"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Suriye'deki hastalık Ortadoğu'yu tehdit ediyor- NTVMSNBC

Dünya Sağlık Örgütü, Suriye'nin Irak sınırına yakın Deyr-ez Zor bölgesinde 22 vakadan 10'nunda çocuk felci virüsü tespit edildiğini açıkladı.
BM Cenevre Ofisi'nde düzenlenen basın toplantısında konuşan Dünya Sağlık Örgütü yetkilisi Oliver Rosenbauer, Deyr-ez Zor bölgesinde tespit edilen 22 şüpheli çocuk felci vakasından 10'uyla ilgili araştırmanın tamamlandığını ve bu çocuklarda "Tip 1" çocuk felci virüsü tespit edildiğini söyledi.

Russia Warns of ’Huge Threat’ If Syria Talks Fail- Al-Manar

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on WednLavrovesday blasted critics of a US-Russia initiative for a peace conference on Syria, warning that ousting President Assad militarily posed a "huge threat" to the area.

"Open objections have surfaced against holding this Russia-US meeting (dubbed Geneva II), not only among Syrian sides but also among capitals, both in neighboring and non-neighboring states," Lavrov said during a visit to Athens, according to the official translation.

Hunger the weapon of choice for Syria's Assad regime- The Independent

Starvation is being used as a military tactic against the besieged area of Moadamiyeh.

Moadamiyeh has been cut off from the outside for almost a year.

Activists claim there are thousands of citizens remaining in the area, which has endured electricity cuts, the 21 August chemical weapons attack and now, starvation.

Residents are surviving on a diet of olives and dry leaves and 11 children have died from malnutrition.

Reports: Syria using starvation as war tactic- Al-Jazeera

Government accused of blocking food and medicine from entering, and people from leaving, rebel-controlled areas.

The Syrian government has been blocking food and medicine from entering and people from leaving besieged areas, in what one security official calls "starvation until submission campaign", according to a Reuters report.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have used partial sieges to root out rebel forces from residential areas during the civil war. But a recent tightening of blockades around areas near the capital Damascus is causing starvation and death, residents and medical staff told the news agency.

Syria's Assad says support for armed groups must end- CBS News

Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Arab League-U.N. envoy Wednesday that foreign support for the armed opposition must end if anypolitical solution to the country's conflict is to succeed, state-run media said.

Assad's comments to Lakhdar Brahimi during their meeting in Damascus cast further doubt on already sputtering efforts to convene an international peace conference to try to end the country's civil war.
The United States, Russia and the United Nations have been trying for months to bring the Syrian government and the opposition together in Geneva to attempt to negotiate a political resolution to the conflict. After repeated delays, efforts renewed in earnest last month to organize the conference, but the Syrian opposition remains deeply divided over whether to attend, while the government refuses to sit down with the armed opposition.

Syria pres. holds talks with Lakhdar Brahimi- PRESS TV

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has held talks with the UN-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, on the third day of his visit to the country.

The Wednesday meeting was aimed at making the preparations for the upcoming Syria peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva. 

The planned talks, known as the Geneva 2 conference, was proposed by Russia and the US on May 7. The date of the long-delayed event has changed many times as Syria's foreign-backed opposition coalition remains divided over participating in the meeting. 

Suriye krizi: Muhalif siyasi güçler- BBC Türkçe

Suriye'de isyanların başlamasının üzerinden iki yılı aşkın zaman geçti; muhalefetteki derin bölünme devam ediyor.
Farklı siyasi gruplar, sürgündeki muhalifler, tabandaki aktivistler, silahlı militanlar Cumhurbaşkanı Beşar Esad'ı nasıl devirecekleri konusunda anlaşmış değil.

