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Tag Archives: Syria

Exclusive: Saudi offers Russia deal to scale back Assad support – sources

Saudi Arabia has offered Russia economic incentives including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if Moscow scales back support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle East sources and Western diplomats said on Wednesday.

The proposed deal between two of the leading power brokers in Syria’s devastating civil war was set out by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, they said.

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Russia’s Middle-East End Game, at the Hands of the Post-Soviet Grandmaster

Vladimir Putin, now in power for over 13 years, has a history with the United States, his one-time opponent on the global chessboard. He began by mending ties with NATO, broken during the Kosovo conflict, and then actually applying for membership in the alliance that once faced off against the Red Army. In the wake of Sept. 11, Putin not only called George W. Bush, but also gave practical and substantive support to U.S. operations in Afghanistan—and tolerated a large U.S. military presence in former Soviet Central Asia.

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Israeli Navy Installing System to Counter Yakhont Russian Anti-Ship Missile

Israel’s Navy has begun installing a new defense system on its missile boats that would protect them from the feared Yakhont Russian anti-ship missile, Israel Hayom reported. The Barak 8 medium-range missile is designed to intercept airborne threats, including enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles. “History has never seen ships capable of controlling territory as well as Israel’s Navy using the Barak 8 missile,” according to a source familiar with the weapon.

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CIA’s favorite Saudi prince is laying the groundwork for a post-Assad Syria

From Washington’s perspective, Bandar’s appointment is important news. Sure, his wife was investigated by Congress a decade ago about her connections to Al-Qaida activists. But Bandar is considered the CIA’s man in Riyadh. When there was a need to transfer money to the Nicaraguan rebels in the 1980s, Bandar dealt with the Saudi “grants” requested by the White House. He also arranged things when Saudi Arabia was asked to help fund the mujahideen’s battles in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

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Qatar’s Geopolitical Gamble: How the Gulf State May Have Overreached

Nearly three weeks after Egypt’s military forced the country’s President Mohamed Morsi out of office and jailed him and officials of his Muslim Brotherhood party, the explosive reaction on Cairo’s streets has brought death and turmoil—and in another country more than 1,200 miles away, an uneasy sense of loss. Qatar, the tiny gas-rich peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, had poured nearly $5 billion into Morsi’s government in its one short year in office, propping up Egypt’s teetering economy, and investing—or so it thought—in a lasting relationship with the Arab world’s most populous nation.

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‘Act of war’: U.S. general gives options for Syria military intervention

The top U.S. general has set out five options for military intervention in Syria in a non-classified letter made public Monday. Despite outlining the options, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed that the decision of whether to go to war was one for civilian leaders. In his July 19 letter, he pointed out that the use of the options would be a political decision that should not be carried out lightly and would be, “no less than an act of war.” The options range from nonlethal intelligence and weapons training to a boots-on-the-ground plan to “assault and secure” the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons.

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Admiral Stavridis: the Eastern Mediterranean is like the Balkans in 1914

Admiral Stavridis: the Eastern Mediterranean is like the Balkans in 1914

As was the case with the Balkans in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, the Eastern Mediterranean is now a pile of “kindling”, ready to trigger a larger explosion. Similar to the ball which deprived the life of Archduke Ferdinand, nobody can predict what could widen the conflict, but surely the possibility should not be ignored. Conflicts Sunni and Shiite boil. In the old sources of tension have been added and new, mainly for gas deposits claimed by Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

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Britain pockets billions from selling weapons to rogue states

Britain has issued export licenses worth £$12 billion for the sale of military equipment to states deemed possible rights violators including Syria, Iran and China, lawmakers said. A report by a group of parliamentary panels said 3,000 licenses for arms and other equipment had been issued to those on the Foreign Office’s list of 27 countries of human rights concerns. The countries include Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Belarus and Zimbawe, the Committees on Arms Export Controls of parliament’s lower House of Commons said.

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Syria no-fly zone requires ground control

Britain’s outgoing army chief has warned that attempts to impose a no-fly zone over Syria would be unsuccessful without establishing ground control, in an interview published in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph. Britain is at the forefront of international efforts to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and has promised to supply rebels with equipment to protect them against chemical weapons attacks. But in his interview with the Telegraph, general David Richards said: “If you wanted to have the material impact on the Syrian regime’s calculations that some people seek, a no-fly zone per se is insufficient.

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Britain’s Chemical Sales To Syria Revealed

Britain has sold industrial materials to Syria that could have been used to make chemical weapons, according to a new report by MPs on arms sales. The Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) said it was just one example of numerous questionable deals between UK contractors and countries the Foreign Office (FCO) deems to have poor human rights records. The CAEC said supplies of sodium fluoride which could be used to make chemical weapons were sent to Syria in the last couple of years.

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Building a ‘common EU vision’ for Sahel security

The development of new safe havens for terrorism and transnational crime in the Sahel should be considered a threat to all European national interests, says think-tank. The ongoing crises in Syria and Egypt have marginalised the conflict in Mali in the western media. But the French-led military intervention in that country is facing a complex and challenging transitional period. The United Nations Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, recently warned the international community to “not forget the Sahel, or you will have more Malis if you do”.

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Russian Military on Alert After Suspected Israeli Airstrike Destroys Russian Missiles in Syria

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been placed on alert after a suspected Israeli airstrike destroyed advanced, Russian missiles recently delivered to Syria. In a July 13 report from ITAR-TASS, The Russian Defense Ministry has announced what is being described as “the most ambitious [check alert] in the history of post-Soviet test readiness.” The alert, according to the ITAR-TASS report, involves more than 80,000 troops, around a thousand tanks and armored personnel carriers, some 130 aircraft and 70 naval vessels.

