Saudi-Iran Feud Draws Sectarian Dividing Line Across Middle East Oilfields.
Bloomberg.com By Glen Carey - May 31, 2011 2:58 PM GMT+0200
Diners at Shayan in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, are assured by a sign near the cash register that they can enjoy the restaurant’s Persian food without worrying about Iranians profiting. The establishment is Saudi- owned, it says.
Saudi fulmination against Iranian interference in the Persian Gulf finds its mirror image in Tehran. There, buses bring doctors and schoolgirls to join protests outside the Saudi embassy, as clerics, ministers and state-run media denounce the deployment of Saudi troops to Bahrain.
The Gulf, home to three-fifths of the world’s oil reserves, has largely escaped the violence that accompanied uprisings in Egypt, Libya and other countries this year. The main exception, though, carries the risk of a wider conflict. Bahrain’s Saudi- backed rulers are using force to suppress an opposition that mostly shares Iran’s Shiite faith -- exacerbating the rivalry between the region’s two most powerful and oil-rich countries.
It’s “frightening to think of this conflict and the effects on oil and other markets,” said Paul Sullivan, a political scientist specializing in Middle East security at Georgetown University.
Saudi Arabia, like Bahrain a Sunni monarchy and key U.S. ally, sent more than 1,000 troops to its neighbor, the largest component of a Gulf force named Peninsula Shield.
They arrived March 15, the day Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa family declared a state of emergency after a month of pro- democracy demonstrations. Security forces have killed more than 20 protesters. Human rights groups say many more have been jailed and tortured since the Saudi intervention while Shiite mosques have been destroyed, a charge the government denies.
Shiites are a majority in Bahrain. In Saudi Arabia, where they make up about 15 percent of the population, officials accuse Iran of stoking opposition to Sunni rulers.
“Iranian sectarianism is the cause of the tension,” Sheikh Abdul Mohsen al-Obeikan, an adviser to King Abdullah’s Royal Court, said in an interview in Riyadh. Bahrain’s protesters “strayed away from just asking for basic demands and went on to threats,” he said. “That’s why Bahrain’s government agreed to receive the Peninsula Shield.”
It was Bahrain’s rulers who widened sectarian schisms by crushing the protests, said Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, a lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. “Bahrain was not a Shiite-Sunni issue until the rather more hawkish wing of the al-Khalifa family decided to turn it into one,” partly in order to signal to the U.S. that any alternative regime would be pro-Iran, he said.
Other Gulf countries are also targeting Iran. Kuwait, whose Shiite minority protested the Peninsula Shield deployment, sentenced two Iranians and one Kuwaiti to death for spying in March.
Crude prices have jumped almost 20 percent to about $100 a barrel since unrest in Bahrain and Libya began mid-February. That increase suits Iran’s strategy better than Saudi Arabia’s, according to Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia has a long history of fostering stability in the oil markets,” he said. “Iran wants to produce more oil at higher prices.”
Iran had 138 billion barrels of reserves at the end of 2009, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Saudi Arabia had 265 billion. The kingdom is the world’s biggest oil exporter, and spends some of the revenue arming itself. It has agreed to buy $60 billion of equipment including Boeing Co. (BA) F-15 fighter jets and attack helicopters.
King Urged Attack
Iran, suspected by the U.S. and allies of seeking to develop atomic weapons, is the perceived threat behind that defense spending. King Abdullah urged the U.S. to attack Iran, “cut off the head of the snake” and halt its nuclear program, U.S. diplomats reported in cables released by WikiLeaks. In another cable from August 2008, U.S. diplomats said there had been “no convincing evidence of Iranian weapons or government money” in Bahrain for more than a decade.
Saudi and Bahraini rulers haven’t presented evidence of Iranian involvement there. Iranian leaders point to Saudi troops, dead Shiites and bulldozed mosques.
Cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Mohsen Araki, a former member of the Assembly of Experts, the Islamic republic’s top religious body, issued a fatwa condemning those he said were involved in demolishing mosques and killing Muslims in Bahrain.
“Death to the infidel Saudi regime,” a group of schoolgirls chanted May 3 outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran. State-run Press TV has broadcast footage of wounded Bahraini protesters in their hospital beds.
The two countries squaring off over Bahrain lie at the heart of regional alliance networks.
