Saturday, 7 July 2012

Russian Defense Ministry Official: Turkish Aircraft Downed in Syrian Waters was on NATO Intelligence Mission

Jul 07, 2012

MOSCOW, (SANA) – Chairman of the Social Council at the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Korotchenko, said that the Turkish aircraft downed in the Syrian territorial waters had violated Syrian airspace on an intelligence mission for the NATO aiming at measuring the capabilities of the Syrian anti-air defenses.

In an interview with Russia Today, Korotchenko said that the Syrian defenses showed high skills in downing this aircraft, stating that this shows that Syrian air defenses can confront any threat.

He said that this is quite important as the west will think deeply about undertaking aerial operations against Syria in the future because it realizes that the losses in planes and pilots will be very significant.

Korotchenko said that Russia has documented information on the infiltration of the aircraft which confirm the truth about the aircraft's mission and its crew's orders, adding that the aircraft was destroyed legally as it was within the Syrian airspace.

He said that the aircraft was conducting espionage and photo reconnaissance of important site, and that the Turks didn't anticipate that the Syrian anti-air defenses will be able to down this aircraft due to its high maneuverability and low altitude, expecting it to return safely to base after finishing its mission.
Korotchenko said that Turkish intelligence sought to obtain information about Syria's anti-air defenses for the benefit of NATO, and that the efficiency of these defenses were proven which constitutes a blow to the Turkish air forces due to this failure.

He also refuted the Turkish officials allegations regarding this incident, saying that Turkish diplomacy is making considerable efforts to appear innocent and lay full blame on Syria.
H. Sabbagh

President al-Assad: Borders with Turkey Changed into Borders for Smuggling Arms and Terrorists into Syria
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The Non-Alligned Movement Summit in Tehran: A Political Wedge to US-NATO Plans to Isolate Iran

Global Research, July 6, 2012

While the United States, Israel and their European allies are pulling out all the stops to isolate Iran over its nuclear program, the upcoming meeting of the heads of state of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran seems to be throwing a spanner in their works.
The Non-Aligned Movement, the rotating presidency of which will be conferred to Iran on August 26, is a major international organization comprising 120 member states that represent the political, cultural, economic and social interests of the developing world.
The movement which consists of two thirds of the UN member states was established in 1961 in Belgrade and despite the fact that the majority of its members are developing nations, many of them play a defining and determining role in such strategic regions as the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America.
Over the past weeks, Iranian President has been sending envoys to different NAM member countries to invite their heads of state and government to attend the forthcoming summit in Tehran. The latest NAM summit was held in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh from July 11-16, 2009 and Tehran will host representatives from 120 countries in the forthcoming gathering.
Now, Iranian officials expect that a great number of the member states will attend the summit in high levels and it goes without saying that the presence of so many officials from different world countries in the conference which will be hosted by Tehran may not be pleasant and favorable to those who want to see Iran’s regional dominance and international influence derailed.
NAM enjoys remarkable capacities for shaping a new global order based on respecting the rights of the developing nations which are more often than not treated indecorously by the hegemonic powers. With the active cooperation of the member states, NAM can realize its innumerable potentialities and extricate itself from the domination of the superpowers that are usually after exploiting the precious natural resources of these countries.
The Non-Aligned Movement is said to be the largest international organization after the United Nations and it has the capability of effectively influencing the international developments if its member states take its mechanisms seriously and are convinced that their participation in the process of decision-making and collaboration will help them have a say in the global political and economic equations. They can assist each other in diplomatic lobbying in important events such as the UN General Assembly, selecting the non-permanent members of the Security Council and making decisions in the UN Human Rights Council as well as contributing to the progress of entities such as the African Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Although non-association and non-alliance with the Western and Eastern superpowers is a characteristic feature of the members of the movement, emerging superpowers such as China, Brazil and Mexico serve NAM as observing members. Moreover, countries such as India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa which have strong ties with the United States and are members of the G20 group (the bloc of 20 world major economies) are among the NAM member states.
Iran’s presidency over such a prominent international organization comes while the European Union has just put into effect its intended oil embargo against Iran, banning the European states from importing oil from Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer. At the same time, the United States has imposed a fresh round of sanctions against Iran’s banking sector, penalizing the foreign banks which have financial transactions with Iranian counterparts.
The United States, Israel and Europe are pressing Iran on multiple fronts so as to isolate the country and undermine its regional clout: from propagating falsehood and mendacity about Iran and Iranians in the mainstream media to launching malicious cyber attacks against the computers operating in Iran’s nuclear facilities, passing anti-Iranian resolutions in the UN Security Council, relentlessly murdering the country’s nuclear scientists, imposing hard-hitting financial sanctions and beating the drum of war.
However, Iran has persistently and determinedly has tolerated all the hardships and now is foiling the mischievous plots one after another.
The upcoming NAM summit in Tehran is an invaluable opportunity for Iran to show its diplomatic prowess and demonstrate that it’s impossible for the bullying powers and their stooges to isolate it.
Although it’s an unwritten convention that not all the heads of state will take part in such summits as NAM, it can be predictable that the important event which will take place with the participation of several high-ranking officials from different world countries will mark the spring of Iranian diplomacy and a backbreaking blow to those who want to find Iran isolated, secluded and fragile. The event will unquestionably testify that Iran has not become that lonely and friendless country which the United States and its lackeys want.

