Archive | Middle East

Pentagon Heads Toward Escalating Genocide in Yemen

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Yemen is Obama’s war, now Trump’s, complicit with Saudi terror-bombing, massacring civilians indiscriminately, causing vast destruction, human suffering and starvation.

A previous article explained millions of Yemenis face slow, painful deaths from lack of food needed to survive, blockaded coastal areas preventing it from entering the country.

Amounts airlifted in are woefully inadequate. The mainstream media suppress the ongoing horror, ignoring US responsibility for genocide.

On March 26, the Washington Post-owned Foreign Policy magazine headlined “Pentagon Weighs More Support for Saudi-led War in Yemen,” saying:

“Several Defense officials told Foreign Policy the prospect of more American help for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen was under discussion even as the administration examines its broader strategy in the region, including looking at ways to counter Iran and to defeat Islamic State militants.”

“The Pentagon views increased support for the Saudi-led coalition as one way of potentially pushing back against Iran’s influence in Yemen, as well as shoring up ties with an ally that felt neglected by the previous administration.”

What’s likely is escalated US-orchestrated aggression in a nation already devastated by two years of imperial war – besides years of US drone war since launched by the Bush/Cheney administration in January 2002, civilians overwhelmingly harmed.

Intensifying combat operations assures far more mass slaughter, destruction, chaos and human suffering, besides what’s already intolerable – achieving nothing but endless conflict, benefiting war-profiteers at the expense of countless numbers of innocent victims.

According to one unnamed Defense Department official, “(w)e’re interested in building the capability of the Saudis” to operate in Yemen and elsewhere regionally – free to commit atrocities with US help.

In a Saturday address, marking the second anniversary of imperial war on Yemen, Ansarullah movement leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi denounced Saudi terror-bombing war crimes, including use of chemical and other banned weapons – accomplishing nothing but mass slaughter and destruction.

Denouncing aggression on its second anniversary, hundreds of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in Sana’a’s al-Sabin Square, waving national flags, chanting anti-Saudi slogans.

Supreme Political Council president Saleh al-Samad praised effective resistance against Saudi aggression, despite unlimited resources, weapons, munitions, and US-led Western aid.

Now in its third year, Washington apparently wants conflict escalated, not ended. The longer it continues, the greater the human toll.

The lives and welfare of millions of Yemeni civilians are at risk. Countless more numbers may perish before conflict ends.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Peace Accords or Political Surrender? Latin America, the Middle East, Ukraine

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Over thirty year ago a savvy Colombian peasant leader told me, “Whenever I read the word ‘peace accords’ I hear the government sharpening its knives”.

In recent times, ‘peace accords’ (PAs) have become a common refrain across the world. In almost every region or country, which are in the midst of war or invasion, the prospects of negotiating ‘peace accords’ have been raised. In many cases, PA’s were signed and yet did not succeed in ending murder and mayhem at the hands of their US-backed interlocutors.

We will briefly review several past and present peace negotiations and ‘peace accords’ to understand the dynamics of the ‘peace process’ and the subsequent results.

The Peace Process

There are several ongoing negotiations today, purportedly designed to secure peace accords. These include discussions between (1) the Kiev-based US-NATO-backed junta in the west and the eastern ‘Donbas’ leadership opposed to the coup and NATO; (2) the Saudi US-NATO-armed terrorists in Syria and the Syrian government and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies; (3) the US-backed Israeli colonial regime and the Palestinian independence forces in the West Bank and Gaza; and (4) the US-backed Colombian regime of President Santos and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).

There are also several other peace negotiations taking place, many of which have not received public attention.

Past and Present Outcomes of Peace Accords

Over the past quarter century several PAs were signed – all of which led to the virtual surrender of armed anti-imperialist protagonists and popular mass movements.

The Central-American PA’s, involving Salvador and Guatemala, led to the unilateral disarmament of the resistance movement, the consolidation of oligarchical control over the economy, the growth and proliferation of narco-gangs and unfettered government-sponsored death squads. As a consequence, internal terror escalated. Resistance leaders secured the vote, entered Congress as politicians, and, in the case of El Salvador, were elected to high office. Inequalities remained the same or worsened, and murders matched or exceeded the numbers recorded during the pre-Peace Accord period. Massive numbers of immigrants, often of internal refugees fleeing gang violence, entered the US illegally. The US consolidated its military bases and operations in Central America while the population continued to suffer.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations did not lead to any accord. Instead ‘negotiations’ became a thin cover for increasing annexation of Palestinian land to construct racists ‘Jews-Only’ enclaves, resulting in the illegal settlement of over half a million Jewish settlers. The US-backed the entire farcical peace process, financing the corrupt Palestinian vassal-leaders and providing unconditional diplomatic, military and political support to Israel.

US-Soviet Union: Peace Accord

The Reagan/Bush-Gorbachev ‘peace accords’ were supposed to end the Cold War and secure global peace. Instead the US and the EU established military bases and client regimes/allies throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkans, pillaged the national assets and took over their denationalized economies. US-based elites dominated the vassal Yeltsin regime and virtually stripped Russia of its resources and wealth. In alliance with gangster-oligarchs, they plundered the economy.

The post-Soviet Yeltsin regime ran elections, promoted multiple parties and presided over a desolate, isolated and increasingly surrounded nation – at least until Vladimir Putin was elected to ‘decolonize’ the State apparatus and partially reconstruct the economy and society.

