariq al-Jdideh district of Beirut and worked in a religious recording store. According to security sources, Zureikat was involved in recruiting young people for military training in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Al Akhbar (November 20, 2013)
Most people expected Saudi Arabia to go far in its mission to destroy Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, but few expected it would be so quick to move the confrontation to a new level, deploying its soldiers of death on the doorsteps of the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
The lords of the dark kingdom have yet to denounce the double suicide bombings that took the lives of dozens and maimed over a hundred on Tuesday, November 19. Those who occasionally meet with Saudi officials these days are likely to hear endless justifications for such crimes.
We can only assume that by deciding to deploy ugly tactics such as suicide bombings against a power on the scale of Iran, the Saudi royals have chosen to commit political suicide. We need not go back over the whole history, but the following clarifications are necessary:
First: An attack of this sort will do nothing to change the situation on the ground in Syria – Iran and Hezbollah are unlikely to change their commitments to that struggle. Neither will it reverse the series of losses that the Syrian opposition has suffered on virtually all the major fronts, including Damascus, Aleppo, and now Qalamoun.
Second: The Saudi escalation, which seeks to ignite an arc of mayhem and chaos stretching from Iraq to Lebanon, in addition to Yemen and Bahrain, will inevitably prompt a response from the other side that many believe the kingdom cannot possibly withstand.
Third: As for those Lebanese who treat these kinds of attacks lightly and offer justifications, they are nothing more than partners in the crime. This approach can only lead to the strengthening of takfiri elements at the expense of those who call themselves moderates.
Fourth: The measures employed by Hezbollah and the Lebanese security forces have succeeded in preventing a number of attacks so far. But the deployment of suicide operations will force the targeted parties to resort to deterrence through preventative operations, which is the only way to confront lunatics eager to meet their maker.
It is clear from the questionable behavior of the Saudis of late that their bitter defeat in Syria will impose on us more of the kind of meaningless bloodletting that we witnessed in Beirut on Tuesday.
Al Akhbar (Lebanese daily close to March-8 coalition)
(November 21, 2013)
A delegation of 8-Mars parties attended on Monday, in Damascus, a conference of Arab parties and concluded its visit to the Syrian capital by a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.
To the members of the delegation, composed of the Head of Arab relations department of Hezbollah, Hassan Ezzedine and high ranked militants from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and Amal Movement, the Syrian president said that “the battle will be decided on the ground in the next six months.”
He also held that “a political settlement of the crisis did not make sense in the presence of foreigners and Takfirists-terrorists on Syrian soil ” He said that “the Syrian people and the army will continue to defend itself.”
“The Syrian leadership supports the organization of Geneva II, but it considers that favorable circumstances must be guaranteed for the meeting, said Mr. Assad. If the goal of this conference is to end the conflict and bloodshed, we must first stop sending fighters and end the financial support they receive, and lift the cover provided the Takfirists groups, including Al-Qaeda and its affiliates”, said Assad, according to these sources. The head of the Syrian state virulently attacked Saudi Arabia, “represented by the prince Bandar bin Sultan and Saud al-Faisal”, which he accused of “sponsoring terrorism in Syria and encourage the continuation of military operations to destroy the country, because of its support and its alliance with the axis of resistance”.
The Washington Post (American daily, November 20, 2013)
When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made another stop in the Middle East this month, he received an expected earful over Washington’s outreach to Iran: Don’t trust Tehran, tighten sanctions even more, anything short of complete nuclear concessions is a grave mistake.
Kerry’s meeting wasn’t in Israel, though. It was in Riyadh, listening to Saudi leaders.
In one of the region’s oddest pairings, Israel and the Gulf Arab states led by Saudi Arabia increasingly are finding common ground — and a common political language — on their mutual dismay over Iran’s history-making overtures to Washington and the prospect of a nuclear deal in Geneva that could curb Tehran’s atomic program but leave the main elements intact, such as uranium enrichment.
“The adage about ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is playing out over Iran,” said Theodore Karasik, a security and political affairs analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. “This situation opens up some interesting possibilities as it all shakes out.”
There seems little chance of major diplomatic breakthroughs between Israel and the Gulf’s array of ruling monarchs and sheiks. But their shared worries over Iran’s influence and ambitions already has brought back-channel contacts and “intimate relationships” on defense and other strategic interests through forums such as the U.N., said Dan Gillerman, a former Israeli ambassador to the world body.
The stepped-up anxieties on Iran could bring new space for the Gulf-Israel overlap.