Kourosh Ziabari is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Kourosh Ziabari
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Supporting Resistance, Not Regime

Published Thursday, July 5, 2012
Though far outnumbered by supporters of the Syrian uprising on the one hand, and Third Wayers who reject both the opposition and the regime on the other, a significant minority of Arab leftists, nationalists and even Islamists have sided with the Assad regime’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-GCC onslaught being waged against Syria.
I will articulate the position of this “resistance camp,” which is closely identified with Hezbollah’s position on Syria, and explain the rationale behind its controversial and unpopular position.

It is important to clarify here that this position is not synonymous with those who support the Assad regime per se or with those who support it for reasons unrelated to anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist considerations; as its name suggests, it is a position which is defined primarily by the prioritization accorded to the liberation of Palestine and, more generally, the liberation of the region from imperialism, and Assad’s value to both of these objectives.

This position is underpinned by a resistance logic or rationality – a way of thinking which, to borrow Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s words “views events in the region through the [lens of] the Israeli issue…how it evaluates threats and dangers, how it acts and what it considers opportunities.” In the case of Syria, this resistance rationality “takes a step back from the details and looks at the bigger picture,” to quote Nasrallah again. And the bigger picture is one that prominently features the US and Israel as they relate to the struggle for Syria’s political identity and foreign allegiances.

Assad’s ouster serves US-Israeli interests

While some have argued that Israel and the US would prefer that Assad remains in power, as it is easier to deal with the “devil you know than the devil you don’t,” their active political and military support for elements in the Syrian opposition – support which predates the establishment of the SNC and FSA by several years as revealed by leaked US embassy cables published by Wikileaks – in addition to their official rhetoric, has proven the reverse.

Assad and Powell in May 2003
Indeed, the ideal case scenario for both imperialists and Zionists is one involving an eviscerated, submissive and hence, manageable Assad. But given that the regime has refused to capitulate to US-Israeli longstanding demands to relinquish its support for resistance movements and divorce itself from Iran, its overthrow is viewed as the next best scenario.
Former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the Knesset, Tzachi Hanegbi, acknowledges that the Syrian crisis represents a great opportunity for furthering Israel’s interests: “Events in Syria will have a more decisive impact than those in any other Arab country,” in thatthe ouster of the Syrian president would significantly improve Israel’s strategic situation.” The collapse of the Assad regime would strike “a major blow to the radical axis” said Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. In so doing, it would drastically alter “the entire balance of forces in the region” as elaborated by former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevi.
Halevi continues:
Iranian-sponsored terrorism would be visibly contained; Hezbollah would lose its vital Syrian conduit to Iran... Hamas fighters in Gaza would have to contemplate a future without Iranian weaponry and training; and the Iranian people might once again rise up against the regime…
In a similar vein, Washington envisages Assad’s downfall as “the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years” and the most efficient means for cutting off Iran’s lifeline to Hezbollah, according to General James Mattis, commander of US forces in the Middle East.

Such strategic benefits for the US and Israel outweigh any risks and uncertainties surrounding Syria’s future, and specifically, the role of Islamists in shaping it. Echoing Nasrallah’s assertion that “There is a consensus in Israel that any alternative in Syria is better than Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” Halevi declares “the way things are at present, any replacement of Assad is better.”

This assessment is also shared by a number of Israeli officials including Israeli president, Shimon Peres who described Assad on Israeli Channel 2, as the worst there can be” of all alternatives, as well as by Barak in his CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour.
As contended by Hanegbi, fears of Sunni Islamists wreaking havoc on Israel’s doorstep were completely unfounded as it was “more likely that Assad’s successors will first seek to sideline the devoted supporters of the hated duo, Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad.” Like Hanegbi, Halevy also envisages a post-Assad Syria that is dominated by a “moderate” and Empire-friendly Sunni Islamist force who “won’t come to power in order to launch an effort against Israel.”
Such predictions do not appear far-fetched when one considers former head of the SNC Burhan Ghalioun’s assurances to his foreign sponsors that one of the first orders of business for a post-Assad government would be breaking the exceptional relationship” between Syria and Iran and Hezbollah. Israeli and US assessments are further substantiated by the very public and well-documentedsemi-official contacts between various members of the SNC and Israel.
Even if the Syrian opposition figures collaborating with Israel belong almost exclusively to the foreign-funded, externally-based opposition, the fact remains that the uprising as a whole enjoys the support of the same array of forces who backed Israel and urged it to finish off Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in winter 2008/2009. It is for this reason that the US- Israeli-NATO-GCC- backed Syrian insurrection is viewed by the resistance camp as an extension of both of these wars against resistance movements, and an attempt to “reintroduce” the “New Middle East” project “through other gates” such as Syria, to cite Nasrallah.

In effect, to support Assad’s overthrow is to align oneself, whether by accident or design, on the same side of the trench as oppressive and reactionary powers. Given that justice is almost always situated in diametric opposition to wherever imperialism and Zionism stand on a given issue – considering that both forces are the clearest embodiments of injustice – such an alignment can never be dismissed as an undesirable coincidence or as strategically benign.
While an infrequent occurrence, one can conceivably share a political interest with the US or Israel without allowing either power to benefit from the convergence itself. One such example is the overthrow of Iran’s longtime enemy, Saddam Hussein, by the US, which clearly benefited the Islamic Republic. But despite the shared interest in his removal, the strategic objectives of the US in Iraq did not require Iran’s shared interest in Saddam’s ouster for their fulfillment. In fact, many in Washington lamented the extent to which Iran was empowered by Saddam’s overthrow, even before control of Iraq fell into Iran’s hands after the US withdrew the bulk of its troops.

