Archive | July 1st, 2013

Egypt Springs Again

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi wave Egyptian flags and shout slogans against him and the Muslim Brotherhood during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, June 30, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
By: Al-Monitor Week in Review Posted on July 1.

The past week in the Middle East brought much-anticipated protests in Egypt and ongoing assessment of what the Taksim Square-Gezi Park protests mean for Turkey going forward.

Egyptians Rally Against Morsi

Mohannad Sabry, reporting from Cairo, writes that the June 30 demonstrations against President Mohammed Morsi make the January 2011 demonstrations that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak “look like a minor protest”:

Passing by police stations and security checkpoints, protesters shook the hands of machine-gun-yielding officers and soldiers who waved victory signs at the marching crowds….

In Cairo, it wasn’t only Tahrir Square — every major square hosted thousands of protesters. Other cities, including the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria; the Nile Delta’s Mansoura, Mehalla and Tanta; Suez Canal’s Port Said, Suez and Ismailia; and Upper Egypt’s Assuit, Sohag and Menya, witnessed unprecedented numbers marching in locations that have become known as revolutionary grounds since January 2011.

Violence was reported in Upper Egypt’s mainly Coptic city of Beni Suef, where several Morsi supporters led by a Salafist cleric attacked an opposition march using firearms. One death and several gunshot wounds were reported among opposition protesters.

Dozens of angry protesters attacked the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo’s Moqattam district; they hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at the well-barricaded building. Unconfirmed reports alleged that Brotherhood members fired live ammunition at the attackers; no injuries or deaths were reported.

The events of June 30 open a new chapter in Egypt’s volatile transition. Bassem Sabry summarized the state of play, arguing that Morsi’s remaining and only good option, if there is one, may be to call for early elections:

It is staggering to think how Morsi and the Brotherhood have obliterated so much of the goodwill that many people genuinely had for (or were willing to give to) them, largely in a single year. All the Brotherhood and Morsi (elected by only 51.7% with the indispensable aid of a revolutionary-Islamist coalition that has since fallen apart) had to do was to be transparent, inclusive, and focused on playing a mediating role between the country’s forces. Had they done that, they could have had a comfortable lock on the country within a year or two. Instead, they grew too certain of their strength and capabilities and of the weakness and disorganization of others, and in that the Egyptian people are unlikely to rise up again, at least not in such numbers.

Morsi also faces a challenge from Al-Nour, Egypt’s Salafist party, which left Morsi dangling by abstaining from the June 30 protests. Safa Joudeh writes that Al-Nour is seeking to capitalize by straddling the fence in the current conflict between Morsi and his secular opponents.

Mohannad Sabry provided further coverage of the Islamist challenge to government rule in the Sinai and how it is likely to go from bad to worse after June 30:

Within the span of a week in late June, the Rafah Central Security Barracks were twice targeted by unidentified gunmen; a rocket landed in the middle of the Sinai; a prominent tribal chief survived an assassination attempt by police forces; and two police sergeants were kidnapped. This string of events casts major doubts on the Egyptian army and the Ministry of Interior’s soothing statements insisting that they have control over the restive mountainous peninsula, which has been the site of several significant blows to the country’s national security since the Jan. 2011 uprising.

Janne Louisa Anderson wrote about the role of musicians in the Egyptian protests, and how some have ridden the wave of popularity or have had reputations take a hit, depending on where they stood during the rebellion.

Turkey’s “Social Explosion”

Al-Monitor contributing writer Kadri Gursel testified on June 27 before the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats at its hearing “Turkey at a Crossroads: What Do the Gezi Park Protests Mean for Democracy in the Region?”

Gursel described the “social explosion” that occurred in Turkey as a result of the Taksim Square–Gezi Park protests, which have “washed out” the much cited “Turkish model” of the Justice and Development Party:

The uprising was a spontaneous popular movement without an organization and leadership. The lead actor in this movement is the well-educated, urbanized young generation labeled by the Turkish media as “the ’90s generation.” Most of these young people place themselves outside of established politics. According to polls, they cite restrictions on their freedoms, Erdogan’s authoritarianism, and police brutality as the main reasons behind their taking to the streets. What they demand most is their freedoms and ending the violations of their rights. The difference between them and earlier rebellious generations is that this time, their parents are behind them. They are for peaceful demonstrations, humor and nonviolence. They keep themselves informed and communicate by social media, led by Twitter.

