The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

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Austin
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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Austin » 31 Dec 2015 15:25

Good Write up on Military Ops Su-24/SVP-24 Cheap and Reliable

Technology SITREP: How Russian engineering made the current operation in Syria possible

http://thesaker.is/technology-sitrep-ho ... -possible/

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 31 Dec 2015 20:37

Al Jazeera/Quatar terrorist whines after being **debriefed*** by Ram Madhav :rotfl:
We'll worry about our Kashmir, you worry about ***YOUR** ISIS

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby fanne » 01 Jan 2016 00:46

that improvement looks like our own DARIN upgrade particularly the CCIP calculation

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 01 Jan 2016 04:00

Delusional' diplomacy: ‘Peace’ in Syria listed by US as 2015 triumph
https://www.rt.com/usa/327591-us-peace-syria-success/

In a blog posted by State Department Spokesperson John Kirby, ten foreign policy ‘wins’ are celebrated including re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and halting the ebola outbreak.

But it's his comments about Syria that's getting all the attention.

Kirby uses the hashtag #2015in5Words to sum up, and seemingly sweeten, pivotal moments.

Under the heading “Bringing Peace, Security to Syria”, Kirby writes: “The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need - the United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011."


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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Austin » 01 Jan 2016 11:44

Moscow: Future of Assad cannot be condition for settlement in Syria
http://rbth.com/news/2015/12/30/moscow- ... ria_556449

Russia cannot yield to anyone's whims regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's future, and believes a political settlement process in Syria cannot be conditioned by his fate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Some of our counterparts say that they are prepared for it [a political settlement in Syria] only if it is guaranteed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not be involved in the political process and in future institutions, because he is illegitimate," Lavrov said in an interview with the Zvezda TV channel on Dec. 30.

"It's impossible to afford such a luxury as to yield to someone's whims by saying that Syrian President Assad was legitimate but stopped being such this year," he said.

Lavrov said he was sure that "the terrorist threat is no less serious than the threat of chemical weapons, especially considering that it is becoming global and concerns not only Syria."

"SAR President Bashar al-Assad was perfectly legitimate when chemical weapons had to be taken out of Syria and destroyed. The UN Security Council and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons passed resolutions welcoming the Syrian government's decision to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. Everything was perfect, and no questions were raised as to whether the partner was illegitimate," he said.
:rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Austin » 01 Jan 2016 11:51

Russia’s national security strategy for 2016 in 9 key points

https://www.rt.com/news/327608-russia-n ... -strategy/

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 01 Jan 2016 14:07

AoA

Rebel TOW ATGM gets thrown off it's track by anti-ATGM smoke weapon ..

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 01 Jan 2016 14:14

It is snowing in Hama, Syria

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 01 Jan 2016 21:03

Syrian government forces aided by Russian airstrikes are making a new push into rebel-held parts of the country, advancing into the strategically-important southern province of Deraa.
Heavy fighting between Syrian government troops and opposition rebels is focused on Sheikh Miskeen
Opposition rebels are calling for the West to support its moderate forces in the south
Capturing Deraa province would be a strategic and symbolic victory for Assad regime
Opposition rebels said heavy Russian aerial bombardment had killed fighters and civilians.

The push is a significant move because Deraa is the last region in Syria where secular and nationalist (i.e., US-backed terrorist) :(( rebel factions opposed to President Assad still hold substantial territory.

The south of the country is the last major stronghold of the mainstream, anti-Assad opposition, who have been weakened elsewhere by the expansion of the ultra-hardline Islamic State in the east and north, and gains by the Nusra Front in the northwest.

Sometimes they have six aircrafts bombing at once. As for casualties, yesterday we had 16 people dead - and of course some of them are civilians.
Fouzi Abed Al Nabi, a spokesman for the First Brigade
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army First Brigade faction has called on the West to stand up for the moderate forces of the south before more territory is lost to the regime.

The Syrian army claimed its troops had taken over the eastern and northern neighbourhoods of the town of Sheik Miskeen and that they had even reached the main square.

Locals reported fierce street fighting between rebels and regime troops while Russian airstrikes rain down on the town.

"Honestly yes there is lots of bombings and its so harsh, especially from the Russian aircraft," said Fouzi Abed Al Nabi, a spokesman for the First Brigade, one of the many factions making up the opposition Free Syrian Army in the South.

He said it was the heaviest Russian aerial bombing campaign so far in the region.

"Sometimes they have six aircrafts bombing at once. As for casualties, yesterday we had 16 people dead - and of course some of them are civilians," Mr Al Nabi said.

He said food was limited, aid was desperately needed and almost 30,000 people had fled the town.

"The humanitarian situation is very bad especially for the civilians. Its winter time now - people don't have cover, blankets, to protect from the cold," he said.

Call for Western help to stop Russian bombing

The Deraa region is the last major stronghold of the mainstream, anti-Assad opposition.

Mr Al Nabi said his men were vehemently opposed to radical groups like Islamic State and he called on the West to protect his men against the Russian airstrikes.

"We have a moderate interpretation of Islam compared to the radicals," he said.

"[We are] fighting for a civil state, a democratic state.

"We are calling on all the friends for Syria to help us to help this regime or at least to pressure the Russians to stop the massacres from their aircrafts.