Ukraine Peace Negotiations

In 2014 a US-sponsored violent coup brought together fascists, oligarchs, generals and pro-EU supporters seizing control of Kiev and the western part of Ukraine. The pro-democracy Eastern regions of the Donbas and Crimean Peninsula organized resistance to the putsch regime. Crimea voted overwhelmingly to re-unite Russia. The industrial centers in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas) formed popular militias to resist the armed forces and neo-Nazi paramilitaries of the US backed-junta. After a few years of mayhem and stalemate, a ‘negotiation process’ unfolded despite which the Kiev regime continued to attack the east. The tentative ‘peace settlement” became the basis for the ‘Minsk agreement’, brokered by France, Russia and Germany, where the Kiev junta envisioned a disarming of the resistance movement, re-occupation of the Donbas and Crimea and eventual destruction of the cultural, political, economic and military autonomy of the ethnic Russian East Ukraine. As a result, the “Minsk Agreement” has been little more than a failed ploy to secure surrender. Meanwhile, the Kiev junta’s massive pillage of the nation’s economy has turned Ukraine into a failed state with 2.5 million fleeing to Russia and many thousands emigrating to the West to dig potatoes in Poland, or enter the brothels of London and Tel Aviv. The remaining unemployed youth are left to sell their services to Kiev’s paramilitary fascist shock troops.

Colombia: Peace Accord or Graveyard?

Any celebration of the Colombian FARC – President Santos’ ‘Peace Accord’ would be premature if we examine its past incarnations and present experience.

Over the past four decades, Colombian oligarchical regimes, backed by the military, death squads and Washington have invoked innumerable ‘peace commissions’, inaugurated negotiations with the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and proceeded to both break off negotiations and relaunch full-scale wars using ‘peace accords’ as a pretext to decimate and demoralize political activists.

In 1984, then-President Belisario Betancur signed a peace accord with the FARC, known as the ‘Uribe Agreement’. Under this agreement, thousands of FARC activists and supporters demobilized, formed the Patriotic Union (UP), a legal electoral party, and participated in elections. In the 1986 Colombian elections, the UP candidates were elected as Senators, Congress people, mayors and city council members, and their Presidential candidate gained over 20% of the national vote. Over the next 4 years, from 1986-1989, over 5,000 UP leaders, elected officials and Presidential candidates were assassinated in a campaign of nationwide terror. Scores of thousands of peasants, oil workers, miners and plantation laborers were murdered, tortured and driven into exile. Paramilitary death squads and landlord-backed private armies, allied with the Colombian Armed Forces, assassinated thousands of union leaders, workers and their families members. The Colombian military’s ‘paramilitary strategy’ against non-combatants and villagers was developed in the 1960’s by US Army General William Yarborough, Commandant, US Army Special Warfare Center and ‘Father of the Green Beret’ Special Forces.

Within five years of its formation, the Patriotic Union no longer existed: Its surviving members had fled or gone into hiding.

In 1990, newly-elected President Cesar Gaviria proclaimed new peace negotiations with the FARC. Within months of his proclamation, the president ordered the bombing of the ‘Green House’, where the FARC leaders and negotiating team were being lodged. Fortunately, they had fled before the treacherous attack.

President Andrés Pastrana (1998-2001) called for new peace negotiations with the FARC to be held ‘in a demilitarized zone’. Peace talks began in the jungle region of El Caguan in November 1998. President Pastrana had made numerous pledges, concessions and reforms with the FARC and social activists, but, at the same time he had signed a ten-year multi-billion dollar military aid agreement with US President Clinton, known as ‘Plan Colombia’. This practice of ‘double-dealing’ culminated with the Colombian Armed Forces launching a ’scorched earth policy’ against the ‘demilitarized zones’ under the newly elected (and death-squad linked) President Alvaro Uribe Velez. Over the next eight years, President Uribe drove nearly four million Colombian peasants into internal exile. With the multi-billion dollar funding from Washington, Uribe was able to double the size of the Colombian Armed Forces to over 350,000 troops, incorporating members of the death squads into the military. He also oversaw the formation of new paramilitary armies. By 2010 the FARC had declined from eighteen thousand to under ten thousand fighters – with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and millions rendered homeless.

In 2010 Uribe’s former Minister of Defense, Juan Manual Santos was elected President. By 2012 Santos initiated another “peace process” with the FARC, which was signed by the end of 2016. Under the new ‘Peace Accord’, signed in Cuba, hundreds of officers implicated in torture, assassinations and forced relocation of peasants were given immunity from prosecution while FARC guerillas were to face trial. The government promised land reform and the right to return for displaced farmers and their families. However, when peasants returned to claim their land they were driven away or even killed.

FARC leaders agreed to demobilize and disarm unilaterally by June 2017. The military and their paramilitary allies would retain their arms and gain total control over previous FARC- liberated zones.

President Santos ensured that the ‘Peace Accord’ would include a series of Presidential Decrees – privatizing the country’s mineral and oil resources and converting small family farms to commercial plantations. Demobilized peasant-rebels were offered plots of infertile marginal lands, without government support or funding for roads, tools, seed and fertilizer or even schools and housing, necessary for the transition. While some FARC leaders secured seats in Congress and the freedom to run in elections unmolested, the young rank and file FARC fighters and peasants were left without many alternatives but to join paramilitary or ‘narco’ gangs.

In summary, the historical record demonstrates that a series of Colombian presidents and regimes have systematically violated all peace agreements and accords, assassinated the rebel signees and retained elite control over the economy and labor force. Before his election, the current President Santos presided over the most deadly decade when he was Uribe’s Defense Minister.

For brokering the peace of the graveyard for scores of thousands of Colombian peasants and activists, President Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Havana, FARC leaders and negotiators were praised by Cuban President Raul Castro, President Obama, Venezuelan President Maduro and the vast majority of ‘progressives’ and rightists in North and South America and Europe.

Colombia’s bloody history, including the widespread murder of Colombian civil rights activists and peasant leaders, has continued even as the documents finalizing the Peace Accords were being signed. During the first month of 2017, five human right activists were murdered by death squads – linked to the oligarchy and military. In 2015, while the FARC was negotiating over several clauses in the agreement, over 122 peasant and human rights activists were murdered by paramilitary groups who continued to operate freely in areas controlled by Santos’ army. The mass media propaganda mills continue to repeat the lie that ‘200,000 people were killed by the guerillas (FARC) and the government’ when the vast majority of the killings were committed by the government and its allied death squads; a calumny, which guerilla leaders fail to challenge. Prominent Jesuit researcher Javier Giraldo has provided a detailed factual account documenting that over three quarters of the killings were committed by the Army and paramilitary.

