Monthly Archives: May 2013

UK and France plan to arm Syrian rebels despite opposition from EU, Russia and Amnesty International

The UK and France, acting on Obama’s orders, have deliberately spoiled any chance of an agreement with EU partners on renewal of current EU embargo on arms to Syria. This means that when the EU embargo ends (1st June) each EU country will be free to pursue its own course of action regarding sending arms to Syrian rebels and of course, in the case of the UK and France, we know what that means. All EU other EU countries and Russia, as well as bodes such as Amnesty International, oppose arming the Syrian rebels on the grounds that it can only reduce the chances of a successful political solution and increase the violence and suffering for innocent civilians

US pushes Europe to amend arms embargo on Syrian rebels)

Syria Rebels ‘Committing War Crimes’, Amnesty Urges Caution Over Arming Opposition

Russia says EU lifting Syria embargo hurts chances for peace

EU failure will allow UK, France to arm Syrian rebels

Reuters) – Britain and France are free to supply weapons to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad from August, after attempts to renew an EU arms embargo on Syria failed on Monday.

After a marathon negotiating session in Brussels, EU governments failed to bridge their differences and let a ban on arming the opposition expire, with France and Britain scoring a victory at the expense of EU unity.

Britain and France have made a commitment not to deliver arms to the Syrian opposition “at this stage,” an EU declaration said. But EU officials said the commitment effectively expires on August 1.

The refusal of London and Paris to go along with the arms embargo could have caused the collapse of all EU sanctions against Syria, embarrassing the EU and handing a victory to Assad. EU ministers managed to avert that by agreeing to reinstate all of the restrictions except for the arms embargo on the rebels.

EU sanctions on Syria that will remain in place include asset freezes and travel bans on Assad and senior Syrian officials, as well as curbs on trade, infrastructure projects and the transport sector.

London and Paris have argued for months that Europe must send a strong signal of support for rebels fighting Assad by allowing EU arms deliveries, even though they say they have not decided yet to actually supply arms.

But they ran into strong opposition from other EU governments, led by Austria and Sweden, which argued that sending more weapons to the region would increase violence and spread instability.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the EU meeting had effectively ended the EU’s arms embargo on the Syrian opposition.

“While we have no immediate plans to send arms to Syria, it gives us the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate,” Hague told reporters.


London and Paris were seeking to increase the opposition’s leverage in planned U.S. and Russian co-sponsored peace talks expected next month by raising the prospect they could supply arms to the rebels if the political process made no headway.

The debate has gained urgency because of military gains by Assad’s troops and allegations of chemical weapons use.

French newspaper Le Monde published first-hand accounts on Monday of Syrian forces loyal to Assad having repeatedly used chemical weapons against rebel fighters in Damascus.

But while a number of member states softened their opposition to amending the EU arms embargo and said they could back a compromise, Britain was unyielding in the talks, diplomats said.

“The British didn’t give an inch,” one diplomat said.

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said he regretted it had not been possible to find a compromise with Britain and France.

Spindelegger said the Austrian government would now discuss what to do about its 380 soldiers patrolling the U.N. ceasefire line on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria. Vienna has said in the past it might have to pull them out if the arms embargo was eased.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, sought to repair any damage to the bloc’s image, saying Monday’s decision did not mean the EU has lost the capacity to “have a common policy.”

“What it does mean is there is a recognition that in trying to establish how best to support the people of Syria, countries will want to make some decisions (on their own),” she told reporters.

Even if Britain and France decide to supply arms to the rebels, they will have to authorize any shipments on a case-by-case basis and follow safeguards to ensure no equipment lands in the wrong hands.

(Additional reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, Claire Davenport, Rex Merrifield in Brussels, Yesim Dikmen in Istanbul; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Bill Trott)

How the BBC is still spinning lies and myths about the Iraq war

How the BBC is still spinning lies and myths about the Iraq war.

As a participant in BBC Newsnight special, “Iraq – 10 Years On“, I found myself feeling slightly miffed at the lack of real debate on the crucial issues.