Gursel described Turkey at a “junction” between authoritarianism and a new Turkey based on actual pluralistic democracy. He added that the protests had put the Turkish media on notice that it should not give in to the troubling trend toward government intimidation of the press and self-censorship among mainstream media organizations

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Xinjiang terrorists finding training, support in Syria

 Xinjiang terrorists finding training, support in Syria 

Armed police officers attend an oath-taking ceremony at the People’s Square on Saturday in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. At least 24 civilians and police officers were killed during a recent terrorist attack.
Photo: CFP
From a foreign student studying in Istanbul to a soldier receiving training in Syria’s Aleppo, to a terrorist plotting attacks in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, 23-year-old Memeti Aili said he felt like his dream was turned into a nightmare.Memeti Aili was recently caught by the police when returning to Xinjiang to complete his mission to “carry out violent attack and improve fighting skills” assigned by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). ETIM is a terrorist group that aims to create an Islamist state in Xinjiang, which works alongside the East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association (ETESA), an Istanbul-based exile group. “After hearing their lectures, all I could think about was jihad and I totally abandoned my studies and my family,” he told the police. “But thinking back, it was like a nightmare.”
An anti-terrorism official told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that about 100 people like Memeti Aili had travelled to Syria to join the fighting alongside Syrian rebels since last year. “Their purpose is to overcome their fears, improve their fighting skills and gain experience in carrying out terror attacks,” according to the official who declined to be named.Xinjiang, in China’s far west, borders central Asia and is home to 10 million Uyghurs. It was rocked by two terror attacks that killed 35 people last week, just days ahead of the fourth anniversary of the July 5 riot in the capital Urumqi that left 197 people dead. Yu Zhengsheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, led a work team to Urumqi after President Xi Jinping on Friday arranged measures to safeguard social stability.”We will step up efforts to crack down on terrorist groups and extremist organizations while tracking down those wanted for these crimes,”
 Yu was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency.Unwelcome to battle In 2011, after graduating from university in Urumqi, Memeti Aili went to study in Turkey like many other Muslim Ugyhur students. Soon after settling down in Istanbul, someone from the ETESA approached and offered him “help.”A year later, after studying the lessons they provided, Memeti Aili was informed by ETESA and ETIM that he had been selected to travel to Syria to join the fighting. Together with other young people, Memeti Aili travelled to Aleppo, the largest city located in northwestern Syria and arranged to join the rebels. The percentage of foreign fighters in Syria has reached up to 80 percent from 29 countries such as Libya, Turkey, Lebanon and Yemen, according to Omran Zoubi, Minister of Information in the Assad government.Before arriving in Syria, Memeti Aili said he had never touched a gun.
Together these young people received seven days of training in the suburbs of Aleppo where there was no water or electricity supply, and food was scarce. “We had to change sites four times a day in fear of possible bombings from the Syrian army, therefore we didn’t learn that much during that week,” he recalled.During the training, he was shown how to shoot a gun and make bombs. But not all of them had the chance to practice and many just watched and hoped that something would sink in. After this rushed training, Memeti Aili was assigned to join the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an armed opposition structure operating in Syria.”We were running around Aleppo like madmen to avoid possible bombings and air attacks,” said Memeti Aili, “We didn’t see the Syrian army, but we saw the places where our guys got hit by bombs and died.” He helped to take the wounded to the local hospitals, but they were told only one hospital was still working and was frequently bombed. His comrades were left to die.What surprised Memeti Aili the most was that foreign fighters were not really welcomed by locals.
“We thought that if we brought holy war into Syria we would be welcomed, but the fact is, we were told by the local people that we were not welcome as they didn’t want their lifestyle to change,” Memeti Aili said.Most of the inexperienced fighters were killed due to inappropriate gear. Luckily for him, Memeti Aili was assigned to nighttime patrols instead of fighting in the front lines. Two months later he was sent back to Istanbul.In a statement released on the groups’s official website in 2012, the ETESA denied that any Uyghurs had traveled to Syria to join in the fighting and stated it was not associated with any terrorist organization.”The Uyghurs have never participated in any terrorist activities or have never carried out any violent actions against anyone or any government,” it said.

