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Showing posts from July, 2015

ISIS looting Syrian, Iraqi sites on industrial scale: UNESCO

LONDON: ISIS militants are looting ancient sites across Iraq andSyria on an industrial scale and selling on treasures to middlemen to raise cash, Irina Bokova, the head of the U.N. cultural agencyUNESCO said Thursday.

One fifth of Iraq's about 10,000 official world-renowned sites were under ISIS control and heavily looted, and it was unclear what was happening in "thousands more" areas, Bokova told a meeting of experts in London.

Some sites in Syria had been ransacked so badly they no longer had any value for historians and archaeologists, and UNESCO was also increasingly worried about Libya, she said.

ISIS' self-declared caliphate contains some of the richest archaeological treasures on earth in a region where ancient Assyrian empires built their capitals, Graeco-Roman civiliszation flourished, and Muslim and Christian sects co-existed for centuries.

The militants, whose strict Salafi interpretation of Islam deems the veneration of tombs and non-Islamic vestiges to be i…

ISIS teens execute 25 soldiers in Syria’s Palmyra

An ISIS fighter reads out a death sentence in front of 25 Syrian soldiers in the site of the amphitheater in Palmyra, Syria (Video grab)
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Saturday released a grisly video showing 25 Syrian government soldiers being executed by teenagers in the ancient amphitheater in the city of Palmyra. The video documented an execution that reportedly happened shortly after the group captured the city on May 21. A crowd look on as the death sentence is read to the 25 Syrian soldiers in the ancient Palmyra amphitheater (Video grab) The 10-minute clip, which begins with a recitation of the Quran, then cuts to shots of the conflict, and then chained-together soldiers being led out of a cell onto a courtyard. The captives are then transported by a convoy of pickup trucks to the site of the Palmyra ruins, where they are made to kneel in a line in the amphitheater. A man waves an ISIS flag as the crowd look on (Video grab) As the death sentence is read out, a crowd of…

Aleppo, Syria: 2nd-3rd July 2015 attacks -

This was posted by Anonymous source

ALEPPO, SYRIA: We didn't sleep all the night. The attacks of yesterday 2nd July started around afternoon and continued up till today 8:30 am 3rd July. They said that 3-4 civilians died, but 87 civilians injured. The ambulance voices didn't stop all night long. You had to hear the people over here in Aleppo. Aren't they Syrians? After all these years and after all these attacks on them and after they lost their income sources and family members, they are asking the Syrian army to terminate the terrorist attackers and their nests, which have become like cancer in Syria's body. They don't care if that termination happens by chemical weapons, bombs, or whatever.

Yet, around the world and in the mainstream media, they dare to demonize the Syrian Army with the so-called "barrel bombs" and refer to dead terrorists as peaceful moderate Syrian opposition who had been killed by dictator!

I don't swear, and I'm fasting this m…

What it really takes for a US-Iran deal

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (L-3rd L) meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd R) at a hotel in Vienna, Austria June 28, 2015 (Reuters / Carlos Barria)

Forget the mad spinning. Here it is, in a nutshell, what it really takes for Iran and the P5+1 to clinch a game-changing nuclear deal before the new July 7 deadline.

Iran and the P5+1 agreed in Lausanne on a “comprehensive plan of action,” taking into account delicate constitutional considerations in both the US and Iran. A crucial part of the plan is the mechanism to get rid of sanctions. Lausanne – and now Vienna – is not a treaty; it’s an action plan. There will be a declaration when a deal is reached. But there won’t be a signing ceremony.

The next important step is what happens at the UN Security Council (UNSC). All the concerned parties at the UNSC will endorse a declaration, and a resolution - which is stil…

The Yinon Plan and the role of the ISIS

LIVE messages and pictures of Sunni ISIS fighters dressed in Islamic attire circulated through social media network such as You Tube ostensibly authenticate the hostile agenda of the ISIS fighters to dismember Iraq by carving out a Sunni Islamic Caliphate stretching from Syria to the western Sunni heartlands in Anbar Province in Iraq. The usage of the state seal of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on the ISIS flag as well for its Coat of Arms seemingly validates that ISIS are Sunni fighters.

The rapid march of the ISIS towards Baghdad and its swift takeover of Mosul and Tikrit, and Baiji oil refinery, Fallujah and Ramadi in the Anbar Province, and seizure of border crossings into Syria and Jordan are presented by political analysts as a “civil war” fought along sectarian lines, Sunni Arabs versus Shiia Arabs. Added to this is the ethnically different Iraqi Kurds who have enjoyed semi-independence under the US patronage and are now on the verge of declaring complete independence from Baghdad.

Over 1,000 inmates, incl Al-Qaeda suspects, escape Yemeni prison

Reuters / Khaled Abdullah

Around 1,200 prisoners, including some Al-Qaeda suspects, managed to stage one of the biggest jailbreaks in years in Yemen’s south-eastern town of Taiz, after violence broke out and guards abandoned their posts, according to officials.

“Groups of Al-Qaeda supporters ... today attacked the central prison in the city of Taiz and more than 1,200 of the dangerous prisoners escaped,” the Saba state news agency quoted a security official as saying.

This marked one of the biggest prison escapes in the country in the last few years, signaling a lack of security, as various forces fight to gain control of the country.

Another official confirmed to Reuters that some of those who escaped were “suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda,” adding that they were able to make their getaway as militias clashed in the city.

“Heavy fighting took place near the central prison and the popular committees approached and seized control of the area, but Saleh’s forces opened the prison doors,” t…

Austerity not enough to save Greece - leaked IMF documents

Reuters / Marko Djurica

Even if Greece accepted all of the austerity measures demanded by its main creditors, the Troika, it still would not be able to make ends meet by 2030, according to IMF estimates revealed in a set of documents obtained by a German newspaper.

The most optimistic scenario shows that Greece would face an unsustainable debt in 2030 even if it agreed to the package of tax increases and spending cuts proposed by the European commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF in exchange for a five-month €15.5bn loan from its creditors.

These prospects were outlined in six documents that were part of the “final” proposal offered to Greece by the three main creditors on Friday. The papers were obtained by the German newspaperSüddeutsche Zeitung and seen by The Guardian.

The estimates provide support for Greece’s decision not to accept the bailout deal. They prove that for Greece to survive economically, it needs real debt relief measures, not austerity reforms.

According to …