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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A letter to "Arabs"

Posted on  by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

This poem was read by Nourul-Islam abu Huwaishel just 45 minutes before he was killed by the Jewish state:
A letter to Arabs

In Gaza, we are alright
Comfort us with good news about you
In war, we are alright
How about you?
Our martyrs are under rubble
Our children are living in tents
Asking about you, where are you?
In Gaza, we are alright
Comfort us with good news about you
The Sea is behind us, but we still resist
Our enemy is in front of us, but we still resist
We’ve got enough weapons, food, and promises of peace
We thank you for your “support”
Our souls, our wounds, our skies, our homes, our faces, our blood, our eyes, our coffins;
Protect us from your promises and your words
In Gaza, we are alright
Comfort us with good news about you

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Pentagon Official: The President Is Lying To America — About Us, And About ISIS

Joseph Miller is the pen name for a ranking Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.

President Barack Obama has taken a lot of flak since his Sunday night “60 Minutes” interview, in which he blamed the intelligence community for his failure to tackle the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. And that is right and proper. Because not only was his excuse of blaming us a lie, but when questioned on his lie, White House press secretary Josh Earnest doubled down with a whole new lie — both of which are easily, publicly proven false.

On Sunday, Obama said the intelligence community had underestimated the rise of ISIS, saying in an interview with CBS, “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

But we know that isn’t true, as nearly a dozen administration officials have testified to the threat posed by ISIS publicly over the last year.

The fact that the president chose to use the word “they” instead of “we” immediately drew condemnation from friend and foe alike, who saw it as the president’s attempt to pass the buck. (RELATED: Obama Has Spent More Time Playing Golf Than In Intel Briefings)

To mitigate the fallout, Earnest’s office issued a statement stating that, “…A lot of that [decision-making] was predicated on the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight for their country.”
But this was also not true.

In 2010, General Lloyd Austin, then-commander of United State Forces in Iraq, directly informed the president that over 20,000 U.S. troops would be required to maintain the gains made by U.S. forces against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and to mentor the fledgling Iraqi security forces– because he knew they were not ready to go out on their own. (MILLER: The Facts Are In, And Obama’s Policy Is A Direct Danger To The United States)

But in order for Austin’s plan to work, the United States would have to negotiate and sign a security agreement with the government of Iraq to give the U.S. legal authority to keep U.S. military forces in that country beyond December 2010. The White House claims they were forced to withdraw because then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to grant U.S. force serving in Iraq post 2010 immunity from Iraqi prosecution– a prerequisite for the presence of U.S. forces anywhere else in the world. But the administration made no attempt to seriously negotiate an agreement with the Iraqis, and cited our withdrawal from Iraq as a major achievement during the 2012 elections, giving the American intelligence community the distinct feeling that the move was politically motivated. (MILLER: Obama’s Current StrategyIs Doomed To Fail)

Instead of investing any time in negotiating the agreement, the Obama administration used the Maliki regimes refusal to grant immunity as a political out for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2010. That saw the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and the end of Operation New Dawn, the successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom. It also saw the rise of ISIS, and brings us to where we are today. (MILLER: What It Will Take To Win The War Against The Islamic State)

Today, Gen. Lloyd Austin is in command of U.S. Central Command– the U.S. combatant command in charge of fighting all wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of North and East Africa. From that post, he once again recommended to the president that ground forces would be required in order to achieve the White House’s goals, this time against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. (MILLER: Iraq A Symptom Of Larger Obama Failure — Syria)
Once again, the president overruled his commanding general and has chosen to use air strikes alone to “destroy” a terrorist army of 30,000.

The president clearly does not think the mission is worth the cost necessary to complete it; but by pursuing his ends without authorizing the necessary means, he is dooming that mission to failure. (MILLER: Special Forces, Not #Hashtags, Mr. President)

The United States military and intelligence community have learned a lot over the past decade of conflict. Our commander in chief, unfortunately, has not. Since the start of his administration, President Barack Obama has ignored his generals and the intelligence community. Over the past few weeks, he has half-heartedly pursued a strategy that destines us to fail in our mission, and over the past three days, he and his White House have lied to prove otherwise. To those who wear our nation’s uniform, or serve in her intelligence community, that’s insult — and injury.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Obama the American Salesman of War

Finian CUNNINGHAM | 30.09.2014 | 00:01

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week, Obama sounded less statesman and more salesman, with the usual pitch that American leadership is all benevolent and virtuous. America is pursuing, America is committed, America is prepared… and so on and on went the tiresome egocentric rhetoric.

