Chemical warfare in Syria lemonde.fr/proche-orient/… via @lemondefrI'm not an expert but when a French newspaper publishes a report in English I wonder who the intended audience may be. I have read other accounts of chemical attacks that mention foaming at the mouth and other effects in addition to mortality rates, none of which I noticed in this article. And what about hazmat suits and other protective equipment for those caring for the victims? As I said, I'm not an expert but I'm also not persuaded that this account is what it appears to be. And if it is, who can say with proof where the "chemical agent" originated? Sorry, but this fails the old smell test. JB
— Lama Hasan (@LamaHasan) May 27, 2013
Brilliant RT @sarahspeaks__ A Syrian double decker bus to protect themselves from the regime's snipers. Pic: twitter.com/SarahSpeaks__/… | #Syria
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) May 27, 2013
As long as Iran secures interests in Syria, it can nod Assad's exit todayszaman.com/blogNewsDetail…This Lebanese columnist sez...
— Mahir Zeynalov (@MahirZeynalov) May 27, 2013
Although Syria has served in this position for years, Syrian-Iranian relations cannot be described as a bed of roses. When looking into relations, Syria and Iran don't have an identical ideology or identity, in other words the alliance between the two states lacks an ideological dimension. Syria is a secular Arab state, while Iran is a religious non-Arab state.
There is indeed an ideological conflict between the Arab nationalism ideology of Syria's secular ruling Baath party and Iran's pan-Islamist policies. From time to time, relations have also faced an “alliance dilemma.” For instance, Iran was not happy with Syria's good relations with Turkey after the two neighbors signed the Adana agreement in 1998 and also was discomforted by Damascus's participation in the Gulf War as a part of the Western bloc. On the other side, Syria was uneasy over Iran's assertive policies towards the West and Israel.
Yes, some events tested the relationship between the two countries; however, the strong and close ties between Tehran and Damascus are based on geopolitics and pragmatism rather than the ideology. Sectarian politics is not geostrategic issue but it becomes geostrategic when a country uses it to achieve vital goals. For Iran, Syria was a counterforce in the region.
Iran is a country that is quite knowledgeable in playing the games of the Middle East. For Iran, rather than characters, structures are important. Yes, in order to maintain the status quo in Syria, despite growing international pressure, Iran has stood by its ally since the beginning of the crisis, providing all means of support. However, I should say that Assad is not indispensable for a country like Iran.
#Syria Jouno Yara Abbas killed while embedded with Assad forces in #Qusayr. Here her last report with subtitles: youtube.com/watch?v=AoXLbm…This interesting video description appears at the YouTube site:
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) May 27, 2013
The following is the last report journalist Yara Abbas sent today May 27, 2013 from Qussayr countryside in Homs countryside before she was assassinated by Obama's freedom fighters on her way back in a breaking news, news, cnn news, news bloopers, flash news
Syrian female reporter Yara Abbas killed in HomsCountry's information ministry says TV correspondent was covering clashes near the Lebanese border
Monday 27 May 2013
|Yara Abbas was reportedly killed |
near Qusair, in Syria
Syrian rebels have killed a TV correspondent who was covering clashes near the border with Lebanon, according to the Syrian information ministry.
Officials said Yara Abbas, a prominent female war reporter for state-owned Al-Ikhbariyah TV, was attacked near the military air base of Dabaa in the central province of Homs.
Dabaa air base is near the town of Qusair, which has been under attack by government forces and members of Lebanon's Hezbollah group since last week. Dozens of rebels, troops and gunmen have been killed in the heavy fighting.
Several journalists covering both sides of Syria's conflict have been killed since the crisis began in March 2011.
Syria's civil war, now in its third year, is thought to have killed more than 70,000 and displaced more than one million. It is fought between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels, mostly from the disparate Free Syrian Army.
The conflict has spilled periodically across the ceasefire line and Syria's borders with Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, threatening to engulf the region.
Sec. Kerry advances a $4 billion plan for investment in the Palestinian economymaannews.net/eng/ViewDetail… nytimes.com/2013/05/27/wor…It's way past time when this should have already happened. This story from Ma'an News Agency reads about the same as the NY Times story.
— Hussein Ibish (@Ibishblog) May 27, 2013
But the comments left at the end are very revealing.
Kerry: Palestinian economic plan looks to inject $4 billion
AL SHUNAH, Jordan (AFP) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday an economic plan to revive the ailing Palestinian economy is expected to produce around $4 billion dollars in investment.
"We are looking to mobilize some $4 billion of investment" in tourism construction, Kerry told the closing session of the World Economic Forum, held in the Jordanian town of Al Shunah on the shores of the Dead Sea.
Kerry said business experts had been working to make the project "real, tangible and shovel-ready".He added the preliminary results of their analysis were "stunning" and showed the plan would "dramatically" bring life to the economy.
"These experts believe we will increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50 percent over three years. The most optimistic estimates foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment by two-thirds to eight percent down from 21 percent and to increase the median wage by 40 percent," said the top US diplomat.
Since taking up the baton this year in the long-elusive search for Middle East peace, Kerry has refused to divulge publicly the details of how he intends to bridge the bitter differences between Israel and the Palestinians.
But he has entrusted Quartet Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair with the task of drawing up an economic plan to attract tourism and private sector investment into the West Bank and breathe fresh hope into the area.
Blair has already been working with Coca-Cola chief executive Muhtar Kent on ways of attracting investment into the depressed West Bank.