"Our men are trying to prevent the army from advancing on the ground with only the weapons they have.

"But retaliating against strikes? We don't have the capability."

Deraa province is hugely symbolic for the Syrian resistance.

The first protests against President Assad's rule started in the province and quickly spread to other parts of the country.

Before it gained Russia's help, the government mounted an offensive in the south last February but failed to make much headway after months of attacks.

We are calling on all the friends for Syria to help us ... or at least to pressure the Russian to stop the massacres from their aircrafts
Fouzi Abed Al Nabi, Free Syrian Army First Brigade faction
Sheikh Miskeen appears to be the main objective of the latest offensive.

The town lies on one of the main supply routes from Damascus to the city of Deraa, close to the border with Jordan.

Taking Sheikh Miskeen would allow the regime army to press further south against other mainly rebel-held towns.

Rebels have seized almost 70 per cent of the countryside over the past three years.

But for many Syrians, the thought of Deraa being lost to regime forces is unbearable.

Syrian freelance journalist Wajd Dhnie said holding onto Deraa was the only hope for Syrians to win the war.

"If Deraa falls, then Assad [has] won," he said.

Like thousands of other Deraa residents, Mr Dhnie fled to the north of Jordan.

He said the Russian airstrikes had been devastating for Syrian opposition forces like the Free Syrian Army.

"It's so disappointing that after all these years we have reached a point where we thought we were winning, that the regime was shaking," he said.

"And then the Russians came and rescued the situation. They rescued Assad basically because, without the Russian airstrikes, it would have been impossible for the regime army to advance."

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 01 Jan 2016 21:52

Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham must be on list of terrorist groups in Syria, Moscow says - Jan 01, 2016
http://syriaonline.sy/?f=Details&catid=12&pageid=20270

“Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are criminal and terrorist organizations, which must be eliminated and their criminal activities must be stopped,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told TASS News Agency.

The Russian side so far believes it is unnecessary to make public its proposals for the list of terrorist groups active in Syria that should be excluded from the political settlement process, Syromolotov said in an interview with TASS, adding that “The work on the list of terrorist groups in Syria that would be acceptable for all has not been finished yet,” he said.

“I will not report the exact list of our proposals on the candidates to be put on the terrorist list – it is still part of the process of coordination of positions that should unite all members of the international Syria Support Group, so the haste and even publicity is apparently unnecessary here.

“Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar ash-Sham are criminal terrorist organisations that should be liquidated, and their criminal activity – stopped. There is, believe me, convincing evidence to this that is also known to our foreign partners.” Jaish al-Islam is behind a long series of terrorist acts, Syromolotov said.

“It is also important to bear in mind that many militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra group, recognized as terrorist by the UN Security Council, which is a branch of the notorious Al Qaeda, enlisted to the ranks of Jaish al-Islam,” said the Russian deputy foreign minister. “The US side, actually not regarding Jaish al-Islam as moderate opposition, sometimes proposes to discuss admitting this organization to the negotiations on the political settlement in Syria,” Syromolotov said. “We don’t agree with this position and tell the Americans about this.”

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 01 Jan 2016 22:02

Turdogan cites Hitler's Germany as example of effective government - Jan 01, 2016
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/j ... government

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 01 Jan 2016 22:07

have you seen how many kurdish villages and towns in south east Turkey he has laid to waste with buildings riddled with bullet and mortar holes. No wonder !

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 02 Jan 2016 01:16

little bit OT (does not fit any other thread anyway) but some content is related to this thread:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEzRTIqIoBI

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 02 Jan 2016 01:23

Good one (stupid games US and its allies play):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGu3VLDm4g0

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 02 Jan 2016 11:13

Infographic from Russian perspective. Russians represent territories controlled differently then all other maps on display.

Mark Galeotti
‏@MarkGaleotti
On #Russia op in #Syria, interesting + detailed map in @kommersant

Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 02 Jan 2016 13:12

U.S. Accused Of Smuggling 2000 ISIS Fighters Out Of Ramadi

The Iraqi Army, the Counter Terrorism units, the Federal police, and Anbar tribes entered the city of Ramadi that was occupied by the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” group (ISIS) for several months. To their biggest surprise, only a few bodies of the terrorist group were found when intelligence gathering by the U.S led coalition and the Iraqi intelligence service confirmed the presence of around 2000 fighters in the city until days before the final assault.

Six ISIS fighters were arrested while trying to flee Ramadi among the 442 civilians who left the city one day before the final assault on the city center.

The same phenomena of “ISIS evaporation” was registered in Sinjar when 7500 Kurds, supported by the U.S Air Force, occupied the key northern Iraqi city, finding a very small number of ISIS fighters in it.
So where did all these ISIS fighters go to?


http://fortruss.blogspot.ca/2015/12/us- ... is_31.html

now people can understand how ISIS appeared so suddenly driving Toyotas and vanished also as suddenly as they appeared.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Bhurishrava » 02 Jan 2016 14:19

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news ... le-7104877

Saudi Arabia executes 47 people for terrorism in just one day including prominent cleric

Iran had told the conservative kingdom that killing Nimr al-Nimrits could cost them "dearly"


US state department has condemned the violent public beheadings and accused Saudi Arabia of serious human rights violations.


