"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, May 25, 2017

Shorter: We're Not Afraid of Terrorism, We're Proud to Invest in Lebanon Future- Al-Jazeera

“Despite the dreadful terrorist attack in Manchester that targeted children and young people, it is in our nature to keep calm and carry on. Not to be cowed by terror. Because you Lebanese know something about resilience, your support means so much to us.” With those words, British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo shorter addressed his guests to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 91st birthday and her Sapphire Jubilee -- 65 years on the throne.
A moment of silence was observed in honor of the victims.
Attended by Minister Nicolas Tueini representing President Michel Aoun, MP Ali Bazzi, representing Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister Jamal al-Jarrah representing PM Saad Hariri, superstar Ragheb Alama, and political, economic, social and media officials, more than 600 guests flooded the Besançon School located in the heart of Beirut’s cityscape reflecting this year’s ‘Investing in the Future’ theme.

Saudi Arabia and UAE block Qatari media over incendiary statements- The Guardian

Qatar claims official websites were hacked after reports appeared in which emir made controversial remarks about Iran and Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took the extraordinary step on Tuesday of blocking the websites of fellow Gulf state Qatar – including al-Jazeera – over incendiary statements about Iran and Israel posted on Qatar’s state-run news agency.

Qatar claimed its official websites had been hacked after reports appeared in which the Qatari emir criticised Donald Trump, described Iran as a force for stability in the region and threatened to withdraw ambassadors from a range of Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia.

However, a number of Arab news agencies pointed out the some of the emir’s remarks had already appeared on Qatar state broadcasting before they were disowned, raising questions whether they were genuine, but should not have been reported.

ABD'li Korgeneral Stewart: Esas soru Iraklı Kürtlerin 'ne zaman' bağımsızlık elde edeceği- Sputnik News

ABD Savunma İstihbarat Teşkilatı (DIA) Başkanı Korgeneral Vincent Stewart, esas sorunun 'Kürtlerin Bağdat'tan bağımsızlıklarını elde edip etmeyecekleri' değil, bunun ‘ne zaman' gerçekleşeceği olduğunu belirtti.

Stewart, Senato'ya yaptığı konuşmada, Iraklı Kürtlerin Bağdat'la yeni bir çatışma yaşanmaması için anlaşmaya varmasının gerekli olduğunu vurguladı.

Bahrain, Egypt Block Al-Jazeera Websites Amid Qatar Dispute- VOA

Bahrain and Egypt on Thursday apparently joined Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in blocking access to websites run by the pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, part of a growing regional dispute with Qatar after an alleged hack of its state-run news agency.
The alleged hack - and a purported fake news report that was published during it - have exposed real tensions still lingering in the Gulf between Qatar and other nations over the small gas-rich country's support of Islamist groups.
While Qatar quickly denied the comments in the fake report attributed to ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Saudi-owned satellite channels repeatedly aired them throughout the day Wednesday. The incident revived suspicions that exploded into the open three years ago, when several Gulf nations pulled their ambassadors from Qatar over similar worries about its politics.

Saudi Arabia steps up efforts to reduce global oil supply- Al-Jazeera

Khaled Al-Faleh, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, is under pressure to rally support among key oil producers to rein in excess supply.
He has played a crucial role in convincing non-OPEC members such as Russia to cut output for the first six months of this year.

US sends truckloads of arms to Kurds in northern Syria: Reports- PRESS TV

The US has dispatched over 100 trucks loaded with armaments and ammunition to the Kurdish-controlled northern Syrian city of Hasakah over the past weeks, Turkish and Kurdish media say.
The US arms shipment was sent to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the reports said.
The SDF is currently getting prepared to launch an offensive against Daesh in Raqqah, the terror group’s main stronghold in Syria.
According to Turkey’s Daily Sabah, the US arms shipment crossed into Syria from northern Iraq through the Simelka border on May 15 and May 20.
The convoys reportedly moved to Hasakah and later headed to the Raqqah region where the SDF forces are fighting against Daesh.
Based on Turkish media reports, the consignment consisted of US-made multiple rocket launchers, 80mm and 120mm heavy mortars as well as MK19 grenade launchers, M4 carbines and M16 infantry rifles alongside FGM-148 anti-tank missiles.

In pictures: ISIS seizes tons of Syrian Army weapons in hit-and-run attack on Aleppo supply line- Al-Masdar News

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:20 P.M.) – The Islamic State has stocked up on armaments stolen from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) after a large raid on three government checkpoints along Ihtriya-Khannaser road led to the capture of a large batch of armaments on Tuesday...