Iran supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- a ruler from a minority sect with Shiite connections who’s seeking to crush protests in a mostly Sunni country -- and has developed ties with Iraq’s Shiite-led government. In Lebanon, Iran backs the Shiite Hezbollah movement, which toppled the government of Saad Hariri, a U.S. and Saudi ally, in January.
The Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council said this month it may add Sunni monarchies Jordan and Morocco to its six members.
Tensions date back to Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accused Saudi rulers of corruption and argued that the holy sites of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be under a single country’s guardianship.
Past sparring has now “become a reality,” and the violence in Bahrain probably isn’t over, said Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
Bahrain is due to lift emergency rule tomorrow. The Ministry of Justice signaled today that it won’t allow a resumption of anti-government protests, ruling out “activities that could affect security or harm the national peace.” In Shiite villages, subjected to repeated raids and arrests since martial law was declared, activists plan to hold rallies, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said.
“Some Shiite Bahrainis may try to retaliate,” Karasik said. “After the government’s crackdown, there is very little room for compromise.”
Obama Praises Bahrain Tyrant on Visit, Dims Awakening’s Prospects.
Antiwar.com John Glaser, June 08, 2011
There have been various moments since the start of the Arab Spring where the level of blatant, outright support for Middle Eastern dictatorship on display should have embarrassed Obama and his team, but yesterday was a highlight.
The Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa visited the White House, meeting with Obama and his National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. The President “reaffirmed the strong US commitment to Bahrain,” praised the King’s supposed “efforts to initiate the national dialogue” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), and looked forward to (some fictional) “compromise to forge a just future for all Bahrainis.”
This reaffirmation of support on behalf of the American people to a Bahraini government brutalizing it’s own citizens who are fighting for their own dignity should warrant terrified gasps and accusing disbelief. But no, not in the Imperial City. This is protocol.
This is the same Bahraini government who has been gunning down unarmed activists with live ammunition, unleashing “live rounds, metallic pellets, rubber bullets, and teargas” at protestors for months, and violently supressing this eruption of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations at every turn. This government, Obama’s close friend and ally, arrested and sentenced doctors and nurses who treated protesters injured by the horrible repression, and followed up by declaring martial law and stepping up unprovoked attacks on civilians. Protests have still not moved the country toward more freedom and democracy and thus the Bahraini people remain enslaved under a harsh criminal regime.
All this, and the only thing the Hope & Change Candidate can say is that his support is strong and reaffirmed, and that the regime’s perfunctory lifting of martial law and entirely rhetorical credence to “national dialogue” is a positive step in the right direction.
Centrists and establishment types try to justify this as necessary for long term stability and in the best interests of America – those code words for empire – while simultaneously sympathizing with poor Obama and how hard it must be for him to have to be diplomatic with Bahrain. But the truth is that so long as the U.S. continues to meddle in the affairs of every single Middle Eastern country experiencing these revolutionary changes, the prospects for positive change for the millions of people living there are dim. The truth is, this kind of support for repression and tyranny needs to start eliciting the gasps and condemnation it warrants.
Russia and NATO have an open channel for talks, but there are still fundamental points in which they have trouble seeing eye-to-eye. From how to handle Libya and Syria through to missile defence, the hurdles are clear. To see if that might change any time soon, we can talk to NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
With Russia concerned over abuse of the UN mandate in Libya, Moscow is trying to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated elsewhere. It's effectively blocking draft resolutions put forward at the UN nuclear watchdog and the Security Council, which are aimed at pressuring the Syrian regime. As Marina Portnaya reports, it's because the same kind of language is being used, which led to the bombing of Libya.
Last Edit: Jun 9, 2011 17:07:51 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Detained lesbian blogger from Syria turns out to be a hoax.
By Haaretz Service 23:08 12.06.11
Real author of the blog 'A Gay Girl in Damascus', Tom MacMaster who is based in Turkey, posts apology but insists his fictitious account was truly reflective of the situation on the ground in Syria.
After the story of the Syrian-American lesbian blogger who went missing during President Bashar Assad's crackdown made headlines worldwide, it turns out the entire account was a hoax.
Over the past few days, several news reports have surfaced indicating that the author of the blog was from Scotland, after the Washington Post has linked the alleged lesbian blogger's IP address to Edinburgh.
Pretending to be Amina Arraf, who wrote a blog called "A Gay Girl in Damascus" which documented updates about Syria's uprising, Tom MacMaster confessed Sunday that every post on the blog has been written by him, including the whole account of Amina's disappearance and her detention by Syrian security forces which has been reported on by various news outlets.
