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  1. #321
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia continues weapons trade with Syria despite escalating conflict

    VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
    Associated Press
    8:06 a.m. EDT, June 14, 2012


    FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2005 file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a signing ceremony in the Kremlin, Moscow. Russia has shielded Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, its last ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions and has continued to provide it with weapons despite international outrage. It has shipped billions of dollars worth of missiles, combat jets, tanks, artillery and other military gear to Syria over more than four decades. (AP Photo/Sergei Chirikov, Pool-File) (Sergei Chirikov, AP / January 25, 2005)


    MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has accused Russia of sending attack helicopters to Syria, warning that the shipment "will escalate the conflict quite dramatically." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has rejected Clinton's claim, saying that Russia is only shipping air defense systems under previously signed contracts.

    Russia has shielded Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, its last ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions and has continued to provide it with weapons despite international outrage. It has shipped billions of dollars worth of missiles, combat jets, tanks, artillery and other military gear to Syria over more than four decades. Moscow says it's currently providing Assad with weapons intended to protect Syria from a foreign invasion and is not delivering the kinds of weapons needed to fight lightly armed insurgents in cities.


    Here is a brief look at some of the weapons systems Russia has recently shipped to Syria or pledged to deliver in the future, according to official statements and Russian media reports. Russian government officials have remained secretive about arms trade, so a complete list of Russian weapons and other military gear sent to Syria is unavailable:

    — Pantsyr-S1 air defense system. The truck-mounted short- and medium-range system combines air defense missiles and anti-aircraft artillery with sophisticated radar to hit aerial targets with deadly precision at ranges of up to 20 kilometers (more than 12 miles) and an altitude of 15 kilometers ( nearly 50,000 feet). It has further strengthened Syria's air defense system, which has been developed with Moscow's help since Cold War times.

    Igor Sevastyanov, a deputy head of the Rosoboronexport state arms trader, said Wednesday that the Pantsyr contract is still being implemented. Sevastyanov didn't offer specifics, but Russian media reports have said that the contract envisaged the delivery of 36 such units, which include a truck mounted with guns and missiles together with a radar.

    — Buk-M2 air defense system. The medium-range missile system is capable of hitting enemy aircraft and cruise missiles at ranges of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) and an altitude of up to 25 kilometers (82,000 feet). It is a sophisticated weapon that is capable of inflicting heavy losses to enemy aircraft if Syria comes under attack.

    — Bastion anti-ship missile system. Armed with supersonic Yakhont cruise missiles that have a range of up to 300 kilometers (162 nautical miles), it provides a strong deterrent against an attack from the sea. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said last fall that Moscow would fully honor the Bastion contract. Russian media reports said that Russia already has fulfilled the Bastion deal, which was worth $300 million, and included the delivery of more than 70 Yakhont missiles.

    — Yak-130 combat jets. Russian media reports said early this year that Syria had ordered a batch of 36 Yak-130 combat jets worth $550 million. Officials wouldn't confirm or deny the deal, which would significantly bolster the Syrian air force capability. The Yak-130 is a combat training jet that can also carry modern weapons for ground attack missions.

    The Kremlin has insisted that the continuing Russian arms sales don't violate any international agreements and scoffed at Western demands to halt the trade. Underlining Moscow's defiance, a Russian ship carrying a load of weapons arrived In Syria just a few weeks ago amid international anger over Assad's refusal to honor a U.N.-sponsored peace plan.

    The new Russian weapons supplies add to Syria's massive arsenal of hundreds of Soviet-built combat jets, attack helicopters and missiles and thousands of tanks, other armored vehicles and artillery systems. Russia said it also has military advisers in Syria training the Syrians to use the Russian weapons, and has helped repair and maintain Syrian weapons. Some experts alleged that the helicopters Clinton said were en route to Syria could be old ones that underwent maintenance in Russia.


    Jun 14, 10:45 AM EDT
    A closer look at Russian arms sales to Syria

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
    Associated Press

    MOSCOW (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has accused Russia of sending attack helicopters to Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejects the claim, saying that Russia is only shipping air defense systems under previously signed contracts.


    Russia has shipped billions of dollars worth of missiles, combat jets, tanks, artillery and other military gear to Syria over more than four decades. Here is a brief look at some weapons systems Russia has recently shipped to Syria or pledged to deliver, according to official statements and Russian media reports:

    COMBAT HELICOPTERS

    Russia has denied the claim it is sending helicopters to Syria, but some Russian military analysts said the helicopters mentioned by Clinton could be some of the older Soviet-supplied ones that are being sent back to Syria after maintenance in Russia.

    Syria has received dozens of Soviet-built Mi-8 and Mi-17 transport helicopters and Mi-24 helicopter gunships since the Cold War with the last deliveries taking place in the 1990s. Some of them require major repairs that can only be done by Russian repair plants.

    PANTSYR-S1 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM:

    The truck-mounted short- and medium-range system combines air defense missiles and anti-aircraft artillery with sophisticated radar to hit aerial targets with deadly precision at ranges of up to 20 kilometers (more than 12 miles) and an altitude of 15 kilometers (nearly 50,000 feet). It has further strengthened Syria's air defense system, which has been developed with Moscow's help since Cold War times.

    Igor Sevastyanov, a deputy head of the Rosoboronexport state arms trader, said Wednesday that the Pantsyr contract is still being implemented. Sevastyanov didn't offer specifics, but Russian media reports have said that the contract envisioned the delivery of 36 such truck-mounted units which combine guns and missiles together with a radar.

    BUK-M2 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM

    The medium-range missile system is capable of hitting enemy aircraft and cruise missiles at ranges of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) and an altitude of up to 25 kilometers (82,000 feet). It is a sophisticated weapon that is capable of inflicting heavy losses to enemy aircraft if Syria comes under attack.

    BASTION ANTI-SHIP MISSILE SYSTEM

    Armed with supersonic Yakhont cruise missiles that have a range of up to 300 kilometers (162 nautical miles), it provides a strong deterrent against an attack from the sea. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said last fall that Moscow would fully honor the Bastion contract. Russian media reports said that Russia already has fulfilled the Bastion deal, which was worth $300 million, and included the delivery of more than 70 Yakhont missiles.

    YAK-130 COMBAT JETS

    Russian media reports said early this year that Syria had ordered a batch of 36 Yak-130 combat jets worth $550 million. Officials wouldn't confirm or deny the deal, which would significantly bolster the Syrian air force capability. The Yak-130 is a combat training jet that can also carry modern weapons for ground attack missions. Analysts say early deliveries are unlikely as the aircraft's pace of production is very slow.