Blair "is shaping what I believe could be a ground-breaking plan... that will transform the fortunes of a future Palestinian state," said Kerry. "It is a plan for the Palestinian economy that is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than anything proposed since Oslo," he added in reference to the 1993 peace accords.
The West Bank had seen moderate growth in recent years only to be set back by Israeli and Western moves to stall aid following the Palestinian bid for upgraded UN status.
Kerry said home construction can produce more than 100,000 jobs over the next three years, urging the private and public sectors to cooperate."The public and private sectors alike have a responsibility to meet the demands of this moment and one can't do it without the other. We need you at the table. We need a new model for how we are going to bring order and open up the possibilities. We need to partner with the private sector because it's clear most governments don't have the money."Comments:
► When Mr billionaire Kerry says "Palestinian economy" he means only the PA & WEST BANK!Nothing for Gazan,E.Jerus,or diaspora PALS!Better still Kerry,just END THE US tax-payer-funded OCCUPATION & change the Gaza POW camp & W/Bank,E.Jerusalem shrinking enclaved BANTUSTANS into 1 CONTIGUOUS Palestinian national state.Does such "ground-breaking" include handing back Palestinian "ground","broken" by Israel,since 1967? NOTHING trumps real"Equal Justice Under Law"thru INTERNATIONAL COURTS(ICC/ICJ)!!!
►I hope the price of the $4bn is not "temperary borders". Investments are nice , but we need FREEDOM and then rest will come . A free Palestine will attract $100bn without Tony & Co.
►THis will come to nothing. Kerry is a windbag. He wont be investing his own money - or his wife's money - that is for sure.
Private sector is not interested. Nobody will invest in a Palestinian ecnomy where the prime minister was kicked out because he wanted to end corruption and run the government with transparent accounting.
►When Mr. Kerry talking about the Palestinian economy, who is he talking about. The Palestinians in Gaza that is control by Hamas that is label by the US as a terrorist organization?. A little hypocrisy in his statement. He could have stayed home and save a lot of US taxpayer money.
►It's all a publicity stunt from US. Main issue here is an independant Palestinian state along 1967 borders. Once free from Israel cruches, Palestinians are more than capable to generate their own income compared to now when settlers destroy olive trees and other infra structure. Mr. Abbas is right in not accepting temporary borders. With Israel, temporary will beecome permanent and will come up excuses upon excuses as to why borders can't become permanent. ISRAELI GOVT ARE LIARS.
Hezbollah Widens the Syrian War: "This is a terrifying development; the beginning of a regional war" newyorker.com/online/blogs/n… via @newyorker
— Dan Williams (@DanWilliams) May 27, 2013
HEZBOLLAH WIDENS THE SYRIAN WAR
It’s official: the war in Syria has spread to Lebanon. In an extraordinary speech Saturday, Hassan Nasrallah, the bearded and bespectacled leader of the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, promised an all-out effort to keep the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria. “It’s our battle, and we are up to it,” Nasrallah said in a televised address. The war, he said, had entered “a completely new phase.”
This is a terrifying development; the beginning of a regional war. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed armed group, has been fighting inside Syria for months, something I detailed in an article on the group in February. But Hezbollah was intervening in Syria covertly, in large part because it feared a backlash at home. Month after month, Nasrallah denied that his men were fighting for the dictator across the border. When Hezbollah fighters were killed in Syria, they were memorialized in bizarre funerals back in Lebanon, in which the causes of death were not mentioned. In public, Nasrallah maintained that Hezbollah was the same thing it always had been: an armed group dedicated to protecting Lebanon from the depredations of Israel. In a speech in October, he said: “As of now, we have not fought alongside the regime.” As more and more Hezbollah fighters died inside Syria, that lie could no longer be sustained. The truth is out.
On Saturday, by declaring his undying loyalty to the Assad regime, Nasrallah has signalled an escalation in Hezbollah’s involvement. Nasrallah is now personally committed to the survival of Assad’s regime, no matter how murderous it becomes. His logic involves naked self-interest: Syria provides Hezbollah with its crucial link to the regime in Iran, Hezbollah’s creator and benefactor. Without Assad, Hezbollah might not be able to survive.
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Hezbollah isn’t the only group that has been intervening in the Syrian civil war. Since the Syrian conflict began, Lebanese Sunnis have been slipping across the border to support the rebels, but in a mostly unorganized, haphazard way. The Syrian rebels themselves have promised to avenge Hezbollah’s activities by taking the fight into Lebanon. The most dramatic example of the Syrian civil war’s effect on Lebanese politics came in March, when Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned. Mikati, a Sunni, was in a coalition with Hezbollah. It doesn’t take much to see how difficult it is in Lebanon today for a Sunni politician to work with Hezbollah, whose fighters are killing Sunnis across the border.
What comes next? So far, the peace in Lebanon has mostly held, in no small way because memories of the civil war there are still fresh. But as Hezbollah commits itself more deeply to the Syrian war, the more difficult it will be to contain the violence in Lebanon itself. It’s not difficult to imagine Lebanon slipping into a new civil war of its own.
Since the Syrian revolt began more than two years ago, President Obama has stayed mostly out, even as Assad’s regime has become more indiscriminate in its use of violence. (The United States has provided non-lethal aid to the rebels, but has not intervened militarily.) In essence, the President has reasoned that the war in Syria is too complicated for the United States to have much influence.
Perhaps Obama is right. But it’s also true that the White House’s reluctance to act has allowed the war in Syria to run off on its own horrendous course. And now, as Hezbollah escalates inside Syria, it might be too late to stop the war from spreading beyond its borders.