By contrast, if resistance forces were to share the Empire’s interest in toppling Assad, they would directly play into its hands as his overthrow is conceived as a means for divorcing Syria from the resistance axis and for weakening Iran and resistance movements. In this connection, the resistance camp’s abandonment of the lynch-pin of the resistance front would only expedite US-Israeli strategic designs on the region and undercut the resistance project in Lebanon, Palestine and beyond.

Moreover, considering that the US-Israeli scheme requires a weakened Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Palestine axis for the fulfillment of its strategic objectives, the resistance camp’s forsaking of the Assad regime would be tantamount to political suicide on its part and hence, a de facto handover of the Levant to the Empire on a silver platter.

The Uprising is Not a Revolution

From the resistance camp’s perspective, it is precisely this US-NATO-Israel-GCC line-up supporting the uprising which renders it far less a popular revolution than an insurrection that is bankrolled by petrodollars and piloted by the Empire.

Although there is an acknowledgement that part of the opposition is a legitimate, homegrown movement which views its revolution as having been “hijacked” by these foreign powers and their Syrian proxies, the logic of resistance dictates that any cause hijacked by Zionism, US imperialism and Arab “moderation” effectively stops being a just cause and becomes somebody else’s reactionary and imperialist agenda.
Furthermore, having the leader of the world order on one’s side surely means that the “revolution” will be only used to perpetuate that world order – in other words, it will only serve as a counter-revolution to thwart any genuine attempts to redress the vast political and economic imbalances which characterize the prevailing global status-quo.

As such, leftists who support the Syrian opposition cannot, by any Marxist definition, consider themselves part of a Gramscian counter-hegemonic “war of position” when they are aligned with the same position as the hegemonic powers.

This would remain the case even if we were to assume hypothetically that the opposition enjoys as much popular support as the regime does and was led by the working class. As underlined by David Fennell in his illuminating essay on counter-revolution in Libya, “Marxism understands that a thing is determined by the totality of the forces acting in it.” Fennell goes on to quote Lenin’s definition of totality as one which takes account “of all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses operating in a given country’.”

In other words, when formulating a political position, an analysis of the working class’ situation alone does not suffice, but must involve all social contradictions, with special emphasis on social contradictions which occur on the world system’s level.
Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is a Lebanese academic and political analyst. She is author of the book, “Hizbullah: Politics and Religion”, and blogger at ASG’s Counter-Hegemony Unit.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

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Israel warns Lebanon of total destruction in new war

An Israeli soldier prepares to fire tear gas canisters at demonstrators. Photo: AFP – Musa Al-Shaer)
Published Friday, July 6, 2012

A senior Israeli general threatened Lebanon with destruction on Thursday, saying the military was prepared for a "very violent" war should conflict spark on the border.

Brigardier-General Hertzi Halevy, commander of the IDF's 91st Division, told local Israeli media that any attack by Israeli forces would leave Lebanon more badly damaged than in the 2006 war, when Israel killed over 1,200 Lebanese and destroyed much of the country's infrastructure.

"Lebanon will sustain greater damage than that done during the second Lebanon war," Haaretz quoted Halevy as saying, referring to the 2006 attack. "The response will need to be sharper, harder, and in some ways very violent.”

Israel's aerial bombardments of heavily populated areas such as Gaza and Beirut have been heavily criticized by rights groups and the UN, drawing claims of war crimes.

Referring to a UN report led by Richard Goldsmith, which concluded that Israel carried out a string of human rights abuses in its 2008-09 bombardment of Gaza, Halevy said war "cannot be nice."

“After the Goldstone Report, people in the international community and in Israel thought that battle in a densely populated area could be carried out in a nicer way. It cannot be nice. Without the use of great force, we will find it difficult to achieve our aim, and the enemy should also know that," he said.
Halevy's provocative comments come a week ahead of the sixth anniversary of the 2006 war, with the general adding that Israeli forces should enter Lebanon with great force and wreak havoc in villages.
Israel and Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah have exchanged warnings in recent months, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah saying in May that his group had the ability to strike any target in "occupied Palestine."

"Today, we are capable of not only striking Tel Aviv as an area, but also capable of striking specific targets in Tel Aviv and any place in occupied Palestine," he said.

Halevy's remarks also come after Israel destroyed one of its own spying devices in south Lebanon on Monday after it was discovered by Hezbollah.

Lebanese security sources said an Israeli drone fired an air-to-surface missile, while Hezbollah said the device was destroyed using a remote-controlled explosive.

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Hezbollah to McCain: Lebanon Neither US Protectorate Nor Banana Republic

Local Editor

Hezbollah denounced as a flagrant interference in Lebanon internal issues the call made by the US senator John McCain to establish a “safe zone” in the north of the country.

