Terrorists target Syrian Internet, Telephones and Journalists

 

 

 

Syrians in Syria as well as abroad became seriously concerned when all telephone and internet connections were disconnected at 12 o´clock CET. The websites of the Syrian Arab News Agency SANA and other Syrian media have been targeted for months but the sudden and total blackout was unprecedented and caused widespread speculation.

According to some sources the blackout could have been an initiative by the Syrian government acting on concerns that some explosive devices might be triggered by cell phones or internet. Others speculated that NATO had begun implementing a plan to substitute Syrian radio and TV with false news in preparation of a coup. Plans for such initiative had been discussed in relation to the two failed attempts to conquer the city of Aleppo as the seat of a foreign backed transitional government.

According to a nsnbc contact who arrived in Turkey from Syria today the explanation for the blackout was that terrorists had managed to sever the main internet and mobile phone towers cables, effectively rendering most of Syria without internet and cell phone connection.

Terrorists also targeted PRESS TV and Al-Alam TV. A bomb blast near the TV stations offices in Aleppo caused structural damage to buildings and destroyed several of the two TV stations vehicles. Nobody was killed during the attack.

Journalists from PRESS TV and AL-Alam have been systematically targeted for months. On 26 September PRESS TV and Al-Alam journalist Maya Naser was killed by snipers after he and Al-Alam´s Syrian station chief Hossein Mortada rushed to the scene of two explosions. Hossein Mortada survived the attack but had to be hospitalized and treated for his injuries. According to nsnbc sources the assassins had been deployed already two hours prior to the bomb blasts.

During the last week before his assassination Maya Naser was working on an investigation which documented that the Turkish Freedom and Justice Party (AKP) of Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan released convicts who were sentenced for terrorism to deploy them to fight as insurgents in Syria. Hossein Mortada has received countless death threats and he has survived several attempts on his life.

The Syrian government has held several Western and Arab nations governments  responsible for the killing of journalists in Syria.

While there is an element of plausible deniability related to the use of foreign backed terrorists to censor unwanted media reports the criminality of the belligerent parties does not stop there.  The Arab League violated at least four U.N. Resolutions when it caused Arabsat and Nilesat to cease carrying satellite signals from Syrian Radio and TV stations.

According to RT reports the hacker group Anonymous should have taken responsibility for hacking Syrian government websites because the Syrian government has shut down internet and phone services. It is very unlikely that the report is correct. If Anonymous actually is playing a role in the attack on Syria it is most likely because it has been co-opted.

Who ever is behind the attack, the strategy to prevent Syrians from use of mobile phones and the internet seems to be a self-defeating strategy if the intention is to win the hearts and minds of the Syrian people. It remains to see whether the targeting of the Syrian internet and telephone systems will be a precursor of a coordinated campaign against Syria.

Until internet and phone connections have been reestablished, the safest way to access information about Syria would be through media like PRESS TV, Al-Alam TV or independent media such as nsnbc, The 4th Media and others.

Source: nsnbc

 

 

 

Aleppo as an Islamic Emirate – the “Jihadists” Goal

 

 

 

Al-Watan Syrian newspaper quoted civilians who left their homes in Daria city of Damascus countryside that their city turned into a stronghold for the terrorists who came from several areas in Damascus countryside to carry out the Battle of Damascus.

The residents confirmed that most of the insurgents are foreigners who were wearing the symbol of al-Qaeda and have heavy armoury and mortar launchers.

The newspaper pointed out that the militants are about 2000-4000 fighters who entered large quantity of explosives, booby-trapped roads and buildings and barricaded in houses that they broke in earlier.

The newspaper also stated that the Syrian Army has surrounded the city and started moving forward through its four axises, causing large losses of the militants.

“The bodies of fighters are all over the city” the newspaper wrote, “lots of the corpses were burned, where other militants are still barricading in buildings, mosques and governmental institutions”

The newspaper added that the Syrian Army is predicted to settle the battle in the next few days after removing explosive charges and secure the roads in the city.

“Al-Watan” said that the Syrian Army has a new strategy in its current battle that includes attracting lots of terrorists inside the city and eliminating them.

About Aleppo, the newspaper said that the Islamic groups that link with al-Qaeda have strengthened in their positions in several neighborhoods of Aleppo city.

“The Islamists hold sway over the city after Arab and foreign “Jihadists” entered, attempting to make the city an Islamic emirate” the newspaper stated.

B.N

 

 

 

How Qatar Became a Francophone Country

 

 

 

There was a time when most French couldn’t place Qatar on a map. Now, Qatar – a small Gulf state with marginal ties to French culture – is a member of an international Francophone organization. Some have raised eyebrows at Qatar’s new Francophone identity since it has just expelled the director of a secular French lycée from its borders.

At the beginning of 2010, a Qatari prince decided to renovate a 17th century Parisian hotel he had recently purchased. However, after a few months of work, an organization that protects French heritage took Qatar to court to stop the project.

Tensions between the French administrators and their Qatari counterparts have mounted as local authorities pressed for changes in the curriculum and its principles, which have been in place since 1902.It turns out that the Qatari prince wanted to make radical changes to the historic building, such as constructing a car elevator from the parking garage directly to the rooms. The renovation plan also intended to remove an 18th century heater and replace it with modern bathroom facilities.

The renovation was not completely stopped, but the French Ministry of Culture, a heritage preservation group, and the courts came to an agreement with the prince to temper his ambitious renovation plans. Yet in the end, official French instructions dictated that the prince’s project be accommodated.

This is but a small example of what is happening today between Qatar and the French educational mission that was sent to the small Gulf state to run the new lycée (French school) in Doha. Tensions between the French administrators and their Qatari counterparts have mounted as local authorities pressed for changes in the curriculum and its principles, which have been in place since 1902.

The school – Lycée Voltaire – was opened in 2008 by then president Nicolas Sarkozy, under the auspices of Mission Laïque Française (MLF), a non-profit organization that establishes and runs French schools abroad in coordination with the Ministry of Education.

At the time, the French agreed – with the blessings of Sarkozy – to Qatari conditions that the school be run by administrators from both countries, with a Qatari appointed as president of the school’s administrative council. However, after a few years – when the student body had reached 700 pupils – the Qataris began interfering in the school curriculum, and in such a way that conflicts with the identity and mission of the MLF.

In 2011, for example, trouble started with the removal of a history book used in certain grade levels “due to it containing a chapter on Christianity in the Middle Ages,” according to Qatari officials.

In 2011, for example, trouble started with the removal of a history book used in certain grade levels “due to it containing a chapter on Christianity in the Middle Ages,” according to Qatari officials. More recently, the Arabic language textbook used in all classes was pulled and replaced with a book that teaches both Arabic and Islam together. When French teachers and school officials complained to their education ministry, the latter decided to relieve the French director, Frank Chouinard, of his duties.

 The French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur confirmed that the MLF will be leaving the emirate at the end of next month. Le Figaro added, “Financial complications between the Qatari and the French sides led Qatar to terminate MLF’s financial and administrative authority a month ago.”

For its part, the French embassy in Qatar released a statement on Tuesday, stating, “The director of Lycée Voltaire has left his post as director after a dispute with the Qatari side of the administration and will be departing from the emirate soon.”

The statement continued, “The school will continue its operations in Doha, with the support of France, in cooperation with Qatari officials.”

The Lycée Voltaire affair has come at a time of mounting controversy in France about French-Qatari relations as a whole, especially after the oil-rich emirate was inducted into France’s international cultural organization, the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF).

Buying a Francophone Identity

“Forty years ago, Qatar was nothing more than a pile of sand with a little oil in the eyes of the French,” a diplomat recalled in an interview with Le Point magazine. “Five years ago, most of the French did not even know where Qatar is located on a map,” another said.

Many people in France – who are not benefitting financially from Qatar’s largesse – realize that the rich emirate’s money-fueled invasion of their country will inevitably have some sort of negative impact on their republic.

Qatar today is one of the largest investors in France, buying up significant shares in a wide variety of sectors, including the media, sports, communication, energy, and luxury brands. It has even bought itself a seat in the IOF.

Meanwhile, frustrated IOF officials pointed out that Qatar was not even a Francophone country to begin with to deserve directly becoming a member-state. Qatar became a Francophone country with a blink of an eye. Without fulfilling any of the conditions to become part of the organization, the IOF gladly obliged the emir’s request and officially inducted Qatar as a full “member-state” last month.

This caused quite an uproar within the IOF and the French media, especially in light of the fact that Qatar was immediately accepted as member-state, without having to go through the “observer” stage that many of the new inductees had to go through.

Some news sources reported that Qatar “created a pressure group within the IOF – particularly among some African countries – to support its membership bid.” Meanwhile, frustrated IOF officials pointed out that Qatar was not even a Francophone country to begin with to deserve directly becoming a member-state.

But a spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry begged to differ. “There are fundamental reasons for including Qatar in the IOF,” the spokesperson said, such as Doha’s “inclusion of the French language into its official school curriculum at the beginning of this year, in addition to launching a French-speaking radio station.”

Some French pundits tied the two controversies together, with one commentator summing up the whole affair as follows: “Qatar expels a secular French educational mission from the country and reserves a seat in the IOF with support from some African countries, where [Qatar] is establishing religious schools that take the place of French ones.

Al-Akhbar Daily

By: Sabah Ayoub

 B.N

 

 

 

The many faces of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib

 

 

 

Completely unknown to the international public only a week ago, Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib has been catapulted to the presidency of the Syrian National Coalition, which represents pro-Western opposition in the Damascus government. Portrayed by an intense public relations campaign as a highly moral personality with no partisan or economic attachments, he is in truth a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an executive of the Shell oil company.

The dislocation of the armed Syrian opposition is a reflection of the conflict between the various States which are trying to "change the regime" in Damascus.

We should pay particular attention to the Syrian National Council (SNC), also known as the Istanbul Council, since it was instituted there. This council is guided with an iron hand by the French DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), and financed by Qatar. Its members, who have obtained residency and various other privileges in France, are under constant pressure from the secret services, who dictate every declaration they make.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) represent those local civilians who support armed action.

Finally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is principally managed by Turkey, unites most of the combatants, including the Al-Qaida brigades. 80% of these units recognize the Takfirist Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour as their spiritual leader. He is based in Saudi Arabia.

Seeking to regain leadership and bring a little order to this cacophony, Washington ordered the Arab League to call a meeting in Doha, sabotaged the SNC, and obliged as many of the tiny groups as possible to integrate a single and exclusive structure – the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. Behind the scenes, ambassador Robert S. Ford himself allotted the seats and privileges for this assembly, and has imposed as President of the Coalition a personality who has never yet been mentioned in the Press - Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib.

Robert S. Ford is considered to be the State Department’s principal specialist for the Middle East. He was the assistant of John Negroponte from 2004 to 2006, while this master spy was busy applying in Iraq the methods he had developed in Honduras – the intensive use of death squads and Contras. Shortly before the events in Syria began, Ford was nominated as Ambassador to Damascus, and assumed his functions despite Senate opposition. He immediately applied the Negroponte method to Syria with obvious results.

While the creation of the National Coalition objectifies Washington’s take-over of the armed opposition, it does not solve the question of representivity. Very quickly, various components of the SLA withdrew. In particular, the Coalition excludes any form of opposition which is hostile to armed struggle, especially Haytham al-Manna’s National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.

The choice of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib responds to a clear necessity – in order for the President to be recognized by the combatants, he has to be religious figure, but in order to be accepted by Westerners, he has to appear moderate. And especially, in this period of intense negotiations, the new President has to have a solid understanding of the subject in order to discuss the future of Syrian gas - but this is not a subject to be introduced in public.

US spin doctors quickly gave Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib a make-over, dressing him in a suit but no tie. Some of the media speak of him as a "model" leader. For example, a major US daily newspaper presents him as "a unique product of his culture, like Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma" [1]

Here is the portrait of him drawn up by the Agence France Presse (AFP):

"Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib, the consensual man

Born in 1960, Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib is a moderate religious figure who was for a time the Imam of the Omayyad's mosque in Damascus. He belongs to no political party.

It is this independence, and his proximity to Riad Seif at the origin of the initiative for a wider coalition, which makes him a consensual candidate for the leadership of the opposition.

His background is in Sufi Islam. A religious dignitary, he has studied international relations and diplomacy, and is not linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist organization in the opposition.

Arrested several times in 2012 for having publicly called for the end of the regime in Damascus, he was forbidden to speak in Syrian mosques by order of the authorities, and found refuge in Qatar.

Born in Damascus, he played a decisive role in the mobilization of the suburbs of the capital, notably Douma, which was active from the very beginnings of the peaceful demonstrations in March 2011. "Sheikh al-Khatib is a consensual figure who enjoys true popular support on the ground", underlines Khaled al-Zeini, a member of the Syrian National Council." [2]

The truth is quite different.

In reality, there is absolutely no evidence that Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib ever studied international relations and diplomacy, but he does have training as an engineer in geophysics. He worked for six years for the al-Furat Petroleum Company (1985-91), a joint-venture between the national company and other foreign enterprises, including the Anglo-Dutch Shell, with whom he has maintained contact.

In 1992, he inherited the prestigious charge of preacher at the Omayyad's mosque from his father, Sheikh Mohammed Abu al-Faraj al-Khatib. He was rapidly relieved of his functions and forbidden to preach anywhere in Syria. However, this episode did not occur in 2012, and has nothing to do with the present contestation - it happened twenty years ago, under Hafez el-Assad. At that time, Syria was supporting the international intervention to liberate Kuwait, in respect of international law, in order to get rid of their Iraqi rival, and also to forge closer ties with the West. As for the Sheikh, he was opposed to "Desert Storm" for the same religious motives which were proclaimed by Oussama Ben Laden - with whom he aligned himself - notably the refusal of Western presence on Arab lands, which they consider sacrilegious. This position led him to deliver a number of anti-semitic and anti-Western diatribes.

Following that, the Sheikh continued his activity as a religious teacher, notably at the Dutch Institute in Damascus. He made numerous trips abroad, mainly to Holland, the United Kingdom and the United State. Finally, he settled in Qatar.

In 2003-04, during the attribution of oil and gas concessions, he returned to Syria as a lobbyist for the Shell group.

He came back to Syria again at the beginning of 2012, where he inflamed the neighbourhood of Douma (a suburb of Damascus). He was arrested, then pardoned, and left the country in July to settle in Cairo.

His family is indeed steeped in the Sufi tradition, but contrary to what the AFP claims, he is a member of the Muslim brotherhood, and declared this quite clearly at the end of his speech of investiture at Doha. According to the usual technique of the Brotherhood, he adapts not only the form, but also the content of his speeches to his audience. Sometimes leaning towards a multi-religious society, sometimes towards the restoration of sharia law. In his writings, he qualifies Jewish people as "enemies of God", and Chiite muslims as "rejectionist heretics", epithets which are the equivalent of a death sentence.

In the end, Ambassador Robert S. Ford has played his hand well - once again Washington has duped its allies. Just like in Libya, France has taken all the risks, but in the major compromises which are to come, Total will have gained no advantage.

By Thierry Meyssan

B.N

 

 

 

Mofaz: Hamas Has Upper Hand, Truce Mistake

 

 

 

Israeli opposition leader and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz slammed the truce between the Zionist entity and resistance in Gaza as a mistake, saying that Hamas had the upper hand.

“The army knows how to do its work, and we could have won this time. A cease-fire at this point is a mistake; this is not how a war against terror ends. Hamas has the upper hand,” the former Israeli cheif of staff wrote on his Facebook page.

“The goals of his operation were not reached, and the next round is only a matter of time,” he said, adding: “We should not have stopped at this stage. Hamas got stronger and we did not gain deterrence.”

Ceasefire took effect in Gaza on Wednesday at 21:00. The agreement was announced by Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a press conference in Cairo.

 

B.N      

Source: agencies

 

 

 

What Arabs Did for Gaza? What They Did for Syria?

 

 

 

Tens of years during which most of the Arab countries and their summits did not provide anything to the Palestinian cause but words and speeches, while the Palestinian people was the sole victim, and most of the Arab countries made plots against each other and stood up against the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem on Saturday during the urgent ministerial meeting of the Arab League in Cairo to tackle the Zionist assault on Gaza.

It took long for the Arab leaders to find a suitable description for their fear of the Zionist entity. Their meetings which coincided with attacking Gaza have resulted in nothing but in the first aid which was even insufficient for healing the wounds of victims.

Gaza had been under a similar attack in 2008, where peace initiative remained on table besides the first aid.

At that time, Arab leaders tried to unify under the Doha summit, but they failed to get Gaza out of its crisis.

“In addition to the verbal support, we should make practical moves,” said the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the Doha summit.

However, the practical moves that Assad called for, were practiced against Damascus. After Arab leaders’ inability to everything in Gaza, they sharpened their ambitions to overthrow the regime in Syria.

“We should mobilize all means of international pressure against the Syrian regime, as stated by his excellency Qatar’s PM,” said Nabil al-Arabi, Arab League Secretary General during an Arab League session in 2012.

“I believe that our Council shouldn’t be careless towards the level of serious escalation in Syria,” declared Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faissal during the same session.

“We want to impose a tangible economic pressure, perhaps the Syrian regime realizes the inevitability of meeting the demands of its people,” also stated the Qatari PM.

Sanctions were not enough; yet, arming the opposition is a more practical means. It is an intuitive initiative by the mind which armed resistance in Gaza with some bandages and medicines.

“In this solution Yes, we support the arming of the Syrian opposition,” said Saud al-Faissal.

Who said that Arabs are ewes? They are wolves towards each other, but EWES only before what they call ‘Israel’.

B. N.

Souce: Almanar website

 

 

 

 

It's Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves

 

 

 

The way western politicians and media have pontificated about Israel's onslaught on Gaza, you'd think it was facing an unprovoked attack from a well-armed foreign power. Israel had every "right to defend itself", Barack Obama declared. "No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."

 He was echoed by Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, who declared that the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas bore "principal responsibility" for Israel's bombardment of the open-air prison that is the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, most western media have echoed Israel's claim that its assault is in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks; the BBC speaks wearisomely of a conflict of "ancient hatreds".

 In fact, an examination of the sequence of events over the last month shows that Israel played the decisive role in the military escalation: from its attack on a Khartoum arms factory reportedly supplying arms to Hamas and the killing of 15 Palestinian fighters in late October, to the shooting of a mentally disabled Palestinian in early November, the killing of a 13 year-old in an Israeli incursion and, crucially, the assassination of the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari last Wednesday during negotiations over a temporary truce.

 Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had plenty of motivation to unleash a new round of bloodletting. There was the imminence of Israeli elections (military attacks on the Palestinians are par for the course before Israeli polls); the need to test Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, and pressure Hamas to bring other Palestinian guerrilla groups to heel; and the chance to destroy missile caches before any confrontation with Iran, and test Israel's new Iron Dome anti-missile system.

 So after six days of sustained assault by the world's fourth largest military power on one of its most wretched and overcrowded territories, at least 130 Palestinians had been killed, an estimated half of them civilians, along with five Israelis. The goal, Israel's interior minister, Eli Yeshai, insisted, had been to "send Gaza back to the middle ages".

 True, the bloodshed hasn't so far been on the scale of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead in three weeks. But the issue isn't just who started and escalated it, or even the grinding "disproportionality" of yet another Israeli military battering (even before last month's flareups, 314 Palestinians had been killed since 2009, as against 20 Israelis).

 It's that to portray Israel as some kind of victim with every right to "defend itself" from attack from "outside its borders" is a grotesque inversion of reality. Israel has after all been in illegal occupation of both the West Bank and Gaza, where most of the population are the families of refugees who were driven out of what is now Israel in 1948, for the past 45 years.

 Despite Israel's withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, the Gaza Strip remains occupied, both effectively and legally – and is recognised as such by the UN. Israel is in control of Gaza's land and sea borders, territorial waters and natural resources, airspace, power supply and telecommunications. It has blockaded the strip since Hamas took over in 2006-7, preventing the movement of people, materials, and food supplies in and out of the territory – even calculating the 2,279 calories per person that would keep Gazans on an exemplary "diet". And it continues to invade the strip at will.

 So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

 Even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation in 2005, Gaza's people are Palestinians, and their territory part of the 22% of historic Palestine earmarked for a Palestinian state that depends on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Across their land, Palestinians have the right to defend and arm themselves, whether they choose to exercise it or not.

 But instead the US, Britain and other European powers finance, arm and back to the hilt Israel's occupation, including the siege of Gaza – precisely to prevent Palestinians obtaining the arms that would allow them to protect themselves against Israeli military might.

 It's hardly surprising of course that powers which have themselves invaded, occupied and intervened across the Arab and Muslim world over the last decade should throw their weight behind Israel doing the same thing on its own doorstep. But it isn't Palestinian rockets that stop Israel lifting the blockade, dismantling its illegal settlements or withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza – it's unconditional US and western support that gives Israel impunity.

 Whatever the Israeli government's mix of motivations for winding up the past week's conflict, it seems to have backfired. For the first time since the start of the Arab uprisings, the cause of Palestine is again centre stage.

 Emboldened by the wave of change and growing support across the region, Hamas has also regained credibility as a resistance force, which had faded since 2009, and strengthened its hand against an increasingly discredited Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah. The deployment of longer-range rockets that have now been shown to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is also beginning to shift what has been an overwhelmingly one-sided balance of deterrence.

 The truce being negotiated on Tuesday would reportedly enforce Hamas responsibility for policing the strip and crucially break the blockade, opening the Rafah crossing with Egypt for goods as well as people. It doesn't, however, look like the long-term security deal with Hamas Israel was looking for, which would risk deepening the disastrous Palestinian split between Gaza and the West Bank.

 Any relief from the bombardment, death and suffering of the past week has got to be welcome. But no ceasefire is going to prevent another eruption of violence. Whatever is finally agreed won't end Israel's occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land or halt its war of dispossession against the Palestinian people. That demands unrelenting pressure on the western powers that underwrite it to change course. But most of all, it needs a change in the balance of forces on the ground.

     Seumas Milne

             The Guardian, Tuesday 20 November 2012 22.32 GMT

M.D.