President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said the Palestinians would seek membership in international organizations after Israel failed to release a batch of Palestinian prisoners on schedule.
In a televised speech, Abbas said he had started the process to sign agreements with 15 United Nations agencies and organizations and would pursue joining more.
‘The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention,’ Abbas said after signing the demand.
Egyptian security sources revealed details of a meeting between Egyptian and Israeli military officials which took place two weeks ago.
The same sources uncovered two secret visits by the Egyptian coup leader and presidential hopeful Al-Sisi to Israel in the past two months, in which he met with Israeli PM Netanyahu to coordinate joint security and political issues.
In exclusive statements to Quds Press news agency, the sources said that Netanyahu offered Al-Sisi $80 million support for his presidential elections campaign. He also promised to convince the US to continue military assistance to Egypt, and to convince US President Obama to meet Al-Sisi in return for pressuring Abbas to accept the Jewishness of Israel. Moreover, Netanyahu urged Al-Sisi to pressure Abbas to stop his campaign against Dahlan, because it only serves the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
In the last meeting, the two sides discussed a number of security issues. The Israelis urged the Egyptians to neglect the Dahlan forces present in Sinai, and to coordinate with them for the sake of border security, because of their prior experience in this regard.
A number of Israeli political and security experts warned their government officials not to publicly support Al-Sisi because that would harm his image in the eyes of Egyptians, the source added.
President Shimon Peres warned on Monday that a nuclear armed Iran could lead to ‘another Hiroshima.’
The comments were made during Peres’s meeting in Vienna with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano.
‘It’s time to put the facts on the table and realize that nuclear weapons by the Iranian leadership would be a danger to all humanity,’ Peres said.
‘The implementation of the agreements between the IAEA and Iran are advancing slowly,’ he continued. ‘Iran is trying to gain time and does not comply with the requirements. This has a negative impact on the diplomatic track. Iran continues to enrich uranium and retain the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Additionally, Iran is developing long-range missiles capable of carrying their nuclear warheads.’
‘When it comes to building trust,’ added Peres, ‘actions are important and not words. The IAEA has a mandate to fully ascertain the facts and illuminate the truth about Iran’s actions. Israel has full confidence in your ability to meet the important task fairly and benefit the world.’
Peres suggested that ‘Iran be judged by its record and not by its words and sounds. No one threatens Iran, yet Iran again and again threatens other countries. We do not want to see another Hiroshima.’
“Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”
“I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”
“Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”
“It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”
Today, Official Washington is marching in lockstep just as it did in 2002-03 when it enforced the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD. The latest case is Ukraine where Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of committing “aggression” to expand Russian territory at the expense of noble ”democratic” reformers in Kiev.
Not only is this the dominant storyline in the U.S. media; it is virtually the only narrative permitted in the mainstream press. But the real narrative is that the United States and the European Union provoked this crisis by trying to take Ukraine out of its traditional sphere of influence, Russia, and put it in to a new association with the EU.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Ukraine joining with the EU or staying with Russia (or a combination of the two) – depending on the will of the people and their elected representatives – this latest U.S./EU plan was motivated, at least in part, by hostility toward Russia…
In an exclusive interview with The National, the top White House Middle East policy adviser, Philip Gordon, said that while the US and Saudi and other Arabian Gulf countries may prefer different tactics when it comes to regional challenges, the allies still share fundamental interests and a strong alliance.
“It is perfectly reasonable…for good friends to sometimes have differences over approaches on issues, but the president will stress this with the king: we have much more in common when it comes to our interests than to differences,” Mr Gordon said.
“Defending allies from external aggression, ensuring the free flow of energy supplies, and confronting extremism and dealing with non proliferation – those are our core interests and we believe they are Saudi Arabia’s and our other friends’ in the Gulf core interests as well.”
During his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed to find an “agreement formula” for negotiations with Israel instead of announcing failure of his efforts, a senior Palestinian Authority aide said today.