    RUSSIA'S STANCE

    The Kremlin has insisted that the continuing Russian arms sales don't violate any international agreements and scoffed at Western demands to halt the trade. Underlining Moscow's defiance, a Russian ship carrying a load of weapons arrived In Syria just a few weeks ago amid international anger over Assad's refusal to honor a U.N.-sponsored peace plan.

    The new Russian weapons supplies add to Syria's massive arsenal of hundreds of Soviet-built combat jets, attack helicopters and missiles and thousands of tanks, other armored vehicles and artillery systems. Russia said it also has military advisers in Syria training the Syrians to use the Russian weapons, and has helped repair and maintain Syrian weapons.


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    Default Re: Syria


    The Israeli army is considering using military force to prevent Syria’s alleged chemical warfare stockpiles from getting into the hands of Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda. Tel-Aviv believes that Damascus is no longer capable of securing its arsenal.

    *Syria has never declared it possesses chemical weapons stocks, but the Israeli military does not put its existence under question. Tel Aviv believes Syria has been busy producing mustard and nerve gas for the last 40 years.


    On Monday Israeli Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, the country’s deputy military chief, warned that Syria could pose a threat to Israel with its chemical weapons.

    He declared Syria has “the largest chemical warfare stockpiles in the world,” and warned that Assad’s regime could "treat us the same way they treat their own people."

    Some Israeli politicians claim the Syrian government is already using chemical weapons against its population. A senior member of the ruling Likud party, Ayoob Kara, told Israel Radio on June 9 that the Syrian government is using “chemical weapons against men, women, and children.”

    They have become the latest in the chorus of Israeli high ranking officials who have rushed to voice their concerns over Syria’s alleged chemical arsenal.

    The head of Israel's Northern Command responsible for the front that borders Lebanon and Syria, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, warned that Assad’s regime could pass its chemical weapons to Lebanon-based Hezbollah if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad crumbles under the militant attacks that have lasted for over a year now.

    According to the general, this could happen if Assad’s regime loses control over its military bases. Simultaneously, Maj. Gen. Golan openly called Syria a “failed state.”

    Israel would not mind if international forces invade Syria to oust President Assad.

    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz believes the world should unite to crush Assad’s regime, the same as it did in Libya, where coalition forces overthrew Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

    "A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic," Mofaz announced.

    "Since in the not-distant past the powers chose military intervention in Libya, here the required conclusion would be immediate military intervention to bring down the Assad regime,” he said.

    But he made it clear that Israel would not take part in the intervention.

    "We cannot get involved, for understandable reasons. But I think that the West, led by the United States, has an interest in guarding the threshold (so) genocide does not take place,” Mofaz told Reuters.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been more cautious in his remarks, telling Bild newspaper that the military intervention is “a decision for the leading powers who are now talking about it.” He added that the less he says about it as prime minister of Israel, the better.

    However, he used the opportunity to link alleged crimes of the Syrian regime with Israel’s arch-enemies.

    “This is a slaughter carried out not only by the Syrian government. It is being helped by Iran and Hezbollah,” he said in broadcast remarks to his cabinet on Sunday.

    The international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been mounting for the last 15 months, but Israel has only recently openly added its voice to anti-Assad rhetoric.

    Meanwhile, recently information surfaced about armed Syrian opposition planning a provocation with the use of chemical weapons. Reportedly, they have obtained chemical weapons from Libya and plan to use it against Syrian civilians, shifting the blame for the atrocity on the government forces.

    In the light of the recent Israeli rhetoric over Syria’s alleged chemical stockpile threat, fears arise that the chemical weapons ghost story might become an excuse for a foreign intervention into the country.


    There has already been a precedent when the alleged weapons of mass destruction were used as an excuse for a foreign military intervention in Iraq.

    The international military operation against regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was officially aimed at stripping the dictator of weapons of mass destruction – which were never found – while Saddam was hanged by hasty executioners after a short trial.

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    Default Re: Syria

    This thing is escalating with every hour that passes. It could go global. Israel must feel pretty darned uncomfortable right now. With major conflicts catching fire in Syria and Iran, strategically, they better batten down the hatches. (sorry Rick for co-opting a sailing metaphor)

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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia accuses US of arming Syrian rebels

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of supplying weapons to Syria's rebels after Hillary Clinton said Moscow was supplying the Assad regime with "attack helicopters".


    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Photo: Reuters/Getty


    3:20PM BST 13 Jun 2012

    Russia was supplying "anti-air defence systems" to Damascus in a deal that "in no way violates international laws," Lavrov told a news conference during a brief visit to Iran.

    "That contrasts with what the United States is doing with the opposition, which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition which are being used against the Syrian government," he said, in remarks translated from Russian into Farsi by an official interpreter.

    It was the first time Moscow has directly pointed the finger at Washington. Previously, it had said unidentified "foreign powers" were arming Syria's opposition.

    Lavrov's accusation followed a charge by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday that she had information Russia was sending to Syria "attack helicopters ... which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."

    Asked in Tehran about the helicopter allegation, Lavrov said only that Moscow was giving Damascus "conventional weapons" related to air defence and asserted that the deal complied with international law.

    Related Articles


    Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters last month that Moscow believed "it would be wrong to leave the Syrian government without the means for self-defence."

    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said at the same news conference with Lavrov that Tehran and Moscow were "very close" on the Syria issue.

    Western and Arab nations, he said, "are sending weapons to Syria and forces to Syria, and are not allowing the reforms promised by the Syrian president to be applied."

    Reports in Iran allege that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States are arming Syria's rebels – termed "terrorists" by Damascus – while US officials claim Iran is giving arms and military advisers to Syria's regime.

    Some observers fear the conflict, which the UN's chief peacekeeper agrees now resembles a civil war, could blow up into a struggle between forces helped by outside nations.

    "There is a real risk of it sliding into a proxy war as certain states support the regime or 'the opposition'," one Western diplomat told AFP, speaking on condition on anonymity.

    "The conflict in Syria certainly appears to be getting more brutal – and not just on one side," the diplomat warned.

    Monitors say at least 14,100 people have been killed in the 15-month uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Russia came under fierce criticism from Western and Arab countries for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions that would have sanctioned Assad for his use of force.

    Since then, it has sought to distance itself from Assad while continuing to support his regime. "We do not support any individual or government, we support the people of Syria," Lavrov said.

    Moscow is now trying to organise an international conference on Syria that would include several nations with influence over the conflict, including Iran. The United States, Britain and France, though, object to Iran taking part.

    "We want the support of all the players," Lavrov said.

    "All sides in the conflict need to stop operations ... Any player with leverage should apply pressure to stop the violence and facilitate negotiations," he said.