Fears for Syrians 'still trapped' in Damascus suburb- BBC News

There are fears many civilians may still be trapped in a besieged suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, despite thousands being allowed to leave.
The BBC's Lyse Doucet, who witnessed the exodus, says the government believes only rebel fighters remain in the suburb of Muadhamiya.
But reports say thousands more civilians are too frightened to leave.
Meanwhile, a source in Muadhamiya told the BBC more than 500 men who fled are being detained by the authorities.

Region Slowly Turns to Diplomacy in Syria Crisis- Al-Akhbar

The Middle East has retreated from the brink of a regional war over Syria to a sudden flurry of diplomacy to resolve the crisis, forcing old rivals to reconsider their high-stakes positions.
Many countries in the region who staked so much on toppling the Damascus regime now seem to be in a rush to change their ways, after Washington’s recent climbdown and push to find a diplomatic solution for the nearly three-year crisis.
Undoubtedly, the overall environment in the region – with the exception of Saudi Arabia – has begun to change, particularly given the recent opening of diplomatic channels between Iran and the United States. But it will take time for the rosy scenarios that some are drawing to become reality.

Kadri Cemil’den görevden alınmasıyla ilgili açıklama- YDH

YDH-Yurt dışında hükümetle koordinasyonsuz açıklamaları ve temasları sebebiyle görevinden alınan Suriye Başbakanı Yardımcısı Kadri Cemil, hükümetle sorununun derin olmadığını ve Suriye’ye geri döneceğini açıkladı.

Muhalif liderlerden Kadri Cemil, el-Meyadin televizyonuna yaptığı açıklamasında “görevden alındığıma dair henüz resmi bir bildirim almadım. Konuyu basından öğrendim; ama bunu uzak bir ihtimal olarak görmüyorum; çünkü ben siyasi düzeyde konuşuyorum partisel faaliyetlerimle devlet görevlerim arasında çelişkiler mutlaka olacaktır” dedi.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nusaybin’de 'duvar' eylemi- Sol Haber

Mardin’de Suriye sınırına yapılması planlanan güvenlik duvarı çalışmalarına karşı Nusaybin Belediye Başkanı Ayşe Gökkan oturma eylemine başladı.
Duvar örülme çalışmalarının devam ettiği Yeşilkent Mahallesi Suriye sınırına gelen Gökkan, burada tek başına oturma eylemi yaptı. Gökkan'ın yanına gitmek isteyen BDP Nusaybin İlçe Başkanlığı yönetiminden Zinet Algan ve bir grup kadına polis izin vermedi.

Ceylanpınar'a yine havan topu mermisi düştü- CNNTURK

(DHA) -- Suriye'nin Rasulayn ilçesinde El Nusra cephesi ile PKK'nın bu ülkedeki kolu olan PYD güçleri arasında devam eden çatışmalar sırasında ateşlenen havan topu mermisi sınırı aşarak Ceylanpınar'ın Mevlana Mahallesi'ndeki 3 katlı binanın 2'nci katındaki eve isabet etti.

Temmuz ayından bu yana devam eden ve son olarak dün sabah sınırı aşan bir havan topu mermisinin isabet ettiği evde bulunan 3 çocuk babası İdris Akgül'ün yaşamını yitirmesi ile 5 kişinin öldüğü Ceylanpınar'da, akşam saatlerinde yine büyük panik yaşandı.

Syrian deputy PM Qadri Jamil sacked: SANA- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Syria's deputy prime minister, Qadri Jamil, was dismissed on Tuesday for leaving the country and acting without government permission after meeting met U.S. officials in Switzerland, state media said.

The sacked minister is a member of what President Bashar al-Assad calls the "patriotic opposition" - political parties that consider themselves rivals to the president but have not joined the 2-1/2-year revolt against his rule.

"Jamil was dismissed because he left his centre of work without prior permission and did not follow up on his duties ... Additionally, he undertook activities outside the nation without coordinating with the government," said a statement posted on Syria TV.