MacMaster, indicating his location as Istanbul, Turkey, posted a last entry on the blog on Sunday apologizing to the readers, emphasizing that the facts in his posts were truly reflective of the situation on the ground in Syria, even though the narrative voice was fictional.
"I do not believe that I have harmed anyone - I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about," he wrote.
MacMaster claimed that he was simply trying to convey the events in Syria to a western audience through the fictitious blog.
"I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in thıs year of revolutions," he wrote.
Russia, China snub U.N. council talks on Syria: envoys.
By Louis Charbonneau – Sat Jun 11, 6:25 pm ET
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia and China snubbed U.N. Security Council talks on Saturday convened to discuss a draft resolution that would condemn Syria's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, U.N. diplomats said.
"Russia and China didn't think it necessary to show up," a council diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "It's a pretty clear message," another diplomat said.
The European drafters of the resolution convened Saturday's talks in the hope they could break their deadlock on a draft resolution that would not impose sanctions on Syria but would condemn it for the crackdown and suggest Syrian security forces might be guilty of crimes against humanity.
Diplomats said the latest meeting produced no changes among the 13 Security Council members that attended. Currently, nine members, including the draft's sponsors, Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, plan to vote for it.
The United States is not sponsoring the resolution but has made clear it supports the text and condemns the violence against the demonstrators. It accused the Syrian government on Saturday of creating a "humanitarian crisis" and called on it to halt its offensive.
Russia and China dislike the idea of any council discussion of Syria and have suggested they might use their veto power to kill the resolution. Lebanon, India, Brazil and South Africa have also said they have problems with the text.
"The Syrians are firing into the crowds and they (Russia and China) don't care," a Western diplomat told Reuters, requesting anonymity.
Diplomats said they were especially concerned about reports that Syrian security forces had been using helicopter gunships and firing live ammunition at demonstrators. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the use of military force against civilians was unacceptable.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told Ban and the Security Council in a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday that if the council approved the European draft resolution, it would only embolden "extremists and terrorists.
Envoys said the latest draft, submitted to the council on Wednesday by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, could be put to a vote next week.
Western envoys said they were especially frustrated with the positions of Brazil, India and South Africa, which are considering abstaining from the vote.
"We're trying to explain to them that abstaining on this issue means siding with Russia and China -- and Syria," one diplomat said.
The diplomat added that if Brazil, India and South Africa voted for the resolution, the Russians and Chinese might consider abstaining instead of vetoing the resolution.
Given Lebanon's complicated ties to its neighbor Syria, diplomats said they expected it to vote against the draft.
Resolutions need nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- in order to pass.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jun 15, 2011 14:24:37 GMT -5
Syrian army fighting 'militants, 'provocateurs' says Lavrov.
ASTANA, June 15 (RIA Novosti)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Wednesday against attempts to define "provocateurs" and "militants" fighting against the government in Syria as peaceful protesters.
"The main thing is to avoid painting the picture that Syrian security forces, the armed forces are acting solely against peaceful demonstrators," Lavrov told journalists on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana.
"There are very many armed provocateurs [among the Syrian protesters]," he said, adding "I think no state would tolerate direct attempts at rebellion."
Syrian security forces have been trying to "free" residential locations seized by a "large group of armed militants," he said.
Syrian rights organizations have estimated that some 1,300 people have been killed and more than 10,000 arrested in Syria since protests demanding the end of President Bashar al-Assad's authoritarian rule broke out in the country in mid-March. Foreign journalists are banned from entering the country which makes it difficult to verify the figures.
Syria's official reports say some 300 security and military officers have lost their lives in clashes with protesters, including at least 120 of them reportedly killed in the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour as "unknown terrorist gangs" seized the town last week.
Thousands of refugees have fled across the border to neighboring Turkey as Syrian troops backed by tanks entered Jisr al-Shughour, arresting hundreds of residents and regaining control of the rebellious town earlier this week.
Lavrov reiterated Russia's position on Wednesday, saying that the country would not support a resolution condemning violence in Syria that France and Britain are expected to put to a vote at the UN Security Council in the near future.
Russia insists that reforms promised by Assad should go forward and a dialogue with the opposition launched to resolve the crisis, the minister said.
