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Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

World powers deeply divided & other news about the situation in Syria

World Powers Deeply Divided on Syira, Fail to Heal Rift at G20 Dinner

Al Manar

World powers failed to bridge deep divisions on Syria at a G20 summit dinner in Russia as they squared off over the US push for military strikes against Syria.

As tensions over the Syrian crisis threatened to torpedo the working schedule of the G20 summit outside Saint Petersburg, host Vladimir Putin invited participants to air their views over dinner.

The leaders took turns over three hours to reiterate their positions on the issue in 10-minute speeches, a diplomatic source close to the talks said.

“The G20 has just now finished the dinner session at which the divisions about Syria were confirmed,” Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who attended the dinner, said on his official Twitter feed.

Russia has led opposition to any US-led military action against Syria over an August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, which Washington alleges was perpetrated by Damascus.

“Let us remember: every day that we lose is a day when scores of innocent civilians die,” the UN quoted Ban as telling the G20 leaders at the dinner.
“Providing more arms to either side is not the answer. There is no military solution.”

A French diplomatic source said the closed-door dinner, hosted by Putin at the luxurious imperial palace of Peterhof outside Saint Petersburg, was not meant to secure a deal.

“The objective was an exchange between the top world leaders and not to come to an agreement” on the crisis, said the source.

Putin and US President Barack Obama put on a show of smiles for the cameras as they shook hands just before the summit got under way on the shores of the Gulf of Finland.

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Click links to read full article:

Senators who backed Syria resolution got 83 per cent more defense lobby money than those who voted against it, campaign finance numbers show

Pope calls on world leaders to abandon military options in Syria

Russia gave UN 100-page report in July blaming Syrian rebels for Aleppo sarin attack

Militants kill Syrian soldiers execution style: Video

Video: Syrian Rebel Admits Using Chemical Weapons

Saudi Arabia’s “Chemical Bandar” behind the Chemical Attacks in Syria?

Expert: Firing rockets message for military, Congress, Syria and allies & related news

Lebanese Expert: Firing Rockets Message for Military, Congress, Syria and Allies

Al Manar

The Lebanese military expert and strategist retired Brigadier General Amin Hoteit said Tuesday that the joint Israel-American military force that has been formed on the sidelines of the NATO Navy forces.

A Zionist navy piece was attached to these forces without being the so-called ‘Israel’ a member of NATO,” Hotiet told Al-Manar website.

“This new attached force has tested today the rocket systems (Tomahawk and cruise missiles, as well as interceptors platform for missiles),” he added.

As for the regional and international messages behind firing the rockets, Hoteit believed that the operation holds a certain message to the military force that it is mobilized for a serious and imminent war.

“There is also a message to the U.S. Congress that the forces are ready and wait for the war approval.”

“Another message to Syria and its allies in the framework of intimidation and psychological warfare to say that the war is coming, the threat is serious and that there is no retreat from aggression,” he added.

In the final evaluation, the Lebanese expert said the rockets will not change the landscape and the balance of power, but if the United States wants to attack, it must prepare with its agents in the region for an open war.

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Israeli Army Launched Med Missiles as Part of Joint US-Israeli Drill

Al Manar

Missiles that Russia reported were launched in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday were part of a joint American-Israeli military exercise, Israeli media said.

A missile launch early Tuesday in the Mediterranean Sea was part of joint American-Israeli military exercises, Israel’s defence ministry said.

“The Israeli defence ministry and the American MDA (Missile Defence Agency) Tuesday morning at 9:15 (0615 GMT) successfully launched an Ankor-type radar missile,” it said in a statement.

The Zionist army said it was “not familiar” with any missiles being fired in the Mediterranean. It said it didn’t detected signs missiles were launched into Syria or had exploded in Damascus.

Russia on Tuesday announced that its missile early warning system had detected the launch of two missiles from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea fired towards the Sea’s eastern coastline.

The launches took place at 10:16 am Moscow time (0616 GMT) and were detected by the early warning system in Armavir in southern Russia, the defense ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

It said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had already reported to President Vladimir Putin about the event, which comes amid growing expectations of Western military action in Syria.

“The launch was detected by the early warning radar in Armavir,” the Interfax news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying. “The trajectory of the targets in question was from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea towards the eastern part of the Mediterranean coastline,” it added.

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Miqdad to al-Manar: Saudi Arabia Wants to Eliminate Syria by Every Means

Al Manar

Syrian deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Miqdad stressed on Monday his country’s readiness to confront any aggression waged against it, underlying that any attack on Syria will set the whole region ablaze.

“We all know that the West cannot be trusted, because of this we are ready for confrontation and for anything that might happen,” Miqdad said.

“Any attack on Syria will set this region ablaze. When the first rocket got fired, no one can predict the resulted repercussions,” he added.

During an exclusive interview with Al-Manar TV, the Syrian deputy FM criticized Riyadh position of Syria, and pointed out that the Saudi regime wants to end Syria by every means, to serve the American and Zionist interests.

“The Saudi regime is fallen since long in its people’s eye, as well as in the Arab nation’s eye. They are facing now the battle of challenge and last downfall.”

Fielding a question about the Saudi hastening to attack Syria, Miqdad justified it as spite, hatred:
“This is the attitude of the salve who seeks to pacify his master and to present more services which have not been requested.”

Addressing the Lebanese file, the Syrian politician expressed beliefs that Lebanon is strong due to its will and diplomats.

“Lebanon is strong because it has the will and the foreign ministers who are able to be united and defend the Lebanese interest,” Miqdad stressed.

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Lawmakers Blast Obama’s Syria War Draft

Al Manar

American lawmakers have criticized the draft of President Barack Obama’s authorization for military action in Syria, saying it could open the door to attacks on other countries.US

Obama and other White House officials pressed lawmakers on Monday to approve military force against Syria.

However, there is deep disagreement on how to proceed, with some lawmakers saying the draft authorization is too broad in scope and duration.

The lawmakers are worried that the draft could let Obama attack other countries as well. They say although the authorization’s focus is on the use of chemicals in Syria, it has not set a time limit on military action, and has not confined it only to Syria.

The proposal authorizes the president to use the armed forces “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria,” Reuters reported.

The proposal also explicitly allows military action to deter or prevent the transfer of those weapons into or out of Syria.

Congressional hesitancy reflects the overall weariness of war among Americans who oppose getting involved in Syria.

“People have become, it’s more than just war-weary, they’ve become skeptical of the effectiveness of these military involvements,” said Rep. James McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

“The resolution that they are presenting right now is so open-ended, I think even people who are sympathetic to the administration might have trouble supporting it,” he added.

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Human Shields Campaign: To Protect Syria from Potential Attack

by Ali Abdallah, Syria, Al Ahed news

A group of Syrians from all walks of life, including young artists and athletes, participated in the campaign called “Over our Dead Bodies” on Monday, to help protect the country from potential foreign military action.

The participants are shielding key facilities in the capital, Damascus, pledging to stand their ground until the US military threats are stopped or they are killed. The organizers of the campaign said they have received calls from all over the world asking for permission to join the movement. The campaign comes as amid threats of foreign military intervention in Syria.