Hezbollah Media Relations issued a statement in which the party said: “The call from Merab by the US Senator John McCain to establish a buffer zone in north Lebanon, is a flagrant violation to Lebanon’s sovereignty and an impudent interference in its internal issues.”
Hezbollah said that the buffer zone would be “a springboard to interfere in Syria’s affairs,” adding that this interference “totally contradicts” with Lebanon’s policy, declared by the Lebanese government, to distant itself from the Syrian crisis.
john mccain “As Hezbollah considers these remarks a practical translation to the US interfering policy… it call on the specialist official authorities to raise their voices against this intervention, and to say to Washington that Lebanon is neither a US protectorate nor a banana republic.”

McCain on Thursday told Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea there was a “need to establish a safe zone” in north Lebanon.

“I have always underlined the need to support the Free Syrian Army that needs weapons… we need to offer a safe zone for the [the Free Syrian Amy] and the Syrian resistance for it to organize its affairs,” McCain said from Geagea resident in Merab.
Source: Hezbollah Media Relations
06-07-2012 - 18:44 Last updated 06-07-2012 - 21:13 |
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Israel marks its 2006 defeat by threatening Hizbullah


On July 5, 2012 – the Israel Occupation Force’s northern command held a press conference to mark the six year of its military defeat. The IOF Generals used the conference to issue new threats to Lebanese Islamic Resistance, Hizbullah, whose less than 2000 guerilla-fighters defeated 32,000 Jewish soldiers equipped with world’s most deadly weapons in Summer 2006.
Brigadier-General Harzi Halevy, commander of the IDF’s Galilee Division, has claimed that IOF is better prepared to crush the Resistance in the third Lebanon war.
The next war, he added, will see the IDF “Strike with full force. We will have to go inside (Lebanon) and wreak havoc – not as punishment, but because that is where the (Hizbullah) enemy is,” threatened Halevy.
We will kill 13 of every 15 enemy soldiers, so that two will be left to tell their commanders what happened,” an IOF officer boasted.
Another IOF egomaniac warned Hizbullah not to retaliate in the even of an Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic. He also advised Hizbullah to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as he is about to be taken down by Israel’s allies.
He also invoked the Goldstone Report in order to scare Lebanese. In the report, South African Zionist Jew judge Richard Goldstone blamed the IOF for conducting indiscriminate attacks on 1.5 million Gazans, resulting in the loss of life and injury to civilians.
The damage caused to Lebanon by a new conflict with Israel will make Goldstone pale in comparison – because Hezbollah has chosen to make the most cynical use of civilian population centers.”
Israeli leaders are very concerned with the calm in Lebanon as compared to the on-going foreign supported bloody insurgency in Syria, Bahrain, Libya and the rise of Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan. They interpret it as a sign of Hizbullah’s immense grip over Lebanese government and the Armed Forces.
Two years ago, retired Israeli Gen. Giora Eiland, former national security adviser to former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, had admitted on Army Radio: “Israel does not know how to beat Hezbollah”. Netanyahu who boasted in February to ‘wipe Lebanon off map’, – had said in 2009 that Hizbullah is Lebanon’s real Army.
Lebanese celebrated the 12th anniversary of liberation of South Lebanon from the Jewish army and its Lebanese Christian collaborators Philangists on May 25, 2012, which is declared a National Day (‘Resistance and Liberation Day’) by the current Sunni prime minister Najib Mikati. In his speech on the occasion, the leader of Hizbullah, Sheikh Nasrallah compared Hizbullah’s liberation of South Lebanon through military resistance against the Zionist entity with Egypt’s recovery of Sinai via humiliating Camp David Agreement.

We all know how Sinai was restored to Egypt via Camp David Agreement. It returned with Israeli conditions. Today there is problem faced by the Egyptian authority in Sinai: the number of soldiers allowed to be there, the number of policemen as well as the quality and quantity of arms allowed to be in there,” said Nasrallah.
The achievement in Lebanon is that the entire land was restored to the Lebanese sovereignty. Today, the Lebanese government is the one who decides the number of army battalions and brigades it dispatches there as well as the kind of arms. No one has the right to discuss and object. It may be present over any span of land in the south. It does not need permission from Israel or the United Nations or anyone in the world. That means the return of sovereignty over this land. Well, this is an achievement also – a tangible achievement,” he added.
Full English translation of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s speech in Arabic can be read here.
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“No Matter How Sanctions Intensify, Syria Won’t Change Stance”

Local Editor

As he said that the borders with Turkey have become borders of smuggling arms and terrorists, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed that Damascus would not change its stance despite the intensified sanctions.assad interview turkish daily
In part four of an interview with Turkish daily Cumhurieyt, the Syrian leader said: “These borders (Turkish) have turned into borders for smuggling arms and infiltrating terrorists into Syria."

When asked for how long Syria could stand up in the face of the very influential blockade decisions on it, the President stressed that "Since we have rights, since we have dignity and since we are patriots, no matter how intensified the sanctions get, they will not make us change our stances."

He added that issue "is not one of selling principles for money, food or foreign aid, otherwise we would have to justify the attitude of any corrupt person who sold his honor for money, and this is categorically unacceptable for us in Syria in principle and form the moral perspective."

The President dismissed as untrue claims that Syria was exploiting the existing crisis between it and Turkey to provide support to the Kurdistan Labor Party, that has escalated its military operations over the past period, through allowing it to operate on the Syrian territories near the border with Turkey.
He attributed this way of thinking to those who have the habit of treachery and think the same way of other people, stressing that "treachery is not of our values," and that security priorities in a country become different when this country is facing troubles as the situation cannot be perfectly controlled and the movement of any group becomes easier.

