Poll: 76 percent of Britons Oppose Hague on Arming Terrorists in Syria

TEHRAN - Over three quarters of the public believes that Britain should avoid arming the terrorists in Syria, according to a poll in the wake of Britain's support for the lifting of an EU arms embargo, according to FNA.

More than half (58%) would support offering humanitarian aid.

Last week the European Union lifted its arms embargo on Syria, with the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, claiming that the decision gave the UK and others flexibility in responding to a worsening situation.

An Opinion/Observer poll published on Saturday suggested that public opinion would not be behind any military intervention, no matter how hands-off. In a sign of the public's changing attitude towards Britain's role in the world, 78% of those polled said that they believe the UK is too overstretched as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan to intervene in a new conflict. Nearly three quarters (72%) believe that the UK can no longer afford to act as a major military power. More than two thirds (69%) believe that the UK should restrict the military to protecting UK territory and providing humanitarian aid in times of crisis.

Respondents broadly disapproved of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with just under a third saying they supported them and around 60% opposing the interventions. Yesterday the United Nations said more than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in May, the highest monthly death toll for years. Respondents were narrowly in favor of the no-fly zone in Libya, with 46% supporting it and 32% opposing it.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, has also questioned the policy. "How would the government prevent British-supplied weapons falling into the wrong hands, and how does supplying weapons help to secure a lasting peace?" he asked.

M.D

Colonization behind the War in Syria – Bolivia

 

TEHRAN,( ST)_   Bolivian Assistant Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Alorald  stressed  that those who were behind igniting  the flames of war in Iraq and Afghanistan are the ones who provoked the war in Syria, considering  UN resolutions to resolve the crisis in Syria are useless,  and led to the escalation of violence and contributed to foreign  interference.

In a statement to the Iranian News Agency (IRNA) on Saturday, the Bolivian official explained  that the UN resolutions to resolve the crisis in Syria are no longer useful  to restore security and stability to Syria, calling for " taking  advantage of opportunities for national dialogue to settle differences."

He continued  that the crisis in Syria is part of a colonial scheme by  arrogant powers and another form of military aggression of colonization against an independent country, stressing that colonial powers only consider  its own interests and  that cultural, intellectual, economic and political colonization of  other peoples is still listed on colonial powers agenda.

On March 13th , 2012,  Bolivian President Evo Morales said that the crisis in Syria is an internal affair ,fed from abroad , noting  that the call for military intervention in Syria hides commercial motives.

 

T. Fateh 

Erdogan Must Resign, Chants Ring out in Turkey

 

Thousands of people are in Taksim Square after days of unrest sparked by plans to redevelop nearby Gezi Park.

Police have fired tear gas and water cannon several times in recent days to break up the demonstrations, according to BBC.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the park development will go ahead.

Murat Yetkin in the pro-secular, English-language daily Hurriyet says the "disproportionate" response of police to the protests "has managed to turn a pacifist and modest protest into a public protest movement".

Ali Bayramoglu, writing in the pro-government Islamist daily Yeni Safak asks how the authorities allowed the situation to get so bad. "If there is a public reaction, why won't it [the government] halt the project, even temporarily, and talk to the protestors?"

In Islamist daily Today's Zaman, Ihsan Yilmaz says that if the government does not listen to the protesters the park issue "may be the last straw and may pave the way for the eventual electoral loss of the city". 

    Press slams handling of protests

The protesters say the park is one of the few green spaces left in Istanbul, and that the government is ignoring their appeals for it be saved.

Their protests initially began as a sit-in in the park, but erupted in clashes on Friday as police fired tear gas to try to clear them out.

Correspondents say that what was initially a local issue has spiralled into widespread anti-government unrest and anger over the perceived "Islamisation" of Turkey.

One woman told Agence France-Presse: " they want to impose their vision all the while pretending to respect democracy."

Another, Oral Goktas, said the protest had brought together people from many different backgrounds.

"This has become a protest against the government, against Erdogan taking decisions like a king," she told Reuters news agency.

