Search

SYRIA 360° – REPORTING ON EVENTS IN SYRIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST | ARABIC AND ENGLISH

Month

October 2013

OPCW: SYRIA HAS DESTROYED ALL OF ITS DECLARED CW INSTALLATIONS

UN spokesperson: OPCW mission to Syria coordinator will hold consultations in Moscow

United Nations, (SANA) – The UN Secretary General Spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said on Wednesday that the coordinator of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to Syria, Sigrid Kaag, will hold consultations in Moscow with Russian officials next Friday.

Russia Today website quoted Nesirky as saying that Kaag will meet tomorrow with the OPCW Secretary General, Ahmet Uzumcu, and other senior officials in the Hague and after that she will head to Moscow to meet with Russian officials.

Nesirky added that Kaag will return next week to New York to submit a report on the process of dismantling the chemical weapons in Syria to the UN Security Council.

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General said that Syria had met the deadline set on November 1st for dismantling its chemical weapons capabilities.
http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/10/30/510005.htm

Lavrov: Geneva accords on Syria’s chemical weapons effectively implemented

Moscow, (SANA)-The Geneva accords on Syria’s chemical weapons are being effectively implemented despite attempts to disrupt them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday after talks with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos.

The rejection of some powers to participate in Geneva 2 is connected to Washington cancelling plans of a military strike against Syria, RT website quoted Lavrov as saying.

Lavrov urged all who can influence the situation “to prevent the collapse of the crucial process of eliminating a whole arsenal of weapons of mass destruction”.

Lavrov referred to mounting objections to the conference “not only from various Syrian factions but also from the capitals of some neighboring and not only neighboring states,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov pointed out that the announcement of Geneva 2 prospects will be during deliberations due to take place in Geneva next week, with the participation of the UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.

Greek President congratulates Russia on succeeding in preventing US aggression on Syria

Greek President Karolos Papoulias said that Russia succeeded in preventing the US aggression on Syria, extending wishes of success for Russia’s international policy.

The Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Papoulias as saying during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday as saying that as a former foreign minister himself, the Greek President wanted to congratulate Russia for its success in preventing the directing of a military strike against Syria.

Papoulias wished success for Russia’s foreign policy, affirming that Greek-Russian relations are expanding in economic, cultural and political fields.

In turn, Lavrov noted that there’s no single country in the world that can solve a major problem on its own in today’s world, which is why everyone should cooperate and work as a group.

Margelov: Latest amnesty essentially contributes to settling political situation in Syria

Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of Russia stressed that the general amnesty issued by President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday contributes to essentially settling the situation in Syria.

“If the amnesty is general, it will contribute greatly to the program launched by President al-Assad on a peaceful settlement for the situation in Syria early this year,” Margelov told journalists on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the general amnesty and guaranteeing the safety of the opponents of the Syrian authority are actually executive measures of this program.

Margelov noted that President al-Assad considered that halting ‘internal armed conflict’ comes as a result of mainly stopping the financial support to the terrorists by the West and Gulf monarchies.

The Russian official underlined the importance of the armed terrorist groups having refrained from participating in Geneva 2 Conference on Syria.
http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/10/30/509852.htm

Ecuador President: Russian initiative on chemical weapons in Syria helped avoid foreign intervention

Moscow, (SANA)- Ecuador President, Rafael Correa, reiterated his country’s rejection of any foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs, stressing that the Russian initiative on chemical weapon in Syria has spared Syria foreign intervention.

In an interview with Russia Today Channel, Correa said “Russian and Ecuador reject foreign intervention in Syria,” asserting that dismantling the chemical weapons in Syria was “a right decision.. and a very important victory for Syria and the whole world.”
http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/10/30/509844.htm

1800 CITIZENS RESCUED FROM AL- MOA

1800 citizens, including women and children, rescued from al-Moa

Social Affairs Ministry, in cooperation with Damascus Governorate and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, on Tuesday rescued 1800 citizens, including children and women, who had been held by the armed terrorist groups in al-Moadamiyeh in Damascus Countryside and moved them out of the town.

SANA reporter said all of the children and women were taken in fully-equipped makeshift residential centers.

In a statement to reporters, Minister of Social Affairs Dr. Kinda al-Shamat stressed that this step is the last stage of a process meant to evacuate the citizens of the city to the temporary residence centers and provide them with basic needs to end their suffering and agony due to the acts of the armed terrorist groups. Damascus Countryside Governor, Hussein Makhlouf, and chairperson of St. Jacob Monastery, Fadia al-Laham, took part in the initiative, the reporter added.

For her part, Head of Mar Jacob Monastery, Mother Fadia al-Laham pointed out to the common efforts exerted by a number of government and civil bodies in coordination with Syrian Arab Red Crescent Organization to facilitate the exit of the civilians from al-Moadamiyeh city upon their request

A similar initiative was carried out earlier this month in which around 5 thousand children and women were moved out from the same town into makeshift centers and provided all requirements of decent living and proper health care.
http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/10/29/509678.htm

 

PRESIDENT ASSAD AND THE CHALLENGES OF THE TRIANGLE OF DEATH [ARABIC]

الرئيس الأسد وتحديات مثلث الموت

يطلق خبراء ومحللون سياسيون تسمية “مثلث الموت” على “الترويكا” التي كانت ولاتزال مهتمة بقلب نظام الحكم في سورية، والتي يدخل في قوامها كل من المملكة السعودية وقطر وتركيا، ويعمل هذا “المثلث” على الأراضي السورية بتنسيق وثيق جدا في أنشطته مع وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية

بقلم: سامي إبراهيم

تصدع “مثلث الموت”

وإن كانت قطر قد لعبت الدور الرئيسي في بداية “الدراما” السورية عبر رئيس وزرائها حمد بن جاسم آل ثاني، إلا أن المملكة السعودية التي لها باع طويل في حبك وتمويل المؤامرات المختلفة استلمت عصا القيادة مؤخرا وكلفت رئيس استخباراتها بندر بن سلطان بالإشراف على هذا الملف الساخن، كونه كما يقال “الأجنبي الأكثر تأثيرا في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية”.

ولكن هذا “المثلث” الذي كان يبدو في بادئ الأمر متماسكا وغير قابل “للتصدع”، لم يحتسب اللاعبون فيه لتأثير الرياض على واشنطن، والذي تفضله الأخيرة على دور “القزم” الغازي، وعلى الموقع الإقليمي لتركيا، التي يجب أن يكون دورها الكبير في القوقاز وآسيا الوسطى، وليس في الشرق الأوسط، لذلك إن صيف هذا العام دل بوضوح ليس على تصدع هذه “الترويكا” وانقسام الرعاة الخارجيين للحرب السورية إلى معسكرين فقط، وإنما على انتصار الموقف السوري الذي كان يؤكد منذ بداية النزاع على الحوار والحل السياسي أيضا.

وكان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد قال إن كل اجتماع عربي على أي مستوى كان، مليئ بالألغام التي توضع من قبل الدول الأجنبية، ويكلف بوضع هذه الألغام بعض الدول العربية ذات الخبرة التقليدية في هذا الموضوع، “وعلينا أن نفكك هذه الألغام لكي نخرج بأقل الخسائر”.

الدور السعودي في الإرهاب الدولي

وتدل هذه الكلمات على حقيقة العلاقات العربية العربية في معظمها وليس بشكلها المطلق، إذ يؤكد الرئيس السوري أن السعودية هي “دولة تنفذ سياسات الولايات المتحدة بكل أمانة”، وفعلا تقوم هذه المملكة بلعب دور عراب المشاريع الأمريكية في المنطقة، كما تعمل في سورية بشكل علني على دعم المجموعات الإرهابية وإمدادها بالمال وبالسلاح ودعمها سياسيا وإعلاميا، “إنهم (السعوديون) منفذون أمينون للسياسة الأمريكية بكل بساطة” ليس في الشرق الأوسط فحسب بل وفي العالم أيضا

إذ من المعروف أن بندر بن سلطان هو من قام بتمويل مجموعات الكونترا في نيكاراغوا والطالبان في أفغانستان والإنفصاليين في البوسنة والمسلحين الشيشان في روسيا والآن الإرهابيين في سورية، وهو من يشتبه بضلوعه في الهجوم الإرهابي في دمشق والذي راح ضحية أربعة من الضباط السوريين القادة الكبار، وهو من كان وراء العملية الاستفزازية باستخدام غاز السارين ضد السكان المسالمين في سورية.

ويقول مراقبون إن السعودية كدولة إقليمية كبيرة لها دورها المحوري في المنطقة، إلا أن الرئيس الأسد يرى أن هذه القوة المحورية يجب أن تكون في “البناء وليس في التخريب ويجب أن تكون محورية في خلق الاستقرار وليس في نشر الإرهاب والتطرف والتدخل في شؤون الدول الداخلية”

ومن جانبها كانت قطر أيضا تعتقد أنها قادرة على إعادة صياغة الدول العربية بالشكل الذي يناسبها، ولو فلحت لكان يعني ذلك أن قطر هي من كان سيصبح الوكيل الحصري للسياسات الأمريكية في المنطقة بدلا من دول كبرى أخرى، فهذا الشعور بالعظمة وبالقدرات الكبيرة اللامحدودة جعل المسؤولين القطريين يفكرون أن “حسم الموضوع في سورية سيكون هو الجائزة الأكبر التي تقدم للولايات المتحدة وللغرب لكي يرضى عن قطر ويعتمدها كوكيل له”.

الرسائل السعودية لقطر وتركيا

ولكن السعودية التي لم تكتف بالشكوى للولايات المتحدة على قطر، قامت بإرسال إشارات لقطر بطرق مختلفة، منها الحادثة الدموية الغامضة في الصومال، حين هاجم انتحاري في الخامس من أيار الماضي موكب الوفد القطري الزائر للعاصمة مقديشو، وكان وزير الداخلية القطري من ضمن الوفد، وقالت مصادر إعلامية في وقت لاحق إن الهجوم أسفر عن مقتل رئيس المخابرات القطرية ناصر أحمد بن قاسم آل ثاني، كما أفادت هذه المصادر أيضا أنه في تشرين الثاني من العام 2012 اجتمع رئيس وزراء قطر السابق حمد بن جبر آل ثاني ورئيس مخابراته مع رئيس “الموساد” تامير باردو بمعية رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو وناقش الجانبان في هذا الاجتماع خطة لاغتيال الرئيس بشار الأسد، ولكن نتنياهو ربط مشاركة بلاده بشرط اعتراف دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بإسرائيل، فمن الواضح أن قطر كانت تحلم بالاستيلاء على دمشق وكانت على استعداد للتعاون مع الشيطان لتحقيق هذه الأحلام.

وبدورها كادت تركيا في بداية النزاع السوري أن تكشف علنا عن تطلعاتها بإعادة إحياء الإمبراطورية العثمانية الجديدة بقيادة أنقرة، إلا أنها تلقت بالنتيجة “نقرة على أنفها” من السعودية، التي قامت من أجل التخفيف من العناد المفرط “لدى الحليف”، وذلك بإثارة معارضة قوية ضد رئيس الوزراء رجب طيب أردوغان في حزيران الماضي في اسطنبول وغيرها من المدن الرئيسية في تركيا.

أضف أن انفجارا غامضا آخرا حدث في البلدة التركية الريحانية في 11 أيار الماضي حيث قتل 51 شخصا، إلا أن وسائل الإعلام التركية تجاهلت هذا الحادث إلى حد كبير، واتهم رئيس الوزراء التركي اردوغان الحكومة السورية في التفجير، ولكن “جماعة” موقع ريدهاك الإلكترونية أكدت أن الاستخبارات التركية كانت على علم مسبق بأن مجموعة جهادية سورية وهي “جبهة النصرة” قامت بإعداد تفجير ثلاث سيارات مفخخة في داخل تركيا.

المنظمات الإرهابية “عصا” بيد السعودية

وكما هو واضح أيضا أنه لايوجد في الصومال سوى مجموعة واحدة فقط يمكنها أن تقوم بهجوم كبير ومحترف باستخدام سيارتين مفخختين ضد الوفد القطري وهي مجموعة “الشباب” المرتبطة بتنظيم “القاعدة”، وعلى خلفية هذه الأحداث التي امتدت إلى القارة الإفريقية يظهر التنافس علنا بين المحورين التركي القطري والسعودي.

وفي نهاية المطاف، قدم السعوديون في شهر آب من هذا العام ومن خلال الأمير بندر إلى الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية مخططهم فيما يتعلق بالمعارضة السورية، وبتخلصهم من جناحها الأكثر تطرفا للمساعدة في كبح جماح الجماعات الإسلامية الراديكالية، وكان الجزء الآخر من هذه العملية هو قرار نقل الأسلحة إلى المسلحين في سورية من خلال سليم إدريس، رئيس المجلس العسكري الأعلى للإئتلاف الوطني السوري، وهكذا نرى أن السعوديين أخذوا على عاتقهم مسؤولية الإشراف على “الإخوان المسلمين” بكل ألوانهم من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى أخذوا يرسلون “الإشارات” إلى قطر وتركيا بواسطة قنابل “القاعدة” و”جبهة النصرة” والتنظيمات الإسلامية المتطرفة الأخرى.

وجهة نظر موقع “صوت روسيا” قد لا تتوافق مع رأي صاحب المقال

FSA CARRY OUT ANOTHER CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK IN SYRIA

Editorial Comment:

Although Syria has complied fully with the OPCW in surrendering all of its chemical weapons, there has been no similar UN initiative to confiscate those used by the “FSA” even though studies have proven all CW attacks were carried out by these mercenaries, not the Syrian army.  – A.V.

A United Nations (UN) arms expert collects samples on August 29, 2013, as they inspect the site where rockets had fallen in Damascus' eastern Ghouta suburb during an investigation into a suspected chemical weapons strike near the capital (AFP Photo)

A United Nations (UN) arms expert collects samples on August 29, 2013, as they inspect the site where rockets had fallen in Damascus’ eastern Ghouta suburb during an investigation into a suspected chemical weapons strike near the capital (AFP Photo)

The rebels used chemical weapons in north-eastern Syria near the border with Turkey on Tuesday, a Lebanese TV channel Al-Mayadeen reported.

The toxic shell exploded near a Kurdish defense forces’ checkpoint close to the border with Turkey in the city of Ras al-Ayn al-Hasakah.

The attack was reported by Kurdish defense forces who are conducting military operations against the rebels in the region.

They are quoted as saying they saw toxic yellow smoke that followed the shell explosion, while some of them had symptoms of severe chemical intoxication accompanied by nausea.

The reported chemical attack comes amid the second day of fierce fighting in the town.

The Kurdish forces have successfully repelled several attacks by armed groups of extremists of the Nusra Front ( Jabhat al-Nusra), and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, killing 28 militants.

This comes as the joint mission of UN international experts and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is in Syria inspecting the sites of the toxic attacks and destroying chemical weaponry.

The joint mission was launched after the US and its allies threatened to apply military action on Syria following the August 21 attack in Damascus’ eastern Ghouta suburb, which killed between dozens and 1,300 people, according to varying reports.