But like a dodgy salesman, the “goods” that Obama is hawking are downright fake. Caveat Emptor: buy it at your peril. Not only that, but the entire presentation to the potential buyers is littered with sly mendacity and ridiculous falsification of world events.

The US president used his address to the 69th UN session not to genuinely explore a collective solution to pressing world problems but rather as an opportunity to indulge in “American exceptionalism” – the deluded notion that America is magnificent and superior to all other nations. Obama’s speech was a breathtaking falsification of the real causes underlying many of the security threats facing the world, and an opportunity for him to shift the blame on to others.

As Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out, Obama disgracefully labelled Russia as a global threat along with the Ebola epidemic in Africa and Islamic State terrorism in the Middle East.

Obama told UN delegates: “As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa, and threatens to move rapidly across borders. Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition. The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”

He then went on to corral the rest of the world under American leadership. “We call upon others to join us on the right side of history – for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions.”

It was an astounding distortion of history in which the culpable role of the US in multiple conflicts is glibly airbrushed out of the picture, replaced by Russia in the case of Ukraine, instead of acknowledging the destabilising role that Washington played by orchestrating a coup in that country.

Obama skimmed over conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Ukraine casting them as unconnected or the fault of someone else, yet in all these conflicts the hand of the US is indelibly present.

As for the “brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq”, Obama obfuscated by telling us to “look into the heart of darkness” – whatever that platitude means – instead of looking into the CIA payrolls and arms inventories to see how Washington has directed these “jihadist” mercenaries in its regime-change operation in Syria.

The upshot is not only a distortion of the actual cause-and-effect of world problems, and not only a slanderous misattribution of blame, the insidious outcome is that the real culprit is rehabilitated as a saviour to the world. “Join us on the right side of history,” Obama entreated the assembled nations, as if the murder of 1.5 million Iraqis from America’s 2003 illegal war never happened.

Since Obama made his address at the UN on Wednesday, US-led air strikes have continued unabated on Syria and Iraq. It is significant that the bombing campaign in Syria within a matter of days is already on a much greater scale than in Iraq, where US warplanes began conducting air strikes against IS militants a month ago. This is because regime change in Syria is the real American objective behind the whole anti-IS ruse.

Washingtonis avidly highlighting the fact that its so-called anti-IS coalition bombing Syria includes five Arab states: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The British are now sending fighter jets to join air strikes in Iraq, along with the US and French. The American-approved Baghdad government (formed after Washington insisted Nouri al Maliki had to go) has given its consent to the US-led aerial campaign. But this is not the case in Syria.

That lack of consent, plus the absence of the UN Security Council mandate, makes the US-led intervention in Syria illegal, as Moscow rightly points out. It does not afford any legality or legitimacy to the American-led air strikes no matter how many states have joined the so-called coalition, and no matter that these states are Arab.

Under international law, a country or group of countries does not have the right to launch military strikes on another unless there is a case of self-defence. That is not the scenario in Syria and the US-led coalition operating there. That is why Obama is talking up the threat of terrorists and press ganging a coalition of nations to join the US in its bombing campaign. This is just a fig leaf of Washington appearing to have some legal mandate, and to disguise the bare fact that the US is committing an act of aggression on a sovereign state for its geopolitical agenda of regime change.

This all stems from the fact that the US, as Sergei Lavrov points out, “has enshrined in its national security doctrine the right to use force at its discretion, regardless of UN Security Council decisions or international law”.

In his address to the UN General Assembly the previous year, Obama declared: “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.”

This gives real meaning to the concept of “American exceptionalism”. American leaders consider their government to be above the law and to have the prerogative to use violence unilaterally. All other nations must abide by the UN Charter and international law forbidding aggression, but not the US.

So when Obama this year exhorted: “Fellow delegates, we come together as United Nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability” – the fundamental problem challenging world peace is that it is the US that is unequivocally not prepared to “renew the international system”.

