Revolutionising Awareness

How to save Awareness

Archive for the ‘War Quotient’ Category

UN says at least 3,500 killed in Syria crackdown

Posted by Admin on November 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/un-says-least-3-500-killed-syria-crackdown-101719585.html

By JOHN HEILPRIN – Associated Press | AP – 21 hrs ago

GENEVA (AP) — Syria‘s nearly eight-month-old uprising has cost at least 3,500 civilian lives, the United Nations reported Tuesday, in a tally based on figures gathered outside the country.

That includes dozens killed since last week’s Arab League-brokered peace plan, and the passing of a major Muslim holiday on Sunday, according to the U.N. human rights office.

Ravina Shamdasani — a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights — said “more than 60 people are reported to have been killed by Syrian security forces since Syria signed the peace plan” sponsored by the league.

She told reporters in Geneva the tally includes 19 killed on Sunday during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice.

The U.N. figures are conservative and based on “credible sources on the ground,” though the agency itself has no one posted in the country, Shamdasani said.

The government has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, but amateur videos posted online and details gathered by activist groups have been filtering out.

Damascus had agreed under the Arab League plan to pull tanks and armored vehicles out of cities, release political prisoners and allow journalists and rights groups into the country.

Despite the release of more than 500 detainees on the eve of Eid al-Adha, Shamdasani said “tens of thousands continue to remain in detention and dozens are reported to be arbitrarily arrested and detained.”

As a result, she said, the U.N. human rights office is “deeply concerned” that the violence continues unabated as the government continues to use tanks and armored vehicles to attack some areas.

Activists have reported that fresh attacks by Syrian troops on Tuesday morning killed two people in a rebellious neighborhood in the central Syrian city of Homs, as the military struggles to consolidate control over the district.

A key opposition group, the Syrian National Council, declared the city a “disaster area” on Monday and appealed for international intervention to protect civilians, as well as calling for Arab and international observers to oversee the situation on the ground. Homs has a population of some 800,000 and is some 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the capital, Damascus.

Despite increasing international pressure, President Bashar Assad still has a firm grip on power and has shown no signs of moving to stop the crackdown on the uprising against his regime since mid-March.

He blames the bloodshed on “armed gangs” and extremists acting out a foreign agenda to destabilize the regime, portraying himself as the lone force who can ward off the radicalism and sectarianism that have bedeviled neighbors in Iraq and Lebanon.

___

Zeina Karam and Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Beirut and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thousands killed in Syria uprising

Posted by Admin on November 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/protests-in-syria-1311336246-slideshow/

The death toll in the Syrian uprising has soared to at least 3,500 people, the United Nations said, the result of a military crackdown that has bloodied city after city but failed to crush the 8-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad‘s regime.

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, waves to his supporters after he attended the prayer of Eid Al Adha, at the al-Nour Mosque in the

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, waves to his supporters after he attended the prayer of Eid Al Adha, at the al-Nour Mosque in the northern town of Raqqa, Syria, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. Syrians in the restive region of Homs performed special prayers for a major Muslim holiday to the sound of explosions and gunfire as government troops pushed forward their assault on the area, killing at least several people Sunday, residents and activists said. (AP Photo/SANA) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

In this citizen journalist's image made with a mobile phone and provided by Shaam News Network, Syrian protesters stage a demonstration against the Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime at Mreidekh v

In this citizen journalist’s image made with a mobile phone and provided by Shaam News Network, Syrian protesters stage a demonstration against the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime at Mreidekh village in Edlib province, northern Syria, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, according to the source. The crisis in Syria has burned since mid-March despite widespread condemnation and international sanctions aimed at chipping away at the ailing economy and isolating Assad and his tight circle of relatives and advisers. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network) EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS HANDOUT PHOTO

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, shakes hands with Syrian men, right, after the prayer of Eid al-Adha, at the al-Nour Mosque in the

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, shakes hands with Syrian men, right, after the prayer of Eid al-Adha, at the al-Nour Mosque in the northern town of Raqqa, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. Syrians in the restive region of Homs performed special prayers for a major Muslim holiday to the sound of explosions and gunfire as government troops pushed forward their assault on the area, killing at least several people Sunday, residents and activists said. (AP Photo/SANA) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

A Syrian boy plays with his toy gun, in the old city of Damascus, Syria, Saturday Nov. 5, 2011. The head of the Arab League warned Saturday that the failure of an Arab-brokered plan to end the violenc

A Syrian boy plays with his toy gun, in the old city of Damascus, Syria, Saturday Nov. 5, 2011. The head of the Arab League warned Saturday that the failure of an Arab-brokered plan to end the violence in Syria would have disastrous consequences, as new bloodshed fueled skepticism that the country’s autocratic regime is serious about halting its crackdown on dissenters. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)

A protester joins demonstrations against the Syrian regime in London

A protester with his face painted in the Syrian flag colours protests against the regime of Syrian President, outside the Syrian embassy in London in October. Foreign Minister William Hague has called for “ever-increasing” international pressure, rather than military intervention, to end the violent repression in Syria

Children of Syrian ascent shout slogans as they wave the revolutionary Syrian flag and a Bulgarian flag during a rally against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian emb

Children of Syrian ascent shout slogans as they wave the revolutionary Syrian flag and a Bulgarian flag during a rally against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Sofia, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The United Nations says 3,000 people have been killed in Syria in the seven months of protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

An unidentified protestor seen behind a Bulgarian flag has his face painted with Bulgarian and the Syrian revolutionary flag as he attends protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assa

An unidentified protestor seen behind a Bulgarian flag has his face painted with Bulgarian and the Syrian revolutionary flag as he attends protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Sofia, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The United Nations says 3,000 people have been killed in Syria in the seven months of protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

Sara, 12,  shouts slogans during a rally against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Sofia, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011.  The United Nations says 3,000 people

Sara, 12, shouts slogans during a rally against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Sofia, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The United Nations says 3,000 people have been killed in Syria in the seven months of protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova))

Fathi, 23, a Syrian refugee has his face painted with Kurdish and the  Syrian revolutionary flag as he attends a protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian e

Fathi, 23, a Syrian refugee has his face painted with Kurdish and the Syrian revolutionary flag as he attends a protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Sofia, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The United Nations says 3,000 people have been killed in Syria in the seven months of protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova))

A protester faces riot police at Khalidia

A protester faces riot police at Khalidia, near Homs November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Soldiers are seen at an army checkpoint in Hula

Soldiers are seen at an army checkpoint in Hula, near Homs November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Soldiers are seen at an army checkpoint in Hula

Soldiers are seen at an army checkpoint in Hula, near Homs November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula

Demonstrators protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula, near Homs in this undated handout released November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula

Demonstrators protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula, near Homs in this undated handout released November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Soldiers are seen at an army checkpoint in Hula

Soldiers are seen at an army checkpoint in Hula, near Homs November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula

Demonstrators protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula, near Homs in this undated handout released November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula

Demonstrators protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula, near Homs in this undated handout released November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula

Demonstrators protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad gather in Hula, near Homs in this undated handout released November 4, 2011. Syrian troops’ response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of the president’s agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said. REUTERS/Handout (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

The UN says the crackdown has claimed 3,000 lives

Syrian anti-regime youths throw stones at security forces in the Damascus suburb of Qadam during protests against President Bashar al-Assad. Arab foreign ministers meet anew to step up pressure on Syria to end nearly eight months of deadly violence, as 14 more civilians were reportedly killed in the country. (AFP Photo/)

Indonesian activists hold posters during a rally against the government's crackdown on protests in Syria, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Indonesian activists hold posters during a rally against the government’s crackdown on protests in Syria, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara

An Indonesian activist holds a poster during a protest against the government's crackdown on protests in Syria, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

An Indonesian activist holds a poster during a protest against the government’s crackdown on protests in Syria, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Indonesian activists hold posters during a rally against the government's crackdown on protests in Syria, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Indonesian activists hold posters during a rally against the government’s crackdown on protests in Syria, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Crackdown on anti-regime protests in Syria since mid-March has left more than 3,000 dead, according to the UN

This photo, released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), shows Syrian security forces carrying the coffins of comrades, whom the agency said were killed in recent violence in the country, during a group funeral held outside the Tishrin military hospital in Damascus on October 24. (AFP Photo/)

US Senator John McCain addresses the second day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting by the Dead Sea

US Senator John McCain addresses the second day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting by the Dead Sea, 55 kms southeast of Amman. McCain raised the prospect Sunday of possible armed intervention to protect civilians in Syria where a crackdown on pro-democracy protests has killed more than 3,000 people. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Lebanese security forces separate pro-Assad demonstrators in Beirut today from opponents of the Syrian regime

Syria’s under-fire president Sunday appointed two new governors in flashpoint provinces that have seen staunch protests against his regime, as security forces reportedly killed three more civilians. (AFP Photo/Anwar Amro)

Nabil el-Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League

Nabil el-Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League, pictured in July 2011. Arab foreign ministers on Sunday opened an emergency meeting in Cairo on the crisis in Syria where the UN says more than 3,000 people have been killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests. (AFP Photo/Mohamed Hossam)

William Hague and Lawrence Gonzi hold talks at his office at Auberge de Castille in Valletta

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (2nd L) and Malta’s Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (4th R) hold talks at his office at Auberge de Castille in Valletta October 16, 2011. Hague arrived in Malta on Sunday evening to thank the Maltese government and people for their help during the Libya crisis and to discuss eurozone problems, according to local media. He also strongly condemned the regime in Syria, saying it was responsible for an appalling number of deaths and the way it handled protests was unacceptable. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi (MALTA – Tags: POLITICS) MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA

William Hague takes part in a joint news conference with Tonio Borg at the Foreign Ministry in Valletta

British Foreign Secretary William Hague takes part in a joint news conference with Maltese Foreign Minister Tonio Borg (not pictured) at the Foreign Ministry in Valletta October 16, 2011. Hague arrived in Malta on Sunday evening to thank the Maltese government and people for their help during the Libya crisis and to discuss eurozone problems, according to local media. He also strongly condemned the regime in Syria, saying it was responsible for an appalling number of deaths and the way it handled protests was unacceptable. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi (MALTA – Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Secrets of WWI battlefield uncovered

Posted by Admin on November 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/secrets-of-wwi-battlefield-uncovered-1320800579-slideshow/file-2010-file-photo-shows-boundary-marker-defines-photo-072400026.html

An ongoing archaeological survey of a World War I site in Turkey has so far uncovered a maze of trenches, as well as about 200 artifacts that offer clues to life on a Gallipoli battlefield where troops faced off for eight months. The survey is one of the most extensive to date of an historic battlefield.