    Source: AFP

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    Syrian forces use sexual violence against men, women, children: HRW

    Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:23am EDT

    (Story contains graphic details of abuse and torture)

    (Reuters) - Government forces have used rape and other sexual violence against men, women and children during the Syrian uprising, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

    The U.S.-based group said it had recorded 20 incidents from interviews inside and outside Syria with eight victims, including four women, and more than 25 other people with knowledge of sexual abuse - including medical workers, former detainees, army defectors, and women's rights activists.

    "Sexual violence in detention is one of many horrific weapons in the Syrian government's torture arsenal and Syrian security forces regularly use it to humiliate and degrade detainees with complete impunity," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

    "The assaults are not limited to detention facilities - government forces and pro-government shabiha militia members have also sexually assaulted women and girls during home raids and residential sweeps."

    Cases were reported all around Syria, but most of all in Homs province, an epicenter of the revolt.

    HRW quoted a man who said he had been held in the Political Security branch in Latakia in a cell with over 70 other people. He said young boys were treated worse than adults, brought back to the cell raped and with their fingernails pulled out.

    "One boy came into the cell bleeding from behind. He couldn't walk. It was something they just did to the boys. We would cry for them," the man said.

    HRW said many of the assaults were in circumstances in which commanding officers knew or should have known the crimes, such as electric shocks to genitalia, were taking place.

    In another face-to-face interview a woman from the Karm al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Homs city which was overrun by Assad's troops said she heard security forces and shabiha militia rape her neighbors while she hid in her apartment in March.

    "I could hear one girl fighting with one of (the men)... She pushed him and he shot her in the head," HRW quoted the woman as saying. She said three girls, the youngest aged 12, were then raped. After the men left the woman went next door.

    "The scene on the inside was unreal. The 12-year-old was lying on the ground, blood to her knees... More than one person had raped the 12-year-old... She was torn the length of a forefinger. I will never go back there. It comes to me. I see it in my dreams and I just cry."

    Some interviewees told HRW that victims did not want their families to know about the assault because of fear or shame. In one case, HRW said a female rape victim was willing to be interviewed but her husband forbade it.

    "Even when they may wish to seek help, Syrian survivors of sexual assault have limited access to medical or psychological treatment and other services," HRW said.

    "It is critical that survivors of sexual assault have access to emergency medical services, legal assistance, and social support to address injuries caused by the assault; prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections; and to collect evidence to support prosecution of perpetrators."

    (Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Andrew Roche)
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia says no talk on Syria's post-Assad future

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV – 7 minutes ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister said Friday that Moscow isn't discussing Syria's future without President Bashar Assad as Washington has claimed, in the latest volley in a contentious back-and-forth on how to end the bloody conflict.

    Sergey Lavrov denied Thursday's statement by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that Moscow and Washington "are continuing to talk about a post-Assad transition strategy."

    Lavrov, who met with the State Department's No. 2 official William Burns in Kabul on Thursday, maintained that Russia believes it's up to the Syrians to determine their country's future and said foreign players shouldn't meddle.

    "It's not true that we are discussing Syria's fate after Bashar Assad," Lavrov said following talks in Moscow with his Iraqi counterpart. "We aren't dealing with a regime change either through approving unilateral actions at the United Nations Security Council nor through taking part in some political conspiracies."

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has issued increasingly harsh words over Russia's refusal to take tougher measures on Syria, though her accusation that Russia "dramatically" escalated the crisis in Syria lost steam Thursday when the State Department acknowledged the helicopters she accused Moscow of sending were actually refurbished ones already owned by the Assad regime.

    The claim had complicated the Obama administration's larger goals for Syria and U.S.-Russia relations.

    Despite pressure from the West, Russia, along with China, has twice shielded Syria, its last remaining ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions over Assad's violent crackdown on protests that have left 13,000 people dead, according to opposition groups.

    Lavrov argued that an international conference on Syria that Russia has proposed should focus on persuading the Syrian parties to sit down for talks. He said that a June 30 meeting on Syria in Geneva proposed by U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, should pursue the same goal, warning that Russia would oppose any attempt to use the conference to determine Syria's future.

    "This meeting should be aimed at mobilizing resources that foreign players have to create conditions needed to start an all-Syrian political process, not to predetermine its direction."

    He warned against using the conference to "justify any future unilateral actions."

    Lavrov said that Russia believes that a conference on Syria it's proposing should bring together the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council along with all Syria's neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Arab League, the European Union and Iran.

    In an apparent reference to the U.S. objections against Iran's participation, Lavrov said the conference organizers should be driven by a desire to settle the conflict, not "ideological preferences."

    In an opinion piece in the Huffington Post, Lavrov insisted that "Russia is not a defender of the current regime in Damascus and has no political, economic or other reasons for becoming one."

    He also reaffirmed criticism of Assad, saying that "the main responsibility for the crisis that has swept over the country lies with the Syrian government, that has failed to take the course of reform in due time or draw conclusions from the deep changes unfolding in international relations."

    But Lavrov also argued that a push for an immediate ouster of Assad would plunge Syria into an all-out war. "Pressing for an immediate ousting of Bashar al-Assad, contrary to the aspirations of a considerable segment of Syrian society that still relies on this regime for its security and well-being, would mean plunging Syria into a protracted and bloody civil war," Lavrov wrote.
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    Default Re: Syria



    Syria's 'Ghost' killers: Steroid-mad thugs who keep tyrant al-Assad's murderous regime in power are terrorising civilians

    Death squads have swooped on villages and massacred women and children – slitting their throats or shooting them at point-blank range




    Freakish: Pumped up enforcer shows off his muscles


    Vanishing with the remains of their slaughtered victims, President al-Assad’s pumped up monsters are roaming Syria committing atrocities.
    The death squads known as the Ghosts have swooped on villages and massacred women and children – slitting their throats or shooting them at point-blank range.
    They disappear with the hacked remains in an effort to cover up their brutality. But experts say there is no mistaking the sickening work of these bearded paramilitary freaks.
    Dressed in their unofficial uniform of combat trousers and black T-shirts the muscle-bound thugs are the butchers of Assad’s regime.

    Massacred: Child victims in Qubair
    Getty
    They carry out the government’s dirty work so the President can claim the rampages are not state sponsored.


    Armed with AK-47s and machetes they travel behind the military. After the army stops shelling towns, the Ghosts swarm in to kill any survivors.


    They are each paid around £130 a day, a fortune in Syria. The funds often come from businessmen who support Assad’s regime.


    Established in the 70s, they were a Mafia style gang in the coastal port of Latakia, the centre of the Assad family’s power base.


    They are known as Shabiha – meaning “ghosts” – as they operate in the shadows.