"We urge that... the reforms announced by President Assad are implemented, but at the same time, the forces leading the opposition, those who carry out armed attacks on the government forces and government buildings, must respond to a call for dialogue," he said.
A delegation of Syrian opposition figures and human rights activists will visit Moscow on June 27 to discuss ways out of the political crisis in the country with Mikhail Margelov, the Russian presidential envoy to Africa, the head of the Syrian Center for Political & Strategic Studies, an independent organization based in Washington, told RIA Novosti.
According to Russian media reports, the visit will take place by invitation of Russian public organizations.
The Syrian opposition hopes that Russia will change its position, the Arabic-language Elaf news portal quoted prominent opposition activists as saying.
“As the Syrian revolution unfolds and since the number of Syrians joining demonstrations is on the rise, Russia should change its position,” activist Ashraf al-Makdad said.
During their forthcoming visit to Russia, representatives of the Syrian opposition should “take maximum efforts to try to change the Russian government’s official stance,” he said.
EPA/BGNES June 15, 2011, Wednesday
handout photo released by the Syrian official news agency (SANA) shows Syrian supporters of President Basher Assad displaying a 2,300-meter long national flag during a rally in Damascus, Syria, 15 June 2011. According to SANA, Syrian youths made a 2300-me
Last Edit: Jun 15, 2011 15:23:40 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Invasion of the Mind Snatchers - Empire's Revolution Business.
Antiwar.com by Nebojsa Malic, June 24, 2011
The ancient Greeks had a saying: "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad." They named such madness hubris, and the subsequent destruction nemesis. One would think the American Empire would at least try and learn from the wisdom of the ancients; yet not only does it repeat their mistakes, it has managed to develop an entire system of delusions, capable of interpreting ancient wisdom to support the very things it cautioned against.
This disconnect was famously documented by Ron Suskind in 2004, who quoted an unnamed Bush administration official (later identified as Karl Rove), contemptuously dismissing the "reality-based community":
"We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Though Bush II has been out of office for almost three years, there are no indications this worldview departed with him. Quite the contrary; proof is in the current Emperor’s recent attempt to evade Congressional oversight of the adventure in Libya by calling it a "kinetic military action." Translated from bureaucratese to plain English, that actually means precisely what Obama’s people say it doesn’t: war.
Fire in the Minds of Men
Back in 2005, Bush II heralded an effort to spread "freedom" to every corner of the world, setting "fire in the minds of men". It was a phrase right out of Dostoevsky, via Billington, evoking revolutionary fever. By that point, the world had already seen the first wave of the so-called "color revolutions," the most notable being those in Tbilisi and Kiev. After several of them notably failed, however, the whole project seemed as obsolete as the lies about Iraqi WMDs.
Then came the Sandstorm, or as the Imperial pundits prefer to call it, the "Arab Spring." To hear the mainstream media tell it, the world is once again catching fire, young people everywhere demanding "democracy" and overthrowing the evil regimes oppressing them. Tunisia and Egypt were just the beginning, the "kinetic action" in Libya is all about helping the "democrats", and if there is any fault in Washington, it is for "standing idly by" and "not helping enough".
But is that really so?
A few days ago, an interesting documentary appeared on YouTube. "The Revolution Business" documents the recent revolutions throughout the world, and finds the common thread running through nearly all of them: Otpor. www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpXbA6yZY-8
Originally a student group devoted to protesting what they saw as dictatorship by the Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, Otpor ("Resistance") was co-opted by the U.S. intelligence after the NATO attack on Serbia in 1999. Backed by a propaganda apparatus, "suitcases of cash" and a host of organizations from the CIA to the NED, Otpor spearheaded the October 2000 coup in Belgrade, which ousted Milosevic and brought to power a coalition of "democrats" put together by the Empire.
Serbia was the test case for this new mode of warfare by subterfuge, Patient Zero in a world soon to be infected by "revolutions" that weren’t. Otpor was the vector designed for the purpose.
Instruments of Own Demise
The aforementioned documentary spends a lot of time with Srdja Popovic, former Otpor leader that went on to become a professional revolutionary. Otpor having folded years ago into Serbia’s ruling Democratic Party, Popovic now runs an outfit called CANVAS (Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies), lecturing all over the world and training activists in dozens of countries to replicate the Serbian coup. In that mission he is helped by an instruction booklet written by Gene Sharp, a scholar from Boston. www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12522848
The tactics and techniques of the revolutionaries have been described in some detail, both in Sharp’s book and by outside observers (such as John Laughland). Suffice to say they are all about exploiting the genuine public sentiment — real discontent where it exists, manufactured where it does not — and using the tricks from their toolbox to nudge it in the desired direction.