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Israel plans military ‘revolution’ to face new regional threat

Israel’s armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective. Elements of the plans were set out by the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, earlier this week. Once implemented, they promise what some analysts have described as “a revolution” in Israel’s military affairs.

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British Report: International cybermercenaries for hire

A British intelligence report said Wednesday that other nations are hiring hackers to launch attacks against their enemies, a trend it described as particularly worrying. The warning over cybermercenaries came in an annual report published by Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, a watchdog body of senior lawmakers that oversees Britain’s spy agencies. Citing testimony from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the report described the mercenaries as “skilled cyber professionals undertaking attacks on diverse targets such as financial institutions and energy companies.

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Fast And Furious 2?: U.S. arms showing up in hands of pro-Assad militias

U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad’s forces in power in Syria. Analysts say it’s unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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Israel prepares for next war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon

On a dusty field in Israel’ s southern desert, the military is gearing up for the next battle against a familiar foe: Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. As the Syrian civil war intensifies, military planners are growing increasingly jittery that the fighting could spill over into Israel, potentially dragging the Islamic militant group that is allied with President Bashar Assad into the fray. After battling Hezbollah to a stalemate in 2006, the Israeli military says it has learned key lessons and is prepared to inflict heavy damage on the group if fighting begins again.

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How to Prepare Your Portfolio for Geopolitical Turmoil

Had anyone asked back in January what kind of risks you thought might be giving financial markets a jolt by mid-year, odds are that you would have talked about the Federal Reserve’s intentions with respect to quantitative easing, the outlook for economic growth and whether S&P 500 companies are delivering the kind of earnings that analysts had been expecting. That is the problem with geopolitical events, in a nutshell. They tend to fall into the category that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously referred to as “unknown unknowns”: They can’t be predicted.

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Euromed Survey places Egypt as a key power in the geopolitical redesign of the Mediterranean

Egypt’s evolution after the armed forces removed President Morsi from office will be a determinant in the geopolitical definition of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, according to the Euromed Survey presented by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) today.

The survey was released at an event in Brussels with representatives of research centres, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Parliament and diplomatic delegations. The Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009, is funded by the European Union.

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Qatar and the Brotherhood: Losing the Crown Jewel?

The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule did not just impact its supporters in Egypt. In Qatar, it caused a tremor inside the whole ruling establishment, destroying the political bridges it had built to exert influence in the country. Qatar was the mother whose milk fed the Islamist groups. It spent billions to install them in power – observers estimate that Qatar paid more than $17 billion to Arab Spring countries – especially the deposed president Mohamed Mursi. This could be the beginning of the decline of the role of Qatar under the new Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

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Egypt on brink of civil war: Muslim Brotherhood calls for ‘uprising’

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called for an “uprising” on Monday after dozens 35 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were killed at dawn when security forces opened fire on them as they were praying, and urged international intervention to prevent a “new Syria.”

“Morsi supporters were praying while the police and army fired live rounds and tear gas at them. This led to around 35 dead and the figure is likely to rise,” the Brotherhood said in a statement

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Britain to step up aid to Lebanese Army

The British government is preparing a “substantial” new package of military assistance to the Lebanese Army to supplement its existing program, according to British diplomatic sources. The new package, which will triple in one year the British government’s total military assistance to the Lebanese Army since 2006, was the focus of discussions Friday between Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi and other top military officials and Gen. Sir David Richards, the British chief of the defense staff, who was on a visit to Beirut.

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The Real Coup: Egypt’s ElBaradei Named Interim Prime Minister

Just days after Morsi’s removal from office by the Egyptian armed forces, there is a remarkable replacement: Mohammad ElBaradei, the lone leadership figure with deep Western appeal — and the resume and ideology to match.

There’s no doubt that ElBaradei represents the smallest and least powerful of the main factions supporting big reform in post-Mubarak Egypt — the others being Team Muslim Brotherhood and Team Army.

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GCC countries clamp down on Hizbullah interests

The council plans to hold a meeting in Riyadh on Thursday to agree on mechanisms for imposing sanctions on Hizbullah members residing in Gulf countries, including not renewing residency permits and targeting their financial and business activities, GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif al-Zayani said. The sanctions would be implemented “in co-ordination [...] with ministers of commerce and the central banks of the GCC”, he added. Recently, Qatari authorities deported 18 Lebanese expatriates allegedly affiliated with Hizbullah.

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US military deployment makes Jordanians wary

Jordanians are suspicious about US weapons and troops being deployed to the kingdom, even if Washington seeks to help its ally protect itself from a possible spillover of Syrian violence, experts say.

Worried about the security of Jordan, which is already struggling to cope with around 550,000 refugees from its war-torn northern neighbor, the United States has kept F-16 warplanes and Patriot missiles in the country since a joint military exercise ended on June 20.

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Syrian currency slide sparks invention

Syrian companies and citizens are stockpiling goods, ripping up old market rules and switching away from dollar-priced imports, in an effort to combat the threat posed by the tumbling currency to their livelihoods and savings.

As the Syrian pound plunges to less than a quarter of its prewar value against the dollar, the ever-harsher financial problems facing the population are spawning increasingly inventive responses to limit the damage.

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Russia removes military personnel from Syria

Russia has withdrawn all its military personnel from Syria and left its strategic Tartus naval centre unstaffed because of the escalating security threat in the war-torn country, the Vedomosti daily said Wednesday.

The source said the decision was taken to limit the dangers posed to Russians amid a raging civil war and to reduce the threat of political damage that could result from Russians being killed by either side.