Ok ok fine. I made up the last part.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Gyan » 02 Jan 2016 14:46

Taliban was Paki Soldiers with Arab Masters unleashed by USA. Similarly ISIS is Sunni Soldiers, aided by Turk Militia + Turk SFF funded by Saudis, Qatar and unleashed by USA (in consort with UK, Israel, Germany)

USA clearly wants to de-stabilize Middle East, Northern Africa, Central Europe to maintain hegemony of US Dollar and Saudi Crude. It is just like WW1, WW2 and USA will be the only Main beneficiary.

One has to admire USA for its cold bloody politics while mouthing all the idealistic bullsh1t.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby TSJones » 02 Jan 2016 19:48

ringing in the new year, the US Air Force struck Mosul targets on New Year's Day after giving Mosul a fond 2015 fare well on New Year's Eve with nine strikes.

Expect more detailed attention to Mosul from the space apes in the coming days.

It may take a few weeks of living hell, but Mosul will fall just like Tikrit and Ramadi did. Kobane also received special loving attention last year as ISIS was driven out by countless B-1 bomber raids that went full Winchester (emptying the magazines/racks).

it remains to be seen if the US led forces will have anything to do with the Iraqi shia militia stooges. Probably not....

anyway, here's yesterday's official action list.......

http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-Vie ... il-in-iraq

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 02 Jan 2016 21:51

Must read article in full for serious followers of this issue/thread:

Syria Rebel Leader’s Assassination a Major Blow to US Agenda - Dec 31, 2015 (from counterpunch.org)

News of the death of prominent anti-Assad commander (or ‘terrorist,’ ‘rebel,’ ‘opposition commander,’ etc.) Zahran Alloush has the potential to radically alter the nature of the war in Syria.

Considering Alloush and other senior members of the leadership of the Salafist militant group Jaish al-Islam were killed in a major airstrike carried out by the Syrian air force, there is undoubtedly going to be a transformation on the ground as initiative on the battlefield, particularly in Southern Syria, shifts still further to the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

With Alloush out of the picture and, based on reports coming from sources inside the opposition, significant disarray at the uppermost echelons of leadership of the barely cohesive “Islamic Army,” it seems clear that the Syrian government is likely to move in to reestablish control of Douma, Ghouta, and other rebel-held suburbs of Damascus.

However, while many international observers lament the loss of this “iron-fisted leader” less than a month ahead of planned peace talks set to take place in late January 2016, nearly all analyses of this development have failed (deliberately omitted?) to elucidate just what the rebel groups under his command were doing in Ghouta and Douma, the nature of the ongoing war within the war between the Syrian military and the factions in control of these key suburbs, and the propaganda about the key strategic corridor and the events that have taken place there, including the infamous “Douma market attack” of August 2015 (which I debunked here).

By examining the wealth of information about Alloush, his ideology, his organization, and their activities in the rebel stronghold suburbs of Damascus, it becomes clear that the airstrike that ultimately killed him and many of his Salafist comrades did far more than simply kill a leader of an important rebel group. Rather, this was a monumental, and perhaps mortal, blow to an entire segment of the rebel-terrorist coalition fighting against the Syrian government and people.

Zahran Alloush: Reality vs Perception

In the days since Alloush’s death there have been, rather predictably, numerous articles written about the assassination, nearly all of which portray Alloush as something of a ‘moderate,’ a man who by the sheer force of his personality and will led an armed faction which stood as “defenders of the true revolution” in their steadfast opposition to both Assad and the Islamic State. One could be forgiven for thinking that Alloush was a patriot doing his part to defend Syria from the Islamic State and the brutal dictatorTM rather than a vicious Salafist who committed countless war crimes against the Syrian people, among others.

Take for instance the New York Times, writing just hours after the assassination was announced:

Mr. Alloush led the Army of Islam, a group that had recently agreed to participate in a political process seeking to end the five-year-old conflict…Analysts said the strikes were in keeping with longstanding efforts by the Syrian government and its allies to eliminate groups claiming to occupy a middle ground between Mr. Assad and the Islamic State. The efforts are part of a broader objective to improve Mr. Assad’s standing among Western governments, which despise him but also see the Islamic State as an increasing menace.

Consider the implication of the phrase “groups claiming to occupy a middle ground between Mr. Assad and the Islamic State.” While this is classic corporate media faux-objectivity, the reality is that this is cleverly constructed misinformation designed to validate and legitimize an absolutely discredited notion, namely that there is a significant difference between the ideology of Alloush’s organization and that of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). Indeed, the NYT here is unsurprisingly bolstering official Washington’s line that the US must support “moderate opposition” which, in the subtext of that phrase, is everyone who is not ISIS/ISIL. But real experts on Syria recognize that this is merely political window-dressing, that in fact the difference between Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate), and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is just words; these organizations compete for influence and control, but do not truly differ ideologically.

Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on Syria, suffers no such delusions about Alloush. In December 2013, Landis wrote:

Zahran Alloush’s rhetoric and propaganda videos provide much insight into his world view, attitude toward Syria’s religious minorities, and vision for Syria’s future. The difference between his ideology and that of al-Qaida groups is not profound. Rather, it is one of shades of grey. [The video linked in the article] is an anti-Shiite tirade and “bring-back-the-Umayyad-Empire” propaganda piece. It shows how sectarian Alloush is. He refers to Shiites, and reduces the Nusayris into this grouping, as “Majous”, or crypto-Iranians… Here it is an Islamic term of abuse meant to suggest that Alawites and Iranians not only have the wrong religion but also the wrong ethnicity—they are not Arabs, but crypto-Iranians…[This] demonstrates how demonized the Alawites are in the propaganda of the new Islamic Front. Zahran calls for cleansing Damascus of all Shiites and Nusayris… On hearing this sort of talk from the leaders of the revolution, Alawites and other non-Sunni sects worry that their struggle is a fight for their very existence [emphasis added].

This video and the language of Alloush demonstrates [sic] how difficult it is to draw a clear line between the ideology of the Islamic Front and that of the al-Qaida groups [emphasis added]. They both embrace foreign jihadists and encourage them to come Syria to join the fight. They both call for the resurrection of an Islamic Empire and they both look back to the Golden Age of Islam for the principles upon which the new state will be founded. Their political philosophy and blue print for the future is largely based on a similar reading of Islamic history and the Qur’an.

Some analysts try to draw a clear line between al-Qaida and the Islamic Front, insisting that the former support changing Syria’s borders and seek to establish a Caliphate while the latter are Syrian Nationalists. Unfortunately, this distinction is not evident in their rhetoric. Both idealize Islamic Empire, both reject democracy and embrace what they call shari’a, both welcome jihadists from the “Islamic Umma,” both fly the black flag of Islam rather than the Syrian flag as their predominant emblem. The Islamic Front is dominated by Syrians who do have clear parochial interests, whereas ISIS is run by an Iraqi. Foreigners play a dominate role in its command, but this is not so with the Islamic Front. All the same, their ideologies overlap in significant ways.

Landis, well known as a fierce critic of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Government, here removes the mask from Alloush and quickly debunks and thoroughly discredits any attempts to manufacture moderation in the figure of Alloush. Far from being one of the mythical “moderates” that Obama & Co. are always prattling on about, Alloush is unmistakably a jihadist of the first order, one whose ideology, as Landis correctly noted, is not at all different from that of Al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL. Indeed, this is only further confirmed in this video where, as Landis points out, Alloush “goes to some lengths to explain that his relationship with Nusra [al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria] is one of brotherhood with only superficial ideological differences that can be settled with shari’a and discussions. This supports my argument that the ideological differences between the Front and al-Qaida are not deep.”

Of course, rhetorical flourishes aside, the question of actual crimes committed by Alloush and his jihadi comrades is critical to examine. In late 2014 and early 2015, Alloush commanded Jaish al-Islam to fire rockets indiscriminately onto Damascus, a blatant war crime. Many Syrians were killed in these attacks. It is important to note that while the pro-rebel media outlets would make an equivalence between such attacks and the infamous “barrel bombs” of the Syrian Arab Army, the reality is that these are simply not comparable. The aerial offensives carried out by Syria’s air force have targeted rebel strongholds with clear military and strategic targets, while the Jaish al-Islam rocket attacks were fired at civilians without any specific targeting. This is not to say one has to sanction the SAA’s tactics, just to understand the difference between them and those used by the rebels.

Whether one wants to use this to absolve Assad and the Government of blame or not, the inescapable fact is that bombardment by the military was never indiscriminate. By contrast, the purpose of Alloush’s bombardment of Damascus was solely to inflict terror on the population of Syria’s capital, and to take revenge for attacks carried out by the Syrian armed forces. Charles Lister, a vehemently anti-Assad analyst with the Brookings Doha Center, noted in a tweet that referenced an announcement by Alloush via twitter, that “Jaish al-Islam has begun a massive mortar & Grad rocket attack on central #Damascus, to ‘cleanse the capital.’” Indeed, the use of the word “cleanse” is instructive as it illustrates the attitude and ideology of Alloush as it is practiced on the battlefield. His desire to ethnically cleanse Syria was never mere rhetoric. Any way you slice it, Alloush and Jaish al-Islam committed this act that constitutes a war crime.

Interestingly, Alloush’s ideological and rhetorical brotherhood with the Nusra Front translated into on-the-ground collaboration, particularly at the infamous massacre in the Damascus suburb of Adra. While pseudo-alternative media propagandists such as James Miller at The Intercept callously claimed that no massacre occurred at Adra, instead claiming that RT and other non-Western media that reported it were simply spreading disinformation, Miller and his ilk’s attempts to cover up what truly happened fell flat.

Award-winning journalist Patrick Cockburn, writing in the UK Independent on February 9, 2014, painted a chilling portrait of the horrors of the Mhala family and others in Adra. Cockburn wrote:

Accounts of what happened to the rest of the population of Adra are confused. I spoke to some of the 5,000 refugees who had been allowed to leave by Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic Front on 30 December and some of whom are now squatting in a giant cement factory. They said the jihadis had ordered them to their basements and had kept them there. The number singled out for execution is put at between 32 and 80. There are accounts of the doctor in the local clinic, a Christian known locally as Dr George, being decapitated. Bakery workers who resisted their machinery being taken away were roasted in their own oven. Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic Front fighters went from house to house with a list of names and none of those taken away then has been [sic] since. This includes the head of the legal department at the Information Ministry who disappeared with his wife and daughter and whose phone is now being answered by a man saying he belongs to Jabat al-Nusra.

