Syria’s ‘shameful betrayal’ for Palestinians

Finian

For many Palestinians today the conflict in Syria is a source of deep shame. This is because large numbers of Palestinian men have joined the ranks of the foreign-backed extremists trying to destabilize the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad.

The covert war of regime change in Syria, sponsored by the US and other NATO powers along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, has caused as many as 130,000 deaths and over nine million displaced persons – 40 per cent of the Syrian population.

Since the conflict began in mid-March 2011, largely fomented by these foreign forces, the estimated damage to Syria’s social infrastructure is put at a colossal $100 billion.

To put that last figure into perspective, this week’s UN appeal for humanitarian aid to Syria – the biggest ever such appeal – managed to raise a comparatively paltry $2.4 billion.

In a word, Syria has been devastated. And for Palestinians this is a cause of acute anguish.

Like many Arab and non-Arab countries, including the US, Canada, Britain and France, mercenaries from the Palestinian territories have flocked to Syria to join the much-distorted “jihad” which Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf monarchies are bankrolling.

It is estimated, according to the Financial Times and other sources, that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have funnelled more than $9 billion into Syria over the past three years to pay wages and supply weapons to the extremist brigades, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic Front.

Ironically, for the UN humanitarian appeal for Syria, held in Kuwait earlier this week, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged a combined total of $120 million.

In other words, these two Persian Gulf monarchies have spent 75 times more on fuelling conflict and destruction in Syria than what they are now pledging in “humanitarian assistance”.

In Syria, the dominant anti-government militants share the same fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology of the Persian Gulf monarchies, and they have varying affiliation with Al Qaeda. They are also aligned with the extreme Salafist fringes of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This ideological spectrum has drawn in factions of the Hamas movement in Palestine, which has traditional links with the Muslim Brotherhood and more recently has been the recipient of aid donations totalling some $200 million from the Qatari royal rulers.

Why is this particularly shameful for Palestinians? Well, of all the Arab countries that have provided humanitarian aid and solidarity to the Palestinians down through the decades perhaps none has been as loyal and self-sacrificing in its fraternal help than the Syrian Arab Republic.

From the Zionist Nakba massacres against the Palestinians in 1948 until the present day, Syria has received millions of Palestinian refugees with open arms. The country is believed to host the biggest exiled Palestinian population in whole the region.

One of the largest Palestinian communities in Syria is at the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus where some 20,000 live. But, as political analyst Christof Lehmann points out, the term “refugee camp” is misleading. This is because the Palestinian residents have always been granted full Syrian citizenship and civil rights. “Yarmouk is more of an ordinary suburb of Damascus,” notes Lehmann, “but it has a technical status of refugee camp under Syrian and international law.” This is a measure of the traditional hospitality bestowed on the Palestinian Diaspora inside Syria.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Palestinian factions within the Yarmouk district have allowed the foreign-backed extremists of Jabhat al Nusra and others to infiltrate and occupy large swathes.

“Half of Yarmouk has been overrun by Jabhat al Nusrah and some other Al Qaeda brigades, as well as some small Muslim Brotherhood brigades,” says Lehmann. “Sadly, Hamas has been playing a role in this through a recruitment campaign among young Palestinians to join the anti-government forces in Syria.”

The analyst says that this occupation by Al Qaeda brigades has led to a dire humanitarian situation in Yarmouk, where residents are suffering from severe chronic shortages of food and medicines. Several dozen civilians are believed to have died from deprivation caused directly by the siege.

Anti-government factions within Yarmouk blame the Syrian army for the blockade and they claim it is being used as a tactic to force submission. This narrative has been zealously amplified by the Western media as a way of discrediting the Assad government.

But many observers say that it is the foreign-backed militants who are holding the Yarmouk residents as hostages and as human shields. This week a UN aid convoy of food trying to enter the area was turned back when it came under fire from gunmen believed to be from the militant side.

This view was echoed by Palestinian Labour Minister Ahmad Majdalani who this week visited the Yarmouk area. Majdalani warned of a dire humanitarian unfolding among the residents because of the ongoing blockade. He blamed the foreign-backed insurgents. “The source of fire [on the aid convoy] was known… to be controlled by Al Nusra Front, Ahrar al Sham and Suqur al-Golan,” said Majdalani.

Some of the bad blood between the Assad government and radical Salafists stems from a period of bloody repression in the mid-1980s against Muslim Brotherhood insurgents carried out by Bashar al Assad’s father, the late Hafez al Assad.