Diplomacy 1o1: Don't say everything (Mahir Zeynalov- Today's Zaman)

“Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) is the most famous slogan in Serbia, and its use has gathered steam in the past five years to protest Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Despite this fact, a Turkish prime minister arrives in Kosovo and pokes his finger in the eye of Serbian nationalism by saying “Kosovo is Turkey” before a cheering crowd. One would expect Turkish diplomats to warn the prime minister against uttering such insensitive phrases. "You know, Mr. Prime Minister, our foreign minister worked long and hard to restore peace with the Balkan nations. At the end of the day, there is no reason to wake up a sleeping monster: Serbian nationalism," they could have said.

A few centuries back, it was easier to do diplomacy by making pragmatist calculations based on other states' relative power. Today, thanks to nationalism and democracy, diplomacy has become much harder, because leaders are accountable to their publics.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hezbollah Prepares for Syria Showdown in al-Qalamoun- The Daily Beast

The Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite movement is readying for a face-off against Syria’s rebels. How the battle will rattle the West.

Polio outbreak in Syria threatens whole region, WHO says- Reuters

(Reuters) - Polio has broken out among young children in northeast Syria after probably originating inPakistan and poses a threat to millions of children across the Middle East, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Al-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent, Part II- ISW

Jessica Lewis


This report is a continuation of a previous publication entitled “Al-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent: The Breaking the Walls Campaign, Part I.” Part I of this report put forth the assessment that al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has reconstituted as a professional military force capable of planning, training, resourcing, and executing synchronized and complex attacks in Iraq, in particular waves of Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED), and combined arms attacks involving VBIEDS, mortars, suicide bombers, and small arms fire. This assessment derives from careful study of the 24 VBIED waves and 8 prison attacks observed during AQI’s “Breaking the Walls” campaign from July 21, 2012 to July 23, 2013. This report will describe these events in detail in order to provide the necessary tactical evidence to support the strategic and operational assessments presented in Part I.

Saudi women defy driving ban across country- Al-Jazeera

Dozens of women across country participate in "drive-in" campaign, despite threats and warnings from government.

Syrian Kurds Win Support In Battle With Al-Qaeda Forces- Al-Monitor

RAS AL-AIN — On July 17, Kurdish fighters expelled jihadist groups from the mixed city of Ras al-Ain, known in Kurdish as Serikaniye. Afterward, the fighting spread between al-Qaeda and the People’s Defense Units (YPG) in several areas of northern Syria. The fighting with radical Islamists increased the support for the YPG, despite its closeness to the Kurdish rebels from Turkey.

Syrians outside refugee camps left to their own fate- Today's Zaman

The Syrian refugees who escaped the ongoing bloody war in their home country and have taken refuge in various parts of Turkey but have not been placed in a refugee camp are experiencing abject conditions, with children particularly at great risk.

Halil İbrahim Bahar from the Ankara Strategy Institute states that Syrian children are at greater risk than Turkish children on the street because of the hardships associated with the language barrier and living in a different country. According to Bahar, the greatest risk is the possibility that these children may be used by clandestine organizations.

Official Sources Reveal to Al-Manar Int’l Attempts to Dump Syria Chem in Lebanon- Al-Manar

Lebanese officials sources told al-Manar that there are international attempts to dump Syria chemicals in Lebanon.

This questionable issue requires legal and environmental interpretations, especially after Norway rejected the international proposal to utilize its territories in order to dismantle Syria chemicals.

Rebels offer Assad a comeback- Asia Times

With Saudi Arabia and Russia both flexing muscles and the US-Iranian dialogue in uncharted waters, the bloody Syrian civil war, which has killed at least 110,000 people to date, is undergoing a new profound transformation. The rebels have turned into their own worst enemies, and though the stalemate continues, for the first time since the start of the uprising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looks relatively comfortable in his grip on power. 

Over 210 German militants traveled to Syria- PRESS TV

Head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says over 210 German militants have travelled from the country to Syria since the Syrian conflict started nearly three years ago.