It is critical to note the close collaboration here between Nusra and the Islamic Front, the coalition in which Alloush’s Jaish al-Islam is a founding member and plays a central role. A resident of Adra, the wife of a doctor in town, explained that, “The armed men were non-Syrians. We lived terrible days, before we could escape with only the clothes that we wore…We woke up at dawn with the sound of bullets… we saw men carrying black flags of Jaish al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusra. Some of them were singing ‘Alawites we have come to cut off your heads’ song, and this was the song they first sang at the start of the war in Idlib.”

Such egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity are par for the course for Jaish al-Islam. In early November 2015, just weeks before Alloush was finally killed, Jaish al-Islam made international headlines after parading caged civilians through the streets of Ghouta, with cages of women being placed atop the organization’s headquarters and other key buildings to act as human shields against possible Syrian or Russian airstrikes.

According to the corporate media’s own darling, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (the one-man anti-Assad operation run by Rami Abdel Rahman which has become the primary source for much of the western media’s reporting on Syria), Jaish al-Islam “spread cages over several areas and squares in the Eastern Ghouta putting inside them regime forces’ officers, soldiers and their families.” Despite the attempt by SOHR to soft-peddle the war crime by characterizing the victims as “regime forces and their families,” the obvious barbarity of such an act is not lost on any genuine political observer. Such actions certainly go a long way toward debunking the spurious assertion that Alloush and Jaish al-Islam (or Alloush’s original group Liwa al-Islam) are anything that could be described as “moderate.”

Their terrorist credentials are further bolstered by the dastardly role they played in the chemical weapons attack, and subsequent attempts to derail the dismantling of the chemical weapons stockpile by the Syrian Government. Even if one were to dispute the very provocative alleged video evidence (here, here, and here with excellent, balanced analysis here) of Alloush’s Liwa al-Islam (his organization before consolidation as Jaish al-Islam) there are clear and unmistakable connections between Alloush and the entire chemical weapons saga in Syria.

According to military and strategic analyst, and retired Brigadier General, Ali Maqsoud, the Liwa al-Islam forces arrayed in Jobar included “the so-called ‘Chemical Weapons Front’ led by Zahran Alloush [the supreme leader of Liwaa al-Islam]. That group possesses primitive chemical weapons smuggled from al-Qaida in Iraq to Jobar, in the vicinity of Damascus…[they used]rockets [which] were manufactured domestically to carry chemicals. They were launched from an area controlled by Liwaa al-Islam.”


Maqsoud’s analysis was substantiated by a comprehensive report released in January 2014 (more than four months after the incident), by former UN weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and Prof. Theodore Postol of MIT which effectively debunked the claims of the US government (along with Human Rights Watch and a number of other organizations) that the Syrian military carried out the attack. The Lloyd/Postol report showed definitively that US intelligence and conclusions regarding the incident were grossly inaccurate. The report, entitled Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013, notes that:

The Syrian improvised chemical munitions that were used in the August 21 nerve agent attack in Damascus have a range of about 2km…[The evidence] indicates that these munitions could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the eastern edge, of the Syrian Government-controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013…The UN independent assessment of the range of the chemical munitions is in exact agreement with our finding.

In other words, Lloyd and Postol confirmed with their findings that the chemical attack of August 21, 2013, which almost led to a direct US military intervention, was carried out from area controlled by Alloush and Liwa al-Islam. This is further substantiated in Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh’s infamous April 2014 exposé The Red Line and the Rat Line which noted that:

The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons… Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing…[which] drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large-scale production effort in Syria.’

Naturally, this must be seen in connection with the now well established fact that Alloush is essentially an agent of Saudi Arabia. Without funding and support from Riyadh, Alloush’s organization would never have even gotten off the ground at the outbreak of the war in Syria in early 2011. Christof Lehmann of nsnbc wrote in October 2013 that:

Several commanders of al-Qaeda brigades in Syria have stated that Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from Saudi Intelligence. Russian diplomatic sources stated… that people of many different political observances have provided information to Russian diplomats. Statements to the effect that Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from the Saudi Intelligence are corroborated by the fact that both Alloush and the Liwa-al-Islam are financed by the Saudi Interior Ministry. The group was literally established with Saudi money after Alloush was released from prison in 2011 [just weeks before the first unrest in Syria began]. According to international law, this fact alone is sufficient to designate Alloush and the Liwa-al-Islam as Saudi mercenaries.

There was an obvious direct line between Riyadh and Ghouta with Alloush and his organization. That line has now been permanently severed with his death and those of other key figures of the organization. This will have major implications for the future of the war in Syria, especially with the beginning of a peace process coming at the end of January 2016, less than four weeks from the time of publication.


Part Two of this article will focus on the implications of Alloush’s elimination for the future of this war. How will this major setback for the rebel/terrorist factions impact any negotiations? How will it affect the military situation on the ground? The article will also attempt to place into a broader narrative the “war within the war” between the Syrian military and the Alloush-led rebel groups in the Damascus suburbs.