Nevertheless, that baleful episode must be set against more than six decades of unstinting solidarity afforded to the Palestinian people by the Syrian state.

The central fact is that the historical plight of the Palestinian people in Syria and beyond has come at the hands of Western-backed Zionist aggression. In contrast to Syria, the oil-rich Saudi regime has been derelict in its support to the Palestinian cause and refugees in particular.

Syria today is living through a nightmare aggression inflicted by Washington and its imperialist allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. That factions of Palestinians have joined cause with the imperialist axis bearing down on Syria is a shameful betrayal of Syria for many other Palestinians, both in the Middle East and around the world

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Monitor: Syria government warplanes bomb Aleppo, killing 16

 

In December, regime warplanes launched a series of raids with the powerful barrel bombs in Aleppo province, killing more than 500 people in nearly two weeks.

Government warplanes on Saturday launched raids on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo and the surrounding countryside, killing 16 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Warplanes bombed areas in the neighborhoods of Tariq al-Bab and Karam al-Jabal in Aleppo,” killing five people, including children, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

The two areas are controlled by opposition fighters who have been battling forces loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad since they launched a major offensive in the city in the summer of 2012.

Warplanes also hit the Sakhur neighbourhood on Saturday morning, killing another five people, said the Britain-bases Observatory which relies on a network of activists on the ground for its reports.

The Observatory also said “helicopters dropped explosive-packed barrels on Al-Bab town (east of Aleppo) that led to the death of five fighters from the (jihadist) Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and another man, leaving an unknown number of people wounded.

Helicopters also launched raids with “barrel bombs” on other areas of the northern city, once Syria’s commercial capital, and two villages in the south of Aleppo province, said the Observatory without giving further details on casualties.

In December, regime warplanes launched a series of raids with the powerful barrel bombs in Aleppo province, killing more than 500 people in nearly two weeks.

Elsewhere in the country, government jets pounded two areas east of the capital Damascus in eight raids, the Observatory reported, without saying whether there had been any casualties in the attacks.

Meanwhile, the Observatory said that clashes raged between ISIL and rival rebel groups in Aleppo province on Saturday.

Fighters from groups battling the jihadist ISIL seized a village in the province, but lost ground to the other rebels in the town of Manbaj, according to the Observatory.

Nine members of one rebel group taking part in the battle against ISIL were killed early on Saturday, the Observatory reported, when a car bomb went off at a checkpoint they were manning in rural Aleppo.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

BRUTALITIES BEYOND IMAGINATION: SOME DETAILS ON NUMBERS OF ROHINGYAS KILLED, ARRESTED, WOMEN/GIRLS RAPED

  

Around 3AM on 14th January 2014, a joint force of Myanmar Military, Security Force (Hlun Hteins) and Rakhine terrorists made a brutal assault on a Rohingya village called Du-Chira-Dan (Kilai-Daung) in Southern Maungdaw, Arakan state. Since then, they have killed many innocent villagers, arrested many others and raped many women/girls. They have literally deserted the village. The village has been totally blocked and declared to be No-Entry Zone for Rohingyas and observers. The brutalities are beyond one’s imagination.