Syria officially became an OPCW member at the beginning of October, in an attempt to resolve the chemical weapons issue in the war-torn country.

Damascus also began destroying the first chemical weapons at that time, which, according to the deal brokered by the US and Russia in September, must be fully eliminated by June 30, 2014.

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by Moadamiyet al-Sham media centre on August 26, 2013 allegedly shows a United Nations (UN) arms expert measuring and photographing a canister in Damascus' Moadamiyet al-Sham suburb as they investigate an alleged chemical weapons strike in the capital (AFP Photo)

Syrian authorities have declared 23 chemical weapons sites. The joint mission have verified 21 sites, the organization said in a report acquired by AP on Monday.

“The two remaining sites have not been visited due to security reasons,” the report added, suggesting that are in rebel-held areas.

Syria has also declared 41 facilities –  18 chemical weapons production facilities, 12 chemical weapons storage facilities, eight mobile units to fill chemical weapons, and three chemical weapons-related facilities –  at the chemical sites where it stored approximately 1,300 tons of precursors and agents, and over 1,200 unfilled munitions to deliver them.

“In addition, the Syrian authorities have reported finding two cylinders not belonging to them, which are believed to contain chemical weapons,” said Ahmet Uzumcu, chief of the global chemical weapons watchdog, in the OPCW report.

As part of his regional trip, UN –Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has traveled to Damascus in an attempt to gain support for the Geneva-2 peace conference. The talks, aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, were jointly proposed by the US and Russia.

Nineteen Syrian rebel groups announced on Sunday that they would not take part in the peace talks, which are scheduled for the end of November.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called threats to undermine the talks “outrageous.”

The main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, recently reiterated its demand for President Bashar Assad to step down as a precondition for the peace conference.

Lavrov has also called on those who have influence on the Syrian opposition to persuade them to attend so that all sides of the conflict can take part in the Geneva-2 conference.

RT

Militants massacre 30 civilians in northwest Syria



Foreign-backed militants in Syria have killed at least 30 civilians in the northwestern province of Idlib, reports say.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fired a series of mortar shells on Kafteen village, leaving 30 people dead and several others injured.

In a separate incident, the extremists fired mortar shells on a town in the province.

The attack primarily targeted a police station and led to the injury of a number of civilians.

Locals said they saw some people vomiting after the shelling, which could be a sign of a chemical attack.

A recent British defense study shows that about 100,000 foreign-backed militants, fragmented into 1,000 groups, are fighting in Syria against the government and people.

The extracts of the study by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s were published on September 16 in The Daily Telegraph.

IHS Jane’s estimates that some 10,000 militants are fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda such as al-Nusra Front and the rest fight for different militant groups.

The analysis also said that a large number of extremists from foreign countries are also active in Syria.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.

PRESS TV

DAMASCUS REJECTS WESTERN DEMANDS. “NO” TO ASSAD’S DEPARTURE

Muallem insists that only Syrian people can choose their future, rejecting demands that Assad step down.
Middle East Online

No preconditions!

DAMASCUS – Foreign Minister Walid Muallem insisted on Tuesday that only the Syrian people can choose their future, rejecting Western and Arab demands that President Bashar al-Assad step down.

Muallem made the remarks to UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is visiting Damascus to muster support for launching peace talks in Geneva, the official news agency SANA reported.

“Syria will attend Geneva II based on the exclusive right of the Syrian people to choose their political future, to choose their leaders and to reject all forms of external intervention,” Muallem said.

“The dialogue will take place between Syrians,” he added, rejecting regional and international interference in any dialogue.

He also said that all statements about the future of the country, particularly “the one from London,” were “infringements on the rights of the Syrian people” and “preconditions to the dialogue before it has even started.”

That was a reference to the October 22 meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria group of countries, key backers of the Syrian opposition.

At the meeting, Western and Arab powers agreed with Syrian opposition heads that Assad had no future role to play in the country.

Brahimi himself insisted that the Geneva talks would be “between the Syrian parties” and that only Syrians would decide their future, SANA reported.

He added that there was an agreement on “the importance of ending the violence, terrorism and respecting Syrian sovereignty,” according to SANA.

As Brahimi presses his tour to drum up backing for the talks in Geneva, its prospects remain in doubt, with Syria’s increasingly fractured rebels having yet to say whether they will attend.

The main opposition National Coalition has said it will refuse to attend talks unless Assad’s resignation is on the table — a demand rejected by Damascus.

Assad himself has cast doubt on the possibility of talks, and has said he will not negotiate with any group tied to the rebels fighting his forces or to foreign states.

In an interview with French website Jeune Afrique published on Monday, Brahimi acknowledged that “the entire world will not be present” at the talks, but said the alternative to a political settlement could be a failed state in the heart of the Middle East.

“The real danger is a sort of ‘Somalisation,’ but even more deep and lasting than what we have seen in Somalia.”

With prospects dimming of Geneva II taking place next month as hoped, it was reported Tuesday that Assad sacked his vice premier, Qadri Jamil, for being absent without leave and carrying out unauthorised meetings abroad.

The move follows media reports that Jamil had met with the US pointman for Syria Robert Ford in Geneva on Saturday to discuss the proposed peace talks.

The official SANA news agency said the official was sacked after an “absence without authorisation from his post” as well as “activities and meetings outside the country without authorisation from the government.”

More than 115,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Syria’s 31-month conflict, which erupted after the regime launched a brutal crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests.

In the latest measure of Syria’s disintegration, the World Health Organisation confirmed a cluster of polio cases in the northeastern province of Deir Ezzor, all of them children under the age of two.

Before the outbreak of the civil war around 95 percent of all Syrian children were vaccinated, but since then some 500,000 children have gone without, according to the United Nations.

On the battlefield, Kurdish fighters advanced across the northeast after seizing an Iraq border post from jihadists over the weekend, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group.

It said the Kurds had seized two villages in Hasakeh province and surrounded a rebel brigade that is part of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, forcing it to surrender a tank, rocket launchers and vehicle-mounted canons and heavy machine guns.

As the conflict has grown increasingly muddled, the Kurds have fought both the army and other rebel groups in a bid to carve out an autonomous zone modeled on the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have sought control over the border to facilitate the flow of fighters and arms, as it launched attacks in both Iraq and Syria.


ALSO SEE:
GENEVA II NEWS
FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE LONDON “FRIENDS OF SYRIA” MEETING
THE YINON DOCUMENT: THE ZIONIST AGENDA FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
THE GREATER MIDDLE EAST PROJECT
THE SABAN-BROOKINGS PLAN FOR REGIME CHANGE IN SYRIA – CRITICAL READING

ORIENT TENDENCIES: SAUDI ARABIA, LIES AND CONFUSION

https://i1.wp.com/www.neworientnews.com/news/files/news/syrian_flag_200px_590634623-20131028-081140.jpg
Monday October 28, 2013 no155
Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by neworientnews.com
Editor in chief Wassim Raad
wassimraad73@gmail.com
New Orient Center for Strategic policies


Saudi Arabia: Lies and confusion

By Ghaleb Kandil

Journalists and analysts associated with Saudi money and working for years to spread propaganda and to defend the interests of the kingdom, put forward three reasons for the Saudi anger. Two of these reasons seem sincere, while the third, as old as the US-Saudi relationship, intended to throw dust in the eyes.

First: U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said in London that the anger of the kingdom is due to the decision of the United States not to attack Syria. This means that Saudi Arabia advocated a global war which could have led, according to experts, to the destruction of the main Syrian infrastructure and killed tens of thousands of people, plus millions of refugees. The purpose of these strikes was to clear the way for the proxy war launched by Saudi Arabia against Syria through Takfirist gangs, which seems today in an impasse.

The Saudis know that the Obama administration had mobilized its fleet and set the day and time of the assault. Then it was forced to retreat at the last minute after the detection of the two ballistic missiles over the Mediterranean sea by Russian radars. Aggression has faced undefeatable equations imposed by a strong will, essentially built on the Syrian decision to defend itself whatever the price, and an exceptional courage displayed by the axis of the resistance -Iran and Hezbollah- with the strong support of the Russian partner. The latter has crowned its deterrent diplomacy by the chemical initiative, which has provided the United States an acceptable exit.

In this context, the attitude of Saudi Arabia is illogical. Because it is America that takes the decisions, issues orders and sets goals. The kingdom simply execute the orders. Such the rule has always been, and when King Faisal tried to break them during the 1973 war, he was assassinated.

Saudi Arabia’s request to destroy Syria is shameful. The old Kingdom, which has a lot of money, do not have the means to change the regional and international balances that forced President Obama to back down. Also, Saudi anger will have no practical effect, except to continue to support terrorist gangs in Syria and to encourage its agents gathered in political coalitions to delay Geneva 2 conference. This game can continue until the United States continue to flee its commitment to stop supporting terrorism in Syria or when the Syrian Arab army deadly blows gangs financed and armed by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and who have in their ranks thousands of Saudis nationals.

Second: Saudi anger against the dialogue between the U.S. and Iran is a desperate move, because the U.S. decision to enter into a dialogue with the Islamic Republic came after three decades of blockade, sabotage, sanctions, pressure and propaganda campaigns initiated by Riyadh and Israel. This period was marked by direct and intelligence wars, which have failed to break Iran’s will to resist. Instead, the tenacity of the people and the leadership of Iran has forced the West to recognize Tehran as a regional power and as an international actor.

Since the first Gulf War (1981), the invasion of Lebanon by Israel (1982), the invasion of Iraq (2003), the war in Syria (2011), the aggression against Gaza (2009 & 2012) and the July 2006 war in Lebanon, Western and Israeli projects have failed miserably. The United States can only draw conclusions from the setbacks they suffered that the dialogue is their only choice. Saudi Arabia as well has no other choice. The irritation and the hysterical attitude will not change this reality.

Finally, the third reason spread by pro-Saudi writers is that the anger of the kingdom is also due to the fact that the Americans put the interests of Israel at the top of their priorities. It’s a joke that makes you smile. Everyone knows that the Wahhabi kingdom was the most faithful servant of American and Israeli interests. All know and remember that the first Gulf War, which was to bleed and weaken Iran, was funded for eight years by the money of petrodollars, which were also very general with the Israeli wars against the resistance in Lebanon. Targeting President Bashar al-Assad for 13 years is also the greatest service that Saudi can make to Israel.

Since the founding of the Saudi kingdom, the country is dedicated to serve the goals set by colonialist and imperialist powers, against the interests of the peoples of the region.

The attempt to introduce the Israeli dimension in its anger doesn’t mislead anyone, because for decades, Saudi has never undertaken anything to stop the colonization of Palestinian or to protect al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. But it is ready to rush the whole region in the throes of a total war to fight Iran, even if it means to exacerbate, as never before, the discord between Sunnis and Shiites.

______________________________________________________________

Statements

Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s President

«Saudi Arabia publically supports  the armed groups and implements sincerely the policies of the United States. Syria is to negotiate with  the boss and not with the executioners. It is still early to talk about his candidacy for Presidency in the coming elections before setting the date for the elections. There is no reason for me, however, as not to be a candidate. I call on the UN envoy to Syria, Elakhdar Al-Ibrahimi, to commit himself to his task and not to deviate from it.  The struggle is now with Al-Qaeda and its affiliates like al-Nusra front and the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Bilad al-Sham. The ongoing in Syria is different from what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, particularly as far as foreign intervention, and flow of money and terrorists, not to mention the peculiarity of Syria, political situation and the  structure of the State. Carrying weapons transforms any opposition into terrorism. The West wasn’t interested in fighting terrorism in the 70s and 80s. Syria allied itself with all countries to combat terrorism, including the USA. Terrorism can’t be used as a card and Syria has ever been against terrorism. The United States has done none for making success of the peace process. Syria has been flexible with the Americans as far as combating terrorism and Mideast peace process. The use of arms against the State started since the early days of the crisis, where the Syrian police personnel were martyred. Moslem brotherhood is an opportunist terrorist group, based on hypocrisy, and exploits religion for political gains. Since 1997 Syria stopped the production of chemical weapons. The factors leading to the success of the proposed Geneva 2 aren’t available. Syria is ready to attend the said conference with no preconditions. The crisis is to be solved once the flow of weapons, money and terrorists would stop. Syria is ready to support and back up the Resistance. The Resistance in the Golan is a popular decision and emerges once the State is to renounce the policy of liberating the land. If Hamas were to be resistance, we are with it; if it decided to be Moslem Brotherhood, there is no need for relation with it. Qatar has struck arms deals with eastern Europe states and transferred them to Syria. Qatar should stop supporting terrorists and stop interference in the domestic affairs of Syria. Turkey’s premier, Erdogan, like the Moslem Brotherhood, exploits religion in an opportunistic way and the aim of both is to ascend power. Many countries have changed their policies regarding Syria.»

Beshara Raï, patriarch of the maronite church

«The international community is trying to show the world that Christians and Muslims cannot live together and that any intercultural and interreligious coexistence is impossible, while they have a 1,400 years old common culture. However, this policy has succeeded in fomenting war between moderate Muslims and extremists in the Middle East. We hold in high esteem the position of the Russian -Church and state- of the need to put an end to the Syrian war and safeguard the Christian presence. The Eastern Christians need peace and stability. Western countries should stop fueling the conflict in Syria by sending weapons.»

Naïm Kassem, deputy secretary general of Hezbollah

«March-14 seeks to paralyze the entire country until the presidential election. They do not even do that because it is in their interest or because they came to this conclusion after much thought, but rather because an Arab Gulf state ordered them to freeze government formation in Lebanon pending developments in Syria. The Gulf Arab state hopes that within two or three months, the equation will change in Syria to his advantage and he believes he will be able to impose a government that suits him in Lebanon. But they dream, there will be nothing in two months or in five or beyond.»

Saad Hariri, Leader of the Future Movement

«The Syrian regime decided to wage a dirty war through its local agents against Tripoli and its residents. After the ISF’s Information Branch succeeded to reveal the criminal network behind the explosions in Tripoli, an order was issued to punish Tripoli and drag it into a civil battle. The criminal head in Damascus is the mastermind of all crimes. It wants to drown Tripoli with armed chaos, and target the city its residents with militia groups that are being armed. This is the truth that everyone knows, whether President Michel Suleiman, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati or army commander General Jean Qahwaji as well as all the security and military leaders. Everyone is holding high-level security meetings, but their results go with the wind immediately. Is it acceptable that the Lebanese army turns into a false witness in the war against Tripoli? Is it correct for the security forces to watch what is happening and announce their inability to face the dangers against the city?»

Turki al-Faysal, Former Saudi intelligence chief

«Lebanon is on the brink of civil war as Hizbullah continues to implement its own agenda without giving any consideration to law and order. The party is willing to risk the foundations on which the entire Lebanese political system was built in order to prevent the collapse of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and impede the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that is probing the assassination of Hariri. Saudi Arabia believes that the law needs to be imposed in Lebanon and it supports all efforts aimed at putting an end to Hizbullah’s intervention in Syria and bringing its leaders who are suspected of being involved in the Hariri murder to court.»