A telling contradiction in Obama’s address was when he said: “The United States will never shy away from defending our interests, but nor will we shrink from the promise of this institution and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
So, the US is committed to defending its interests with unilateral violence, but is also allegedly committed to the universal rights of all nations. The two propositions are mutually exclusive, and we know that unilateral violence is the one that the US always adheres to.

Notice that Obama did not say the UN Charter, but rather the more vague Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because the Charter’s express legal prohibition on unilateral violence would make Obama’s words explicitly self-indicting.
In typical ahistorical American thinking, Obama blamed the root of conflict on some mythical notion of terrorism. “It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source: the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.”

More fundamental is the fact that conflict arises when certain states see themselves above the law in pursuit of their geopolitical interests with unilateral violence. The US stands out in this regard as the biggest culprit of lawlessness. Since the Second World War, the US has attacked, invaded or subverted upwards of 100 nations in pursuit of its core interests.
And yet the American president closed his address to the UN with this nonsensical schmalz. “And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done. We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.”

By contrast, Russia’s Lavrov commented on how Russian diplomacy works in practice, not in some rarified mythical way, as Obama arrogantly asserts. “On the contrary, we are interested in putting out the flames of conflicts around the world through a fair dialogue based on equality of rights and mutual respect rather than through unilateral accusations and shifting the responsibility on someone else,” said Lavrov.

Moscowcan rightly refer to its efforts at brokering a ceasefire in Ukraine and a negotiated settlement between the Kiev regime and the ethnic Russian separatists in the east of the country. Russian president Vladimir Putin has personally worked with Didier Burkhalter, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, since May to create a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The latest result being the ceasefire brokered on September 5 in Minsk.

Meanwhile, Washington has only fuelled the conflict by first of all subverting Ukrainian sovereignty with the February coup against an elected government, then funnelling military aid to the CIA-backed regime, and encouraging this reactionary regime to adopt a heavy-handed policy toward dissenting populations.

History shows us that when states ride roughshod over international law, as during the 1930s when the League of Nations was made a mockery by rogue powers, the danger of war is greatly magnified. The lawless conduct of America and its mockery of the UN Charter is today the greatest threat to world peace.

Salesman Obama might try selling the world a vehicle of American leadership for peace. But scratch the surface and blow off the rhetorical webs, and it’s obvious that this American vehicle is a hollowed-out dangerous wreck. Caveat Emptor.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

US could kill me: Argentina's President Kirchner

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves to supporters at Government House in Buenos Aires on September 30, 2014.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves to supporters at Government House in Buenos Aires on September 30, 2014.

Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner on Tuesday charged in an emotional address that domestic and US interests were pushing to topple her government, and could even kill her.

Domestic business interests "are trying to bring down the government, with international (US) help," she said.Kirchner said that on her recent visit to fellow Argentine Pope Francis -- whose help she has sought in Argentina's ongoing debt default row -- police warned her about supposed plots against her by ISIL activists.

"So, if something happens to me, don't look to the Mideast, look north" to the United States, Kirchner said at Government House.

Don't believe US: Kirchner

Just hours after the US embassy here warned its citizens to take extra safety precautions in Argentina, an aggravated Kirchner said "when you see what has been coming out of diplomatic offices, they had better not come in here and try to sell some tall tale about ISIS trying to track me down so they can kill me."
Argentina is still struggling with the aftermath of a default on nearly $100 billion in debt in 2001, with the two hedge funds it labels vultures battling the country in US courts.

But it has been blocked by US federal judge Thomas Griesa, who has ordered the country to first repay two hedge funds demanding the full $1.3 billion face value of their bonds.

Griesa ruled Monday that Argentina was in contempt of court after it passed a law allowing the government to repay creditors in Buenos Aires or Paris -- skirting the New York judge's freeze on the bank accounts it previously used to service its debt.

More than 92 percent of its creditors agreed to take losses of up to 70 percent on the face value of their bonds in 2005 and 2010 to get the struggling country's debt repayments back on track.

But the two hedge funds, US billionaire Paul Singer's NML Capital and US-based Aurelius Capital Management, which had bought up defaulted Argentine bonds for pennies on the dollar, refused to accept the write-down and took the country to court.

The strategy, which stands to make them profits of up to 1,600 percent, has earned them the label "vulture funds" from Buenos Aires.