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FOR ISRAHELL …Senior Republican senators urge Obama to intervene in Syria
Steve Linde, Noa Amital, JPost, Jul 1 2013
Two ranking Republican members of the US Senate Armed Services Committee [[[[[urged the Obama administration on Sunday evening to take “decisive” action against the Assad regime in Syria.]]]][[[[[ John McCain and Lindsey Graham spoke at a news conference in Jerusalem after meeting with Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.]]]] Graham said while they supported Jackass Kerry’s efforts to jump-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Syrian civil war was much more of a pressing issue.Graham warned: To me, we’re having misplaced priorities here. The peace process is important, but Syria is literally blowing apart: 100,000 dead. Both Graham and McCain dismissed a proposal for an international conference on the crisis. McCain, who visited Syria in late May, said: No one believes that Bashar Assad will agree to leave power when he’s on the winning side. Some of us have suggested that this conference take place in Munich rather than Geneva. Graham added: The idea of sitting down with the Russians and the Iranians, and expecting Assad to leave when he’s winning, to me makes no sense.
I would urge that the same focus we’re spending on trying to restart the peace process, we should be spending our time trying to stop the slaughter in Syria. And when we say as a nation, our president says ‘Assad must go,’ we need to prove to people we mean it. And when our president said, ‘The use of chemical weapons is a red line,’ well, that red line has been crossed. I would just urge the administration to focus on Syria, because if you don’t get this right soon, the whole region is going down. McCain slammed the Obama administration for exhibiting a lack of leadership in the region, saying: We appreciate the efforts that our allies continue to make in the region, but we clearly see a region in turmoil, an example being the massive protests in Cairo today.
It requires US leadership in every instance, and we are disappointed that there is an absence of US leadership. We see Hezbollah with as many as 5,000 troops in Syria, we see Russian equipment falling in on a daily basis, we see the Iranian Revolutionary Guards providing training equipment, boots and troops on the ground. Meanwhile, the freedom fighters have only light weapons. It is an unfair fight. So what we want to see is the declaration of a no-fly zone. We can take out their runways and negate their air power using PAC-3 missile batteries close to the no-fly zone and provide the weapons that they really need. AK-47s don’t do very well against tanks. They need anti-tank and anti-air weapons. That’s what I mean by US leadership. McCain said he did not recommend Israeli military action in Syria unless the country came under attack. He said: I think that Israel’s role is necessarily very limited unless there’s a direct threat by Hezbollah or on the Golan, because that could antagonize other countries in the region. No, I do not recommend any military action on the part of Israel at this time. I do recommend very strongly that we level the playing field with US assistance. Graham, who called Israel “our best ally in the Mideast and probably as good an ally as we have in the world,” added: Chemical weapons could fall into the wrong hands. [[[[[I worry more about the chemical weapons being used against USrael than I do about any weapons we give to rebel forces falling in the wrong hands]]]]]]. If we continue our policies toward Syria, if we do nothing, how do we convince Iran not to get a nuclear weapon? I have visited regularly for the past two years, and my worst fears are coming true every day. Our friends in Israel are being increasingly surrounded by more and more radical regimes who are hell bent on getting the most dangerous weapons. If we don’t start intervening in a decisive way to stop the slaughter in Syria and to end this conflict as quickly as possible, it’s going to take the whole region down with it. And the Iranians are measuring us every day. [[[[[We are in a proxy fight with Iran in Syria, and I don’t see any way the Iranians will stop their nuclear ambitions, given the policies we have toward Syria]]]]].


What’s Next for Egypt?

A protester opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi throws Molotov cocktails at the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, June 30, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

It’s safe to say that only a few of us might have seen this happening.

The sheer number of Egyptians who took to the streets and squares today in the scorching heat, and not even on a weekend even as usual for such protests, was the largest single protest in Egyptian history. There is absolutely no doubt about it.

As I marched from the journalists’ syndicate toward Tahrir Square, it had already been packed for at least a couple of hours. I stood outside to see hundreds going in and out each minute, while several large-scale marches either stood outside and around the square, or decided to move instead toward the Ettihadeyya presidential palace as the alternative.

Around the square, the number was perhaps even larger than that inside. When I finally made my way inside, the mood was as defiant as it was jubilant and certain. There were Nasser, Gandhi and Mandela quotes on leaflets and signs, even a couple of Ahinsa/Ahimsa symbols with revolutionary writings on them, in addition to religious and traditional quotes as well the famous displays of the Quran and Cross together in unity and Christians guarding praying Muslims. What is even more remarkable is that this historic and record outpour of people happened without any real mobilization mechanism, unlike the Brotherhood and Islamists who are known to be capable of almost literally moving each member at will. It was a spontaneous outburst that showed a vast diversity of Egyptians. In fact, it largely transcended the revolutionary movement itself and appears to have had very little to do with the opposition’s calls or shaky direct mobilization.