___________________________________________________________

Events

  • Clashes between the neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh in Tripoli continued for a fifth day on Saturday, as casualties continued to rise. At least ten people have been killed in the Lebanese city since Monday. Al-Islami hospital told the Lebanese National News Agency that it was treating up to 10 people injured in the conflict, most with relatively stable conditions. Friday’s Muslim sermon and prayer were the first period of relative quiet the city has experienced in days, as fighting was temporarily halted. In a call for government action, the former general director of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces, Ashraf al-Rifi, called for an end to the clashes. “What is happening is unacceptable under any circumstances and must be stopped immediately,” Rifi said in a press release on Friday, echoing condemnations by numerous other Lebanese political figures. Tripoli has endured sporadic clashes since 2011, as the two-year Syrian conflict heightened tensions in the northern Lebanese city.

  • A clash took place in the Bekaa Thursday between a patrol of Lebanese army intelligence and armed elements carrying 250 kilograms of explosives. Two criminals, one of whom was wearing an explosive belt, were killed and two others, a Lebanese and a Syrian arrested. Moreover, Elnashra.com site reported that the Lebanese Army arrested on Wednesday, four Syrians who were trying to illegally enter Ersal with their weapons. The soldiers confiscated four AK47 machine guns and ammunition.

  • The Syrian authorities late Wednesday released 49 activist female prisoners in exchange of the release of the Lebanese pilgrims who were kidnapped by Syrian rebels, activists reported. Among the freed prisoners is young blogger Tal al-Mallouhi, who was imprisoned in late 2009 after writing a blog calling on President Bashar al-Assad to expedite reforms in the country. Syrian activist Sima Nassar told AFP that “since Tuesday the Syrian authorities have released 64 of the 128 prisoners due to be freed as part of the agreement”. “Syrian authorities have ordered some prisoners to leave Syrian territory while others were given a choice to stay or leave,” she added. Among those released were a Lebanese, two Palestinians and a Syrian who had been imprisoned because her uncle is a dissident and her father a dissident lawyer, Nassar said.

______________________________________________________________

Press review

As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)

Mohammad Ballout, Paris (October 25, 2013)

How the Saudis will compensate for the loss of Aazaz  Lebanese hostages? The question arises because the nine former Lebanese hostages in Syria were the real purpose of the attack by Abu Omar al- Kuwaiti group against Aazaz to prevent their release. It was for this group to recover the hostages to add cards that Saudi intelligence seeking to hold in northern Syria to use against Hezbollah.

A Syrian source who tried to mediate in the case of the Lebanese hostages a year ago explained that the policy conducted by the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, now plans to compensate for the loss of these hostages by substituting other hostages as soon as possible. Especially since experience has shown that such a card is a factor of significant pressure on Hezbollah public, to try in the future to limit the participation of Hezbollah to the fight in Syria.

The source, who works as mediator to release hostages, from all nationalities, held precisely by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and al-Nosra Front in Syria, also argues that the hostages were assigned to these two groups because they reject till this moment any mediation for their release. They haven’t release any hostages until now.

Another Syrian source reports that al-Nosra and the Islamic state group keep under detention in a prison near el-Tabka dam in eastern Syria, four French hostages, two Spanish and a German national. He’s a doctor removed while he was in a hospital in Aazaz a month ago. The emir of Islamic State in Tabka Abu Lokman, was given two french by Abu Yacoub, one of the emirs of al-Nosra in Rakka. According to this source, a close Syrian mediator of Islamic State, who visited the hostages in prison ten days ago, ensures that they are still alive.

The Saudi intelligence and the Turks have influence over these groups through large arms shipments benefiting in particular to al-Nosra for over a year. As for the policy of these groups, which is to accumulate the hostages, it would be due, according to the source, to their willingness to take cards to exert pressures on all parties.

A connoisseur of the case of former Lebanese hostages shows that Qatar, without which it would not have been possible to obtain the release of Lebanese prisoners, is currently reviewing its position vis-à-vis Syria and Iran. The US-Russian agreement on negotiations in Geneva, has, it seems, made ​​it imperative for Qatar to be realistic and to respond positively to the U.S. decision. The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad, would have picked up the signal given by Washington’s decision to change its approach to the Syrian crisis. It is therefore possible that Lebanese personalities such as Nabih Berri and Hezbollah representatives would be invited to Doha soon.

It seems that the Qataris have avoided any frontal collision with the United States on Syria, unlike the Saudis, who have chosen to continue their war against the Syrian regime and Iran and try to obstruct the Geneva 2 conference. A Syrian opposition also cited U.S. officials as saying that the Saudis still betting on a military solution in Syria. According to U.S. officials, the United States rejected a Saudi request to postpone by one year the Geneva conference until the armed opposition reinforce their positions on the battleground.

A French diplomat believes that holding the conference in Geneva is no longer a doubt but that this peace talks will be doomed to failure because of the imbalance of forces in favor of the regime. “We are preparing for the post-Geneva,” he said. He also revealed that Europeans have again invited the Saudis to stop helping the Salafis and jihadists in Syria and said that Saudi officials have again promised to do so.

As Safir (October 24, 2013)

The Director of General Security (GS), Abbas Ibrahim, visited yesterday Damascus, where he was received, for almost an hour, by President Bashar al- Assad, with whom he discussed the case of the two bishops held by Syrian rebels. In order to make things happen, Abbas Ibrahim will make several visits abroad, the first to be probably to Doha. Several contacts have also been made between Ibrahim and assistant international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on the issue. It seems that the contacts are at an advanced stage, making necessary the meeting between Assad and Ibrahim. The Syrian president have reacted favorably to the proposals of the GS chief and would have immediately instructed the concerned Syrian services, asking them to provide all possible support to the outcome of this case. General Ibrahim said the meeting was focused on the issue of two abducted bishops, saying it was positive and fruitful. Asked about the echoes on a meeting he would have had in Damascus with General Ali Mamlouk, he said he refuses to engage in a debate with anyone. Regarding the issue of Syrian detainees, he said that the case is closed “my way and nothing is pending.”

An Nahar (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)

(October 26, 2013)

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati voiced the importance of the Lebanese army and security forces’ role to control the situation in the northern city of Tripoli.

 “We have given orders to the army and all security forces [to operate in Tripoli], and the ball is now in the security forces’ court. There is nothing that prevents the establishment of stability in a firm manner,” Miqati told An-Nahar.

Miqati also voiced his rejection that the city of Tripoli would turn into a mailbox for regional messages. “Tripoli will not be a mailbox or a target to send messages and it is the citizens’ right that their state protects them and prevents the killing of innocent people in their houses or on the side of the road,” he said.

He also noted that “there is a feeling prevailing in Tripoli that the city has been left to its own fate.” “There is no excuse or justification for not putting an end to the current chaos… after everyone in Tripoli removed the cover off any party that tries to destroy the situation,” he added.

An Nahar (October 25, 2013)

Sarkis Naoum

According to reports, the prime minister designate, Tammam Salam, plans to quit in the next two weeks, as he has concluded that it is impossible for him to form a government. The President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, will organize thereafter new parliamentary consultations to appoint a new prime minister who will form most likely a neutral government.

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)

Nasser Charara (October 25, 2013)

Until two months ago, Saudi Arabia considered Moussa Koussa, the most prominent Libyan intelligence chief under Muammar Gaddafi, a major threat to its security. But it seems that Bandar bin Sultan’s return as Saudi’s spy chief helped reset Koussa’s record and recruit him for his team.

Koussa, the former head of Libyan intelligence, is suddenly no longer the same dangerous man accused of planning terrorist attacks against Saudi Arabia, as he had been under Gaddafi. Thanks to Bandar bin Sultan’s return, the book has been closed on Koussa’s anti-Saudi past.

Koussa has now been classified as “friendly,” as Bandar has enlisted Koussa’s important skills for his open-ended security operations in many parts of the world, especially Syria.

Reports indicate that over the past two months Riyadh subjected Koussa to the traditional procedures that Saudi uses to re-establish relations with certain figures. Accordingly, Koussa was invited by Saudi intelligence to perform the umra in Mecca, and then the hajj as a royal guest.

During the two visits, Koussa held long meetings with Bandar, focusing on turning the page on the past and restoring confidence. For decades Saudi Arabia accused Koussa of involvement in at least two major cases, including the well-publicized attempt to assassinate King Abdullah on the direct orders of Gaddafi, following a spat between the colonel and the king during the 2003 Arab League summit in Sharm al-Sheikh.

Although Koussa had been promoted from intelligence chief to Libya’s foreign minister during that period, the Saudis still considered him the true authority of Gaddafi’s spy services, deeming his promotion a ploy to give his spy work a diplomatic cover.

The second, unpublicized Saudi accusation against Koussa involves what Saudi intelligence says is an important role assigned to the Libyan official by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to implement a plan to partition Saudi Arabia into five smaller states.

Sources familiar with Koussa’s movements in the period that followed his defection from the Gaddafi regime following the Libyan uprising, say that the former intelligence chief had been based between Doha and London. In truth, it was the British government that is credited for taking Koussa’s name off the international list of wanted Gaddafi regime figures.

Koussa soon forged close ties with former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim. Then, following Qatar’s withdrawal from the forefront in the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad, Riyadh, at Bandar’s initiative, opened a new chapter with Koussa, in return for his services on several issues considered vital by Saudi.

Questions arise: What is the nature of Koussa’s new Saudi-dictated assignments? What kind of assignment would justify Saudi putting aside its past reservations about the Libyan strongman?

There is speculation, according to informed sources, regarding the kind of political thinking currently prevailing in Saudi Arabia. Most prominently, Bandar is thought to be of the opinion that Saudi, as it is undergoing an era of unprecedented crisis in its international relations, especially with the United States and Russia, might need to restore Koussa’s role as an “international shadow broker,” this time working on behalf of Saudi.

Indeed, as a result of rubbing shoulders with many in the international intelligence community, Bandar realizes that Koussa is well-qualified for this kind of assignment. For one thing, Koussa engineered more than once solutions for Gaddafi’s problems with the West, concluding political deals on behalf of the Libyan dictator by finding security- and intelligence-related common grounds with his foes.

It seems that the head of Saudi intelligence intends to assign Gaddafi’s top security man to put his international intelligence relations to use to conclude political-intelligence deals on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

Al Akhbar (October 24, 2013)

Elie Chalhoub

After the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas suddenly found itself isolated, its leadership scattered across the region. Any attempt to return to the resistance camp, however, will likely meet with failure.

It’s unlikely that we will see any kind of reconciliation between Hamas and its former allies of the so-called resistance axis, particularly Iran and Syria. President Bashar al-Assad’s many public statement confirm this.

The very idea of Hamas leaving Syria in 2011 was not even on the table before the events in Egypt last June and July that saw the toppling of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. At that time, the Muslim Brotherhood was on the rise in a number of countries, leading the Palestinian movement to believe that the whole region was about to open before them.

Iran and Hezbollah were taken aback by reports from the Syrian regime that Hamas members were involved in fighting alongside the opposition. And the worst of it was that they were using the weapons and fighting methods they gained from their former allies.

When Morsi was toppled and the Brotherhood suppressed, the fortunes of Hamas turned for the worse, as the tunnels of Rafah were destroyed and its members were being targeted by both the Syrian and Egyptian regimes. This put the resistance camp before two choices: either leave Hamas to its fate, something that would above all benefit the Israeli enemy, or find a way to preserve this powerful resistance movement.

Both sides had a chance to test the waters when Hamas leader Mohammed Nasr visited Tehran, supposedly to pay respects to the Revolutionary Guards’ commander, Qassem Sulemani, after his mother passed away. Nasr expressed the Palestinian movement’s interest in reestablishing ties with Iran, something that the latter welcomed, but with conditions.

Although there are those in Iran who are reluctant to give Hamas a second chance, Damascus is demanding a heavy price for any reconciliation, such as calling for the removal of Khaled Meshaal from the party’s leadership, and insisting – as Assad did in a recent interview – that it must choose between being a resistance movement or a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Many in the Syrian capital are convinced that this change of heart on the part of Hamas has more to do with the difficult situation they find themselves in today rather than any realization that they have committed serious mistakes, in which case the movement could very well switch positions again, if circumstances in the region turn in its favor.

Recent expressions of regret from Hamas officials – for example, when a senior member recently said that Meshaal had raised the Syrian opposition flag “by mistake” during his visit to Gaza at the end of 2012 – appear to be an attempt, however modest, at fulfilling some of the conditions the resistance axis has placed on the Palestinian movement’s return.

It is true that there are those within Hamas whose main concerns are limited to their liberation struggle and blame Meshaal for implicating the movement in other countries’ disputes. This has led the politburo leader to offer his resignation over the past few weeks, if it would solve the problem. However, the dominant current in the party opposes such a step, fearing that no matter what the movement does, it will never regain the position it once had in the resistance axis.

Al Akhbar (October 23, 2013)

Amal Khalil

Has the Arab Spring contagion finally reached Lebanon’s Shia Amal Movement? Possibly. Though the change being talked about today in the party leaves the top leadership intact.

Nabih Berri, leader of Amal and Lebanese speaker of parliament, tells Al-Akhbar, “We will see change in Amal that will affect everything and all posts.” The Shia party says it is in the process of promoting a younger generation of activists into leadership posts, replacing ineffective elements at all levels of the organization.

But this change will not affect the Presidential Council, which extended Berri’s and six other members’ terms. “The changes will begin to take effect between now and a month and a half at the most, impacting the party from top to bottom,” says Amal MP Hani Kobeissy, who is in charge of the South. “It will include all those who have not been able to fulfill their duties.”

Kobeissy, however, readily admits that there are many party officials who find it hard to balance between making a living and carrying out their organizational duties, due to the fact that Amal does not have the resources to finance full-time positions in many areas.

The centerpiece of the change underway is to fast track younger party members, particularly from the universities, bypassing the existing bureaucratic practice of having to serve a long term in the lower ranks of the organization before even reaching mid-level positions.

According to Kobeissy, part of the goal is break up the routine of party activity, whereby Amal will be establishing a permanent school to train new members. The group will also develop its youth groups, such as the scouts, possibly helping to reverse the loss of members to Hezbollah over the past years.

Berri understands that some of the problems stem from his inability to stay on top of the organization and maintain contact with the rank and file, mainly due to either the constant threat to his personal security or, as he puts it, “organizational burnout” after 33 years of leading the movement.

Al Akhbar (October 23, 2013)

Racha Abi Haidar

There are indications of an imminent battle in western Ghouta, the agricultural belt surrounding Damascus. The battle will have long-term strategic implications, especially in terms of expanding the “safe zone” protecting the Syrian capital.

For some time now, all eyes have been on east Ghouta near Damascus, especially in the wake of the area’s chemical attack. Yet for weeks the Syrian army has been pressing ahead with operations in western Ghouta, witnessing rapid advances and regaining control over Husseiniya, Dhiyabiya, and Bouweida.

A field source told Al-Akhbar that preparations are underway for an offensive in the area, which will include the towns surrounding the Sayyida Zainab district. The offensive will have significant military consequences: cutting off a major militant supply route from the Golan and Daraa; expanding the buffer zone protecting Damascus; and reopening the main route to Sayyida Zainab.