A Turkish army commander salutes with soldiers at the Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Monday, April 25, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs

A Turkish army commander salutes with soldiers at the Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Monday, April 25, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. On the 96th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thousands of people from Australia, New Zealand, England and Turkey will gather to remember the World War I campaign that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.( AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Historical Turkish army musical band of Mehter perform at the Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Monday, April 25, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where

Historical Turkish army musical band of Mehter perform at the Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Monday, April 25, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. On the 96th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thousands of people from Australia, New Zealand, England and Turkey will gather to remember the World War I campaign that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. A poster of the Regiment’s legendary commander during Gallipoli Campaign and Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk is in the background.( AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Australian and New Zealander soldiers march during a commemoration ceremony at the Turkish Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Sunday, April 24, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign,

Australian and New Zealander soldiers march during a commemoration ceremony at the Turkish Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Sunday, April 24, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. On the 96th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thousands of people from Australia, New Zealand, England and Turkey will gather to remember the World War I campaign that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The annual Anzac Day ceremony remembers the forces of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps under British command who fought a bloody nine-month battle against Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915.( AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Turkish war veterans march during a commemoration ceremony at the Turkish Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Sunday, April 24, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs ga

Turkish war veterans march during a commemoration ceremony at the Turkish Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Sunday, April 24, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. On the 96th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thousands of people from Australia, New Zealand, England and Turkey will gather to remember the World War I campaign that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The annual Anzac Day ceremony remembers the forces of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps under British command who fought a bloody nine-month battle against Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915.( AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

FILE   In this April 25, 2008 file photo shows Australian and New Zealand soldiers standing guard during a dawn ceremony to mark the Anzac Day at Anzac Cove in the Gallipoli peninsula, northwestern Tu

Turkish war veterans march during a commemoration ceremony at the Turkish Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey, Sunday, April 24, 2011. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. On the 96th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thousands of people from Australia, New Zealand, England and Turkey will gather to remember the World War I campaign that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The annual Anzac Day ceremony remembers the forces of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps under British command who fought a bloody nine-month battle against Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915.( AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

FILE  This 2010 file photo shows a boundary marker which defines the area of the ANZAC Battlefield according to the Treaty of Lausanne, in Gallipoli, western Turkey. The World War I battlefield of the

FILE This 2010 file photo shows a boundary marker which defines the area of the ANZAC Battlefield according to the Treaty of Lausanne, in Gallipoli, western Turkey. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. Now researchers are mapping dugouts, trenches and tunnels in the most extensive archaeological survey of a site whose slaughter helped forge the identity of young nations..( AP Photo/ Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, File)

FILE  This 2010 file photo shows a typical trench in the Johnston's Jolly area In Gallipoli, western Turkey.The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to re

FILE This 2010 file photo shows a typical trench in the Johnston’s Jolly area In Gallipoli, western Turkey.The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. Now researchers are mapping dugouts, trenches and tunnels in the most extensive archaeological survey of a site whose slaughter helped forge the identity of young nations.( AP Photo/ Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, File)

FILE  This 2010 file photo shows a subsided tunnel in the Johnston's Jolly area in Gallipoli, western Turkey. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to

FILE This 2010 file photo shows a subsided tunnel in the Johnston’s Jolly area in Gallipoli, western Turkey. The World War I battlefield of the Gallipoli campaign, where throngs gather each April to remember the fallen, is a place of lore, an echo of ancient warfare on the same soil. Now researchers are mapping dugouts, trenches and tunnels in the most extensive archaeological survey of a site whose slaughter helped forge the identity of young nations. ( AP Photo/ Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, File)

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Russia warns against any military strike on Iran

Posted by Admin on November 7, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/russia-warns-against-military-strike-iran-102133490.html

By Thomas Grove | Reuters – 6 hours ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia‘s foreign minister warned on Monday that any military strike against Iran would be a grave mistake with unpredictable consequences.

Russia, the closest thing Iran has to a big power ally, is deeply opposed to any military action against the Islamic Republic, though Moscow has supported United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected this week to issue its most detailed report yet on research in Iran seen as geared to developing atomic bombs. But the Security Council is not expected impose stiffer sanctions as a result.

Israeli media have been rife with speculation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to secure cabinet consensus for an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.

“This would be a very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said when asked about reports that Israel planned a military strike against Iran.

Lavrov said there could be no military resolution to the Iranian nuclear problem and said the conflicts in Iran’s neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, had led to human suffering and high numbers of casualties.

A raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be likely to provoke Tehran into hugely disruptive retaliatory measures in the Gulf that would sever shipping routes and disrupt the flow of oil and gas to export markets, political analysts believe.

Iran is already under four rounds of United Nations sanctions due to concerns about its nuclear programme, which it says is entirely peaceful.

Washington is pushing for tighter measures after discovering what it says was an Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Russia has tried to push Tehran to disclose more details about its nuclear work to ease international concerns.

Senior Russian security officials accept that the West has legitimate concerns about the nuclear programme though Moscow says there is no clear evidence that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb.

Any military strike against Iran would be likely to sour ties between the West and Russia, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, is almost certain to win a presidential election in March.

“There is no military solution to the Iranian nuclear problem as there is no military solution to any other problem in the modern world,” said Lavrov, who has served as foreign minister since 2004.

“This is confirmed to us every day when we see how the problems of the conflicts around Iran are being resolved — whether Iraq or Afghanistan or what is happening in other countries in the region. Military intervention only leads to many times more deaths and human suffering.”

Lavrov added that talks between Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Iran should be resumed as soon as possible.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

America's Endless Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27291

by Jack A. Smith

Global Research, October 25, 2011

The 10th anniversary of Washington’s invasion, occupation and seemingly endless war in Afghanistan was observed Oct. 7, but despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to terminate the U.S. “combat mission” by the end of 2014, American military involvement will continue many years longer.

The Afghan war is expanding even further, not only with increasing drone attacks in neighboring Pakistani territory but because of U.S. threats to take far greater unilateral military action within Pakistan unless the Islamabad government roots out “extremists” and cracks down harder on cross-border fighters.

Washington’s tone was so threatening that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to assure the Pakistani press Oct. 21 that the U.S. did not plan a ground offensive against Pakistan. The next day, Afghan President Hamid Karzai shocked Washington by declaring “God forbid, If ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan…. If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan needs Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you.”

At the same time, Washington has just suffered a spectacular setback in Iraq, where the Obama Administration has been applying extraordinary pressure on the Baghdad government for over a year to permit many thousands of U.S. troops to remain indefinitely after all American forces are supposed to withdraw at the end of this year.

President Obama received the Iraqi government’s rejection from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki Oct. 21, and promptly issued a public statement intended to completely conceal the fact that a long-sought U.S. goal has just been obliterated, causing considerable disruption to U.S. plans. Obama made a virtue of necessity by stressing that “Today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.”

This article will first discuss the situation in Afghanistan after 10 years, then take up the Iraq question and what the U.S. may do to compensate for a humiliating and disruptive rebuff.

The United States is well aware it will never win a decisive victory in Afghanistan. At this point, the Obama Administration is anxious to convert the military stalemate into a form of permanent truce, if only the Taliban were willing to accept what amounts to a power sharing deal that would allow Washington to claim the semblance of success after a decade of war.

In addition President Obama seeks to retain a large post-“withdrawal” military presence throughout the country mainly for these reasons:

• To protect its client regime in Kabul led by Karzai, as well as Washington’s other political an commercial interests in the country, and to maintain a menacing military presence on Iran’s eastern border, especially if U.S. troops cannot now remain in Iraq.

• To retain territory in Central Asia for U.S. and NATO military forces positioned close to what Washington perceives to be its two main (though never publicly identified) enemies — China and Russia — at a time when the American government is increasing its political pressure on both countries. Obama is intent upon transforming NATO from a regional into a global adjunct to Washington’s quest for retaining and extending world hegemony. NATO’s recent victory in Libya is a big advance for U.S. ambitions in Africa, even if the bulk of commercial spoils go to France and England. A permanent NATO presence in Central Asia is a logical next step. In essence, Washington’s geopolitical focus is expanding from the Middle East to Central Asia and Africa in the quest for resources, military expansion and unassailable hegemony, especially from the political and economic challenge of rising nations of the global south, led China.

There has been an element of public deception about withdrawing U.S. “combat troops” from Iraq and Afghanistan dating from the first Obama election campaign in 2007-8. Combat troops belong to combat brigades. In a variant of bait-and-switch trickery, the White House reported that all combat brigades departed Iraq in August 2010. Technically this is true, because those that did not depart were simply renamed “advise and assist brigades.” According to a 2009 Army field manual such brigades are entirely capable, “if necessary,” of shifting from “security force assistance” back to combat duties.

In Afghanistan, after the theoretical pullout date, it is probable that many “advise and assist brigades” will remain along with a large complement of elite Joint Special Operations Forces strike teams (SEALs, Green Berets, etc.) and other officially “non-combat” units — from the CIA, drone operators, fighter pilots, government security employees plus “contractor security” personnel, including mercenaries. Thousands of other “non-combat” American soldiers will remain to train the Afghan army.

According to an Oct. 8 Associated Press dispatch, “Senior U.S. officials have spoken of keeping a mix of 10,000 such [special operations-type] forces in Afghanistan, and drawing down to between 20,000 and 30,000 conventional forces to provide logistics and support. But at this point, the figures are as fuzzy as the future strategy.” Estimates of how long the Pentagon will remain in Afghanistan range from 2017 to 2024 to “indefinitely.”

Obama marked the 10th anniversary with a public statement alleging that “Thanks to the extraordinary service of these [military] Americans, our citizens are safer and our nation is more secure”— the most recent of the continuous praise of war-fighters and the conduct of these wars of choice from the White House since the 2001 bombing, invasion and occupation.

Just two days earlier a surprising Pew Social Trend poll of post-9/11 veterans was made public casting doubt about such a characterization. Half the vets said the Afghanistan war wasn’t worth fighting in terms of benefits and costs to the U.S. Only 44% thought the Iraq war was worth fighting. One-third opined that both wars were not worth waging. Opposition to the wars has been higher among the U.S. civilian population. But it’s unusual in a non-conscript army for its veterans to emerge with such views about the wars they volunteered to fight.