In addition, Amaq Agency said the aforementioned raid killed 11 SAA soldiers and resulted in the capture of an unspecified military vehicle. However, no footage was released backing up the latter claim.

ISIS hit-and-run operations on the Aleppo supply line in the northeastern countryside of Hama are believed to be diversionary attack to relieve the eastern Aleppo frontier where the Tiger Forces have liberated a handful of villages on average per day since their deployment to the region earlier this month.

Islamist rebels advance against the Syrian Army in Daraa safe zone- Al-Masdar News

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 A.M.) – With a new wave of rebel attacks and subsequent government air raids in Daraa city, the province’s ‘de-escalation’ plan seems to have faltered completely.
According to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions, their joint forces were able to capture 34 buildings in the embattled Manshiyah district on Wednesday.
Additionally, HTS claimed their elite Inghimasi units had infiltrated a small portion of the neighboring Sajnah suburb for the first time since the ‘death rather than humiliation’ offensive began back in February.
The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) responded with brute force, conducting 22 aerial sorties over the provincial capital, most of which were carried out by combat helicopters.
With the rebel offensive centered around the Manshiyah district – by now transformed into a killing zone and death trap for both sides – for over three months, the city of Daraa itself is split roughly 50/50 between government forces and Islamist insurgents.

Manchester saldırısı: Polis ABD’yle bilgi paylaşımını durdurdu- BBC Türkçe

Manchester Emniyet Müdürlüğü'nün Pazartesi gecesi 22 kişinin hayatını kaybettiği intihar saldırısıyla ilgili basına sızan haberlerin ardından ABD'yle istihbarat paylaşımını durdurduğu öğrenildi.
BBC'nin ulaştığı bilgilere göre, Manchester polisi yakın zamanda istihbarat ilişkilerini normale döndürmeyi umuyor. Ancak yetkililer Washington'dan sızan bilgiler konusunda "öfkeli".
İngiltere hükümeti ve polis, Manchester'daki intihar saldırısının hemen ardından olay yerinde çekilmiş fotoğrafları yayımlayan ABD medyasına tepki göstermişti. Fotoğraflar New York Times gazetesinde yayımlandıktan sonra İngiltere basınında da paylaşılmıştı.

Syrian Army Liberates Large Area Southwest Of Palmyra, Takes Control Of Al-Busairi Crossroad, al-Sawaneh Junction- South Front

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and other pro-government factions have liberated a large area from ISIS southwest of Palmyra, according to the Hezbollah media wing.
According to the report, government forces have liberated Jabal Abush, Jabal al-Nasrani, Jabal al-Abd, Jabal Ghanem, Khan Aniba, the al-Sawaneh area, the al-Sawaneh junction and the al-Busairi crossroads.
Thus, government troops have de-facto secured the most important areas south of the Palmyra-Homs highway and now are clearing the rest of the area from vestiges of terrorists.
A majority of ISIS units have reportedly retreated from the area.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Army re-establishes control over al-Jarah Airport and new areas in Aleppo countryside- SANA

Provinces, SANA – The Army and Armed Forces units re-established control over al-Jarah Airport and restored security and stability to a number of villages and towns in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, after killing and injuring around 3,000 ISIS terrorists.
A military source told SANA that army units expanded their operations in hunting down ISIS terrorists in the eastern countryside of Aleppo during which the army established control over al-Jarah airport and restored security and stability to the villages and areas of al –Mahdoum , al-Bailouneh, Jirah Sagheir, Tel Hassan, Um Nesourah, Wajab Ali, Bani Zeid, Kherbet Hassan, al-Khaldieh, Ateireh, Jirah Kabeir, the cattle ranches, Droubieh, Sekarieh, Maziunet al-Jabiri , al-Hamra, Qawwass, al-Reihanieh, al-Samerieh, the third station, al-Naserieh, al-Naserieh train station, al-Ajouzieh, Tel Feddah, al-Mazran, al-Kenawieh, Mohsent al-Khafseih, Rasm al-Hamam Gharbi, Rasm al-Kiwan, and al-Masoudieh.
The source added that the military operations resulted in killing and injuring over 3,000 ISIS terrorists ,destroying 19 tanks, 5 BMP vehicles, 11 vehicles rigged with explosives, 6 artillery pieces, 9 munitions depots, 2 communication and operation centers, and 61 field command centers.
The military source affirmed the military leader of ISIS terrorist organization in the eastern countryside of Aleppo , including one nicknamed “Abu Odai al-Iraqi” who was the so-called chief judge the eastern countryside, Mahmoud Abdul-Jabbar bin Hassan aka “Abu al-Walid al-Tounsi” who was the “emir” of Debsi Faraj town , Obadah Salim al-Daaboul, and three Saudi terrorists named Abdelrahman Mitawea al-Dakheil, Abu Muhammad al-Najdi, and Sultan Abdullah al-Ghallab aka “Abu Remh al-Saudi.”