The Syrian army is gearing up for the new battle in towns like Beit Sahm, Hujeira, Yalda, Babila, and Gharba, in continuation of the offensive it started months ago, according to the same field source. The source explained, “The militants in western Ghouta are not as formidable as they once were. They are scattered and confused. For many of them, the government is much more merciful than al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

It is no secret that there are contacts between Syrian army defectors and Syrian army officers, thanks to the army’s advances. The source said that some of the defectors have placed themselves at the disposal of the government and even provided security services, facilitating current and future operations on the ground.

The source provided details about the nature of the towns expected to witness battles. He said that Hujeira, which is located nearly half a mile northwest of the Sayyida Zainab shrine, is geographically one of the largest areas that will be included in the offensive. The source asserted, “This will not prevent it from being liberated in a very short time.”

There is widespread anxiety among the ranks of the militants over the impending army offensive, said the source. There are contacts underway between senior opposition leaders and the army to reach a settlement and hand over the town to the regime.

More than 10 militant groups are active in Hujeira, each comprising anywhere from 20 to 200 fighters. Most of the fighters are originally refugees from the Golan Heights. The most powerful groups are the Descendants of the Prophet Brigades and the Martyrs of the Golan Brigade.

The source said that these fighters “have an extremely bad reputation,” on account of the robberies and other assaults they carried out.

In Beit Sahm, north of Sayyida Zainab, there were reconciliation attempts earlier this year between the Ministry of National Reconciliation and opposition groups. The militants control the inner parts of the town, while the segments adjacent to the airport road are controlled by the Syrian army.

The same source recounted how the militants turned out to be misleading the government in order to bring supplies to the town, and how after they did so, they reneged on the agreement. More than a month ago, local residents revived reconciliation efforts, and 50 people from Beit Sahm were handed over to the authorities. These individuals later turned out to be civilians who had nothing to do with the militants. The militants in Beit Sahm continue to play such games, bringing negotiations almost to a halt.

Yalda, bordered by Hujeira to the south and Babila to the east, is home to several radical Islamist brigades. The radical Islamists here reportedly deal arrogantly with other militants in surrounding areas while imposing their own laws through a local authority.

Babila is also controlled by radical Islamists and home to a large number of foreign jihadis and a Sharia court. Gharba, about half a mile west of Sayyida Zainab, has nearly been razed to the ground, and is currently controlled by al-Nusra Front. In this area, al-Nusra collaborates with the group that goes by the name Environs of Jerusalem, which consists of extremists close to Hamas.

The battle of western Ghouta will further pressure the militants throughout the entire Damascus countryside. The source said, “[Retaking] these villages is a matter of days, no more. These areas relied on fighters from al-Hajar al-Aswad, but in recent battles, no support came because of their scattered ranks and their treachery.” “There is a particular strategy and a great comprehension of the enemy’s military thinking, especially after [the Syrian army] infiltrated opposition ranks, even at the level of the leadership,” he added.

Al Akhbar (October 22, 2013)

Ibrahim al-Amin

Saudi Arabia may reluctantly consent to supporting the Geneva II conference on Syria in November – but at a cost: Riyadh wants to impose a Lebanese government of its own liking in order to get Hezbollah out of Syria.

The UN’s special Syria envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, is still waiting to get an appointment with the Saudis as he makes the rounds in the region to prepare for the Geneva II talks. Visiting Saudi Arabia is critical for the envoy’s mission to succeed. Brahimi knows that without Riyadh’s support, the peace conference is unlikely to make much headway.

Brahimi may be reassured that the United States and Russia have gone so far as to set a date for the talks, but the man who has a long history of dealing with complicated negotiations is pragmatic enough to know that the cooperation of regional powers like Iran and Saudi are critical to achieve the task at hand.

With Turkey, Qatar, and Egypt softening their stance toward the Syrian regime, the UN envoy is trying to lay the groundwork for the Geneva talks by focusing on three levels. On the international level, he has been given the blessing of the two main world powers – the US and Russia. On the regional level, Iran has welcomed his efforts, with Saudi still holding out. And finally, on the internal Syrian front, he has mended fences somewhat with the regime, as he tries to cobble together a credible delegation that would represent the opposition.

Brahimi realizes that the warring sides may push for an escalation in order to gain territory or score a victory in advance of Geneva II. In particular, the opposition’s American and Saudi backers want to put a stop to the regime’s recent gains on many fronts by focusing their forces on the capital. Riyadh, for example, has been reinforcing its militias’ presence in the western suburbs of Damascus as well as the mountains that run along the northern border of Lebanon.

Washington says it is doing all it can to convince the Syrian opposition and its regional supporters to back Geneva II, trying to find a way to offer the Saudis – who feel that they have the most to lose from entering negotiations with the Bashar al-Assad regime – something in return for their participation in the peace conference. Many indicators suggest that Riyadh wants to be rewarded in Lebanon, in the form of imposing a government of their choosing.

That’s why we are hearing talk in Lebanese political circles, particularly among those under Saudi influence, that a government will finally see the light of day before Lebanon’s Independence Day on November 22. Riyadh hopes to form a government that would ultimately pressure Hezbollah to pull its forces out of Syria, which is currently the monarchy’s overwhelming priority.

But the Saudis are unaware of the risks involved in such a venture. They may realize that all sides to the Syrian conflict are moving in the direction of a political resolution and compromise, but they are also aware that the concessions being asked of them are greater that those demanded of any other party to the crisis. The problem is that their March 14 allies in Lebanon are in such a weakened state, that a sectarian cataclysm may be necessary to reverse their losses and allow them to carry out their Saudi mission.

NowLebanon (Website close to March-14 coalition)

Karen Boulos (October 25, 2013)

A man from Tripoli’s Bab al-Raml was killed Thursday night in Syria’s Qalamoun, where a fierce battle between regime troops aided by Hezbollah fighters and rebels is expected to erupt.

The man, identified as Ali Hussein al-Jbeily and dubbed “Abou Ammar,” was “martyred in defense of the dignity of the Ummah [nation],” according to his obituary.

“Martyrdom in defense of the dignity of the Ummah” is an Islamic term for fighting in defense of the Muslim “nation,” and is an implicit reference that he died in fighting against the Syrian regime.

In recent weeks media reports have said that the Syrian regime backed by Hezbollah fighters are poised to launch an offensive in the Qalamoun region of Syria along Lebanon’s eastern Beqaa.

Lebanese daily As-Safir reported last week that the anticipated Qalamoun battle will have significant repercussions on Lebanon’s security.

A source from the Free Syrian Army told the pro-Syrian regime newspaper that the repercussions “will not be restricted to the usual security threats,” but will rather include a wide deployment of Syrian rebels in Lebanese towns.

Al Joumhouria (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)

Johnny Mnayyar (October 24, 2013)

The dialogue between Washington and Tehran irritates Saudi Arabia, which sees no welcome a restoration of relations between the two capitals. The reception of the Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad in France and rumors in diplomatic backstage announcing a contact imminent, though indirect, between Washington and Hezbollah, through a Lebanese official personality undoubtedly inflame anger Saudi officials.

Jerusalem Post (Israeli daily, October 24, 2013)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Thursday that a “civil war” has erupted in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Global Jihad elements that have attempted to drag Israel into the conflict.

“To those who are not yet aware, there is already a civil war in Lebanon. Global Jihad, which has infiltrated Lebanon and is attacking Hezbollah, is blowing up car bombs in Dahia and is firing rockets at Dahia and the Beka’a Valley,” he said, referencing recent attacks on Hezbollah strongholds.

Ya’alon stated that the same Global Jihad elements were behind the firing of four rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon in August.

The defense minister claimed that the Global Jihad elements were attempting to elicit an Israeli response against Hezbollah with the rocket fire. “However Hezbollah was quick to deflect responsibility, saying ‘it wasn’t me.’ This is another example of our deterrence capability,” he said.

Ya’alon stated that Israel’s power of deterrence was also successfully keeping Hamas at bay and preventing attacks from the Gaza Strip.

The Defense Minister said that Iran poses the greatest threat to Israel by arming proxies such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

“We are certainly talking about a regime with ambitions of world hegemony, and therefore we say that an unconventional regime such as this, that wishes to see the world as an Islamic Caliphate in its mold, must absolutely not have unconventional weapons, in this case nuclear weapons.”

Ya’alon called on Western leaders not to “give into the temptation” of the Iranian “charm offensive.” “This is exactly what the Iranians want: eased sanctions before they stop their military nuclear project,” he warned.

NASRALLAH: THE FRONT THAT SOUGHT TO CONTROL SYRIA HAS FAILED

SANA

Hezbollah Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said “the acceptable and available solution” to the crisis in Syria is political though dialogue without preconditions.

In a speech he delivered during a festival on the occasion of the 25 anniversary of the establishment of al-Rasoul al-Aazam Hospital in Beirut, Nasrallah called on all ”the populations that have been affected by the crisis in Syria to push for a political solution there.”

”Everyone whose heart is beating for the Syrian people and is anguished by their wounds should point an accusing finger to those who are obstructing political solution,” he said.

Hezbollah Secretary-General saw that those who are obstructing political solution are ”exposed and well-known”, indicating that Saudi Arabia is infuriated by what is going on in the region, which is no secret” that it drew fighters from all over the world and provided them with weapons and up to USD 30 billion funds, not to mention media instigation.

”The region cannot remain ablaze because some countries are furious and want to obstruct dialogue and postpone Geneva II,” Nasrallah added.

”All those who oppose political solution in Syria drink from the same well and want more destruction for Syria and all countries of the region, and for Palestine and its cause,” he pointed out.

Obstructing the political solution is horizon-free obstinacy, Nasrallah said, affirming that the current dialogue is an opportunity that ought to be seized.

The front that was aimed at ”toppling the regime” in Syria has done everything in its power but have failed to achieve it, Nasrallah said, indicating that ”the postponement of Geneva II conference spells more casualties and destruction.”

Nasrallah drew attention to major changes in the recent months in Syria ”in favor of the Syrian Arab army,” pointing to the failure of the armed groups to change the military balance and the state of infighting among the armed militias that left scores of them dead and injured.

He also referred to the failure of the Syrian opposition to unify its ranks, the fall of the military aggression scenario against Syria and the public and military steadfastness in Syria. ”All adding up to one conclusion: that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria,” he said.

Nasrallah congratulated Aazaz liberated Lebanese, thanking all those who contributed to their freedom and emphasizing that the two bishops abducted in Aleppo, Paul Yazigi and John Ibrahim, must be freed “which is a mutual concern between the Lebanese and the Syrian people.”

He stressed the necessity of following up on the file of the Lebanese abductees and missing in Syria and forming a serious framework that takes responsibility for this issue.

He indicated that the Syrian leadership has repeatedly expressed readiness, through previous contacts and meetings with it, to bring these file to their logical and satisfactory endings ”which takes responsibility, courage, perseverance and settlement at the end of the day.”

Nasralla pointed to a political team in Lebanon ”that has obstructed everything pending the toppling of the regime in Syria and the fall of Syria…and some are even living in the dreams of returning [to Lebanon] via Damascus airport and that Syria will shift to another axis and another front.”




S.Nasrallah: Security,Oil in Lebanon Bear no Delay, Syrian Army Winner on Ground

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed Monday that liberating the nine Lebanese citizens who were kidnapped and held in Syria’s Aazaz for 17 months gives hope to the families of the rest Lebanese missing and kidnapped people that their day of freedom is near to come.

During a speech he delivered on the 25th anniversary of Al-Rasoul Al-Aazam hospital in Shahed School of Beirut southern suburb, Sayyed Nasrallah underlined the Syrian situation militarily and politically and the Lebanese internal situation regarding the oil file and the security developments.

His eminence congratulated Aazaz liberated Lebanese thanking all those who contributed to their freedom and emphasizing that the two bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazeji, must be freed, which represents a mutual concern between the Lebanese and the Syrian people.

“All the Lebanese who were kidnapped due to the events in Syria must be freed, including Hassan al-Miqdad, Samir Kassa and the residents of Maaroub town,” Sayyed Nasralla said, stressing that someone should be delegated to follow-up on such affairs in order to know the responsible for the kidnapping and to “open the door for old files,” and calling the Lebanese judiciary to review the file to know reasons behind their kidnapping.

“If we are in a respectful state, humanitarian issues must be reviewed regardless any political aspects… Regarding the Indonesian boat (which sank last month) the Lebanon reclaimed its citizens… This is the school of Resistance which does not accept to keep prisoners and bodies of martyrs for its enemy,” His eminence noted, stating that there are more pending files with the Zionist enemy and the Syrian brother.

“As for the Israeli side, files regarding the missing Lebanese are still pending since the invasion and the occupation era, including Yahya Skaf. The Israeli army bears the responsibility of all those missing whether by Lebanese militia groups, Lahd army or Antony Haddad army,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated.

Hezbollah Secretary General also noted that “there are 17 thousand missing persons due to the Israeli occupation, including the four Iranian diplomats along with other people during the Lebanese war,” calling for “the formation of a serious framework and appointing of a certain party to follow-up on the matter.

“I’ve got a clear word from the Syrian government that aims at reaching a  reasonable ending for those files. This issue requires solution at the end of the day,” he stressed, underlying the case of Imam Sayyed Musa al-Sadr with whom contact had been lost since he went to Libya in 1979.

“Another very serious file emerges … The case of the Imam of Resistance who lifted oppression on people. The case which has nothing to do with a family, sect or people. It is all about the dignity of the nation. It is a pure national case … We’ve sent letters to Iran urging to exert double efforts to bring Imam Sadr’s case to an end,” his eminence said, pointing out that Moussa Koussa, former Libyan foreign minister during Moammar Gaddafi’s era, is wandering in the Arab capitals’ hotels while he had worked for the Libyan intelligence and knew the place of Imam Sadr.

“There is also another man whom the Libyan authorities must interrogate. He is found in the prison and they are hindering the matter.”

Domestically, Sayyed Nasrallah expressed beliefs that Syrian events are affecting everything in Lebanon, because a certain Lebanese party hindered matters on the basis of waiting the results in Syria and the fall of President Bashar al-Assad, and that there are people who do not want to rturn to Lebanon only via Damascus airport.

“The Lebanese people become sick of hindering accusations, and they know – more than others – who is hindering the Parliament, the legislation, the dialogue, the caretaker cabinet sessions and the formation of a new government,” his eminence said.

On Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that major development occurred during the last months, where the battlefield evolves in favor of the Syrian army, underlying the inability of armed groups to change the game rules, due to the international and Arab change of direction following opposition limitations to unify ranks and the failure of any possible military action on Syria.

“The whole world believes that there will be no military solution for Syria. The available and acceptable solution is the political one,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated, adding that “the available way for political option is through dialogue without precondition.

“Talks on Geneva II conference open horizons regardless conditions and details. Lebanon and all peoples of the region must push towards the political solution in Syria,” he said, indicating that there are regional countries very mad about what is going on in the region, “i.e. the Saudi Arabia, which is not secret, that attracted tens of thousands of fighters from across the world,” and provided them with $ 30 billion so far, along with weapons, incitement, mass media and other tools.