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Syria’s oilfields create surreal battle lines amid chaos and tribal loyalties

The hard edges of Syria’s frontlines – dogmatic, revolutionary, Islamist or pure murderously sectarian – almost melt away outside the oilfields. New lines emerge pitting tribesmen against battalions, Islamists against everyone else, and creating sometimes surreal lines of engagement, where rebels help maintain government oil supplies in return for their villages being spared from bombardment and being allowed to siphon oil for themselves. “There is chaos now,” Abu Zayed said. “The Free Syrian Army is chasing loot, and they don’t care about civilians.

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Cyprus considering Russian military use of airbase, port facilities

Financially strapped Cyprus is looking at allowing Russian military aircraft to use an airbase in Paphos, the country’s defense minister said this weekend. Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiu told the Nicosia daily Fileleftheros the country was “studying the possibility of providing in certain cases” the use of the Andreas Papandreou Air Force Base for Russian military aircraft. He also indicated allowing Russian warships to use the port of Limassol was under consideration.

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Syria Readiness: Russian Naval Intelligence in the Middle East

Russia has stationed one of its advanced intelligence vessels in the Middle East in order to follow Western readiness for a potential strike in Syria. Last week, Israel conducted an extensive military exercise that saw the participation of the IDF ground forces, the Israeli Navy and the IAF. The precise goals of the exercise were not made public and remained a secret. However, assessments are that it was aimed towards Israel’s northern arena – towards the tension with Syria and Hezbollah.

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Arming Syrian rebels could create a legacy as harmful as Sykes-Picot

As the West begins to gear up for the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Middle East is being convulsed as never before by the legacy of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Look no farther than Syria, where one part of that legacy – the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence even while the Great War still raged – is coming to a brutally violent end. Likewise, the current turmoil in Turkey is, at least in part, a consequence of “neo-Ottoman” overreach by Erdogan’s government.

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Jordan hosts 900 U.S. troops to shield against Syria

Jordan’s prime minister says the country is hosting 900 U.S. military personnel to bolster its defense capabilities against potential threats from the Syrian civil war.

The first Jordanian public official to speak publicly of the numbers of U.S. troops in the kingdom, Abdullah Ensour told reporters Saturday that 200 of the personnel were experts training for how to handle a chemical attack. He said the remaining 700 are manning a Patriot missile defense system and F-16 fighter jets which Washington deployed this month in case the Syrian war worsens.

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Backstory: Mossad Operating Out of Algeria and Tunisia Recruiting Spies and Islamic Fighters

A spy network formed by two Tunisians, three Moroccans and an Algerian collecting strategic information on behalf of Mossad comes to be dismantled in Algeria. «Plans vital strategic sites of the wilayas of the East of the country, Tebessa, Skikda and Annaba, as well as in Algiers, were seized by the security services». The members of the network recruited girls in the wilayas of Eastern Algeria, for the purposes of its spying mission, promising them send them to Europe, against the information they provide.

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Spectre of a Hezbollah coup hangs over Lebanon

As Lebanese Army officers gather the intelligence that may anticipate a Hezbollah coup attempt, ostensibly to protect “the resistance and its weapons inside Lebanon,” the possibility that an army coup d’état cannot be ruled out, even if the likelihood of such a development was remote. There were two reasons for such reservations: First, because Hezbollah is now mired in Syria and unlikely to open a second front. And second, because army officers believed in and accepted the separation of powers.

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Islam at war – with itself

From Aleppo in Syria to Quetta in Balochistan, Muslims are engaged in the slaughter of other Muslims. The numbers are enormous: over 93,000 killed in the Syrian civil war and over 48,000 dead in Pakistan. Millions have perished in similar intra-Muslim conflicts in the past four decades. Many wonder if the belief in Islam was sufficient to bind Muslims in peace with each other. As the violence amongst Muslims increases, most Muslims prefer denial or look for scapegoats.

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Morsi cuts Egypt’s Syria ties, backs no-fly zone

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and called for a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state firmly against President Bashar al-Assad.

Addressing a rally called by Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo, the Sunni Islamist head of state said: “We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime.” He also warned Assad’s allies in the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hezbollah to pull back from fighting in Syria.

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U.S. puts jets in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone

The United States said on Saturday it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman’s request, and Russia bristled at the possibility they could be used to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria.

Washington, which has long called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, pledged military support to Syrian rebels this week, citing what it said was the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons – an allegation Damascus has denied.

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German Intelligence: 95 % Of Free Syrian Army Non-Syrian Extremist Groups

German “Die Welt” daily said that only 5% of the armed terrorists in the so-called Free Army are Syrians, while 95% of them are extremist groups which came from several African countries to jihad in Syria backed by the Gulf and Arab countries.

A member of the German intelligence said that some terrorist groups in Syria wok in full coordination with al-Qaeda, but the extremist groups are most dangerous than al-Qaeda since they commit genocide against children and women.

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Mossad’s chief meets with MİT(Turkish Intelligence) head amid Gezi protests and Syria

Tamir Pardo, director of Israeli national intelligence agency Mossad, has covertly met with Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan in Turkey to discuss the situation in Syria and the ongoing anti-government protests in Turkey, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

According to reports, Pardo, who is of Turkish and Serbian origin, traveled to Turkey in a private airplane to see Fidan. They reportedly discussed the latest situation in Syria, which has been in turmoil for more than two years, and the impact of Iran on the situation.

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The era of failed Arab states

Forty-six years after the 1967 war, we are facing a dangerous increase in the number of “failed states” across the Arab region. There are projects, some of which are already underway, to partition and divide countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. Other countries are not immune to internal tensions resulting from a discourse of partition and fragmentation similar to the one which has disrupted the very concept of the “state” as we knew it, thus giving rise to the so-called “failed states.”