The U.S. and its NATO allies issued an unusually optimistic assessment of the Afghan war on Oct. 15, but it immediately drew widespread skepticism. According to the New York Times the next day, “Despite a sharp increase in assassinations and a continuing flood of civilian casualties, NATO officials said that they had reversed the momentum of the Taliban insurgency as enemy attacks were falling for the first time in years…. [This verdict] runs counter to dimmer appraisals from some Afghan officials and other international agencies, including the United Nations. With the United States preparing to withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of this year and 23,000 more by next October, it raises questions about whether NATO’s claims of success can be sustained.”

Less than two weeks earlier German Gen. Harald Kujat, who planned his country’s military support mission in Afghanistan, declared that “the mission fulfilled the political aim of showing solidarity with the United States. But if you measure progress against the goal of stabilizing a country and a region, then the mission has failed.”

According to Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is a critically important “long term commitment” and “we’re going to be there longer than 2014.” He made the disclosure to the Senate Armed Services Committee Sept. 22, a week before he retired. In a statement Oct. 3, the Pentagon’s new NATO commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, declared: “The plan is to win. The plan is to be successful. And so, while some folks might hear that we’re departing in 2014… we’re actually going to be here for a long time.”

Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, departing head of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, told the AP Oct. 8: “We’re moving toward an increased special operations role…,whether it’s counterterrorism-centric, or counterterrorism blended with counterinsurgency.” White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said in mid-September that by 2014 “the U.S. remaining force will be basically an enduring presence force focused on counterterrorism.” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta strongly supports President Obama’s call for an “enduring presence” in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Former U.S. Afghan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was fired last year for his unflattering remarks about Obama Administration officials, said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations Oct. 6 that after a decade of fighting in Afghanistan the U.S. was only “50% of the way” toward attaining its goals. “We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough,” he said. “Most of us — me included — had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history, the last 50 years.”

Washington evidently had no idea that one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world — a society of 30 million people where the literacy rate is 28% and life expectancy is just 44 years — would fiercely fight to retain national sovereignty. The Bush Administration, which launched the Afghan war a few weeks after 9/11, evidently ignored the fact that the people of Afghanistan ousted every occupying army from that of Alexander the Great and Genghis Kahn to the British Empire and the USSR.

The U.S. spends on average in excess of $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, not to mention the combined spending of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, but the critical needs of the Afghan people in terms of health, education, welfare and social services after a full decade of military involvement by the world’s richest countries remain essentially untended.

For example, 220,000 Afghan children under five — one in five — die every year due to pneumonia, poor nutrition, diarrhea and other preventable diseases, according to the State of the World’s Children report released by the UN Children’s Fund. UNICEF also reports the maternal mortality rate with about 1,600 deaths per every 100,000 live births. Save the Children says this amounts to over 18,000 women a year. It is also reported by the UN that 70% of school-age girls do not attend school for various reasons — conservative parents, lack of security, or fear for their lives. All told, about 92% of the Afghan population does not have access to proper sanitation.

Even after a decade of U.S. combat, the overwhelming majority of the Afghan people still have no clear idea why Washington launched the war. According to the UK’s Daily Mail Sept. 9, a new survey by the International Council on Security and Development showed that 92% of 1,000 Afghan men polled had never even heard of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — the U.S. pretext for the invasion — and did not know why foreign troops were in the country. (Only men were queried in the poll because many more of them are literate, 43.1% compared to 12.6% of women.)

In another survey, conducted by Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation and released Oct. 18, 56% of Afghans view U.S./NATO troops as an occupying force, not allies as Washington prefers. The survey results show that “there appears to be an increasing amount of anxiety and fear rather than hope.”

Perhaps the most positive news about Afghanistan — and it is a thunderously mixed “blessing” — is that the agricultural economy boomed last year. But, reports the Oct. 11 Business Insider, it’s because “rising opium prices have upped the ante in Afghanistan, and farmers have responded by posting a 61% increase in opium production.” Afghani farmers produce 90% of the world’s opium, the main ingredient in heroin. Half-hearted U.S.-NATO eradication efforts failed because insufficient attention was devoted to providing economic and agricultural substitutes for the cultivation of opium.

Another outcome of foreign intervention and U.S. training is the boundless brutality and corruption of the Afghan police toward civilians and especially Taliban “suspects.” Writing in Antiwar.com John Glaser reported:

“Detainees in Afghan prisons are hung from the ceilings by their wrists, severely beaten with cables and wooden sticks, have their toenails torn off, are treated with electric shock, and even have their genitals twisted until they lose consciousness, according to a study released Oct. 10 by the United Nations. The study, which covered 47 facilities sites in 22 provinces, found ‘a compelling pattern and practice of systematic torture and ill-treatment’ during interrogation by U.S.-supported Afghan authorities. Both U.S. and NATO military trainers and counterparts have been working closely with these authorities, consistently supervising the detention facilities and funding their operations.”

In mid-September Human Rights Watch documented that U.S.-supported anti-Taliban militias are responsible for many human rights abuses that are overlooked by their American overseers. At around the same time the American Open Society Foundations revealed that the Obama Administration has tripled the number of nighttime military raids on civilian homes, which terrorize many families. The report noted that “An estimated 12 to 20 raids now occur per night, resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” The U.S. military admits that half the arrests are “mistakes.”

Meanwhile, it was reported in October that in the first nine months this year U.S.-NATO drones conducted nearly 23,000 surveillance missions in the Afghanistan sky. With nearly 85 flights a day, the Obama Administration has almost doubled the daily amount in the last two years. Hundreds of civilians, including nearly 170 children, have been killed in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas from drone attacks. Miniature killer/surveillance drones — small enough to be carried in backpacks— are soon expected to be distributed to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

So far the Afghanistan war has taken the lives of some 1,730 American troops and about a thousand from NATO. There are no reliable figures on the number Afghan civilians killed since the beginning of the war. The UN’s Assistance Mission to Afghanistan did not start to count such casualties until 2007. According to the Voice of America Oct. 7, “Each year, the civilian death toll has risen, from more than 1,500 dead in 2007 to more than 2,700 in 2010. And in the first half of this year, the UN office reported there were 2,400 civilians killed in war-related incidents.”

At minimum the war has cost American taxpayers about a half-trillion dollars since 2001. The U.S. will continue to spend billions in the country for many years to come and the final cost — including interest on war debts that will be carried for scores more years — will mount to multi-trillions that future generations will have to pay. At present there are 94,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan plus about 37,000 NATO troops. Another 45,000 well paid “contractors” perform military duties, and many are outright mercenaries.

Washington is presently organizing, arming, training and financing hundreds of thousands of Afghan troops and police forces, and is expected to continue paying some $5 billion a year for this purpose at least until 2025.

The U.S. government has articulated various different objectives for its engagement in Afghanistan over the years. Crushing al-Qaeda and defeating the Taliban have been most often mentioned, but as an Oct. 7 article from the Council on Foreign Relations points out: “The main U.S. goals in Afghanistan remain uncertain. They have meandered from marginalizing the Taliban to state-building, to counterinsurgency, to counterterrorism, to — most recently — reconciliation and negotiation with the Taliban. But the peace talks remain nascent and riddled with setbacks. Karzai suspended the talks after the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the government’s chief negotiator, which the Afghan officials blamed on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network. The group denies it.”

There is another incentive for the U.S. to continue fighting in Afghanistan — to eventually convey the impression of victory, an absolute domestic political necessity.

The most compelling reason for the Afghan war is geopolitical, as noted above — finally obtaining a secure military foothold for the U.S. and its NATO accessory in the Central Asian backyards of China and Russia . In addition, a presence in Afghanistan places the U.S. in close military proximity to two volatile nuclear powers backed by the U.S. but not completely under its control by any means (Pakistan, India). Also, this fortuitous geography is flanking the extraordinary oil and natural gas wealth of the Caspian Basin and energy-endowed former Soviet Muslim republics such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

In Iraq, the Obama Administration’s justification for retaining troops after the end of this year was ostensibly to train the Iraqi military and police forces, but there were other reasons:

• Washington seeks to remain in Iraq to keep an eye on Baghdad because it fears a mutually beneficial alliance may develop between Iraq and neighboring Iran, two Shi’ite societies in an occasionally hostile Sunni Muslim world, weakening American hegemony in the strategically important oil-rich Persian Gulf region and ultimately throughout the Middle East/North Africa.

• The U.S. also seeks to safeguard lucrative economic investments in Iraq, and the huge future profits expected by American corporations, especially in the denationalized petroleum sector. Further, Pentagon and CIA forces were stationed — until now, it seems — in close proximity to Iran’s western border, a strategic position to invade or bring about regime change.

Under other conditions, the U.S. may simply have insisted on retaining its troops regardless of Iraqi misgivings, but the Status of Forces compact governing this matter can only be changed legally by mutual agreement between Washington and Baghdad. The concord was arranged in December 2008 between Prime Minister Maliki and President George W. Bush — not Obama, who now takes credit for ending the Iraq war despite attempting to extend the mission of a large number of U.S. troops.

At first Washington wanted to retain more than 30,000 troops plus a huge diplomatic and contractor presence in Iraq after “complete” withdrawal. Maliki — pushed by many of the country’s political factions, including some influenced by Iran’s opposition to long-term U.S. occupation — held out for a much smaller number.

Early in October Baghdad decided that 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. troops in a training-only capacity was the most that could be accommodated. In addition, the Iraqis in effect declared a degree of independence from Washington by insisting that remaining American soldiers must be kept on military bases and not be granted legal immunity when in the larger society. Washington, which has troops stationed in countries throughout the world, routinely insists upon legal exemption for its foreign legions as a matter of imperial hubris, and would not compromise.

The White House has indicated that an arrangement may yet be worked out to permit some American trainers and experts to remain, perhaps as civilians or contractors. Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a staunch opponent of the U.S. occupation, has suggested Iraq should employ trainers for its armed forces from other countries, but this is impractical for a country using American arms and planes.

Regardless, the White House is increasing the number of State Department employees in Iraq from 8,000 to an almost unbelievable 16,000, mostly stationed at the elephantine new embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone quasi-military enclave, in new American consulates in other cities, and in top “advisory” positions in many of the of the regime’s ministries, particularly the oil ministry. Half the State Department personnel, 8,000 people, will handle “security” duties, joined by some 5,000 new private “security contractors.”