“They (the Saudis) did their best to topple Syria but they failed.”

“The region cannot keep ablaze just because there are angry countries. There is a state which wants to hinder the dialogue and to postpone Geneva II, but all those who oppose the political solution in Syria are drinking from the same well. Those who oppose the solution want more destruction in Syria, in the regional states and in Palestine,” his eminence highlighted.

Sayyed Nasrallah made it clear that stubbornly has no horizons at all, and catching the opportunity of dialogue is a chance for all other parties:

“All those whose hearts beat for the Syrian people must point their fingers at the party which hinders the political solution… It is the responsibility of the nation. Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League are calling for a political solution.”

Hezbollah Secretary General voiced beliefs that the local, regional and international front which worked on toppling the regime in Syria have failed.

Sayyed Nasrallah also called March 14 bloc and al-Mustaqbal party not to hinder the formation of the new Lebanese cabinet, warning that any delay will improve the situation of the other party, indicating that the chain of salaries, the oil file, the electoral draft law and the presidency of the Republic are all pending issues that must be solved.

“Your bets on Syria have failed,” he told March 14 figures, adding that everyone feels the country is disabled.

“March 14 believes that the solution is to form cabinet before going to dialogue, before the legislation and before other things. We’ve agreed upon the 9-9-6 formula but they haven’t. If they agreed, the country would be better, there would be room for dialogue, the parliament would return to tackle the people’s affairs, and all resolutions which do not need the approval of two thirds would pass. We can solve all other problems,” Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stated.

“If there isn’t any possibility to form the cabinet, is it acceptable to disable the parliament for unconstitutional reasons?” he asked, pointing that the vast majority of the ministers agree on holding a cabinet session to review the oil file and the security events in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, but there are  heavy political pressure since caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati resigned.

“If only those for whom Mikati resigned respect him. They attack him every day,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that there are two serious files that bear no delay.

Firstly, his eminence urged the government to tackle the oil file without preconditions, indicating that “the Israelis are working day and night while we cannot meet,” describing such obstacles as “failure to do our duties” regarding this matter.

Secondly, Sayyed Nasrallah called for handling the Lebanese security situation in general and Tripoli events in particular, stating that what is going on in the northern city is painful for everyone and what we really need is the political will and a definite decision that the Lebanese army and other security apparatuses to handle situation there.

“This is the solution. the only solution is to call on the Lebanese army and the state, not to call on the Al-Nusra Front and ISIL (the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant),” he stressed.

His eminence urged clerics in Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods in Tripoli to issue Fatwas that ban fighting and shooting at the army, noting that “state agencies know about the bombings and explosions, they know the locations of booby-trapped cars but didn’t move a finger.”

“Perpetrators shouldn’t have any political cover because every explosion is condemned and all the people are under risk,” he said.

Sayyed Nasrallah expressed hopes that a national humanitarian establishment to be created, indicating that not only the Christian presence is threatened, but entire peoples in the region as well.

“The entire region is moving towards more conflicts,” he said.

“Therefore, shall we act with the mentality that our country needs careful attention?” Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah ended up asking.

Al-Manar

LAVROV: FINANCIERS OF SYRIAN ‘OPPOSITION’ UNDERMINE GENEVA II TALKS

Lavrov: Financers of Syrian opposition work to undermine efforts for holding Geneva 2

Oct 28, 2013


Moscow, (SANA)–  Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, stressed that some countries which are financing the Syrian opposition work directly to undermine the efforts exerted for holding Geneva 2 international conference on Syria.

Following his talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kozhara, in the Russian city of Rostov on Monday, Lavrov said that each group of the Syrian opposition has its financer or supervisor in the region or outside it and everybody knows this, including the US administration, adding that Russia and the US are working to ensure that these sides assume responsibility for the acts and behavior of the opposition.

He said that everyone says they support Geneva 2, but in fact some countries which have strong influence on the crisis in Syria are working to undermine the Russian-US initiative.

Lavrov called on the financers of the armed groups in Syria to shoulder their responsibilities regarding the fate of the political solution for the crisis in Syria, asserting that the climate of holding the Geneva 2 conference requires the intervention of influential sides on the currently fragmented Syrian opposition, parts of which are breaking off while others are moving closer to Al Qaeda.

He expressed his anger over some opposition groups’ threats against the possible participants in Geneva 2 conference, including Russia and its diplomatic missions abroad.

The Russian Foreign Minister unveiled that these groups threatened the countries which call for finding a political solution and reject the military intervention to solve the crisis, asserting that these threats are unacceptable and the responsibility for them falls on those who fund these extremist groups.

Earlier, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Russian State Duma Alexei Pushkov stressed that the foreign caretakers of the “Syrian opposition” are the ones who are interested in foiling the international conference on Syria.

Boshkov said that “19 factions of the Syrian opposition, who are unable to work without foreign support, have rejected Geneva 2 conference, and their backers want to foil the conference.”

H. Zain/ Ghossoun / H. Sabbagh

ALSO SEE:
GENEVA II NEWS

INTERVIEW WITH THE SYRIAN ELECTRONIC ARMY

اختراق مواقع وروابط حسابات باراك أوباما على تويتر وفيس بوك

اخترق الجيش السوري الإلكتروني حسابات بريد إلكتروني لأعضاء في المنظمة التي تدير حسابات التواصل الإجتماعي للرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما على تويتر وفيس بوك .. كما تدير الموقع الرسمي الخاص به ..

كما اخترق الجيش السوري الإلكتروني نطاق الروابط الذي يستخدم في حسابات التواصل الإجتماعي للرئيس الأميركي .. بالإضافة لموقعه الرسمي والدخول الى لوحة التحكم الخاص به .

كما تم تحويل جميع متابعي حسابات أوباما على فيس بوك وتويتر الى فيديو يوضح حقيقة ما يحدث في سورية ..

صورة من لوحة التحكم الخاصة بالموقع الرسمي لباراك أوباما :
‬https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BXrkEKzCMAAVyTU.png:large‫

صورة من البريد الإلكتروني لأحد أعضاء المنظمة :
‬https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BXrjhU-CcAA5Ce6.png:large‫

صورة من لوحة نطاق الروابط :
‬https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BXr0b0NCMAAdWlM.png:large‫

رابط البوست على الموقع الرسمي للجيش السوري الإلكتروني باللغة العربية :
‬http://sea.sy/article/id/2009/ar‫

رابط البوست على الموقع الرسمي للجيش السوري الإلكتروني باللغة الإنكليزية :
‬http://sea.sy/article/id/2009/en‫

بــلاد الــعــم ســـام .. انــتــظــرونــا فــالــقــادم أعــظــم ..

الــجــيــش الــســوري الإلــكــتــرونــي .. وطــن .. شــرف .. إخــلاص .‬
1382233_212512708930149_659040476_n

‬http://www.sea.sy/‫

INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO STORE SYRIA’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN LEBANON

Editorial Comment:

Cyprus agreed to accept the responsibility of disposing of Syria’s cw’s.


Lebanese officials sources told al-Manar that there are international attempts to dump Syria chemicals in Lebanon.

This questionable issue requires legal and environmental interpretations, especially after Norway rejected the international proposal to utilize its territories in order to dismantle Syria chemicals.

The International Law expert Adib al-Firzly clarified that a state or an institution cannot impose on another state dismantling the chemical weapons, yet all the states must cooperate in this concern, according to the political treaties that organize their relations.

“Legally, any state that accepts carrying out this mission has to have internal monitoring boards; however, Lebanon is not ready for such mechanisms,” al-Firzly added.

Chief Expert of International Health and Environment Protection, Doumet Kamel, said that at a certain temperature, evaporation has to be safe.

“The residual precipitation must be dumped scientifically,” he added, “Yet this is not completely safe as the dumped materials may explode and cause grave cases of death and destruction.”

“The unpopulated areas are the most suitable places to dump the chemicals, so Lebanon can never be adequate to dismantle the Syrian chemicals.”

Al Manar TV
26-10-2013

SYRIAN ARMY ADVANCES, ELIMINATING TERRORISTS, LIBERATING MANY AREAS


Army confronts terrorists in different areas, kills scores of them
Oct 25, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)- Army on Thursday continued pursuing armed terrorist groups in several provinces, inflicting heavy losses upon them and destroying their criminal tools.

Army units seize weapons and communication-sets for terrorists on Damascus and Hama

A unit of the armed forces seized a truck loaded with large amounts of weapons and ammunition on the international road between Aleppo and Hama, which were hidden in secret caches, directed from Mork town to the terrorists in Daraa.

Seized weapons included machineguns, RPGs launchers and PKC machineguns which were hidden inside sacks full of pistachios and large amounts of ammunition hidden inside the reserve fuel tank.

In Damascus, authorities seized a warehouse full of weapons and ammunition in al-Razi farms.The seized weapons included machineguns, PKC gun, grenades, communication-sets and large amounts of ammunition.

Army kills terrorists and destroys weapons in Damascus countryside

An official source said that army units clashed with terrorists in the vicinity of Tameco Company for Pharmaceutical Industries in al-Mleiha town, killing several terrorists, among them Tahsin al-Bika’i and Mahmoud al-Dali.

Another unit killed terrorists and injured others on Zamalka axis; among them Amer Abdul-Ghafour as an army unit killed three terrorists near Othman Mosque in Erbin and destroyed their weaponry.

The source added that an army unit carried out a qualitative operation in al-Eb farms in Duma area, killing Muhannad al-Qasir, leader of a terrorist group along with a number of his group’s members, and destroyed machineguns and automatic shotguns.

In Damascus southern countryside, army units pursued terrorist groups in al-Bowaida farms and killed Arab mercenaries, among them the Saudi Wissam al-Ineizi and other terrorists affiliated to the so-called ”Islam Brigade”, and a leader of a terrorist group nicknamed Abu Suhaib.

The source said that members of a terrorist group were killed in the farms between al-Moaddamiah and Darayya, among them Badr al-Homsi and another terrorist called Khaled.

Army units killed terrorists from the so-called al-Farouk Battalion and destroyed their weapons to the east of Yabroud.

Army units also chased terrorist groups east of Marret Saydnaya, east of Qara, northeast of al-Nabek, and south of Adra, killing and injuring many of their members and destroying their weapons.

Army units eliminate non-Syrian terrorists in Lattakia countryside

Units of the armed forces destroyed a terrorists’ warehouse full of ammunition and Grad rockets, killing and injuring many terrorists, some of them from Saudi Arabia, in the northern countryside of Lattakia.

A military source told SANA that an army unit targeted terrorists’ dens and gatherings in al-Dwra village, killing and injuring scores of them, in addition to destroying a warehouse full of Grad rockets.

Abu al-Khatab al-Ma’arawi, Ali al-Sheikh Mohammad, Mohammad Rishan , Ahmad Maqabawi and Samaan al-Sharqawi were identified among the dead terrorists.

The source pointed out that an army unit destroyed two cars equipped with heavy machineguns in Jabal al-Koz village and killed all terrorists inside them, including Ahmad Hasbanji and Firas al-Haaj.

Another army unit killed a number of terrorists in Ein al-Hour village, including Abu Kutada al-Harthi from Saudi Arabia, Muhanad Ahmad al-Issa, Maher al-Saleh and Manhal al-Samra’ai.

Army eliminates non-Syrian terrorists in Daraa and its countryside

In Daraa, a military source said that a unit of the armed forces destroyed a number of tunnels extended from the Sports club towards Abu Khaceibeh building and al-Sad and the camp road with all the weapons and ammunition inside them.

The source added that a number of terrorists were eliminated in Bosra square, surrounding 7 of April School , al-Mualimin roundabout and in al-Bahar neighborhood in Daraa city, among them Bashar Tayssir Aba Zaid, Bahaa Ahmad Khalifeh and Ihab Ahmad Ali.

An army unit eliminated an armed terrorist groups who attacked a military checkpoint near Tafas, while other army units clashed with terrorists in Izra, Boser al-Harir, al-Miskiya, Nawa, al-Za’arour, al-Hanout and Saida al-Golan, killing scores of terrorists among them Ahmad al-Harifi from Saudi Arabia in addition to Mohammad Hussein al-Isawi, the leader of an armed terrorist group and Abdul-Rahman al-Awad.

An army unit destroyed two terrorist cars loaded with weapons and ammunition, and killed 12 terrorists and injured others due to the explosion of an explosive device while they were planting it on the entrance of Nimer village in Daraa countryside.

Terrorists killed and injured in Homs

Army units pursued members of armed terrorist groups in Sadad and Mahin towns, and they foiled, in cooperation with residents, infiltration attempt into Arakvillage in al-Sukhneh in Homs Province.

A military source said that army units clashed with members of armed terrorist groups that infiltrated from Mahin town, killing many of them.

The source added that armed terrorist groups’ attempt of infiltration into Arak village was foiled, as many terrorists were killed, others were injured and their weapons were destroyed.

The source pointed out that army units inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in Bab Hood and al-Qussour neighborhoods and in the villages of al-Dar al-Kabira and al-Khalediyeh, destroying a car loaded with weapons and ammunition.

Other army units killed many terrorists in Mhein, al-Rastan cities and in Ein Hassan village, destroying their weapons and ammunition.

Meanwhile, an army unit destroyed a cars transporting terrorists and killed 25 of them in the outskirts of Sadad town.

The source pointed out that two shells fell on the citizens’ houses in al-Ensha’at neighborhood in the city with no human casualties.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/25/508773.htm

Army units pursue terrorists in Daraa

A unit of the armed forces achieved progress toward the old Jomrok (customs) of Daraa and surrounded a number of buildings to cut off supplies of the armed terrorist groups.

An official source told SANA that an army unit advanced in Busra Square in the city toward al-Nazihin camp, surrounding the area for destroying the tunnels net in the place and preventing terrorists from sneaking into the safe places.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/25/508955.htm

Terrorist groups wholly eliminated in Lattakia

A number of armed terrorist groups were wholly eliminated with all their embers killed in al-Fruluq area and in the villages of al-Shahroura, al-Dweirkeh and al-Marouniyeh in the northern countryside of Lattakia. Rockets and ammunition caches were destroyed in the operations.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/25/508955.htm

Army destroys tunnel, advances in Sadad in Homs

An army unit confronted an armed terrorist group that was transferring weapons and ammunition from al-Dar al-kabira village to al-Waer area in the countryside of Homs, killing and injuring its members.

A military source told SANA that the terrorists’ weapons and ammunition were seized.

Another army unit, the source added, destroyed a terrorists’ tunnel in al-Waer and a den in al-Qusour neighborhood in the city, killing all the terrorists inside.

The army units chased armed terrorist groups while trying to infiltrate into to reach the Church of Saint Michael, the center of town.

An army unit confronted an armed terrorist group that was transferring weapons and ammunition from al-Dar al-kabira village to al-Waer area in the countryside of Homs, killing and injuring its members.