UN Envoy: Iran Should Be Invited to Syria Peace Conference- VOA

The U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria says Iran should be invited to a peace conference next month in Geneva.

At a news conference in Tehran Saturday, Lakhdar Brahimi said Iran's participation in the so-called "Geneva Two" conference is "natural and necessary." He said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary General Nabil el-Araby also believe Iran should be there.

U.N., Fearing a Polio Epidemic in Syria, Moves to Vaccinate Millions of Children- The New York Times

United Nations officials said Friday that they were mobilizing to vaccinate 2.5 million young children in Syria and more than eight million others in the region to combat what they fear could be an explosive outbreak of polio, the incurable viral disease that cripples and kills, which has reappeared in the war-ravaged country for the first time in more than a dozen years.

Lebanon suffers under the strain of a refugee crisis now out of control- The Guardian

Syrian refugees make up a quarter of Lebanon's population, the country's fragile systems are stretched and tensions are rising. Charities and NGOs are battling to get 70,000 children into schools, and families living in flimsy tents face another harsh challenge – the winter snows are only weeks away.

Kurdish militants in Syria rout jihadists on Iraq border, seize crossing: Activists- Hurriyet Daily News

Fierce clashes raged on Oct. 26 after Syrian Kurds seized from jihadists a crossing on the Iraqi border, a key supply route for weapons and fighters in the 31-month war, activists said.

U.N. and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi meanwhile was due to visit Iran as he presses efforts to build a consensus for a Geneva conference aimed at ending the conflict that has killed tens of thousands.

Syria Kurdish fighters seize border post from Islamists- BBC News

Kurdish fighters in north-east Syria have taken control of a border crossing with Iraq from Islamist rebel groups.
The Yarubiya border post was captured after three days of clashes with groups linked to al-Qaeda, the fighters said.
Officials on the Iraqi side of the border said they could hear heavy gunfire and shelling.
Kurdish groups in northern Syria have tried to stay out of the civil war between the government and rebels.
However as Islamist rebel groups have moved into Kurdish-controlled areas in recent months, clashes between them and Kurdish militias have been increasing.

In Syrian civil war, emergence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria boosts rival Jabhat al-Nusra- The Washington Post

REYHANLI, Turkey — While the emergence of al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a major force in the Syrian civil war has caused deep concern for many rebels, one group’s fighters claim its presence has given them a popularity boost.
Until ISIS asserted its place in the war earlier this year, Jabhat al-Nusra had the reputation of being the most radical wing of the opposition seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It was the first to claim responsibility for car bombings against government targets and was quickly designated a terrorist group by the United States.

Lebanon: Jumblatt Shifts Syria Line- Al-Akhbar

Walid Jumblatt is not the same person who led the "Cedar Revolution" in 2005. He is no longer enthusiastic about the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Today, the Progressive Socialist Party leader is back to his realism, or what parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, calls "the patriotic line." Berri says, "In serious times, Jumblatt does not stray from the line, and these are serious times."

Lebanon: Violence escalates in Tripoli as Syrian war continues- Asharq Alawsat English

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—The civil war in Syria continues to take its toll on Lebanon, with a spate of clashes between Sunni opponents and Shi’ite supporters of the regime of Bashar Al-Assad erupting over the last week in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
Violence escalated after militias from the Sunni majority Bab Al-Tabbaneh district blamed Shi’ite armed groups in the Jabal Moshsen district of carrying out twin attacks at Sunni mosques in Tripoli in August.
Sunni–Shi’ite violence has killed six people and injured dozens of others over the past week.
Estimates say that 50 shells fell on Tripoli on Friday alone.
Given the gravity of the security situation in Lebanon, President Michel Sleiman cancelled his visit to Austria on Friday.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Al-Nusra denies leader’s death reported by Syrian TV- RT

According to Syria state television the leader of al-Nusra Front – an Al-Qaeda affiliated fighting force in Syria – has been killed. The group however has issued a statement denying the report and saying their leader is “in good health.”
According to reports Abu Mohammad al-Golani, was killed in the north-western province of Latakia, Syrian state TV said earlier, providing no further details. The Al-Qaeda affiliate has refuted the report. 