They always target the young, known for the excess of zeal and shortage of forethought. Who doesn’t want freedom and democracy (meaning the hedonist lifestyle seen in American movies and TV shows)? And here are all these "consultants," teaching them for "free." Even those who dislike and mistrust the Empire find it hard to argue against such gifts without seeming unduly paranoid.
Between the anvil of internal rebellion and the hammer of the Imperial media and diplomatic assault, the "oppressive regime" usually loses its nerve and folds. The "good democrats" installed in power soon start ruling in the interest of the Empire, and the activists realize the "training and consultation" they received weren’t free after all. The Empire always collects its debts.
Yet the revolutionaries rarely revolt after finding out they’ve been used thus. How can they? Even if they somehow overcome the crushingly demoralizing effect of finding out they were the agents of their own subjugation, that very fact destroys their credibility at home. Having supped from the cannibal pot, they are marked forever.
Then there are some who enjoy the taste, and become willing agents of the Empire. Popovic is proud of his revolution-exporting adventures. He gladly points out that the Otpor logo — a stenciled fist — has been used by local franchises from Ukraine to Venezuela. On several occasions, the backdrop to Popovic is an Otpor poster, showing the fist and the motto, "Because I love Serbia". It is a particularly vicious lie: in the Serbia the Empire had Otpor create, only those who hate it prosper.
Popovic does, however, try to obscure his Imperial connections, claiming that CANVAS is an entirely private organization, funded with Serbian money. Why, then, is its name an English acronym? And where did they get the money, in a country first systematically impoverished by a decade of UN sanctions, then bombed to rubble, and finally looted by the Empire’s "democrats"? So looted, in fact, that rummaging through garbage is close to becoming a major branch of agriculture…
Branding Otpor and CANVAS as Serbian is no accident. Few in the world would be inclined to suspect a Serb of working for the Empire, after everything that happened in the Balkans in the 1990s. Washington policymakers have just about admitted that American bombers flew over Belgrade because of "Yugoslavia’s resistance to the broader trends of political and economic reform," rather than any reports of atrocities, exaggerated or fabricated on demand.
Merely defeating and conquering Serbia would not do. The Serbs had to be turned into the Empire’s most dedicated servants: when even a people like that can be so thoroughly crushed, resistance to the Empire must surely be futile.
Curing Patient Zero
Despite its inability to actually achieve global hegemony, the Empire is in no danger of lapsing into "isolationism" anytime soon. Even those establishment figures who demand withdrawal from places like Kandahar only do so because they figure those troops would soon be needed elsewhere. Washington’s mindset is stuck in Bosnia forever — or for as long as the managed perception of fiscal solvency holds up, anyway.
It is to be expected, though, that Washington will turn increasingly to CANVAS revolutions as the preferred tool of conquest, because they are cheaper and overall more effective than bombs. Even so, they aren’t always successful. The revolt fomented in Libya failed, and the current war is an effort to salvage it. Attempts in Russia, Belarus and Iran have failed as well, and Ukraine actually managed to recover from the "orange" takeover. Yet the revolutionary virus will likely continue to spread until something is done about both the vector and Patient Zero.
Maidhc Ó Cathail - · 3 hours ago Many thanks to Nebojsa Malic for ending six months of uncritical cheerleading for the so-called "Arab Spring" at Antiwar. Note the presence in the background of the Revolution Business of Peter Ackerman, who is depicted in the excerpted Iranian video. Ackerman, who made up to $500 milllion on junk bonds, was president of Freedom House between 2005 and 2009, funded Gene Sharp’s work, and supports the work of CANVAS. He also produced their regime-change video game “A Force More Powerful.”
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU and US intervention in Syria is designed to harm Iran and to protect Israel and Lebanese Christians, not Syrian people, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer with experience of the region.
Speaking in an interview with EUobserver, Baer, a senior CIA field officer in Lebanon and Syria in the 1980s and 1990s and a writer on international security affairs, said EU and US sanctions might weaken the Syrian regime but will not stop it from killing people in the current crisis.