An official source said SANA reporter that the army units wiped out terrorists were fortified at the hospital and the municipal building and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

Cars with all terrorists inside were destroyed on Mahin-Sadad and al-Hafer-Sada road.

In the framework of hunting down the fleeing terrorists on teh outskirts of al-Sukhna town to which the army restored full security on Thursday, the army units eliminated all members of armed terrorist groups between Burj Qa’i and Taldao in al-Hula countryside and destroyed cars equipped with machineguns.

An infiltration attempt from al-Qarabis towards al-Ghota groves was thwarted also.

Targeting terrorists gatherings in al-Ghasebieh village, al-Mukharram and Hosh Hajjo, the army units killed a number of gunmen and destroyed a number of vehicles equipped with machine guns.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/25/508955.htm

Over 50 terrorists ambushed in Damascus Countryside, Israeli-made rockets seized

The army ambushed more than 50 terrorists linked to Jabhat al-Nusra and the so-called Al-Islam Brigade in the vicinity of al-Otaiba lake in Damascus countryside and seized their weapons including Israeli-made anti-tank rockets, RPG launchers and BKC machineguns.

A field commander told SANA reporter that the army units, in cooperation with the residents in the eastern Ghouta, ambushed terrorists affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra and ‘Al-Islam Brigade’ who were fleeing from al-Nashabiyeh area towards Mid’a.

Some 41 terrorists were killed and around 10 others were wounded in the ambush, some of them holding the Saudi, Qatari and Iraqi nationalities, according to the commander.

He pointed out that automatic rifles, home-made grenades, Israeli-made anti-tank rockets, BKC machine guns and RPG launchers were destroyed in the operation.

The commander noted that over the past period 7 ambushes were carried out in the region resulting in the death of scores of terrorists who were trying to infiltrate the eastern Ghouta to back up the armed terrorist groups who had suffered heavy losses at the hands of the army soldiers.

In the same context, an army unit ambushed an armed terrorist group on Tal Treireh-Kanaker road, killing and injuring many members, in addition to seizing a truck containing weapons and ammunition, including anti-tank mines, automatic rifles, BKC machine guns and RPGs launchers.

In the meantime, units of the armed forces killed numbers of terrorists and injured others and destroyed a mortar in the areas of Rima farms and al-Khaneq in Yabroud and in al-Nabi Wais in Rankous.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/25/508955.htm

Terrorists’ dens stormed in Aleppo

Meanwhile, several dens for armed terrorist groups were destroyed in the countryside of Aleppo and attempts of other groups to infiltrate safe areas in the city were thwarted.

SANA reporter quoted a military source as saying that a unit of the armed forces carried out a special operation against terrorists in Kweiris village in which it stormed their dens and gatherings, leaving all the terrorists dead. Mortars and various types of weapons were destroyed in the operation.

According to the source, rocket launch pads were destroyed in Erbid village and in the surrounding of Rasm al-Abboud airport, while cars loaded with weapons and ammunition were destroyed in the duty free zone and al-Naqarin area.

Army units, the source added, killed members of armed terrorist groups in the villages of Mayer, Andan and Qadi Askar.

Another army unit clashed with terrorists as they were trying to infiltrate from several axes towards al-Jandoul street, Talet al-Awared and al-Basat street in al-Ashrafiyeh area. Most of the terrorists were killed and injured.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/25/508955.htm

Army regains control over Htaitet al-Turkman in Damascus countryside, al-Sukhna town in Palmyra
Oct 24, 2013

Damascus countryside, (SANA) _Army units on Thursday regained full control over Htaitet al-Turkman town in Damascus countryside, having eliminated the residual terrorist groups in the area and destroyed their weapons.

SANA correspondent quoted a field commander in the town as saying that the army tightened control over Htaitet al-Turkman, the last remaining stronghold for terrorists on Damascus International Airport road in a 48-hour qualitative operation.

The commander said that around 100 terrorists have been killed and 150 others injured during the operation. The terrorists Mohammad al-Barazi and another one called Abu Jaber al-Homsi were identified among the dead.

Secret arms caches for terrorists have been destroyed, the commander pointed out, adding that the Syrian soldiers are pursuing the remaining terrorists on the outskirts of the town.

Army restores security and stability to al-Sukhna town in Palmyra countryside

Army units restored security and stability in al-Sukhna town in Palmyra countryside, having eliminated armed terrorist groups who sneaked into the town earlier this week.

An official source told SANA that all members of the terrorist groups have been killed and their weapons destroyed.

The source added that the terrorist groups committed looting and vandalism acts in the town and planted explosives in the houses that the army units neutralized, restoring full security and stability to the town.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/24/508897.htm

Army regains control over Htaitet al-Turkman in Damascus countryside, al-Sukhna town in Palmyra
Oct 24, 2013

Damascus countryside, (SANA) _Army units on Thursday regained full control over Htaitet al-Turkman town in Damascus countryside, having eliminated the residual terrorist groups in the area and destroyed their weapons.

SANA correspondent quoted a field commander in the town as saying that the army tightened control over Htaitet al-Turkman, the last remaining stronghold for terrorists on Damascus International Airport road in a 48-hour qualitative operation.

The commander said that around 100 terrorists have been killed and 150 others injured during the operation. The terrorists Mohammad al-Barazi and another one called Abu Jaber al-Homsi were identified among the dead.

Secret arms caches for terrorists have been destroyed, the commander pointed out, adding that the Syrian soldiers are pursuing the remaining terrorists on the outskirts of the town.

Army restores security and stability to al-Sukhna town in Palmyra countryside

Army units restored security and stability in al-Sukhna town in Palmyra countryside, having eliminated armed terrorist groups who sneaked into the town earlier this week.

An official source told SANA that all members of the terrorist groups have been killed and their weapons destroyed.

The source added that the terrorist groups committed looting and vandalism acts in the town and planted explosives in the houses that the army units neutralized, restoring full security and stability to the town.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/24/508897.htm
https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1375171_768330436523575_1156852100_n.jpg






AL-JAAFARI: COERCIVE SANCTIONS AND TERRORIST FUNDING INFLAMED CRISIS

Al-Jaafari: Unilateral coercive economic measures against Syria inflamed crisis, completed backing terrorism approach

Oct 25, 2013
20131025-104916_h508949

New York, SANA_ The unilateral coercive economic measures against Syria have inflamed the crisis instead of extending a helping hand, left very bad impacts on the livelihood of the Syrians and increased their suffering, Syria ‘s permanent representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said.

“These measures are a completion of backing terrorism and extremism approach,” al-Jaafari on Thursday addressed the Economic and Financial Second Committee at the United Nations during discussing the item of issues related to macro-economic policies including international trade and development.

“Those countries and entities especially the so-called friends of Syria approved and implemented a series of unilateral economic, financial and commercial punitive and coercive measures without distinguishing between the government’s establishments, private sector or ordinary citizens,”

He said: ” despite knowing that the Syrian government and the private sector are responsible for the progress of the economic wheel and growth in Syria and for securing the livelihood and welfare of the Syrian people, they applied these unilateral coercive measures on a large number of establishments and governmental and private companies which invest in important civil vital sectors.

” These measures have affected negatively on the Syrian economy and the long-term growth, ” al-Jafari said, stressing that the motives and arguments of those political parties are pure political and aim at punishing the Syrian government and the people who elected and supported it.

“Such measures violate the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter and resolutions and the rules of International Trade Law,” he said.

Ghossoun /

Al_Jaafari: US-EU coercive measures against Syria deprive Syrians of basic needs
Oct 30, 2013

New_York, (SANA) – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari, renewed on Tuesday Syria’s condemnation of the coercive measures imposed by the US and the European Union on the Syrian people, stressing that such measures represent utter violation of the principles of international law and a west’s hegemony tool on states and nations.

In Syria’s statement before the UN General Assembly’s meeting on ‘the need for ending economic, trade and financial sieges imposed by the USA on Cuba’, al- Jaafari highlighted the negative effects of the aggressive illegitimate unilateral measures imposed by the US and European Union which prevent the Syrians from getting their basic needs of food, medicine, medical equipment, oil, agricultural requirements, civil air transport means and communication equipment.

He added that these measures constitute a violation of the rights of the Syrian people.

Al-Jaafari affirmed Syria’s full support to the friendly people and government of Cuba in the face of the US unjust blockade imposed on it since 1959.

A draft UN General Assembly resolution condemning the US blockade on Cuba received 188 votes in favor, while the US and Israel voted against it and three states abstained from voting.

The Syrian diplomat noted that the support of 188 states to the draft resolution in the current session stresses once again that this siege is illegitimate and it ought to be ended.

He added that for Israel to solely vote against the resolution proves that it does not respect the international law.

Al-Jaafari said countries’ imposition of unilateral coercive measures is a breach of the relevant UN General Assembly resolutions, including resolution no. 66/186 on unilateral economic measures as a means for political and economic coercion against developing countries and resolution no. 67/170 on human rights and unilateral coercive measures in which the GA stresses its condemnation and rejection of unilateral economic measures.

He underscored that such US and EU measures aim to debilitate governments of UN member states or pressure them to change their policies and national options.

R. Milhem/H. Said
http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/10/30/509820.htm


ALSO SEE:
AL-JAAFARI CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON ISRAEL TO JOIN THE NPT

AL-JAAFARI CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON ISRAEL TO JOIN THE NPT

Al Jaafari calls for internationally pressuring Israel into joining the NPT (Updated)

New York, (SANA)- Syria’s permanent representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari on Tuesday stressed Syria’s support for the international tendency towards establishing an international community that is free of force or the threat of using it whether it is nuclear or traditional, calling for pressuring Israel to join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In a speech before the first committee of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in its meeting on nuclear weapons, al-Jaafari said “We stress that getting rid of nuclear weapons completely is the only guarantee for not using or threatening of using them.”

He pointed out that after more than four decades of the signing of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is important that the nuclear countries comply with the sixth article of the Treaty seriously in order to spare the world this danger.

Al-Jaafari stressed that what has been issued after 2010 Review of the NPT regarding establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East based on the decision of Review Conference of 1995, makes it imperative for the international community to work for this objective in light of the importance of pressuring Israel into joining the Treaty.

He highlighted the need of forcing Israel to put all its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) according to Security Council resolution No. 487 for 1981 and IAEA resolution No. 17 for 2009.

The Syrian diplomat said that Israel is not a party in any treaties or agreements that control the issue of the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, including NPT.

Al-Jaafari said that European states contributed actively in Israel’s nuclear program, and since then, Israel has been maintaining the policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’, yet according to the estimations of Dimona Reactor’s capacity, Israel has produced more than 840 kilo grams of uranium for military use, an amount enough for manufacturing 200 nuclear warheads.

“For those who do not know, Israel carries out drilling works for nuclear materials in several phosphate wells… in Naqab area,” added al-Jaafari, citing a number of these wells and other sites where Israel conducts nuclear researches and produces nuclear materials.

The Syrian ambassador said that most of the countries were aspiring for the convening and success of the conference on establishing a zone free of nuclear and mass destruction weapons in the Middle East, which was due to be held at the end of 2012 in Helsinki, Finland, yet Israel’s declaration of not participating in IAEA International Conference in September, 2012 aborted it.

He underscored the importance of holding this longed-for conference as soon as possible and the necessity of pressuring Israel to participate in it, being the only part possessing nuclear weapons in the region.

“At the time when we in Syria stress on the inalienable right of the states which are parties in the NPT to obtaining nuclear technology, developing and using it for peaceful use in cooperation with the IAEA according to provisions of the article four in the Treaty, some member states try to interpret the text of the Treaty in a way that detracts from this right or restricts it,” said al-Jaafari.

He highlighted that many member states stressed in their statements before the first committee of this session the importance of the step taken by Syria in joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, considering it as an introduction for establishing a Middle East nuclear and mass destruction weapons free zone.

He added that these stances in support of Syria’s move constitute an overt message to Israel and those behind it that the policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ has been exposed to all, and it could not be tolerated anymore.

R. Milhem / H. Said
http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/10/23/508552.htm

Al-Jaafari: Israeli governments perpetrated systemized violations of international law

New York, (SANA)-Syria’s permanent envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari on Tuesday said that Israel has ignored the UN decisions regarding its occupation of the Arab lands since more than half a century.

“More than half a century passed on the Israeli state terrorism, racial laws and destruction of Islamic and Christian sanctities as well as the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes,” al-Jaafari said in a speech at a UN Security Council session.

He added that the Israeli successive governments have perpetrated systemized and documented violations of the international, human rights laws to a degree that reached to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/10/22/508519.htm

THE TERRORISTS AND SNC DO NOT HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE SYRIAN PEOPLE

Damascus violence could be ‘part and parcel of negotiations strategy’

Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, discusses recent developments in the situation in Syria, including U.S.-sponsored terrorism.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

AFP Photo / Ahmad Aboud

RT: From these latest developments, does it seem to you that the Syrian rebels are still confident they can win the war?

Brian Becker: Well they have the US and the most powerful militaries and intelligence agencies behind them but they have not been winning the battle, they’ve been losing the battle because the people in Syria don’t want them. They don’t want to live under their rule. It is a foreign funded civil war. There has been so much suffering caused by this civil war. So I do not think they will succeed but the attack in Damascus, the shutdown of Damascus, the power outage this is a terrorist act.

Right now John Kerry is very happy, Chuck Hagel is very happy, President Obama is happy – this is what their policy is, to fund, finance and coordinate through the joint special operations command and the CIA this kind of terrorist action against the people of Syria. What the people of Syria need is a settlement, a political solution, not more terrorism.

RT: Does it appear at this point, in your opinion, that the rebels will attend the Geneva 2 talks or will they continue fighting?

BB: They may do both. I think the policy of the rebels, so called moderate rebels who are the proxies of Western forces are really dictated by Washington, the CIA and the Pentagon. They are not an independent force at this point. They are dependent on money and arms from Western powers and they are taking the cue from them as well. You can see the terrorist actions that are taking place in Damascus could be part and parcel of a negotiations strategy also in Geneva wherever a peace conference or peace talks might take place. The US government is determined to strengthen the hand of the rebel forces even in advance of any peace talks because they want to be able to change the relationship of forces which right now are under the advantage of the Assad government and the Syrian government.

RT: What would need to change for these talks to eventually create a way out of this deadlock then?

BB: The real way the talks could be productive is if the Washington administration and the governments in Britain and France were to decide that they cannot militarily defeat the Assad government, that it is an impossible mission, that it was a fantasy to begin with, and that they would put additional pressure on those proxy forces who receive their arms and guns from Western powers to actually come to the negotiation’s table. That would probably be the political premise for some sort of a negotiated settlement. Clearly the Assad government, the Syrian government, the Russian government, those who oppose foreign intervention have said, and they are on the record, that they are for peace talks and some sort of transitional settlement but they are not going to be dictated to by the rebels or by Western powers and told Assad must go. They are not going to do that.

RT: Syria’s chemical weapons are in the process of being destroyed. How could this latest blackout and fighting affect these international efforts?