Thus, at minimum the U.S. will possess 13,000 of its own armed “security” forces, and there’s still a possibility Baghdad and Washington will work out an arrangement for adding a limited number of “non-combat” military trainers, openly or by other means.

In his Oct. 21 remarks, Obama sought to transform the total withdrawal he sought to avoid into a simulacrum of triumph for the troops and himself: “The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops…. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”

Heads held high, proud of success — for an unjust, illegal war based on lies that is said to have cost over a million Iraqi lives and created four million refugees! It has been estimated that the final U.S.. costs of the Iraq war will be over $5 trillion when the debt and interest are finally paid off decades from now.

If President Obama is reelected— even should the Iraq war actually end — he will be coordinating U.S. involvement in wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and now Uganda (where American 100 combat troops have just been inserted). Add to this various expanding drone campaigns, and such adventures as Washington’s support for Israel against the Palestinians and for the Egyptian military regime against popular aspirations for full democracy, followed by the backing of dictatorial regimes in a half-dozen countries, and continual threats against Iran.

Washington’s $1.4 trillion annual military and national security expenditures are a major factor behind America’s monumental national debt and the cutbacks in social services for the people, but aside from White House rhetoric about reducing redundant Pentagon expenditures, overall war/security budgets are expected to increase over the next several years.

The Bush and Obama Administrations have manipulated realty to convince American public opinion that the Iraq and Afghan wars are ending in U.S. successes. Washington fears the resurrection of the “Vietnam Syndrome” that resulted after the April 1975 U.S. defeat in Indochina. The “syndrome” led to a 15-year disinclination by the American people to support aggressive, large-scale U.S. wars against small, poor countries in the developing third world until the January 1991 Gulf War, part one of the two-part Iraq war that continued in March 2003.

According to an article in the Oct. 9 New York Times titled “The Other War Haunting Obama,” author, journalist and Harvard emeritus professor Marvin Kalb wrote: ” Ten years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, an odd specter haunts the Obama White House — the specter of Vietnam, a war lost decades before. Like Banquo’s ghost, it hovers over the White House still, an unwelcome memory of where America went wrong, a warning of what may yet go wrong.”

This fear of losing another war to a much smaller adversary — and perhaps suffering the one-term fate of President Lyndon Johnson who presided over the Vietnam debacle — evidently was a factor behind President Obama’s decision to vastly expand the size of the U.S. military commitment to Afghanistan and why the White House is now planning a long-term troop presence beyond the original pullout date.

Today’s combat directly touches the lives of only a small minority Americans — militarily members and families — and much of the majority remains uninformed or misinformed about many of the causes and effects of the Iraq/Afghan adventures. Obama may thus eventually be able to convey the illusion of military success, which will help pave the way for future imperial violence unless the people of the United States wise up and act en masse to prevent future aggressive wars.

Jack A. Smith is the Editor of the Activist Newsletter

Jack A. Smith is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Jack A. Smith

Posted in Global Research, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Libya and the Big Lie: Using Human Rights Organizations to Launch Wars

Posted by Admin on September 30, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26848

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
 
Global Research, September 29, 2011
– 2011-09-24

The war against Libya is built on fraud. The United Nations Security Council passed two resolutions against Libya on the basis of unproven claims, specifically that Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was killing his own people in Benghazi and Libya. The claim in its exact form was that Qaddafi had ordered Libyan forces to kill 6,000 people in Benghazi as well as in other parts of the country. These claims were widely disseminated, but always vaguely explained. It was on the basis of this claim that Libya was referred to the U.N. Security Council at U.N Headquarters in New York City and kicked out of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

False claims about African mercenary armies in Libya and about jet attacks on civilians were also used in a broad media campaign against Libya. These two claims have been sidelined and have become more and more murky. The massacre claims, however, were used in a legal, diplomatic, and military framework to justify NATO’s war on Libya.

Using Human Rights as a Pretext for War: The LLHR and its Unproven Claims

One of the main sources for the claim that Qaddafi was killing his own people is the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR). The LLHR was actually pivotal to getting the U.N. involved through its specific claims in Geneva. On February 21, 2011 the LLHR got the 70 other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to sent letters to the President Obama, E.U. High Representative Catherine Ashton., and the U.N. Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon demanding international action against Libya invoking the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine. Only 25 members of this coalition actually assert that they are human rights groups.

The letter is as follows:

We, the undersigned non-governmental, human rights, and humanitarian organizations, urge you to mobilize the United Nations and the international community and take immediate action to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people. The inexcusable silence cannot continue.

As you know, in the past several days, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s forces are estimated to have deliberately killed hundreds of peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders across the country. In the city of Benghazi alone, one doctor reported seeing at least 200 dead bodies. Witnesses report that a mixture of special commandos, foreign mercenaries and regime loyalists have attacked demonstrators with knives, assault rifles and heavy-caliber weapons.

Snipers are shooting peaceful protesters. Artillery and helicopter gunships have been used against crowds of demonstrators. Thugs armed with hammers and swords attacked families in their homes. Hospital officials report numerous victims shot in the head and chest, and one struck on the head by an anti-aircraft missile. Tanks are reported to be on the streets and crushing innocent bystanders. Witnesses report that mercenaries are shooting indiscriminately from helicopters and from the top of roofs. Women and children were seen jumping off Giuliana Bridge in Benghazi to escape. Many of them were killed by the impact of hitting the water, while others were drowned. The Libyan regime is seeking to hide all of these crimes by shutting off contact with the outside world. Foreign journalists have been refused entry. Internet and phone lines have been cut or disrupted.

There is no question here about intent. The government media has published open threats, promising that demonstrators would meet a “violent and thunderous response.”

Accordingly, the government of Libya is committing gross and systematic violations of the right to life as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Citizens seeking to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are being massacred by the government.

Moreover, the government of Libya is committing crimes against humanity, as defined by the Explanatory Memorandum to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Libyan government’s mass killing of innocent civilians amount to particularly odious offences which constitute a serious attack on human dignity. As confirmed by numerous oral and video testimonies gathered by human rights organizations and news agencies, the Libyan government’s assault on its civilian population are not isolated or sporadic events. Rather, these actions constitute a widespread and systematic policy and practice of atrocities, intentionally committed, including murder, political persecution and other inhumane acts which reach the threshold of crimes against humanity.

Responsibility to Protect

Under the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, you have a clear and unambiguous responsibility to protect the people of Libya. The international community, through the United Nations, has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help to protect the Libyan population. Because the Libyan national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their population from crimes against humanity, should peaceful means be inadequate, member states are obliged to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the UN Charter, including Chapter VII.

In addition, we urge you to convene an emergency Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council, whose members have a duty, under UNGA Resolution 60/251, to address situations of gross and systematic violations of violations of human rights. The session should:

-Call for the General Assembly to suspend Libya’s Council membership, pursuant to Article 8 of Resolution 60/251, which applies to member states that commit gross and systematic violations of human rights.

-Strongly condemn, and demand an immediate end to, Libya’s massacre of its own citizens.

-Dispatch immediately an international mission of independent experts to collect relevant facts and document violations of international human rights law and crimes against humanity, in order to end the impunity of the Libyan government. The mission should include an independent medical investigation into the deaths, and an investigation of the unlawful interference by the Libyan government with the access to and treatment of wounded.

-Call on the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and the Council’s relevant Special Procedures to closely monitor the situation and take action as needed.

-Call on the Council to remain seized of the matter and address the Libyan situation at its upcoming 16th regular session in March.

Member states and high officials of the United Nations have a responsibility to protect the people of Libya from what are preventable crimes. We urge you to use all available measures and levers to end atrocities throughout the country.

We urge you to send a clear message that, collectively, the international community, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council will not be bystanders to these mass atrocities. The credibility of the United Nations — and many innocent lives — are at stake. [1]

According to Physicians for Human Rights: “[This letter was] prepared under the guidance of Mohamed Eljahmi, the noted Libyan human rights defender and brother of dissident Fathi Eljahmi, asserts that the widespread atrocities committed by Libya against its own people amount to war crimes, requiring member states to take action through the Security Council under the responsibility to protect doctrine.” [2]

The letters signatories included Francis Fukuyama, United Nations Watch (which looks out for Israel’s interests and according to Israeli sources organized the entire session against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), B’nai B’rith Human Rights Commission, the Cuban Democratic Directorate, and a set of organizations at odds with the governments of Nicaragua, Cuba, Sudan, Russia, Venezuela, and Libya. Some of these organizations are viewed with hostility as organizations created to wage demonization campaigns against countries at odds with the U.S., Israel, and the European Union. Refer to the annex for the full list of signatories for consultation.

LLHR is tied to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which is based in France and has ties to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). FIDH is active in many places in Africa and in activities involving the National Endowment for Democracy in the African continent. Both the FIDH and LLHR also released a joint communiqué on February 21, 2011. In the communiqué both organizations asked for the international community to “mobilize” and mention the International Criminal Court while also making a contradictory claiming that over 400 to 600 people had died since February 15, 2011. [3] This of course was about 5,500 short of the claim that 6,000 people were massacred in Benghazi. The joint letter also promoted the false view that 80% of Qaddafi’s support came from foreign mercenaries, which is something that over half a year of fighting proves as untrue.

According to the General-Secretary of the LLHR, Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir, the claims about the massacres in Benghazi could not be validated by the LLHR when he was challenged for proof. When asked how a group of 70 non-governmental organizations in Geneva could support the LLHR’s claims on Geneva, Dr. Buchuiguir has answered that a network of close relationship was the basis. This is a mockery.

Speculation is neither evidence nor grounds for starting a war with a bombing campaign that has lasted about half a year and taken many innocent civilian lives, including children and the elderly. What is important to note here is that the U.N. Security Council decided to sanction the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on the basis of this letter and the claims of the LLHR. Not once did the U.N. Security Council and the member states pushing for war once bother to even investigate the allegations. In one session in New York City, the Indian Ambassador to the U.N. actually pointed this out when his country abstained from voting. Thus, a so-called “humanitarian war” was launched without any evidence.


Global Research Editor’s Note: U.N. Watch which actively promoted the LLHR statement has informal ties to the U.S. State Department. It was established during the Clinton Administration in 1993 under the Chairmanship of Morris B. Abram, a former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. U.N. Watch is formally affiliated with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), a powerful pro-Israeli political lobby organization based in New York City.


The Secret Relationship between the LLHR and the Transitional Council

The claims of the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR) were coordinated with the formation of the Transitional Council. This becomes clear when the close and cagey relationship of the LLHR and the Transitional Council becomes apparent. Logically, the Obama Administration and NATO had to also be a part of this.