"I believe if there was a security disorder in Turkey now, it is because of the Turkish government's policies, and [Turkey] wants to lay responsibility upon others," President Assad told the Cumhurieyt, according to state news agency, SANA.

Asked on his vision of the Kurdish issue on the regional level, President al-Assad said "We have to believe that the power of the homeland or the power of nationalism lies in its variety…ethnic, regional and cultural diversity."

He added that the problem is that some of the cultural components in the region were exploited for political goals as they were put in conflict with the national or nationalist interest.
Source: Agencies
06-07-2012 - 17:30 Last updated 06-07-2012 - 17:30
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Friday, 6 July 2012

Bemused !

Clinton: for Syria Sanctions under Chapter 7, Russia, China to Pay Price

Local Editor
As she urged an UN resolution on a transition in Syria backed by sanctions, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Russia and China would pay a price as the two nations were “holding up progress” in Syria.
"We should go back and ask for a resolution in the Security Council that imposes real and immediate consequences for non-compliance, including sanctions under Chapter 7," which covers economic measures to military force, Clinton said.
Talking at the so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris, she called on the 100 nations and organizations in the conference to "reach out to Russia and China" to demand that they "get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."

Taking a tough tone, she said she thought the two nations did "not believe they are paying any price at all for standing up on behalf of the regime" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear, that Russia and China will pay a price. They are holding up progress, blockading it. That is no longer tolerable," Clinton said.

But she 'praised' the “progress” that had been made, saying there is "a steady, inexorable march towards ending this regime."

She also 'condemned' countries at the meeting who had agreed to work towards helping the Syrian people, but who were not imposing sanctions, allowing Assad to stay in power.

"What is keeping him afloat, is money from Iran and assistance from Russia and the failure of countries here to tighten and enforce sanctions," she said.

"You cannot call for transition on the one hand and give the government a free pass on sanctions on the other."
Source: AFP
06-07-2012 - 14:16 Last updated 06-07-2012 - 15:02


German Joke: Russia Offers Assad Asylum

Local Editor
Russian Foriegn Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed on Thursday that some of its Western partners had asked Moscow to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asylum but said it had dismissed the idea as a joke.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the idea was first raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her June 1 talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin.
"Our side thought this was a joke and responded with a joke – how about you, the Germans, take Mr. Assad instead," Lavrov said during a joint press appearance with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.
Lavrov said he was "quite surprised" when the idea was raised again during a meeting of Western and regional powers on the crisis in Geneva on Saturday.
"While discussing the subject of Syria, I heard them say they were convinced that we would take him and thus resolve all the problems of the Syrian people," Russia's top diplomat said.
"This is either a dishonest attempt to deceive serious people involved in foreign policy or a misunderstanding of the facts."
Russia has previously rejected the idea of hosting the Syrian strongman while refusing to say whether it had actually been approached on the subject by the West.
Putin himself was forced to dismiss such speculation just days after his election to an historic third term in March.
Lavrov once again argued that any attempts at forced regime change were doomed to end in even greater violence.
"Yes, the regime bears the main responsibility. And governments bear the main responsibility for ensuring the security of their people," said Lavrov.
But those who seek regime change in Syria "ignore the fact that we are not talking about a few dozen people -- as they tell us we are -- but a very large part of the Syrian population that ties its security to the current president," he stressed.
Source: AFP
06-07-2012 - 14:31 Last updated 06-07-2012 - 14:31 |

‘Friends of Syria’ Talks Meet in Paris

Local Editor
"Friends of Syria" meet in Paris; July 6, 2012The United States is set to call for tough new U.N. sanctions against President Bashar Assad and his regime figures, as over 100 Western and Arab nations meet Friday in Paris for "Friends of Syria" talks.

However, key Syria allies Russia and China -- which both hold U.N. veto rights -- are not attending, which belies the claims of changing attitudes in Moscow.
The Paris meeting follows a gathering in Tunis and another in Istanbul, both of which called in vain for tougher action against Assad's government.

China did not attend either of those meetings, in which the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Arab nations Saudi Arabia and Qatar led a group of more than 60 members, including most EU states and many Arab League nations.

The United States will lead calls at the Paris talks for a tough new U.N. sanctions regime to be imposed on Assad, Washington officials said Thursday.

Speaking as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Paris for the Friends of Syria meeting, one official said it was time "to put this all together under a Security Council resolution that increases the pressure on Assad, including having real consequences" such as economic sanctions.

"We believe most of the countries represented in Paris, and think that has to include Chapter 7 economic sanctions on Assad," the official said aboard Clinton's plane and asking to remain anonymous, referring to a clause within the U.N. charter.

The chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which allows for sanctions ranging from economic measures to an arms embargo - and if necessary military force - was last used against Libya last year. But it could be highly controversial at the U.N. Security Council, given Russia and China's veto powers.

Paris talks will include a condemnation of the repression and an announcement of "concrete measures" to put pressure on the regime and to support the people and the opposition, a Western diplomatic source told Agence France Presse.

China backed Russia at talks in Geneva last weekend, insisting that Syrians must decide how the transition should occur, rather than allowing others to dictate their fate, and did not rule out Assad remaining in power.