Two weeks of Syrian Army’s East Aleppo offensive: complete field report- Al-Masdar News

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:00 P.M.) – On May 9, after over a month of hiatus, Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) elite Tiger Forces division alongside with allied Army and pro-government paramilitary units restarted the large-scale military operation against the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) in eastern Aleppo countryside.
After two weeks of violent clashes with IS jihadists, SAA and allies managed to seize 31 sites, including strategic Jirrah Airbase, several towns, a lot of villages and hills.
More than 3,000 IS militants have been reportedly killed or injured in the ongoing battle so far.
Jihadists also suffered heavy losses in terms of military equipment, installations and vehicles as Syrian Army destroyed:
– 19 IS tanks;
– 5 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles;
– 11 VBIEDs, or simply, car bombs;
– 6 artillery pieces;
– 9 ammo storages;
– 2 communication centres;
– 61 bases and encampments.

Iranian-Backed Forces Advancing to Southeast Syria despite U.S. Warning (Ahmad Majidyar- The Middle East Institute)

The U.S. air strike last week targeting Iranian-led forces in southern Syria signaled escalating tension between Washington and Tehran over the six-year conflict in Syria. The U.S. military said it carried out the raid because an Iran-directed convoy was advancing toward a “de-confliction zone” near the al-Tanf region, where the U.S. military is training Syrian opposition forces to fight the Islamic State. The militia forces reportedly did not respond to U.S. warnings.  The air strike – the first such action by the U.S. military against Iranian-linked forces in Syria – was meant to send a strong signal to the Iranian-supported forces that they will not be allowed to reach the Iraqi border. But reports in the Iranian media suggest that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) and its proxy groups in Syria are still determined to challenge the presence of the U.S. military forces along Syria’s borders with Jordan and Iraq. This raises the likelihood more direct confrontation between Iran-controlled forces and the U.S. military and its allies in the region.

Iran-led forces advancing toward al-Tanf
The Iranian media reported today that the Syrian Army and Iranian proxies are continuing their operations in the Syrian Desert and are heading toward the border region of al-Tanf. “The resistance forces are making efforts to reach the al-Tanf region, which is occupied by the Free Syrian Army,” wrote I.R.G.C.-affiliated Fars News Agency. It added that these forces are 25 miles away from al-Tanf. Reports in the Arab press also suggest that Iranian-led forces embedded with the Syrian Army are marching ahead to Syria’s eastern and southern border regions. Another Fars report claimed that the Syrian Army has also deployed forces in al-Suwayda region close to the Jordanian border and “managed to advance more towards al-Tanf border-crossing in Southern Homs to foil a US-led plan for occupying Southern Syria.”
Security belt
The I.R.G.C. media claims that the U.S. military has beefed up its presence in border regions in southern and eastern Syria in order to block the Iranian-supported forces to link the land routes between Syria and Iraq. “America, Jordan and England have taken measures to create a security belt along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The aim of this operation is to counter the resistance front and cut off the land route between Iraq and Syria,” wrote Fars News Agency.

'Suriye ordusu, Halep'teki Cerrah askeri havaalanında kontrolü ele geçirdi'- Sputnik News

Suriye ordusu, müttefik güçlerin desteğiyle IŞİD militanlarını püskürterek Halep'in doğusundaki Cerrah askeri havaalanında kontrolü ele geçirdi.

Sputnik'e demeç veren bir askeri yetkili, "Suriye ordusu, Cerrah askeri havaalanı ve çevresindeki yerleşim birimlerinde kontrolü sağladı" dedi.
Askeri yetkili, Suriye ordusunun Halep'in doğusunda operasyona başladığından bu yana 3 binden fazla IŞİD militanının öldürüldüğünü söyledi.
Yetkilinin aktardığına göre, operasyonlarda 19 tank, 5 zırhlı araç, 11 patlayıcı yüklü araç, 9 silah deposu ve 61 komuta merkezi imha edildi.

Suudi Arabistan ve BAE, Al Jazeera'ya erişimi engelledi- Sputnik News

Suudi Arabistan ve Birleşik Arap Emirlikleri (BAE), Katar merkezli al Jazeera'ya ve Katarlı haber sitelerine erişim engeli getirdi.