We are asked to believe presidential regimes that have murdered and continue to murder over 150,000 Colombian workers, peasants, indigenous leaders and professionals are suddenly transformed into justice-loving partners in peace. During the first three months of this year, activists, sympathetic to the peace agreement with the FARC, continue to be targeted and killed by supposedly demobilized paramilitary murderers.

Social movement leaders report rising political violence by military forces and their allies. Even peace monitors and the UN Human Rights Office admit that state and paramilitary violence are destroying any structure that President Santos could hope to implement the reforms. As the FARC withdraws from regions under popular control, peasants seeking land reform are targeted by private armies. The Santos regime is more concerned with protecting the massive land grabs by big mining consortiums.

As the killing of FARC supporters and human rights activists multiply, as President Santos and Washington look to take advantage of a disarmed and demobilized guerilla army, the ‘historic peace accord’ becomes a great deceit designed to expand imperial power.

Conclusion: Epitaph for Peace Accords

Time and again throughout the world, imperial-brokered peace negotiations and accords have served only one goal: to disarm, demobilize, defeat and demoralize resistance fighters and their allies.

‘Peace Accords’, as we know them, have served to rearm and regroup US-backed forces following tactical setbacks of the guerrilla struggle. ‘PA’s are encouraged to divide the opposition (’salami tactics’) and facilitate conquest. The rhetoric of ‘peace’ as in ‘peace negotiations’ are terms which actually mean ‘unilateral disarmament’ of the resistance fighters, the surrender of territory and the abandonment of civilian sympathizers. The so-called ‘war zones’, which contain fertile lands and valuable mineral reserves are ‘pacified’ by being absorbed by the ‘peace loving’ regime. This serves their privatization programs and promote the pillage of the ‘developmental state’. Negotiated peace settlements are overseen by US officials, who praise and laud the rebel leaders while they sign agreements to be implemented by US vassal regimes . . . The latter will ensure the rejection of any realignment of foreign policy and any structural socio-economic changes.

Some peace accords may allow former guerilla leaders to compete and in some cases win elections as marginal representatives, while their mass base is decimated.

In most cases, during the peace process, and especially after signing ‘peace accords’, social organizations and movements and their supporters among the peasantry and working class, as well as human rights activists, end up being targeted by the military and para-military death-squads operating around government military bases.

Often, the international allies of resistance movements have encouraged them to negotiate PAs, in order to demonstrate to the US that ‘they are responsible’— hoping to secure improved diplomatic and trade relations. Needless to say, ‘responsible negotiations’ will merely strengthen imperial resolve to press for further concessions, and encourage military aggression and new conquests.

Just ‘peace accords’ are based on mutual disarmament, recognition of territorial autonomy and the authority of local insurgent administration over agreed upon land reforms, retaining mineral rights and military-public security.

PA’s should be the first step in the political agendas, implemented under the control of independent rebel military and civil monitors.

The disastrous outcome of unilateral disarmament is due to the non-implementation of progressive, independent foreign policy and structural changes.

Past and present peace negotiations, based on the recognition of the sovereignty of an independent state linked to mass movements, have always ended in the US breaking the agreements. True ‘peace accords’ contradict the imperial goal of conquering via the negotiating table what could not be won through war.

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Breaking: Washington Sponsored State of “Great Kurdistan” To Be Created in Syria And Iraq.

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This report is yet to be fully confirmed (GR Editor)

Inside Syria Media Center has obtained proofs of plans to create a state of Great Kurdistan.

According to the documents at our disposal, the U.S. authorities and the Syrian Kurds reached an agreement past week on the boundaries of the Kurdish autonomy in the territory of Syria, which had been guaranteed to Kurds in case of capturing Raqqa and Al-Tabqah (34 miles to the West of Raqqa). This confirms the reports about the U.S. plans to divide Syria.

In addition, Washington has already defined the boundaries of the new state of the Great Kurdistan on the territory of Syria and Iraq. It is to be created after ISIS defeat and the final collapse of Syrian Arab Republic. According to the U.S. military, Kurds remain the only force capable of defeating ISIS.

Map of Great Kurdistan

In order to strengthen its positions the new U.S. administration announced the upcoming liberation of the so-called ISIS capital, Raqqa. To grease the wheels the Americans resorted to money, their weapon of choice. They bribe ISIS field commanders and increase payments to YPG and FSA units.

The U.S. government intends to capture Raqqa by April and to eliminate ISIS in Syria and Iraq this summer. The implementation of these plans requires making concessions to Kurds. This is why the U.S. promises them an independent state in case of victory.

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Iran Sanctions 15 US Firms, Blasts I$raHell Ties and Imperialism

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  • A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, while marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2016.
    A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, while marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2016. | Photo: Reuters.

A senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups.

As provocative aggression against Iran amps up under U.S. President Donald Trump, Iran has responded by announcing sanctions against 15 U.S. firms, citing ties to apartheid Israel and other rampant human rights abuses in the region.

RELATED: US to Impose Provocative New Sanctions on Iran

According to the state-run news agency IRNA, Iran’s foreign ministry said the companies had “flagrantly violated human rights” and cooperated with Israel in its “terrorism” against Palestinians.

The sanctions bar the companies from making any agreements with Iranian firms, a seizure of their assets, as well as banning visas for its former and current directors.

The Iranian move came two days after the United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for technology transfers that could boost Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

Dozens of Iranian entities have also been subjected to U.S. sanctions following an Iranian missile test in February. In addition, a bill announced Thursday by U.S. senators is set to place more restrictive sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities.