Whatever the Transitional Council is and whatever the intent of some of its supporters, it is clear that it is being used as a tool by the U.S. and others. Moreover, five members of the LLHR were or would become members of the Transitional Council almost immediately after the claims against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya were disseminated. According to Bouchuguir individuals with ties to the LLHR or who hold membership include Mahmoud Jibril and Ali Tarhouni.

Dr. Mahmoud Jibril is a Libyan regime figure brought into Libyan government circles by Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi. He would undemocratically be given the position of Transitional Council prime minister. His involvement with the LLHR raises some real questions about the organization.

The economist Ali Tarhouni on the other hand would become the minister for oil and finance for the Transitional Council. Tarhouni is Washington’s man in Libya. He was groomed in the United States and was present at all the major meetings about plans for regime change in Libya. As Minister of Oil and Finance the first acts he did were privatize and virtually handover Libya’s energy resources and economy to the foreign corporations and governments of the NATO-led coalition against Libya.

The General-Secretary of the LLHR, Sliman Bouchuiguir, has even privately admitted that many influential members of the Transitional Council are his friends. A real question of interests arises. Yet, the secret relationship between the LLHR and the Transitional Council is far more than a question of conflict of interest. It is a question of justice and manipulation.

Who is Sliman Bouchuiguir?

Sliman Bouchuguir is an unheard of figure for most, but he has authored a doctoral thesis that has been widely quoted and used in strategic circles in the United States. This thesis was published in 1979 as a book, The Use of Oil as a Political Weapon: A Case Study of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. The thesis is about the use of oil as an economic weapon by Arabs, but can easily be applied to the Russians, the Iranians, the Venezuelans, and others. It examines economic development and economic warfare and can also be applied to vast regions, including all of Africa.

Bouchuguir’s analytical thesis reflects an important line of thinking in Washington, as well as London and Tel Aviv. It is both the embodiment of a pre-existing mentality, which includes U.S. National Security Advisor George F. Kennan’s arguments for maintaining a position of disparity through a constant multi-faced war between the U.S. and its allies on one hand and the rest of the world on the other hand. The thesis can be drawn on for preventing the Arabs, or others, from becoming economic powers or threats. In strategic terms, rival economies are pinned as threats and as “weapons.” This has serious connotations.

Moreover, Bouchuiguir did his thesis at George Washington University under Bernard Reich. Reich is a political scientist and professor of international relations. He has worked and held positions at places like the U.S. Defense Intelligence College, the United States Air Force Special Operations School, the Marine Corps War College, and the Shiloah Center at Tel Aviv University. He has consulted on the Middle East for the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department and received grants such as the Defense Academic Research Support Program Research Grant and the German Marshal Fund Grant. Reich also was or is presently on the editorial boards of journals such as Israel Affairs (1994-present), Terrorism: An International Journal (1987-1994), and The New Middle East (1971-1973).

It is also clear that Reich is tied to Israeli interests. He has even written a book about the special relationship between the U.S and Israel. He has also been an advocate for a “New Middle East” which would be favourable to Israel. This includes careful consideration over North Africa. His work has also focused on the important strategic interface between the Soviet Union and the Middle East and also on Israeli policy in the continent of Africa.

It is clear why Bouchuiguir had his thesis supervised under Reich. On October 23, 1973, Reich gave a testimony at the U.S. Congress. The testimony has been named “The Impact of the October Middle East War” and is clearly tied to the 1973 oil embargo and Washington’s aim of pre-empting or managing any similar events in the future. It has to be asked, how much did Reich influence Bouchuiguir and if Bouchuiguir espouses the same strategic views as Reich?

The “New North Africa” and a “New Africa” – More than just a “New Middle East”

A “New Africa” is in the works, which will have its borders further drawn out in blood like in the past. The Obama Administration and its allies have opened the gateway for a new invasion of Africa. United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) opened the salvos of the war through Operation Odyssey Damn, before the war on Libya was transferred to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.

The U.S. has used NATO to continue the occupation of post-Second World War Europe. It will now use AFRICOM to occupy Africa and create an African NATO. It is clear the U.S. wants an expanded military presence in Libya and Africa under the disguise of humanitarian aid missions and fighting terrorism – the same terrorism that it is fanning in Libya and Africa.

The way is being paved for intervention in Africa under the guise of fighting terrorism. General Carter Ham has stated: “If we were to launch a humanitarian operation, how do we do so effectively with air traffic control, airfield management, [and] those kind of activities?” [4] General Ham’s question is actually a sales pitch for fashioning African military partnerships and integration, as well as new bases that could include the use of more military drones against Libya and other African countries. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) have both made it clear that the Pentagon is actively trying to establish more drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to expand its wars. [5] In this context, the AFRICOM Commander says that there are ties between the Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa, and the Boko Harem in Nigeria. [6]

The War in Libya is a Fraud

General Ham has said: “I remain confident that had the U.N. not made the decision, had the U.S. not taken the lead with great support, I’m absolutely convinced there are many, many people in Benghazi alive today who would not be [alive].” [7] This is not true and a far stretch from reality. The war has cost more lives than it could have ever saved. It has ruined a country and opened the door into Africa for a neo-colonial project.

The claims of the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR) were never supported or verified. The credibility of the United Nations must be questioned as well as the credibility of many humanitarian and human rights organizations that have virtually pushed for a war. At best the U.N. Security Council is an irresponsible body, but it has clearly acted outside of due legal process. This pattern now appears to be repeating itself against the Syrian Arab Republic as unverified claims are being made by individuals and organizations supported by foreign powers that care nothing for authentic democratic reforms or liberty.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He was on the ground in Libya for over two months and was also a Special Correspondent for Flashpoints, which is a program based in Berkeley, California.

NOTES

[1] United Nations Watch et al., “Urgent Appeal to Stop Atrocities in Libya: Sent by 70 NGOs to the US, EU, and UN,” February 21, 2011:

<http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1330815&ct=9135143>

[2] Physicians for Human Rights, “PHR and Human Rights Groups Call for Immediate Action in Libya,” February 22, 2011:

<http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/press/press-releases/news-2011-02-22-libya.html>

[3] The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR), “Massacres in Libya: The international community must urgently,” respond, February 21, 2011:

<http://www.fidh.org/IMG/article_PDF/article_a9183.pdf>

[4] Jim Garamone, “Africa Command Learns from Libya Operations,” American Forces Press Service, September 15, 2011:

<http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=65344&reason=1>

[5] Gregory Miller and Craig Whitlock, “U.S. U.S. assembling secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, officials say,” The Washington Post, September 20, 2011; Julian E. Barnes, “U.S. Expands Drone Flights to Take Aim at East Africa,” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), September 21, 2011.

[6] Garamone, “Africa Command Learns,” Op. cit.

[7] Ibid.


ANNEX: SIGNATORIES OF THE URGENT LETTER FOR ACTION ON LIBYA

February 12, 2011 – Geneva, Switzerland

1. Hillel C. Neuer, United Nations Watch, Switzerland
2. Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir, Libyan League for Human Rights, Switzerland
3. Mary Kay Stratis, Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc., USA
4. Carl Gershman, President, The National Endowment for Democracy, USA
5. Yang Jianli, Initiatives for China, USA – Former prisoner of conscience and survivor of Tiananmen Square massacre
6. Yang Kuanxing, YIbao – Chinese writer, original signatory to Charter 08, the manifesto calling for political reform in China
7. Matteo Mecacci, MP, Nonviolent Radical Party, Italy
8. Frank Donaghue, Physicians for Human Rights, USA
9. Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Stop Child Executions, Canada
10. Bhawani Shanker Kusum, Gram Bharati Samiti, India
11. G. Jasper Cummeh, III, Actions for Genuine Democratic Alternatives, Liberia
12. Michel Monod, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Switzerland
13. Esohe Aghatise, Associazione Iroko Onlus, Italy
14. Harris O. Schoenberg, UN Reform Advocates, USA
15. Myrna Lachenal, World Federation for Mental Health, Switzerland
16. Nguyên Lê Nhân Quyên, Vietnamese League for Human Rights, Switzerland
17. Sylvia G. Iriondo, Mothers and Women against Repression (M.A.R. Por Cuba), USA
18. David Littman, World Union for Progressive Judaism, Switzerland
19. Barrister Festus Okoye, Human Rights Monitor, Nigeria
20. Theodor Rathgeber, Forum Human Rights, Germany
21. Derik Uya Alfred, Kwoto Cultural Center, Juba – Southern Sudan
22. Carlos E Tinoco, Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia, A.C., Venezuela
23. Abdurashid Abdulle Abikar, Center for Youth and Democracy, Somalia
24. Dr. Vanee Meisinger, Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association, Thailand
25. Simone Abel, René Cassin, United Kingdom
26. Dr. Francois Ullmann, Ingenieurs du Monde, Switzerland
27. Sr Catherine Waters, Catholic International Education Office, USA
28. Gibreil Hamid, Darfur Peace and Development Centre, Switzerland
29. Nino Sergi, INTERSOS – Humanitarian Aid Organization, Italy
30. Daniel Feng, Foundation for China in the 21st Century
31. Ann Buwalda, Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign, USA
32. Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
33. Chandika Gautam, Nepal International Consumers Union, Nepal
34. Zohra Yusuf, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan
35. Sekou Doumbia, Femmes & Droits Humains, Mali
36. Cyrille Rolande Bechon, Nouveaux Droits de l’Homme, Cameroon
37. Zainab Al-Suwaij, American Islamic Congress, USA
38. Valnora Edwin, Campaign for Good Governance, Sierra Leone
39. Patrick Mpedzisi, African Democracy Forum, South Africa
40. Phil ya Nangoloh, NamRights, Namibia
41. Jaime Vintimilla, Centro Sobre Derecho y Sociedad (CIDES), Ecuador
42. Tilder Kumichii Ndichia, Gender Empowerment and Development, Cameroon
43. Amina Bouayach, Moroccan Organisation for Human Rights, Morocco
44. Abdullahi Mohamoud Nur, CEPID-Horn Africa, Somalia
45. Delly Mawazo Sesete, Resarch Center on Environment, Democracy & Human Rights, DR Congo
46. Joseph Rahall, Green Scenery, Sierra Leone
47. Arnold Djuma, Solidarité pour la Promotion Sociale et la Paix, Rwanda
48. Panayote Dimitras, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Greece
49. Carlos E. Ponce, Latina American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, Venezuela
50. Fr. Paul Lansu, Pax Christi International, Belgium
51. Tharsika Pakeerathan, Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils, Switzerland
52. Ibrahima Niang, Commission des Droits Humains du Mouvement Citoyen, Senegal
53. Virginia Swain, Center for Global Community and World Law, USA
54. Dr Yael Danieli, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, USA
55. Savita Gokhale, Loksadhana, India
56. Hasan Dheeree, Biland Awdal Organization, Somalia
57. Pacifique Nininahazwe, Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile, Burundi
58. Derik Uya Alfred, Kwoto Cultural Center, Southern Sudan
59. Michel Golubnichy, International Association of Peace Foundations, Russia
60. Edward Ladu Terso, Multi Media Training Center, Sudan
61. Hafiz Mohammed, Justice Africa Sudan, Sudan
62. Sammy Eppel, B’nai B’rith Human Rights Commission, Venezuela
63. Jack Jeffery, International Humanist and Ethical Union, United Kingdom
64. Duy Hoang, Viet Tan, Vietnam
65. Promotion de la Democratie et Protection des Droits Humains, DR Congo
66. Radwan A. Masmoudi, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy, USA
67. María José Zamora Solórzano, Movimiento por Nicaragua, Nicaragua
68. John Suarez, Cuban Democratic Directorate, USA
69. Mohamed Abdul Malek, Libya Watch, United Kingdom
70. Journalists Union of Russia, Russia
71. Sindi Medar-Gould, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, Nigeria
72. Derik Uya Alfred, Kwoto Cultural Centre, Sudan
73. Sr. Anne Shaym, Presentation Sisters, Australia
74. Joseph Rahad, Green Scenery, Sierra Leone
75. Fahma Yusuf Essa, Women in Journalism Association, Somalia
76. Hayder Ibrahim Ali, Sudanese Studies Center, Sudan
77. Marcel Claude Kabongo, Good Governance and Human Rights NGO, DR Congo
78. Frank Weston, International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization (IMSCO), USA
79. Fatima Alaoui, Maghrebin Forum for environment and development, Morocco
80. Ted Brooks, Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy, Liberia
81. Felly Fwamba, Cerveau Chrétien, DR Congo
82. Jane Rutledge, CIVICUS: World Alliance of Citizen Participation, South Africa
83. Ali AlAhmed, The Institute for Gulf Affairs, USA
84. Daniel Ozoukou, Martin Luther King Center for Peace and Social Justice, Cote d’Ivoire
85. Dan T. Saryee, Liberia Democratic Institute (LDI), Liberia