Kerry met the Abbas in Amman to discuss the peace talks which are wavering and the situation of the release of the fourth batch of the veteran Palestinian prisoners.
Speaking to the local Palestinian news agency Quds Net, Abbas’ aide Mimer Hammad said: “The agreement on the release of the Palestinian prisoners was conducted with the US administration.”
Hammad expects Kerry to phone the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ask him to go release the prisoners. “Extending negotiations beyond the approaching deadline is linked to the release of the prisoners,” Hammad said.
He also said that Israel has to pledge to freeze settlement construction and setting a certain timetable, with international guardianship, to carry out its obligations, including implementing the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.
“The US Administration has not given us any agreement formula so far,” Hammad said. “Kerry is trying to find an agreement formula instead of announcing the failure of his efforts,” he added, “but Netanyahu said he would not stop settlements and we will see what Kerry will do.”
…Americans think “instinctively” they ought help put an end to the civil war, Mr. Scowcroft said in a video interview on WSJ.com… But, he added, “I don’t see how we can help. If we actively participate, as many say, in Syria, then we’re going to own Syria. And we don’t know how to solve the Syrian problem.” Asked whether he is advocating arming rebels or setting up a no-fly zone, Mr. Scowcroft replied, “No, I’m not. This is a very difficult situation. If (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) left tomorrow, it would not be all peace and quiet.”
Instead, he endorsed an effort by Secretary of State John Kerry to work with Moscow, an ally of and arms supplier to the Syrian government, to work out an end to the violence…
And, truly, most Syrians just want a cease-fire, period…
…“To be honest, we’re fed up with these conferences, there have been many … without results. We want a radical solution,” says Saleh, a laborer from Syria’s southern Deraa province.
The efforts by Washington and Moscow to organize a peace conference next month mean little to the 120,000 residents of the dusty camp, where daytime temperatures hover around 40 degrees Celsius.
“We either want to go back or to know what is going to happen to us, we’ve been waiting for so long,” Saleh adds…
Fatigue is etched on the faces of the residents, particularly when journalists ask about the possibility of a conference to discuss a political solution to the conflict which has left more than 94,000 dead since March 2011.
“Why another conference? To agree deals that ignore the blood that is shed by the children? We have no hope for anything,” says Adel, a former car dealer who lost everything when he left Deraa.
For most of the camp’s residents, peace remains nothing more than a dream, and the overriding sentiment is one of abandonment by the international community…
“If they had wanted to do something, they would have done it from the beginning,” says Aziz, another resident…
Now, seriously, Jabhat al-Nusra has no intentions for any sort of Political and/or Religious Resolution…
How has Jabhat al-Nusra become so powerful?
The reason is the weakening of the other groups. Jabhat al-Nusra gets the advantage because of our ideology. We are not just rebels; we are doing something we believe in. We are not just fighting against tyranny; Bashar Assad is only part of our fight. The other groups are only a reaction to the regime, whereas we are fighting for a vision.
What is that vision?
We are fighting to apply what Allah said to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We are fighting so people don’t look to other people but only to Allah. We don’t believe in complete freedom: it is restricted by Allah’s laws. Allah created us and he knows what is best for us.
What future do you see for Syria—or do you even see a Syria in the future?
We want the future that Islam commands. Not a country with borders but an umma [worldwide Islamic community of believers] of all the Muslim people. All Muslims should be united.
Syria has long been known for its sectarian diversity. How do you view the other sects?
The other sects are protected by the Islamic state. Muhammad, peace be upon him, had a Jewish neighbour, for example, and he was always good to him. But the power and authority must be with the believers [Sunnis], not the unbelievers.
What about other Sunnis who are more moderate than you?
We will apply sharia law to them.
Many, maybe most, Syrians do not share your views. Do you care?