I- Below-mentioned are the numbers of innocent Rohingyas massacred, gone missing and women/girls raped since the brutal military assault started.
a) 30 women/girls, 6 men/boys and 5 children have been massacred.
b) 200 Women/girls, 120 men/boys and 65 Children have gone missing since then.
Some of the people massacred were:
1) Musana (Daughter of) Sayed Ahmed (Age 40)
2) Noor Begum (Daughter of) Hormuz (Age 50)
3) Begum (Daughter of) Mohammed (Age 55) and her two grand children (one male and one female) of age 10 and 8.
6) Isi Begum (Daughter of) Sayed Ahmed (Age 15) (Slashed into three pieces)
7) Three Children of Noor Salam (two boys and one girl)
10) Abu Bakr Siddiqui (Son of) Omar Hamid (Age 20)
11) Abdus Salam (Son of) Abdu Shukkor (Age 60) (Hanged in Maungdaw Police Station) and his one son and one daughter were also killed.
The names of other six people killed are (this was mentioned in the earlier report, Click HERE):
1) Zawbit (Son of ) Nizam (Age 80)
2) Lal Meah (Son of ) Matlib (Age 60)
3) Shomsu (Son of ) Bodi Alam (Age 40)
4) Mohammed Shuaib (Son of ) Salimullah (Age 10)
5) Mariam Khatun (Daughter of) Zahiruddin,wife of the late Nazir Ahmed (Age 103 years)
6) Begum (Daughter of) Ahmed Hussein, wife of Salimullah (Age 42)
Some of the people arrested are:
1) Shamshu (Son of) Badi Alam (Age 50)
2) Kamal Uddin (Son of) Jamal Uddin (Age 65)
3) Dhabir Ullah (Son of) Nizam (Age 75)
4) Rajan (Daunghter of) Dhabir Ullah (age 45)
5) Zahid Alam (Son of) ? (Age 30)
Some of the people injured are:
1) Kabir Ahmed (Son of) Sayed Alam (Age 25) (Hit bullet at his arm)
2) Amina (Daughter of) Habi Ullah (Age 45) (Broke both her arms and legs)
c) Numbers of women raped are to be verified yet. However, locals have confirmed that many of the women killed had been raped before and the same brutalities might have happened to the still-msiing women.
d) The displaced families from the village are still trying to contact with their respective family members. Hence, the names and other details of the people killed and gone missing are being compiled.
II- This morning around 9AM (on 18th January 2014 morning), a taxi driver witnessed a truck load of Rohingya women (tied with ropes), estimated to be around 100, being taken away by the military and security force towards the forest. Besides, he also saw a dead body of a slashed Rohingya boy (estimated to be of age 9) under the under the bridge between the village of Nurullah and that of Du-Chira-Dan. He was unable to take a photo of the dead body because Security Forces were patrolling nearby.
III- A joint group of Security Force, Military and Rakhine terrorists blocked and raided the village of Nurullah of Baggona village tract from 9:30PM on 17th January 2014 to 3AM on 18th January 2014. They said they were searching for the people of Du-Chira-Dan. Since no one from Du-Chira-Dan village was found, they arrested an innocent Rohingya called Mohmmed Taher (son of) Nur Alam (Age 30), whose house is nearby Nurullah Islamic Religious School, accusing that he could not prove himself to be from Nurullah village. Now, they are demanding an amount of Kyat 400,000 for his release. Besides, the Nurullah villagers are leaving their homes in fear of arbitrary assaults and arrests.
IV- Yesterday (i.e. on 17th January 2014), the Maungdaw Township administration called the villagers of Du-Chira-Dan for a meeting. However, the villagers dared not come up for the meeting because of the fear of being arrested had they attented the meeting. In June 2012, the authority arrested more than 100 innocent people in the village of Baggona, southern Maungdaw, after calling the villagers for meetings.
V- Around 3:30PM on 16th January 2014, a UNHCR Officer from Maungdaw on his way back from his mission in the village of Alay-Than-Kyaw (Haisshu-Rata) stopped at the village of Du-Chira-Dan to observe what was going on. Seeing him, a few Rohingya women came out of their homes to explain the actual situation. However, they were stopped by the Security Force. There were some Rakhine terrorists with machetes standing by a place not so far from the Officer. They didn’t chase the Officer away unlike we reported earlier. Soon after, Security Force asked him to leave the place. He would not like to reveal his identity according to our source.
VI- Security Force made a video of Rohingya passers-by at the Bazaar of village of Myoma Kayindan (Shidda Fara) at around 4PM yesterday (i.e. on 17th January 2014). In today’s state-owned newspaper (18th Juanuary 2014 issue), the New Light of Myanmar, it said, using some pictures from the video, that the situation in Maungdaw is peaceful and accused Irrawaddy and AP Media of falsely reporting the violenece in Rakhine state. However, the Rohingya village deserted is the village of Du-Chira-Dan (Kilai-daung), which is 5 miles away from the village of Myoma Kayindan where the video shooting took place yesterday. This is how Sociopath Myanmar regime usually LIES.
No above-mentioned report is exaggerated. It is genuine inhumane sufferings of Rohingyas. And this is a man-made human disaster. Myanmar regime and its supporters have proven to be human beings without humane souls. If you, international community, still have humanity and human feelings in you, we plead you to demand your own respective goverments to collectively take practical measures against Myanmar Regime sponsored violence. Neither mere lips-servicing nor demanding Myanmar Regime to stop the violence will be effective because Myanmar Regime royally ignores to listen.
(Source / 18.01.2014)

Report: UNESCO cancels Israel exhibit following Arab pressure

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The cultural arm of the United Nations has cancelled the opening of a controversial Israel-themed exhibition at its Paris headquarters after coming under pressure from a number of Arab states, according to Israeli media.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that a UNESCO exhibition focusing on the “3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel” was cancelled by the cultural body after a letter of condemnation was sent by representatives of a number of Arab states.