Blocked from paying its restructured debt, Argentina missed a $539 million interest payment and entered default again on July 30.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Pentagon Says Airstrikes ’Not Enough’ to Eradicate ISIL; "Go to hell Erdogan"

Published Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Turkey may send troops into Syria and Iraq and allow foreign soldiers to use its bases for cross-border incursions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, according to a government proposal to be debated by parliament on Thursday.

The advance by ISIS fighters to within clear sight of Turkish military positions on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to take a more robust role in the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the insurgents.

The militants are also advancing on a tomb in northern Syria guarded by Turkish soldiers, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Tuesday. The tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the Ottoman Empire's founder, was made Turkish territory under a treaty signed with France in 1921, when France ruled Syria.

The government submitted a proposal to parliament late on Tuesday which would broaden existing military powers, in a bid to enable the army to "defeat attacks directed towards ourc ountry from all terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria".

"The cabinet of ministers has decided ... to ask permission from parliament ... to send the Turkish Armed Forces if necessary to foreign countries for cross-border operations and interventions, and to position foreign militaries in Turkey for the same purposes," the proposal said.

The ruling AK Party's strong majority means the proposal is likely to be approved.

Turkey has so far declined to take a frontline role in the US-led military campaign, fearful that it could strengthen Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and bolster Kurdish militants allied to Kurds in Turkey who have fought for three decades for greater autonomy.

It also argues that air strikes alone will do little to address long-term instability on its 1,200-km (750-mile) southern frontier.

Turkey, a NATO member and Washington's key ally in the region, has been playing a major role in fueling the armed crisis in Syria over the past three years by opening its borders and allowing free access to foreign jihadists into Syria.

The Syrian government has repeatedly accused Turkey of harboring, financing, training, and arming militants since violence erupted in March 2011.

Damascus sent letters to the United Nations time and again attacking Turkey’s “destructive” role in the Syrian conflict.

In 2013, Syria’s foreign ministry said in letters addressed to the UN Security Council and to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that “Turkey supports and publicly justifies terrorist, destructive acts against Syria” and “has turned its territory into camps used to house, train, finance and infiltrate armed terrorist groups, chief among them the al-Qaeda network and the al-Nusra Front.”

Again in 2014, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari submitted a letter to Ban Ki-moon in which the Syrian government criticized “Turkey’s role in supporting terrorism in the region.”

Jaafari said the Turkish authorities allowed thousands of foreign terrorists, extremists and mercenaries from across the world to enter Syria and provided armed groups with funds, weapons and other forms of support, which is “blatant violation of international agreements on counter-terrorism.”

One non-Syrian Islamist fighter who joined the Syrian rebel ranks in 2012 told Reuters the Turkish borders “were wide open” and armed rebels “used to get in and out of Turkey very easily.

No questions were asked. Arms shipments were smuggled easily into Syria.” Turkey has repeatedly denied such accusations. T

he United States has an air base at Incirlik in southwestern Turkey near the Syrian border. (Reuters, Al-Akhbar)


Local Editor

US War Ministry (Pentagon) on Tuesday announced that the airstrikes are not enough for the US army to eradicate ISIL terrorist group.

Pentagon spokesman told the reporters that the international campaign against ISIL will not be easy and quick, calling on them to avoid overestimating the outcomes of the airstrikes.

The US has to support the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria and the Iraqi army in order to be able to carry out the mission.

It is worth noting that US president Barack Obama considered that depending on the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria to defeat the regular army is a mere fancy.


 Fierce Battles between Kurds, ISIL in Syria Border Town

Local Editor Fierce clashes took place on Tuesday overnight between Kurdish fighters and Takfiri group operating in Iraq and Syria, ISIL, for a strategic Syrian border town. The “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” reported the event on Wednesday, saying that 10 people were killed in the clashes.

Kurdish fightersNine Kurdish fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG) and one ISIL militant died in the clashes around Ain-al-Arab on the border with Turkey, the London-based monitoring group said.

The Takfiris are just two to three kilometers (a couple of miles) from the town, known as Kobane in Kurdish, said the Britain-based Observatory, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Their offensive, launched just over two weeks ago, has sparked an exodus of tens of thousands of mainly Kurdish refugees into Turkey.

Kurdish leaders have appealed to the US-led coalition to provide air support to the town's defenders.