And it seems, according to imagery being shared around, that almost every major Cairo suburb had its own anti-Morsi protest today. Cars in the streets were honking at each other in a traditional celebratory pattern, while many had anti-Morsi signs (especially red cards as those used in football to expel a player outside the field) glued to them. Strangers were talking to each other in the streets, discussing when Morsi will leave (treating it as a fact,) and some even protested in front of their homes. Egyptian flags flooded the streets and visibly hung from many buildings in such a number for the first time since February 2011, when Mubarak fell.

Many of Egypt’s governorates were an even bigger surprise, turning out in record numbers today out of their own spontaneity as well. Every opposition member and protester I have spoken to concurs: none expected such a number. So many Egyptians appear truly angry, across the board. And these protesters seemed confident, perhaps with some reason, that this time the Police and the military are either on their side or at least won’t stand against them. In fact, it is reported that nearby police officers in the Dokki police station even held signs in support of the protest, and there are unconfirmed claims that police members protested today in civilian clothing. The military also had its shares of chants, such as the infamous “The military and the people are one hand”, and the one and rhyming chant “Come down [i.e. with your forces] Sisi, Morsi is not my president”, which seemed to bother some of the more revolutionary protesters out there who do not want the military to return to power. Most around me, on the other hand, appeared to be largely waiting for the military to make some move. Every time a military chopper flew above, many of the protesters loudly cheered for it. While there have been injuries in the governorates and two regrettably confirmed fatalities today, according to the health ministry, everyone expected violence to be much worse.

The presidency earlier issued a call for dialogue, but the opposition seems to be rebuffing such calls, perhaps feeling emboldened by today’s large numbers. Instead, they have called on people to continue protesting until Morsi and the Brotherhood leave power, in their “Revolutionary Statement No. 1.”

Meanwhile, pro Morsi protesters in Rab’aa square have also finally taken count of the large numbers of protesters against them, but many supporters on social media largely ascribe the masses to the “evil effect of media propaganda”, while continuing to juggle arguments of defending democracy, Sharia, and/or that the other protest is being used by the former regime and is infested with thugs, among others. Even Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has reportedly resorted to arguing that “if Morsi stepped down, someone more evil would replace him.”

Where does this leave Morsi and the Brotherhood? In a vehemently difficult spot.

At this current rate, and if the momentum remains, Morsi and the Brotherhood would risk too much by trying to hold on to power, at least in the same capacity. Even the argument that he was “elected by the will of the people” is deeply injured by the sheer number of anti-Morsi protesters, which ostensibly seemed to largely outnumber his supporting protesters. Morsi and the Brotherhood also seem to have largely been (quasi-)abandoned by many of the Salafists (Al-Nour has stayed out of the conflict, while Al-Watan recently announced it was suspending participation in the protests to “avoid bloodshed”). They also appear not to be in a position to expect the backing of the military or the police (and certainly not the judiciary), and appear popularly outnumbered by an angry crowd whose vibe is that they won’t be relenting soon. It’s expected that Morsi might attempt to maneuver through sacking the government in an attempt to deal with some of the anger (that rumor did fly around today, only to be denied by the a presidential spokesman according to reports.) But the difficulty here is that such a move would further embolden protesters, making them realize they have influence. If he didn’t sack the government on the other hand, it would inflame the protesters even more — a Catch-22.

Meanwhile, the opposition “June 30 Front” has already called for large-scale “Determination” protests on Tuesday, while the Tamarod (Rebel) campaign has also given Morsi until Tuesday before a campaign of civil disobedience would be undertaken (some calls for civil disobedience from Monday have already be sounded), and before marching onto the Qubba presidential palace.

Perhaps the best thing Morsi can do for himself, the Brotherhood and for the country as a whole is to actually call for early presidential elections indeed. He can even announce — if he wishes — that he will stand in them again. The Brotherhood, whose headquarters continue to be burned up around the country in what is likely a mixture of paid thuggery and genuine public anger, would also benefit from a profound official change in top leadership that can hope to try and salvage whatever can be left of the organization’s image, and perhaps try to take the decades-old Brotherhood into a new era and mindset. But given how charged up their supporters have been lately, it would prove internally very painful for the Brotherhood to do so.

