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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Damascus’

Syrian Rebels Kill 17 Hezbollah Fighters in Direct Hit (Video)

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Syrian opposition media have posted a video that shows a direct rebel strike on a Hezbollah building near Damascus, killing a large but unknown number of the terrorist organization’s fighters.

Hezbollah has been losing popularity in Lebanon following reports of hundreds of casualties since the terrorist group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah sent them to fight along soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad.

Hezbollah initially claimed its fighters were in Syria to protect Shi’ite religious sites against attacks by Sunni Muslims.

In what appears to have been a separate clash in Damascus on Saturday, at least 15 Hezbollah fighters were killed, and a separate video showed dead soldiers with Hezbollah label patches on their uniforms.

Media  coverage of the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons has neglected the ongoing civil war that could tear Syria into several warring regions.

Al Qaeda, which has become a major force in the war against the Assad regime, lost control of a major border crossing with Iraq on Saturday when Syrian Kurds captured it after a three-day battle.

In the south, rebels took over the town of Tafas after weeks of heavy  fighting that killed dozens of people, according to, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Saudis are Trembling – Quietly

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

These days, the Arab media are full of reports about diplomatic activities regarding the Syrian issue, and commentators’ articles dealing with this matter fill whole pages in the newspapers of the Arab world. They all try to ascertain if there will be an American military action, what its scope will be, how powerful it will be, what its goals will be, how long it will last, and especially, what the consequences of the action will be. But there is one important voice which is almost not heard at all in this whole chorus of analysts – the Saudi voice – and it seems that someone there – the king? – may have imposed a gag order on the commentators.

To get a deeper understanding of the reason for this, I contacted a Saudi colleague, with whom I correspond occasionally. He is a member of the royal family, but is not in the inner circles of decision making. Nevertheless, he is well acquainted with the way the Saudi leaders think, he is aware of the considerations and feelings that drive it and has a deep understanding of what is said and what is not said there. At first he refused to speak, and only after a “preliminary conversation” did he consent. This is how it is in the Middle East: everything is based on personal relationships, and Arabic is the entry bridge into the emotions of the region’s people.

He preferred to speak about “The Gulf,” not Saudi Arabia, in order to present a united front regarding the events in Syria and its environs. This is not exactly correct, because the positions of Saudi Arabia (which is the main supplier and supporter of the Salafi fighters in Syria) and those of Qatar (which stand behind the Free Syrian Army), are not identical, and the United Arab Emirates is much more active than Oman. But despite the differences in approach among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, their basic attitudes are very similar.

My colleague hinted at an important aspect of Middle Eastern character, which is “murou’a” – “manliness.” A man will always be sure to act according to rules of manly conduct, and will make every effort to avoid feminine patterns of behavior. Emotionality and whining are considered feminine qualities that express weakness, while a male is expected to keep a cool head and emotional balance and remain calm and functional even in difficult and complex situations. It seems that the Saudi government’s silence during the last few days stems from this characteristic. One could say that the greater the internal emotional stress, the quieter and more relaxed the Arab man will try to appear. It relates to the obsession with honor, because if a man sounds like a woman he is considered contemptible.

The longer the conversation continued, the more open it became, and the more my colleague complained about the Western world in general and the United States in particular. “You (he included Israel in the Western world) speak all the time about human rights, so why are you quiet about what is happening in Syria? After chemical weapons have been used ten times, you still do not manage to find a reason to eliminate Asad? Are two hundred thousand fatalities not enough to bring you out of your complacency? Is issuing condemnations the only thing you can do? Making threats without carrying them out? You have all of the proof you need to do what you said you would do, so why are you not doing what you promised?” And then came the knockout question: “Is the Libyan’s blood redder than the Syrians’? Or maybe Libyan oil is blacker than Syrian oil?” These things were said somewhat scornfully, because the coalition of Europe and America attacked Qadhaffi for less terrible things than Asad is doing.

I asked him: “So how should the Arab world deal with a mass murderer?” He answered with a rhetorical question: “Don’t you know what Saudi Arabia has done and is still doing for the Syrian people?” He was referring to what Saudi Arabia usually does: it gives money, lots of money, for purposes that it believes in. Saudi Arabia – and all of the other Gulf countries – have poured many billions of dollars into the Syrian rebellion to pay the fighters, to buy weapons, ammunition, communication devices and civilian aid, and even to bring women to Syria in order to “serve” the fighters. Saudi Arabia funds training camps in other countries that train fighters to join the fight against Asad in Syria.

New Poison Gas Attack Claimed in Syria, but Has the Clock Run Out?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Syrian rebels claimed on Thursday that the Assad regime has used poison gas again, this time dropping chemical bombs on the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus.

If Syrian President Bassar al-Assad indeed carried out another chemical weapon attack just as President Barack Obama pulled back at the brink of bombing his military bases, he is more devilish than the devil, which gets away with evil by manufacturing lies and then standing in the courtroom and challenging anyone to prove otherwise.

A report from the United Nations, due to come out on Monday, has been leaked and links Assad to last month’s chemical attack but does not directly accuse him.

The latest rebels’ claim of another attack may indeed be true, but their problem is that the rebels are as honest and adorable as Assad.

For all the atrocities of Assad and his goon squads during the three-year civil war, not to speak of the calmer days under his regime of kindness and torture, the rebels are a good match.

Videos smuggled out of Syria have showed rebels standing with rifles  over captured Syrian soldiers, who had clear marks of severe beatings. With the prisoners faces on the ground, a rebel commander and his goon squad killed the soldiers, one by one, with a bullet in the back of the head.

It is not beyond belief that rebels also have used chemical weapons, but the overwhelming evidence obtained by French and American official’s shows that Assad clearly is to blame.

What really is weird is that the world is outraged over the use of chemicals, which indeed can endanger the entire world, but has been sitting on its collective hands under its collective butts for two years while Assad’s’ jets bombed and starved civilians and rebels do, and while the rebels would have done the same if they could.

What started out as a romantic Arab Spring peaceful demonstration has turned into a barbaric war. On one side is Assad, correctly described by Pulitzer Prize winner Joel Brinkley as “the most dangerous man in the world,” and that was around the same time then- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was saying he is “reformer.”

On the other side are approximately 10 armies, each one easily classified in the category of “terrorists,” not the least of which is the Al Qaeda organization.

A United Nations panel, two years too late, has issued a report stating, “The perpetrators of these violations and crimes, on all sides, act in defiance of international law. They do not fear accountability. Referral to justice is imperative.”

The lack of leadership in the world makes one wonder if the 21st century of advanced technology is morally situated in the days before the Flood.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is just as guilty as Assad but gets off the hook just like a terrorist leader who sits comfortably at home while his worshippers send the peons to kills themselves and others.

The United States has blown its chance for true leadership time after time. It has been following events instead of leading them, refusing to get involved, only later to send humanitarian aid to the rebels.

It has refused to help the rebels, only later to give them logistical aid,

It has refused to send them weapons, but The Washington Post reported Thursday that the CIA has been funding shipments of weapons, not made in the USA, to Syria.

President Obama has repeatedly said he will not intervene in Syria unless chemical weapons are used. That red line was crossed long before last month’s chemical attack that killed more than 1,00 people. In fact, it was crossed half a dozen times, but Obama backed away because he wanted “positive proof.”

Last week he got his proof, but he blinked.

Now that chemical weapons allegedly have been used again, the world will get agitated again.

Clearly, if the United States and Russia let  chemical weapons be used, it could set the scene for as ghastly scene in the future in Israel, Turkey and anywhere else where the wind blows.

But even if the West attacks Syria, chemical weapons will remain. They cannot be bombed, because they would be released and cause a catastrophe. Assad obviously cannot be treated to hand them over, and who knows if the rebels and Hezbollah already don’t have chemical weapons?

The problem is the world has been too late for three years, and probably is too late again.

UN Report to Confirm Chemical Use, But Won’t Point Finger at Assad

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

According to Foreign Policy Magazine, UN weapons inspectors intend to accuse Syrian president Bashar al-Assad of responsibility for the gas attack that killed some 1,400 civilians in August. The drawback is that they can only offer circumstantial evidence on the case, according to insiders.

Western officials are saying the UN team has collected a “wealth” of evidence confirming that nerve agents were used in the attack on the al Ghouta suburb of Damascus. So we know it wasn’t a faked event, as the Syrians and the Iranians have been saying initially. But will the experts be able to trace the chemicals back to Assad’s henchmen?

The Iranians and the Russians, most notably President Vladimir Putin in a NY Times op-ed today (A Plea for Caution From Russia), still insist on blaming the rebels for the attack.

Putin writes: “No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.”

The highly anticipated report on the inspectors findings will be presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday. But UN diplomats are saying the report will not directly accuse Assad.

It will, however, present a strong circumstantial case that the Assad regime was responsible, based on analysis of rocket shells, ammunition and tests on soil, blood and urine from the attack.

“I know they have gotten very rich samples — biomedical and environmental — and they have interviewed victims, doctors and nurses," said the Western official. It seems they are very happy with the wealth of evidence they got,” a UN official told Foreign magazine. But the team could not identify the specific agents detected by the inspector team, but said, “You can conclude from the type of evidence the [identity of the] author.”

Syria and Russia have highlighted several other alleged chemical weapons attacks against Syrian government forces. The Syrians initially requested that the UN inspectors investigate an alleged March 19 sarin attack in the town of Khan al Assal, near Aleppo. Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar al Jaafari also requested that the team inspect three other cases of alleged chemical weapons use in late August against Syrian forces. On their final day in Damascus, the team visited a military hospital in Damascus to examine alleged victims of rebel chemical weapons attacks.

Sellström’s team is planning to return to Damascus at a later date to complete its investigations into the other incidents, including the March incident at Khan al Assal.

Under the terms of its Security Council mandate, the UN inspectors are only authorized to conclude whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and they may not assign responsibility for said use.

On Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem admitted in a statement that his country operated a clandestine chemical weapons program, and promised to make them available to international inspectors, as part of the Russian sponsored deal whereby the Syrians would hand over their chemical stash in exchange to not being bombed by the U.S. Moallem said: “We are ready to reveal the locations of the chemical weapon sites and to stop producing chemical weapons and make these sites available for inspection by representatives of Russia, other countries and the United Nations.”

And while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are planning to meet in Geneva to try and reach an agreement on a plan to collect and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, American talking heads have been debating whether this was a win or a loss to the Obama team. It appears the right, on Fox News, thinks this has been the most abysmal failure since Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer inspected Sitting Bull in Little Bighorn. The left, everywhere else on Television, thinks the best thing about it so far is the fact that it’s been bloodless. Well, bloodless if you’re an American.

According to Israel Radio, sources close to the Syrian president are saying they expect a deal would be reached in October, should the two foreign ministers agree on it today, in Geneva. Meanwhile, the rebels, who feel a little abandoned, understandably, are warning the Syrians will take advantage of the lull in the pressure on them, and move their chemical stash to Iraq.

Oh, Iraqis and chemical weapons… don’t get me started…

Obama Begins Attack Blitz, Says 24 Nations Back ‘Strong Response’

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The White House announced Monday that more than dozen more countries have formally backed a “strong international response” to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The United States now has the support of 24 countries, not including Israel which has tried to lay low. The list includes an interesting collection of allies, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, Albania, Australia and Denmark.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women and children,” the statement says. “The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.”

Meet the Monster Behind Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

The man responsible for producing the poison gas that last week killed approximately 1,000 Syrians, including children, bears a description of a monster from the Nazi regime, whose officers, and a large part of the population, considered themselves to be superior by virtue of their love of fine culture and refined arts, despite the Nazi death machine.

Dr. Amr Najib Armanazi, now 69 years old, routinely visited his children in London, where they studies. He and his wife frequently travel to Washington.

Israel Defense writer Ronen Solomon issued a profile of Armanazi on Thursday, disclosing a chilling resemblance to the same characteristics of Nazi war criminals who could discuss philosophy and understand fine art while engineering the torture and extermination of 6 million Jews.

He has a ”fatherly appearance, with white hair and a pleasant smile,” according to Solomon.

He is in charge of the majestically termed Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) near Damascus. The name is a euphemism for what could be called “Poison Gas and Chemical Warfare Co. Ltd.

The United States, and Israel, knew years ago that Syria was producing chemical weapons but did nothing to stop it. That was during the era when Washington was convinced that if Israel would simply hand over the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a piece of paper saying the countries were at peace, all of the region’s problems would be solved.

It took the U.S. State Dept. until Sept. 9, 2012 to put its stamp of disapproval on Armanazi. It declared, “The SSRC is the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The SSRC also has a public civilian research function; however, its activities focus on the development of biological weapons, chemical weapons, and missiles. During his tenure, Armanazi oversaw a facility that was involved in the production of sarin nerve agent.

“Amr Armanazi, has engaged, or attempted to engage, in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to… the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction…, including any efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use such items.”

Armanazi, a former computer engineer, has a longtime acquaintance with the Assad family. His father was Syria’s ambassador to several countries, including India and Egypt.

He worked in the 1990s for Assad, who then was managing the Syrian Computer Society, another names that rings of innocence but which developed computer systems for the military.

Armanazi later took over the management of the Scientific research Center, which also was to develop nuclear warheads.

He oversees  thousands of workers who develop and produce chemical weapons, using “immunology laboratories” and “environmental research”  laboratories to perfect materials for genocide.

The manufacturing center for producing Sarin gas and nerve agents is located in northern Syria, according to Solomon, the same region where Israel in 2007 bombed a building that was to serve as a nuclear reactor. It was being built under the guidance of North Korean scientists, who had been in close contact with Armanazi since 2001.

Solomon revealed that Armanazi traveled to Pyongyang several times and helped establish a straw company named “Namchongang Engineering Services” in Damascus, which was a cover for North Korea’s nuclear activities in Syria.

Like the Nazi elite, Armanazi has made himself into an image of a fine, elderly and cultured family man. One of his daughters earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of London and is senior manager of Nissan in Syria.

One of his sons studied in London for a degree in economics and works there for a bank.

And their father’s legacy is the murder of civilians, including children, by poison gas.

Armanazi’s office is in a complex that includes warehouses for storing chemical weapons.

If the United States attacks Syria, it can be assumed that the cultured Armanazi will be far, far away from his office.

Minister Steinitz: Intelligence Says Assad Army Used Chemical Weapons

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Minister of International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told Kol Israel Thursday morning that Israel’s Intelligence service estimates that the Assad army indeed attacked its own civilians using chemical weapons, adding that it was not the first time the Syrian army has done this.

Steinitz said the worldwide condemnation of Assad’s war crimes have been mere lip service, since no concrete steps have so far been taken to stop Assad’s ongoing massacre of his countrymen.

The minister called the UN inspection just begun in Syria “a joke.”

“The UN isn’t inspecting yesterday’s events, but events that took place half a year ago. Moreover, the designation of the investigation, to find out whether or not chemical weapons were used—without investigating who used them—is outright ridiculous,” the minister said.

Last night, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did call for an investigation of Wednesday’s gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus, where as many as 1,300 people are said to have been killed. It is not clear, however, if his call is heeded by the Security Council.

Labor MK Benjamin Ben Eliezer, who is considered a leading candidate to become the next president of Israel, said that what goes on in Syria is nothing less than a holocaust and a genocide, and the world—which condemns Israel for every tiny misstep—is standing by without doing anything.

Ben Eliezer emphasized that the red line drawn by President Obama has long since been crossed, and that Israel must remain on alert to prevent any of the Syrian chemical weapons from falling into Hezbollah or al-Qaeda hands.

The Syrian government is denying any involvement in the attack, accusing the rebels of staging a propaganda ploy. And Assad’s traditional patron, Russia, is not flinching in its unabashed defense of its man.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Wednesday that a homemade rocket carrying unidentified chemical substances had been launched from an area controlled by the opposition, Reuters reported.

“All this cannot but suggest that once again we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation,” Lukashevich said. “This is supported by the fact that the criminal act was committed near Damascus at the very moment when a mission of UN experts had successfully started their work of investigating allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons there.”

Thirty-five member countries have called for the UN inspection team which has just arrived in Damascus to be allowed to investigate the newest attack.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said, “This represents, no matter what the consequences are, a serious escalation with grave humanitarian consequences and human consequences. We very much hope that we will be able to conduct the investigation. Dr. Sellstrom and his team are in place in Damascus. We hope that they will be given access to the area by the government.”

The UN Security Council met in an emergency session over the incident, with protesters demonstrating outside its headquarters. When it ended, Argentina’s UN ambassador, Maria Cristina Perceval, told reporters: “There is a strong concern among council members about the allegations and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and the situation must be followed closely after a closed-door emergency meeting of the council.”

Which means the council is not explicitly calling the inspection team to investigate, it only welcomed Ban Ki-moon’s calls for one.

“The members of the Security Council also welcomed the determination of the Secretary-General to ensure a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation,” said Perceval, who is president of the council this month.

In other words, Russia said Nyet, and the new incident will remain outside the purview of the inspectors.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/minister-steinitz-intelligence-says-assad-army-used-chemical-weapons/2013/08/22/

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