On the one hand, Newsnight presented a number of narratives of the war and its aftermath as ‘fact’, which are deeply questionable. On the other, there were no serious, factually-grounded criticisms of the war, despite a diverse panel which included people who did not support it.

MYTH 1. Sectarian violence has increased in postwar Iraq because sectarianism has always existed in Iraq, and the removal of Saddam allowed it to erupt

One of the first Newsnight bloopers started with a short introductory clip from John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor.

Amongst other things, Simpson talked about the rise of sectarian Sunni-Shi’a violence in postwar Iraq, and argued that while Saddam’s regime had clamped down on sectarian divisions, regime change effectively unleashed those previously suppressed divisions and allowed them to worsen.

This was the first of many oversimplifications about the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq. The reality, as pointed out on the show by my colleague in the audience, anthropologist Professor Nadje al-Ali, is that prior to the war, genericsectarian antagonism was unheard of in Iraqi society. Although Saddam’s regime was unequivocally sectarian in its own violence against Shi’as and Kurds, as a mechanism of shoring up the Ba’athist regime, Iraqis did not largely identify in sectarian terms. As one Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad noted:

UN Report on Syria: Based on Witness Accounts….. OUTSIDE of Syria. Humanitarian concerns “dressing up” the military conquest of Syria.


UN Report on Syria: Based on Witness Accounts….. OUTSIDE of Syria

Humanitarian concerns “dressing up” the military conquest of Syria.
by Tony Cartalucci

November 28, 2011 – Wall Street and London’s media machine eagerly churned out headlines like BBC’s “Syria security forces ‘commit crimes against humanity‘” announcing the conclusions of a recent UN Human Rights Council report regarding the ongoing violence in Syria. However, even upon reading the BBC article it is soon discovered that, “the investigation team members say they were denied entry into Syria itself,” and that the entirety of their “evidence” is garnered solely from interviews with “223 victims, witnesses and also army defectors to investigate alleged human rights violations.”

BBC’s article raises immediate suspicion over the veracity of the report, as “victims, witnesses, and defectors,” interviewed outside of Syria is not evidence, but rather more hearsay by groups of people with a vested interest in painting the Syrian government in the worst light possible. However, upon actually reading the full text of the UN Human Rights Council report, we see just exactly “how” the report was compiled. Under a section titled, “Methods of Work” we find a shocking admission of the utter lack of substance and immense conflict of interest behind the UN’s predetermined conclusion, that Syria is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and that the UN Security Council must act.

The report states (emphasis added):

“First-hand information was collected through interviews with victims and witnesses of events in the Syrian Arab Republic. The interviewing process began in Geneva on 26 September 2011. Overall, 223 victims and/or witnesses, including personnel who defected from the military and the security forces, were interviewed.

A public call was made to all interested persons and organizations to submit relevant information and documentation that would help the commission implement its mandate. It held meetings with Member States from all regional groups, regional organizations, including the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders, journalists and experts. Reports, scholarly analyses and media accounts, as well as audio and visual material, were also duly considered.

The information collected is stored in a secure database governed by United Nations rules on confidentiality.”

Quite obviously this is not an investigation, nor is the information provided within the report “evidence” by any stretch of the imagination. The report would go on to admit that it received no cooperation from the Syrian government meaning that this publication by the UN is but a one-sided exercise to provide the worst possible image of the Syrian government as told by opposition groups now on record fully armed, foreign-backed, and trying to seize power by force.

The New Great Game Round Up : May 19, 2013

The latest on ‘The Great Game’ i.e. global domination plans of the west


The Great Game Round Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. This week we start with a story which was widely covered in the mainstream media:

US ‘spy’ Ryan Fogle expelled after CIA refused to stop recruiting, say Russians

He was caught while allegedly attempting to convince an FSB agent focused on fighting terrorism in the troubled north Caucasus to work for the CIA.