Individuals
Dr. Frene Ginwala, former Speaker of the South African National Assembly
Philosopher Francis Fukuyama
Mohamed Eljahmi, Libyan human rights activist
Glenn P. Johnson, Jr., Treasurer, Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc., father of Beth Ann Johnson, victim of Lockerbie bombing

Source: U.N. Watch (Refer to note 1)

Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Posted in Geo-Politics, Global Research, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Syrian tanks shell Latakia, death toll reaches 34

Posted by Admin on August 16, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-tanks-shell-latakia-death-toll-reaches-34-000950271.html

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis | Reuters – 2 hrs 16 mins ago

Smoke rises in the city of Latakia

Smoke rises in the city of Latakia August 14, 2011. REUTERS/Handout

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian tanks opened fire on poor Sunni districts in Latakia on Tuesday, residents said, the fourth day of a military assault on the northern port city aimed at crushing protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

“Heavy machinegun fire and explosions were hitting al-Raml al-Filistini (home to Palestinian refugees) and al-Shaab this morning. This subsided and now there is the sound of intermittent tank fire,” one of the residents, who lives near the two districts, told Reuters by phone.

The Syrian Revolution Coordinating Union, a grassroots activists’ group, said six people, including Ahmad Soufi, 22, were killed in Latakia on Monday, bringing the civilian death toll there to 34, including a two-year-old girl.

Assad, from Syria‘s minority Alawite sect, has broadened a military assault against towns and cities where demonstrators have been demanding his removal since the middle of March.

The crackdown coincided with the August 1 start of the Muslim Ramadan fast, when nightly prayers became the occasion for more protests against 41 years of Baathist party rule.

Syrian forces have already stormed Hama, scene of a 1982 massacre by the military, the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, and several northwestern towns in a province bordering Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Assad to halt such military operations now or face unspecified consequences.

“This is our final word to the Syrian authorities, our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally,” Davutoglu said in Turkey’s strongest warning yet to its once close ally and neighbor.

“If these operations do not stop, there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken,” he told a news conference in Ankara, without elaborating.

Turkish leaders, who have repeatedly urged Assad to end violence and pursue reforms, have grown frustrated. Davutoglu held talks with the Syrian leader in Damascus only last week.

The Syrian Revolution Coordinating Union said troops also assaulted villages in the Houla Plain north of the city of Homs on Monday, killing eight people as they raided houses and made arrests. The organization said four people were killed in Homs during similar attacks.

FAMILIAR PATTERN

In a now-familiar pattern, tanks and armored vehicles deployed around dissident neighborhoods of Latakia and essential services were cut before security forces began raids, arrests and bombardment, residents said.

“People are trying to flee but they cannot leave Latakia because it is besieged. The best they can do is to move from one area to another within the city,” another witness said on Monday.

Thousands of people fled a Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, some fleeing gunfire and others leaving on orders from the Syrian authorities, a U.N. official said.

“Between 5,000 and 10,000 have fled, we don’t know where these people are so it’s very worrying,” said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UNRWA agency which cares for Palestinian refugees. “We have a handful of confirmed deaths and nearly 20 injured.”

The Palestinian presidency in the West Bank city of Ramallah urged Damascus to safeguard the lives of Palestinian refugees in al-Raml camp in Latakia.

Another grassroots activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, said it had the names of at least 260 civilians, including 14 women and two infants, killed this month.

It said the actual toll was likely to be far higher with scant information so far from the hard-hit city of Hama, still besieged by troops and secret police.

Syria has expelled most independent media since the unrest began, making it hard to verify reports from the country.

Navy ships shelled southern parts of Latakia on Sunday, residents and rights groups said.

Nightly anti-Assad rallies after Ramadan prayers have drawn around 20,000 people in different areas of the city, said one witness, a university student.

The official state news agency SANA denied Latakia had been shelled from the sea and said two police and four unidentified armed men were killed when security forces pursued “armed men who were terrorizing residents … and using machineguns and explosives from rooftops and from behind barricades.”

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it was unable to confirm that the Syrian navy had shelled Latakia.

“However, we are able to confirm that there is amour in the city and that there is firing on innocents again in the pattern of carnage that you have seen in other places,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

ALAWITE ELEMENT

Unlike most Syrian cities, which are mainly Sunni, Latakia has a large Alawite population, partly because Assad and his father before him encouraged Alawites to move from their nearby mountain region by offering them cheap land and jobs in the public sector and security apparatus.

Latakia port has played a key role in the Assad family’s domination of the economy, with Bashar al-Assad’s late uncle Jamil having been in virtual control of the facility, and a new generation of family members and their friends taking over.

Assad replaced the governor of the northern province of Aleppo, SANA reported, after pro-democracy protests spread to the provincial capital, Syria’s main commercial hub.

“The minority regime is playing with fire. We are coming to a point where the people in the street would rather take any weapon they can put their hand on and fight than be shot at or arrested and humiliated,” said one activist.

“We are seeing civil war in Syria, but it is one-sided. The hope is for street protests and international pressure to bring down the regime before it kills more Syrians and drives them to take up arms,” he added, asking not to be named.

Rights groups say at least 12,000 have been detained during the uprising. Thousands of political prisoners were already in jail. Amnesty International says it has listed 1,700 civilians killed since mid-March. Washington has put the toll at 2,000. Damascus says 500 police and soldiers have been killed.

The assaults by Syrian security forces have drawn increasing condemnation from the West, Turkey and more recently from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Washington wants Europe and China to consider sanctions on Syria’s vital oil and gas industry. Germany called for more European Union sanctions against Syria on Monday and urged the U.N. Security Council to discuss the crackdown again this week.

(Additional reporting by Tom Perry in Ramallah, Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Reporting by Jonathon Burch, Tulay Karadeniz and Ibon Villelabeitia in Ankara; editing by Michael Roddy)

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why the Death of the Man Who Was Not Behind 9/11 Was Announced on May 1st

Posted by Admin on August 3, 2011

http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/binladen-mayfirst/

By  | May 2nd, 2011


After the announcement of Bin Laden’s death, hundreds of people gathered in front of the White House chantingUSA! USA!”.

It is in times like these that a line is drawn between critical thinkers and those who get swiped by media crap-storms; Between those who understand the complexity of a situation and those who’d rather not know; Between those who comprehend the underlying motives of the elite and those who go outside chanting “USA! USA!”.

On the evening of May 1st 2011, Barak Obama’s statement was one of triumph and celebration. He claimed that, with the death of Osama Bin Laden, “justice was served”. The media spin following the announcement was equally as celebratory: “It is a great day for America and the world”…”The biggest piece of news since 9/11″…”We’ll all remember where we were when we’ve heard this news”…The entire “event” was artificially inflated, exaggerated and glorified.

Should the death of a man cause happiness and celebrations? Since when have we devolved into such a barbaric state? Because he perpetrated 9/11? Did he also cause the Building 7 to implode? Damn you Osama and your team of engineers!

I’ll spare you the entire “9/11 was an inside job” speech, as I know most of this site’s readers are all too aware of it. In this case, why should we care if Ben Laden is dead or not? Is he really dead? Did he die nine years ago? Who really knows? We’re living in an era of artificial, fully staged, media-generated events. Why was Bin Laden’s death announced on the evening of May 1st?  Because it was the required sacrifice of the “most magical time of the year”, which was launched with the Royal Wedding.

Beltane

A Wicker Man burnt during the Beltane Festival 2004

May 1st, or May Day, was considered by several cultures to be an important holiday, especially in occult circles due to celestial alignments. In Illuminati lore, it is regarded as the second most important day of the year. In fact, the Order of the Bavarian Illuminati was founded on May 1st 1776.

In Europe, it is called the Beltane festival, an ancient Gaelic celebration of sexuality, fertility…and blood sacrifices.