“What was claimed by one channel alone, regarding what it claimed was the killing of the emir of Al-Nusra Front, was a lie,” the group said as cited by AFP. 

Islamists Repress Syria’s Citizen Journalists- The New York Times

Syrian media activists working to establish a credible alternative to the state broadcaster in areas of the country held by rebel groups were dealt a blow this month in the northeastern province of Raqqa, where a radio station that aired criticism of Qaeda-linked militants was closed down by the Islamists and one citizen journalist was kidnapped.

Why We Don't Care About Syria- Huffington Post

"We fear you are forgetting us." This is what Haya, a 10-year-old Syrian refugee who lost her father, told me last week. I was visiting refugees in the Jordanian city of Irbid and spent time with a group of children attending a school supported by World Vision.
Children have an ability to speak truths that many adults may prefer to keep quiet about. That's why Haya's words hit home. She said, "I am talking on behalf of Syrian children, calling on you -- the people of the world. Have you ever thought of the children of Syria?"

Syria mounting anti-polio campaign in wake of suspected outbreak- CNN

(CNN) -- The Syrian government has been mounting a campaign to boost vaccination among children in Syria after at least 20 suspected cases of polio were reported -- from government and opposition sources -- near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.

Lebanon should take part in Geneva II: Mansour- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanon should take part in the Geneva II peace conference on Syria, caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said Friday.

“I have not been consulted over the participation in Geneva II yet but it is necessary to take part in [this conference] because we are witnessing the repercussions of the Syria crisis across Lebanon on the security and political levels and in our daily lives,” Mansour told the Voice of Lebanon radio station.

“We cannot say we disassociate ourselves from what is happening. That is why Lebanon has to have a stance over what is going on,” he added.

To the Syrian opposition, go to Geneva (Hisham Melhem- Al-Arabiya)

Any review of civil wars in the modern era shows that most of them are settled militarily. Civil wars fought between two combatants with limited or no foreign intervention tend to end in a few years (the American civil war, for example). Even the Spanish civil war, in which many foreign countries and parties were deeply involved, was settled in three years because it remained a conflict between two camps. Those civil wars involving more than one faction, and drawing a number of foreign sponsors of the local combatants, tend to drag on for years, even decades, (Angola, Afghanistan and Lebanon, for example). Syria’s civil war belongs to the second category, and is likely to continue for some time. Not necessarily at the current tempo, however, particularly with the emergence of “Cantons” controlled by the various warring parties. The Assad regime controls parts of Damascus, Aleppo and other cities, as well as a sliver of land connecting the capital to the predominantly Alawite Syrian coast, the community from which the Assad clan hails. In parts of northern Syria, hard line Islamists factions hold sway, and in parts of southern Syria factions belonging the ‘Free Syrian Army’ made headway. And in northeastern Syria the Kurdish groups are in control of their ancestral lands.

Syria state TV: Leader of Nusra Front killed- Al-Arabiya

The leader of Syria’s Islamist militant group al-Nusra Front has been killed in the country’s coastal province on Friday, said Syrian state TV, although state news agency SANA quickly withdrew an alert saying the same thing.
“The terrorist Abu Mohammad al-Golani, chief of the al-Nusra Front affiliated to al-Qaeda, has been killed in the campaign in the northwestern province of Latakia,” television said, according to AFP.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which closely monitors the fighting in Syria, said senior Nusra Front leaders contacted by activists in Latakia and the eastern Deir el-Zour province denied al-Golani had been killed.

Syria says al-Qaida linked group's leader killed- The Guardian

Country's state-run TV claims the head of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, died in the coastal province of Latakia.