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said on Wednesday in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the exhibit’s main organizers, that the exhibit would be postponed indefinitely out of “support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

On January 14, the president of the opposing group Abdullah Elmealmi sent a letter to Bokova saying they were “deeply disturbed by the exhibition” and “condemned” it.

“The media campaign accompanying the exhibition will inevitably damage the peace talks, the incessant efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UNESCO’s neutrality,” he added in the letter.

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member in 2011, after which Israel and the United States pulled their support for the cultural body and stopped paying their dues in protest.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the exhibition’s main sponsors, is currently trying to build a “Museum of Tolerance” by bulldozing an ancient Muslim cemetery in West Jerusalem that was in active use for 1,000 years until the 1920s.

Israeli authorities frequently use narratives of a millenia-long uninterrupted Jewish presence or connection to Palestine in order to undermine present-day Palestinian connections and legal rights to their land.

The topic is particularly sensitive given that members of the Israeli settlement movement often point to the previous existence of ancient Jewish towns on the site of currently existing Palestinian villages in order to dispossess them of their lands and build illegal Israeli settlements atop them.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Palestinian youth shot by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A young Palestinian man was seriously injured after Israeli forces shot him on Saturday evening in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Anata.

Private sources confirmed that the young man was suffering from a critical injury and extensive bleeding after being shot in the thigh with expanding dum-dum bullets by Israeli forces during clashes in the neighborhood.

He was reportedly transferred to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem due to his condition.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Libya declares state of emergency

Libyan troops were sent to the country’s restive south to control unrest.

Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) declared a state of emergency in the country on Saturday, following fresh clashes that erupted in the south when a gunmen group seized a military base, an official said according to Agence France-Presse.

The GNC, Libya’s highest political authority, made the decision during an “extraordinary session” around the situation in the southern town of Sebha, where tribal clashes have been raging for several days.

Fighting flared up again on Saturday when gunmen took control of a military base near Sabha, after several days of relative quiet, the government said.

However, earlier on Saturday, the Libyan army had recaptured the Tamenhant base, near the southern city of Sabha, Abderrazak al-Shebahi, Libya’s defense ministry spokesman said, according to AFP.

Government warplanes launched raids “against certain targets”, he added.

Shebahi also said the [gunmen] group was made up of supporters of Dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was ousted and killed by NATO-backed rebels in October 2011.

“We know them and we are going to track where they are going,” he said.

Meanwhile, troops were sent to the country’s restive south to control the clashes Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said, according to Reuters.

“This confrontation [at the air base] is continuing but in a few hours it will be solved,” he said during a televised interview without giving further details.

During the clashes in Sabha, three soldiers were reported killed a military official said according to AFP.

Four other soldiers were wounded in the clashes that continued for a second day after an earlier truce failed, the official who spoke on condition of anonymity added.

The clashes were sparked by revenge attacks between the African-origin Tabu tribe and the Arab-origin Awlad Soliman.

Assailants attacked at least two military bases in the city, the official said.

Also on Saturday, the Libyan defense minister was sent to Mistrata to order the troops based there to move to the south, according to Reuters.

Mistrata, a central coastal city, is home to some of the most experienced soldiers and militias, battle-hardened from the 2011 uprising.

“The troops from Misrata have been commissioned by the government to conduct a national task … to spread security and stability in the region,” Zeidan said.

Earlier this week, fighting in Sabha killed 31 people. The city was one of the last to fall under rebel control during Libya’s 2011 civil war.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Syrian opposition to attend peace conference

Palestinian children attend a rally in solidarity with Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus, in Gaza City, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. The Yarmouk camp once housed some 160,000 Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war in Israel known by Palestinians as “Naqba,” or the Catastrophe, and by Israelis as the War of Independence. The dire conditions at the Yarmouk camp are a striking example of the catastrophe unfolding in rebel-held areas blockaded by the Syrian government.

ISTANBUL (AP) — The main, western-backed Syrian opposition group voted Saturday in favor of attending next week’s peace conference aimed at ending the country’s bloody civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition‘s media office said that of 73 voters, 58 voted in favor of attending the conference. It added that 14 voted against, two abstained and one placed a blank ballot.