Egypt’s military-backed government, which ousted the Iran-friendly Muslim Brotherhood, could be an easy fit into a regional bloc standing against Iran and demanding tougher lines from Washington, which has been roundly criticized by some for abandoning its longstanding allies in favor of trying to settle the nuclear standoff with Iran.
Egypt’s leadership depends on Gulf money as a lifeline and seeks to rebuild its ties with Israel, whose peace treaty with Cairo was considered a historical annoyance by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Saudi and other Gulf states are critical money-and-weapons pipelines to Syrian rebels in a proxy war with Iran, the main Middle East backers of Bashar Assad’s government. Iran’s other loyal force, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, is also in the mix in Syria. On Tuesday, an al-Qaida-linked group claimed it carried out a pair of suicide bombings at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut that killed 23 people, including an Iranian diplomat, in an attack that was widely seen as retaliation against Hezbollah and Lebanon’s role in Syria.
Israel may now be able to look more to Saudi assistance and intelligence in efforts to undercut Hezbollah, which has fired rockets into Israel and waged a 2006 war. Saudi Arabia also gave important backing the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 with Israel and could assume an even greater role in future Israel-Palestinian talks.
“A nuclear deal … is likely to intensify behind-the-scene political cooperation between the Persian Gulf states and Israel, especially when it comes to lobbying in Washington and in Brussels,” said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born political analyst based in Israel.
World Tribune (American daily, November 22, 2013)
Lebanese parliamentary sources said U.S. diplomats have begun contact with Hizbullah politicians in Beirut. They said the dialogue concerned stability in Lebanon as well as the next government.
“The United States is sending and receiving messages to Hizbullah through sympathetic third parties,” a source said. “The dialogue has intensified over the last few weeks.”
The dialogue was reported by members of the pro-Western March 14 coalition, driven out of power in 2011. The members, who did not want to be identified, said the U.S. dialogue with Hizbullah was part of the rapproachment by President Barack Obama with Iran.
Damascus, (SANA) – Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Fayssal Mikdad reiterated that Syria welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s announcement that the international conference on Syria will be held on January 22nd.
In a meeting at Damascus University on Wednesday, Mikdad voiced commitment to everything that benefits Syria and carrying out obligations, saying that the priority for the conference will be preserving the unity of Syria’s land and people and eliminating terrorism which claims tens of lives each day.
He said that Syria will participate in the Geneva conference with an official delegation representing the government and carrying the directives and instructions of President Bashar al-Assad.
Mikdad affirmed that the Syrian people alone will decide upon their future and leadership, and that they will not allow anyone to mislead them or meddle in their choices, adding “the ballots will decide Syria’s future.”
The Deputy Minister said that the Syrians alone can ensure the success of the conference, and that every decision made there is subject to their approval, adding that the Syrian people’s victory is inevitable, particularly in light of the fact that terrorism can’t find incubators and that thousands of people who were misled returned to the right path.
He also lauded the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue, saying that it sets a precedent in international relations and is an achievement for the Iranian people, hoping that it will reflect positively on regional and international issues.
Mikdad said that the countries supporting terrorism are responsible for the crimes committed by terrorism, particularly Turkey whose Prime Minister personally supports terrorism and works for the Muslim Brotherhood, noting that the Turkish leadership is linked directly to the chemical weapons attacks committed by terrorists in Khan al-Assal and Eastern Ghouta, and that Syria submitted documents proving this to the UN and other countries.
He pointed out that Syria welcomed all initiatives to resolve the crisis politically, while Western countries sought to exploit these initiatives to allow terrorists to expand.
The Deputy Minister said that his recent visit to Moscow was good and that it showed that Russia has no secret agenda, noting that Syria is still in diplomatic contact with countries with over 43 diplomatic missions operating in Syria which is not isolated as some like to suggest, adding that there are talks about opening other embassies and that most of Syria’s embassies abroad are open.
Mikdad said that Syria joining Chemical Weapons Convention makes the roads towards a WMD-free Middle East shorter, pointing out that Syria submitted a proposal to achieve this goal in 2003 which was opposed by the US and its European followers who protect Israel, adding that Syria possesses enough power to deter Israel and to respond and withstand any attack.
He affirmed that what is happening to Syria is mainly due to its position regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian cause, stressing that Syria will continue supporting the Palestinian people until they reclaim all their rights.
Mikdad also underlined the role played by Al Saud and other Arab Gulf sheikhdoms that pay billions to shed Syrian blood when they could have paid million to help the Arab nation instead of Israel and terrorists.
The Deputy Minister addressed the issue of Syrians displaced by terrorism, economic pressure and schemes of conspiring countries, saying that the Higher Committee for Relief was established to help return these citizens to their homes and guarantee that they lead a good life.