BB: I think they may be partly designed to carry out disruption of the weapons inspections, because the weapon inspectors have had all kind of trouble getting onto areas under rebel control where the chemical weapons munitions seemed to have been used. There has been a lot of near-misses, mortar attacks, shelling and other kinds of military disruptions of the weapons inspector’s program and I think much of it, almost all of it is coming from the rebel’s side because perhaps they have something to hide.

WESTERN-BACKED TERRORISTS CONTINUE MURDERING CIVILIANS

Car bomb blast claims citizens and terrorists in Damascus Countryside
Oct 25, 2013

Damascus Countryside, (SANA) – A car bomb blew up Friday while terrorists were preparing it near Osama Bin Zaid Mosque in Souq Wadi Barada in Damascus Countryside.

A official source told SANA that the explosion caused the killing of many terrorists and casualties among the citizens, in addition to material damage in the site.

SANA reporter to al-Muwasah hospital said that the bodies of two citizens arrived to the hospital, including a 7-year-old child, and 30 injured, most of them in critical condition.

One of the injured citizens said that the explosion took place before the end of Friday prayers, causing the collapse of the mosque’s two entrances and casualties among citizens, in addition to material damage to the shops and parked cars in the site.

http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/10/25/508989.htm

A citizen martyred, 40 others injured in Car bomb blast in al-Ahram Street in Homs
Oct 24, 2013

Homs, (SANA)- A terrorist car bomb exploded in al-Ahram Street near al-Nuzha roundabout, Homs, causing the martyrdom of a citizen and the injury of 40 others, among them women and children, SANA reporter said Thursday.

Terrorist attack against school in Homs

A shell fired by terrorists hit al-Farabi School in Bab Sbaa’ neighborhood in Homs city.

An official source told SANA that the shell hit the fuel tank in the school and set it on fire, causing no injuries.

The attack caused huge material damage in the school building, the source said.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/24/508785.htm


Eleven citizens martyred of car bomb, mortar attacks in Damascus and Aleppo
Oct 24, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- Eleven citizens have been martyred and some 61 others injured by terrorist attacks on Wednesday in Damascus and Aleppo, also causing material damage.

Four citizens were martyred, among them a woman, while many others were injured of a terrorist attack with mortar shells on al-Abassiyeen region in Damascus.

A source at the police command in Damascus told SANA that two mortar shells, fired by terrorists, fell on the citizens’ houses in the surrounding of al-Abassiyeen square, claiming the lives of 4 citizens and injuring 18 others who were immediately admitted to hospitals to receive treatment.

Meanwhile, 6 citizens were martyred and others injured by shells fired by terrorists on Saadallah al-Jabiri Square in Aleppo.

A source at the Police Command told SANA that 3 shells fired by terrorists fell on Saadallah al-Jabiri Square, causing the martyrdom of 6 citizens and the injury of 30 others, including women and children.

The source added that the terrorist attack caused material damage to a number of parked and passing cars in the site.

Earlier, Two citizens were injured on Wednesday by a mortar shell fired by terrorists at the area around Sheraton Hotel in Damascus, causing material damage to the area.

Two more mortar shells fired by terrorists fell in the Science Faculty at Damascus University and the old Fairgrounds, causing no injuries.

In the town of Jaramana in Damascus countryside, five citizens were injured when terrorist fired five mortar shells at al-Rawda neighborhood, causing material damage to private properties.

Another mortar shell fell on a house near the main square in Jarmana, causing only material damage.

Citizen Martyred, six citizens injured by car bomb in Dummar, Damascus

Terrorists detonated a car bomb in al-Kanesa Roundabout in Dummar al-Mashrou area on Wednesday, causing the martyrdom of a citizen and the injury of six others.

A source at the Police Command told SANA that the Tofas-vehicle was parked and remotely detonated, adding that that the wounded citizens were admitted to hospital, saying that the attack also caused material damage to the area.

English Bulletin
http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/10/24/508677.htm

Three citizens martyred, students injured of terrorists’ shells in Jaramana

Provinces, (SANA) – Terrorists’ mortar shells on Tuesday hit residential houses, claiming the lives of three citizens and injuring 11 others in Jaramana city in Damascus Countryside.

A source at Damascus Countryside Police Command said that three mortar shells fell on a car in al-Bassel Street, claiming the lives of two citizens and the injury of 6 others.

Two other shells landed near al-Rihan restaurant and caused material damage to the residents’ properties.

The source added that a sixth shell fell on the entrance of Jaramana city, killing a citizen and injuring 5 others, in addition to damaging a number of cars in the site.

Two more shells fell in al-Rawda neighborhood in Jaramana where several schools are located, targeting the schools of Nazih Munzer and Fayez Saeed and injuring one teacher and 14 students who sustained wounds of varying severity, in addition to causing material damage to the two schools.

Another mortar round fell near the entrande of al-Ajyal kindergarten in al-Mazare’a street, causing no injuries.

Health Minister assures the health condition of the wounded

Health Minister Saad al-Nayif and Governor of Damascus Countryside Hussein Makhlof paid a visit to the citizens who were wounded by terrorists’ shells on Jaramana.

They assured the health condition of the wounded, pointing out to the role of the hospitals’ staff in rescuing scores of citizens’ lives.

The Health Minister affirmed that emergency departments at the hospitals are ready to receive the wounded citizens and offer them needed care.

Six citizens injured in Homs by terrorists’ rocket shells

Meanwhile, six citizens were injured when terrorists fired rocket shells on a number of neighborhoods in Homs and its countryside.

An official source told SANA that four citizens got injured by the shells near al-Berr Hospital in al-Waar neighborhood, causing considerable damage to the area.

Other two citizens were injured with by rocket shells in al-Zahra neighborhood in Homs city, the source added.

Three other rocket shells fired by terrorists fell in Ein al-Dananeer village, causing material damage to the area, according to the source.

in the same context, a citizen was martyred and others were injured by a rocket fired by terrorists on al-Ensha’at neighborhood.

A citizen wounded by terrorist’s bullet in Harasta

A citizen was injured by terrorist’s bullet near the water establishment in Harasta in Damascus Countryside.

A source at the Police Command told SANA that a terrorist sniper targeted a bus for transporting people near Harasta water establishment, causing the injury of the driver who was admitted to a hospital for treatment.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/22/508355.htm

3 martyred, scores injured in terrorists’ shells in Damascus Countryside and Homs

Provinces, (SANA) – Terrorists’ mortar shells on Tuesday struck residential houses, claiming the lives of three citizens and injuring 11 others in Jaramana city in Damascus Countryside.

A source at Damascus Countryside Police Command said that three mortar shells fell on a car in al-Bassel Street, causing the martyrdom of two citizens and the injury of 6 others.

Two other shells landed near al-Rihan restaurant and caused material damage to the residents’ properties.

The source added that a sixth shell fell in the entrance of Jaramana city, killing a citizen and injuring 5 others, in addition to damaging a number of cars in the site.

Two more shells fell in al-Rawda neighborhood in Jaramana where several schools are located, striking the schools of Nazih Munzer and Fayez Saeed and injuring one teacher and 14 students who sustained wounds of varying severity, in addition to causing material damage to the two schools.

Another mortar round fell near the entrande of al-Ajyal kindergarten in al-Mazare’a street, causing no injuries.

Six injured in Homs by terrorists’ rocket shells

Meanwhile, six people got injured when terrorists fired rocket shells on a number of neighborhoods in Homs and its countryside.

An official source told SANA that four citizens got injured by the shells near al-Berr Hospital in al-Waar neighborhood, causing considerable damage to the area.

Other two citizens were injured with by rocket shells in al-Zahra neighborhood in Homs city, the source added.

Three other rocket shells fired by terrorists fell in Ein al-Dananeer village, causing material damage to the area, according to the source.
http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/10/22/508355.htm

Terrorist attack on gas pipelines causes electricity break off in many regions

Damascus, (SANA)- Electricity Minister Imad Khamis on Wednesday said that a terrorist attack on the gas pipelines which feed the electricity generating stations has causes electricity break off in a number of Syrian cities.

The Minister said in a statement to SANA that the maintenance workshops are working to mend the defect and restore electricity to the Syrian regions.
http://sana.sy/eng/24/2013/10/23/508716.htm

FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE LONDON “FRIENDS OF SYRIA” MEETING

London 11 Final Communiqué

The London 11, the Core Group of the Friends of Syria, met in London on the 22 October to discuss Syria. The London 11 consists of: Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Representatives of the leadership of the National Coalition also attended the meeting. – Source

Results of meeting in London attempt to revise key elements of the Geneva Communiqué

The London 11: the Core Group of the Friends of Syria.

The London document of the so-called ‘core’ of the Group of Friends of Syria is an attempt “to exert pressure on Brahimi to anticipate the outcome of his diplomatic efforts,” spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Aleksander Lukashevich said on Wednesday.

“We cannot but pay attention to the fact that the London document was adopted during a Middle Eastern tour of U.N. and LAS Joint Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, who was to discuss the preparation to Geneva-2 with all parties concerned according to the Russian-U.S. initiative,” the diplomat noted. “The attempt to exert pressure on the special envoy and anticipate the outcome of his diplomatic efforts is obvious,” he added.

“Before the London meeting we were talked into the debates to hold exclusively on the basis of the Geneva communiqué,” he noted. “However, they got far beyond the framework of this document as well as the Russian-U.S. initiative of May 7, 2013, to convene an international conference on Syria. Meanwhile, the intentions to rewrite the Geneva communiqué for their own political needs concerned those provisions that do not suit the supporters of the so-called unappeasable Syrian opposition most of all,” he noted.

“The London document is contemplated as an attempt to predetermine the results of Geneva-2, which should be a matter for negotiations in absolutely another format – within political dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition to attain mutual accord between them about the future of their homeland,” Lukashevich stated.

“The London document sets as the main goal to change the incumbent authorities in Damascus, the National Coalition is defined as the only representative of the Syrian people, declares the threat to use ‘all variants’ to influence on the violators of the London decisions,” the diplomat said. “This is a badly hidden threat to get back again to the scenario of the use of military force that is absolutely unacceptable. In defiance of the provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 groundless accusations are brought again against the Syrian authorities that they had used the chemical weapons,” the Russian diplomat said.

“All this is happening in the conditions, when our Western partners try hard to ensure the participation of opposition structures in an international conference proposed by Russia and the United States under ‘the umbrella’ of the National Coalition,” Lukashevich said. There is an impression that the London document pursues the goal to provoke Damascus to try to foil Geneva-2, shouldering responsibility from the opposition on the Syrian authorities,” the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

“We believe that the Syrian National Coalition should participate in the negotiating process, but we proceed from the assumption that the parameters of this participation should be proportionate to its influence in the Syrian society and its role not only abroad, but primarily in Syria. There are no reasons to say that the coalition is ‘the only legitimate representative’ not only of the Syrian people, but even the whole opposition,” the diplomat stated.

“All issues related with the Syrian resolution should be, as it is envisaged in the Geneva communiqué, approved by the U.N. Security Council, should be a matter of negotiations between the incumbent authorities and a broad representative opposition,” Lukashevich noted again. He pledged that Russia “is prepared to continue the targeted work to settle the crisis in Syria on the basis of the Geneva communiqué and the previously reached agreements, including between Russia and the United States and with the participation of other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. general secretary regarding the steps to convene an international conference.”

“We will proceed from this supposition at scheduled preparatory meetings in Geneva on November 5-6,” the Russian diplomat said. Meanwhile, he noted that “the foreign players can only help bring the parties to the conflict to the negotiating table and settle organizing issues.”

“The problems of the essence of Syrian settlement may be overcome exclusively by the Syrians, through the search for mutual accord and without imposing any recipes from outside,” the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Itar-Tass


ALSO SEE:
“FRIENDS OF SYRIA” TYRANTS DICTATE SYRIA’S FUTURE PATH
THE YINON DOCUMENT: THE ZIONIST AGENDA FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
THE GREATER MIDDLE EAST PROJECT
THE SABAN-BROOKINGS PLAN FOR REGIME CHANGE IN SYRIA – CRITICAL READING

“FRIENDS OF SYRIA” TYRANTS DICTATE SYRIA’S FUTURE PATH

SEE >> FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE LONDON “FRIENDS OF SYRIA” MEETING


Friends of Syria or Friends of Imperialism?

By Stephen Gowans

The Friends of Syria—an 11 country coalition ranged against the Syrian government—favors what it calls a “democratic” transition in Damascus. There are multiple problems with this.

The coalition says that the current president, Bashar al-Assad, must have “no role in Syria.” How odd that an ostensibly democracy-promoting coalition should dictate to Syrians who it is who can’t be president of their country, rather than democratically leaving the question up to Syrians themselves.

Equally strange is that half of the coalition members do not support democracy in their own countries. Five of the 11—nearly one-half—are not, themselves, democracies, but are monarchies and emirates (Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) and one, Egypt, is a military dictatorship.

The formal democracies that make up the coalition’s other half—the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey—are not promoting democratic transitions within the territories of their coalition partners, limiting their intervention to Syria alone.

Yet, while Syria has hardly conformed to the Western model of a multi-party democracy, it is not at all the undemocratic dictatorship it has been made out to be. It is not, for example, a Saudi Arabia. It has a parliament. It is anti-colonial and anti-imperialist. And parts of the state, much to the annoyance of the US State Department, remain committed to socialist goals. Presidential elections are scheduled for 2014. Any Syrian, so long as he or she meets minimal basic criteria, is free to run. If Syrians don’t want Assad, they’ll be free to toss him out then.

On the other hand, coalition member Saudi Arabia is a family business. The Saud family calls the shots. There’s no chance they’ll be tossed out in elections, since they’ll never have any. If Washington were truly interested in cobbling together “Friends of” coalitions to promote democratic transitions in undemocratic countries, it would have long ago put together a Friends of the Saudi People group.

Not that the United States ought to be ranging the globe, foisting its brand of democracy on others. Rather, its selective commitment to democracy promotion (only in countries not under its thumb but not in satellite states), speaks volumes about what US foreign policy is really about—and just how far removed from a meaningful democracy the US version is.

Equally fatal to the idea that the Friends seek democracy in Syria is this: one of its number, Egypt, is ruled by a government installed by the military, after it ousted a democratically-elected government. The charge that Syria’s Assad has to go because he is killing his own people (insurgents) hasn’t stopped the Egyptian military from killing demonstrators who call for the restoration of their elected government. They deserve the appellation “pro-democracy protestors” more than do the Islamist insurgents who used turmoil in Arab countries to inspire a return to jihad against the secular Arab nationalists in Damascus.

And what of the coalition’s formal democracies? All are former colonial powers. They cared not one whit about democracy when they held the greater part of humanity in colonial thrall, including the people who lived in what is modern day Syria. By their actions and duplicity, they’ve revealed themselves to care as little about democracy in the Arab world as they did when four of them (the Turks, Italians, British and French) ruled Arabs by edict from afar.

Six former colonial powers in a coalition with five tyrannies, telling Syrians who they can’t have as president, supporting a group of exiles who wait in the wings for the signal to traipse onto the Syrian stage as Washington’s marionette, is hardly the picture of democracy-promoters. If you believe otherwise, then democracy is nothing but a euphemism for imperialism, an emotionally appealing word tossed around as a cover for the very negation of what the Friends of Syria profess to seek.