It is staggering to think how Morsi and the Brotherhood have obliterated so much of the goodwill that many people genuinely had for (or were willing to give to) them, largely in a single year. All the Brotherhood and Morsi (elected by only 51.7% with the indispensable aid of a revolutionary-Islamist coalition that has since fallen apart) had to do was to be transparent, inclusive, and focused on playing a mediating role between the country’s forces. Had they done that, they could have had a comfortable lock on the country within a year or two. Instead, they grew too certain of their strength and capabilities, of the weakness and disorganization of others, and in that the Egyptian people are unlikely to rise up again, at least not in such numbers. Regardless of what ends up happening over the next few days, Egypt has changed, yet again. The people have proven once more that they will not be subdued or intimidated.

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Confessions of foreign salafi militants captured in Syria by SAA

Confessions of foreign salafi militants captured in Syria by SAA

Iraq Samawah, YouTube, Jun 29 2013 

Confessions of foreign mercenaries captured by SAA in Syria. Seems like so-called Free Syrian Army nationality is not Syrian. Most of FSA members come from Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Watch their stories on how they managed to get to Syria to fight the Jihad against president Assad, Shi’a, Christian and the whole Syrian nation! Captured mercenaries talk about al-Qaeda cells in different countries who work together in order to destroy secular state of Syria.

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Plots To Kill Occupy Leaders by Sniper Rifles

 “To Kill the Leadership [of Occupy Wall Street Movement] by Suppressed Sniper Rifles” 
Would you be shocked to learn that the FBI apparently knew that some organization, perhaps even a law enforcement agency or private security outfit, had contingency plans to assassinate peaceful protestors in a major American city — and did nothing to intervene?Would you be surprised to learn that this intelligence comes not from a shadowy whistle-blower but from the FBI itself – specifically, from a document obtained from Houston FBI office last December, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington, DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund? To repeat: this comes from the FBI itself.
The question, then, is: What did the FBI do about it? Paul Kennedy, the National Lawyers Guild attorney in Houston who represented a number of Occupy Houston activists arrested during the protests, had not heard of the sniper plot, but said, “I find it hard to believe that such information would have been known to the FBI and that we would not have been told about it.” He then added darkly, “If it had been some right-wing group plotting such an action, something would have been done.But if it is something law enforcement was planning, then nothing would have been done. It might seem hard to believe that a law enforcement agency would do such a thing, but I wouldn’t put it past them.”
He adds, “The use of the phrase ‘if deemed necessary,’ sounds like it was some kind of official organization that was doing the planning.” In other words, the “identified [DELETED” mentioned in the Houston FBI document may have been some other agency with jurisdiction in the area, which was calculatedly making plans to kill Occupy activists. Kennedy knows first-hand the extent to which combined federal-state-local law enforcement forces in Houston were focused on disrupting and breaking up the Occupy action in that city. He represented seven people who were charged with felonies for a protest that attempted to block the operation of Houston’s port facility.
That case fell apart when in the course of discovery, the prosecution disclosed that the Occupiers had been infiltrated by three undercover officers from the Austin Police department, who came up with the idea of using a device called a “sleeping dragon” — actually chains inside of PVC pipe — which are devilishly hard to cut through, for chaining protesters together blocking port access. The police provocateurs, Kennedy says, actually purchased the materials and constructed the “criminal instruments” themselves, supplying them to the protesters. As a result of this discovery, the judge tossed out the felony charges.
FBI Response WhoWhatWhy contacted FBI headquarters in Washington, and asked about this document—which, despite its stunning revelation and despite PCFJ press releases, was (notwithstanding a few online mentions) generally ignored by mainstream and “alternative” press alike. The agency confirmed that it is genuine and that it originated in the Houston FBI office. (The plot is also referenced in a second document obtained in PCJF’s FOIA response, in this case from the FBI’s Gainesville, Fla., office, which cites the Houston FBI as the source.) That second document actually suggests that the assassination plot, which never was activated, might still be operative should Occupy decisively re-emerge in the area.
It states: On 13 October 20111, writer sent via email an excerpt from the daily [DELETED] regarding FBI Houston’s [DELETED] to all IAs, SSRAs and SSA [DELETED] This [DELETED] identified the exploitation of the Occupy Movement by [LENGTHY DELETION] interested in developing a long-term plan to kill local Occupy leaders via sniper fire. Asked why solid information about an assassination plot against American citizens exercising their Constitutional right to free speech and assembly never led to exposure of the plotters’ identity or an arrest—as happened with so many other terrorist schemes the agency has publicized—Paul Bresson, head of the FBI media office, offered a typically elliptical response: The FOIA documents that you reference are redacted in several places pursuant to FOIA and privacy laws that govern the release of such information so therefore I am unable to help fill in the blanks that you are seeking.
Exemptions are cited in each place where a redaction is made. As far as the question about the murder plot, I am unable to comment further, but rest assured if the FBI was aware of credible and specific information involving a murder plot, law enforcement would have responded with appropriate action. Note that the privacy being “protected” in this instance (by a government that we now know has so little respect for our privacy) was of someone or some organization that was actively contemplating violating other people’s Constitutional rights— by murdering them. That should leave us less than confident about Bresson’s assertion that law enforcement would have responded appropriately to a “credible” threat.
[ed notes:click link for whole article,just citing few excerpts…