The West insists that Assad should not be part of any new unity government and the Syrian opposition rejected the Geneva talks as making concessions to Damascus under pressure from Russia.
Source: AFP
06-07-2012 - 14:34 Last updated 06-07-2012 - 14:34

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Farewell Sectarian Sheikh

by Daniel Mabsout
Saturday, June 30th, 2012
The last thing we heard about Sheikh Ra’ed Salah was the differences he had with the British authorities. Lately the sheikh- A.K.A. the Sheikh of al Aqsa, and who takes pride in his Palestinian identity has fallen in the pit of Sectarianism siding with the enemies of Syria and calling on the Syrians to overthrow their president after achieving which they are to liberate the Golan and then Jerusalem.

It seems -according to our Sheikh -that it is Bashshar al Assad -who has been in post for a decade only -who is standing as an obstacle to the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem and once Bashshar removed, Palestine shall be free from the river to the sea, forgetting that the only Arab land that has been liberated ie the Lebanese south was so because of Syria’s support and protection of the Lebanese Resistance.

The Sheikh as a matter of fact was not joking, he was serious in his call thinking that the Arab hired armed thugs at the payroll of the prince of Qatar and who busy in slaughtering families will rush to answer his call and will be the next morning heading to Jerusalem with the sheikh ready to receive them.

There is no doubt that the sheikh during his last activities in Italy and on the Mavi Marmara and in England and whom we think is affiliated to many NGOs has been promoting himself as a prominent religious figure to be used like any useful NGOs in several schemes that serves Israel and the western establishment.
We say farewell to the Sheikh of sectarianism and of NGOs who deceived us for many years by giving the impression that he was defending the Aqsa and Palestine while he was promoting his little self & NGOs. NGOs are one thing and liberating Aqsa and Palestine is another thing, but since he has made his choice we can bid farewell to the sectarian sheikh.
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Canadian Church warned over Israel boycott


Nine Canadian Senators have warned the United Church of Canada that its report calling for the boycott of goods from illegal Israeli Jewish settlements will further divide country’s Jewish and Christian communities. The nine pro-Israel Senators are members of the United Church of Canada and represent the ruling Conservatives and opposition Liberal parties in the Senate. However, they’re not elected by the Canadian voters but were appointed by successive governments to serve certain lobby groups.
The controversial 26-page report was prepared by a three-member panel headed by Rev. David Giuliano after 12-day visit to the Holy Land in February 2012. During their visit the Christian working group met the representatives of Palestinian, Israelis, Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities in Israel and the West Bank. Israeli authorities did not allow them to visit Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.
The report do legitimizes Jewish occupation of Palestine; calls it a “Jewish State”, a “democratic country” – and condemns “demonizing” Israel and “armed resistance” against Israeli occupation – and comprehensive boycott of Israeli good. However, it also try to shows the so-called “Christian conscience”:
Simply put, Israel is maintaining a harsh occupation that must end to peace can emerge. The occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis. The occupation is being implemented by a democratic country and sustained and supported by western governments, icluding Canada,” says the report.
It seems the writers of the report were either ignorant of the Israel’s political and social landscapes or were affraid to report the truth lest labeled as ‘Jew haters’. For example, Israel is not a “Jewish state’ in practice as most of its leaders are confessed atheists and the great majority of European Jewish settelers hate their fellow Arab and African Jews. Furthermore, there are 350,000 Russian Jews who are not allowed to receive rabbis’ blessings because they cannot prove that they’re born to a Jewish mother.
The claim that Israel is a democracy, is even rejected by the famed Israeli columnist, Gideon Levy, who has called Israel half a democracy in his column in Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

What sort of democracy is this, if exactly half the state’s residents don’t benefit from it? Indeed, can the term “democratic” be applied to a state in which many of the residents live under a military regime or are deprived of civil rights? Can there be democracy without equality, with a lengthy occupation and with foreign workers who have no rights? And what about the racism?,” wrote Gideon.

However, the above little mention of Israeli occupation (Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem) has angered the country’s Jewish lobby groups. Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said boycotting goods from settlements amounts to delegitimization of Israel.

The report will be discussed at the 41st General Council of the United Church of Canada to be held in Ottawa on August 11-18, 2012. Until then, the Church followers are free to buy as many kosher goods produced in Israeli settlement as they want.

The United Church of Canada is the country’s largest Protestant denomination with 650,000 members and 2.5 million followers.
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Israel Likely Killed Arafat