Al Arabiya'nın haberine göre erişim engeli, Katar Şeyhi Tamim Bin Hamad el Sani'nin, Doha ile ABD Başkanı Donald Trump yönetimiyle 'gerginlik' yaşandığını söylemesi ve İran'ı 'İslamcı bir güç' olarak tanımasının ardından geldi.
El Sani, dün Katarlı askerlerin yemin töreninde yaptığı açıklamada, "İran'a yönelik düşmanlık beslemekte bir hikmet yoktur" deyip, ABD Başkanı Trump'ın ülkesinde 'Rusya ile ilişkiler' iddiaları nedeniyle hukuki bir soruşturmaya tabi tutulduğunu ifade etmişti.

Şoygu: Suriye’de ABD’den dört kat fazla bombardıman gerçekleştirdik- Sputnik News

Rusya Savunma Bakanı Sergey Şoygu, Rus Hava Kuvvetleri’nin Suriye’de ABD’nin öncülüğündeki koalisyondan dört kat daha fazla bombardıman gerçekleştirdiğini söyledi.

Rusya Federasyon Konseyi’nde gerçekleştirilen bir hükümet toplantısında konuşan Şoygu “Suriye’de Rusya ve uluslararası koalisyonun faaliyetlerinin sonuçlarını karşılaştırılmasına yönelik analiz, kat kat daha az uçakla Rus Hava Kuvvetleri’nin koalisyon güçlerinden 3 kat fazla sorti gerçekleştirdiğini ve 4 kat daha fazla füze ve bomba saldırısı gerçekleştirdiğini ortaya koyuyor” ifadelerini kullandı.

Stances Interact after Riyadh Summit, Cabinet Renews BDL Governor Term- Naharnet

President Michel Aoun chaired an ordinary cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Baabda that tackled agenda items, the outcomes that emerged after the Riyadh summit and renewed the term of the Central Bank governor.
Aoun chaired the meeting in the presence of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the ministers, NNA said.
Aoun and Hariri held a closed meeting before the session began, talks focused on the latest developments in the country.
The President touched on the circumstances that accompanied the issuance of the Riyadh summit's final statement after the departure of the Lebanese delegation, he said: "Lebanon is committed to what is stated in the oath of office and the government’s ministerial statement.”
He told the cabinet that he called the Higher Defense Council for a meeting on Friday to discuss the security situation in the country and the measures to be taken in several areas, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
The cabinet has also reappointed Lebanon's long-serving (Banque du Liban) BDL governor Riad Salameh for another six year term.

Hamadeh Says Aoun Should Have Signed Election Decree- Naharnet

Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh said if President Michel Aoun had signed the decrees inviting voters for the elections in line with the constitutional deadlines, he would have saved the country from risks of delayed elections, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.
“If President Michel Aoun had signed the draft decrees submitted by Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq and calling the electoral bodies to stage elections on their constitutional dates, he would have saved the country from danger,” Hamadeh told the daily in an interview.
In February, Aoun did not ink a decree signed by Mashnouq calling on voters to prepare for the upcoming parliamentary elections in order to avoid the polls being held under the disputed 1960 majoritarian law.
The political parties are bickering over amending the current election law which divides seats among the different religious sects.
A number of law formats were suggested by different parties, but none of them succeeded at garnering approval of all sides.
Touching on Aoun's Tuesday position and that of Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Hamadeh said: “I am puzzled. I can't determine the exact position of the (Aoun's) term which highly coincides with the law, and the rhetoric of the Foreign Minister who is again threatening with vacuum.”

ENKS: PYD ofislerimizi kapatıp, yöneticilerimizi tutukluyor- Sputnik News

Irak Kürt Bölgesel Yönetimi Başkanı Mesud Barzani'nin Kürdistan Demokratik Partisi'ne (KDP) yakınlığıyla bilinen Suriye'deki Kürt oluşum ENKS, ülkenin kuzeyinde hakimiyetini sürdüren PYD'nin yöneticilerini gözaltına aldığını açıkladı.

Sputnik'e konuşan Suriye Kürdistan Demokrat Partisi (PDK-S) Politbüro üyesi ve Suriye Kürt Ulusal Konseyi (ENKS) yetkilisi Müslim Mıhemed, Demokratik Birlik Partisi'nin (PYD) tutukladığı 20'den fazla ENKS mensubunun cezaevinde olduğunu belirtti. 