“Supposedly, animal sacrifices would be made each Beltane to ensure the fertility of their crops, however, every five years the Highland Celts would sacrifice humans, the numbers being made up of convicted criminals and prisoners of war. They would be sacrificed by the Druids, though the manner of their death would vary. Many were supposedly shot with arrows, but descriptions of Gaulish Celt ceremonies have them being burnt alive in huge wicker men.”
– Source

The origins of the Beltane festival can be traced back to the celebration of the Sumerian God Enlil – who is known to us as Baal. The name Beltane (pronounced “B’yal-t’n”) is said to originate from the word Baal. Celebrations of the Beltane festival are very similar to ancient rituals celebrating the ancient god. The mysterious similarities between these seemingly distant cultures could be the subject of an entire article. One thing is for sure: Baal is an important figure in Illuminati lore.

“In Middle-Eastern lore, Baal was killed and descended into the underworld, whereupon he was returned to life by the powers of his sister-lover, Anat. Baal is thus associated with the seasonal cycles and the coming of spring and crops. This was reflected in Beltane festivals, which culminated with the symbolic marriage of the Winter God and Spring Goddess (or King Winter and Queen May). Queen May, in the festivals, was a mother earth figure. The word Baal means lord or husband. In the mating of King Winter and Queen May, earth and sky were joined, and fertility and life were symbolically rekindled in animals, people, and nature.”
– Jane Adams, The Selected Papers of Jane Adams

“Through analogy and through the belief that one can control or aid the powers of nature by the practice of magic, particularly sympathetic magic, sexuality might characterize part of the cult of the Baʿals and ʿAshtarts. Post-Exilic allusions to the cult of Baʿal Pe’or suggest that orgies prevailed. On the summits of hills and mountains flourished the cult of the givers of increase, and “under every green tree” was practised the licentiousness which was held to secure abundance of crops. Human sacrifice, the burning of incense, violent and ecstatic exercises, ceremonial acts of bowing and kissing, the preparing of sacred cakes (see also Asherah), appear among the offences denounced by the post-Exilic prophets; and show that the cult of Baʿal (and ʿAshtart) included characteristic features of worship which recur in various parts of the Semitic (and non-Semitic) world, although attached to other names.”
– W. Robertson Smith and George F. Moore, Baal

Ancient beliefs and rituals are an intricate part of today’s Illuminati’s occult practices. As their symbolism and modus-operandi are slowly infused into society, their previously secret rituals are now conducted on a mass scale. The masses become clueless participants of their occult festivities, not knowing they actually adding their potency.

In Conclusion

The Mujahideen were recruited and formed in the late 70′s by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the United States National Security Advisor of Jimmy Carter (Brzezinski is today Obama’s main policy advisor). The military group was trained by the United States in order to repel Russian forces from Afghanistan. Bin Laden was trained by the CIA to fight the Communists and
the Taliban are a by-product of this US created movement.

Since the fall of the USSR, Bin Laden and his Taliban served a new agenda: providing an excuse for the invasion of key middle-eastern countries under the guise of a “war on terror”. In 2001, about 15 minutes after the second plane hit the WTC, the image of Bin Laden was shown on television. He was the ideal patsy on who to blame the attacks and the perfect boogey-man to scare the American people. This scapegoat allowed the unquestioned invasion of Afghanistan, of Iraq. He even facilitated the enactment of the aberration called the Patriot Act.

In 2011, Bin Laden’s usefulness to the Agenda has ran its course. Furthermore, the Obama administration needed an exploit to boost its poll ratings until the next elections. Consequently, in a classic combination of occult rituals with pragmatic politics, the death of Bin Laden was announced on May 1st 2011 with triumph and jubilation. Through CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX, millions of viewers rejoiced at the death of man in the same matter ancient peasants rejoiced at the offering of human sacrifices to Baal. In a dumbed-down, politicized and “Illuminati-sed” version of the Beltane Festival, the masses have celebrated the ritual sacrifice of a man and, without even realizing it, partook in one of the Illuminati’s most important holidays.

Beltane Fire Festival, May 1st
Hooray Osama is dead! May 1st.

Posted in Conspiracy Archives, Truthout Articles, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Libya in Pictures: What the Mainstream Media Does Not Tell You

Posted by Admin on July 25, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25630

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research, July 16, 2011

Global Research reports from Tripoli

Mirage fighters, F16 fighters, B-2 Stealth bombers, 15,000 NATO air sorties. the bombing of thousands of civilian targets…

NATO is said to be coming to the rescue of the Libyan people. That is what we are being told.

Western journalists have quite deliberately distorted what is happening inside Libya. They have upheld NATO as an instrument of peace and democratization.

They have endorsed an illegal and criminal war.

They are instruments of US-NATO propaganda.

Global Research’s Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya reporting from Tripoli refutes the media consensus which uphold’s NATO’s humanitarian mandate. He provides us with a review of the mass rallies directed against NATO including extensive photographic evidence.

Forward this article. Post it on Facebook. Spread the word.  

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, July 15, 2011

PHOTOMONTAGE

For complete report on GRTV with extensive photographic evidence

 

VIDEO: This is Libya: On the Ground Scenes

GRTV Report from Tripoli
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-07-16


TRIPOLI. July 15, 2011. 

 



Friday of July 1, 2011 like many other Fridays has seen huge rallies in Tripoli’s Green Square.

It’s very hard to get an accurate number of the mass of people that have attended these rallies. Estimates have placed the size of the July 1st rally in Green Square at one million people. 

(See the GRTV Video report by ANSWER with Cynthia McKinney and Ramsey Clark)

The rallies have been taking place almost weekly in Tripoli and other Libyan cities, including Sabha on July 8, 2011.

Western public opinion has been misinformed. People in Europe and North America are not even aware that these mass rallies have taken place. 

The rallies express the Libyan people’s firm opposition to NATO’s “humanitarian” intervention (“on behalf of the Libyan people”). 

The large majority of the population are opposed to the Benghazi-based Transitional Council. 

The rallies also indicate significant popular support for Colonel Qaddafi in contrast to the usual stereotype descriptions of the Western media.

The mainstream media has either casually dismissed the significance of these public gatherings directed against NATO intervention or has failed to even report them.

These rallies continue late into the night. 

The following are pictures of Libyans converging on Green Square on July 1, 2011.

These pictures also show that the mainstream media was present and aware of these rallies. 

So what is preventing them from reporting the truth?

Why are some of these journalists claiming that only a few thousand people attended?

It is important to note that the pictures were taken at the outset of the event.

Libyans headed throughout the day into the night towards Green Square. Highways and roads leading towards Green Square were packed.  At the height of the rally, the number of people was signifcantly larger than what is conveyed in the pictures.

 


PHOTOMONTAGE 

For complete report on GRTV with extensive photographic evidence

 

VIDEO: This is Libya: On the Ground Scenes

GRTV Report from Tripoli
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-07-16




1. Western journalists position themselves on rooftops

 

People move towards Green Square

 

Libya’s Children: The Victims of NATO bombings

Photographs: Copyright. Mahdi Darius Nazemoroaya, Global Research 2011

 

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya reporting from Tripoli is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Posted in Geo-Politics, Global Research, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Risk-Free And Above The Law: U.S. Globalizes Drone Warfare

Posted by Admin on July 10, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25536

Global Research, July 7, 2011

Last week the Washington Post, the New York Times and other major American newspapers reported that the U.S. launched its first unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) missile attack inside Somalia.

The strike was the first acknowledged Pentagon military attack inside the Horn of Africa nation since a helicopter raid staged by commandos in 2009 and the first use of an American drone to conduct a missile strike there. Drones had earlier been used in the country in their original capacity, for surveillance, including identifying targets for bomb and missile attacks, one being shot down in October of 2009. But as Britain’s The Guardian reported on July 30, the strike in Somalia marked “the expansion of the pilotless war campaign to a sixth country,” as the remote-controlled aircraft have already been employed to deadly effect in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and most recently Libya.

The lethal Somali mission was reportedly carried out by the U.S. Special Operations Command, in charge of executing special forces operations of the respective units of the four main branches of the American military: The Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy. On July 4 the U.S. armed forces publication Stars and Stripes reported that there are currently 7,000 American special forces in Afghanistan and another 3,000 in Iraq, with the bulk of the latter to be transferred to the first country in what was described as a “mini-surge” of special operations troops to compensate for the withdrawal of 10,000 other troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Last week BBC News reported on the proposed transfer of drone aircraft by the U.S. to its military client states Uganda and Burundi for the war in Somalia. Citing American defense officials, BBC disclosed that four drones will be supplied to the two nations who have 9,000 troops engaged in combat operations against anti-government insurgents in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

According to a New York Times feature of July 1: “[T]he United States has largely been relying on proxy forces in Somalia, including African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi, to support Somalia’s fragile government. The Pentagon is sending nearly $45 million in military supplies, including night-vision equipment and four small unarmed drones, to Uganda and Burundi to help combat the rising terror threat in Somalia. During the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2007, clandestine operatives from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command initiated missions into Somalia from an airstrip in Ethiopia.”

On June 15 a major newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, The National, reported on the escalation of deadly U.S. drone attacks in Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It cited an official with the Yemeni Ministry of Defense claiming that the U.S. had launched over 15 drone strikes in the country in the first two weeks of June. The newspaper also quoted the deputy governor of Abyan province, Abdullah Luqman, decrying the attacks and stating: “These are the lives of innocent people being killed. At least 130 people have been killed in the last two weeks by US drones.”

The leader of an observation committee created to evacuate local residents added that “more than 40,000 people have left Abyan province because they feared drone strikes.”

The same defense official mentioned above warned that the “United States is turning Yemen into another Pakistan.” [1]

Recent reports in the American press reveal that the Pentagon will establish a new air base in the Persian Gulf from which to intensify drone strikes in Yemen. According to a Russian source, “The location is kept secret but some say this might be Bahrain as it already has a US base [the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet] and provides the safest route to Yemen for US drones through American ally Saudi Arabia.” [2]

The drone missile assaults in Pakistan, which caused a record number of deaths – over 1,000 – last year, are carried out by the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency, whose last director is the new secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, a transfer that presages a yet greater intensification of the deadly attacks inside the South Asian nation.

On June 5 the 40th drone strike of the year killed at least six people in South Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, bringing the death toll this year to at least 350.

Late last month the Pakistani government ordered the U.S. to vacate the Shamsi Air Base in the province of Balochistan which had been used for drone strikes inside the nation. Washington has in the interim shifted those operations to upgraded air bases in Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that only 3 percent of Pakistanis support the drone attacks in the country’s tribal belt.