    Hulk in shades: Mafia-style gang member poses for the camera
    Bearded giant: 'Shabiha' monster shows off his tattooed arms
    “They used to smuggle weapons and drugs but now they are butchers,” said Michael Weiss, a Syria expert at the UK-based Henry Jackson Society. In return for letting them operate above the law, the Shabiha act as Assad’s enforcers. They murder opponents and terrorise Syrians into obedience. The Ghosts are fanatical followers of the Muslim Alawite sect which rules the country and have been brainwashed into thinking the Sunni majority are enemies.


    Now the Shabiha, who can be seen in action in videos, are being told they are fighting for their lives as they will face revenge if the regime is overthrown. A source said: “Their mission is to terrorise the civilian population and conduct ethnic cleansing.”


    They have been blamed for the murders of 108 civilians – including 49 children – in Houla a fortnight ago. The Shabiha are then reported to have shot dead 12 workers in Qusayr before 78 villagers were slaughtered in Qubair last week.


    Dr Mousab Azzawi, who runs the Syrian Network for Human Rights from London but had treated some of the Shabiha in Latakia, said recently: “They were like monsters. They had huge muscles, and big bellies and beards.


    “They were very tall and frightening and took steroids to pump up their bodies. I had to talk to them like children as the Shabiha likes people with low intelligence. That is what makes them so terrifying — the combination of strength and blind allegiance to the regime.”


    View gallery

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    • "
    • "


    Syria's Ghost Killers
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    Default Re: Syria

    Oh my gosh. That picture of those beautiful children massacred by those pro-Assad thugs makes my blood boil. If we don't take action, we have no credibility as one of the few moral agents left in the world. It's time Delta and Dev Gru got boots on the ground and helped those steroid-monsters disappear from existence. One by one.

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    Default Re: Syria

    US official: Russia sends troops to Syria as peace hopes fade

    Days before President Barack Obama's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, there has been a war of words between the U.S. and Syria's longtime military supplier. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.

    By Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, and msnbc.com news services

    Russia is sending armed troops to Syria amid escalating violence there, United States military officials told NBC News Friday, in a move certain to frustrate Western efforts to put pressure on the regime of President Bashir Assad.

    Moscow has sent a ship carrying a small contingent of combat forces to guard Russia’s deep-water port and military base at the Syrian city of Tartus, the US officials said.

    The U.S. officials also said Russia has not sent additional attack helicopters to the Syrian government, but replacement parts for the Russian helicopters the Syrians are already flying.

    It comes after the conflict was declared by France on Wednesday to be a full-blown civil war.

    The head of the U.N. observers in Syria said Friday a recent spike in bloodshed is derailing the mission to monitor and defuse more than a year of violence and could prompt the unarmed force to pull out.

    "Violence over the past 10 days has been intensifying willingly by the both parties, with losses on both sides and significant risks to our observers," Maj. Gen. Robert Mood told reporters in Damascus. "The escalating violence is now limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects."

    Tartus is one of Russia’s most strategically-important assets, giving it military access to the Mediterranean Sea.

    Russia and China, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with veto power, frustrated attempts by key Western figures, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to enforce a United Nations peace plan brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan.

    Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday repeated Moscow's strong opposition to external interference in Syria, said it was not discussing plans for a Syrian political transformation following the exit of Assad.

    At a news conference after talks with his Iraqi counterpart, Lavrov said he had seen reports saying U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had suggested Washington and Moscow were discussing a post-Assad strategy in Syria.

    "If that was really said then it's not true," Lavrov said. "Such discussions are not being held and cannot be held, because to decide for the Syrian people contradicts our position completely.

    "We do not get involved in overthrowing regimes - neither through approval of unilateral actions by the U.N. Security Council nor by participation in any political plots."

    Nuland was asked at a news conference on Thursday whether the United States and Russia were discussing a transition of power similar to that seen in Yemen last year, in which President Ali Abdullah Saleh was replaced by a deputy.

    "We are continuing to talk about a post-Assad transition strategy in that context," she said.

    Government forces in Syria have driven rebel fighters out of the town of Haffa near the Turkish border and are now allowing UN monitors to enter the area. NBC's Richard Engel reports.

    Lavrov said any broad international talks on Syria must include Iran and must only address ways to create conditions for a political dialogue in Syria - not the content of that dialogue or preconditions such as Assad's exit.

    Russia, which has come under increasing criticism from the West for arms deliveries to Syria, responded to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's allegations that attack helicopters were on the way from Russia to Syria.

    In a statement on the Foreign Ministry website, Russia said it had made no new deliveries of military helicopters to Syria but under old contracts it had repaired helicopters sent to Syria "many years ago".

    "There are no new deliveries of Russian military helicopters to Syria. All arms industry cooperation with Syria is limited to a transfer of defensive arms," the ministry said on its website.

    "As regards helicopters, planned repairs of (helicopters) delivered to Syria many years ago were conducted earlier," it said. It did not say when they had been repaired or, if they were repaired in Russia, when they were returned to Syria.

    Syria's ambassador to Russia said on Thursday Russia had not sent new attack helicopters to Syria.

    Russia says it is fulfilling existing contracts for air defense systems against external attacks. President Vladimir Putin, due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama next week, said the weapons Russia sends could not be used in civil conflicts.

    A source close to Russia's arms exporting monopoly Rosoboronexport said Clinton's comments may have referred to helicopters sent to Russia in 2009 for repairs and which may be on the way back to Syria.

    The source said on Wednesday at least nine Mi-25 helicopters were sent to Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad to be repaired by Oboronservis, owned by the Defense Ministry.

    Russia delivered three different missile systems including Bastion anti-ship missile units and another anti-aircraft system to Syria last year.

    At least two ships carrying Russian weapons have reportedly travelled to Syria since the beginning of the year, though possibly not on behalf of state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

    Reuters contributed to this report. Jim Miklaszewski is the chief Pentagon correspondent for NBC News.

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    Didn't see THAT coming....

    LOL!
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    Default Re: Syria

    This is how the rest of the world (India news paper) is seeing this:

    http://spyghana.com/world-news/syria...warning-shots/

    Published On: Thu, Jun 14th, 2012
    World News | By 4thmedia.org

    SYRIAN CONFLICT THREATENS TO DEGENERATE INTO WORLD WAR: Russian Warning Shots


    President Vladimir Putin began his third mandate under the sign of sovereignty in the face of direct threats launched against the Russian Federation by the United States and NATO. Moscow has repeatedly denounced the expansion of NATO, the installation of military bases, the deployment of a missile shield on its borders, and the destruction of Libya and the destabilization of Syria.

    In the days following his inauguration, Mr. Putin reviewed the Russian military industrial sector, his armed forces and his treaty alliance system. [1] He pursued this course of action while choosing to draw in Syria a line in the sand that must not be crossed. For Putin, NATO’s invasion of Libya was equivalent to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Third Reich and that of Syria, should it occur, would be comparable to the invasion of Poland that started WWII.

    Any interpretation that what is currently happening in the Levant is the result of an internal dynamic of revolution/repression within Syria is not only false but a distortion of the real stakes involved, and simply amounts to more political maneuvering. The Syrian crisis is first and foremost a further stage in the project of “remodeling of the greater Middle East“; a further attempt to destroy the “Axis of Resistance” and the first “war for gas” being played out [2].

    What is actually at stake in Syria is not whether Bashar al-Assad will be able to democratize the institutions he has inherited or whether the Wahhabist monarchies of the Gulf will succeed in destroying the last secular regime in the region and impose their sectarianism, but to determine the lines of separation between the emerging power blocs of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) [3].

    Some of our readers will be startled to read the preceding phrase. Indeed, the Western and Gulf media have been hammering the point day after day that President El-Assad is a sectarian dictator working to the advantage of the Alawite minority, while the armed opposition to his authority is portrayed as the incarnation of democratic pluralism. Just a glance at recent events is enough to belie this version.

    Bashar al-Assad has successively convened municipal elections, a referendum, as well as legislative elections. All observers unanimously agreed that the elections unfolded in a transparent manner.

    The degree of popular participation was more than 60% even while the West was denouncing the electoral process as “a farce” and while the Western-backed armed opposition was preventing citizens from getting to the polls in the four districts under its control.

    At the same time, the armed opposition stepped up its attacks not only against security forces but also against civilians and all the symbols of national culture and of Syria’s multi-confessional character.

    They assassinated progressive Sunnis, then randomly killed Alawites and Christians in order to force their families to flee. They burned more than fifteen hundred schools and churches. They proclaimed an ephemeral Independent Islamic Emirate in Baba Amr where they instituted a Revolutionary Tribunal which condemned more than 150 felons, who were then beheaded in public one by one by an executioner.

    It is certainly not the woeful spectacle of some vagrant politicians, meeting up at the exiled Syrian National Council and erecting a facade of democracy having no relation to the reality of the crimes being committed by the Free “Syrian” Army, that will prevent the truth from coming out much longer.

    In the circumstances, who can believe that the secular Syrian regime, whose exemplary character was celebrated not so long ago, would have turned into a confessional dictatorship, while the Free “Syrian” Army, supported by the Wahhabist dictatorships of the Gulf and obeying the injunctions of Takfirist preachers would conversely be advanced as a paragon of democratic pluralism?

    The announcement by U.S. leaders of a possible international intervention outside a U.N. mandate in the same fashion as NATO dismembered Yugoslavia elicted both apprehension and anger in Moscow. The Russian Federation, which until now held itself in a defensive position, has moved to take the initiative. This strategic shift flows from the urgency of the situation from Russia’s point of view and favorable shifts on the ground in Syria [4].

    Moscow proposes to create a Contact Group on Syria that would bring together the ensemble of concerned states, meaning Syria’s neighbors as well as both regional and international powers. Its purpose is to put in place a forum for dialogue to substitute for the current bellicose approach imposed by the West under the Orwellian rubric, the “Friends of Syria Conference.”

    Russia continues to support the Annan Plan—which is in fact the scarcely modified plan submitted earlier by Sergei Lavrov to the Arab League. Russia deplores that the plan was not implemented, assigning responsibility for that failure to the opposition faction which took up arms. According to A.K. Lukashevich, spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, the Free “Syrian” Army is an illegal organization according to international law. It is assassinating twenty to thirty Syrian soldiers each day yet is publicly supported by NATO states and the GCC in violation of the Annan Plan [5].

    Positioning himself as a peacemaker confronting NATO warmongering, Vladimir Putin has demanded that the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) ready itself to deploy its “blue chapkas” in Syria, to both separate the belligerents and combat foreign forces. Nicolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the CSTO, has confirmed that he is ready to deploy 20,000 men trained for this type of mission and immediately available [6].

    This would be the first time that the CSTO deploys a peace force outside of former Soviet territory. Cut to the quick, Ban Ki-Moon attempted to sabotage the initiative, countering with his own sudden effort to organize a Contact Group. Convening in Washington the Sanctions Working Group of the Friends Of Syria Conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defied the Russian proposal and raised the ante in favor of regime change [7].

    In Turkey, opposition legislators have visited the Syrian refugee camps. They have confirmed the absence of more than one thousand refugees registered by the United Nations in the main camp and noted, by contrast, the presence of an arsenal in the camp. They have also demanded in Parliament that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reveal the rising amount of humanitarian aid being given to phantom refugees.

    The deputies maintain that the refugee camp is a cover for a secret military operation, sheltering in reality combatants, principally Libyans who are using it as a rear base. The deputies are asserting that the combatants are those who were introduced in the district of Houla when the massacre was being perpetrated.

    These revelations confirm the accusations of the Russian ambassador to the Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, according to which the Special Representative of Ban Ki-Moon in Libya, Ian Martin, had used U.N. funds destined for refugees to bring al Qaeda combatants into Turkey [8].

    In Saudi Arabia, the fracture between King Abdullah and the Sudairi clan has reappeared. At the invitation of the monarch, the Supreme Council of the Oulema issued afatwa stipulating that Syria is not a land of jihad. At the same time, however, Prince Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been calling to arm the opposition against the “Alawite usurper.”

    Thursday, June 7 was a day of many significant events. While Ban Ki-Moon and Navi Pillay, respectively Secretary General and High Commissioner of Human Rights, were pleading their case against Syria before the U.N. General Assembly, Moscow proceeded with two test-launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    The Bulava missile draws its name from an ancient Slavic mace used as a baton by the Marshall of the Cossack Armies.

    Colonel Vadim Koval, spokesman of the Strategic Missile Troops of the Russian Federation (RSVN) confirmed the test of aTopol—launched from a silo near the Caspian Sea, but has not confirmed that of the Bulava from a submarine in the Mediterranean. But the firing was observed from all over the Near East, Israel and Armenia and there is no other known armament that leaves similar tracings in the sky [9].

    The message is clear : Moscow is ready for world war if NATO and the GCC do not comply with the international obligations as defined in the Annan Plan and persist in aiding terrorism.

    According to our sources, this this shot across the bow was coordinated with the Syrian authorities. Moscow equally had encouraged Damascus to liquidate the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr once the authority of President al-Assad was confirmed by constitutional referendum, as it also encouraged the president to wipe out mercenary groups present in the country as soon as the new Parliament and new Prime Minister were installed.

    The order was given to move from a defensive strategy to offensive action to protect the population from terrorism. The national army moved to attack the strongholds of the Free “Syrian” Army. The combat in the coming days is going to be difficult, all the more so in that the mercenaries possess mortars, anti-tank missiles and, as from now, surface to air missiles.

    To lessen the rapidly-increasing tension, France immediately accepted the Russian proposal to participate in an ad hoc Contact Group. Washington hurried Frederic C. Hof to Moscow. Contradicting the statements made the day before by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr. Hof also accepted the Russian invitation.

    The time is past to lament the expansion of combat into Lebanon, or to conjecture about the possible regionalization of conflict. Over the past sixteen months of the destabilization of Syria, NATO and the GCC have created a situation without exit that might well degenerate into global war.

    Translated from French by Michele Stoddard.


    [1] President Putin’s agenda:
    May 7—President Putin is inaugurated.
    May 8—Dmitry Medvedev is nominated Prime Minister
    May 9—Commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany
    May 10—Visit of the Russian military-industrial establishment
    May 11—Reception for the President of Abkhazia
    May 12—Reception for the President of South Ossetia
    May 14-15—Informal meeting with heads of state of the CTSO
    May 18—Visit of the CYCLONE Central Research Institute
    May 25—Review of atomic sub-marines
    May 30—Meeting with key defense officials
    May 31—Meeting with the Russian security council
    June 4-7 Visite to China, SCO Summit
    June 7—Visit to Kazakhstan during the Topol missile launch

    [2] “Struggle over the Middle East: Gas Ranks First”, by Imad Fawzi Shueibi, Voltaire Network, 17 April 2012.

    [3] “Moscow and the formation of The New World System”, by Imad Fawzi Shueibi, Voltaire Network, 11 February 2012.

    [4] “The Houla affair highlights Western intelligence gap in Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 5 June 2012.

    [5] “Comment of Official Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia A.K. Lukashevich on the Question of Interfax related to the statement made by Representative of so-called Free Syrian Army S.Al-Kurdi,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 5 June 2012.

    [6] “Syria: Vladimir Putin contemplates sending CSTO peacekeeping force”, Voltaire Network, 3 June 2012.

    [7] “Friends of the Syrian People Sanctions Working Group,” Press Statement by Hillary Clinton, Department of State, 6 June 2012.

    [8] “Libya: Brigands-Revolutionaries and the UN,” by Alexander Mezyaev, Strategic Culture Foundation (Russia), Voltaire Network, 22 March 2012.

    [9] “7 June 2012: Russia displays intercontinental nuclear ballistic superiority,” Voltaire Network, 9 June 2012.
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...ith-syria.html





    We're Going to War With Syria

    by Michael Tomasky


    You need to be following this if you aren't. These new Russia developments are profoundly alarming.This is a question of when, not if, in my view.



    In 1982, Assad pere massacred 20,000 of his own people in Hama. We did nothing. The main reason, I think, was the Cold War. Syria was then a Soviet ally, and in those days of very high tensions (before Gorby) you didn't go around kicking up dust that might potentially turn nuclear. An ancillary reason was that the belief that preventing slaughter was part of the advanced world's job existed only on the human-rights fringes in those days. The scales, then, were tilted about 90 percent toward "direct threat to national security" and 10 percent to "responsibility to prevent mass death."



    We live in a different world. The difference can be overstated. I would not say it's now 90-10 in the other direction. Or even 50-50. But it's more like, in my estimation, about 65-35 national security to humanitarian responsibility. That's a considerable change. The development of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine in recent times may have nudged the scales a bit further.



    In sum, I don't believe that we live in a world anymore where a Hama can happen and the Western powers do nothing. More than 14,000 have died in Syria so far, says the anti-government Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The difference between that and Hama is that the current slaughter is happening slowly. But one of these days, and perhaps wth the aid of Russian attack helicopters, the regime will really cut loose. And the West will have to do...something.




    With all the usual caveats about not knowing what will come next, we'd be well rid of Assad. Hezbollah might collapse, without Syria as a conduit for arms from Iraq. Lebanon might be able to breathe free air. Iran would find itself more isolated. All depending on what comes next, of course, which is a big question, but the potential upside of a post-Assad Syria is great indeed.




    I should note that Israel sees things differently, taking a devil-we-know approach, and obviously Israel's interests are going to be taken into account to some degree by any US administration. But the US has different interests here. Assad is indeed a threat to US security, albeit an indirect one, because of his alliance with Iran. Combining that with the humanitarian impulse will likely outweight Israel's concerns.



    So some version of war is looking more and more inevitable to me. I'd say next year, under either Obama or Romney, something will happen.



    That's another thing to think about--whether you want Secretary of State John Bolton calling these shots. He'll be pushing at the same time to get Georgia into NATO, a disastrous policy that will destroy that organization, which is to say he'll be itching for war with Russia anyway so we might as well get on with it and start the new Cold War.




    But I disgress. This is serious stuff. Obviously, Obama's not going to want to get entangled in anything this year with the election looming.



    But get ready for the march to Damascus, or at least bombs over Damascus, in 2013.
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    Russia prepares army for Syrian deployment

    Jun 13
    Posted by endtimeheadlines

    Given the worsening crisis in Syria, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported that the Russian army is apparently being prepared for a mission in Syria. Citing anonymous sources in the military leadership, the newspaper said that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the general staff to work out a plan for military operations outside Russia, including in Syria.



    The units being prepared for an intervention are the 76th Division of airborne forces (an especially experienced unit of the Russian army), the 15th Army Division, as well as special forces from a brigade of the Black Sea fleet, which has a base in the Syrian port of Tartus.

    The details of the operational plan are being prepared by the working parties of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, to which most of the post-Soviet states belong, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to which China and Russia belong.

    According to the newspaper report, deployment depends on the decision of the Russian government and the UN. However, the plans also foresee that the troops might intervene without UN approval. The Russian government has so far not confirmed the report.

    On Monday last week, three Russian warships were sighted off the Syrian coast. An anonymous source from the Russian government told the Iranian newspaper Tehran Times that Moscow wants to show NATO that it will not allow any military operation against Damascus under the guise of a humanitarian mission.



    Earlier, the secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Nikolai Bordjusha, had held out the possibility of using “peacekeepers” in Syria. “The task in Syria is likely to be to impose peace—primarily against the insurgents, who use weapons to solve political problems.”

    Russia and China strongly oppose a military intervention by NATO in Syria, and have already blocked two UN resolutions on the issue. The US and its allies, especially Turkey, Saudi Arabia and France, have stoked up a civil war in Syria and are systematically arming the so-called rebels, who consist mainly of Islamists, ex-members of the government, or Al Qaeda terrorists.

    Turkey is increasingly in the leadership of the US proxy war in Syria.

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    Default Re: Syria

    Last Updated: Fri Jun 15, 2012 18:36 pm (KSA) 15:36 pm (GMT)

    http://english.alarabiya.net/article...15/220841.html

    Syria death toll mounts as NGO urges observers to either ‘stop killings’ or ‘leave’

    Friday, 15 June 2012
    Demonstrators protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Kafranbel, near Idlib. (Reuters)













    By Al Arabiya with Agencies



    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Friday urged United Nations monitors to end violence in Syria or leave the country, where over 100 people have been killed in violence in two days.

    As many as 29 have been killed on Friday by the fire of Syrian forces across the country, Al Arabiya reported citing activists at the Local Coordination Committees.

    “The role of the international observers has become that of a witness to murder,” the Britain-based watchdog stated, condemning the recent spike in violence despite their presence.

    “It is worth mentioning that the number of victims has risen dramatically over the last month,” the Observatory said.



    On Thursday at least 84 people died in clashes and bombings across Syria, 48 of them civilians, the Observatory said.

    “We call on the international observers to work for the immediate implementation of the Kofi Annan plan and ceasefire in order to stop the killings in Syria or to return to their home countries.”

    Earlier on Friday, Major General Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. observer mission in Syria said that the escalating bloodshed was hampering the ability of observers to carry out their mission.

    “The escalating violence is limiting our ability to observe, verify reports as well as assist in local dialogue and stability,” the veteran Norwegian peacekeeper told reporters in Damascus.

    A U.N. convoy trying to reach the town of al-Haffa on Tuesday, under siege by regime troops, came under fire and was forced to turn back by a stone-throwing crowd.

    The team was finally able to visit the town on Thursday, finding it all but deserted with a strong stench of dead bodies and most state buildings burned to the ground.

    Also on Thursday, 14 people were also wounded in suicide vehicle bombing near an important Shiite Muslim shrine in the capital, the state news agency SANA said.

    Syrian authorities said they had uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to bomb Damascus mosques around the main weekly prayers.

    A suspect detained on Thursday confessed that he had been planning a suicide bombing during Friday prayers at al-Rifai Mosque in the heart of the capital, SANA reported.

    The suspect told interrogators that the group’'s members “have prepared young men... to carry out suicide bombings in several areas in Damascus during prayers on Friday, June 15,” SANA said.

    France, meanwhile, said that world powers could hold a summit on the Syrian crisis as the deadly anti-regime revolt entered its 16th month.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said major powers could hold a conference at the end of the month in Geneva on the crisis which erupted in mid-March 2011 and has since cost more than 14,400 lives, according to the Observatory.

    “There is a possibility of holding a conference in Geneva on June 30,” Fabius told France Inter radio.

    Participants would include U.N. Security Council countries, but the meeting would be held “without the constraints of the Security Council,” he added.

    Fabius also said that talks were under way with Russia on Syria’s future if President Bashar al-Assad was ousted.

    But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov swiftly denied such talks had taken place with France or the United States, which have both been pushing for Assad to step down.

    “There were no such discussions and there could not have been such discussions. This completely contradicts our position,” Lavrov told reporters. “We are not involved in regime change.”

    Russia, along with China, has vetoed two Security Council resolutions against Assad and has vowed to oppose any military intervention.

    Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, accused Syrian government forces of having used sexual violence to torture men, women, girls and boys detained since the unrest broke out in March 2011.

    The New York-based group said it had interviewed 10 former detainees, including two women, who described being sexually abused or witnessing such abuse in detention.
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    Oh, brother... here we go!

    On Monday last week, three Russian warships were sighted off the Syrian coast. An anonymous source from the Russian government told the Iranian newspaper Tehran Times that Moscow wants to show NATO that it will not allow any military operation against Damascus under the guise of a humanitarian mission.
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    Pentagon finishes contingency plans for Syria invasion

    Published: 15 June, 2012, 19:44

    US Army soldiers (AFP Photo/Roberto Schmidt)

    Officials with the US Department of Defense have confirmed that the Pentagon has finalized procedures that outline how American forces could soon combat the government of war-torn Syria and officially involve itself in that state’s bloody uprising.

    After months of rumors suggesting that the US has unofficially made efforts to weaponize rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, officials with the Defense Department tell CNN that the Pentagon has finished drafting blueprints that lay-out just how the US military could aid in ousting the leader with America’s own troops.

    In their report, CNN cites Defense Department officials speaking on condition of anonymity; in a separate sit-down however, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey confirms to the outlet that intensifying violence overseas in recent months has prompted the Pentagon to expedite establishing a role for US forces.

    The violence "gives us all pause that have been in Iraq and seen how these issues become sectarian and then they become civil wars and then they become very difficult to resolve," Dempsey tells CNN this week.

    "There is a sense that if the sectarian violence in Syria grows, it could be worse than what we saw in Iraq," he adds.

    Although the issue of involving US forces in the war against Assad’s regime has been on the table since the beginning of the uprising, authorities in Washington — off the record — have all but officially thrown their hat in the ring in regards to offering assistance. RT reported earlier this week that intelligence forces have revealed to Israel’s Debka news agency that the US was believed to be readying the establishing of a no-fly zone in Syria, and last month discussed murmurings that suggested US President Barack Obama had quietly approved a shipment of anti-tank weapons to Syrian rebels.

    CNN’s report confirms that the military has indeed drafted instructions that lay-out the implementation of the no-fly zone. Additionally, officials say that a large number of US troops could soon be installed overseas to aid in the war.

    As early as March of this year, lawmakers including John McCain (R-Arizona) began rallying together to ask Congress to consider authorizing strikes on Assad. Without the permission of the United Nations, though, the US has been hesitant to offer any formal assistance.

    “NATO took military action to save Kosovo in 1999 without formal UN authorization. There is no reason why the Arab League, or NATO, or a leading coalition within the Friends of Syria contact group, or all of them speaking in unison, could not provide a similar international mandate for military measures to save Syria today,” Sen. McCain told Capitol Hill constituents earlier this year.

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    And that tears it.

    Russian troops already on the ground. US Troops headed there soon.

    Russia Vs America.

    Now we know how the world is going to end.

    Forget the Asteroid, Yellowstone. It's going to be a nuclear war.

    I think I will accelerate my house sale so I can get out of here, while I can. I hope my kids will pay attention.
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  18. #338
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    Default Re: Syria

    Iran preparing a soft landing strip for Syria

    http://www.rt.com/news/iran-syria-islamic-reforms-167/


    Published: 02 June, 2012, 13:46
    Edited: 04 June, 2012, 12:08




    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)


    Iranian politicians are watching events in Syria with concern: their view is that the country is being attacked by Saudi Arabia and Israel for its ties with Iran and its support for Palestinians, rather than part of the Arab Spring.


    Mohammad Naderi of Iran’s National Security Council believes that “if Syria falls it will be the time to strike on Iran.”