Syrian state media reported the death of the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida linked group fighting the regime of president Bashar al-Assad. Unverified reports said Abu Mohammad al-Golani had been killed in the Latakia area.
If confirmed, his death would be a severe blow to one of the two main jihadi-type formations on the rebel side of the Syrian conflict and a further boost to the government's morale after recent political and military successes.

Behind the Saudi crack-up- RT

It was a great scene even if only apocryphal: There sat Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan in Moscow, like Mephistopheles, cooing seductively at President Putin about Russian/Saudi “shared values,” looking to make a deal.
He offered that if only Russia would back away from its support of Assad in Syria, Saudi Arabia would go on a Russian military gear spending spree, Russia would be granted a larger role in Middle Eastern affairs, and even Saudi-controlled jihadists in the Caucuses would be put on a leash for the duration of the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. 
Putin was said to have laughed off the temptation.
The story was so dramatic you almost wanted it to be true, and perhaps elements of it were. But after a week of hanging it out there to titillate, a Putin aide quashed it, insisting that the discussion between bin Sultan and Putin was only on “philosophical” matters

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Syria frees dozens more women in hostage deal- Al-Arabiya

Syrian authorities have released dozens of women prisoners, including prominent blogger Tal al-Mallohi, in one of the final stages of a three-way hostage exchange deal, a monitoring group said Thursday.
A total of 61 women detainees have been freed over the past two days by the government of President Bashar al-Assad as part of the Qatari- and Turkish-brokered deal.

Ya'alon: Civil war between Hezbollah and Global Jihad has erupted in Lebanon- Jerusalem Post

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday that a "civil war" has erupted in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Global Jihad elements that have attempted to drag Israel into the conflict.
"To those who are not yet aware, there is already a civil war in Lebanon. Global Jihad, which has infiltrated Lebanon and is attacking Hezbollah, is blowing up car bombs in Dahia and isfiring rockets at Dahia and the Beka'a Valley," he said, referencing recent attacks on Hezbollah strongholds.

“Kürdistan Bölgesi’ne girişimi engelleyen Barzani değil”- YDH

PYD Eş Başkanı Salih Muslim, Irak Kürdistan Bölgesi’ne girişinin engellenmesinin kişisel olarak Mesud Barzani’nin değil, KDP’nin tavrı olduğunu söyledi.

Homs’ta Bombalı Eylem- SANA Türkçe

HOMS – Hain ve gaddar teröristler bugün Homs Kentinin Ahram Caddesinde Nezha Bulvarı yakınlarında bomba yüklü bir aracı havayı uçurdu.

Yetkili bir kaynak yaptığı açıklamalarda gelen ilk bilgilere göre bombalı terör eylemi neticesinde 1 vatandaşın şehit düştüğünü, aralarında çocuk ve kadınların da bulunduğu 40 vatandaşın yaralandığını belirtti.

Syria army gains new ground in Damascus countryside- PRESS TV

The Syrian army continues to gain ground in its fight against foreign-backed Takfiri armed groups in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, Press TV reports.

On Thursday, Syrian troops carried out an operation in the Htaitit al-Turkman neighborhood near Damascus International Airport and managed to regain full control over the area. 

Disarmament plan continues as Syria releases more female prisoners- Al-Akhbar

Syria is set to hand over a detailed plan for destroying its chemical arsenal Thursday, the international watchdog said, as a rebel attack near Damascus triggered widespread power outages.
But prospects for a peace conference, which the United Nations is trying to convene in parallel with the disarmament process, looked dim after key opposition leaders spurned efforts by Western and Arab powers to persuade them to attend.
Meanwhile, Syrian authorities have freed dozens of women prisoners and cleared a prominent young blogger for release in one of the final stages of a three-way hostage deal, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
President Bashar al-Assad's government has released 64 women over the past two days as part of the Qatari- and Turkish-brokered deal, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syria 'releases female prisoners in hostage deal'- BBC News

At least 48 female prisoners have been released by the Syrian government in one of the final stages of a complex three-way hostage deal, reports say.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the government of President President Bashar al-Assad had freed them over the last two days.
Al-Jazeera broadcast footage of what it said were some of them being released.
Meanwhile electricity is slowly returning to Damascus after a rebel attack on a gas pipeline.