It would be great if the Syrians were with us but the kuffar are not important. Abraham and Sarah were facing all the infidels, for example, but they were doing the right thing. The number with us doesn’t matter…
…Some field commanders expected a working plan to come out of the meeting, or tangible support in the form of money or weapons they could return to Syria with. The only support that was offered – 300,000 bullets, an undisclosed number of rocket-propelled grenades and tank shells – was earmarked for the raging battle in the rebel-held city of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border, where government troops backed by fighters from Lebanon’s Shi’ite militia Hizballah were battling to wrest control of the strategically important city.
The participants in the meeting were also reportedly given $5,000 to cover their expenses, much to the chagrin of several of them who said while they appreciated the Saudis covering their costs they had more urgent uses for the donated funds, including medical care for their wounded — and weapons.“I’m in shock, I’m embarrassed to go back to my men empty-handed,” said one. “I need ammunition. It’s always promises, promises, but this time I was hoping for something more from the Saudis. Sometimes the Qataris offer you support immediately“…
…The United States warned Friday that Lebanon’s stability was at risk from the Syrian conflict that has spawned clashes in Lebanon, and condemned the Lebanese militia Hezbollah for sending fighters into Syria, dpa reported.
The mounting deaths in clashes in Lebanon’s port city of Tripoli were symptoms of the broader threat to the country from the Syria conflict, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.
He noted the death toll in the Tripoli clashes had risen to at least 23 in fighting between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The deaths “constitute a stark reminder that the conflict in Syria poses an increasingly dangerous threat to Lebanon’s stability and security,” Ventrell said.
The clashes, which broke out Sunday, saw the use of mortar shells. Schools and most businesses were closed all week.
“Hezbollah leaders’ decision to escalate the group’s role in the fighting in Syria violates and undermines Lebanon’s dissociation policy and risks dragging Lebanon into a foreign conflict, to the detriment of the interests of the Lebanese people,” Ventrell said…
…Erdogan’s accusations against the CHP may be just another round in the slugfest between the AKP and the CHP, but they also tell us the election season in Turkey has officially begun. The next two years will see local, national and presidential elections in Turkey and the parties are already jockeying for position, with Syria clearly emerging as a major wedge issue. In the wake of the Reyhanli bombings, which left many Turks wondering if Ankara’s Syria policy is dangerously drawing Turkey into the Syria quagmire, the Syrian issue has become a domestic political liability for the AKP. That said, The CHP, as its March visit with Assad and Kilicdaroglu’s off-base comparison of Erdogan and Assad shows, has yet to figure out what it means to have a coherent policy regarding Syria or how to use the AKP’s own failures regarding Syria to its advantage.
That RT clip is an object lesson in how obtuse our MSM FP press and/or Think Tank advisers are…!
Consider Judith Kipper‘s bio… Judith Kipper is the adviser for Middle East Programs and director of the Energy Security Group at the Council on Foreign Relations(CFR) and a longtime consultant on international affairs for ABC News… Then, on the other hand you have Flynt Leverett(and Hillary)…!
…It was in this critical spirit that we came to MIT. We left deeply inspired by Prof. Chomsky, an incarnation of that spirit, whose comments were simultaneously powerful, profound, and delightful. One example:
“It’s now sixty years since the U.S. overthrew the parliamentary government in Iran. And since that time, not a single day has passed in which the U.S. hasn’t been torturing Iran, constantly. Jimmy Carter was asked about this, and he said, ‘Well, it didn’t really matter, it’s ancient history.’ Obama’s standard line is, ‘Let’s not look to the past; let’s look to the future.’
That’s a very convenient position for criminals. ‘Let’s forget everything that happened.’ Somehow, victims don’t feel that way. They have memories. You see this all over the world. The victims have memories which the perpetrators don’t know about, or like to forget: ‘It’s all in the past; let’s forget it.’ I think it’s useful to remember a quip of William Faulkner’s, who said, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ And that’s true in this case. For victims, the past isn’t past.”