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US ‘helping spark political unrest’

So many devastating changes in the Middle East’s so-called ‘Arab Spring’ aftermath are being blamed on misguided US policies in many countries. This in-depth report reveals how Washington institutions allegedly groom destructive elements when attempting to destabilise nations. Their tentacles are now even touching Turkey’s fully-fledged democracy – one that has achieved economic transformation in only a decade, with tourism and foreign investment booming.

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Military diplomatic source: Syrian officers trained in air defense systems in Moscow

Diplomatic sources in Russia say that number of Syrian Army’s officers undergoes training with others from other countries on the use of air defense systems in the military academy Zhukov air defenses.

The source says, “The preparation of cadres in the Zhukov Military Academy for the Syrian armed forces, are under special academic programs compound” S – 125 “missile system” S – 200 “and how to direct rocket”

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Russia Flexing Its Muscles With Syria And The World Takes Notice

Damascus is the “Stalingrad” of Russian diplomacy. After years of geopolitical withdrawal, Moscow has chosen Syria as a way to revive its image of power in the world. “Not one step back” is the Kremlin’s new strategy, as it was for the Red Army along the banks of the Volga river during World War II.

The Libyan wound is still bleeding. Despite its economic interests in Libya, Moscow was not even invited to take part in the postwar negotiations. The same thing occurred in 1999, when the Kremlin did not oppose the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

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Israeli expert says military coup possible in Turkey

The ongoing unrest in Turkey may lead to a new military coup in that country, Israeli political expert Avigdor Eskin told ArmInfo. The expert believes that Turkey is changing its image these days. Even if Prime Minister Erdogan manages to suppress the wave of protests, they will have a crucial role in the history for the former Ottoman Empire. “I witnessed the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, then the public unrest in Russia in 1991 and 1993. The scales are incomparable. Turkish dissidents managed to awaken the entire city.

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U.S. Bases in Gulf on High Alert

American bases in the Arabian Gulf have been put on high alert in anticipation of any kind of fallout to the security deterioration in Syria and Iraq, a local daily reported yesterday quoting a “senior military official” familiar with the subject. The senior Kuwaiti official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information to the press. He made these remarks to a local daily without providing any further details on the topic.

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Gulf Arab countries to consider action against Hezbollah

Gulf Arab countries will consider taking action against Hezbollah if the Shi’ite Muslim Lebanese movement continues its involvement in Syria’s civil war or interferes in Gulf Arab affairs, Bahrain’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.

Ghanem al-Buainain said the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regarded Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as “sectarian intervention”, but had not discussed listing the group as a terrorist organisation, a step taken by Bahrain last week.

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Turkey’s Velvet Revolution: Will Taksim Become Erdogan’s Tahrir Square?

Over the past year, Turks have protested against the deteriorating state of press freedoms, a reckless construction boom, a draft law placing new curbs on abortion, the government’s response to the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, the jailing of hundreds of top generals on coup charges, the arrests of thousands of Kurdish activists accused of abetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey labels a terrorist group, and, most recently, new restrictions on alcohol sales.

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‘IDF studying Syria’s combat doctrines, deployments’

Israel tracks every heavy missile fired in the Syrian civil war, keen to study Damascus’s combat doctrines and deployments and ready to fend off a feared first attack on its turf, a senior Israeli military officer said on Thursday.

Colonel Zvika Haimovich of the air defense corps said southward launches against Syrian insurgents by President Bashar Assad’s forces gave Israel mere seconds in which to determine it was not the true target – a distinction that could prove crucial for warding off an unprecedented regional conflagration.

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Iran Shells Out $4B Line Of Credit to Assad’s Government In Syria

Iran has extended two lines of credit worth a total of $4 billion to Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad and hopes to open a third to prop up the war-torn nation’s oil industry in the face of international sanctions, according to a local news report.

Syrian Central Bank Gov. Adib Mayaleh said the “soft loan” from Iran, a long-standing supporter of the Assad regime, will “finance the needs of Syrian oil and oil derivatives,” Tishreen, a government-run daily in Damascus, reported on Monday.

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BND intel chief to conduct secret talks in Damascus

The President of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was to secret talks in Syria. reported the ARD studio in the Jordanian capital, Amman , that Gerhard Schindler said to have been the beginning of May with the head of the BND-terrorism department in Damascus. It should have gone to the resumption of intelligence cooperation between the two countries in the area.

The BND had but last week his picture to Syria revised and noted an increasing strengthening of the Syrian army. Assad’s troops have thus again functional supply lines for weapons and fuel. You could but not defeat the insurgents, but keep them in check, and may recover the whole South in the current year.

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Jordan seeks to deploy patriot missiles on its Syria borders

Jordan, which shares borders with war-torn Syria, said on Sunday it is in talks with “friendly countries” to deploy Patriot missiles on its territory after a similar move by Turkey. “Jordan wishes to deploy Patriot missile batteries in order to boost its defense capabilities and help protect the country,” Information Minister Mohammad Momani told a news conference. “We are currently at the stage of talks with friendly states,” said Momani, who is also government spokesman, declining to elaborate.

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The Shadow War Behind Syria’s Rebellion: Foreign Backers Jockey for Influence in Turkey

While the diplomatic grouping known as the Friends of Syria met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday to discuss a U.S.-Russian plan for peace talks, a low-key yet perhaps equally important gathering was being quietly held in Istanbul between Saudi officials and half of the 30 members of the Free Syrian Army’s Higher Military Command, which claims to represent most of the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The informal talks, which were held at a seaside hotel, marked the first gathering of the rebel group’s Military Command and Saudi officials since, according to senior members of the Military Command, Saudi Arabia stepped up earlier this month to become the main source of arms to the rebels.

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Israel fears war of attrition in Golan

Recent incidents in the Golan Heights continue to cast a shadow on the attitudes of Israeli leaders amid reports that Israel plans to carry out new strikes in Syria. These future attacks would be in fulfillment of Israel’s declared policy of preventing strategic weapons from being transferred through Syria to Hizbullah.

The Israeli leadership is trying to predict Syria’s reaction to any upcoming strikes, though Israeli circles purport that if the state were to carry out any attack, it would certainly be met with a Syrian response. Press reports pointed out that this comes in the context of the current tensions in the occupied Golan Heights, after the Syrian army opened fire at an Israeli patrol in the area.

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Syrian Civil War Turns Proxy War With Military Mobilization

Russia primarily seeks to secure their portion of Syria, their people and their interests. Only secondarily does it support the Syrian government by more overt and covert measures. After they establish a more secure beachhead in the chaos, once safe from Western threats to bases and interests, they will then be in a better position to funnel supplies through those ports uninhibited. The warships carry with them supplies and marines and they are a lot more than a show of the flag. They are a tangible, genuine, military build-up on Syrian waters.

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Syrian Rebels in Trouble: BND, German Intelligence Sees Assad Regaining Hold

Not even a year ago, German intelligence predicted Syrian autocrat Bashar Assad’s regime would soon collapse. Now, the agency instead believes the rebels are in trouble. Government troops are set to make significant advances, it predicts.

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has fundamentally changed its view of the ongoing civil war in Syria. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that the BND now believes the Syrian military of autocrat Bashar Assad is more stable than it has been in a long time and is capable of undertaking successful operations against rebel units at will.

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Saudi-Turkey rapport bodes well for global influence

The current political rapport between Riyadh and Ankara is an exciting development. If harmonized, it could completely result in the two countries achieving significant influence at regional and international levels.

The economies of the two countries stand at $ 5.1 trillion, with high growth rates. This will surely make their collective voice heard loud and clear.
In addition, the special status of Saudi Arabia in the Muslim world, together with its political and economic weight, when combined with the newly transformed modern Turkey, will give the two countries a powerful political role in the region.

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Revenge of the Bear: Russia Strikes Back in Syria

President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam.

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Hezbollah fight their biggest battle in Syria

Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the US.

About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border. That would be the highest daily loss for the Iranian-backed movement in Syria, highlighting how it is increasing its efforts to bolster al-Assad.

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Israeli sensors search for the S-300 in Syria

Israel may act to stop any attempt to transfer Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles from Syria to Lebanon. Such a scenario is possible if the Assad regime in Syria feels it is losing control of the country in a future phase of its civil war.

According to reliable sources, at least one shipment of Russian-made S-300 missiles has been transferred to Syria. Israeli sources say this act is a “game-changer” – especially as Syria is the middle of a bloody civil war. Israeli sources said the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) may have to act on “developing” circumstances in Syria.

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Imperial Overreach: America by Proxy?

The demise of the Roman Empire resulted from a combination of strategic overreach and excessive delegation of security responsibilities to newcomers. Without making undue comparisons, the question for the United States today is whether it can remain the world’s leading power while delegating to others or to technological tools the task of protecting its global influence. Drones and allies – non-human weapons and non-American soldiers – have become central to America’s military doctrine.

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Report: Syria aims half-ton warhead missiles at Tel Aviv

According to The Sunday Times, Syria has deployed advanced missiles carrying 500-kilogram (1100-pound) warheads with attack coordinates set for Tel Aviv. The report further suggests that spy satellites have been monitoring Syrian army movements and preparations to deploy the domestically produced Tishreen missiles. The missiles are reportedly being aimed at Tel Aviv and there are standing orders to fire them if Israel strikes Syria. Foreign media outlets claimed that Israel carried out two airstrikes in Syria earlier in the month, reportedly targeting advanced weapon shipments bound for Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

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Russia Ready to Develop Long-Range Air Defense System with Turkey

Russia is ready to develop jointly with Turkey a long-range air defense complex based on S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, state arms seller Rosoboronexport head Sergei Ladygin said on Sunday.

Turkey launched a tender for the purchase of long-range air defense systems long ago but no winner has been announced to this day. “Russia is ready to offer as part of the tender a joint Russian-Turkish product based on the Antey-2500 system [the export version of the S-300 system]. For example, to mount the air defense system on the Turkish chassis,” Ladygin said at the weapons exhibition in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

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Robert Fisk: ‘Syrian war could go on for two, three years’

President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Syria are gaining ground. British Middle East reporter Robert Fisk met some of them when he visited the front lines earlier this month, and told DW about he saw. What role is Iran playing in this conflict? The war is not about Syria, it’s about Iran. And the intention of the West is to effectively destroy Iran’s only Arab ally. And for the Iranians it’s about keeping their only Arab ally. We know that the Iranian government has given advice, but these are very, very small token forces, compared to the propaganda.

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Algeria: Middle East’s Next Revolt If Soccer Is A Barometer – Analysis

Algeria is competing to be the next Arab nation to witness a popular revolt. That is assuming soccer is a barometer of rising discontent in a region experiencing a wave of mass protests that have already toppled the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen and sparked civil war in Syria.

In fact, there is increasingly little doubt that soccer, a historic nucleus of protest in Algeria, is signaling that popular discontent could again spill into the streets of Algiers and other major cities.

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The BRIC countries are becoming the world’s new global navy

Offshore from Syria, Russia’s navy is conducting probably its largest naval deployment outside its own waters since the Soviet breakup. The Chinese navy is in another potential confrontation today with Japan in the East China Sea, and raising questions about where it is headed next.

But the BRIC nations as a whole—a force in the global economic conversation since the acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs to refer to the high-growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China—are becoming an increasing naval presence on the high seas.

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Qatar Spends Billions in Syria for Influence, Pays $50,000 per Dissident

“Qatar has spent about three billion dollars in the past two years to support the opposition in Syria, which far exceeds what provided by any other government. However, the Saudi Arabia competes now in leading the bodies providing Syrian opposition with weapons,” the paper said. “The cost of the Qatari intervention in Syria, which is the latest effort of the oil-rich emirate to support an “Arab revolution,” only represents a very small part of the international investment of Qatar,” it added. “Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Arab countries puts it in confrontation with the other Gulf States and provokes competition with the Saudi Arabia,”

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CIS Security Services to track Syria mercenaries – FSB

The security services of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states will be closely monitoring the movement of mercenaries from CIS nations fighting in Syria, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) head Alexander Bortnikov said on Wednesday.

According to the FSB, some 200 mercenaries from Russia, as well as from CIS member states and Europe, are fighting in Syria’s civil war. “They [mercenaries] pose a severe danger. It is highly important to track their movements following the end of hostilities,” the FSB chief said. The future fate of mercenaries active in Syria is of concern not only to the CIS special services, but European secret services as well, Bortnikov added.

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Report: Hizbullah Fighters Advance to Syria-Jordan Border

Hizbullah fighters have been advancing swiftly into southern Syria and have reached the flashpoint southern town of Daraa near the border with Jordan, media reports said on Tuesday.

The source pointed out that Hizbullah fighters are not just groups backing the army regime but comprehensive fighting units that includes a full logistic team. It said that Hizbullah’s military leadership is organizing the transfer of the units and providing them with weapons.

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Syria threatens to enter occupied Golan Heights after Israeli airstrike

The Syrian government has warned Israel that it would enter the occupied Golan Heights “whenever it wants because it’s a Syrian land,” a warning that came a week after the latest Israeli airstrike against military positions in the capital Damascus.

Israeli officials have confirmed May 4, 2013, that the country’s air force carried out a strike against Syria and say it targeted a shipment of advanced missiles. The comments were made by Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi on Sunday, May 12, 2013, during which he said that the recent Israeli airstrike against Syria had violated the pertaining international accords.

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Turkish mediterranean energy hub plan faces hurdles

Israel’s rapprochement with onetime strategic ally Turkey is a vital element in Ankara’s drive to become the intercontinental east-west energy hub in the Mediterranean and many expect it to produce an energy alliance that will transform the region.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan has transformed his country’s economic prospects through a wide-ranging diplomatic drive aimed at restoring Turkish leadership in the region. He has long sought to transform Turkey, which has no energy resources of its own, into the unassailable central hub for transporting oil and gas from the eastern Mediterranean, the new hot zone, to Europe and maybe to Asia as well.

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U.S. Fears Russia May Sell Air-Defense System to Syria

The United States, which is trying to bring Syrian rebels and the Syrian government to the negotiating table, is now increasingly worried that Russia plans to sell a sophisticated air defense system to Syria, American officials said Wednesday.

Russia has a long history of selling arms to the Syrians and has a naval base in the country. But the delivery of the Russian S-300 missile batteries would represent a major qualitative advancement in Syria’s air defenses. The system is regarded as highly effective and would limit the ability of the United States and other nations to operate over Syrian airspace or impose a no-fly zone.

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Why liberal hawks are pushing to strike Syria

In 2011, Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, offered a mea culpa for his support of the war in Iraq. “When the troops went in, they went with my blessing,” confessed Keller. “I could not foresee that we would mishandle the war so badly, but I could see that there was no clear plan for — and at the highest levels, a shameful smugness about — what came after the invasion.” He called his realization “the costly wisdom of Iraq,” which, according to his op-ed in the Times on Monday, doesn’t seem to apply to Syria.

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U.S. democrat offers bill to arm Syrian opposition

A top U.S. Senate Democrat introduced a bill Monday that authorizes arming rebels in Syria, a step Washington has been weighing after President Barack Obama said the Damascus regime may have used chemical weapons.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Syria Stabilization Act of 2013 that would give “increased authorization to provide lethal and non-lethal assistance to Syrian armed opposition.”

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U.N.’s Carla del Ponte says Syrian rebels may have used sarin

A leading member of a United Nations investigatory commission says there are “strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that Syrian rebels have used the nerve agent sarin.

Carla del Ponte, a former prosecutor for U.N. tribunals investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, made the comment in an interview Sunday with a Swiss television channel, the BBC reported. She said the evidence emerged from interviews conducted by investigators with victims, physicians and others in neighboring countries.

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Turkish Armed Forces staging drills near Syrian border

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is set to stage a 10-day long military drills in the southern province of Adana. Adana is neighbor to Hatay, a province bordering on Syria, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

The Yıldırım-2013 Mobilization Exercise will begin Monday, May 6 and end on May 15, according to an announcement posted on the official website of the Turkish General Staff. The exercise will test the army’s mobilization system and the coordination between public institutions and the armed forces in case of any mobilization, the statement said.

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Syria deploys missile defence batteries towards Israel

Syria has deployed missile defence batteries towards Israel in response to an alleged Israeli attack that targeted a Syrian army facility in the capital Damascus. The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV cited security sources as saying that Syria will also provide the Lebanese Hezbollah with “new qualitative weaponry”.

A statement issued after an emergency cabinet meeting Sunday said that Israel’s attack “opens the door widely before all eventualities”, Xinhua reported. “Syria will not accept its sovereignty to be infringed upon either at home or abroad,” the statement said.

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Iran ready to ‘train’ Syria army, says commander

Iran is ready to help “train” the Syrian army if Damascus seeks such assistance, the commander of the Islamic republic’s army ground forces, General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, was quoted as saying on Sunday.

“As a Muslim nation, we back Syria, and if there is need for training we will provide them with the training, but won’t have any active involvement in the operations,” he said in remarks reported by the official IRNA news agency.

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Clinton: NATO risks sliding into “military irrelevance”

A NATO alliance where member nations are hamstrung by political and economic difficulties may be a militarily weakened one, former Secy. of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday night.

“NATO is turning into a two-tiered alliance with shrinking percentage of members willing – and able – to pay the price and bear the burdens of common defense,” Clinton said. “Even in these difficult economic times, we cannot afford to let the greatest alliance in history slide into military irrelevance.” Clinton was speaking at an annual Atlantic Council awards dinner in Washington where both she and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen were honored with Distinguished Leadership awards.

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Syria, North Korea, China & Beyond: Does Army’s Future Lie In ‘Messy Middle’?

The future of ground forces, the study argues, lies somewhere in the “messy middle,” between long-range, high-tech air- and cyber-strikes against a hostile nation-state — the “AirSea Battle” vision of the Navy and Air Force — and low-profile, low-cost Special Operations and drone raids against scattered terrorists. The study, entitled Beyond the Last War, lays out a score of scenarios, half in the Pacific and half in the Middle East, where the problem will be too big for Special Ops alone but too deeply dug in to excise surgically from afar.

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FSA may soon launch counterattack on Hezbollah, says Jordanian ex-army official

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) may soon be planning to launch retaliatory attacks on “elite Hezbollah forces” reportedly fighting in Syria, retired Jordanian major-general Fayez al-Doueiri told Al Arabiya on Monday night. Doueiri, who is now a military analyst, said the reported continuing battles between the FSA and Hezbollah fighters could be a “positive development for the FSA as it is managing to inhibit Hezbollah’s elite forces.” This may mean the “FSA is preparing to launch reverse operations to gain back what it lost in the past few weeks,” he added.

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Israel’s geostrategic benefit requires collapse of Assad regime

A rebel victory in Syria’s civil war would be the most positive outcome for Israel despite fears of instability and a stronger jihadist presence on the Golan should the regime collapse, analysts say. The Syrian conflict has increasingly affected Israel, as alarm mounts over the deployment of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal and the potential for it to fall into the hands of non-state militant groups. But experts believe a rebel victory would have the best geostrategic implications for Israel.

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5 Weapons of Mass Destruction the U.S. Military Uses Every Day

When most of us think of weapons of mass destruction, we think of nuclear bombs, or nerve gas, or biological agents. So it was surprising to see accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using a weapon of mass destruction after he and his brother allegedly detonated a bomb made from a pressure cooker.

Heinous as the Boston bombing is, a pressure cooker does not fit the commonly used definition of a WMD. In fact, by its own definition, the U.S. government is using WMDs every day.

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INSIGHT: Creating a ‘No Move’ Zone in Syria

This may be a template for a possible plot for “The Expendables 3” but it is a truly bad real-world military operation. Creating limited protection zones for what are now millions of potential refugees would commit the United States to unstable half-measures – and the open-ended use of force to defend them – with the risks of either a continuing civil war or an unplanned process of escalation without allied commitments or support and the reality that the people in such zones would need massive amounts of emergency relief. As Libya showed, “no fly” zones are not enough to end a civil war or halt ground movements and escalation in the use of artillery, missiles, and carefully managed atrocities by competing ground forces.

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Tensions high as Iraq edges closer to new sectarian war

Sectarian strife has returned to Iraq from elsewhere in the region, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said, a likely reference to neighbouring war-torn Syria.

A civil war pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, has killed more than 70,000 people. Sectarian strife “came back to Iraq because it began in another place in this region,” Maliki said in televised remarks, an allusion to Sunni-Shiite violence that peaked in 2006 and 2006 and claimed tens of thousands of lives.

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Syria wants to join SCO and BRICS

The Syrian Information Minister Omran Ahed al-Zouabi said in a new statement at his meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, Ilyas Umakhanov, that Syria wants to become a member of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa) and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in future.

Thus, Syria seeks to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as the membership in the emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in short BRICS.

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U.S. weighs no-fly zone, ground forces among options to topple Assad regime

U.S. commanders have laid out a range of possible options for military involvement in Syria, but they have made it clear that any action will likely be either with NATO backing or with a coalition of nations similar to the NATO-led overthrow of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

On Thursday, U.S. officials said there has been no new movement of U.S. military assets to the region. The military options could include establishing a no-fly zone over or a secured area within Syria, launching airstrikes by drones and fighter jets and sending in tens of thousands of ground forces to secure the regime’s chemical weapons caches.

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Belarus may sell S-300 systems to Syria

Four S-300 systems, which will be shipped to Belarus by Russia, may be re-sold to pariah countries. This is how general Valer Fralou commented for the charter97.org web-site in the shipment of air-to-surface missile systems S-30 and the deployment of a Russian aviation base in Belarus. “Any military forces based in Belarus increase the potential of the Belarusian army. But this is only from the military point of view. One should not forget that Belarus is still a part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and we have a union state with Russia”, – the general noted.

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Israel gets weapons to take on Iran

The chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Benny Gantz, recently pushed back against the idea that it was too late for Israel to act alone against Iran’s He felt comfortable making it because he knew that in a few days he would be welcoming a friend bearing gifts. And the gifts? Well, they are gifts the Iranian regime would prefer Israel didn’t possess: advanced radar packages that extend Israel’s ability to see east (and west, north and south, but east is what matters most at the moment), KC-135 refuelling tankers and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. The tankers will extend the range of Israel’s bombers, and the Ospreys are particularly useful for inserting commandos into enemy territory.