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Jordanian public opinion against US military presence


US soldiers in Jordan (File photo)

US soldiers in Jordan (File photo)
A Jordanian political analyst says public opinion in his country is against US military presence in the kingdom.

“Public opinion here does not welcome the Americans, even if they say they want to protect the country,” said political analyst and head of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, Oraib Rintawi.

“For Jordanians, the US military presence is linked to plots and conspiracies against their neighbours, which would impact the country itself,” Rintawi added.

Experts further said Jordanians are suspicious about the presence of US troops and weapons in their country.

Jordanian lawmakers have also voiced opposition to US presence.

“As deputies representing Jordanian people, we do not accept US or any other foreign troops in Jordan. Jordanians do not think there are threats from Syria,” Jordanian MP and deputy house speaker Khalil Atiyeh said.

This is while Washington has kept F-16 warplanes and Patriot Missiles in Jordan since a joint military exercise between the two sides ended on June 20.

Deputy Leader of the Muslims Brotherhood in Jordan Zaki Bani Rashid has also said, “We reject the presence of US invaders and I think other Jordanians are worried and agree with us.”

US officials have also reportedly said that Washington has expanded its military presence in the country to 1,000 soldiers.

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Jewish ex-Argentina minister faces probe in bombing

Carlos Vladimir Corach allegedly paid $400,000 to an auto mechanic who provided the car bomb that blew up AMIA Jewish centered note–So, an Argentine Jew is said to have paid off someone to bomb the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires in 1994 for which Iran was blamed. Argentina and Iran then sign a memorandum of understanding to open the case and investigate it and Jewish groups the world over are pissing their pants in the process?

We now know why.


The Jewish ex-interior minister of Argentina will be investigated for his ties to the AMIA Jewish center bombing.

The Buenos Aires Federal Appeals Court last week ordered the probe of Carlos Vladimir Corach in connection with an illegal payment of $400,000 to Carlos Telleldin, an auto mechanic who was among those charged in the 1994 attack that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

Telleldin, who allegedly provided the car bomb that blew up the Jewish center, has not been indicted.

The three Appeals Court justices called on Federal Judge Ariel Lijo to investigate “the existence of concrete allegations involving Carlos Vladimir Corach, which have not been investigated until now” regarding the illegal payment to Telleldin.

Corach was interior minister during the Carlos Menem government in the 1990s. He was responsible for obtaining the building for the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires and was the main speaker at its inauguration.

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We have no beef with IsraHell, Zio-NATO Islamist Rat’s group says



The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which operates near the border, praises IsraHell’s medical assistance for refugees, fighters

Times of Israel

A Syrian rebel group operating along the Israeli border in the Golan Heights said it has no quarrel with Israel, and that its fight is with President Bashar Assad, not the Jewish state — and it will remain that way.

Speaking with The Times of Israel by telephone in Arabic, a spokesperson for the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade — the militia that kidnapped UN peacekeepers in March and May — said, “We are only here to fight Assad; we want nothing from Israel and we want Israel to know this.”

Laeth Horan’s overarching message to Israel throughout the conversation was one of nonbelligerence, surprising considering the group’s overt Islamist agenda. Analysts, however, were split over whether the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade and other Sunni Free Syrian Army outfits would really bury the hatchet with Israel.