The campaign was launched at Damascus’s Sheraton hotel through a press conference, in which Syrian artist Laura abu Asaad, Journalist Ogarit Dandash, and Swimmer Firas Maala took part. The campaign was welcomed by a vast audience, and the number of volunteers increased after a facebook page was established for the campaign.

Ghassan Najjar, the media coordinator of the campaign said “The goal of this campaign is to deliver a message to the world that says: The Syrians will not stand still before the US possible attack to be launched against their country. They will rather stand in face [of this attack] to protect Syria and its facilities with their bare bodies.”

In a statement to al-Ahed news, Najjar stated “The initiative started in Qasyoun Mount in Damascus, as it stands symbol to the capital Damascus and to all Syria. Tens of young men, women, and even children gathered in the tents that were set up for the campaign, while more volunteers arrive day after day.”

For her part, well-known Lebanese journalist Ogarit Dandash accentuated “Syrian expatriates, also some Arabs [Egyptians, Jordanians, Morrocan] and Westerners from Germany and the US have a strong desire to participate in the campaign, therefore they contact the organizers and ask about how they can support the movement, and what to do to contribute in prevent a military strike.”

According to the organizers, some young Syrians who do not belong to any party or political side have already started to execute the idea of human shields in other Syrian provinces. Also, striking it is that the campaign is not funded by any group or party.

The idea of human shields, according to Dandash, is not a similar to protests and rallies. Being a human shield means presenting oneself as armor to protect the civil and military facilities, and risk their safety.
On August 21, terrorist militants and the foreign-backed opposition in Syria claimed that 1,300 people had been killed in a chemical attack the Syrian government launched on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar.

A number of Western countries, including the US, France, and the UK, were quick to adopt the rhetoric of war against Syria despite the fact that Damascus categorically rejected having had any role in the chemical attack.

The Syrian government announced later that the chemical attack had actually been carried out by the militants themselves as a false flag operation.

On August 29, the British parliament voted against participation by Britain, the United States’ closest ally, in any potential military intervention in Syria. While the British government had primarily sought a second vote in the parliament as well, it ruled out any such vote on September 2, saying that the parliament “has spoken,” and that the government “has absolutely no plans to go back to parliament.”

On Friday, August 30, NATO also distanced itself from participating in any military intervention in Syria, with the chief of the Western military coalition, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, saying he did not “foresee any NATO role” in a war on Syria.

Syrian armed groups in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

In a report published on Friday, the armed groups revealed that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by militants mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.

“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the deadly gas attack,” wrote Gavlak.

Despite warnings from the UN, as well as Iran, Russia, and China against war, Washington has remained defiant, saying that it is willing to go ahead with its plans for a strike on Syria without the approval of the United Nations or even the support of its allies. However, US President Barack Obama said on Saturday, August 31 that his administration will first seek authorization from the Congress.

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Vatican renews calls against Syria strike

Source

A top Vatican official on Monday warned the war in Syria could escalate into a global conflict, a day after Pope Francis made an impassioned call for peace.

“The Syria conflict has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions,” Monsignor Mario Toso, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican radio.

“The solution to Syria’s problems is not in armed intervention. Violence will not decrease and there is a risk of a conflagration that extends to other countries,” he said…

Francis called for a day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria, calling on Christians, believers of other religions and non-believers to take part.

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Two Thirds of British People Oppose Strikes on Syria

Al Ahed news

A poll published by The Independent British daily showed that “the Iraq War has turned the British public against any military intervention in the Middle East.”

According to a ComRes survey for the daily, “By a margin of two-to-one, the British people oppose President Barack Obama’s plan for military strikes against Syria and say that the UK should keep out of all conflicts in the region for the foreseeable future.”

The ComRes survey suggests that MPs were right, at least according to public opinion, to veto air strikes by Britain last Thursday.

It found that only 29 per cent of people agree that the US, without Britain, should launch air strikes against the Syrian regime, while 57 per cent disagree.

Four out of five people believe that any military strikes against Syria should first be sanctioned by the United Nations, while 15 per cent disagree with this statement.

Asked whether the experience of the 2003 Iraq war means that Britain should keep out of military conflicts in the Middle East for the foreseeable future, 62 per cent agree and 31 per cent disagree.

A majority of supporters of every party agree with this statement, with Labor and UK Independence Party voters more likely to believe Britain should “keep out” than Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.

After his Commons rebuff, a majority of people 54 per cent agree that David Cameron showed he is “out of touch with Britain” in his handling of the Syria crisis, while 34 per cent disagree. Worryingly for the Prime Minister, a third of current Tory supporters (33 per cent) and almost half of voters overall (42 per cent) believe Cameron showed he is out of touch, as do 76 per cent of Ukip supporters.

Andrew Mitchell, the Tory former International Development Secretary, said: “It may be, after lengthy and careful consideration, [the US] Congress affirms its support for the President’s plans and, in the light of that, our Parliament may want to consider this matter further.”

But Cameron’s spokesman said: “Parliament has spoken and that is why the Government has absolutely no plans to go back to Parliament.”

Downing Street indicated that Britain does not expect its military bases – such as RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, less than 200 miles from Syria – to be used in any air strikes.

Bandar, Zionist lobby partnering to maneuver Obama into prolonged war with Syria

(Syria-file photo)

by Franklin Lamb, Al Manar

Tehran

The Bandar-Zionist lobby collaboration, currently the cocktail party talk of many in Washington, is not a case of strange bedfellows given three decades of mutual cooperation which started during Prince Bandar’s long tenure as Saudi ambassador in Washington. Based in Washington, but with a palace out west and up north, Bandar developed almost familial relationships with five presidents and their key advisers. His voice was one of the shrillest urging the United States to invade Iraq in 2003. In the 1980s, Prince Bandar was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal in Nicaragua and it his intelligence agency that first alerted Western allies to the alleged use of sarin gas by the Syrian regime in February. Bandar has reportedly for months been focused exclusively on garnering international support, including arms and training, for Syrian rebel factions in pursuit of the eventual toppling of President Bashar al-Assad.

Reportedly, the Saudi-Zionist discretely coordinated effort, confirmed by Congressional staffers working on the US House Foreign Affairs Committee as well and the US Senate Foreign Relations committee, is being led by Bandar protégé, Adel A. al-Jubeir, the current Saudi ambassador and facilitated by Bahrain ambassador Houda Ezra Ebrahimis Nonoo, who is the first Jewish person, and third woman to be appointed ambassador of Bahrain. Long known, for having myriad contacts at AIPAC HQ, and as an ardent Zionist, Houda Nonoo has attended lobby functions while advising associates that the “Arabs must forget about the so-called Liberation of Palestine. It will never happen.”
The project has set its sights on achieving American involvement in its third and hopefully its forth (the Islamic Republic) war in this region in just over one decade.

Labeled the ‘surgical strike project”, according to one Congressional staffer, the organizers, as of 8/26/13 are blitzing US Congressional offices with “ fact sheets” making the following arguments in favor of an immediate sustained air assault. They are being supported by the increasingly anguished cries from neo-cons in Congress such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and their ilk.

The lobby’s missive details calculations why the project will succeed and turn out to be a political plus for Obama who is increasingly being accused, by this same team, of dithering. Bandar is arguing that Syrian threats to retaliate against Israel is only political posturing because Syria has never and will never launch a war against Israel, has no military capacity to do so and for the reason that Israel could level Damascus and the Baathist regime knows this well.
In addition, the Prince and his partners insist that Iran will do nothing but complain because it has too much to lose. Iran will not respond other than verbally and has no history of attacking the US or Israel and would not risk the unpredictable consequences of a military response by the Republic Guards or even some of its backed militia in Iraq or Syria. Sources in Tehran have reported otherwise to this observer.

Hezbollah, it is claimed, will not act without orders from Tehran which has instructed it to maintain its heavy weapons in moth balls until the coming ‘big war’ with Israel.. It is widely agreed that if Israel attacks Iran, the region will ignite with Hezbollah playing an important role in targeting occupied Palestine.

McClain, a former pilot in Vietnam, is even pushing “weapons to be employed” list, which includes advising the White House and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on how to do their jobs. Congressional sources report that there is tension between McCain and the Pentagon because the Senator is implying that the Pentagon doesn’t know its job or what assets it has available and how to use them.

The Saudi official acknowledges that a military strike is a game changer, especially for Russia and that it will kill any diplomatic initiative (including Geneva II), meaning that Russia will lose a serious advantage in Syria. This also means that Russia will lose its bargaining chips which could have bought them the consensus they need, political or economic. But this does not mean that Russia will stand up to the U.S. militarily, as the losses in this case would be more severe. All this is reportedly acceptable to the Prince and the lobby.

The timing of such an attack according to knowledgeable sources in Damascus and Washington would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers.

Reportedly, striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, hinges on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability for the chemical attack; continuing consultation with allies and Congress; and the Department of States International Law Bureau preparing the justification under international law.

One of the most common phases being uttered by AIPAC to congressional offices this week are the words, “Assad’s massive use of chemical weapons”.

Bandar has reportedly agreed that Israel can call the shots but that the air assault will be led by the US and involve roughly two dozen US allies including Turkey, the UK and France. The German weekly ‘Focus” reported on 8/26/13 that the IDF’s 8200 intelligence unlit bugged the Syrian leadership during the chemical weapons attack last week and that Israel ‘sold” the incriminating information to the White House.

A group from Israel arrived in Washington on 8/26/13. It included the Director of the Political-Security Staff in the Defense Ministry, Jaj. Gen. (res) Amos Gilad, Director of Planning Branch Maj. Gen. Nimrod Shefer and IDF intelligence Research Department Direcotr Brigadier General Ital Brun. After some intense discussions, the shared some of their tapes with US officials.

The Bandar/AIPAC arguments being, pushed by this delegation and being spread around capitol hill as part of “Israel sharing its sterling intelligence” can be summarized as follows:

The US must avoid half measures to pursue a limited punitive response to the CW use. What is needed is a sustained Bosnia style bombing campaign until Bashar al-Assad is removed from office. Giving in to that temptation would be a mistake.

The use of the CW affords President Obama an, undeserved opportunity to correct his errant Middle East policies. As Israel’s agent, Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy ( WINEP) is telling anyone who is willing to listen, “Obama’s deep reluctance to engage in Syria is clear to all. This hesitancy is part of his policy to wind down U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and his championing of the idea of “nation building at home.” It is not understandable and to the millions of Americans who see Syria as a heaven-sent contest between radical Shiites and radical Sunnis, it is unwise and inappropriate. “

According to the Saudi’s,” the Obama administration now faces Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its Iranian sponsors who believe they can put a stake through the heart of U.S. power and prestige in the region by testing the president’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons (CW). “ WINEP is arguing in a memo just issued, “ For Assad, large-scale use of CW serves multiple ends — it demoralizes the rebels, underscores the impotence of their external financiers and suppliers, and confirms to Assad’s own patrons that he is committed to fight to the bitter end. For the Iranians, Assad’s CW use makes Syria — not Iran’s nuclear facilities — the battlefield to test American resolve.”

For Bandar and his Zionist collaborators, the key issue is not whether Obama authorizes the use of American force as a response to Syria’s use of CW. Rather, the key imperative is that the U.S. use whatever force is necessary to achieve regime change and choose the next regime assuring that it will be friendly to Israel.

WINEP and AIPAC are arguing that If the US military action is designed to only punish Assad for violating the international norm on CW,” it will merely have the effect of defining for Assad the acceptable tools for mass killing — perhaps only the acceptable quantities of CW to use at any given time — and will have little impact on the outcome of the Syrian conflict; in fact, it might just embolden Assad and his allies.”

Bandar has told Congressional friends who he has known for decades, that if American military action must be designed to alter the balance of power between the various rebel groups and the Syrian/Iranian/Hezbollah alliance? This will require a wholesale change in U.S. on-the-ground strategy to supply and train well-vetted opposition militias.

For Israel and its agents, the worst of all is victory by the Assad/Iranian/Hezbollah axis, which a brief but fiery barrage of cruise missiles is liable to bring about. A global power thousands of miles away cannot calibrate stalemate to ensure that neither party wins; we have to prioritize the most negative outcomes and use our assets to prevent them.

The Bandar-Zionist project is still not irreversible. The Pentagon and especially Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, are very concerned and have threatened to resign in protest. For they realize that there is a grave risk that the Syrian response will lead to a clash with one of its neighbors, a US ally. Any scenario is possible from the moment that the first missile leaves American ships in the eastern Mediterranean.

Sources in Iran and Syria has advised this observers that they expect the US bombing to commence within 72 hours.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Iran and Syria and can be reached c/ofplamb@gmail.com.

Saudi Prince Bandar behind chemical attack in Syria: Report

Press TV

Syrians in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta say Saudi Arabia provided chemical weapons for an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group which they blame for the August 21 chemical attack in the region, a report says.

The article co-authored by a veteran AP reporter, said interviews with doctors, residents, anti-government forces and their families in Ghouta suggest the terrorists in question received chemical weapons via Saudi spymaster Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud.

The report quoted the father of a militant as saying that his son and 12 others were killed inside a tunnel used to store weapons supplied by a Saudi militant leader, known as Abu Ayesha.

The man described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Anti-government forces, interviewed in the article, complained they were not informed of the nature of the weapons they had been given, nor did they receive instructions how to use them.

“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” said one militant.

Another militant accused the Takfiri militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front of refusing to cooperate with other insurgents or sharing secret information. “They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” he added.

The authors noted that the doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers against asking questions regarding who exactly was responsible for the deadly assault.

Also more than a dozen militants interviewed said their salaries came from the Saudi government. They reportedly said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” (the lover) by al-Qaeda militants fighting in Syria.

According to Independent, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first accused the Syrian government in February of using sarin gas in a bid to rally support for Riyadh’s efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

And The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Saudi spy chief is considered by the CIA as “a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world [who] could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and…wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout.”

Syria, the Saudi connection: The prince with close ties to Washington at the heart of the push for war

by David Usborne, The Independent, source

He has been gone from the capital for eight years, but Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington wielded influence over no fewer than five different US presidents, has re-emerged as a pivotal figure in the struggle by America and its allies to tilt the battlefield balance against the regime in Syria.

Appointed by the Saudi king, his uncle, last year as the head of the Saudi General Intelligence Agency, Prince Bandar has reportedly for months been focused exclusively on garnering international support, including arms and training, for Syrian rebel factions in pursuit of the eventual toppling of President Bashar al-Assad.

It is a long-term Saudi goal, that in the past several days has been subsumed by the more immediate crisis over the purported use of chemical weapons by Damascus, which, according to Riyadh, must be met by a stern response. That message is being delivered to President Barack Obama by the current Saudi Ambassador in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, who is a Bandar protégé.

It was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first alerted Western allies to the alleged use of sarin gas …in February.

While a trip earlier this month to the Kremlin to try to cajole President Vladimir Putin into withdrawing his support for President Assad reportedly failed, Prince Bandar automatically has greater leverage in Western capitals, not least because of friendships forged during his time in Washington. His most recent travels, rarely advertised, have taken him to both London and Paris for discussions with senior officials.

As ambassador, Prince Bandar left an imprint that still has not quite faded. His voice was one of the loudest urging the United States to invade Iraq in 2003. In the 1980s, Prince Bandar became mired in the Iran-Contra scandal in Nicaragua.
Months of applying pressure on the White House and Congress over Syria have slowly born fruit. The CIA is believed to have been working with Prince Bandar directly since last year in training rebels at base in Jordan close to the Syrian border.

The Saudis are “indispensable partners on Syria” and have considerable influence on American thinking, a senior US official told The Wall Street Journal yesterday. He added: “No one wants to do anything alone”.

A Saudi plan to attack Damascus aborted by the Syrian army

by Hussein Mortada, Al Ahed news

The Syrian Army has broken the backbone of the armed thugs and killed their leaders in Damascus countryside.

Some Saudi officials held a quite meeting in Istanbul with 30 leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. This meeting took place in Istanbul right after the United States decision of putting the Saudi intelligence in charge regarding the Syrian files.

The center point of this meeting was a clear Saudi demand of either a huge battle by which the armed gangs control Damascus or cutting off the funding. Al-Ahed news website obtained more information, which says that huge amounts of weapons exist in Jordan and part of them were transported to Syria.

Armed gangs along with Saudi Arabia thought that this change will have influence on the field. Therefore, the armed militias of all backgrounds have started preparing to attack Jaramana as it is the closest city to the capital. The militias gathered in the skirts of Jarba town in Eastern Ghuta. The American trained militias in Jordan have secretly started sneaking in to Syria through boarders. Hundreds of armed gangs were ambushed in the surroundings of Eastern Ghuta when the Syrian army discovered these passages and it was a great loss for the militias.

However, the Syrian army took the decision of launching a counter military operation, which they time especially after observing all gatherings and targets.

The operation aims at breaking the backbone of the militias in Damascus countryside and pushing them away from the capital neighborhoods that were always their leaders’ dream to control. The operation also aims at completing the security belt around the capital from within that will meet the security belt in the Eastern Ghuta at Homs-Damascus international highway.

The plan started with targeting leaders of the armed militias of all gangs, brigades and squads hours before the operation beginning. The Syrian army used the most modern military technologies to locate positions and targets accurately.

They last targeted leader of the so called “Ahfad al-Rassoul Brigade” in Damascus countryside. Thus, the armed gangs in Damascus countryside lost the expert field leaders who were well familiar with the region. This caused unbalanced state to the armed militias.

The intense military reinforcement of the Syrian army during the past few days were a clue of the operation start especially in Daria, Duma. Almuadamia, the inside of Eastern Ghuta reaching Daraa and Swaida. The leaders of the operation had a clear list of targets.

In Joubar, the army targeted many gatherings of al-Nusra in crucial areas. One of the most important targeted areas was al-manto market, al-manasher Dora. The army progressed towards Teacher’s Tower building where snipers settled for seven months targeting civilians continuously. A part of this building collapsed. At the same time, the army performed a huge military operation in al-sbena region in Western Ghuta, targeted armed gatherings in Huseinia. The clashed continued at the axis of Gharba neighborhood in Hajerra, Husenia and Zyabia. This is the first time the Syrian army organize its unites to perform operations simultaneously on different axis : al-muazamia, al-Qaboun, Barza specifically in al-mustah tower, Jubar and Erbim.

The Syrian army progress led the armed militia to shell more than 30 mortars over Damascus and its hotspot neighborhoods: Bab Touma, al-kassaam al-abbassien via Joubar, al-Tahrir Square, al-Sadat, al-Tijara, Tishreen park in an attempt to raise morals of their fighters. This is a good clue showing how the army progress heavily influence the morals of the militias.

During the military operations, the analysts were interested in the accuracy of these operations as the Syrian army used very new techniques in observing , tracking in addition to the quality of weaponry, the elite brigades and special forces teams working on ground. A military source has confirmed to al-Ahed website that the Syrian army is still progressing in the depth along with intense fire coverage until the operation in the countryside ends soon. The end point of the operation will be when the army controls the villages of Rankoos, Assal el-ward and their surroundings along boarders with Lebanon.

Details of Bandar, Putin meeting: Take investments, oil price.. give us Syria

Al Ahed news

A diplomatic report revealed Wednesday the results of the stormy meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

According to the report published by as-Safir Lebanese daily, the June meeting concluded that the region stretching from North Africa to Chechnya and Iran through Syria, including all of the Middle East, is under the influence of the open US-Russian battle.

It is likely that things take a dramatic turn on the Lebanese front, on both political and security senses, in light of a senior Saudi decision to respond to Hizbullah’s involvement in the Syrian crisis.

The report presents the aspects of the Saudi-Russian meeting. It indicates that Prince Bandar, in coordination with the Americans and some European partners, proposed to the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, to visit Moscow. Bandar announced that he’s to us the carrot and stick means to convince the Russians.

He told the king that he is to cover the Russian leadership with political, economic, militarily and security temptations in exchange for Syria and Iran.

King Abdullah agreed on the proposal and contacted on the thirtieth of July with President Putin.
After a short conversation that lasted only a few minutes, the Saudi king agreed with Putin on a secret visit for Bandar to Moscow.

And this is really what happened. Bandar didn’t arrive to Moscow until the arrangements for his visit was shadowed by very secret procedures. Even the Saudi embassy had not taken the usual measures upon the arrival of Saudi officials to the Russian Federation.

Hours later, an introductory session was held between the director of Russian military intelligence General Gen. Igor Sergon and the Saudi intelligence chief at the headquarters of the military intelligence.

The meeting on the security cooperation between the two countries, and later Bandar moved to one of Putin’s houses on the outskirts of the Russian capital, where he held a closed bilateral meeting that lasted for four hours.
The conferees discussed an agenda that consisted of bilateral and other issues related to a number of regional and international files.

On the bilateral level, Bandar transferred to Putin the Saudi King’s greetings and his emphasis on the importance of developing relationships.

“Any understanding we will reach, won’t only be limited as a Russian- Saudi understanding but it will extend to be a Russian-US one, particularly any agreement we will reach on the Syrian file,” he added.

Bandar further stressed the importance of developing relations between the two countries, saying that the language of interests can provide large areas of cooperation.

In this context, the Saudi intelligence chief listed the areas of economic, oil, and military investments.

“There are a lot of common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world,” Bandar stated, and claimed that “Russia and the United States, the European Union and the Saudis agree on the promotion and consolidation of international peace and security.”

Moreover, he mentioned that the terrorist threat is growing in light of the ‘Arab Spring’.

Bandar added: “As an example, I can guarantee the protection of the Winter Olympics in “Sochi” on the Black Sea. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the Olympics have moved to Syria in coordination with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in face of the Syrian regime and we can guarantee that they won’t have any role or influence in the political future of Syria.”

At this point, Putin thanked King Abdullah on his greetings and Bandar on his speech, but he responded by saying: “We know that you have been supporting these terrorist Chechen groups for more than a decade.”

“This support, which you frankly mentioned, simply contradicts with the common objectives of the universal fight against terrorism, which you have stated minutes ago. We are interested in the development of friendly relations according to clear and strong principles,” the Russian President added.

Bandar said that the matter is not limited to the Kingdom and there are some countries that have exceeded its roles, for example, Qatar and Turkey.

Introducing oil to the negotiations, Bandar talked of potential synergies between the two countries if an understanding was reached on a number of files, especially Syria.

In this context, Bandar talked about long oil investment cooperation. “Let us study how to put a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and the quantities of production to keep the global oil markets stable.”

“We understand Russia’s great interest in the oil and gas of the Mediterranean Sea: from “Israel” to Cyprus passing through Lebanon and Syria,” the Saudi prince emphasized, and noted to the “vital Russian gas pipes to Europe.”

In an attempt to assure his Russian host, Bandar said: “We are not in the process of competition, and we can cooperate in this area as well as in the establishment of refineries and petrochemical industries.”

“The Kingdom is able to provide a huge multi-billion dollar investments in various fields in the Russian market,” he said.

However, he presented the conditions at this point: “It is important to conclude a political understandings on a number of files, particularly Syria and Iran.”

Putin responded that the ideas about the oil and gas cooperation as well as economic investment are worthy to be studied among the relevant ministries in both countries.

Meanwhile, Bandar made a lengthy remark on the Syrian file staring from Daraa incidents to reach the current situation.
“The Syrian regime is over for us and the majority of the Syrian people will not allow Bashar al-Assad to continue at the head of the state,” he claimed, and pointed out that “the key to relations between Riyadh and Moscow start with the understanding on Syria.”
On this level, the top Saudi official demanded a Russian stop for political support to Syria, especially in the UN Security Council.

As he assured Putin that his country’s interests on the Mediterranean coast will not be affected by one iota, Bandar urged a fast end to military and economic support for Syria.

“The future is to be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime, directly sponsored by us. It will be interested in understanding the interests of Russia and its role in the region,” he added.

Directly, the Russian president responded to Bandar, saying: “Our position from the Syrian regime will never change. We believe that the best to speak on behalf of the Syrian people is the Syrian regime and not the liver eaters and cannibals.”

“In Geneva we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, among which is that the regime will be in any settlement. Later, they decided to coup on the Geneva.. In all the Russian-American meetings, our officials reiterate our position, and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will confirm in the next meeting with his US counterpart John Kerry, the importance of making every possible effort to quickly reach a political settlement to the Syrian bloodshed,” he reiterated.

Once Putin finished his words, Bandar warned that the path of talks demonstrates that the things are to worsen, especially in the Syrian arena.

He further stated that the dispute in the Syrian file leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option. It is the only option available under the blockage of the horizon of any political settlement, and we believe that the Geneva Conference 2 will be very difficult to convene.”

Bandar also approached Iran’s regional role, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries. He also wished that Moscow understands the Saudi and Gulf interests in face of “nuclear Iran’s greed and challenges”.

In regard to Iran, Putin told his Saudi guest that Iran is a neighbor and “we are bound to it by centuries of relations, as well as common and tangled interests”. “We support the Iranian seek for peaceful nuclear energy and we helped them develop their facilities in this direction.”

“Of course, we will resume negotiations with them as part of G5+1 , and I will meet with President Hassan Rohani, on the sidelines of a Central Asia summit,” he declared, noting that “the meeting will discuss a lot of bilateral, regional and international levels.”

Putin reiterated his country’s rejection to imposing any new sanctions on Iran in the UN Security Council. “We believe that what was previously taken was unfair sanctions against Iran and its people,” he said, and concluded: “We will not repeat the UNSC experience again.”

Iraqi lawmaker says US covers up Saudi plots against Iraq

by Guy Billout

Press TV

A member of Iraq’s Free Iraqiya Party says the United States covers up the Saudi efforts to destabilize Iraq, Press TV reports.

Aliya Nassif told Press TV that Washington is not serious in its claim of intention to provide security for the Iraqi nation.

The Iraqi lawmaker also stated that Saudi Arabia triggers violence and insecurity in the region, particularly in Iraq, by supporting Takfiri terrorists.

Recently, cables were released about a secret memo by Christopher Hill, former US ambassador to Iraq, sent to the US Department of State in September 2009, in which it was mentioned, “Saudi Arabia constitutes the biggest challenge and the problem is more complex in relation to the Iraqi politicians who are trying to form a stable and independent government.”

Hill also said “intelligence sources reported that Saudi Arabia is based in the effort to destabilize the government of [Iraqi] Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

The former US envoy added that Riyadh funds attacks by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Iraq has seen a surge in violence since the beginning of this year. More than 4,000 people have died in terrorist attacks so far in 2013, with Baghdad province being the worst hit.

The United Nations said on August 1 that over 1,000 Iraqis were killed and more than 2,300 people were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in the month of July, making it the deadliest month in Iraq since 2008.

Lebanon: Nasrallah ready for Yaalon, Bandar war & resistance stronger than ever

dahyeh1582013-2

(Dahyeh, Lebanon-file photo)

Nasrallah Ready for Yaalon, Bandar War

by Nahed Hter- Al-Akhbar, source

“I, myself, will go to fight in Syria,” Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated.

Thus, it is the primary field of the resistance as well as for the top of the resistors, [Sayyed] Hassan Nasrallah.
This means that for all the this way supporters, the victory in Syria is a victory over “Israel”.

For its part, “Israel” has the same view. Its War Minister, Moshe Yaalon, publicly informed the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, that “it is not allowed that the axis of evil, from Tehran to Damascus passing through Beirut, wins the ongoing war in Syria.”

In comparison, Riyadh become closer to Tel Aviv than to Washington, which fears, that Syria turns to a new Afghanistan. It is, therefore, still hesitant.
Amid all this, the US suffers a lack of realism in accepting the new international balance of powers while Bandar bin Sultan succeeded in formulating an approach that unites Saudi and “Israeli” interests, and which is based on the Afghanization the whole Middle East.

However, this doesn’t absolve the United States of responsibility for the war in our region. It rather refers to the facts that must be acknowledged by the moderates, seeking to cooperate with Washington to reach the regional solutions.
The Americans have only Bandar, who in return has the only means of sectarian explosives, slaughters, and attacks.
This comes as the US is unable to strike Iran, “Israel” is incapable of breaking Hizbullah, and the Syrian armed “opposition” is ineffective in face of the Syrian regime.

In response, the Saudi- “Israeli” Coalition can do nothing but to destroy all the region through sectarian wars. They further seek to exhaust the Iranians and isolate them from the field of vital alliances as well as to stop the escalating Russian rising.
The terrorist bombing in the Dahyieh is of course painful and dangerous.
However, what the Dahyieh and Lebanon witnessed is merely an extension to the same criminal war Bandar is waging today against the Iraqis and Syrians.
In the same context, he works on agitating the Takfiri terrorist instincts of killing the Shiites, Alawites, Christians and Druze as well as the “ignorant” Sunnis, who refuse to bow to the logic of sectarian “Jihad”.

Nasrallah’s response came so clear: to prevent sedition at the level of civilians, which the Saudi Arabia seeks to achieve.

Based on the principles of national partnership and humanity, Sayyed Nasrallah urged the political isolation of the Takfiris , and the confrontation of terrorism.
However, the core of his words was accepting the challenge of the war with Ya’alon and Bandar.

The “Israelis” will not pass in the south, and the Takfiris will not pass in the North.

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Sayyed Nasrallah from Aita al-Shaab:Resistance stronger than ever,has equipment and fighters

by Nour Rida, Al Ahed news

Hizbullah held a central festival to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the Divine Victory, in celebrating the triumph of the Islamic Resistance in 2006 which defeated the vicious aggression “Israel” launched against Lebanon back then.

Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared via video-link on a giant screen to deliver his speech on the occasion.

Addressing thousands of Lebanese who arrived at Aita al-Shaab town in South Lebanon, near Palestinian borders, who took part in the celebration, Sayyed Nasrallah thanked the people who arrived to Aita al-Shaab, amid such an atmosphere and circumstances, particularly in a town near the border with the usurping [Israeli] entity.

He expressed consolations to families of the martyrs and wished the injured soon recovery.

“We pray for the souls of the martyrs who were killed in the terrorist blast in the Dahiyeh to rest in peace, and wish the injured a soon recovery. We consolidate the families of the martyrs and all those who were harmed physically, emotionally and else. We highly appreciate the respect and patience of the Dahiyeh people, for bearing responsibility, being wise, and self-restrained,” His Eminence expressed.

On Thursday, a terrorist explosion rocked Roweis area of the southern Suburb of Beirut, resulting in the martyrdom of 25 citizens, the injury of around 300 others in addition to major damage in buildings and cars.

Thanking all those who supported the Resistance and showed consolidation, Sayyed Nasrallah vehemently condemned the malicious attack and countries that remained silent on such murder and terrorism, stating “We condemn the silence of some countries regarding the explosion and coming days will prove their possible support and involvement in it.”

Divine Victory Defeated “Israeli” Great Project

In the first part of his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the July victory memory. He emphasized the importance of the ceremony location noting “We held the celebration in the town of Aita, which overlooks occupied Palestine and enjoys the same scent, the same atmosphere.”

The town of Aita, as expressed Sayyed Nasrallah, “stands as a symbol for all the towns in the south as well as the Dahiyeh. It is a symbol for all the towns that fought [the July 2006 aggression] for 33 days without withdrawing or being defeated. What happened in Aita during the July aggression represents the humane values and morals of the Resistance and its people.”

Recalling the August 14 2006 Victory, Sayyed Nasrallah accentuated “The divine victory defeated the great “Israeli” project, and was a school to be taught in military schools. Today, we assure our adherence to the Resistance until the liberation of the rest of our occupied land, and preserving its sovereignty, land and sea. We adhere to the golden formula [Army-Resistance-People] and assure our determination to protect our people and country.”

Sayyed Nasrallah reminded “During the war, we told the fighters in Aita they do not have to stay in the town as it is a bordering town [with Occupied Palestine] and no one would blame them for leaving it. But they refused and insisted on fighting until the last bullet and the last drop of blood.”

His Eminence went on to say “The Resistance today is stronger than ever, and has more equipment and fighters than ever. I tell “Israel” that the era of military tourism inside the Lebanese territory and its waters has ended and will never return. We will cut the legs and heads of “Israeli” soldiers who will enter our land.”

Sayyed Nasrallah proudly declared that the relation between the people and the Resistance is an emotional and moral relation.”

Takfiri Group Responsible for Attack, Members Identified

Regarding the Dahiyeh terrorist attack, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that as long as there is a side that refuses to surrender to the “Israeli” will and remains to resist, also embraces and supports the Resistance, it will remain to pay the price.

He pointed out “Targeting the Dahiyeh and the supporters of the resistance is not something new,” adding “The goal of the Roweis explosion was to kill civilians, it did not target a certain Hizbullah cadre, official, center or institution.”

The Resistance leader assured the assailant wanted to cause a major loss of lives among the civilians, with a bomb that weighs more than even 100 kilograms. Hizbullah Secretary General guaranteed the state as well as the Resistance will support the civilians who were harmed by the attack.

Moreover, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that during the past months, rockets were launched towards the Hermel, Baalbeck and al-Nabi Sheet regions [in the Bekaa region] and it is known who is behind these attacks. “Also, bombings also took place in Hermel, and rockets were launched towards Dahieh, the Yarze region and the last attack was yesterday’s explosion. It is an armed group of Syria’s opposition,” he said.

Sayyed Nasrallah continued “The bombs targeted us in Hermel and Majdel Anjar, also rockets were launched against Dahiyeh and yesterday there was an explosion. Clearly the people are the target, but what did we do? We didn’t have any hasty reaction or accuse anyone.”

The Resistance leader underscored “You will not find anyone who loves the people of the Resistance more than Hizbullah.”

Takfiri Groups Have No Religion, Beware Sectarian Strife

Sayyed Nasrallah said there are two theories on the party behind the explosion: First one is “Israel” and the second is terrorist and takfiri groups. But there is a third hypothesis which stipulates that another group has interfered to escalate tension with “Israel” and to provoke internal strife.”

Launching an accusation based on information collected by the army’s intelligence and Hizbullah, Sayyed Nasrallah said “One member of the group responsible for the explosion in Hermel’s Majdal Anjar was arrested, and he revealed the names of the other members of the group and those who manage and finance them are very well known.”

Furthermore, he believed that those who targeted Dahiyeh with rockets and planted the bomb in Bir al-Abed have become renowned.

“Those are not spies for “Israel”, so far this has not been proved yet. What is proven for sure is that they belong to distinct Takfiri groups.”

More on the issue, Sayyed Nasrallah uncovered that “The takfiri and terrorist groups work for “Israel”, and that those who think the takfiri groups will only target Shiite areas are mistaken.”

“Those groups target Sunnis, Shiites and Christians. They send suicide attackers to Sunni mosques and to churches also. If these attacks continue, Lebanon will be on the edge of the abyss,” His Eminence warned.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that people are required to cooperate with the State apparatuses in order to stop these incidents. He declared that the state needs to work in two stages: Take precautionary measures [which are not enough] and more importantly work to reveal, arrest, and get rid of the groups that are committing these attacks.