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US looks to allies to secure Arabian Gulf

“It is our hope that the Gulf Cooperation Council, the GCC, can play an important role in the future providing security for this region,” he told an audience at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies Research. Across the board, he said, Washington is urging allies to build local capacity. “That’s what we’re doing for the UAE and that’s what we’re doing with other countries. Yes, we give them the help they need, we give them assistance, but the fact is that they have to help provide for their security.” For months, many commentators from Riyadh to Doha to Manama have sensed and relayed this shift in US policy.

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‘Jordan opens skies for Israeli drones flying to Syria’

Jordan has opened two corridors of its airspace to Israeli Air Force drones seeking to monitor the ongoing conflict in Syria, French daily Le Figaro reported on Sunday, citing a Western military source in the Middle East.

According to the report, Jordanian King Abdullah made the decision in March during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jordan, which came immediately after his first trip as president to Israel. Le Figaro quoted the military source as saying that the Israeli drones fly at night to avoid detection. The source added that “the Syrians have Russian air defense assets, but Israeli aircraft are difficult to detect and therefore virtually immune to anti-aircraft measures.”

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Insight: Battered by war, Syrian army creates loyalist paramilitary force

In Syria, for scores of men called each month to join the army for deadly combat, there is a more attractive alternative: stay home, join a loyalist paramilitary group, and get a share of the loot in raids on President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies.

Now into the third year of the uprising against Assad, which began with peaceful protests and became an armed rebellion, Syria’s regular army has been weakened. Sectarian faultlines that are increasingly dividing the nation are now fragmenting an army whose strength was already eroded by desertions and defections to rebels.

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On the Warpath: U.S. to deploy Patriot missile batteries on Jordan-Syria border

An unnamed Jordan source said the U.S. military agreed on Friday to the country’s request to put Patriot missile batteries along the border with Syria.

A London newspaper quoting the Jordan source said the United States was sending two Patriot missile batteries to the area, The Times ofIsrael reported. The source also said the Patriot missile batteries would be transferred from sites in Qatar and Kuwait, and placed in strategic border spots that could best serve – and protect – the kingdom.

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Israel ‘set to hit Syria rebels over dangerous weapons’

Tension is rising on the Israel-Syria cease-fire line on the Golan Heights and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he’s ready to launch military operation to prevent the weakening Damascus regime’s chemical and other advanced weapons falling into Islamist hands. “We see a deterioration of the general chain of command” in the Syrian-held sector of the Golan, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman. But the Israelis see the main threat to them as the jihadists acquiring the regime’s well-stocked arsenals of chemical weapons and advanced systems such as Russian-made Scud-B ballistic missiles, which can carry chemical warheads, and surface-to-air missiles that would challenge Israel’s long-held air supremacy in the region.

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De Borchgrave: Egypt Could Become the Next Iran

The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.

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US to deploy troops in Jordan for possible military intervention in Syria

The Pentagon is sending about 200 soldiers from a U.S. Army headquarters unit to Jordan to assist efforts to contain violence along the Syrian border and plan for any operations needed to ensure the safety of chemical weapons in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress Wednesday.

The decision to dispatch the 1st Armored Division troops of planners and specialists in intelligence, logistics and operations comes as several lawmakers pressed the Obama administration for even more aggressive steps to end the two-year civil war.The Pentagon leaders made clear that the situation is extremely complicated and they must be certain of the endgame before any military step to try to end the bloodshed.

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Turkey Floats Gas Pipeline Plan With Israel

The Turkish energy minister, Taner Yildiz, says his country would be open to the construction of a pipeline to distribute Israel’s newly discovered gas.

“The issue may become an important topic that the two can cooperate on,” said Ozel. “The Israelis have already made a suggestion to send some of their gas by pipelines to Turkey. And this fits well with Turkey’s grand desire to be the grill full of pipelines from north to south, from east to west, and therefore become on energy matters, if not a hub, certainly an indispensable transition place.”

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20 Extraordinary Facts about CIA Torture and Secret Detention

The Central Intelligence Agency conspired with dozens of governments to build a secret extraordinary rendition and detention program that spanned the globe. Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation. In the Open Society Justice Initiative’s new report, it stripped people of their most basic rights, facilitated gruesome forms of torture, at times captured the wrong people, and debased the United States’ human rights reputation world-wide.

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China’s View: U.S., Western allies seem securing scenarios for intervention in Syria

Several new developments in Syria have deepened the conviction that Washington and its Western allies have prepared scenarios to justify their positions if they decide to intervene in Syria, even though official rhetoric refers otherwise.

Since last year, the Untied States and several European countries have floated fears of Syria’s chemical weapons “falling into the wrong hands” if the Syrian administration falls. Israel also said it had plans to intervene to secure those arsenals in case of a “regime collapse.”

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Saudi Arabia backs push to carve out liberated southern Syria

“Saudi Arabia is supporting groups here that are not religious extremists. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,” said a rebel who called himself Ahmed Masri speaking to the Daily Telegraph from the southern city of Deraa. Saudi Arabia is also said to be supporting a US-led programme to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan. A well-placed opposition lobbyist based in Jordan told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans are doing the training, but Saudi is paying the money for it”. Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army.

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U.S. Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture, Kill, and Abuse Civilians

While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens. In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads.

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Cheap Drones Made in China Could Arm U.S. Foes

Cheap drones made in China could end up arming potential U.S. foes such as North Korea, Iran and terrorist organizations. China already makes drones that don’t quite match up to U.S. military drones, but for a fraction of the cost. The Chinese military envisions such unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) scouting out battlefield targets, guiding missile and artillery strikes, and swarming potential adversaries, such as U.S. carrier battle groups. “In whatever future conflict scenario we’re in five or 10 years from now, the proliferation of UAVs is going to complicate things for the U.S. military,” said Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute.

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