For now, one thing is certain: this assassination marks a major turning point in this bloody, nearly five year old war.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Bhurishrava » 02 Jan 2016 23:46

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... event.html

Britain's controversial air campaign in Syria has been branded a “non-event” after it emerged that the Air Force has carried out only one attack on the country in the last four weeks.
Since MPs voted for war over Syria on 1 December, more than a month ago, RAF Tornados and Typhoons have mounted only three strike missions – all in the first five days of the operation.


Its a great read in full. Hilarious.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 03 Jan 2016 04:38

Iranians storm & set ablaze Saudi embassy in Tehran to protest Shiite cleric’s execution - Jan 02, 2016
https://www.rt.com/news/327755-saudi-em ... n-protest/


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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Yagnasri » 03 Jan 2016 05:56

At this rate, Barbaria and Turkey on one side and Iran on the other side will either fight an outright war or a major proxy war, much larger than the Syrian one, very soon.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 03 Jan 2016 08:48



Reminds me of the Daily US Body Count claim in the newspapers back in the 1960s:

200 Viet Cong guerrillas killed


Later on, the truth came out that this was usually just some innocents, but the Pentagon wanted Body Counts so they got Body Counts. I used to think this was a fancy French spelling for Gorilla, so I wondered why the US forces were in such trouble from all the apes in Vietnam.

Clearly from those photos of the remains of the towns, this is a genocide against the Kurds. Ban Ki Moon and all his mealy-mouthed tribe be damned, his UN is sitting with thumbs up their musharrafs again as yet another genocide proceeds.

OTOH, ooops! I didn't remember! Turkey is a NATO member and their weapons are American. By design and safety precautions, those never hit civilians. :oops: Must be all Gorillas.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 03 Jan 2016 11:35

Jason Jones ‏@DPRKJones now5 hours ago
I'm probably wrong, but... That thing on the #SAA T-62 looks similar to an Arena active protection system. Any idea?
Image
Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Austin » 03 Jan 2016 14:25

T-90 Syrian Arab Army appeared on the Internet. Location is defined as the area south of Aleppo.

Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Karan M » 03 Jan 2016 14:30

Satya_anveshi wrote:Iranians storm & set ablaze Saudi embassy in Tehran to protest Shiite cleric’s execution - Jan 02, 2016
https://www.rt.com/news/327755-saudi-em ... n-protest/


They just burned down an annexe and were promptly stopped by the bulis once done. Staged protest..

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Karan M » 03 Jan 2016 14:30

Austin wrote:T-90 Syrian Arab Army appeared on the Internet. Location is defined as the area south of Aleppo.

Image


Very interesting. TOWs vs T-90s...will give us an idea..

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 03 Jan 2016 14:52

Hi Karan, T 90s in the area for at least a fortnight now. No hits / kills of T 90s reported so far though a few T72 and T55 kills were reported.

Also take a look at the pic in my post where I have quoted Jason Jones guy asking if its a T62 with an Arena system. What do you think?

Edit:corrected error.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Karan M » 03 Jan 2016 15:37

Thanks Deejay. That could be a commanders sight too, like these ones on Syrian Army T-72s.
https://milinme.files.wordpress.com/201 ... =620&h=465
https://milinme.files.wordpress.com/201 ... tu-002.jpg

Instead of ARENA why not just put cheaper ERA? I may be mistaken though.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 04 Jan 2016 04:40

Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran as Mideast protests rage - Jan 03, 2015
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/03/middleeas ... ns-terror/

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Sunday that his country is severing ties with Iran. Iranian diplomats in Saudi Arabia have 48 hours to leave the country, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Karan Dixit » 04 Jan 2016 05:07

^ I hope their (Saudi) adventure in Syria will weaken them. This in turn will weaken their munna (Pakistan).

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 04 Jan 2016 08:17

Saudi vs ISIS
Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 04 Jan 2016 09:57

Karan Dixit wrote:^ I hope their (Saudi) adventure in Syria will weaken them. This in turn will weaken their munna (Pakistan).


I hope Shiites issue a proclamation that all places in Saudi Arabia (Mecca/Medina/Mina) etc are Dar-Ul-Harb/Kufr/Napaks.

Both need to be sufficiently and suitably armed to take this fight to the next level. There is so much brand new infra that saudi and their buddies built that will either need folks to (re)occupy/run or at best rebuilt with Indian manpower.

Doesn't much matter whichever way the cookie crumbles.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby rsingh » 04 Jan 2016 14:26

Austin wrote:T-90 Syrian Arab Army appeared on the Internet. Location is defined as the area south of Aleppo.

Image


Traces of cut and paste photoshop visible.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 04 Jan 2016 15:01

A longish article on internal disagreements on Syria within the US establishment:

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/us-military-leadership-s-resistance-regime-change-1343405723

US military leadership resisted Obama's bid for regime change in Syria, Libya
#Diplomacy
Gareth Porter Monday 4 January 2016 08:00 UTC

Bureaucratic self-interest trumped US military’s conviction that American security is being endangered by Obama’s policy of regime change

Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

That account and another report on a similar episode in 2011 suggest that the US military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of US policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funneling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.