The companies on Iran’s sanctions list include Bent Tal, United Technologies Products, ITT Corporation, Raytheon, Re/Max Real Estate, Magnum Research Inc., Oshkosh Corporation, Kahr Arms and Elbit Systems.

RELATED: Israeli PM to Lobby Trump for Sanctions on Iran in US Visit

A senior Iranian lawmaker also said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups if the U.S. Congress designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

Back in January, when Trump announced his first travel ban on Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries, Iran responded by announcing a retaliatory ban on U.S. citizens.

“While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted,” a Foreign Ministry statement said at the time.

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Defeating the Islamic State group: A war mired in contradictions

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Yemeni army soldiers display flags of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia group, at a position recaptured from the group near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar

By James M. Dorsey

US President Donald J. Trump’s vow to defeat what he terms radical Islamic terrorism forces the United States to manoeuvre the Middle East’s and North Africa’s murky world of ever shifting alliances and labyrinths of power struggles within power struggles.

The pitfalls are complex and multiple. They range from differences within the 68-member, anti-Islamic State (IS) alliance over what constitutes terrorism to diverging political priorities to varying degrees of willingness to tacitly employ jihadists to pursue geopolitical goals. The pitfalls are most evident in Yemen and Syria and involve two long-standing US allies, NATO member Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson travels to Turkey this week as US and Russian troops create separate buffers in Syria to prevent a Turkish assault on the northern town of Manbij. Manbij, located 40 kilometres from the Turkish border, is controlled by Kurdish forces, viewed by the US as a key ground force in the fight with the Islamic State.

Until a series of devastating IS suicide bombings in Turkish cities, Turkish forces appeared to concentrate on weakening the Kurds rather than the jihadists in Syria. Stepped-up Turkish action against IS has not weakened Turkey’s resolve to prevent Kurds from emerging as one of the victors in the Syrian conflict.

Turkey’s Kurdish problem

At the heart of US-Turkish differences over the Kurds is the age-old-adage that one man’s terrorist is another man’s liberation fighter. The US has a long history of empathy towards Kurdish cultural and national rights and enabled the emergence of a Kurdish state-in-waiting in northern Iraq. The differences also go to an equally large elephant in the room: the question of whether Syria, Yemen and Iraq will survive as nation states in a post-war era.

That may be the real issue at the core of US-Turkish differences. Many Turks hark back in their suspicion that foreign powers are bent on breaking up the Turkish state to the 1920 Treaty of Sevre that called for a referendum in which Kurds would determine their future.

Visionary Mustafa Kemal Ataturk carved modern Turkey out of the ruins of the Ottoman empire. He mandated a unified Turkish identity that superseded identities of a nation whose population was to a large degree made up of refugees from far flung parts of the former empire and ethnic and religious minorities.

Turkey charges that Syrian Kurdish fighters are aligned with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a Turkish Kurdish group that has been fighting for Kurdish rights for more than three decades and has been designated terrorist by Turkey, the United States and Europe.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Turkish Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Abkar met in the southern Turkish city of Antalya in advance of Mr Tillerson’s visit to lower tensions that threaten planned efforts to capture Raqqa, the IS capital.

In many ways, the pitfalls are similar in Yemen, where Mr Trump has stepped up support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating intervention that this month entered its third year and has increased attacks on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), viewed as one of Al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliates.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qaeda problem

It took Al-Qaeda attacks inside the kingdom in 2003-04 and jihadist operations since then, as well as growing international suggestions of an ideological affinity between Saudi Arabia’s Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism and jihadism, for the kingdom to view Islamic militants on par with Iran, which Saudis see as an existential threat.

Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia, despite a litany of denials, has seen militant Islamists as useful tools in its proxy wars with Iran in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Sunni ultra-conservatives are frequently at the forefront of Saudi-led efforts to dislodge the Yemeni Houthis from their strongholds.

… Saudi Arabia, despite a litany of denials, has seen militant Islamists as useful tools in its proxy wars with Iran in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen has in fact given AQAP a new lease on life. Prior to the war, AQAP had been driven to near irrelevance by the rise of IS and security crackdowns. In a report in February, the International Crisis Group (ICG) concluded that AQAP was “stronger than it has ever been”.

The group “appears ever more embedded in the fabric of opposition to the Houthi/Saleh alliance… that is fighting the internationally-recognised, Saudi-backed interim government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi”, the report said. It was referring to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who are aligned with former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

AQAP’s resurgence is as much a result of Saudi Arabia’s single-minded focus on the Iranian threat posed in the kingdom’s perception by the Houthis as it is potentially related to a murky web of indirect or tacit relationships with the group.

De-prioritising the fight against jihadists

“In prosecuting the war, the Saudi-led coalition has relegated confronting AQAP and IS to a second-tier priority… Saudi-led coalition statements that fighting the group is a top priority and announcements of military victories against AQAP in the south are belied by events,” the ICG said.

The kingdom’s willingness to cooperate with Islamists such as Yemen’s Islah party, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, and unclear attitude towards AQAP has sparked strains within the anti-Houthi coalition, particularly with the staunchly anti-Islamist United Arab Emirates (UAE).

AQAP has been able to rearm itself through the indirect acquisition of weapons from the Saudi-led coalition as well as raids on Yemeni military camps. AQAP is believed to have received advance notice and to have coordinated with the Saudis its withdrawal from the crucial port of Mukalla before an assault by UAE and Yemeni forces, according to the ICG.

The United States and some of its key allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, may be able to paper over differences that allow for short-term advances against IS. But in the longer term it could be the failure to address those differences head on that will create new breeding grounds for militancy.

Saudi Arabia was conspicuously low key when in January a US Navy Seal died in a raid on AQAP in which the US military seized information that this month prompted the Trump administration and Britain to ban carry-on electronics aboard US and London-bound flights from select airports in North Africa and the Middle East, including two in Saudi Arabia.

Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English-language newspaper, this week quoted Saudi officials as saying that AQAP, widely believed to be well advanced in its ability to target aircraft with explosives smuggled on board, had lost its capability to operate overseas.

The officials said that Saudi Arabia, which has cozied up to the Trump administration and endorsed the president’s ban on travel to the US from six Muslim majority countries, was concerned about IS and Shia militants rather than AQAP. “They [AQAP] don’t have the power to export their activities,” Arab News quoted Abdullah Al-Shehri, a senior Saudi Interior Ministry official, as saying.

The ministry’s spokesman, Mansour al-Turki, noted that “Al-Qaeda actually has not been involved in any real kind of terrorism-related incident in Saudi Arabia for three years. Most of the incidents came from Daesh (the Arab acronym for IS) or militant groups related to Shias in the Eastern Province.”

The United States and some of its key allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, may be able to paper over differences that allow for short-term advances against IS. But in the longer term it could be the failure to address those differences head on that will create new breeding grounds for militancy. It’s the kind of trade-off that in the past has produced short-term results only to create even greater problems down the road.

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US-NATO is Using Saudi Arabia, The West is the True Perpetrator of Genocide in Yemen Genocide

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An American political commentator said the West is using the Riyadh regime as a tool to advance its political agenda, stressing that certain Western countries, which claim to be champions of human rights, are in actual fact the perpetrators of the ongoing genocide in Yemen.

“What is undeniable is the fact that those who ‘promote human rights’ are the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, including the Genocide in Yemen. To deny their complicity is to deny humanity,” Soraya Sepahpour Ulrich, an independent researcher and author from Irvine, California, told the Tasnim News Agency ahead of the March 26 anniversary of the start of Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen.

She added,

“Today, while Saudi Arabia is being armed and directed to massacre fellow Moslems, it remains deaf to the chant ‘death to Saudis’ coming from the four corners of the ‘international community’. In spite of killing and dying for the political agenda of the US and its allies, the Saudis continue to be despised, hated – set apart. They will not be protected. They are dispensable”..

Following is the full text of the interview.

سپه پور

Tasnim: The Saudi-led coalition has been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement for two years. According to the UN, the Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 Yemenis and left 40,000 others wounded. Local Yemeni sources have already put the death toll from the Saudi war at over 12,000, including many women and children. As you know the international community has remained passive in the face of the ongoing Saudi crimes. What is your take on this? Why do you think this issue, the war on Yemen, has been less received by Western media?

Ulrich: I tend to think of the “international community’ as the US and its allies and differentiate between the term ‘international community’ and global community. The indifference toward the plight of the Yemenis is owed to several factors one of which is the media.

There are 6 corporations that own and dominate the media.  It is important to note that what was once known as the military-industrial complex has become the ‘military-industrial-media complex’. Media magnates and people on the boards of large media-related corporations have close links with the military industry and Washington’s foreign policy. This industry not only informs the public but frames issues.

This complex fails to inform the public of the plight of the Yemenis. Since the internet has managed to curb the monopoly of the media industry (alternate news sites and social networking), from time to time, the media industry is forced to acknowledge the horrors of Yemen, but it frames it in such a way so as to change the narrative. For example, it falsely presents the conflict as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Through repeated lies, the ‘international community’ has been indoctrinated to see Iran as an aggressive country and the Yemenis resisting the invasion of the Saudi-led war as the assailants, putting the blame on the victims.

In addition to the blame game, the international community is being distracted with news on its domestic front. The best example of this are the refugees in Europe and the pending elections there, and in the United States, it is the Donald Trump presidency that occupies the airwaves and censors all other news.

But censorship, framing, and propaganda do not mean that the governments in these countries (international community) are not aware. They are fully complicit either through their actions or inaction.

Tasnim: Certain Western countries are continuously claiming that they are champions of human rights. However, it seems that they are pursuing double standard policies on Saudi Arabia’s atrocities. On March 10, 2017, the administration of US President Donald Trump approved the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia which critics have linked to Riyadh’s killing of civilians in Yemen. What is your take on this?

Ulrich: Human rights is simply another tool in the arsenal of these nations used to justify their policies. (War on terror being another useful tool of theirs). Consider this and dwell on the irony of it: When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 (UN General Assembly), there were less than 60 UN members while dozens of countries were colonies. How could this be considered ‘rights’? Certainly, it is not universal or ideal else there would not have been a need for subsequent declarations such The American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man (Bogota, 1948), the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (known as the European Convention for Human Rights – Strasbourg,1950), African Charter on Human Rights (Nairobi, 1981), the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (Paris, 1981) , the Arab Charter on Human Rights (1994), the European Center on Fundamental Rights (2000), and so on.

What is undeniable is the fact that those who ‘promote human rights’ are the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, including the Genocide in Yemen. To deny their complicity is to deny humanity.

Tasnim: Since the start of its war on Yemen, the Saudi regime and its regional allies have failed to reach their objectives. Why are they continuing their heinous attacks on the Arab country despite their failures? How do you see the role of other regional Arab states in the ongoing war against the Arab country?

Ulrich: It is important to recognize that Saudi Arabia is not solely responsible nor is it the country that is independently fueling and promoting this conflict. One country often ignored is the UAE. As the world turns its anger and hatred towards the Saudis (with help from Western media which points their fingers at the Saudis for their actions in Yemen), UAE is kept above the fray. Whereas in fact, the UAE is home to Erik Prince, the founder of notorious Blackwater. It is training a UAE-led militia force and UAE’s complicity in the crimes deserve to be discussed separately. Suffice it to say that as the Saudis fall from grace, the UAE continues to climb (in America’s plots and those of her allies).