Syrian Army continues blitz offensive to besiege US-backed rebels in Syrian Badiyah- Al-Masdar News

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:56 A.M.) – Backed by allied paramilitary forces like the Arab Tawhid Party and the Iraqi Imam Ali Brigades and Nujaba’ Movement, the Syrian Arab Army continued its unprecedented wide-scale advance in the heart of the Levantine Badiyah.
Six kilometers to the south of the recently-captured Scientific Research Battalion, the Syrian Armed Forces and local NDF established control over several military points and abandoned bases...
In a parallel development, preliminary reports suggest that the Syrian military advanced in east Sweida seizing the old French Garrison Base and its surroundings, located east of the Zuluf Dam. The Jordanian-backed rebels in the Bir Qassab bastion east of Sweida find their backs against the wall as the Syrian Army threatens to link up its forces in Sin Airbase with those in the vicinity of Safa Volcano fully isolating the aforementioned rebels from their counterparts at the strategic Tanf Border-crossing.
What the rebels face in this troubled part of southern Syria is beyond the usual back-and-fro battles and skirmishes typical to the Syrian war- the insurgents are facing the blunt of an existential war that threatens to systematically wipe out their presence in the border region that links Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. The strategic implications of those well-planned operations that target US interests in the imperative region are clear: the Syrian Command tolerates no US presence in this arena whatsoever and any rash plans to bar the Syrian government from establishing its presence in the Euphrates will be met with total defeat.

Government Forces Advancing On Multiple Frontlines In Southeastern Syria- South Front

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) military wing and other pro-government factions are advancing on multiple frontlines in southeastern Syria. Government forces have successfully advanced in the countrysides of Palmyra and al-Qaryatayn as well as near the Syrian-Jordanian border.

The SAA and its allies gained more ground in the area east of al-Qaryatayn, reaching and capturing Jabal Baridah that had been controlled by ISIS. However, no major clashes were reported in the area.

According to some sources, ISIS had abadoned the whole area of the al-Busairi crossorads south of the Tiyas Airbase in the province of Homs. Thus, government forces just need to secure it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Aoun Hints at Elections Under 1960 Law to Avoid Vacuum- Naharnet

President Michel Aoun hinted on Tuesday that he would call for staging the parliamentary elections under the 1960 law to avoid vacuum at the legislative authority.
“I don't want the 1960 law, but if we fail to reach a solution am I allowed to leave the Republic in vacuum?” Aoun asked addressing a Press Club delegation at the Presidential Palace.
The President remarked that leaving the 1960 law to rule the upcoming polls is not what he wishes “but I will not leave the country to vacuum if a new law electoral is not devised.”
About the possibility of extension of the parliament's term, Aoun said Lebanon would be overstepping the constitution if the term is extended, “Articles of the constitution must be respected,” he said.

Syrian Ambassador: Lebanon Must Look for Solutions for Displaced Syrians- Naharnet

Syria's ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali said he acknowledges the burden on Lebanon as the result of displaced Syrians fleeing the war ravaging their country, but he questioned the “lack of Lebanese government initiatives to find solutions,” the National News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Ali admitted that Lebanon is bearing “the burden of displaced Syrians,” but he wondered about the reasons keeping the Lebanese “government from taking initiatives to find solutions” for the crisis, he said.
The ambassador spoke during a lecture at the Center for Palestinian Studies titled The Syrian Crisis, Areas of Reducing Tension - Motives and Challenges.
Whether there is cooperation between the Lebanese and Syrian governments in that regard, he said: “The Lebanese state is a sister country, we have minimal coordination. The answer to this question is with the Lebanese government, because our enemy is one, Israel and terrorism.”
He reiterated that there is coordination with the Lebanese state "even if there are some mistakes from the Syrians, we call for more coordination between the institutions of the two countries for the interest of both peoples, and families deployed on the common border."
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said more than six million Syrians have fled their country since its devastating war broke out in 2011.
Of those, Lebanon is hosting more than 1.5 million Syrians, roughly a quarter of its current population of four million.
The influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has stretched the country's economic resources.

Trump Arrives in Rome for Pope Talks- Naharnet

Donald Trump on Tuesday arrived in Rome for a high-profile meeting with Pope Francis in what was his first official trip to Europe since becoming U.S. President.
Trump, on a tour that has already taken him to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories, touched down in the Italian capital aboard Air Force One just before 1630 GMT, an AFP staffer traveling with the presidential team said.
The under-fire billionaire is due at the Vatican on Wednesday morning for a meeting with the pope, with whom he has clashed on numerous issues ranging from the plight of migrants to unbridled capitalism and climate change.
They also disagree on issues like the death penalty and the arms trade but do have common ground to explore on the issues of abortion and the persecution of Christians.
After the papal audience, also to be attended by Trump's wife Melania and daughter Ivanka, the Trump couple are to be given a tour of the Sixtine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sınırda Fetih el Şam üyesi yakaland Sputnik News

Hatay'ın Yayladağı İlçesi'nde sınırdan kaçak yollarla Suriye'ye geçmeye çalışan Fetih el Şam (eski adıyla el Nusra Cephesi) üyesi Türk vatandaşı 30 yaşındaki L.D. yakalandı.