 

The perception that police had been heavy-handed by firing tear gas and water cannon - a view adopted by many of the country's mainstream media - also fuelled the unrest. Dozens of people have been injured in the clashes.

Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper quoted police as saying 138 people were in custody.

In an apparent bid to reduce tensions, police and riot vehicles were withdrawn from the square on Saturday afternoon, and barricades removed, allowing thousands of people to enter the square.

Protests in Ankara continued into Saturday

The scene in the central square appeared to be peaceful, with protesters chanting slogans, dancing and waving banners, some calling for the government to resign.

The US has expressed concern over Turkey's handling of the protests and Amnesty International condemned the police's tactics.

M.D

Yemen air raids kill 7 'Qaeda' members - local official

Two air strikes that targeted two vehicles in south Yemen on Saturday killed seven members of Al-Qaeda and wounded two more, a local official said.

The deaths came on the same day suspected members of the extremist group shot dead a senior air force officer, according to Voice of Russia, AFP.

Saturday's attacks by the Yemeni air force hit the two vehicles on the outskirts of the town of Mahfad in Abyan province, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said Al-Qaeda-linked militants were seen evacuating the casualties and transferring them to a local medical centre.

Al-Qaeda remains active in Mahfad close to Zinjibar and Jaar, which they ruled for a year before being driven out by a government offensive mounted in May last year.

US drones frequently conduct strikes targeting suspected militants as part of Washington's war on the" jihadist" network across several countries, and in support of Yemen's war on extremists.

The gunman sped off on the back of a motorbike after killing Colonel Yahya al-Umayssi, commander of the air force detachment in the town of Seiyun, in the inland north of the province, an official said.

A witness said that both assailants were masked but that the gunman removed his mask before opening fire.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but loyalists of "Al-Qaeda" have carried out a spate of assassinations of security officers in south and east Yemen in retaliation for a US-backed crackdown on its network.

Some 70 security officers have been killed in the region in the past two years in attacks attributed to "Al-Qaeda", officials say."Al-Qaeda" had taken advantage of a weakening of central government control during the 2011 uprising that forced veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power to seize large swathes of the south and east.

AQAP, which is based in Yemen, is considered by the United States to be the most dangerous branch of the global extremist network.

Gunmen kill air force officer in Yemen

Unidentified assailants shot dead a senior Yemeni air force officer on Saturday in the eastern province of Hadramawt, where" Al-Qaeda "remains active despite a government crackdown, a security official said.

The gunman sped off on the back of a motorbike after killing Colonel Yahya al-Umayssi, commander of the air force detachment at the town of Seiyun, in the inland north of the province, an official said.

R.S

May was deadliest month for years in Iraq- UN

The United Nations says more than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in May, the highest monthly death toll for years.

The violence makes it the deadliest month since the wide violence of 2006-7, and raising concern that the country is returning to civil war.

The vast majority of the casualties were civilians, and Baghdad was the worst hit area of the country, according to BBC.

Martin Kobler, UN envoy to Iraq, called it a "sad record" and urged politicians to act to stop the bloodshed.

Systemic violence risks wider conflict

Multiple bombings have ripped across the country over the past few months.

Figures released on Saturday showed 1,045 civilians and security personnel were killed in May, far higher than the 712 who died in April, the worst recorded toll since June 2008.

On Thursday, Mr Kobler warned that "systemic violence is ready to explode at any moment if all Iraqi leaders do not engage immediately to pull the country out of this mayhem".

The BBC's Rami Ruhayem, in Baghdad, says the violence has been linked to a stand-off in Iraq  following the US-led invasion 10 years ago.

But the attacks seem to tell a different story, our correspondent says.

Outside of Baghdad, areas were badly hit.

One explanation is that Sunni militant groups linked to al-Qaeda want to provoke civil war in

The bloodshed has been accompanied by unconfirmed rumours about sectarian militias roaming Baghdad for revenge, which have caused fear in many areas of the capital.

The violence has prompted many initiatives aimed at stopping any slide into civil war, including appeals by clerics and grassroots tribal campaigns.

 

R.S