The Coalition was under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks, scheduled to open Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux. The Syrian government has already said it will attend the U.N.-sponsored talks.

It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition since the country’s crisis began in March 2011, killing more than 100,000 people and displacing millions.

The U.S. and Russia have been trying to hold the peace conference since last year and it has been repeatedly delayed. Both sides finally agreed to sit together on the negotiations table after dropping some of their conditions.

The aim of the conference, dubbed Geneva 2, is to agree on a roadmap for Syria based on one adopted by the U.S., Russia and other major powers in June 2012. That plan includes the creation of a transitional government and eventual elections.

One of the main demands of the opposition was that President Bashar Assad agrees to step down before going to the conference. With his government troops keeping their momentum on the ground, Assad’s government has said he will not surrender power and may run again in elections due in mid-2014.

Many Coalition members were hesitant to attend a conference that has little chance of success and will burn the last shred of credibility the group has with powerful rebels on the ground, who reject the talks.

Many members boycotted the Istanbul meetings that began on Friday, forcing the Coalition’s legal committee to approve the decision in a simple majority vote.

The Coalition’s media office said the group’s leader, Ahmad al-Jarba, will give a speech “to the Syrian people” later Saturday.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Hamas warns of Israeli bid to grab land at WB mosque

The Ibrahimi Monsque in al-khalil, West Bank

The Ibrahimi Monsque in al-khalil, West Bank
The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has warned of a plan by Israeli authorities to seize Palestinian lands surrounding the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of al-Khalil.

Hamas further emphasized in a Thursday statement that the aim of the occupying regime to “steal the lands” adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque and its continued war on the holy sites and Islamic monuments in the city of al-Khalil represent “a new Israeli crime against the Palestinian territory.”

The statement goes on to describe the Israeli move as “a desperate attempt that will not succeed in obliterating the Islamic landmark of the city” as well as isolating it from the rest of Palestine.

Furthermore, the Hamas statement strongly denounced the silence of the international community regarding the occupation procedures, and called on the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to end its negotiations and security coordination with the Israeli occupiers.

The resistance movement also called on the Palestinian people to confront the Israeli plots and defend their land and holy places.

Hamas further urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League to duly assume their responsibilities and protect the Palestinian territory from the danger of more Zionist settlements and Judaization.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Egyptians Overwhelmingly Endorse Military-Backed Constitution

First vote for regime that ousted Morsi in July coup

After a two-day election, 98.1% of Egyptian voters approved a constitution in the first vote under the regime that toppled Mohamed Morsi in a July coup.

While the results suggest a ringing endorsement of the military-backed regime that ousted Morsi and suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, only 38.6 percent of the country’s 53 million eligible voters went to the polls, the Associated Pressreports. Morsi supporters also boycotted the vote.

There were clashes Friday after Morsi-supported protests turned violent, and activists expressed concerns about arrests and detentions ahead of the vote.

(Source / 18.01.2014)

Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque and climb Dome of the Rock

 

Dome of the RockThis is the first incident where the settlers have climbed the Dome of the Rock Mosque

Israeli settlers have stormed repeatedly Al-Aqsa Mosque compound over the last two days, and on Thursday even climbed the Dome of the Rock Mosque. The settlers were led by the radical Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who is the former head of the Temple Institute. He was accompanied by a journalist on Thursday who carried a camera to document the attack, while settlers reportedly engaged in verbal altercations with angry Muslim worshipers defending the mosque. Witnesses reported that Rabbi Glick returned to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque twice on Friday, joined by groups of Jewish settlers whom he lectured to about the alleged Temple.

The settlers have now become accustomed to storming the mosque regularly, usually touring around the yards starting from the Mughrabi Gate and then going to Al-Marwani Mosque, Rahma Gate, Al-Asbat Gate and King Faisal Gate until the Alqtanin Gate, exiting from Al-Selselah Gate. However, this is the first incident where the settlers have climbed the Dome of the Rock Mosque.

The General Director of Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, has condemned the incident and described it as a provocative and dangerous step. Meanwhile, the Islamic-Christian Committee to support Jerusalem and its holy sites issued a press statement affirming that the incident represents “a flagrant violation against places of worship” and pointing out that the Israeli occupation authorities have almost completed their efforts to Judaise Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings and are preparing to announce it as a Jewish synagogue.

In related news, Israeli occupation forces arrested three young Palestinian men from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday and took them to a police station in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

(Source / 18.01.2014)