But the Observatory reported no coalition air or missile strikes in the area overnight.

Ain al-Arab is a strategic town in which if seized if gives ISIL unbroken control of a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

Source: AFP
01-10-2014 - 11:46 Last updated 01-10-2014 - 11:46


تصويت البرلمان التركي ، وإجازة التدخل العسكري في سورية والعراق

 آخر كلام _ على منتظري ، د محمد نور الدين | nbn 30 09 2014

 تعليق العميد امين حطيط على غارات التحالف على داعش في شمال سورية | الحدث

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Shell-Shocked Syrian Town Freed After Savage Massacre, 291 Days of ‘Islamic Just'

Franklin Lamb
Al manar

Syrian Defense Minister tours Adra

With the Syrian Army at Adra al-Omalia, northeast of Damascus

In the early hours of Thursday, 9/25/2014, after five days of fierce firefights with advancing Syrian troops, approximately 1,000 Jabhat al-Nusra and Liwa al-Islam (Army of Islam) jihadists quickly assembled their hostages from the basements of more than forty buildings in the industrial town of Adra al-Omalia.

car bombThe town—you could almost think of it more as a neighborhood—is located about 12 miles northeast of Damascus.

Those who had been taken hostage, initially approximately 500 people in all, were in the main government employees, along with Shia, Christian, Kurdish, Ismaili, and Druze residents.

As the Syrian Arab Army closed in last week, the overwhelmed jihadists marched their captives into trenches and underground tunnels, disappearing with them. No one—besides their abductors—knows exactly how many of the original 500 people are still alive, but military sources believe at least some of the kidnapped families were moved in the direction of the town of Douma, which has been the opposition’s strategic base since the start of the Syrian crisis in March, 2011. Douma is also where some of the most important rebel fortifications are situated and fighting continues there.

At any rate, last week’s battle for Adra al-Omalia was a significant turning point. The town is now liberated but the story of what took place here over the past 291 days is presently emerging, and it is a horrifying one.

With a pre-massacre population of over 100,000, Adra housed 600 manufacturing plants and grain silos. It was a key area. In May of 2013, Ziad Badour, Director of Adra Industrial City, told the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), that creative responses to U.S. unilateral economic attacks against Syria had given rise to more than 48,000 job opportunities in the region. He said Adra had received workers from different parts of the country, and had also managed to absorb internal refugees—from Douma, Yabroud and Nabek, as well as from the farms of Ghouta. With inexpensive yet high-quality housing, the quiet town, with its well-maintained streets and sidewalks, became a very attractive destination for workers and middle class residents from Damascus.

Starting on September 21, 2014 government forces advanced upon the town in a three-directional pincer operation from the north, west, and south, and theoretically should have been able to cut off al-Nusra’s western escape route to Douma. But the Army admits now that the extent of Adra’s underground tunnels was previously unknown to them. Some of these trenches and tunnels appeared to be at least one-half mile in length and approximately 14 feet deep by 10 feet wide. One trench the army showed to visitors is connected at the end with a tunnel approximately ¾ mile long. It was probably predictable that rebels would attempt an escape to Douma, still under Islamist control, but no one expected it to happen as quickly as it did. As we toured the area, some soldiers involved in the fight, as well as the Army’s public information officer, “Talal,” a friendly and conscientious Syrian patriot, expressed surprise to this observer over the unpredicted and fast exist by al-Nusra.

The tunnels constructed by the group and its disparate gathering of Islamists from outside Syria are not quite up to the standards of Hezbollah’s south Lebanon and Bekaa tunnels, a half-dozen of which this observer has visited. Nor, apparently, are they up to the standards of the Hamas tunnels which so vexed and aggrieved the Zionist aggressors this past summer. Nonetheless, they are equipped with phone wires, water, bathrooms and electricity as well as areas for cooking, dormitories and IED and bomb-making shops. And in the trenches, which are quite large, one finds transport vehicles such as trucks and minibuses, as well as artillery launchers and 50mm guns mounted on pick-ups. From inside one of the tunnels, the Army confiscated a large cache of weapons, ammunition, mobile devices, and chemicals to make chlorine gas. A Syrian lady friend observed a woman’s bag in the back of one the trucks, perhaps belonging to one of the hostages who were forced to leave in hurry or perhaps it belonged to a woman linked to one of the foreign fighters who tend to acquire a jihadi or slave wife (s) and family. In any case, scattered diapers suggest some babies were born to the Islamists during their occupation of Adra as well.