The Saudis, on the other hand, are being used by the West and sadly for them (and their victims), they continue to play the role of gladiators. As Cicero acknowledged of the Roman gladiatoria muner thattheir sponsorship was a political imperative. Even though the Roman gladiators were adulated, they were segregated and despised. The Saudis share the same fate. It is worthwhile remembering that in 2012 it was revealed that a course for US military officers had been suggesting that Mecca and Medina be obliterated without regard for civilian deaths, and it even suggested “Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation … Islam reduced to cult status”.

As President Donald Trump wrote in his book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again.:  ”Then look at Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!”

Today, while Saudi Arabia is being armed and directed to massacre fellow Moslems, it remains deaf to the chant ‘death to Saudis’ coming from the four corners of the ‘international community’. In spite of killing and dying for the political agenda of the US and its allies, the Saudis continue to be despised, hated – set apart. They will not be protected.   They are dispensable.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Voices From Syria, “Syria does Not Surrender”, says Mark Taliano

NOVANEWS
Review of Mark Taliano’s Book
 
Voices-From-Syria-eBook

Mark Taliano is a former teacher, an activist and writer who visited Syria in 2016. Taliano interviewed Syrians who have lived under US bombs for years. 

The war in Syria is a NATO war. NATO has struck Syria not just with deadly unrelenting bombing, but has maintained total media control, deceiving millions of people around the world about NATO’s bloody unprecedented multinational invasion of Syria. Taliano says, “The war in Syria is brought to you by a sophisticated network of interlocking governing agencies that disseminate propaganda to both domestic and foreign audiences.”

To order Mark Taliano’s Book click here, directly from Global Research

He interviews a woman from the US who lives in Syria. She saw the Turkish-US armed Takfiri terrorists destroy her home and the entire village of Kesseb. They raped elderly women, dug up graveyard bones and fed them to hungry dogs. In Syria, Hillary Clinton is despised because she facilitated the transfer of arms from US puppet forces in Libya to the Turkish Army who then attacked Syria. And it was Clinton who campaigned to have the NATO lies about Syria spread through Western media, calling terrorist Al Qaeda and other takfiri murderers “moderates,” as they destroyed Syrian villages, cities, and killed and maimed tens of thousands of Syrian people. She and US/NATO propagandists vilified Syria’s legitimate and sovereign government.

Taliano interviews many people, a man grateful to the Russians for coming to Syria’s aid. Another Syrian showed how calling the events in Syria a “civil war” is a lie:

“The terrorists are sent by your government. They are al-Qaeda Jabhat al-Nusra Wahhabi Salafists Talibans and the extremist jihadists sent by the West, the Saudis, Qatar and Turkey. Your Obama and whoever is behind him or above him are supporting al-Qaeda and leading a proxy war on my country.”

Click image to order Taliano’s book 

One of the strongest voices for Syria is Mark Taliano. He says, “Syria refuses to submit. That is why the West is taught to hate it and the rest of the world learns to love and respect it.” His friends’ testimony and video evidence demonstrate the horrors: kidnapped individuals being put in cages and used as human shields in town squares.” And still Syria does not surrender.

“The Syrian War was planned … by the US since 2005. The Syrian soldiers and police were not even allowed to carry weapons until the “peaceful protesters” had slaughtered several hundreds of police and soldiers.”

Taliano shows how US attack on the water system of Iraq in the 1990s was the template for the same illegal campaign in Syria. He duplicates one Defense Intelligence Agency document, “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities,” in 1991, which states,

“THE ENTIRE IRAQI WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM WILL NOT COLLAPSE PRECIPITOUSLY, … FULL DEGRADATION OF THE WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM PROBABLY WILL TAKE AT LEAST ANOTHER 6 MONTHS.”

Just as Iraq refused to bow to the will of the US, Taliano writes,

“Syria insists on choosing its own path and refuses to be a vassal of US-led forces of predatory capitalism that siphons the world’s resources for the benefit of a transnational oligarch class. Violating international law, NATO countries have been involved in this blitzkrieg “regime change” invasion of sovereign countries.”

Mark Taliano gives journalists, Syrians, and Facebook contributors credit for unmasking the truth. He cites Stephan Gowans who notes that the economies of all the countries the US/NATO has invaded have had a largely publicly-owned economies. He cites Vanessa Beeley, Michel Chussodovsky, Eva Bartlett, Dr Shaabban, Ghali Hassan, Katherine Shackdam, Tim Anderson, and other courageous journalists reporting the NATO genocide.

Nafeez Ahmed noted,

“Total deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s…likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, … and could be as high as 6–8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan.) …. US and UK “’refuse to keep track of the civilian death toll of military operations – they are deemed an “irrelevant inconvenience.”

In addition to mass murder and destruction of food, health care facilities, schools and homes, in addition to the trail of destroyed archaeological treasures from Ancient Syria, Taliano notes:

“Criminal mainstream messaging has created a state of mass political imbecilization,” stupefying the masses with lies.” They codified the deception. The US House of Representatives passed HR5181 ‘Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation,’ “which calls for countering any “disinformation” – the truth – that escapes from Syria. The US funds “Civil Society” groups to do official disinformation work. The “National Endowment for Democracy, the CIA, Mossad, etc., as well as oligarch-funded foundations, are all embedded with the terrorists … are the sources … for corporate/mainstream media “news” stories.”

Dr. Joseph Saadeh of Maaloula said to Mark Taliano:

“The Wahhabi terrorists destroyed Syria by destroying everything in Syria like factories, like anything working to build the culture. And they’re supported by America and the European governments.”

Voices from Syria is a small book with a big message. It would be perfect to use in a group of concerned activists meeting to discuss and disseminate the truth about US or NATO foreign policy in Syria. . It could be used in a classroom or in a library reading club.

Mark Taliano is from Canada, one of the reliable military vassals in the NATO cabal. He severely criticizes his own government’s crimes, and the crimes of the ruling class who have urged their imperial forces to overthrow the legally elected government of Bashar-Al Assad. US and UK and Canada openly provide military and economic support for AlQaeda, Al Nusra, and the terrorists. The oil-rich rich monarchies of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi -finance and arm the puppet armies and death squads attempting to destroy Syria’s sovereignty.

Mark Taliano is a passionate voice for peace, dispelling lies, urging solidarity with the people of Syria.

“Whereas the West supports the extremist Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia, the teachings of Islam contradict this ideology, and they certainly contradict the crimes of the mercenary terrorists infesting Syria.”

Posted in Syria0 Comments

Syrian Army Conducts Swift Counter-Attack against Al Qaeda in Northern Hama ”Video”

NOVANEWS
 
YABROUD-SYRIAN-ARAB-ARMY-702x336

Late on March 23, government forces, backed up by Russian warplanes, carried out a successful counter-attack against jihadists in northern Hama, recapturing the villages of Kawkab, Abdin and the strategic hill south of Maardas. The Syrian army’s Tiger Forces, the 5th Storming Corps, the Lions of the Desert and the National Defense Forces also advanced on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the al-Qaeda branch in Syria) and its allies in Azrah, Zawr al Balah, Abu Ubaydah, Bilhusayn and Shayzar and recaptured these areas, according to pro-government sources. Militants denied this. Indeed, clashes are ongoing at the whole frontline and the situation is changing rapidly.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and allied militant groups had deployed about 2,500-3,000 fighters and over 20 units of military equipment for the operation in the area. They also actively use US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.

The Syrian army’s Tiger Forces fully secured the area of Deir Hafer and took control of the nearby village of Um Tinah in the province of Aleppo. The further operations are developing in the direction of Al-Mahdum.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has captured villages of Mushayrfah al-Shahnat, al-Ghassaniyah, Fatsat Abd Ismail and Fatisat Bayram east of Raqqah. According to pro-Kurdish sources, US troops and SDF members are also in control of the Tabqa dam after a swift operation behind ISIS lines on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that it had summoned the acting Russian envoy after one Turkish soldier was shot dead by cross-border fire from the Kurdish-controlled area of Arin in northern Syria.

“It is an attack on Turkey from a region that is said to be under YPG-PYD control,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu explained. “However, the Russian chargé d’affaires was summoned because Russia is responsible for monitoring violations in this region. Through the visit of Russian chargé d’affaires, our views about the involvement of Russian military elements in Afrin were repeated.” Muftuoglu added that Turkey expects Russia to take steps to shut down PYD offices in the country.

The Turkish posture aimed at blaming PYD, Russia and Iran for Ankara’s inability to achieve own goals in the ongoing Middle Eastern crisis increased after the sides were not able to make any breakthrough agreements during the recent visit of President Erdogan to Moscow. Experts also link Ankara’s attitude with the boycott of the new round of the Astana talk from militant groups and the recent incensement of their military activity across Syria.

Earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that some its units had been deployed to the Afrin region “in the contact area between detachment of the Kurdish militia and formations of the Free Syrian Army controlled by the Turkish party” in order to monitor the ceasefire and prevent any violations. Moscow denied initial reports that Russia may set up a military base in the region.

Posted in Syria0 Comments

America Seeks to Destroy Syrian Civilization, Replace it With Terrorism and Ignorance

NOVANEWS
Destroying edu thru war

NATO/GCC/Israeli proxy terrorists in Syria have committed all manner of atrocities with a view to destroying Syria’s culture, history, economy, pluralism, its very essence.  They want to create a blank slate. They want to destroy the country’s secular institutions so that Syria devolves into a sectarian terrorist cesspool of death and ignorance.  All of this is well documented.

Dr. Joseph Saadeh, a dentist and city councilor in the liberated Christian town of Maaloula, Syria, expressed similar sentiments in this video.

The well-orchestrated, genocidal terrorism, includes assaults on Syria’s previously exemplary education system, with a view to replacing it with anti-Islamic Wahhabi/Takfiri-oriented teachings of hatred and violence.

Investigative reporter and Syrian resident Tom Duggan reported in a text message that the terrorists

turned these beacons of education (schools) into platforms of terror and launching the Takfiri extremist ideology which will invade the whole world if not stopped. The result is that Syria believed in producing a well-educated civilized human being, while the terrorists planned to produce a new generation of terrorists who only believe in killing people and destroying humanity, that did not conform to their strict ideas these monsters will be on the European borders and here we have a decision to make it yours to choose between the civilized education of mankind and a hideous ideology that only resembles humans in shape and form a blind obedience to create suffering and destruction of any modern society that opposes them.

In a recently-released documentary, the Sun Of Syria series, Duggan explains that in their efforts to destroy Syria’s education system, terrorists targeted and destroyed modern educational infrastructure, including schools (444 schools were destroyed by terrorists since 2011), and the Ministry Of Education’s main printing depot, the Eral Establishment for Printing And Textbook(s), which was under siege for 80 days.

It should be obvious that the West’s on-going efforts to destroy Syria have nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with its on-going support for genocide, terror, and destruction.

Posted in USA, Syria0 Comments

US Imposed Syria Sanctions Hit Children’s Cancer Treatment at Damascus Children’s Hospital

NOVANEWS
Six years of conflict have brought the Syrian health service, once one of the best in the Middle East, close to collapse
 
syrian children cancer

Damascus: In the cancer ward at Damascus Children’s Hospital, doctors are struggling with a critical shortage of specialist drugs to treat their young patients — and it’s not just due to the general chaos of the Syrian civil war.

Local and World Health Organisation (WHO) officials also blame Western sanctions for severely restricting pharmaceutical imports, even though medical supplies are largely exempt from measures imposed by the United States and European Union.

Six years of conflict have brought the Syrian health service, once one of the best in the Middle East, close to collapse. Fewer than half of the country’s hospitals are fully functioning and numbers of doctors have dived.