by Stephen Lendman
My PhotoCredible information on Arafat's death surfaced years ago. It wasn't natural. Evidence suggests he was assassinated. Israel most likely was responsible. More on that below.
Al Jazeera provided new information. On July 4, it headlined "Arafat's widow (Suha) calls to exhume his body," saying:
"A nine-month investigation suggests that the late Palestinian leader may have been poisoned with polonium."
"Eight years after his death, it remains a mystery exactly what killed the longtime Palestinian leader."
"Tests conducted in Paris found no obvious traces of poison in Arafat’s system. Rumors abound about what might have killed him – cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, even allegations that he was infected with HIV."
"A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera has revealed that none of those rumors were true: Arafat was in good health until he suddenly fell ill on October 12, 2004."
Arafat's personal belongings were examined. They included his clothes, his kaffiyeh and toothbrush. Polonium traces were found.
In 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the substance. Laboratory exposure killed their daughter Irene. Marie died from symptoms related to radiation exposure.
Science Daily calls polonium a "rare and highly radioactive metalloid." It's chemically similar to tellurium and bismuth. It's found in uranium ores. 
It's "around 109 times" more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. Its main hazard is radioactivity. It's "most lethal when ingested" or inhaled.
Evidence showed that polonium caused former Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko's 2007 death. In November 2006 he was hospitalized. Three weeks later he died.
He became the first known polonium-210 victim. Acute radiation poisoning killed him. Tests found traces in his tea cup. Polonium is hard to detect because it doesn't emit gamma rays.
It emits only alpha particles. Normal radiation detectors don't recognize them. Hospital equipment only detects gamma rays.
Ingesting or inhaling alpha particles causes significant radiation damage. Special equipment is needed to recognize them.
Switzerland's Radiophysique (SR) analyzed Arafat's belongings. Blood, sweat, saliva and urine samples were obtained. Tests showed abnormal polonium levels in his body when he died.
SR director Dr. Francois Bochud said:
"I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids."
As a result, Arafat's widow, Suha, asked Palestinian Authority (PA) officials to exhume his body. If bone, tissue, and/or other bodily evidence substantiates SR's diagnosis, conclusive proof of his poisoning will be confirmed.
"I know the Palestinian Authority has been trying to discover what Yasser died from," she said. "And now we are helping them. We have very substantial, very important results."
In 2004, Abbas was complicit in a coverup. Suha's hopes may go unfulfilled.
Known polonium poisoning deaths are rare. Scientific consensus on its symptoms is lacking. Litvinenko suffered from diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting. Arafat exhibited the same ones.
Animal studied found similar symptoms. A US 1991 study said:
"The primary radiation target….is the gastrointestinal tract. (It) activat(es) the 'vomiting centre' in the brainstem."
SR scientists found Arafat's belongings contained abnormally high polonium levels.
It's present atmospherically. Natural amounts accumulating on bodily surfaces barely register. They dissipate rapidly. Polonium-210 found on Arafat's belongings has a 138-day half life. It means half the substance decays around every four and a half months.
SR said "(e)ven in case of a poisoning similar to (Litvinenko), only traces of the order of a few" millibecquerels would be found.
However, Arafat's belonging had much higher levels. Further tests "concluded that....between 60 to 80 percent (of the polonium) was 'unsupported.' " It means it didn't come from natural sources.
SR scientists ruled out official or suggested causes of Arafat's death. Lausanne University Institute of Legal Medicine director Dr. Patrice Mangin said:
"There was no liver cirrhosis, apparently no traces of cancer, no leukemia. Concerning HIV, AIDS – there was no sign, and the symptomology was not suggesting these things."
HIV specialist Dr. Tawfik Shaaban agreed there was no evidence of the disease.
Lausanne doctors wanted to study blood and urine samples taken when Arafat was hospitalized at France's Percy Military Hospital. His wife Suha requested them. She was told they were destroyed.
"I was not satisfied with that answer," she said. "Usually a very important person like Yasser" would require they be kept. Something suspicious was involved.
Doctors who treated him were told not to discuss his case even with Suha's permission. It was considered a "military secret." Most of his former Cairo and Tunis doctors refused interview requests.