Not all the tunnels were complete; in fact some were still under construction, and inside one of them more than 50 five-gallon buckets were found. The buckets were all filled with chipped rock—as if the jihadists’ tunnel-digging work had been abruptly interrupted. One Islamist sympathizer explained to this observer that al-Nusra and Da’ish (IS) are the best at building “Iranian model” tunnels because, unlike Hezbollah and Hamas Islamists, who Tehran trains, Syrian Islamists have to adapt their construction techniques. This means building tunnels and trenches very quickly and through solid rock—a much more difficult process than simply hollowing out packed sand, the predominant medium at certain tunnel locations in Gaza and some part of Lebanon.

The occupation of Adra al-Omalia lasted nearly ten months, commencing in December 11, 2013, when fighters from al-Nusra and the Islamic Front, another jihadi group, captured the main employee residential complex, using an old sewer to outflank government forces. Many apartments in the area were quickly burned or gutted with grenades or other explosive devices, the reasoning being that jihadists believed the residents loyal to the government.

What quickly took place was a massacre, and many eyewitness accounts of the events are now surfacing. Mazhar Ibraheem is a doctor originally from the Tartus countryside who has lived in Adra for the past several years and who recalls what happened as the militants infiltrated into the city last December:
“Since the earlier hours of that day, I had heard the crackle of gunfire in front of my house that is in front of a bakery. Then I realized that it was fire being exchanged between the militants and the bakery guards. I escaped with my wife and my daughter, Kristin, to a nearby shelter, where dozens of residents were hiding. Then the armed men found the shelter; they started torturing, killing and investigating, and demanding to know who supports the regime and who works with the government. The militants cut off the hands of the government workers in order to prevent the resumption of their work and to behead some of them and to torture their bodies in front of the children’s eyes.” 
The doctor also described the horrific scenes that he, with his family, saw of decomposed, tortured and beheaded bodies, which were thrown all over the streets. His wife said that,
“The armed men were non-Syrians. We lived terrible days, before we could escape with only the clothes that we wore.”
She added:
“We woke up at dawn with the sound of bullets… we saw men carrying black flags of Jaish al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusra. Some of them were singing ‘Alawites we have come to cut off your heads’ song, and this was the song they first sang at the start of the war in Idlib.”
Another eyewitness described the grisly events of later that day:
“The rebels began to attack the government centers, and attacked the police station—where all the policemen were killed after only a brief clash because of the large numbers of the attackers. They (the attackers) then headed to the checkpoint located on the edge of the city before moving to the clinic, where they slaughtered one from the medical staff and put his head in the popular market. They then dragged his body in front of townspeople who gathered to see what was happening. Bakery workers who resisted their machinery being taken away were roasted in their own oven. Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic Front fighters went from house to house with a list of names and none of those taken away then has been seen since.”

When the Syrian army would try to enter Adra the Jihadists would throw women and children from the 20,000 people it captured off the top floors in front of the army.

This observer’s friend, the award winning journalist Patrick Cockburn, published an account of the sheer terror experienced by one Adra family—the Mhala family. The story appeared in the UK Independent on February 9, 2014 and also in Counterpunch.  Mr. Nusair Mahla, a government employee, described to Cockburn the last minutes of the life of his sister, Maysoun Mhala, who was an engineer who used to help families who were displaced by the fighting. It was on December 11, 2013 that the family decided to blow themselves up in their home, including their children Karim and Bishr, as al-Nusra Islamists broke through the door of their dwelling. Earlier that day, Nusair was able to telephone his sister Maysoun, who already at that time could see the militants in the street. “They look so terrifying, and I am afraid,” she told him.
“I was looking out the window and I saw the terrorists kill one of the NDF [pro-government National Defense Force militia] with a big knife.” 
Maysoun went on to explain to Nusair that she and her husband, Nizar, planned to try and wedge the door of their apartment shut, but that if this failed and the jihadis broke in, then the whole family had taken a momentous resolution: rather than face torture and inevitable death at the hands of al-Nusra, they would die as a family by detonating grenades. As the Islamists kicked in the door, the family detonated the explosives, killing the father and two sons and blowing the leg off Maysoun. The rebels then dragged Maysoun’s body behind a car around the neighborhood.

On 9/25/14, the day this observer spent in Adra, Nusair, the brother of Maysouon Mhala explained that the four bodies of his family members were found in the apartment the day before and had been “buried decently”.  Stories from Adra residents who survived suggest that the same people who helped the Hasan family, also helped al Nusra to get inside their building. In times of danger some citizens seek to survive via dual and desperately shifting loyalties.

Cockburn isn’t the only one who has reported on the Mhala family’s tragic destruction. Their story was also alluded to by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, in a speech at the opening of the Geneva II Conference on January 22, 2014 in Montreux, Switzerland:
Under the name of a ‘revolution,’ we see a father that is killing himself and his family so he would save them from strangers entering his house. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, and most of you here are fathers of children. Imagine the feeling of a father when he has to kill his own family with his own hand to protect them from monsters that take the form of people and pretend that they are fighting for freedom. This is what happened in Adra. Adra—I think nobody of you have heard of it. Strangers came in. They killed and burnt people. You have not heard anything about it, but probably you have heard about other places where the same thing happened as happened in Adra, and they have accused the state and the Syrian Army. However, when no one could believe this lie any more, they stopped saying anything about it. This is what is being done by states who are the first attackers on Syria after they put aside others who were trying to take the leadership of the country through influence and money, this by using the horrible Wahhabi thought that is being spread in Syria. From this rostrum I tell you, you know, as I know, that it will not stop in Syria.
A video of Muallem’s full speech is available here.

The section on what took place in Adra begins at about 7:24. At about 22:19, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attempts to cut the Syrian foreign minister off, saying he has exceeded his time limit. Muallem’s speech was later denounced by the State Department’s Jen Psaki as “inflammatory.”

 Let Ban Ki-moon and Psaki come to Adra.

Visitors arriving in Adra now see widespread damage to buildings from the warring parties. Army units will take the next few weeks to comb the city and remove explosive devices and car bombs, often found planted in parks and squares and at entrances to buildings.

As this observer was meandering along some streets within the just-liberated area, he stumbled, almost literally, upon the remains of a dozen fighters along the side of a destroyed truck. He reported the shocking discovery to some soldiers, standing on their tanks nearby, who then called an officer over. The bodies appeared to have been in the same spot for many months, maybe soldiers lined up and machine gunned. Their skin was baked dry, leathery, like what one sees in photos of mummies. Someone had covered them a long time ago with blankets or sheets that were now caked with thick dust and oil soaked.  All wore military uniforms and a few had rings on their fingers and their hair appeared baked and brittle--maybe by months in the hot sun, one soldier speculated.

The site was more than a little numbing, but due to the priority of Army engineers in searching for booby traps—and due to the fact that the bodies themselves could be booby-trapped—the corpses could not be removed immediately. Later on that same day, however, as it began getting dark and I and my friend were preparing to return to Damascus, I made a point to check the area again, this time relieved to see two ambulances parked nearby—and that the bodies had finally been removed.

In taking Adra al-Omalia and expelling the armed militants from it, the Syrian Army has made a significant gain. The government now controls International Highway 5, which connects to Jordan in the south, runs north up through Damascus to Aleppo and Turkey.

 It remains to be seen how soon the terrorized residents can return to their homes and begin rebuilding their lives.

Source: Al-Manar Website
01-10-2014 - 09:52 Last updated 01-10-2014 - 9:52

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Anti-ISIS coalition’s ‘war on revenues’ hitting all Syrians

Syrian Kurdish people arrive at the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province on September 29, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Bulent Kilic)
Published Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The international coalition’s airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front in Syria entered their second week today, with dozens of air raids and missile attacks targeting regions in al-Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, al-Hasaka, Aleppo and Idlib.
While US officials, whose country is leading the anti-ISIS coalition, confirmed that “the strikes were successful,” ISIS has remained quiet and has yet to issue any “official” statement.
However, al-Nusra Front admitted to bearing heavy losses after its garrisons came under attack, and its leader Abu Mohammed al-Joulani warned that this “will impact the entire region and not just Nusra.”
A general overview of the locations targeted by the coalition forces suggests that the airstrikes on al-Nusra in Aleppo and Idlib’s countrysides, during the first few days of the operation, have an obvious short term impact, while constant coalition strikes on regions under ISIS’ control have a strategic dimension and their repercussions may go beyond ISIS.
In the first few days, strikes on ISIS were limited to some of the organization’s bases and training camps, but were later expanded to include oil wells, refineries, gas fields and grain silos.
Although some reports suggested that these attacks sought to “dry up ISIS’ sources of revenue,” other sources warned that such actions actually target “Syria’s infrastructure and economy.”

