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Showing posts from February 22, 2016

Pentagon Mercenaries: Blackwater, Al-Qaeda… what’s in a name?

By Finian Cunningham

CIA-linked private “security” companies are fighting in Yemen for the US-backed Saudi military campaign. Al-Qaeda-affiliated mercenaries are also being deployed. Melding private firms with terror outfits should not surprise. It’s all part of illegal war making.

Western news media scarcely report on the conflict in Yemen, let alone the heavy deployment of Western mercenaries in the fighting there. In the occasional Western report on Al-Qaeda and related terror groups in Yemen, it is usually in the context of intermittent drone strikes carried out by the US, or with the narrative that these militants are “taking advantage” of the chaos “to expand” their presence in the Arabian Peninsula, as reported here by the Washington Post.

This bifurcated Western media view of Yemen belies a more accurate and meaningful perspective, which is that the US-backed Saudi bombing campaign is actually coordinated with an on-the-ground military force that comprises regular troops, private…

Bashar al-Assad: “80 Countries Support The Terrorists In Syria”

EL PAÍS interviews the Syrian leader at a crucial juncture in the conflict in the country

By David Alandete

Next month marks five years since the uprisings that plunged Syria into one of the bloodiest wars that can be remembered in the history of the Middle East. At least 260,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the United Nations. Five million have sought refuge abroad. Europe has taken in a million of them, in what is one of the worst humanitarian crises of the last century. Three thousand people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean in the past year.

Bashar al-Assad, who became president of the country following the death of his father in 2000, soon lost control of a good part of the country in the conflict, as large cities such as Homs and Aleppo fell into the hands of the rebel militias. He has recently managed to recover these opposition strongholds and his army has launched an offensive to cut off the rebels’ access and supply routes from Turkey, supported b…

Would Russia Use Nukes to Defend Khmeimim?

Week Nineteen of the Russian Intervention in Syria

By The Saker 
The past week saw no decrease in the tense confrontation between Turkey and Russia over Syria. While Russia’s position is simple – ‘we are ready to fight’ – the Turkish position is much more ambiguous: Turkish politicians are saying one thing, then the opposite and then something else again. At times they make it sound like an invasion is imminent, and at times they say that “Turkey plans no unilateral invasion”. Since a UN authorized invasion of Syria will never happen, this means some kind of “coalition of the willing”, possibly NATO. The problem here is that the Europeans have no desire to end up in a war against Russia. At the same time, the US and France refuse to allow a UN Resolution which would reaffirm the sovereignty of Syria. Yup, that’s right. The US and France apparently think that the UN Charter (which affirms the sovereignty of all countries) does not apply to Syria. Go figure…
There are persistent rumors tha…

Isis claims responsibility for Damascus and Homs bombs that left at least 130 dead as world leaders hail Syria ceasefire deal

Bombings claimed by Isis group in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Homs killed nearly 130 people on Sunday, highlighting the threat posed by the extremists as the country's warring factions fight for the northern city of Aleppo and world powers chase an elusive cease-fire.

The blasts came as Secretary of State John Kerry said that a “provisional agreement” has been reached on a cessation of hostilities that could begin in the next few days. But he acknowledged that it's not finalized and all parties might not automatically comply.

A series of blasts ripped through the Sayyida Zeinab suburb of Damascus, killing at least 83 people and wounding more than 170, the official SANA news agency said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on local Syrian activists, said the blasts killed 62. SANA said the bombs went off near schools during the afternoon rush hour.

The neighbourhood is home to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, which his heavily gua…

On the Road to Aleppo Where People Have Abandoned all in the Shadow of Isis

By Robert Fisk

You can drive these days from Damascus to Aleppo but the road is a long one, it does not follow the international highway and for almost a hundred miles you whirr along with Isis forces to the west of you and, alas, Isis forces scarcely three miles to the east of you.

The moral of the story is simple: you will learn a lot about Syria’s tragedy on the way, and about the dangers of rockets, bombs and IEDS, and you must drive fast – very fast – if you want to reach Syria’s largest and still warring city without meeting the sort of folk who’d put you on a video-tape wearing an orange jump suite with a knife at your throat.
The old road north as far as Homs is clear enough these days. Syrian air strikes keep the men from Isis away from the dual-carriageway. But once you’ve negotiated the Dresden-like ruins of central Homs – the acres of blitzed homes and apartment blocks and shops and Ottoman houses, still dripping with broken water mains and sewage – you must turn right o…