Did Abbas, Dahlan conspire to murder Arafat?
Perhaps official coverup of his true cause of death is why.
It's now up to PA officials to exhume him. Abbas may block credible efforts. He's a longtime Israeli collaborator.
PLO official Saeb Erekat said two committees will be formed to investigate his death. PA ministers will comprise one. The other will include Fatah central committee members.
Key is whether efforts will be pro forma or real. Will a credible autopsy be performed? If so, will full disclosure follow?
Qaddoumi: Abbas, Dahlan involved in poisoning Arafat
Most important is that if evidence proves Arafat was murdered, will efforts be made to assign blame?
Key also is that sending bone, tissue and/or other bodily samples to reputable labs abroad requires Israeli permission.
Expect it to be denied. Doing so would raise obvious suspicions that Israel wants potentially incriminating evidence suppressed.
It had clear motive and opportunity. Mossad has a long history of targeted assassinations. It uses many methods including poison.  
Attempts don't always succeed. In 1997, Mossad agents failed to kill Hamas leader Khaled Mashal by spraying poison in his ear in Amman.
Hamas' Mohammad al-Mabhouh wasn't as lucky. In January 2010, he was found dead in his Dubai hotel room. Initially it was believed by natural causes.
Investigation determined he was injected with succinylcholine. It's a quick-acting depolarizing paralytic muscle relaxant. Motor skills are lost instantly. He apparently died from suffocation. Mossad agents were named responsible.
In his book titled "Gideon Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad," Gordon Thomas provided chilling examples of how it uses biochemists and genetic scientists to develop lethal agents.
They include nerve, choking, blood, and blister agents. Tuban is used. It's virtually odorless and invisible when dispensed by aerosol or in vapor form. Various other substances are used to kill.
Effective ones do it efficiently and covertly. They leave behind minimal evidence. None is ideal. They try to leave those responsible unidentified. Mossad's long history reveals a legacy of state-sponsored assassinations. 
For now, Suha said:
"We got into this very, very painful conclusion, but at least this removes this great burden on me, on my chest." 
"At least I’ve done something to explain to the Palestinian people, to the Arab and Muslim generation all over the world, that it was not a natural death. It was a crime." 
In January 2007, this writer's article headlined "Former Longtime Confidant Accuses Ariel Sharon of Assassinating Yasser Arafat." 
Uri Dan was close to Sharon. In 2006, his book titled "Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait" accused him of assassinating Arafat by poison. 
He claimed George Bush approved it. At the time, he was under siege at his Ramallah compound. Israel destroyed most of it. 
Israeli and Washington officials wanted Arafat removed and replaced. They succeeded. On November 11, 2004, he died in Paris. He was 75.  
In early October he took ill. On October 29, he was flown to France's Percy Military Hospital for treatment. Doctors examining him couldn't determine why. 
On November 3, he slipped into a coma. Eight days later he was dead. French doctors prepared a 558-page report. They claimed he died of complications from a blood disorder. 
They described what they called "disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)." It causes malignancy and infection, they said.  
They claimed his blood vessels exhibited small clots. They deplete platelets and clotting factors needed to control bleeding. It can cause death by hemorrhaging.  
They also called DIC a secondary condition. In other words, it wasn't the main cause of his illness or death. Something else was responsible. They left that issue unanswered. 
At the time, this writer said: 
"He may have been the victim of a slow acting....hard to detect poison somehow administered to him inside his West Bank compound from which no cure was possible at least once (he) arrived in Paris." 
Nothing was done to determine precisely what killed him. His longtime personal physician was suspicious. Dr. Ashraf Al Kurdi said Abbas blocked an autopsy. 
"They didn't want to do it," he said. "When you talked to them about an autopsy they would get fits. (Abbas) said it would disturb relations with France." 
Kurdi called this "stupid." In suspected criminal cases, autopsies are mandatory. Given the strong possibility that Arafat was poisoned, failure to determine cause of death was unconscionable. 
French doctors would have conducted a thorough autopsy unless ordered to back off. If performed, it wouldn't have contradicted Islamic law. 
Autopsies are permitted as long as performed as soon as possible after death and respect the deceased. Under normal circumstances, Muslims wish to bury their dead quickly. They also prefer to avoid embalming unless necessary. 
On November 11, 2004, Arafat died. On November 12, he was buried beside his Ramallah compound. The ceremony was hurried. It didn't follow customary Islamic religious rites. 
Chief Palestinian religious authority Sheikh Taissir Tamimi ordered Arafat disinterred for proper reburial on November 13. 
In April 2005, Dr. Kurdi was interviewed by He discussed Arafat's "stealth assassination," saying: 
"If someone (of the Islamic faith) dies of unknown causes, it is mandatory to have an autopsy - mandatory. They know the regulations. Here in Jordan, bodies have been exhumed in criminal cases....I suspect Arafat died of a 'killing poison'....The death was due to this." 
He said unfounded rumors claimed he died from HIV/AIDS. He conducted tests before Arafat died and dispelled them. He also said he had no longstanding health problems except a benign tumor. It caused a slight tremor in his lips and hands. It was not life-threatening. 
Overall he was in good health. He saw Arafat on the 16th day after his illness became serious. It was shortly before he was flown to Amman then on to Paris. 
During his last examination, Kurdi noticed what he believed to be signs of poisoning. Arafat had a reddish patch on his face and a metallic yellow coloring to his skin. 
Before flying to Paris, he saw him one more time in Amman. He'd lost half his body weight. Reddishness and metallic yellow coloring were prominent. He was sure he'd been poisoned and was dying. 
Fourteen months earlier, then Israeli Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli radio after a cabinet meeting: 
"How are we going to" remove Arafat? Expulsion is certainly one of the options, and killing is also one of the options." 
He'd been held captive in his Ramallah compound for 18 months. Supporters believed Israel wanted to kill him. Arafat addressed them saying: 
"(S)hould the terrorist Sharon regime realize its threat to deport me, or assassinate me, the Palestinian people will continue, and even strengthen, the fight for national liberation and the independent statehood." 
From his earliest days as PLO Chairman and President, Arafat went from enemy to ally back to enemy. Agreeing to Oslo got him a 1993 White House signing ceremony. He and Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin shook hands. 
In July 2000, "permanent status" talks followed. Bill Clinton hosted Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David. 
Barak insisted Arafat sign a "final agreement" and declare an "end of conflict." Doing so would have renounced any legal claim to Palestine land. 
Nothing was put in writing. No documents or maps were presented. Barak wanted Palestinian land divided into four isolated bantustans surrounded by expanding settlements and other Israeli controlled territory. 
He offered terms Arafat had to refuse. No responsible leader would have agreed. They demanded unconditional surrender. Peace hopes would have been dashed.  
He turned the deal down and was unfairly blamed. It very likely led to his death by assassination.
In February 2001, when Sharon became prime minister, he ended negotiations until George Bush's fake "road map" to nowhere. 
Peace talks always ended up tragedies and travesties. How could Palestinians negotiate in good faith without a willing partner. They never had one and don't now with Netanyahu. 
It shouldn't surprise if indisputable evidence proves Sharon assassinated Arafat. Israel targets all Palestinians it wants removed this way when other methods fail. 
Arafat likely fell victim. Betting odds favor it. Hopefully one day we'll know for sure.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at  
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" 
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!