At the end of June, 28 people were reported killed by drone strikes in the South Waziristan Agency, with a local resident quoted by Pajhwok Afghan News as stating “that 20 civilians were killed and several others injured in the second attack.” [3]

Some 2,100 of the 2,500 people killed in the strikes since they began in 2004 have lost their lives since 2009, when Barack Obama became the president of the U.S. and Leon Panetta director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

On July 5 a British Reaper drone killed at least four Afghan civilians and wounded two more in a missile attack in Helmand province. The use of the Reaper, rightly referred to as the world’s deadliest drone, marks the crossing of an ominous threshold. It is the first of what is described as a hunter-killer – long-endurance, high-altitude – remote-piloted aircraft that can be equipped with fifteen times the amount of weaponry and fly at three times the speed of the Predator used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. (The U.S. has used Reapers in Iraq since 2008 and in Afghanistan starting the following year. Toward the end of 2009 the Pentagon deployed Reapers to the East African island nation of Seychelles along with over 100 military personnel.)

On June 28 the U.S. lost the third of three drones in Afghanistan in as many days.

A recent Refugees International report stated that over 250,000 Afghans have been forced to flee their towns and villages during the last two years, over 91,000 so far this year: “Not only have NATO-led troops and Afghan forces failed to protect Afghans, but international airstrikes and night raids by U.S. Special Forces were destroying homes, crops and infrastructure, traumatising civilians and displacing tens of thousands of people.” [4]

Last month an RT feature suitably titled “US expands drone war, extremists expect new recruits” stated:

“The US has stepped up its drone attacks against militants in the Middle East, but the growing number of civilian deaths in the strikes has sparked public anger, with concern the action is driving up the number of extremist recruits.

“In Pakistan, CIA drone strikes aim at terrorists but end up killing mostly civilians. Public outrage is growing. Hatred and anger foster more terror.

“Washington now sees Yemen as the most dangerous Al-Qaeda outpost, and is planning to step up drone attacks on the country, establishing a base in the Persian Gulf specifically for that purpose.”

The source added:

“Americans are likely to have a freer hand going it alone, with the CIA to take a central role.

“As the agency is not subject to the accountability the US military is legally under, one can expect more bombs to fall on Yemen.

“There is fury in Yemen over the killing of scores of civilians by the drone strikes. In one attack there, the American military presumably aiming at an Al-Qaeda training camp ended up killing dozens of women and children. In another strike a year ago, a drone mistakenly killed a deputy governor in Yemen, his family and aides.

“With the expansion of the drone war it seems the US is seeking only a missile solution to fighting Al-Qaeda. Analysts say that some of the main features of this global chase are not having to take into account the voice of the nation that they are bombing and the lack of accountability when it comes to civilian deaths. These features add more paradox to the US strategy, with many asking whether America is fighting and fostering terror at the same time.” [5]

Analyst Denis Fedutinov told Voice of Russia last month:

“The US used drones already in the Balkans campaign, then in Iraq and Afghanistan and now in Libya. The US and Israel are the world drone leaders. Now America has several thousand drones of different classes.” [6]

In fact, last year U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Glenn Walters told an Institute for Defense and Government Advancement conference that ten years ago America had 200 drones in its arsenal, but by 2010 that number had risen to 6,000 and that by next year it would be 8,000. A fortyfold increase.

And in May of 2010 “NATO representatives from around the world” visited the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in the state of Indiana to observe drone flight tests.

By transferring control of the 110-day war against Libya from U.S. Africa Command to NATO on March 31 the Obama administration intended to, among other purposes, evade accountability to Congress (and federal law) under provisions of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

The resolution mandates that Congress must authorize military actions initiated by the president within 60 days of their commencement or grant him a 30-day extension. The 60-day limit was reached on May 20.

The White House responded to Congressional opposition to prolonging military action in Libya by releasing a 38-page report that claimed “US military operations are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the resolution’s 60-day termination provision.”

It also maintained that “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.”

Which is to say, as long as American military personnel are not in harm’s way it is not a war. Legal Adviser of the State Department Harold Koh stated: “We are acting lawfully…We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”

General Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, last month “said a Republican-sponsored bill that would block American Predator drone strikes in Libya would hurt the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance,” and “predicted that NATO would be unable to replace certain key U.S. missions, including the drone strikes and attacks to neutralize Libyan air defenses that threaten allied planes, if proposed funding cuts are made.” [7]

The launching of over 200 cruise missiles into Libya in the opening days of the war and the fact that, as the New York Times reported on June 21, “American warplanes have struck at Libyan air defenses about 60 times, and remotely operated drones have fired missiles at Libyan forces about 30 times” since command of the war was transferred from U.S. Africa Command to NATO – after which NATO has conducted over 14,000 air missions, more than 5,000 termed strike sorties – do not constitute armed hostilities in the mind of Mr. Koh, who stated last year that “U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.” According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top legal adviser, deadly drone attacks are “consistent with its [the U.S.’s] inherent right to self-defense.” [8] Koh cagily refers to murdering people on a grand scale by remote activation as targeted killing rather than targeted assassination, as the second is expressly prohibited under international law.

In a rare instance of dissenting from White House war policy, last month the New York Times published the following:

“Jack L. Goldsmith, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, said the Obama theory would set a precedent expanding future presidents’ unauthorized war-making powers, especially given the rise of remote-controlled combat technology.”

It further quoted Goldsmith directly:

“The administration’s theory implies that the president can wage war with drones and all manner of offshore missiles without having to bother with the War Powers Resolution’s time limits.”

Neither cruise missiles nor Hellfire missile-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles have pilots on board, so the lives of U.S. service members are safe as Pakistanis, Afghans, Libyans, Iraqis, Yemenis and Somalis are torn to shreds by U.S. strikes.

Wars of aggression are now both safe and “legal.”

Notes
 

1) The National, June 15, 2011

http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/us-makes-a-drone-attack-a-day-in-yemen

2) Voice of Russia, June 16, 2011
3) Pajhwok Afghan News, June 28, 2011
4) NATO airstrikes, night raids blamed for Afghan IDP crisis – report
AlertNet, June 29, 2011
5) RT, June 22, 2011 http://rt.com/news/us-drone-war-al-qaeda

6) Voice of Russia, June 16, 2011
7) Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2011
8) Inside Justice, March 26, 2011 
http://insidejustice.com/law/index.php/intl/2010/03/26/asil_koh_drone_war_law

Rick Rozoff is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Rick Rozoff

Posted in Global Research, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

South Sudan capital sweeps up, cracks down before split

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/south-sudan-capital-sweeps-cracks-down-split-093517416.html

By Alexander Dziadosz | Reuters – Thu, Jul 7, 2011

JUBA, Sudan (Reuters) – Southern Sudanese in the country-in-waiting’s capital are sprucing up streets, confiscating black market guns and trying to impose order on frenetic traffic to make sure independence day goes smoothly on Saturday.

For many southerners, the split from the country’s north represents a moment of long-awaited triumph and fresh optimism after decades of brutal civil war and perceived marginalization.

It also brings a raft of challenges as the rickety boomtown of Juba receives scores of foreign dignitaries and the government tries to enforce its writ across a territory roughly the size of France wracked by internal rebellions and awash with guns.

Men and women with straw brushes are sweeping leaves and dust from the southern capital’s streets and men in paint-stained jumpsuits are whitewashing walls. Celebratory banners hang across the city.

“They’re doing a very good job. Visitors from all over the world will come and see that the town is very clean,” Kisereko Charles, a 51-year-old engineer, said in central Juba.

A red digital display in a nearby roundabout is counting down the seconds to independence. “Free at last,” one message on the display flashed.

North and south Sudan have warred over ideology, religion, ethnicity and oil for all but a few years since the country’s independence. An estimated 2 million people – most of them southerners – died in the conflict.

A 2005 peace deal that brought an end to the war promised southerners the chance to vote for independence. About 98 percent chose to split when the referendum was held in January.

“Vote for dignity,” one sign left over from the poll reads, displaying a facsimile of part of the ballot: an open hand with the word “secession” printed in Arabic and English.

SECURITY

South Sudan, with at least seven internal rebel militias according to a U.N. count, will begin life as an independent country in a region known for political turmoil that can erupt in terrible bloodshed.

Neighboring Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a devastating war in the late 1990s after Eritrea split away. Kenya exploded in violence after a disputed election in late 2007.

Suicide bombings ripped through Uganda‘s capital during the 2010 football World Cup. The militant group that claimed responsibility is based in Somalia, a country that has not had an effective central government for about two decades.

Analysts and aid workers say independence might encourage renegade militias in the new Republic of South Sudan to step up their challenge to a government the rebels say is corrupt and autocratic.

Interior Minister Gier Chouang Aloung, acknowledging security worries, told reporters that “enemies of the south” would not be allowed to spoil the celebrations.

Security forces were continuing a sweep-up of illegal guns and were registering people trying to buy new firearms, he said.

Authorities were issuing regular statements to discourage harassment and abuse of power among security forces.

Even celebratory gunfire would not be tolerated on July 9, he said.

“There will be no shooting. The only shooting will be the 21-gun salute,” Aloung said. “Any other shooting is illegal and it will be taken care of.”

Authorities have started cracking down on traffic, too. The former insurgents charged with policing Juba’s streets have been blocking the city’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxis, or “bodas,” from main roads.

“FIRST CLASS CITIZENS

The secession has been a temporary boon for the fruit and vegetable markets on the capital’s sprawling edges as southerners stock up on food ahead of the celebration.

“These days they are really buying,” said Gift Kadija, a 38-year-old vendor, who is from Uganda like many of the sellers there.

“They buy tomatoes, Irish potatoes, beans, rice, cooking oil for the celebrations. They are preparing.”

Hundreds of thousands of southerners have already returned home ahead of independence, and many more are streaming back. A flight from Khartoum last week was full of southerners carting bulging suitcases wrapped up with tape.

They were greeted in Juba by a one-room terminal crammed with passengers jostling to collect their bags. Arrival times of flights were jotted on a white marker board on the wall. Down the main road to town, pickup trucks packed with men flew South Sudan’s new flag and bullhorns blasted the new national anthem.

“We have chosen to be first class citizens,” one banner read.

“I’m very happy, very excited,” Edward Roji, a 48-year-old government worker standing near the banner, said. “I was born in this war, and I grew up in this war — over 40 years of war.”

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: