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Political solution only way to save Syria out of crisis: says Jalili

Tehran(ST)-Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili has stated that political solution is the only way to save Syria out of crisis.

Jalili made the comment during a meeting with Haytham Manna, the vice chairman of Syria’s National Coordination Committee opposition group on Sunday,according to Press T.V.
He said countries, which cause problems for Syria to achieve democracy, are part of the problem themselves.

He reiterated that the Islamic Republic of Iran is against any violence.

Earlier in the day, Manna met with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who said the second round of the Syria National Dialogue meeting is planned to be held in Tehran.

“The second round of the meeting of Syrian groups, and national and popular figures will be held with the participation of representatives from the Syrian government,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

Amir-Abdollahian condemned the foreign-backed terrorists groups in operations in Syria. saying the continued militancy has only inflicted destruction and damage on the country’s infrastructure, while increasing human casualties.

For his part, Manaa said that Iran's efforts regarding Syria are valuable and that they come within the framework of supporting the recomendaitons of the UN Envoy, the quartet and the recent national dialogue meetings held in Tehran.

Manaa also talked about the National Coordination Committee's viewpoints regarding solving problems in Syria on various levels.


Qatari poet jailed for life

A Qatari poet has been sentenced to life in prison for writing  verse that officials claim insults Qatar's emir and encourages the overthrow of the nation's ruling system, his defence attorney says.

It was the latest blow in a widening clampdown on perceived dissent across the Gulf Arab states.

The verdict in a state security court is certain to bring a fresh outpouring of denunciations by rights groups, which have repeatedly called for the release of the poet, Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. It also marks another example of tough measures by judicial and security officials in the Gulf against possible challenges to their rule .

The poet's lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, said he planned to appeal.

"This judge made the whole trial secret," said Nuaimi. "Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me."

Qatari officials charged Ajami with "insulting" the Gulf nation's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and "inciting to overthrow the ruling system". The latter charge could have brought a death sentence.

Nuaimi said Ajami, a third-year student of literature at Cairo University, had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest.

Gulf regimes have stepped up crackdowns on a range of perceived threats to their rule, including Islamist groups and social media activists. Earlier this month, Kuwaiti authorities arrested four people on charges of insulting the emir with Twitter posts, and the United Arab Emirates imposed sweeping new internet regulations that allow arrests for a wide list of offensives, including insulting leaders or calling for demonstrations.

Last year, Bahrain issued a royal pardon for some protest-linked suspects, including a 20-year-old woman sentenced to a year in prison for reciting poetry critical of the government.


Hariri and Sakr Caught Red-Handed

The exploits of Future MP Okab Sakr have not been limited to providing arms to Syrian opposition fighters. The recordings obtained by Al-Akhbar have also shed light on his pivotal role in closely following up on military operations in Syria, even personally leading military operations rooms spread throughout Turkey and Lebanon.

The source who provided Al-Akhbar with the incriminating Hariri-Sakr phone recordings – a former associate who worked in one of Sakr’s military centers in Turkey – had one condition for releasing the rest of the recordings: “publish [what you get] to receive more.”

The first batch of recordings contained enough evidence to establish the involvement of former prime minister Saad Hariri and Future Movement MP Okab Sakr in the ongoing bloody conflict in Syria. As Al-Akhbar revealed earlier this week, Sakr and Hariri have not only been providing weapons and logistical support to the armed Syrian opposition; they have also been directing military operations remotely, and allegedly using the crisis in Syria  to pursue their own interests with little or no thought for the collateral damage.

While the source confirmed that he remains in the Syrian opposition camp “fighting against the oppressive regime,” he said, “I am now wanted by both sides,” referring to both the regime and the opposition.

The source backed up his claims of association with Sakr by providingAl-Akhbar with private photos of the Future MP taken in several locations, and spoke in detail about events he witnessed over the span of more than a year working with Sakr in the so-called “revolutionary operations rooms” in Turkey.

The source explained the nature of these rooms, and the kind of people who are often present there or who oversee them, pointing out that leaders from the armed Syrian opposition meet periodically there with Sakr, as well as with representatives from Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

The representatives, according to the source, often provide input and sometimes even instructions and general guidance. For example, a representative could weigh in on the need to deliver the appropriate type of ammunition to a certain location, especially since many mistakes have been made in this regard.