According to Sayyed Nasrallah, those behind the attacks are not Sunnis. Those people are takfiris who have no religion and are murderers.

On this note, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that the people, especially who were affected on Thursday by the explosion, are requested to refrain from emotional and uncalculated reactions. “You must prevent dragging Lebanon into a civil war and stop sectarian incitement. The conflict should remain politically-oriented and should not become sectarian.”

His Eminence assured that the takfiris have a destructive project for the region, as their sole plan is to kill with no differentiation between sects.

“Killings and explosions will not affect our will-power and we will not fall in the strife trap. We are not a substitute for the state in defense or security, but if the state does not get you, we will.”

Sayyed Nasrallah added “If you are punishing Hizbullah for its interference in Syria I will tell you that Takfiri groups are far more evil towards the Syrian people, not only the supporters of the regime but also the opponents.”

Hence, on the Syrian level, Sayyed Nasrallah explained “We entered specific regions in Syria and when we fight, we fight with our values. We did not kill prisoners or civilians. Some of our fighters were martyred because we were avoiding killing civilians. On the contrary, the takfri groups kill and execute civilians and commit massacres.”

“We only fought against Takfiri groups,” Sayyed Nasrallah iterated.

Addressing the media role, Sayyed Nasrallah questioned the low standards adopted by Arab media such as al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera, as these fabricate and report false news.

Additionally, Sayyed Nasrallah declared “You idiots, you should read our 30-year experience with “Israel” well. If we want to respond to the Dahiyeh explosion, we would double the number of fighters in Syria, from 1000 to 2000, and if they were 5000 they would become 10,000. If one day came and required that Hizbullah and I go to Syria we will do so.”

Sayyed Nasrallah further said “No one should assume he would win a war if he starts it against us. We determine the battle, and just like we won all wars against “Israel”, I tell you all that we will triumph in our battle against terrorist takfirsm. True it is that the battle will be costly, but less costly than we be slaughtered like ewes and await the coming of murderers into our own homes.”

Report: Moscow rebuffs Saudi offer to abandon Syria regime for arms deal

Al Ahed news

Moscow has strictly rebuffed a Saudi proposal to abandon the Syrian government in exchange of a rich arms deal, ensuring that Persian Gulf gas would not challenge Russia’s gas sales to Europe, also increasing Russia’s influence in the Arab countries, media reports said.

The $15 billion weapons proposal was purportedly made during the July 31 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, according to Reuters.
Neither Moscow nor Riyadh has officially commented on the agenda of the talks.

Still, a Thursday AFP report revealed new details of the negotiations.

According to an anonymous European diplomat, Prince Bandar proposed the deal and told Putin “whatever regime comes after” Assad will be “completely” in Riyadh’s hands.

He furthermore reportedly stated that if the deal was accepted, Saudi Arabia would not sign any contracts damaging Russian interests by allowing Gulf countries to transport its gas across Syria to Europe.

In return, Moscow is expected to drop its support of President Bashar Assad, and not standing in face of any future Security Council resolutions on Syria.

“President Putin listened politely to his interlocutor and let him know that his country would not change its strategy,” a separate Arab diplomat told AFP.

Bandar bin Sultan then told Russian officials that the only option left in Syria is a military one – and that they should forget about the Geneva-2 international peace conference because the opposition would not attend, the source said. Efforts to bring about the conference – which has been put forth by the US and Moscow – have so far been fruitless, mainly because of the absence of unity within the opposition ranks.

The meeting between Putin and Bandar came amid tension between the two states over the conflict in Syria, with Russia accusing the Saudis of “financing and arming terrorists and extremist groups” fighting against the Syrian government.

Known to have had close ties with former US President George Bush, Bandar a former Saudi ambassador to US, is currently director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency. Also, he was an advocate of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Saudi Arabia along with other US allies in the region has been a key supporter of the militants fighting the Assad government in Syria.

Riyadh has also called for foreign military intervention to topple President Assad’s government.

Rohani urges West to stop using language of sanctions & Saudi Arabia denies Bashir Iran-bound plane permission

Rohani urges West to stop using language of sanctions with Iran

Press TV

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called on Western governments to stop using the language of sanctions to address the Islamic Republic.

“I say candidly that if you want a proper response, speak to Iran not with the language of sanctions but with the language of respect,” Rohani said in his inauguration ceremony in the Iranian Majlis (parliament) on Sunday.

The new chief executive noted that the only way for interaction with Iran is “dialog on equal footing, mutual confidence-building, mutual respect and reduction of hostilities.”

Rohani stated that his policy would be based on “reducing tensions, mutual confidence-building and constructive interaction” with the world.

“I make it clear here that Iran has never been at war with the world,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic will concentrate its efforts on “reining in warmongers.”

“The Islamic Republic seeks peace and stability in the region. Iran is the harbor of stability in this tumultuous region. We do not seek to change borders and governments,” noted Rohani.

The US has imposed several rounds of illegal sanctions on Iran, which Washington claims to be aimed at pressuring Tehran to abandon its nuclear energy program.

In its latest measure against Iran, the US House of Representatives last Wednesday approved a bill to impose tougher sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports and financial sector.

Tehran has categorically rejected West’s accusations, arguing that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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Saudi Arabia denies Bashir Iran-bound plane permission: Sudan

Press TV

Saudi Arabia has blocked an Iran-bound plane carrying Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from its airspace, Khartoum says.

“The Saudi authorities refused to give the plane carrying President Bashir permission to cross their airspace,” AFP quoted Emad Sayed Ahmed, the presidential press secretary as saying.

Bashir was heading for Iranian capital, Tehran to attend the swearing-in of Iran’s new President Hassan Rohani on Sunday.

Ahmed explained that when the plane entered the airspace of the Saudi Arabia, the pilot informed authorities that it had approval and “that it was carrying President Bashir.”

However, “they said the plane didn’t have permission,” forcing the plane to turn back, he said, noting that President Bashir was traveling by a Saudi plane.

This is while Khartoum said it had announced that the Sudanese President “leaves for Tehran on an official two-day visit.”

Delegations from more than 50 countries have attended Rohani’s inauguration ceremony.

Among the participating foreign dignitaries are ten presidents, six vice-presidents, two prime ministers, eight parliament speakers as well as several prominent former officials.

Brzezinski: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, their western allies orchestrated Syria crisis

RB comment: Now when the plan began to fail , in which the true extent of the terrorist acts of the groups supported by the US/its allies is without a doubt revealed along with losing ground militarily fast, voices of ‘concern’ are raised. Isn’t it always like that?

Press TV

The former US national security adviser says the ongoing crisis in Syria has been orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and their western allies.

“In late 2011 there are outbreaks in Syria produced by a drought and abetted by two well-known autocracies in the Middle East: Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” Zbigniew Brzezinski said in an interview with The National Interest on June 24.

He added that US President Barack Obama also supported the unrest in Syria and suddenly announced that President Bashar al-Assad “has to go — without, apparently, any real preparation for making that happen.”

“Then in the spring of 2012, the election year here, the CIA under General Petraeus, according to The New York Times of March 24th of this year, a very revealing article, mounts a large-scale effort to assist the Qataris and the Saudis and link them somehow with the Turks in that effort,” said Brzezinski, who was former White House national security adviser under Jimmy Carter and now a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior research professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Criticizing the Obama administration’s policies regarding Syria, he questioned, “Was this a strategic position? Why did we all of a sudden decide that Syria had to be destabilized and its government overthrown? Had it ever been explained to the American people? Then in the latter part of 2012, especially after the elections, the tide of conflict turns somewhat against the rebels. And it becomes clear that not all of those rebels are all that ‘democratic.’ And so the whole policy begins to be reconsidered.”

“I think these things need to be clarified so that one can have a more insightful understanding of what exactly US policy was aiming at,” Brzezinski added.

He also called on US officials to push much more urgently to draw in China, Russia and other regional powers to reach some kind of peaceful end to the Syrian crisis.

“I think if we tackle the issue alone with the Russians, which I think has to be done because they’re involved partially, and if we do it relying primarily on the former colonial powers in the region-France and Great Britain, who are really hated in the region-the chances of success are not as high as if we do engage in it, somehow, with China, India and Japan, which have a stake in a more stable Middle East,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski also warned again any US-led military intervention in Syria or arming the militants fighting government forces there.

“I’m afraid that we’re headed toward an ineffective American intervention, which is even worse. There are circumstances in which intervention is not the best but also not the worst of all outcomes. But what you are talking about means increasing our aid to the least effective of the forces opposing Assad. So at best, it’s simply damaging to our credibility. At worst, it hastens the victory of groups that are much more hostile to us than Assad ever was. I still do not understand why — and that refers to my first answer — why we concluded somewhere back in 2011 or 2012 — an election year, incidentally that Assad should go.”

Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria, which erupted in March 2011, has claimed the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.

the New York Times said in a recent report the CIA was cooperating with Turkey and a number of other regional governments to supply arms to militants fighting the government in Syria.

The report comes as the US has repeatedly voiced concern over weapons falling into the hands of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.

Al-Nusra Front was named a terrorist organization by Washington last December, even though it has been fighting with the US-backed so-called Free Syrian Army in its battle against Damascus.

Syria: West-backed terrorists kill a priest, earlier a Muslim cleric & evacuate, loot Daraa historic sites

US-backed Takfiri militants behead 2 Christians including priest in Homs

Press TV

A shocking video has emerged on the Internet showing US-backed Takfiri militants in Syria brutally beheading two Christians including a priest in the western city of Homs.

In the gruesome footage recently posted online, the militants who are said to be members of the terrorist al-Nusra Front, cut off the heads of two handcuffed men, including Father Francois Murad, with a small knife in front of a crowd of people.

This is not the first time that the US-backed terrorists who are fighting against the Syrian government commit such grisly crimes against innocent civilians in the war-torn country.

In March, a Muslim cleric was beheaded in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo by militants, who decapitated Sheikh Hassan Saif al-Deen before dragging his lifeless body on the streets.

Local media blamed the beheading on the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra.

Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria, which erupted in March 2011, has claimed the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.

The al-Nusra Front has been behind many of the deadly bombings targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria since the beginning of the violence.

In an interview broadcast on Turkish television in April, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said if the militants take power in Syria, they could destabilize the entire Middle East region for decades.

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Syria Terrorists Evacuate, Loot Daraa Historic Sites

Al Ahed news

An official source at Syrian Antiquities department said that 11 historic towns and sites in the Daraa came under attack and sabotage by the armed terrorist groups, causing huge damages to their layers and looting their rich values.

“The majority of regions which were subject to acts of secret excavations, sabotage and looting are in Daraa’s western countryside where the armed terrorist groups are active, ” the source added.

He further clarified that those regions are well-known of their historic richness as they are considered one of the most ancient sites in the world where they have witnessed the succession of a number of civilizations.

“Tal Shihab was one of the sites which witnessed acts of digging in the historic hill, the surrounding valley and on the two banks of the railway to the south of hill in addition to excavations of the walls and mills of Tal shihab,” the source said.

In parallel, he confirmed that “acts of secret excavations extended to Kharab al-Shahm town and to the bottom of the valley through hand-made tools and heavy vehicles, while Sahm al-Jolan has witnessed the demolition of historic houses and secret excavations in addition to the border villages of Abdeen, Tal al-Ashaari which are considered as one of the most important historic sites in Syria.”

“The families in the area notified the Directorate about the existence of groups dividing themselves to 5 workshops which periodically excavate the sites through heavy vehicles, and this indicates to a systemized looting process of the historic belongings of Tal al-Ashaarai,” the source said.

He confirmed that the systemized terrorism against Syria’s civilization and history is considered as a big crime, and those who trade with the Syrian treasures don’t differ from the perpetrators of bloody crimes.

The source called on the neighboring countries, particularly Jordan to assume responsibility, retune the looted ruins and extradite the thieves to the Syrian authorities.

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Russia denies reports on closure of embassy in Syria

Press TV

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected as “speculation and provocation” reports suggesting that Moscow plans to close its embassy in the crisis-hit Syria, as well as its naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus.

“All these rumors are speculation and provocation aimed at preparing the public for the efforts to change the regime [in Syria],” Lavrov said in a press conference after talks with his Moroccan counterpart Saad al-Din al-Osmani in Moscow on Friday.

Lavrov added that “the Russian Embassy is working in a normal mode as regards the fulfillment of its functions as a diplomatic mission.”

Regarding the Tartus naval base, Lavrov said the “naval logistics facility operates normally. Evacuation of this base or its personnel is not on the agenda.”

Earlier in mid June, al-Hayat newspaper quoted Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying that Russia had evacuated all military personnel from its small naval base in Syria.

Saudis hold anti-regime demo in eastern region of Qatif

Press TV

Saudis have held an anti-regime demonstration in the eastern region of Qatif to express solidarity with political prisoners and those arrested in earlier protests against the ruling Al Saud regime.

On Thursday, the demonstrators called on Saudi authorities to release jailed opposition activists and prisoners of conscience including prominent – cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who has long been held in custody without trial.

The Saudi protesters denounced the regime’s deadly crackdown on rallies and chanted slogans against Al Saud family.

The protest comes a day after massive funeral processions were held in the town of Awamiyah and the Qatif region for two activists killed by regime forces

More than 40,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscience, are in jails across Saudi Arabia…

Saudi activist dies of injuries sustained in police shooting

(File photo)

Press TV

A Saudi activist has died of injuries sustained in a police shooting in the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province.

Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA said on Sunday that regime forces opened fire at Morsi Ali Ibrahim al-Rabah when they tried to arrest him over allegations of involvement in anti-regime protests.

An interior ministry spokesman said that Rabah was on a list of 23 – activists wanted in connection with protests in Awamiyah.

“He was wounded and died in hospital,” the spokesman said.

Rabah was the 18th victim of the Saudi regime’s crackdown on protesters in the Qatif region since 2011.

On June 21, Saudi regime forces killed a young man during a raid on the houses of anti-regime activists in the village of al-Tubi in Qatif. Police shot the 19-year-old in the head and shoulder…

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