“There is nothing between us and Israel. We only have demands of Assad, even after the war,” Horan said. ”The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade has no international aspirations; we are only in conflict with the Assad regime.”

He said that despite his group’s proximity to the Israeli border and the contested Golan Heights, which Israel has held since the 1967 Six Day War, there “is nothing between us and them” and wouldn’t be, “even in 10 years’ time.”

Earlier in June, an unnamed spokesperson for a Syrian rebel group operating near the Turkish border told Israel Radio that his group “hopes for peace and security with Israel after the downfall of the Assad regime,” but that it doesn’t want Israel to interfere in the revolution.

The best weapon Israel can grant the rebels is its recognition of the justness of their cause, the Syrian rebel told correspondent Eran Singer.

Horan, in his conversation with The Times of Israel, went so far as to offer rare praise for Israel’s efforts to provide medical assistance for Syrians injured near the border with Israel in clashes between Assad forces and rebels.

“The medical help that the refugees got from Israel is a very good thing,” he said.

To date, Israel has admitted over two dozen Syrians into its hospitals for treatment, and the IDF has set up a field hospital on the border for treating relatively minor cases. During June 6 clashes between Syrian rebels and Assad forces at the Quneitra border crossing, the IDF treated 20 Syrian rebel combatants for injuries suffered during the gunfight, according to a recently published UN secretary-general’s report.

Horan said his group operates in the area girded in the west by the Israel-Syria border; in the south by the Jordan-Syria border and the Yarmouk River, from which it takes its name; and the city of Daraa, where the uprising against Assad began two years ago.

He denied the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade’s involvement in an attack on the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel, and said he was unaware which rebel group was responsible.

A Syrian rebel group captured the Quneitra crossing on June 6, and reportedly inflicted “heavy losses” on government troops holding the crossing and were able to destroy four tanks. Assad forces then rallied and drove the rebels back. Some of the fighting took place a mere 200 meters from Israeli territory.

Regarding his group’s kidnapping of UN personnel and unlawful confiscation of their vehicles on multiple occasions in the past several months, Horan said it was done in order to safeguard the peacekeepers from Assad forces. He admitted the UN’s armored vehicles and trucks were in the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade’s possession — albeit briefly. He claimed they were destroyed by the Syrian army.

Syria analysts reacted to the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade’s statements with varied responses. Professor (emeritus) Moshe Maoz of the Hebrew University said that their statements were likely sincere and that, like other rebel groups, they may be willing to strike a compromise with Israel after the fall of Assad.

Maoz contended that Israel should covertly assist “mainstream” Sunni rebel groups of the same stripe as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade against the government through humanitarian aid, so as to encourage a partnership in a post-Assad era. In a recent article in the Haaretz daily, Maoz wrote that Israel “should publicly express support for the Free Syrian Army and the civil leadership of the mainstream Muslim rebels, both secular and religious (including the Muslim Brotherhood).

“In this way Israel would signal to the Sunni rebels and countries that it wants to join a regional strategic alliance, which will act to topple the Assad regime and will also weaken Iran and Hezbollah,” Maoz wrote.

Speaking with The Times of Israel, Maoz dismissed the threat radical groups like Jabhat al-Nusra may pose in a post-Assad Syria, noting that “by and large they’re foreigners,” and that their aspiration of a pan-Islamic state incorporating Syria is “not the agenda of most Syrians.”

Syria analyst Aymenn al-Tamimi, the Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum, in contrast, said he was skeptical of the sincerity of the protestations of nonbelligerence.

The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade may exhibit a “mainstream” blend of Free Syrian Army and Sunni Islam traits, but it has also demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and has “accused the ‘Israeli enemy’ of acts of provocation and aggression from the ‘occupied Golan’ against their territory,” Tamimi noted.

Although their expressed priority is getting rid of Assad loyalists, “if the regime falls or is driven out of Daraa, there is no way they could ignore the Golan issue,” Tamimi added.

“The vast majority of Arab Syrians at the very least don’t want Israel to exist, so I wouldn’t take it as sincere,” he said of the spokesman’s comments. “It’s probably directed to Western audiences,” Tamimi said.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reacted to the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade’s statements by saying, “The Syrian civil war is an internal issue. Israel is not involved in this conflict, but the IDF is naturally prepared for any eventuality.”

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