"It will make Syria more isolated and economically unstable. But the Alawites [the ruling Muslim sect in Syria] are not going to succumb to outside pressure for democratic reform because they think this would lead to a sectarian civil war [with the Sunni Muslim majority] ... [Syrian President] Bashar Al-Assad thinks that if he shows weakness, if he loses control of any city for any length of time, then it's the end of his regime."
The EU on Friday (24 June) imposed travel bans and asset freezes on four Syrian regime members and three Iranians. The move comes on top of previous EU sanctions against 23 regime members and similar US measures.
The Syrians are Zoulhima Chalicha (head of presidential security) and three businessmen said to be funding the regime: Riyad Chaliche; Khalid Qaddur; and Raif Al-Quwatli.
The Iranians are officers in the Revolutionary Guards said to be "providing equipment and support" for Syrian repression: brigadier commander Mohammad Ali Jafari; major general Qasem Soleimaini; and Hossein Taeb.
It also imposed a ban on four companies said to be funding the Syrian rulers: Bena Properties; Al Mashreq Investment Fund; Military Housing Establishment; and Hamcho International.
The Alawite sect in Syria is allied with Iran, a Shia Muslim power, and Hezbollah, a Shia guerrilla army in Lebanon. The group is known in Israel as the "axis of evil." But it is also seen as a threat by Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries.
Baer said the EU decision to include sanctions on the three Iranians - a UK initiative - is desinged to further stigmatise Iran in the wider campaign to stop it building nuclear weapons.
"If Iran is involved in Syria, it's at a minor level like blocking the internet. At the end of the day, it's Syrian tanks, Syrian artillery which is slaughtering people ... I just see a general desire to frame Iran because of the nuclear issue. This kind of thing makes it easier to impose more economic sanctions [on Iran] down the line."
In another sign that the EU and US' main motive is to weaken the Shia axis, Baer noted that they have not taken action against its enemies, such as Saudi-sponsored rulers in Bahrain and Yemen, who are also guilty of brutal repression.
"We've taken sides in the Middle East. We've taken sides with Israel and with the Sunnis, from the US, to the Dutch and the French. It's part of our cultural and historical background," he said.
Baer added that France, the former colonial power in Lebanon and Syria, is mainly interested in protecting its old friends, the Maronite Christians in Lebanon: "They don't want to see the roof blown off Lebanon because they still feel responsible for the Maronites. They are tightly wrapped up in Lebanon."
He noted that Turkey is also trying to weaken the Shias in order to become the pre-eminent power in the region. "I'm still talking to my Syrian contacts and they are quite convinced that weapons are coming in [to the opposition] not just from the Sunnis in Lebanon and through Iraq but also from Turkey," Baer said.
Baer predicted that if the internal conflict in Syria escalates, security chiefs will stage a coup "sacrificing" Al-Assad in order to cut a deal with the opposition, as happened in Egypt.
Not black and white
An EU diplomat backed up some of his analysis.
The contact said EU sanctions will not work because Al-Assad still has good relations with China, Iran, Russia and Latin America.
"When you talk to Syrian diplomats, they are relaxed. Life in Damascus is pretty normal. We [the EU] don't really know what our objectives are, but if it's regime change, it will take more than sanctions," he explained.
He added that the situation is more complicated than a simple struggle between the disenfranchised Sunni majority and the Alawite elite.
"We have reports that Wahhabists [radical Sunni Islamists], who are not necessarily controlled by any state, are coming into Syria from Iraq and from Saudi Arabia to create chaos. Inside Syria, there are snipers shooting at demonstrators who are not controlled by Al-Assad but by the deep state, and other snipers who are shooting at both demonstrators and police," he said.
"The EU has reacted like [former US president] Bush did in 2001 and 2003, in black and white terms, but life is more grey," he noted, referring to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Russia has refused to recognize the Libyan rebels as the only legitimate authority in the war-torn country and has criticized the US and other nations for taking such a step.
“We do not share this position for one simple reason – this position again means that those behind the recognition are fully siding with one political force in the Libyan civil war. This again means that those who took this decision are pursuing a policy of isolation, in this case, the isolation of Tripoli,” he said.
The foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, was explaining Russia’s stance on the issue at a press confrence in Moscow, following his meeting with his Azeri counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov.