 

SYRIAN ARMY ENGAGES IN FIERCE CLASHES WITH MILITANTS, SAUDI ISIL EMIR KILLED

Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with Militants, Saudi ISIL Emir Killed
Local Editor

 

Syrian Arab ArmyViolent clashes continued between Syrian army units and the opposition armed groups in a number of rural areas of Damascus Wednesday, Al-Manar TV correspondent reported.

The fiercest battles focused on the checkpoint near Tameco Pharmaceuticals in Mleha area, located on the outskirts of Jaramana city which was exposed to mortar shells by militants and left several killed and injured.

In Latakia northern countryside, army units attacked armed groups, some of them were of Arab nationalities, during a military operation in the village of Al-Kabir.

In Homs, the Syrian army engaged with the gunmen while they were sneaking into the village of Sadad, inflicting them heavy losses.

In the meantime, al-Qaeda-affiliated the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) terrorist group announced the killing of one of its Emirs in al-Raqqa province.

The opposition Facebook pages confirmed the death of the Saudi Abdullah Ibrahim, nicknamed “Abu Talha”, one of ISIL Emirs, during clashes with the Syrian army in Raqqa.

The Syrian national military launched a wide-scale military operation in May 2013 in the country’s main provinces to restore security and release citizens from terrorist threats.

Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the Syrian government accuses foreign actors, mainly the Saudi Arabia and Turkey, of orchestrating the conflict by supporting the militant opposition groups with arms and money.

 

Source: Al-Manar

WAR ON SYRIA ALSO AIMED AT LEBANON

By Joyce Chediac

New York City — Mohammad Kassem is a longtime trade union leader in Lebanon, and a fighter for the sovereignty and independence of the people of his area of the world. On a recent trip to the U.S., he had much to say about the union struggle in Lebanon, the root cause of the fighting in Syria, the character of the groups allied against the Assad government, and the impact of this fighting on Lebanon and the region.

Lebanese Teachers’ Union stages militant strikes

Among his many credentials, Kassem is former general secretary of the Lebanese Teachers Union, and a member of the Lebanese Trade Unions Coordinating Committee. He explained that in Lebanon, religious sectarianism is built into the government, and most trade unions are controlled by different political parties.

In marked contrast, the 30,000-strong Lebanese Teachers Union is the only union that has organized across the 17 different religious groupings, encouraging unity between peoples. The five work stoppages and demonstrations it staged over the past year — which brought out as many as 50,000 people in the streets — won major salary increases in a country where inflation runs at 130 percent.

The union has also taken positions opposing government corruption, International Monetary Fund and World Bank control of the Lebanese economy, and cuts to schools and health care. It supports increasing taxes on the rich and lessening taxes on the poor.

Lebanon polarized, destabilized by Syrian fighting

Kassem explained: “Historically, Lebanon and Syria were part of the same country” until they were divided by Britain and France, the colonial powers, in the 1916 Sykes Picot Treaty. “So, Lebanon is deeply affected by what happens in Syria.”

A country of only 4.5 million people, Lebanon now hosts 2 million Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting. Kassem continued: “Lebanon can’t afford the cost of maintaining them. Employment, health care, housing is not being provided. Some Syrians and Lebanese are competing for jobs. The refugees’ willingness to take less money is exploited by companies.”

He explained that the Lebanese economy “has been destabilized and is in a coma — no tourism, no trade.”

The conflict in Syria has further polarized Lebanon politically. On the one hand, elements in the March 14 Alliance, advised by the Gulf states and the U.S., are funding some of the most extreme opposition groups in Syria. On the other hand, Hezbollah supporters fighting in Syria on the side of the government there, “have kept open a strategic area from Damascus to the sea, stopping the opposition from attacking coastal areas and the capital.”

Kassem blames the suffering in Lebanon and Syria on the U.S. and the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, “which paid $20 billion to $30 billion for military actions against Syria, and which fund the opposition to Assad based outside the country and pay for their conferences in 5-star hotels all over the world.

“Most of Lebanon feels that the threat to Syria is a threat to Lebanon. … The opposition has declared openly that first it will topple Assad and then it will move to Lebanon and dispose of Hezbollah.” [Based in Lebanon’s Shia community, Hezbollah is the leading group in the Lebanese resistance against Israeli aggression. It is highly respected for liberating southern Lebanon from Israeli troops in 2000, after 18 years of occupation, and for forcing the Israeli Defense Force from Lebanon after it invaded in 2006.]

Opposition blocked agreement on reforms in Syria

For the decade prior to the fighting, the Assad government adopted a neoliberal economic program, privatizing much of the economy and discontinuing government subsidies of food and fuel. Kassem said, “Before conflict began in Syria, I felt there should be certain reforms and freedom in Syria — improving social conditions of the people and keeping the subsidies for those in need, especially in the countryside.”

Kassem explained that the “real” opposition began to raise these issues. “I felt the government and opposition should negotiate. I felt the Syrian president and a group of his leading team did begin this discussion. Some of these reforms were adopted by the government — in elections, constitutional reforms, political freedoms and organization.

“But the American-Israeli-Gulf objective was to obstruct this agreement. Groups backed and financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and supported politically by the U.S. and Israel, encouraged certain groups of the opposition to reject these reforms and replace the call for reforms with a call for toppling the president.

“As a result of the involvement of NATO powers and the Gulf regimes in Syria, the real opposition, which refuses any outside intervention in their internal struggle … has lost all power.”

Objectives of U.S. and Gulf client regimes

“The Gulf regimes are autocratic and monarchical regimes without democratic rights. In Saudi Arabia, women can’t even drive cars. These regimes felt threatened. What if groups and individuals within their countries asked for their rights as the Syrians were doing? This is why they intervened,” explained Kassem.

Because of the “Syrian government’s stands against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and of Lebanon,” the U.S. felt that “Syria should be punished.” The main objective of the U.S. in this alliance is to fight Syria as a first step in a domino effect that will also end the Lebanese resistance and [the government in] Iran, which supports both the Syrian government and the Lebanese resistance.

Far from helping the Syrian people, Kassem stressed, “The end result of this U.S., NATO and Gulf intervention is the current situation where most of the military opposition to Assad — al-Qaida, al-Nusra Front, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — are ready to cut throats and eat hearts.” These groups, called Takfiri in the Arab world, feel justified in killing those who do not subscribe to the narrow beliefs of their group.

West and Gulf states created Syrian religious fighters

“This is not political Islam,” Kassem said. “I am for the right of everyone to choose their own religion. But there are red lines you can’t cross — forcing others to believe in your belief, killing people who don’t believe in your belief.

“The Koran says that God is there for all. I am against any form of Takfiri. No one has the right to judge the belief of others. No one has the right to deprive anyone of his right to believe.

“The people recruited for these groups have been taken advantage of. They are brainwashed to think that if they believe in God, they have nothing to lose. This is abusing poor people, as more than 80 percent [of the ranks of the Takfiri] are poor, unemployed or ex-prisoners

He continued: “The CIA is using these groups. The CIA supported fundamentalist groups to fight in Afghanistan. Later, these forces opposed the CIA. …

“When the Islamist revolution took place in Iran, the undemocratic Gulf states felt threatened, and encouraged and financed [Takfiri] groups that oppose any form of change.

“After Israel lost battles in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008-2009, a new spirit of Muslims began to emerge opposing occupation and U.S control of the world. The Gulf states tried to counter this by fomenting strife between sects — Sunni vs. Shia.”

Kassem called the charges against the Syrian government of using chemical weapons false, and an excuse for intervention: “I can assure you that chemical weapons were used by the opposition. They had access to places where the regime kept these weapons. In Turkey, some fighters were captured carrying sarin gas.”

US CONTINUES TO AIM FOR REGIME CHANGE

By David Sole and John Catalinotto

In a reversal of its usual role, Human Rights Watch on Oct. 11 released a report that exposed and condemned rebel groups fighting against the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria.

The HRW’s board is heavily biased toward investment bankers and analysts. Most of its international reports have been directed at governments that are out of favor with U.S. or Western imperialism. In this case, however, the HRW is exposing the role of groups that have been fed and armed by the U.S. and its NATO and Gulf monarchy allies.

“Armed opposition groups in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and seized over 200 as hostages during a military offensive that began in rural Latakia governorate on Aug. 4, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today [Oct. 11]. At least 67 of the victims were executed or unlawfully killed in the operation around pro-government Alawite villages.

“The 105-page report, ‘You Can Still See Their Blood: Executions, Indiscriminate Shootings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside,’ presents evidence that the civilians were killed on Aug. 4, the first day of the operation. Two opposition groups that took part in the offensive, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, are still holding the hostages, the vast majority women and children. The findings strongly suggest that the killings, hostage taking, and other abuses rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.

“‘These abuses were not the actions of rogue fighters,’ said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. ‘This operation was a coordinated, planned attack on the civilian population in these Alawite villages.’”

It wasn’t just the extremist jihadist rebel groups that carried out this operation. BBC.com reported on Oct. 11 that U.S.-backed Gen. Salim Idris, leader of the “Supreme Military Council,” admitted at the time that troops from his “Free Syrian Army” participated alongside the others in this terrorist slaughter.

Whether or not HRW’s report reflects a shift in the imperialists’ propaganda tactics toward Syria, whose government forces have successfully pushed back the armed opposition forces in recent months, it does expose some of the crimes the “rebels” have already committed.

Chemical weapons destruction

On Oct. 8, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced it was sending a second team to Syria. In September, Syria agreed to a Russian proposal that would allow internationally supervised destruction of its estimated 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, and the U.S. retreated from its threat to risk a wider war by bombing and rocketing Syria.

Though they had no proof, Washington and some NATO allies blamed the Syrian government for using chemical weapons on Aug. 21. The Syrian government blamed rebel groups for the attack that killed hundreds of people.

In the next eight months, the OPCW aims to identify and destroy Syria’s stock of chemical agents. It reported the first batch eliminated on Oct. 6. This ambitious task is complicated by the widespread fighting going on across Syria between the government troops and imperialist-backed opponents.

Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has praised the Syrian government’s cooperation in this effort. The U.S. government statements and corporate press reports have become subdued since August and September’s orgy of 24/7 war-drive propaganda.

Then, a U.S. naval armada was brought to the coast of Syria. Targets for cruise missiles and fighter planes were identified. U.S. ground troops were already in place in both Turkey and Jordan.

Mass public opinion worldwide resisted the hammering with war propaganda. In England, Parliament voted against Prime Minister David Cameron’s motion to join the U.S. attack. French public opinion turned against the government’s backing of an attack on Syria.

U.S. opinion polls reflected nearly unanimous opposition to any new war. Facing a possible defeat even in Congress, President Barack Obama backed away from massive bombing and accepted the Russian proposal.

While much of the world breathed a sigh of relief, Washington still publicly calls for regime change in Syria. Even the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria can serve U.S. interests. These weapons were developed and stockpiled not to fight rebel groups that sprouted up only since 2011, but to counter the very real Israeli war threat.

The U.S.-financed settler state of Israel has waged six wars against all of its Arab neighbors since its founding, all subsidized by Washington. Israel also has a huge nuclear weapons arsenal and chemical weapons stocks, including white phosphorus bombs that it used flagrantly in attacking civilians in Gaza in 2008-2009. Destroying Syria’s chemical weapons reduces Syria’s self-defense capabilities should Israel attack.

People in the U.S. should note, however, these two developments: the admission by the media of the terrorist nature of the Syrian rebel groups and the overnight retreat of the media’s tone of whipping up war fever. They expose the cooperation between the imperialist politicians and their corporate media. Only a public that is educated and independent of capitalist ideology can avoid media manipulation and effectively resist aggressive imperialist wars in the future.


ALSO SEE:
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: EXTREMISTS FINANCED BY GULF DONORS CARRY OUT KILLINGS IN SYRIA
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT: “YOU CAN STILL SEE THEIR BLOOD”

SAUDI PRICE FOR GENEVA II PEACE TALKS – HEZBOLLAH OUT OF SYRIA!

Saudi Price for Peace: A Lebanese Government of Our Choice

Riyadh hopes to form a government that would ultimately pressure Hezbollah to pull its forces out of Syria, which is currently the monarchy’s overwhelming priority. (Photo: Reuters – Hussam Shebaro)

By Ibrahim al-Amin
October 22, 2013

Saudi Arabia may reluctantly consent to supporting the Geneva II conference on Syria in November – but at a cost: Riyadh wants to impose a Lebanese government of its own liking in order to get Hezbollah out of Syria.

The UN’s special Syria envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, is still waiting to get an appointment with the Saudis as he makes the rounds in the region to prepare for the Geneva II talks. Visiting Saudi Arabia is critical for the envoy’s mission to succeed. Brahimi knows that without Riyadh’s support, the peace conference is unlikely to make much headway.

Brahimi may be reassured that the United States and Russia have gone so far as to set a date for the talks, but the man who has a long history of dealing with complicated negotiations is pragmatic enough to know that the cooperation of regional powers like Iran and Saudi are critical to achieve the task at hand.

With Turkey, Qatar, and Egypt softening their stance toward the Syrian regime, the UN envoy is trying to lay the groundwork for the Geneva talks by focusing on three levels. On the international level, he has been given the blessing of the two main world powers – the US and Russia. On the regional level, Iran has welcomed his efforts, with Saudi still holding out. And finally, on the internal Syrian front, he has mended fences somewhat with the regime, as he tries to cobble together a credible delegation that would represent the opposition.

Brahimi realizes that the warring sides may push for an escalation in order to gain territory or score a victory in advance of Geneva II. In particular, the opposition’s American and Saudi backers want to put a stop to the regime’s recent gains on many fronts by focusing their forces on the capital. Riyadh, for example, has been reinforcing its militias’ presence in the western suburbs of Damascus as well as the mountains that run along the northern border of Lebanon.

Washington says it is doing all it can to convince the Syrian opposition and its regional supporters to back Geneva II, trying to find a way to offer the Saudis – who feel that they have the most to lose from entering negotiations with the Bashar al-Assad regime – something in return for their participation in the peace conference. Many indicators suggest that Riyadh wants to be rewarded in Lebanon, in the form of imposing a government of their choosing.

That’s why we are hearing talk in Lebanese political circles, particularly among those under Saudi influence, that a government will finally see the light of day before Lebanon’s Independence Day on November 22. Riyadh hopes to form a government that would ultimately pressure Hezbollah to pull its forces out of Syria, which is currently the monarchy’s overwhelming priority.

But the Saudis are unaware of the risks involved in such a venture. They may realize that all sides to the Syrian conflict are moving in the direction of a political resolution and compromise, but they are also aware that the concessions being asked of them are greater that those demanded of any other party to the crisis. The problem is that their March 14 allies in Lebanon are in such a weakened state, that a sectarian cataclysm may be necessary to reverse their losses and allow them to carry out their Saudi mission.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


ALSO SEE:
GENEVA II NEWS

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. | The Baskerville Theme.

Up ↑

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,696 other followers