A Syrian source belonging to the so-called moderate opposition told Al-Akhbar, “The recent strikes are going in the right direction to topple both the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the regime.”
The source explained that “in order to topple both parties, some sacrifices ought to be made, and bombing oil wells and gas fields is just the beginning.” He also called for “targeting oil and gas pipelines, and power stations that provide regions under the regime’s control with electricity.”
“These measures will be taken sooner than expected, even if the rebels have to take these measures by themselves,” he said, adding “a war on resources may form an acceptable alternative to a no-fly zone.”
However, civilians were the first to pay the price for these attacks which caused oil prices to skyrocket. Besides, any additional targeting of Syrian oil fields threatens to bring more grief to the region, especially as winter nears.
ISIS’ power base has not crumbled yet in the regions under its control. Instead, the group is keeping a tight grip on the area.
For example, ISIS recently raided a number of regions in Deir Ezzor’s eastern countryside to capture members of al-Shouaitat clan who had fled to the area, while the group continues to advance toward the Kurdish regions in Aleppo’s countryside.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, an ISIS source on the battlefield said ISIS “is close to liberating the area and defeating the infidel Kurdish forces.”
“All the news reported by the crusaders’ media outlets and their allies concerning the number of ISIS martyrs, are lies,” the source said, “they have been lying ever since the crusaders’ invasion of Iraq, as [ISIS’ official spokesperson] Sheikh al-Adnani has already revealed.”
The source who was not authorized to share information about the real number of casualties in ISIS’ ranks, said “our cell just finished drafting a report today [referring to yesterday, September 29] about the situation in the region in Raqqa’s eastern countryside, and it showed that the crusaders’ assaults did not have any major impact.”
For his part, a jihadi source affiliated to al-Nusra Front said “the raids do not distinguish between civilians and jihadis, it is obvious to everyone that the coalition of infidels is targeting all Muslims.”
“Their attacks on jihadis are mere attempts to help their minions in traitorous brigades to control the liberated regions after eliminating the jihadis,” the source added.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, the source revealed that “about 150 people were martyred in regions under Nusra’s control,” but he refused to give more details about this figure, saying “we do not distinguish between a jihadi and a civilian, everyone here is a jihadi and we consider them martyrs for God.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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US targets Syria infrastructure rather than militants: Sabrosky

Video here

Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:12PM GMT

The United States’ airstrikes in Syria often target militants with “no military value” and actually aim at the country’s infrastructure, says a US Marine Corps veteran.

Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday while commenting on Washington-led coalition airstrikes in Syria that began last week.

“What I can see happening is that the targets they’re selecting are those that have, in many cases, no military value at all to ISIS or any other rebel group but really are intended to break whatever infrastructure the Syrian government will have when the fighting is over,” Sabrosky said.

Washington intends to inflict “such damage to the economic and industrial infrastructure within Syria that any Syrian government after the fighting will be so weakened that it will be vulnerable to further attacks.”

Sabrosky, a US Army War College graduate, also noted that it is important for the international community to understand that war has become “a normal part of the political, public, and social environment” in the US as the country is “now entering its 14th year of continuous warfare.”

“That is extremely dangerous for a lot of other countries,” he stated.

The US started conducting airstrikes on the ISIL terrorists only after US interests were threatened by the militants.

The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, control large parts of Syria's northern territory. ISIL sent its fighters into Iraq in June, quickly seizing vast expanse of land straddling the border between the two countries.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011 with ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently controlling parts of it mostly in the east.

The Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are reportedly supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

More than 191,000 people have been killed in over three years of fighting in the war-ravaged country, says the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), calling the figure a probable “underestimate of the real total number of people killed.

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