“As for us, just like in any other conflict, we reject isolationism as a way to resolve problems, and believe in involvement. And in this context, at different levels we maintain contact with both Tripoli and Benghazi. We urge them to take a constructive stance and take responsibility for the fate of the Libyan people, and to get to the negotiation table to launch a dialogue about creating a transitional structure that would prepare for reforms and a free democratic election,” Lavrov added.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, announced the recognition of the rebels on Friday at a meeting of the international contact group on Libya. Washington and more than thirty other Western and Arab states have said they will deal with Benghazi until an interim government is in place.
The move also potentially gives the Libyan opposition access to billions of dollars of Gaddafi's assets frozen in American banks.
Lavrov stressed that Moscow’s stance doesn’t mean that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi will receive political asylum in Russia if he gives up power.
”This question has already been answered many times. And the answer is negative,” he said.
US, Saudi Arabia and Israel mastermind Syrian opposition.
RT.com 2 August, 2011, 00:28
Bashar Assad’s main headache now is the unseen coalition of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, which sees the Syrian regime as one of Iran’s major Middle East partners.
That’s according to former Pentagon officer Michael Maloof, who gave his insight into the situation in the protest-torn country.
“The Syrian opposition seems to be more cultivated from outside. And it’s one of the problems that Assad is facing now, not just internal unrest – although he’s promised reforms, but a concerted effort by forces outside, a combination of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel,” says Maloof.
“They see in Assad ultimately his alliance with Iran, which to them is a big problem. They see the spread of Iran in the Arab world. Iran has scored heavily not only in Iraq, but also in Lebanon. Iran has made it very clear that it’s going to support Assad, and they have helped solidify that arrangement with a multi-billion dollar energy agreement which brings together both Iraq and Syria, and Iran, and in effect it helps solidify Iran’s western flank,” he explains.
Several NATO states are threatening action against Syria, with the UN Security Council set to hold an emergency meeting on the situation. The news comes as activists report that Syrian security forces have renewed attacks on the city of Hama.
Turkey: Syrian Govt Commits Atrocity Against Own People.
Novinite.com World | August 3, 2011, Wednesday
The Syrian government has committed an atrocity by sending tanks against protesters in Hama, stated Turkish deputy PM Bülent Arınç Wednesday.
"I must say this clearly - what happened today in Hama is an atrocity. Whoever has done an act like that cannot be called our friend," said the vice-PM in what has been the harshest Turkish position since the start of pro-demoracy protests in Syria in March.
Turkey has traditionally held warm and friendly relations with the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in neighboring Syria, but the stance toward the violence going on in the country has been increasingly negative.
Thousands of refugees from Syria have flocked to Turkey's southeast, and the Turkish government has been taking measures to accomodate them.
Previously Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been repeatedly calling on Assad to withdraw forces and to conduct swift democratic reforms.
Wednesday Arinc expressed disappointment that authorities in Syria have not heeded those calls and voiced the opinion that the events might lead to an overthrow of the Assad regime.
At the same time, the Times is writing that there is a possibility that Turkey might be led into a regional war with Syria, with uncertain consequences, quoting information that the Turkish army is already developing plans for such a course of events.
An option within this plan includes the creation of a buffer zone within the territory of Syria, which in effect means an invasion from Turkey.
On its turn, that might lead to further tensions in the region, as the Shiite domination in Syria would be disturbed, irking its other traditional ally Iran.
Since the start of the week, influential world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign affairs high representative Catherine Ashton and US President Barack Obama have voiced harsh criticisms against Assad and have called for an immediate stop of the violence.
Kadhafi son claims pact with rebel Libya Islamists
Released on - Thursday, 04 August , 2011 -01:57
A high-profile son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said Wednesday his family had forged an alliance with Islamist rebels to drive out the secular opposition to his father's 40-year rule.
Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, who along with his father had long branded the entire opposition as radical extremists, told The New York Times: "The liberals will escape or be killed... We will do it together."
"Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?" he added, in what the Times described as an hour-long interview that stretched past midnight in a nearly deserted Tripoli hotel.
Seif, who had long served as the face of the regime in the West as he appeared in suits and ties and spoke fluent English, came to the interview sporting a scraggly beard and traditional dress while fingering prayer beads.
He claimed to have negotiated the pact with Ali Sallabi, a leading Islamist in the rebel-held east. Sallabi acknowledged their conversations to the Times but denied the Islamists had switched sides.