Russia highlighted that this is not an isolated case:

FSB Officer Complains of Repeated CIA Infiltration Attempts

“Over the past two years we have been observing persistent attempts by the CIA to recruit employees of Russian law enforcement and security agencies,” the man said, with his face concealed and his voice altered to protect his identity, adding that in January a CIA officer had been expelled from Russia.

Next I want to draw your attention to new information about the main suspect in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, [emphasis mine]:

Senior BBC official insists that all of Jerusalem is an “Israeli” city

Senior BBC official insists that all of Jerusalem is an “Israeli” city.

Syria: SAA Liberate More Towns – Disturbing Findings

When the terrorists were thought to be winning by their masters in the west, all calls for dialogue and a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis were trashed by the western and regional sponsors of Alqaeda ‘freedom fighters’, but when the tide turned against their agents, everybody is now calling for a ‘peaceful solution’ and a new international peace conference. Syrian state vowed to fight terror and discuss peace based on the facts on the ground. Therefore the Israeli (nuke) raid, the Turkish intelligence bombings in Reyhanieh (Reyhanli), and a chemical weapon craze, now lowered.

In an unexpected location all western mainstream media gives the impression it’s out of the state control, units of the Syrian Arab Army clears a main road, Idleb – Areha road is now safe and cleansed of terrorists and their traces of IEDs – Improvised Explosive Devices. Some of the devices were with remote control and others were wired as part of the ‘humanitarian aid’ Nusra Front terrorists receive from NATO member states.

Video shows Israeli special forces in Syria

Lest We Forget…

Russia sends warships to Syrian coast

Israel grants Golan Heights exploration licence to Murdoch, Cheney, Rothschild energy firm


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Israel has granted a US company a licence to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights in a move likely to stir diplomatic controversy ahead of next month’s visit to the region by President Barack Obama.

The country’s energy ministry confirmed on Thursday that it had given the exploration licence to a local subsidiary of Genie Energy, a New York-listed company whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, is an adviser.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six day war in 1967, but its occupation of the territory is not recognised under international law.

Although the territory has been largely peaceful since 1967, as Syria’s civil war has intensified Israeli officials have expressed concern that Damascus is deliberately seeking to draw Israel into the conflict. Late last year Israeli soldiers fired tank shells across the border after stray mortars landed in the Golan.

Some analysts have linked the timing of the licence award to the situation in Syria. Yaron Ezrahi, an Israeli political analyst, said: “This action is mostly political – it’s an attempt to deepen Israeli commitment to the occupied Golan Heights. The timing is directly related to the fact that the Syrian government is dealing with violence and chaos and is not free to deal with this problem.”

Genie competed for the drilling licence against an unnamed second company which Globes, the Israeli financial newspaper, identified as Ultra Equity Investments.

In accordance with Israel’s petroleum law, the exploration licence covers just under 400 square kilometres. “We applied for an oil and gas exploration licence which may entail drilling,” the US company said on Thursday. “We received notice of the licence yesterday.”

Genie already has an oil exploration and production licence in the Shfela region of central Israel, and a joint venture with Total to produce shale oil in Colorado.

A person close to the process, who asked not to be named, said that the company had submitted its application in August last year, and that the second company applied later.

Genie won the bid based on geological, professional and other criteria, this person said. Details of its bid are not publicly available.

Mr Obama is due to visit Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jordan in late March, at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is under growing diplomatic pressure over its expansion of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Recent natural gas finds off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean have promised to transform the Jewish state into a significant energy power in its region.

The Tamar natural gasfield, which is due to begin producing in the second quarter of this year, is expected to contribute a percentage point to Israel’s projected 3.8 per cent growth in gross domestic product this year. Israel’s offshore gas reserve is one of the largest of its kind in the world and its potential output will greatly exceed Israel’s domestic needs, making the country an energy exporter.

The companies exploiting Tamar and the larger Leviathan field, Noble Energy and Delek Energy, have recently contacted potential customers in Turkey and Jordan who might be interested in taking gas via pipelines.


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