New York, (SANA) – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed that combating terrorism which is targeting the Syrian citizens is a decisive issue for the success of any political peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria and for giving the political process credibility in the eyes of the Syrian people, calling on the Security Council to stand by the Syrian government in confronting the terrorism which has claimed the lives of thousands of Syrians.
During a hearing session of the Security Council, al-Jaafari added, “Similar to our call during Syria’s membership in the Security Council in 2003 to make the Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction, today we call for joint work to make the Middle East free of all forms of terrorism as a step towards the elimination of global terrorism.”
He noted that in spite of assembling efforts and issuing resolutions related to combating terrorism, the reality shows that terrorism has spread more and terrorists are now making use of new ways.
He said, “contrary to what some think that the terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, are now weaker than before and that the world has become more secure after the killing of Usama Bin Laden, terrorism is still posing threats to the international peace and security.”
Al-Jaafari asserted that Syria’s delegation to the UN has labored from the beginning of the crisis in Syria to shed light on the increasing danger of terrorism which is targeting Syria, adding that the Syrian delegation has sent 259 official letters so far to the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council, 76 letters of them on terrorist activities linked to al-Qaeda and 9 letters were sent to head of the committee of resolution 1373 and 4 letters to the head of the committee of resolution 1540.
He noted that these letters drew the attention of the Security Council and its committees to the terrorist activities committed by the armed terrorist groups which are linked to al-Qaeda and whose majority is trans-boundary extremists who are engaged in proxy war on the Syrian soil.
Syria’s Permanent representative said, “Only yesterday, 40 Saudi mercenaries were killed by the Syrian army, and one of them is the son of the head of officers affairs department at the Saudi Royal Guard, and yesterday mortar shells were fired on a school in Damascus causing the death of tens of children…. And yesterday the terrorists killed eight doctors and ten nurses and many patients in Deir Attia Hospital in Damascus countryside.”
Al-Jaafari called on the Security Council to compel all member states to stopping provocations for terrorism and hatred pursuant to resolution No 1624 for the year 2005.
He also called for thwarting the attempts of the armed terrorist groups to get materials or weapons of mass destruction and use them as in the case of Khan al-Assal which took place on March 19th 2013 and in Damascus countryside on August 21st 2013.
Military operations against terrorists continue around country
Three children killed, citizens injured in mortar attacks in Damascus countryside
Provinces, (SANA) – Army units on Wednesday carried out military operations against terrorists' gatherings, killing dozens of terrorists and injuring many others in several areas around the country
New York, (SANA) – Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed that combating terrorism which is targeting the Syrian citizens is a decisive issue for the success…
The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing.
This time, the collective punishment of Gaza arrives in the form of raw sewage that is flooding many neighborhoods across the impoverished and energy-choked region of 360 square kilometers and 1.8 million inhabitants.
Even before the latest crisis resulting from a severe shortage of electricity and diesel fuel that is usually smuggled through Egypt, Gaza was rendered gradually uninhabitable. A comprehensive United Nations report last year said that if no urgent action were
taken, Gaza would be “unlivable” by 2020. Since the report was issued in August 2012, the situation has grown much worse.
Over the years, especially since the tightening by Israel of the Gaza siege in 2007, the world has become accustomed to two realities: the ongoing multiparty scheme to weaken and defeat Hamas in Gaza, and Gaza’s astonishing ability to withstand the inhumane punishment of an ongoing siege, blockade and war.
Two infamous wars illustrate this idea: the first was Israel’s 22-day war of 2008-9 (killing over 1,400 Palestinians and wounding over 5,500 more), and the second was the conflict of November 2012 – eight days of fighting that killed 167 Palestinians and six Israelis.
In the second war, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was still in power. For the first time in many years, Egypt sided with the Palestinians. Because of this and stiff Palestinian resistance in Gaza, the strip miraculously prevailed. Gaza celebrated its victory, and Israel remained somewhat at bay – while, of course, mostly failing to honor its side of the Cairo-brokered agreement of easing Gaza’s economic hardship.
In relative terms, things seemed to be looking up for Gaza. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was largely opened, and both Egypt and the Hamas governments were in constant discussions regarding finding a sustainable economic solution to Gaza’s many woes. But the ousting by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of president Morsi on July 3 changed all of that. The Egyptian military cracked down with a vengeance by shutting down the border crossing and destroying 90-95% of all tunnels, which served as Gaza’s main lifeline and allowed it to withstand the Israeli siege.
Hopes were shattered quickly, and Gaza’s situation worsened like never before. Naturally, Cairo found in Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of the State of Palestine, a willing ally that never ceased colluding with Israel in order to ensure that its Hamas rivals were punished, along with the population of the strip.