On one occasion, for example, ammunition for Russian-made “Val” assault rifles was sent to combatants who were only equipped with Kalashnikov rifles. For this reason, shipments were double-checked to ensure that the right consignment went to the right place, and that the ammunition dispatched matched the weapons sent previously.

Later on, instructions were given to rig supply trucks transporting weapons with explosives that can be detonated in the event they are captured or ambushed. The strict measures in place include disciplining anyone responsible for losing a single bullet or shell.

The source then revealed the presence of operations rooms in Lebanon as well, which he said were “actively involved in the Syrian revolution” and are directly linked to Turkey. He added that six Syrians, in addition to a number of Lebanese, run one such room in north Lebanon.

Syrian leaders who come to Lebanon, the source said, are usually received at a villa in the Mount Lebanon area of Faqra. On one of his visits to Lebanon, along with other young men, the source stayed at the villa in question. They all received cash payments, and, according to the source, it was common to say that one was “going to or coming back from Faqra” each time they were going to get paid a large sum.

Whenever [Sakr] got angry with anyone, he would send them to a combat battalion in the front lines, whether in Homs or Aleppo.He pointed out that a retired Lebanese officer who had visited Turkey on a number of occasions is in charge of running this office. This same officer would often contact the operations room in Turkey to inquire about arms shipments dispatched to certain areas in Syria. Furthermore, the source maintained, MP Sakr “instructed us” to do whatever this officer asked.

For wire transfers, the source told Al-Akhbar, MP Sakr uses S., a money transfer company that conducts most of its transactions in an illegal manner and therefore cannot be tracked.

Concerning Sakr’s ties to the Lutfallah II, a ship seized in north Lebanon carrying weapons from Libya, the source confirmed that members from the Syrian National Council (SNC) were involved in the smuggling in agreement with Libyan figures and Colonel Malik al-Kurdi.

He denied any involvement by Sakr or the retired officer mentioned above, however, and said that Sakr was “furious” that day and accused the SNC of having been infiltrated by the Syrian government.

The source also distinguished between the head of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Information Branch, the late Wissam al-Hassan, and Sakr, over the manner in which each man treated others.

Hassan, he said, “gave so much to the revolution,” and “often intervened to help and release those who were arrested for smuggling weapons.”

Hassan sometimes also met with Syrians who were sent to Lebanon, according to the source, and had a role in smuggling out the French journalists who were trapped in Homs.

Sakr, meanwhile, dealt vindictively with those around him, said the source.

“Whenever he got angry with anyone, he would send them to a combat battalion in the front lines, whether in Homs or Aleppo,” two of the most dangerous areas, he said, adding that three young men who were working with him ended up dying on these missions.

Another account he gave to Al-Akhbar involves Hussam Qaddour, also known as Abu-Fadel, a young man who acted as an arms procurement officer for rebels in Latakia. Presumably, the Lebanese MP sent Qaddour to test some rockets, “but he came back carried on a stretcher, and remains to this day in intensive care,” the source said.

What happened was that Sakr asked Abu-Fadel to bring back footage of rockets being fired in the Haffa region, “bearing in mind that Okab knew full well that the regime troops in the area had radars and guided missiles and immediately responded to the location of rocket fire,” the source insisted, accusing Sakr of “sending the young man to his death.”

The source even claimed that Sakr “withheld ambulances which usually respond within half an hour,” but on that day, he said, “it took them three hours to arrive.”

In today’s installment, Al-Akhbar has published the transcript of a phone conversation with an unidentified man who inquires about anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, in addition to requesting the delivery of machine guns, machine gun bullets, and RPG rounds.

Audio experts could not confirm the identity of the second person. While one expert affirmed it was Saad Hariri.



THE GOVERNMENT STATEMENT For Executing the Political Program for Solving the Crisis


  Based upon the instructions of Mr. President of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Government to formulate the mechanisms and executive steps of the Political Program for solving the crisis in Syria, the Council of Ministers, in its two specific sessions dated 8 & 9 January 2013, states the following:

1)         Ratifying the Political Program for solving the crisis in Syria (enclosed with this statement) which clarifies the tasks the Syrian Government is seeking to accomplish till adopting the National Covenant by the people, after agreeing upon it in the National Dialogue Conference, in a way guaranteeing stress upon political multiplicity and the basic principles related to the sovereignty of Syria, its unity, integrity of its lands, the unity of its people, denial of external interference and rejecting violence and terror of all forms.

2)         Forming a ministerial work team under the presidency of the Prime Minister and membership of:

•           Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs;

•           Minister of Transportation;

•           Minister of Information;

•           Minister of Industry;

•           Minister of Justice;

•           Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs;

•           Minister of State for Red Crescent Affairs;

•           Minister of State for People Assembly Affairs;

For implementing the tasks to be incumbent upon this Government in the enclosed Political Program.

3)         Calling the regional and international states and bodies connected with the armed groups to cease financing, arming and sheltering them, and calling these armed groups to abide by immediate cease of violence of all forms for preventing bloodshed and safeguarding the homeland and its unity, sovereignty and independence, a matter facilitating the return of Syrians who have left because of such events to their original residence places; as soon as such armed groups and their supporters observe ceasing violence and all military supply operations, the military operations on the territories of the Syrian Arab Republic would come to an end, while the army and the armed forces reserve the right to defend themselves, the citizens and the public and private properties.

4)         Calling the international society, with all its bodies, organizations and states, to support the political solution of the crisis in Syria, to combat terror of all forms, and to abide by implementing the related UN resolutions, including banning exporting arms to the terrorist groups and stop their financial, political and informative support.

5)         Entrusting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Expatriates to carry out regional and international contacts for demonstrating this initiative, calling for its support and making consultations about the mechanism that could be applied for monitoring the implementation of the above-mentioned points, control of borders in particular, especially as the initiative has been based upon the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, the International Law and Geneva Declaration dated 30.06.2012.

6)         Entrusting the specialized governmental committees to convene intensive meetings for speeding up the implementation of the necessary succor plans with a view to treating the consequences of events, especially repair of defects resulting from terrorist sabotage operations of utilities and rehabilitating infrastructures in energy, water and other sectors, securing consumer supplies, combating monopoly, controlling economic status and making decisions concerning the claims of people damaged by events and compensating them, as well as dealing with situations of those displaced inside and outside.

7)         Entrusting the Supreme Relief Committee to provide humanitarian aids and facilitating their reach to eligible people in cooperation with local activity groups, civil society organizations and the concerned international organizations inside and outside Syria.

8)         Entrusting the Ministry of State for National Reconciliation Affairs to provide support for the national initiatives launched in some provinces and circulating them over other provinces of the country.

9)         Entrusting the Ministry of Justice to cooperate with other concerned bodies for taking the necessary actions for speeding up referral to the judiciary and taking decisions in suitcases under hearing due to the current events, setting free persons whose incrimination has not been proved and settling the situations of anybody handing in his weapon to the concerned bodies and not pursuing him due to that.

10)       Calling the National Opposition inside and outside, all political parties, leaderships and trends and other Syrian society components to start open dialogues with a view to making preparations, along with the governmental team, for holding a National Dialogue Conference, after providing sufficient guarantees for persons wishing to enter into, stay in and leave the country without pursuit or detention.

11)       Carrying out everything necessary for holding the National Dialogue Conference with a view to formulating the National Covenant pinpointing the landmarks of the constitutional and judicial system, and the political and economic features of the state.

12)       As soon as the National Covenant is sanctioned by the people through a general referendum, the existing government's mission would come to an end, and an expanded government with wide executive powers would be formed, as per the constitution rules, representing the Syrian society components and entrusted with the task of forming a constituent assembly for drawing up a new draft constitution in implementation of what has been agreed upon in National Dialogue Conference, and then such a draft constitution would be put forth for people referendum for approval. Then the government would sanction laws agreed upon in the conference for completing issuing them in accordance with the new constitution; perform parliamentary elections based upon the new election law, followed by forming a new government, convening the National Reconciliation Conference and issuing a general amnesty for crimes committed during the events while preserving civil rights of the related persons.


The Government calls the great people of Syria with all its components to support this program and to earnestly participate in implementing it to save the homeland, protect its capabilities and guard it against encompassing dangers.