The Kadhafi regime has long accused the revolt of being an Al-Qaeda plot and has sought to protray itself as a bulwark against an Islamist takeover of the oil-rich North African country.
The rebels include some Islamists, but insist they are united in wanting to overthrow Kadhafi and establish a democratic government.
Kadhafi said the Islamists were "the real force on the ground" and that Western powers would have to come to terms with them.
"I know they are terrorists. They are bloody. They are not nice. But you have to accept them," he said.
The interview could have been aimed at exploiting recent cracks in the rebels' ranks following the killing of their top military leader General Abdel Fatah Yunis in circumstances that remain opaque.
The rebels rounded up more than 60 people with alleged links to Moamer Kadhafi who are suspected in Yunis's murder following an hours-long gunbattle earlier this week in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Seif repeated the government's contention that Islamists were behind the killing of Yunis, who was Moamer Kadhafi's right-hand man for decades prior to his defection earlier this year.
"They decided to get rid of those people -- the ex-military people like Abdel Fatah and the liberals -- to take control of the whole operation," Seif told the Times. "In other words, to take off the mask."
White Cossack: How are you, Nikolov? I heard it's a hot summer in Sweden this year. Do you enjoy it? Regards, Yaroslav
Jul 20, 2018 5:51:43 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Very very hot...sometimes around 31-35...and it has been going on since month of May, everything is scorched yellow and dry, things are dying or dead, this is abnormal summer..must be global warming, usually have rainy dull summers, this feel like south eu
Jul 30, 2018 10:49:17 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: large forest fires, not where I live, but have country-wide BBQ ban..which I find ridiculous...not to enjoy this warm summer? pffft..
Jul 30, 2018 10:50:42 GMT -5
White Cossack: You enjoy it, huh.
Jul 30, 2018 12:41:41 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Bbq is basic slavic right
Aug 3, 2018 10:18:31 GMT -5
Proto-Orchid: @ussrstrong: I blame general low activity on social medias, all the people sit there today
Oct 10, 2018 12:53:50 GMT -5
reznik: @proto-Orchid: very true. What's worse, is that the system is designed specifically to keep those people dormant in their echo chambers. Nothing new to learn for them there, just stupid cat videos and such. Sad.
Oct 14, 2018 5:48:26 GMT -5
Proto-Orchid: Its the substitute for going out, meeting and spending your time with friends in real life. Its just part of the story. When I was younger I remember people were meeting to play team sports, but today you see completely autistic people jogging with iPhone.
Oct 14, 2018 18:18:38 GMT -5
Proto-Orchid: Then they come back home, put pictures on Instagram or Facebook to show off how they spent their time jogging, and as mental satisfaction they get few likes or hearts, or whatever social medias have today, which is a measure of how good their life is. Sick
Oct 14, 2018 18:21:43 GMT -5
Pan-Slavic Patriot: Sto Latz! Today marks 100 years of Polska! May there be 100 more! Wish I could have gone to the Independence March to celebrate this year, of all years. Theres always the next one to look forward to...
Nov 11, 2018 6:56:57 GMT -5
prawiomir: Hello. : )
Nov 25, 2018 17:19:11 GMT -5
Pan-Slavic Patriot: The latest flare up in the Ukraine-Russia conflict is painful to watch. Two brothers pit against one-another by foriegn elites, for what? Money and power... Sad.
Nov 30, 2018 3:17:07 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Seems like its loosing momentum? lets hope...
Dec 29, 2018 9:15:04 GMT -5
Farm needs Production with alu: To Direktor: Herr Wasilij Rosinov Adresse: Kasachstan, 110 006 Kostanay, ul. Schewchenko, 64 Tel: +7 (3142) 54 09 89 Fax: +7 (3142) 54 65 53 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.ivolga.kz
To Ms. Yuliya Ryaskina Please place this email to concerning Managemen
Feb 27, 2019 23:01:32 GMT -5
Marcinko: Looking for contacts to research Marcinko name in Slovakia.
Jun 3, 2019 0:37:57 GMT -5
White Cossack: Nikolov, my dear.. What's up
Jul 28, 2019 9:08:27 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Bought a 3rd book shelf, for some reason I'm crazy about buying lots of books..
Aug 12, 2019 15:49:41 GMT -5
kooratz: I don't shout , it's considered rude, here in the US. I do shout a few things though, for one, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, IS RUINING OUR NATION!
Sept 13, 2019 20:32:33 GMT -5