Fighting the wrong battles at the wrong time- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The war in Syria is poised to become even worse for mainstream rebels if hard-liners push through with plans to attack controversial targets, as propaganda and media coverage often distort what is happening on the ground.

One recent flashpoint has been the southern suburbs of Damascus, where activists and opposition figures are scathing in their criticism of military tactics by the sometimes-cooperating, sometimes-feuding rebel militias.

Rebels blast gas pipeline near Damascus causing southern Syria blackout- RT

A gas pipeline was attacked near Damascus causing the capital and the southern part of Syria to suffer a blackout. The electricity minister blamed the blast on rebels.
"A terrorist attack on a gas pipeline that feeds a power station in the south has led to a power outage in the provinces, and work to repair it is in progress," electricity minister Emad Khamis told SANA news agency. 
As the pipeline is located near Damascus International Airport, which is some 20 km away from the capital, a power outage also hit Damascus. 

Saudi Arabia: The real terror tyrant- Asia Times

Social selection plays the same role in the social sciences which the natural selection plays in the biological sciences: it selects the traits, norms and values which are most beneficial to the host culture. Seen from this angle, social diversity is a desirable quality for social progress since when diverse customs and value-systems compete with each other, they take the best and reject the worst from each. 

Bandar Bush's mad, mad world- Asia Times

All signs are showing that the otherwise secretive Saudi regime is angry. Very, very angry. Not only did the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia refuse to take a seat at the UN Security Council, [1] but now the Saudi spy chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, appears to be threatening a "major shift" in "relations with the United States at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ibrahim Meets Assad over Abducted Bishops- Naharnet

General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim has met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the case of the bishops kidnapped by armed men in Syria in April, the state-run National News Agency reported Wednesday.
NNA did not say when the meeting took place.

Cautious Calm in Tripoli after Two Killed in Clashes over Syria- Naharnet

Gunfire in the northern city of Tripoli injured two children on Wednesday when their bus came under fire in al-Rifa area.
The three-day gunfight in Tripoli between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad has so far killed two people and injured 30 others.
The Lebanese army also fortified its presence in Syria street, which separates the two neighborhoods.
According to the state-run National News Agency, new armored personnel carrier were deployed in the city near Abu Ali roundabout.

Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed- The New York Times

WASHINGTON — With rebel forces in Syria in retreat and the Obama administration’s policy toward the war-ravaged country in disarray, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived at the White House Situation Room one day in June with a document bearing a warning. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against his people, the document said, and if the United States did not “impose consequences,” Mr. Assad would see it as a “green light for continued CW use.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lebanese Hostages in Syria and Western Media Propaganda (As'ad AbuKhalil- Al-Akhbar)

The release of the Lebanese pilgrims who were kidnapped in Syria more than a year and a half ago was not big enough news for Western media, or even for Arab oil and gas media. The story is embarrassing for those in Western media who have been promoting and romanticizing the armed groups of the Syrian “revolution.” Worse, the captors were in fact very moderate and “secular” (any Islamist group in Syria that is not tied directly to al-Qaeda earns the moniker of “secular” by Western governments and media).

Azaz Diaries of Detention: Sakr, Erdogan, and Abu Ibrahim- Al-Akhbar

The nightmare of the Azaz hostages is now over. The liberated hostages recount to Al-Akhbar memories of their captivity. Many vow they will never forget the words of the Lebanese president, who told their relatives: “Go to your own people [for help],” referring to Hezbollah and Amal.
On Saturday, October 19, the drama of the so-called Azaz hostages came to an end, when they returned to their homes, following a huge popular and official reception. In a few days, the media frenzy will probably have fizzled, but Mohammed Munzer, a man is his twenties, will never forget what happened to him and his companions.