Yayladağı'ndaki 3. Hudut Tabur Komutanlığı'na bağlı Görentaş Sınır Karakolu'nun kırsal alanında sınırı aşarak Suriye tarafına geçmeye çalışırken yakalanan L.D.'yle ilgili araştırma yapan güvenlik güçleri, Fetih el Şam mensubu olduğunu saptadı.

Geagea Suggests Cabinet Vote on Proportional Representatio Naharnet

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday called for a vote in Cabinet on the proportional representation electoral system.
“Unfortunately, today we are facing a host of bad options: extension (of parliament's term), which is rejected and would deal a blow to the new presidential tenure; the 1960 law which would be considered a failure for the new presidential tenure..., or vacuum which is rejected by everyone,” Geagea said.
He was speaking during a Maarab ceremony to announce the candidacy of LF member Antoine Habshi for the Baalbek-Hermel Maronite parliamentary seat.
Geagea added that a “simple solution” would be to vote in Cabinet on the electoral law.

U.S., Saudi Stress Importance of 'Backing Lebanese State, Disarming Hizbullah'- Naharnet

The United States and Saudi Arabia stressed during their landmark bilateral summit in Riyadh over the weekend “the importance of backing the Lebanese state to extend its sovereignty across its entire territory,” a joint statement said.
The statement carried by the Saudi official news agency SPA said the two sides also underscored the need to “disarm terrorist groups such as Hizbullah and put all arms under the legitimate supervision of the Lebanese army.”
U.S. President Donald Trump had compared Hizbullah in a landmark speech on Sunday to extremist organizations such as Islamic State and al-Qaida, as he lauded the Lebanese army for fighting IS and Lebanon for hosting a huge number of Syrian refugees.
“The true toll of ISIS, al-Qaida, Hizbullah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams,” Trump said.
Applauding the Gulf Cooperation Council for “blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hizbullah as a terrorist organization last year,” the U.S. leader also praised Saudi Arabia for joining Washington this week in “placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hizbullah,” Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, who is the head of the party's powerful executive council.
“Of course, there is still much work to do,” Trump added.

Syrian War Report – May 22, 2017: ISIS Rapidly Losing Ground In Eastern Aleppo- South Front

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces and their allied units are rapidly clearing the countryside Maskanah, a strategic town in the province of Aleppo, from ISIS terrorists. So far, government troops have liberated Wadi Muwayih, Jub al-Ali, Tal Hasan, Nafiyah, Atirah, Mazyuna, the Thaletha farm, the railroad station, Samaljieh and the Al-Khazim Gas Station. The advance was supported by multiple airstrikes carried out by Russian and Syrian aircraft on ISIS targets in the Maskanah countryside.
According to pro-government sources, some 19 ISIS members died in the recent clashes. In turn, ISIS argued that 2 armoured vehicles belonging to the SAA were destroyed.
With these advances, the SAA is now in about 10 km from Maskanah with only 3 villages – Sain, Ras al-Ayn and Sakariyah – remaining on the government forces way to the entrance to the ISIS stronghold.
The SAA, Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces, Druze militias, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and other pro-government factions continued their advance east of Suweida in southern Syria. They liberated the area of Zuluf, the Zuluf dam and Dahra Umm.
South of the Zaza triangle on the Damascus-Baghdad road, the SAA and its allies reached the Scientific Research Battalion area ad also captured it.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hariri Holds Brief Talks with U.S., Saudi Officials on Sidelines of Riyadh Summit- Naharnet

Prime Minister Saad Hariri held brief exchanges Sunday in Riyadh with the kingdom's deputy crown prince and the U.S. and Saudi foreign ministers.
The talks were held on the sidelines of a landmark Arab-Islamic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The premier's office said Hariri held brief exchanges with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir before the end of the summit.
MTV had reported that Hariri held a brief chat with Saudi Arabia's powerful Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after he was welcomed to the summit by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.
A close aide to Hariri had said that the prime minister's stances at summit “will not breach Lebanese consensus.”
“The participation was discussed in Cabinet and was coordinated between President Michel Aoun, PM Hariri and Hizbullah's ministers in the government, and PM Hariri will not have stances that breach Lebanese consensus and there will be no dramatic and unusual decisions,” Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury told al-Mustaqbal newspaper in remarks published Sunday.
“The issue of Hizbullah's arms will not be tackled by the summit and I don't think there will be anything new regarding the Lebanese situation,” Khoury added.