Hersh details a JCS initiative in the summer of 2013 to share intelligence on Islamic State and al-Qaeda organizations with other German, Russian and Israeli militaries, in the belief that the information would find its way to the Syrian army. Hersh reports that the military leadership did not inform the White House and the State Department about the “military to military” intelligence sharing on the jihadist forces in Syria, reflecting the hardball bureaucratic politics practiced within the national security institutions.

The 2013 initiative approved by the Chairman of the JCS, General Martin Dempsey, was not the first active effort by the US military to mitigate Obama administration regime change policies. In 2011, the JCS had been strongly opposed to the effort to depose the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya led by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

When the Obama administration began its effort to overthrow Gaddafi, it did not call publicly for regime change and instead asserted that it was merely seeking to avert mass killings that administration officials had suggested might approach genocidal levels. But the Defense Intelligence Agency, which had been given the lead role in assessing the situation in Libya, found no evidence to support such fears and concluded that it was based on nothing more than “speculative arguments”.

The JCS warned that overthrowing the Gaddafi regime would serve no US security interest, but would instead open the way for forces aligned with al-Qaeda to take over the country. After the Obama administration went ahead with a NATO air assault against the Gaddafi regime the US military sought to head off the destruction of the entire Libyan government. General Carter Ham, the commander of AFRICOM, the US regional command for Africa gave the State Department a proposal for a ceasefire to which Gaddafi had agreed. It would have resulted in Gaddafi’s resignation but retain the Libyan military’s capacity to hold off jihadist forces and rescind the sanctions against Gaddafi’s family.

But the State Department refused any negotiation with Gaddafi on the proposal. Immediately after hearing that Gaddafi had been captured by rebel forces and killed, Clinton famously joked in a television interview, “We came, we saw, he died” and laughed.

By then the administration was already embarked on yet another regime change policy in Syria. Although Clinton led the public advocacy of the policy, then CIA director David Petraeus, who had taken over the agency in early September 2011 was a major ally. He immediately began working on a major covert operation to arm rebel forces in Syria. The CIA operation used ostensibly independent companies in Libya to ship arms from Libyan government warehouses to Syria and Southern Turkey. These were then distributed in consultation with the United States through networks run by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The plan went into operation within days of Gaddafi’s death on October 20, 2011 just before NATO officially ended its operation at the end of that month, as the Defense Intelligence later reported to the JCS.

But the result of the operation was to accelerate the dominance of al-Qaeda and their Islamist allies. The Turks, Qataris and Saudis were funneling arms to al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al-Nusra front or other closely related extremist groups. That should not have surprised the Obama administration. The same thing had happened in Libya in Spring 2011 after the Obama administration had endorsed a Qatari plan to send arms to Libyan rebels. The White House had quickly learned that the Qataris had sent the arms to the most extremist elements in the Libyan opposition.

The original Petraeus covert operation ended with the torching of the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 in which Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. It was superseded by a new program under which Qatar and Saudi Arabia financed the transfer of weapons from other sources that were supposed to be distributed in cooperation with CIA officials at a base in Southern Turkey. But “thousands of tons of weapons” were still going to groups fighting alongside the jihadists or who actually joined them as Vice-President Joe Biden revealed in 2014.

By spring 2013, al-Nusra Front and its Islamic extremist allies were already in control of wide areas in the north and in the Damascus suburbs. The Islamic State had separated from al Nusra Front and established its own territory south of the Turkish border. The secular armed opposition had ceased to exist as a significant force. The “Free Syrian Army”, the nominal command of those forces, was actually a fiction within Syria, as was reported by specialists on the Syrian conflict. But despite the absence of a real “moderate opposition”, the Obama administration continued to support the flood of arms to the forces fighting to overthrow Assad.

In mid-2013, as Hersh recounts, the DIA issued an intelligence assessment warning that the administration’s regime change policy might well result in a repeat of what was already happening in Libya: chaos and jihadist domination. The JCS also pulled off a clever maneuver to ensure that the jihadists and their allies were getting only obsolete weapons. A JCS representative convinced the CIA to obtain much cheaper arms from Turkish stocks controlled by officials sympathetic to the CIA’s viewpoint on Syria.

But the JCS failed to alter the administration’s policy of continuing to support the flow of arms into Syria. Did the military leadership really use all of its leverage to oppose the policy?

In 2013, some officials on the US National Security Council staff pushed for a relatively modest form of pressure on Qatar to get it to back off its continued supply of arms to extremists, including al Nusra front by pulling out a US fighter squadron from the US air base at al-Udeid in Qatar. But as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, the Pentagon, obviously reflecting the JCS position, vetoed the proposal, arguing that the forward headquarters of the Central Command at the airbase was “vital” to US operations in the Middle East.

The political implications of the episode are clear: Bureaucratic self-interest trumped the military’s conviction that US security is being endangered. No matter how strongly the JCS may have felt about the recklessness of administration policy, they were not prepared to sacrifice their access to military bases in Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Turkey to pressure their Middle Eastern allies.

- Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Philip » 04 Jan 2016 15:56

2016 has really opened with big bangs.Pathankot,Barbaria/Iran.The yr. may be even more exciting than 2015.