The Political Program for Solving the Crisis

Starting from the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, the International Law, the related UN resolutions and the Geneva Declaration issued on 30.06.2012 ascertaining the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the states and non-interference in their internal affairs, and believing in  the necessity of dialogue among the Syrian people under the leadership of Syria, and for drawing up the political future of the democratic Syria on the basis of political multiplicity, and with a view to creating a safe and stable climate based upon ceasing all forms of violence, the Political Program for solving the crisis in Syria will be as follows:

Firstly- The Preparatory Stage:

1.         The abidance of all territorial and international states and parties by stopping financing, arming and providing refuge for the armed groups;

2.         The abidance of all armed groups by immediately ceasing all forms of violence;

3.         The abidance of the army and the armed forces by ceasing military operations except in cases of defending themselves, citizens and public and private properties;

4.         Finding a mechanism ensuring the abidance of parties by ceasing violence and control of borders;

5.         Facilitating the reach of humanitarian aids to those deserving them;

6.         Starting rehabilitating infrastructures and paying compensations to damaged citizens;

7.         Providing the necessary guarantees for the Syrian citizens who have left because of the events, and facilitating their return through the border inlets;

8.         Providing guarantees for all Syrian opposition movements to enter, stay and leave the country without pursuing or detaining them for the purpose of participating in the national dialogue;

9.         Entrusting the Ministry of Justice to cooperate with other concerned bodies for taking the necessary actions for speeding up referral to the judiciary and taking decisions in suitcases under hearing due to the current events, setting free persons whose incrimination has not been proved and settling the situations of anybody handing in his weapon to the concerned bodies and not pursuing him due to that;

10.        Carrying out extensive contacts by the Government with the national opposition, parties, all political powers and civil society bodies, including social, religious and economic bodies, to immediately start open dialogues for holding the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference.

Secondly- The Transitional Stage, starting after finishing the Preparatory Stage,

                   This includes the following:

1.         The Government calls for holding a comprehensive National Dialogue Conference aiming at drawing up a National Covenant based upon the following:

a.         Adherence to the sovereignty of Syria, and the unity and integrity of its lands and people;

b.         Denial of all forms of external interference in the Syrian affairs;

c.          Rejection of all forms of violence and terror;

d.         Drawing up the political future of the democratic Syria and agreeing upon the constitutional and judicial system and the political and economic features on the basis of the political multiplicity and the rule of law, adhering to the civil status of the state, ascertaining equality among citizens irrespective of race, religion and ethnics, freedom of opinion, respect of human rights, combating corruption, developing administration, agreeing upon new laws for parties, elections, local administration and information, and other matters to be agreed upon in the conference.

2.         Putting the National Covenant before people referendum for approval.

3.         Forming an expanded government with wide executive powers, as per the constitution rules, representing the Syrian society components and entrusted with the task of forming a constituent assembly for drawing up a new draft constitution in implementation of what has been agreed upon in National Dialogue Conference about the constitutional and judicial system and the political and economic features of the renovated Syria.

4.         When the constituent assembly finishes its work, the draft constitution would be put forth for referendum to be approved by the people.

5.         After accrediting the constitution, such an extensive government would adopt the laws agreed upon in the Dialogue Conference as a preliminary step toward issuing them as per the new constitution.

6.         Performing the parliamentary elections based upon the new election law and in accordance with the constitution rules.


Thirdly- The Third Stage:

1.         The new government is to be formed in accordance with the new constitution.

2.         The National Reconciliation Conference is to be convened with a view to restoring firm bonds among Syrian citizens starting from the nationalistic and ethical concepts that have characterized the Syrian citizen.

3.         Issuing a general amnesty for crimes committed during the events, setting free detainees and stopping pursuing any citizen as a result of those events, while preserving civil rights of the related persons.

4.         Completing and speeding up works of rehabilitating infrastructures, rebuilding and compensating citizens damaged by these events.

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Larijani confers with senior clerics in Iraq

Tehran, (ST)-According to the report of Majlis News Agency (Nation House), Ali Larijani who is in Iraq upon an invitation of his Iraqi counterpart, affirmed  "Iran is trying to settle crisis in Syria in a peaceful way, but unfortunately interference of certain countries have created problems for Syrian people,according to IRNA.

"Achieving peace in Syria depends on holding dialogue between domestic sides and that the international statesmen should play an effective role in creation of stability and tranquility in Syria,'he added.

He went on to say that the opposite sides in Syria should consider national interests and think about their own people.