Trump Likens Hizbullah to IS, Qaida, Lauds Lebanon and Lebanese Army- Naharnet

U.S. President Donald Trump compared Hizbullah in a landmark speech on Sunday to extremist organizations such as Islamic State and al-Qaida, as he lauded the Lebanese army for fighting IS and Lebanon for hosting a huge number of Syrian refugees.
“We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure,” said Trump in a speech focused on terrorism during the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh.
“The true toll of ISIS, al-Qaida, Hizbullah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams,” Trump added.
Applauding the Gulf Cooperation Council for “blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hizbullah as a terrorist organization last year,” the U.S. leader praised Saudi Arabia for joining Washington this week in “placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hizbullah,” Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, who is the head of the party's powerful executive council.

Saudi King Slams Iran as 'Spearhead of Global Terrorism'- Naharnet

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday accused regional rival Shiite Iran of exporting extremist Islamic movements to the world and vowed to eliminate the Islamic State group.
"The Iranian regime has been the spearhead of global terrorism since the (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini revolution" in 1979, King Salman said in a speech to leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump.
"We did not know terrorism and extremism until the Khomeini revolution reared its head," he said.
Saudi Arabia was also determined to "eliminate the Islamic State group," the king said of the Sunni Muslim jihadist organization.
The Saudi leader's speech came minutes before a highly anticipated address by Trump, who arrived in the Sunni kingdom on Saturday on his first foreign tour since taking office. 

Trump'tan Sisi'ye: Yakın zamanda Mısır'a geleceğim- Sputnik News

ABD Başkanı Donald Trump, Mısır Cumhurbaşkanı Abdülfettah Sisi ile gerçekleştirdiği görüşmede yakın zamanda programına Mısır ziyaretini de ekleyeceğini söyledi.

Suudi Arabistan'ın başkenti Riyad'a gerçekleştirdiği ilk ziyaret çerçevesinde Sisi ile bir araya gelen Trump "Mısır'a geleceğim. Bunu yakın zamanda programıma alacağım" dedi.

Trump, Suudi Arabistan gezisi ile yeni bir ilişki kurmayı amaçlıyor- BBC Türkçe

ABD Başkanı Donald Trump, göreve geldikten sonraki ilk yurt dışı ziyaretini Suudi Arabistan'a yapıyor. Ardından İsrail ve Vatikan'a, yani İslam, Yahudilik ve Hristiyanlık'ın kalbine gidecek.
Trump'ın ilk ziyaretini Suudi Arabistan'a yapması olması şaşırtıcı bir tercih.
İslam'ın doğduğu Mekke ve Medine, altı Müslüman ülkenin vatandaşlarına ABD'ye giriş yasağı getirme çabası nedeniyle İslamofobi'yle suçlanan bir kişiyi ağırlıyor.
Trump, 2016 yılı Şubat ayında seçim kampanyasında Suudi yetkilileri, 11 Eylül saldırılarında 'suç ortağı olmakla' itham etti. Trump, "Dünya Ticaret Merkezi'ni kim patlattı? Iraklılar değil, Suudilerdi. Suudi Arabistan'a bakın belgeleri açın" dedi.
Peki o zamandan bu yana ne değişti? Cevap, çok şey.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Analysis: Hezbollah redeploys forces after withdrawal from Syrian-Lebanese border positions- The Long War Journal

Last week, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah gave a televised speech on Al-Manar on the anniversary of the assassination of the group’s commander, Mustafa Badreddine. In addition to his usual anti-Israel and anti-Saudi diatribes, Nasrallah announced the withdrawal of Hezbollah’s forces from the Lebanese-Syrian border and the hand-over of their positions to the Lebanese army. Their mission – to repel the threat of Sunni militias to Hezbollah’s Baalbek and Beqaa Valley strongholds – had been accomplished, he announced. But there is more to the story: Hezbollah’s forces were not demobilized, they were merely redeployed. It appears that Hezbollah has repositioned its men for the ongoing battles in Syria.
Hezbollah’s jihadists have supplied crucial manpower for Bashar al Assad’s regime. The Syrian army is currently engaged in a large-scale military operation in the eastern Syrian desert, with the goal of reaching the Syrian-Iraqi border, and they are in need of reinforcements to fortify their current positions, as well as to aid in their eastward push. Assad’s allies in Hezbollah have been inserting additional fighters into the Syrian battlefield and reorganizing their positions in Lebanon to facilitate the movement of additional fighters and equipment across the border.
Indeed, reports indicate that the withdrawal trumpeted by Nasrallah was in fact a redeployment along the Lebanese border. A high-ranking Lebanese Army official told the Lebanese pro-Western al-Joumhouria that “there are no Hezbollah positions in Arsal or Ra’s Baalbek,” Lebanese towns near the Syrian border where the group was formerly present. The Lebanese Army “alone is deployed in these areas and is expanding its deployment on [Lebanon’s] eastern border.” This dovetails with recent reports in Al-Joumhouria of the Army intensifying its operations against the Islamic State and the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front in those towns.
The official also denied claims that Hezbollah had targeted Nusrah commanders from the Lebanese town of Arsal, noting that any such attacks would have been launched from the organization’s Syrian positions and not from within Lebanon. This coincides with Daily Star and Al-Masdar News (pro-Assad regime outlet) reporting on continued “heavy clashes” between the Shiite group and Sunni militants on the Syrian side of the border in the immediate days after Nasrallah’s speech.