Syria: Like it or not, we’ll have to talk to Bashar al-Assad- The Telegraph

When, back in August, the Assad regime in Syria killed hundreds of civilians in a sarin gas attack on the suburbs of Damascus, it seemed hard to believe that the crisis could get any worse. Within hours of the rocket attacks on eastern districts of the city, dozens of videos had been posted online showing in appalling detail the final convulsions of the victims, who included a large number of women and children.

The images of the distraught and the dying were every bit as harrowing as the beheading videos David Cameron is trying to get banned from Facebook. After two years of largely impotent activity by the West, it seemed that world leaders would at last be galvanised to hold President Bashar al-Assad to account for the worst chemical weapons attack since Saddam Hussein’s mass murder of Kurds in Halabja in 1988.

US halts aid to Syrian rebels- Hurriyet Daily News

The United States has cut off northern Syrian moderate rebel groups from non-lethal aid, with an al-Qaeda advance in northern Syria physically blocking the aid’s dispersal, as the Obama administration continues to ‘disengage’ itself from Syria.

Daily Hürriyet’s Washington representative, Tolga Tanış, reported that the Obama administration commenced its ‘disengagement’ from Syria on Oct. 2, laying out three conditions to the moderate rebels, should they wish for the resumption of aid.

A joint U.S.-Russia plan on the chemical disarmament of Syria and clashes between the Western-Arab-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Qaeda-linked rebels known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) factored into the halting of aid to the rebels. Turkey closed its Öncüpınar border gate on Sept. 18 amid an al-Qaeda advance and the U.S. stopped a batch of non-lethal aid to moderate rebels.

Saudi Arabia 'failing to address human rights concerns'- BBC News

Saudi Arabia has failed to act on recommendations by a UN body to improve human rights and instead "ratcheted up" repression, Amnesty International says.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Number of Syrian refugees in Turkey exceeds 600,000: Turkish official- Reuters

(Reuters) - The number of Syrian refugees in Turkeyhas exceeded 600,000 and more than 400,000 of them are living outside refugee camps, the Turkish disaster management agency said on Monday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pilotlar anlatıyor: 8 kez kaçırıldık- Cumhuriyet

Lübnan'da kaçırıldıktan 71 gün sonra serbest bırakılan Türk pilot Murat Akpınar ve Murat Ağca , kaçırıldıktan sonra başlarından geçenleri anlattı.

Who will lead the Middle East? The patterns of destructive competition (Gokhan Bacık- Today's Zaman)

Countries like Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia have different and, many times, competing regional visions.

The competition for a position of regional leadership transforms the whole region into a perfect theater of ultra-Machiavellianism. Pragmatism reigns and countries become employers of contradictory strategies.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

'Kaçırılan Türk pilotlar yakında serbest kalabilir'- BBC Türkçe

Lübnan İçişleri Bakanı Mervan Şerbil, Suriye'de geçen yıl isyancıların kaçırdığı dokuz Lübnan vatandaşının serbest bırakıldığını açıkladı.

Why Turkey is firing on jihadists in Syria- NOW

On Tuesday, the Turkish military fired across the border with Syria onto positions of the jihadist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). This action marked a first for the Turks, spurringcommentary that Ankara has finally become aware of the supposed danger of its permissive border policy with Islamist groups in Syria.

Perhaps. Or perhaps the shelling was an attempt by Turkey to deflect criticism from the US, as the incident occurred as anonymous US officials have taken to the media to criticize Turkey and other regional backers of the Syrian rebels. The likely purpose of this media campaign is to get allies to fall in line behind the White House’s preferences in Syria and the direction of its regional policy more broadly.