The result is tumbling life expectancy — even after accounting for the hundreds of thousands directly killed in the fighting — and soaring deaths in pregnancy and childbirth.

On top of this, cuts in health spending by the government that is fighting a hugely expensive war, a drastic fall in the Syrian currency and indirect effects of the sanctions are all deepening the misery of patients who need foreign-made drugs.

Copy of 2017-03-16T180355Z_1713427651_RC1BBD31B430_RTRMADP_3_MIDEAST-CRISIS-SYRIA-SANCTIONS

Children suffering from cancer at Damascus Children’s Hospital. Image credit: Reuters

For families with sick children, the situation is dire.

At the children’s hospital in government-held Damascus, the waiting room outside the cancer ward was crowded with relatives, many of whom had brought clothes, mattresses and blankets in case they had to spend long periods far from their homes outside the city.

One of them was Naim Der Moussa, 55, who has been living in Damascus for a year to secure regular treatment for his 10-year-old daughter Wa’ad. They left his wife and six other children behind in the eastern city of Deir Al Zor, where government forces are besieged by Daesh.

“My daughter was first diagnosed with kidney cancer and treated,” he said. “Now cancer has been found also in her lungs.”

Before the conflict, Syria produced 90 per cent of the medicines it needed but anti-cancer drugs were among those where it traditionally relied on imports.

Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO representative in Syria, said medicine imports have been hit by significant cuts in the government’s health budget since the war began in 2011 plus a 90 per cent drop in the value of the Syrian pound, which has made some pharmaceuticals prohibitively expensive.

However, a lack of cash is not the only reason why supplies of cancer drugs are falling far short of increasing demand.

“The impact of economic sanctions imposed on Syria heavily affected the procurement of some specific medicine including anti-cancer medicines,” said Hoff. The sanctions were preventing many international pharmaceutical companies from dealing with the Syrian authorities as well as hindering foreign banks in handling payments for imported drugs, she added.

The United States and EU have imposed a range of measures targeted both at the government and some of the many armed groups operating in the country.

Washington has banned the export or sale of goods and services to Syria from the United States or by US citizens.

The EU has imposed travel bans, asset freezes and an arms embargo, with sanctions also targeting financial ties with Syrian institutions, buying oil and gas from the country or investing in its energy industry.

President Bashar Al Assad has partly blamed the sanctions for turning many Syrians into refugees, often heading to Europe.

Both the US and EU regimes include exemptions for medicines and other humanitarian supplies. However, by clamping down on financial transactions and barring much business with the Syrian government, the sanctions are indirectly affecting trade in pharmaceuticals.

Many drugs companies have erred on the side of caution, avoiding any business with Syria for fear of inadvertently falling foul of the sanctions.

The US State Department said the Treasury had authorised services in support of humanitarian activities in Syria, adding that there were legal ways to bring medicine into the country.

The EU also rejected criticism of its sanctions.

“Such measures are not aimed at the civilian population,” an EU spokeswoman said. “EU sanctions do not apply to key sectors of the Syrian economy such as food and medicine.”

She acknowledged firms had increasingly pulled out of business with Syria but said this was also due to other reasons, including “security, reputation, commercial motivation, anti-money laundering measures” and the presence of militant groups.

The WHO brings essential medicines and medical supplies into Syria, procuring generic drugs from approved sources in Europe, North Africa and Asia. Branded US products cannot be imported due to the sanctions situation, Hoff said.

With funds from Kuwait, the WHO has delivered life-saving medicine to more than 16,000 cancer patients, of whom thousands are children with leukaemia.

Damascus2

Syrian girl Rahma sits on a bed as she receives treatment for cancer at Damascus Children’s Hospital. Image Credit:Reuters

But this does not meet demand. Besides cancer medication, there are critical shortages of insulin, anaesthetics, specific antibiotics needed for intensive care, serums, intravenous fluids and other blood products and vaccines, Hoff said.

The overall collapse in Syrian health care has contributed to a drop in life expectancy to 60 years for men and 70 for women in 2014, from 72 and 75 respectively in 2009. Only 44 per cent of hospitals are now fully functioning and more than a quarter aren’t working at all, the WHO said.

By 2014, the number of doctors in Syria had dropped to 1.3 per 1,000 people, less than half the level in neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon.

Against this deterioration, Damascus Children’s Hospital has also come under increasing pressure. Cancer units in the provincial cities of Aleppo and Latakia were both put out of service in fighting earlier in the war.

Now about 200 children visit the Damascus hospital every week, with more than 70 per cent from outside the capital, according to its head, Maher Haddad.

The weight of demand has delayed treatment for dozens of sick children by 15-20 days, affecting their prospects, overall health and response to medication, he added.

Haddad also singled out the sanctions. Pharmex, the state-owned company that buys drugs for government-funded hospitals across Syria, was able to provide only 5-10 per cent of the cancer medication that is required, he told Reuters.

“Most of the cancer medicines are imported. Pharmex used to import the stock of medicines that public hospitals need. But it has not been able to do so largely because of the economic sanctions, I believe,” he said.

His hospital has only 36 free beds, with 17 of those allocated to children with cancer.

In the waiting room, a woman who identified herself only by her first name Nawal, said she travels from the Qalamoun area north of Damascus every fortnight with her 14-year-old daughter who requires chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia.

“We don’t have hospitals or charities in Qalamoun. Free treatment is offered only at the Children’s Hospital in Damascus,” Nawal said.

One private charity, Basma, is trying to help out by funding cancer drugs for poor families. The proportion of patients who need assistance has risen from about 30 per cent to nearly 80 per cent since the war began, executive manager Rima Salem said.

Salem finds the delays in treatment worrying.

“A child with cancer might die waiting for his turn to get treatment,” she said.

Posted in USA, Health, Syria0 Comments

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