Citing Gaza officials, the New York Times reported on November 21 that 13 sewerage stations in the Gaza Strip have either overflowed or are close to overflowing, and 3.5 million cubic feet of raw sewage find their way to the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. “The sanitation department may soon no longer be able to pump drinking water to Gaza homes,” it reported.
Farid Ashour, the Director of sanitation at the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities, said the situation is disastrous. “We haven’t faced a situation as dangerous as this time,” he said. But the situation doesn’t have to be as dangerous or disastrous as it currently is. It has in fact been engineered to be that way.
Gaza’s only power plant has been a top priority target for Israeli warplanes for years. In 2006, it was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, to be opened a year later, only to be destroyed again. And although it was barely at full capacity when it operated last, it continued to supply Gaza with 30% of its electricity needs of 400 megawatts. 120 megawatts came through Israel, and nearly 30 megawatts came through Egypt. The total fell short of Gaza’s basic needs, but somehow Gaza subsisted. Following the ousting of Morsi and the Egyptian military crackdown, the shortage now stands at 65% of the total.
In an interview with the UN humanitarian news agency, IRIN, James W Rawley, the humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, depicted a disturbing scene in which the impact of the crisis has reached “all essential services, including hospitals, clinics, sewage and water pumping stations.”
Israelis on the other hand, have been doing just fine since the last military encounter with Hamas.
“The past year was a great one,” the Economist quoted the commander of Israel’s division that “watches” Gaza, Brigadier Michael Edelstein. Due to the large drop in the number of rockets fired from Gaza in retaliation to Israeli attacks and continued siege (50 rockets this year, compared with 1,500 last year), “children in Israel’s border towns can sleep in their beds, not in shelters, and no longer go to school in armored buses,” according to the Economist on November 16.
“But Israel’s reciprocal promise to help revive Gaza’s economy has not been kept,” it reported. Israel has done everything it its power to keep Gaza in crisis mode, from denying the strip solar panels so that they may generate their own electricity to blocking Gaza’s exports. “In the meantime, Gaza is rotting away.”
Desperate to find immediate remedies, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued new calls to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a unity government. “Let’s have one government, one parliament and one president,” Haniyeh said in a recent speech, as quoted by Reuters. A Fatah spokesman, Ahmed Assaf, dismissed the call, for it “included nothing new”.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority decided to end its subsidy on any fuel shipped to Gaza via Israel, increasing the price to US$1.62 per liter from 79 cents. According to Ihab Bessisso of the Palestinian Authority, the decision to rescind Gaza’s tax exemption on fuel was taken because sending cheap fuel to Gaza “was unfair to West Bank residents”, according to The Times.
But fairness has little to with it. Reports by the Economist, Al Monitor and other media speak of Egyptian efforts to reintroduce Gaza’s former security chief and Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan to speed-up the anticipated collapse of the Hamas government.
Al Monitor reported on November 21 that Dahlan, a notorious Fatah commander who was defeated by Hamas in 2007 because of, among other reasons, his close ties with Israeli intelligence, had met with General al-Sisi in Cairo. Evidently, the purpose is to oust Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But the question is how? Some “suggest that a Palestinian brigade mustered in al-Arish [south of Gaza] could march on Gaza and, with Egyptian support, defeat the broad array of Hamas forces created in the last decade.”
With Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood out of the picture, at least for now, Gaza is more vulnerable than ever. Some of Abbas’s supporters and certainly Dahlan’s may believe that the moment to defeat their brethren in Gaza is now.
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).
New York, (SANA)- The UN General Assembly Tuesday, once again, adopted a resolution demanding the Israeli occupation to withdraw from the whole occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th, 1967 according to the UN security council relevant resolutions, stressing that the Israeli continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and annexing it is an obstacle in front of the achievement of a just, comprehensive peace in the region.
In a resolution titled “the Syrian Golan” which was proposed under the item “the state in the Middle East”, UNGA condemned Israel’s non-obedience till now to the Security Council resolution No. 497 for 1981, stressing that Israel’s decision issued on December 14th, 1981 to impose its laws, administration and custody on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void which has no legality at all.
The UNGA resolution which has been adopted with big majority-112 states voted in favor of it- reaffirmed the basic principle of disallowing acquiring territories through force, in light of the internal law, the UN charter and Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians during war in the occupied Syrian Golan.
During the UNGA session, a number of states condemned the Israeli practices in the occupied Syrian Golan, calling on Israel to withdraw from Golan into the line of June 4th, 1967.
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