But, while deeply appreciating the past, Prof. Chomsky is also very much forward looking, telling his audience that Americans have the power to demand different policies from their government. In that regard, we will always treasure Chomsky’s verdict on our book, Going to Tehran, offered at the beginning of his remarks:
“The most important thing I can say tonight is actually very brief. Three words: Read this book. That’s good advice. You’ll find a lot of information that’s not generally available, some that’s not available at all, also very valuable insights and understanding which is sharply different from views in the United States, attitudes in the United States that are so conventional and unchallenged they can fairly be called a ‘party line.’ [You’ll also find] perspectives that may help, if they’re widely enough understood, to halt a very clear drift towards what could be a terrible war.”
…The Russians and Americans agreed during Kerry’s visit to Moscow to set up a conference of international players to end the war in Syria. Moscow wants to involve all the nations which took part in the Geneva conference on Syria last summer, and says without Iran’s participation the conference cannot succeed.
Saudi Arabia and Iran were not involved in the Geneva talks, Lavrov recalled.
“Our American partners blocked Iran, and the Saudis were not invited as ‘compensation’ for the absence of Iran,” Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta to be published on Monday.
“If we admit that Iran has a very solid influence on what is going on, then it is obliged to be represented in the negotiations as a participant in the ‘external ring’ [of neighboring states],” Lavrov said. “I said this to John Kerry. He kind of agreed with this, but said that a number of states in the region were categorically opposed to this.”
All the Syrian opposition groups should be represented in the talks, Lavrov said, including those struggling for a division of Syria.
Syrian president says he welcomed a US-Russian peace initiative to end the civil war. However, it won’t end up in success because of the fragmented opposition, according to the embattled leader…
U.S.-Russian peace initiative to end Syria’s civil war is welcome but not likely to actually succeed, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said May 18, while ruling out any resignation from his post in an interview with an Argentine newspaper.
“To resign would be to flee,” he told daily Clarin when asked if he would consider stepping aside as called for by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “I don’t know if Kerry or anyone else has received the power of the Syrian people to talk in their name about who should go and who should stay. That will be determined by the Syrian people in the 2014 presidential elections,” al-Assad said…
…Egypt’s key opposition bloc has supported calls for President Mohamed Morsi to resign amid continuing protests across the country a day after clashes in the capital Cairo left one person dead and dozens injured, media reported.
According to Saturday’s statement from the National Salvation Front quoted by Al Jazeera, “the Salvation Front completely sides with the people and its active forces’ calls to topple the authoritarian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood’s control.”
The opposition bloc called on Egyptians to hold peaceful protests and demanded a trial for Morsi for “killings and torture,” ruling out dialogue with the presidency until bloodshed stops and “those responsible for it are held accountable,” the Qatar-based broadcaster reported.
At least one person was killed and over 50 injured, including five police officers, as police clashed with protesters outside the capital’s presidential palace on Friday evening. Police reportedly fired tear gas and protesters threw stones.
TV footage showed police beating a naked man. Egypt’s authorities said Saturday they regretted the beating, saying it was “an isolated act.”
An interesting wrinkle on Israel’s recent illegal incursion(s)…
…So far only two airstrikes have been publicly reported, amid a flurry of conflicting initial reports. Syria officially complained of the destruction of the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya northwest of Damascus. And a variety of news organizations reported that Israeli jets hit a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft defense systems toward Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley, presumably for delivery to Hizballah, the militant Shi’ite group closely allied with the Assad regime. If they had been deployed, those SA-17 ground-to-air missiles would intimidated Israeli pilots who now operate over Lebanese airspace with impunity, forcing them to higher altitudes and other operational precautions.
A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes…
…In other words, it may be easier to attack the problem from the other side — simply destroy the weapons you’re afraid they’ll get their hands on. Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces…
…No specific armed force was identified as threatening the compound. Intelligence officials said the concern was unconventional weapons “dripping” into control of extremists in the relative chaos of the rebel side.