Saudi Arabia cuts diplomatic ties with Iran after Nimr execution
Riyadh gives Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave after two days of protest and the burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran follow death of Shia cleric
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/j ... -execution
Martin Chulov in Beirut
Sunday 3 January 2016

Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic relations with Iran in a sharp escalation of tensions between the two regional foes following the execution of the Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Analysis/ Saudi executions put ball of regional tension in Iran's court

Deaths of cleric Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others will be seen as direct challenge to Tehran, which may feel obliged to pick up gauntlet

The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told a news conference that Iran’s diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave. He said Riyadh would not allow the Islamic republic to undermine the Sunni kingdom’s security.

The move on Sunday evening comes after two days of outrage among Shia communities across the Middle East and in south Asia at the death of Nimr, a prominent critic of the Saudi and Bahraini monarchies, whose cause as a prisoner since 2012 had been championed by Tehran and the United Nations. It signals a further hardening of Riyadh’s position towards Iran, with which it is locked in a bitter battle for regional influence.

Speaking on Iranian state television, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Tehran’s first response that by cutting diplomatic ties, Riyadh could not cover up “its major mistake of executing Sheikh Nimr”.

The United States, Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer in the west, responded to the cutting of ties by encouraging diplomatic engagement and calling for leaders in the region to take “affirmative steps” to reduce tensions.

“We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential in working through differences and we will continue to urge leaders across the region to take affirmative steps to calm tensions,” an official of Barack Obama’s administration said.

Muslim leaders stepped up their condemnation of the execution of Nimr at the weekend, urging a robust response from Riyadh’s western backers, as protests spread to Pakistan and Indian Kashmir.

Anger remained palpable on the streets of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and in Bahrain and Baghdad, hours after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was set ablaze by protesters angered by the execution of the senior cleric. Small protests were also held in Islamabad and Quetta, home to members of Pakistan’s Shia minority.

Pakistani Shiite Muslims chant slogans during a protest rally against the execution of Saudi Shia cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr in Karachi. (Use them against the diabolic Paki regime)

Pakistani Shiite Muslims chant slogans during a protest rally against the execution of Saudi Shia cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr in Karachi. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

However, in what appeared to be a move to calm tension, the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said the attack on the Saudi embassy was unjustifiable, and urged the capture of the perpetrators. “I have no doubt that the Saudi government has damaged its image, more than before, among the countries in the world, in particular [among] Islamic countries, by this unIslamic act,” Rouhani said.

The Guardian view on the Saudi execution: unjust, and an unwise provocation
Editorial: The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr could deepen the confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia

In a cautionary tone, he added that “rogue elements” would not be allowed to use the incident and “carry out illegal actions that damage the dignity” of the Islamic republic. “I call on the interior minister to identify the perpetrators of this attack ... so there will be an end to such appalling actions once and for all,” Rouhani said.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Saudi’s western backers to condemn the execution, which came three years after Nimr’s arrest over his vocal support for anti-government protests in Bahrain and in Riyadh.

“This oppressed cleric did not encourage people to join an armed movement, nor did he engage in secret plotting, and he only voiced public criticism ... based on religious fervour,” said Khamenei.

The Iranian leader criticised “the silence of the supposed backers of freedom, democracy and human rights” over the execution. “Why are those who claim to support human rights quiet? Why do those who claim to back freedom and democracy support this government?”

The UK’s Treasury secretary, David Gauke, became the most senior UK figure to react to the execution, claiming al-Nimr’s death was a worrying development. The US state department earlier said the move risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”.

Pressed on the development, Gauke repeated a government line that Riyadh had passed on information that had been critical to stopping terror plots in the UK. “We have a relationship with Saudi Arabia where we are able to speak candidly to them, where these issues are raised on a regular basis by the foreign secretary and the prime minister and our representatives in Riyadh,” he said. “We are able to have that relationship where we can tell them what we think and clearly it is a worrying development.”

The execution took place despite pleas for clemency delivered personally by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. “Sheikh Nimr and a number of the other prisoners executed had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process,” Ban’s spokesman said.

Riyadh, meanwhile, stuck to its position that Nimr had committed acts of terrorism. He was executed along with 46 other accused terrorists in the early hours of the new year, many of whom had been convicted for bombings or assassinations.
Lebanese Shia clerics listen to Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who strongly condemned Saudi Arabia for executing Nimr al-Nimr.

Many were Shias who had taken part in anti-regime protests, while others were convicted members of al-Qaida. One of those put to death had allegedly been part of a team of gunmen who had shot the BBC correspondent Frank Gardner on the streets of Riyadh, leaving him paralysed.

Nimr’s execution could have been stopped by royal pardon and clemency had been repeatedly sought by officials in Tehran. However, in a sign of Riyadh’s hardening position towards its arch-rival in the region, the Saudi monarch, King Salman, refused to intervene.

Saudi officials had been convinced that Nimr was a central figure in attempts to stir dissent among the country’s Shia minority, which makes up about 15% of the population and is viewed by Riyadh as being a subversive threat, urged on by the Iranian leadership.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby IndraD » 04 Jan 2016 16:12

Bahrain severs ties with Iran over ransacking of Saudi embassy

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby IndraD » 04 Jan 2016 16:12

Bahrain severs ties with Iran over ransacking of Saudi embassy


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