    “The United States proceeds from the fact that in the modern world, nobody has the right to resist the global order. Today, Iran is the only country which has the anti-American position, and which politically resists the U.S.’s global hegemony,” says Naderi.


    In his view, pressuring Syria is part of the U.S. strategy. “This is why all kinds of forces are working for this strategy. Such groups as Salafis, Wahhabis, and separatist movements, and Saudi Arabia are involved in this Syrian issue."


    Ali Akbar Javanfekr, chief executive of the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and presidential advisor, believes that Assad’s readiness for reforms and Russia’s assistance help reduce this pressure on Syria.


    “Amid these tough conditions, the Syrian government managed to achieve a certain success against the opposition that had been armed by the US and Israel. The reforms that they are performing are bearing fruit already. We believe that Russia’s position on the Syrian issue is a commendable one".


    Dr Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, former Iran’s ambassador to Finland and Japan, says that Syria is being pressured not only for resisting Israel and supporting Palestinians, but also because of the new movements in the country.


    “In the wake of the Arab Spring, new democratic movements were established in various places including Syria. These forces support the real democratic changes. They have their principles and a certain self-identification," says Araghchi.


    He is convinced that sooner or later, these forces will spread throughout the entire East, including Saudi Arabia, the states of the Gulf, and Qatar. But the United States has been restraining their appearance in those countries where it doesn’t want it, and intensifying them in other countries where it wants to see the regime change.


    There’s a popular opinion in Iran that the wave of the Arab Spring, or the Islamic Awakening, is a natural continuation of the Islamic revolution, rather than a result of the American plan for changing the world.


    “Iran was the first country to see these changes. In 33 years, the impulse of the Iranian revolution against the dictatorship and corruptive regime reached the Islamic world. In Iran, the democratic values and the Islamic concept are combined. In the Middle East today, there isn’t an issue which could be resolved without Iran. This is a result of Iran’s strong resistance in the face of the US," insists Araghchi.


    The Iranian regime considers the situation with Syria as a special case though.

    “The countries need reforms and those should be carried out by the countries themselves, not imposed from outside. In Syria, such changes were attempted artificially because Syria opposed Israel. Syria does need reforms but only those that would be carried out naturally, not through groups created behind the curtains with absolutely different agendas,” Aragchi said.


    He is aware of the opinion that Syria was subjected to pressure because it is Russia’s main base in the Middle East. Iran has a different view, however.


    “Syria is Iran’s long-time ally. If it is destroyed, its enemies will have hit three targets by one shot: the Palestinian movement, Iran and Syria itself. The situation with Syria differs from the one with Libya because a military action in this case would involve Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. The whole region will be destabilized,” said Aragchi.


    Hossein Shariatmadari, Iran’s Supreme Leader’s representative, president of Kayhan group of Newspapers, is even more categorical:


    “Assad’s role is important as he is a key and symbolic figure. Everything possible should be done to preserve him. We insisted on carrying out reforms before the Islamic awakening.”

    Shariatmadari believes that the uprising in Syria is different from what was going on in other Muslim countries.


    “The events of the Islamic awakening that have been going on in the region have several aspects. Firstly, it’s events with Islamic demands – in Mosques and during prayers. Secondly, the events concern the public at large. Thirdly, the events are anti-globalist in character. There is none of the above in Syria – Muslims have not uprisen there. I don’t want to say the Syrian opposition consists of non-Muslims, but they are in a tiny minority there. The opposition in Syria is not an anti-colonial movement – it’s backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel exactly with a purpose to remove Syria from the resistance against colonialism.”


    ­Nadezhda Kevorkova, RT

    ­The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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  19. #339
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    Default Re: Syria

    US warns Russia over Syria policy

    IANS | Jun 15, 2012, 05.44PM IST 4


    WASHINGTON: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has warned Russia that its support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have negative consequences.

    "The situation is spiralling towards civil war, and it's now time for everyone in the international community, including Russia and all Security Council members, to speak to Assad with a unified voice and insist that the violence stop, and come together with Kofi Annan to plan a political transition going forward," Clinton said Wednesday at a joint press conference with Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna.

    "It is something that we believe is in everyone's interests, most particularly the Syrian people. And Russia says it wants peace and stability restored. It says it has no particular love lost for Assad. And it also claims to have vital interests in the region and relationships that it wants to continue to keep. They put all of that at risk if they do not move more constructively right now," she said.

    According to UN estimates, over 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and thousands displaced since the uprising against Assad began about 15 months ago.

    Russia - along with China - has twice vetoed UN resolutions against Damascus over what it says is a pro-rebel bias. Moscow has, however, fully backed UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria.

    Clinton also urged Russia to stop arms deliveries to Syria.

    "We have repeatedly urged the Russian government to cut these military ties completely and to suspend all further support and deliveries," she said.

    Clinton earlier said Russia was supplying attack helicopters to Syria, but Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the claims, saying Russia was "completing the implementation of contracts that were signed and paid for a long time ago".

    He said the contracts "concern exclusively anti-aircraft defence".

    Syria is one of Russia's major weapons clients, and Moscow has opposed proposals for an arms embargo on Damascus, saying this would give rebel forces an unfair advantage in the conflict.

    Lavrov said Russia does not supply to Syria or other countries any special equipment that may be used against peaceful demonstrators, adding that the US, on the contrary, "delivers riot control equipment to the region".

    Clinton has dismissed claims that the US has armed the Syrian opposition.

    "I would emphasize that the US has provided no military support to the Syrian opposition, none. All of our support has been medical and humanitarian to help relieve the suffering of the Syrian people, a total of $52 million so far. We have also provided non-lethal support to the opposition, including things like communications gear," she said.
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    Default Re: Syria

    RUSSIA WARNS WAR IS COMING

    Jun 13
    Posted by endtimeheadlines

    JERUSALEM – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is preparing a major offensive in the coming days against the opposition targeting his regime, an informed Syrian government source confirmed.

    The source told WND yesterday Assad was warned by Russia that if the coming counterinsurgency targeting the opposition is not successful in the next 4-6 weeks, Syria should be prepared for a war.



    The source did not say whether the possibility of war referred to a Russian expectation of international intervention in Syria.

    The information comes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday accused Russia of sending helicopter gunships to Syria for use in crackdowns on rebel positions across Syria.

    “We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria,” said Clinton. “They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn’t worry – everything they are shipping is unrelated to their [the Syrian government's] actions internally. That’s patently untrue.” Continued Clinton: “And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”

    Also yesterday U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland echoed concerns by UN envoy Kofi Annan that a so-called massacre is being organized against the Syrian opposition.

    “The United States joins joint special envoy Kofi Annan in expressing deep alarm at reports from inside Syria that the regime may be organizing another massacre,” Nuland said. “People will be held accountable.” READ MORE

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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