One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military was poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region…
An Israeli air attack staged in Syria this week may be a sign of things to come.
Israeli military officials appear to have concluded that the risks of attacking Syria are worth taking when compared to the dangers of allowing sophisticated weapons to reach Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon…
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday slammed both Israel for reported strikes in Syria earlier in the week, as well as Syria for its failure to respond to the attacks, Turkish daily The Hurriyet reported.
“Why didn’t [Syrian President Bashar] Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country?” The Hurriyet quoted Davutoglu as saying…
The leader of the Syrian opposition council, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met here on Saturday with representatives of the United States and Russia — who fundamentally disagree on how to resolve Syria’s civil war — but the meetings were separate and there was no indication, officials said, that any progress had been made toward a workable plan to bring the violence to an end.
Moscow has been encouraged by Sheik Khatib’s suggestion, which he repeated here, that he would be willing to talk to Syrian government representatives under certain conditions. But European and American officials expect that offer to go nowhere now that the sheik’s colleagues in the opposition have attacked it.
The side meetings at the annual Munich Security Conference seemed to confirm the fissures over Syria, including a new disagreement between the United States and some of its European allies over whether to provide rebel fighters with more powerful weapons.
Russia has categorically rejected Western media reports claiming that Moscow is planning to hold talks with Syrian opposition on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference about “a political transition for Syria.”
And, if you had any doubts about Russia’s allegiances…
Military intervention in Syria is unacceptable even if it aims to create an air-protected humanitarian corridor, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov has said. Syria is one of most hotly debated topics at an annual Security Conference taking place in Germany.
”Russia does not support the idea of a humanitarian corridor in Syria. Any use of military power is unacceptable, and not just because we still remember what it lead to in Libya,” Lavrov said while addressing the Munich Security Conference. “We need to see the world the way it is. We need to recognize that military operations bring more chaos into the international matters and can send off waves of instability that will be impossible to hide from in any of what we may think as an island of security.”
Lavrov confirmed that the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal is under full control of the country’s government, and poses no danger as long as it does not fall into the hands of the rebels. Such an event would be a “red line” nobody wishes to see crossed, he said.
Despite the worsening situation in the region, peace is still within reach, Lavrov explained: “The war in Syria could be over if all sides stuck honestly and loyally to the principles of the June 30 Geneva conference.”
Now, take a gander at this recent Stratfor report…
…Supporting the jihad in Syria as a weapon against Iranian influence also gives the Saudis a chance to burnish their Islamic credentials internally in an effort to help stave off criticism that they are too secular and Westernized. It allows the Saudi regime the opportunity to show that it is helping Muslims under assault by the vicious Syrian regime.
Supporting jihadists in Syria also gives the Saudis an opportunity to ship their own radicals to Syria, where they can fight and possibly die. With a large number of unemployed, underemployed and radicalized young men, the jihad in Syria provides a pressure valve similar to the past struggles in Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan. The Saudis are not only trying to winnow down their own troubled youth; we have received reports from a credible source that the Saudis are also facilitating the travel of Yemeni men to training camps in Turkey, where they are trained and equipped before being sent to Syria to fight. The reports also indicate that the young men are traveling for free and receiving a stipend for their service. These young radicals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen will even further strengthen the jihadist groups in Syria by providing them with fresh troops.
The Saudis are gaining temporary domestic benefits from supporting jihad in Syria, but the conflict will not last forever, nor will it result in the deaths of all the young men who go there to fight. This means that someday the men who survive will come back home, and through the process we refer to as “tactical Darwinism” the inept fighters will have been weeded out, leaving a core of competent militants that the Saudis will have to deal with…
Please read that entire Stratfor report, it confirms everything I’ve been saying for years, about all of our MENA craptastic endeavors…!
On a final note… Pepe still rulz, all the rest droolz…
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