Third stage of Barzeh neighborhood settlement completed with exit of 2,672 persons, including 1,076 militants- SANA

Damascus, SANA – The third stage of the settlement agreement in Barzeh neighborhood at the eastern outskirts of Damascus was completed on Saturday afternoon, paving the way for the return of the state institutions to the area.
Damascus Governor Bishr al-Sabban said that the third stage of the settlement agreement, which provides for ending the armed manifestations in the neighborhood, was concluded with the exit of 2,672 persons, including 1,076 militants.
Earlier today, SANA’s reporter said that a number of buses gathered at the assigned area for transporting the third batch of militants and some of their family members who reject the settlement agreement in Barzeh neighborhood in a step towards transporting them to the northern countryside.

Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia on first foreign tour- BBC News

US President Donald Trump has arrived in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip since becoming president.
His eight-day trip will also take in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Brussels, the Vatican, and Sicily.
It comes as Mr Trump faces uproar at homefollowing his sacking of FBI director James Comey.
He has strongly criticised the decision to appoint a special counsel to oversee an inquiry into alleged Russian influence on the US election.

Cairo Platform: UN Envoy Proposing to Hold Intra-Syrian Talks Round in Mid-June- Sputnik News

Head of the delegation of Cairo opposition platform Firas Khalidi said that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura proposed to hold the next round of the intra-Syrian talks in mid-June.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is aiming to hold the next round of the Intra-Syrian talks in Geneva in mid-June, head of the delegation of Cairo opposition platform Firas Khalidi told Sputnik.

Aoun May Sign Decree Launching Preparations for Elections- Naharnet

President Michel Aoun may sign a decree at the end of the parliament's term giving the green light to start preparations for Lebanon's parliamentary polls, al-Akhbar daily reported on Saturday.
Reports circulating said that Aoun might sign the decree on June 18, one day before the parliament's term officially ends, signaling the launch of preparations for the parliamentary polls, the daily said.
Unnamed sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said the President plans to work in accordance with Article 25 of the constitution which stipulates that “ a decision to dissolute the parliament must include a call to stage new elections within a period of three month.” The elections would then be held under the 1960 law in force.
Parliamentary elections are supposed to be held in May, but political parties are still bickering over amending the current 1960 majoritarian election law which divides seats among the different religious sects.
Several law formats have been suggested to replace the law in force and they include a proportional representation system, the qualification law, the Orthodox law, several forms of hybrid laws and many other but none garnered approval of all parties.

US-backed rebels lose large chunk of territory to Syrian Army in east Sweida- Al-Masdar news

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), alongside several paramilitary units, captured a large chunk of rebel-held territory in the eastern countryside of Al-Sweida, a military source told Al-Masdar last night.
According to the military source, the Syrian Arab Army and their allies seized more than 60 square kilometers of territory in the Al-Zalfa area of Al-Sweida, marking the second largest advance for the pro-government forces in the last 72 hours.
With the Al-Zalfa area secured, the Syrian Arab Army and their allies will push further east in order to secure the provincial border and surround the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) near the Al-Tanf border-crossing to Iraq.

Bomb Explodes in Ain el-Hilweh Camp- Naharnet

Assailants tossed Saturday morning a hand grenade near a Palestinian National Security Forces checkpoint in the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, the National News Agency reported.
NNA said, an unidentified suspect threw a bomb near the PNS forces checkpoint in Darb al-Sim at the southern end of camp.
The explosion did not lead to any causalities, it added.
Sheikh Hussam al-Aylani, Imam of al-Ghofran mosque in the city of Sidon, urged the Palestinian factions to exert “all efforts needed to thwart the extremist groups' terror attempts, and to prevent al-Nusra Front from controlling the camp.