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Tag Archive: Ban Ki Moon


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08.10.2015 Author: Vladimir Odintsov

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Less than a week ago US Air Force bombed a hospital in Afghanistan that was run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). At the time of the bombing there were 105 patients and local employees, along with 80 members of MSF personnel in the hospital located in the town of Kunduz. A number of media sources reported that US military command was well aware of the coordinates of the hospital, however, even when the local staff contacted a NATO representative in Kabul and informed him of the attack, bombs were still hitting the area for more than an hour.

On the same day a NATO spokesman described the incident as “side effect” of the US military operation, that allegedly was not targeting the hospital, hence it was “accidentally hit.” Nevertheless, the official failed to provide journalist with details on what exactly the US aircraft was supposed to destroy. After all, according to MSF personnel, at the time of bombing Taliban militants were nowhere near the hospital

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein on October 3 urged the international community to carry out a full investigation of the air strikes in question. And if it is to established that the hospital was struck intentionally, it would be only logical to label this act as a war crime. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the hospital and its medical staff are protected by international law, and those responsible should answer for this bombing. There’s still hope that war the war criminals behind this attack won’t be able to escape the prosecution easily.

However, one should be reminded this was not the first case of US military committing crimes in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries. Yet, all investigations of such “acts” have fallen short of punishing those responsible, which only leads to a sharp increase in the level of recklessness shown by Pentagon and US intelligence servicemen.


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VOA News

UN Orders Syria Humanitarian Aid Access

The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.

The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution on Syria’s humanitarian crisis, demanding that both sides in the conflict provide immediate access to deliver essential aid to millions of people in desperate need.

The 15-member council united on Syria for the first time Saturday. Russia and China — which have shielded Syria’s government throughout the country’s three-year-long civil war — voted in favor of the resolution.

Saturday’s vote does not threaten sanctions. Russia insisted that this reference be dropped from the original Western- and Arab-backed text. But it does express the council’s intent to take “further steps” in the case of non-compliance.

The resolution demands immediate cross-border aid access and condemns rights abuses by the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.

It also insists that all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians and stop the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas — including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote that the resolution should not have been necessary, because “humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law.”

The U.N. chief said it is “profoundly shocking … that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the newly adopted resolution could be “a “hinge-point in the tortured three years” of the crisis. He called it “a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.”

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UN humanitarian chief demands Syria aid access by reuters
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos calls for unlimited aid access to Syria’s worst hit areas.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Amos said she had spoken to Syrian government representatives but they’d asked for more time.

SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF, VALERIE AMOS, SAYING:

“However,the government have agreed to a limited assessment exercise to be conducted by U.N. agencies and the Syrian authorities, which would give us some information about what is happening in the country.”

Meanwhile, amateur videos from Syria posted on to a social media website – which Reuters cannot independently verify – purportedly reveal fresh fighting amid reports that 31 people were killed.

This burning car is reportedly in the Asheera neighbourhood of Homs while this amateur Homs footage shows smoke billowing from buildings amid sounds of heavy gunfire.

This footage, apparently from Damascus, purports to show a group of protesters chanting anti-regime slogans outside the captal’s Russian embassy.

The resumption of the heavy shelling follows a few days of relative calm during which Amos visited Homs and said part of the city had been completely destroyed.

UN and Arab League evnoy Kofi Annan is due to arrive in Damascus on Saturday to try to calm the year-old conflict.

Sunita Rappai, Reuters
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Nightly News   |  January 20, 2014

Sanctions and Syria: Iran’s step forward — and back

While Iran was rewarded for limiting its nuclear enrichment program, the country’s invitation to partake in UN-led Syria peace talks was revoked.

Video Transcript

>>> the federal government said something today about iran that we don’t hear very often. they said that iran has taken, quote, concrete actions that represent an important step forward. this came after iran moved to scale back its nuclear program , and the u.s. and europe started to lift some sanctions as part of that interim agreement . we get the story tonight from nbc’s andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: the seal of approval came from u.n. weapons inspectors today. disconnecting the centrifuges producing iran ‘s high-grade 20% enriched uranium . fuel that can easily be upgraded to power a nuclear weapon .

>> everything going as planned. the 20% enrichment has been stopped.

>> reporter: iran has complied by limiting its uranium enrichment to lower levels, granting full access to u.n. inspectors diluting current uranium stockpiles. halting construction on a separate plutonium plant. within hours, europe and washington lifted some of the sanctions that have cripple iran ‘s economy, permitting some oil exports, imports of auto and airplane parts, and trade in gold and other precious metals .

>> the suspension of these sanctions will enter into force today.

>> reporter: as expected, israel’s prime minister, netanyahu, said today, iran ‘s entire program should be shut down. and now comes the hard part, a final agreement requiring iran to disclose all its nuclear secrets.

>> it’s going to have to answer basic questions about did iran work on nuclear weapons in the past, and do some of those efforts continue.

>> reporter: today’s breakthrough came 33 years to the today after the american diplomats were freed. now iran ‘s new president rouhani offers hope of a new beginning, unless rouhani is blocked by hard liners.

>> a major open question is whether president rouhani can actually implement any deal inside iran .

>> reporter: or unless the deal is blocked by its many critics in congress. what iran is cooperating on the nuclear issue, it is still arming president assad. so after intense pressure from the u.s., tonight the u.n. has withdrawn its invitation to iran to take part in peace talks this week on syria. the first talk since the war started more than two years ago. brian?

>> andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom tonight, thanks.

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United Nations withdraws Iran invitation to save Syria peace talks

Iran was stopped from attending long-awaited Syrian peace talks last night after an extraordinary last-minute invitation almost led to the breakdown of the whole process.

The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, had shocked the United States, its western allies and the Syrian opposition by announcing that Iran would attend the talks, starting on Wednesday.

Iran is the Syrian regime’s most important sponsor, and the move was also welcomed by Russia, which said Iran’s absence would be an “unforgivable mistake”.

But the opposition Syrian National Coalition, which had only reluctantly agreed to its western backers’ demands it attend after a vote on Saturday, immediately said it would pull out.

It gave Mr Ban until last night to withdraw the offer if Iran did not immediately promise to withdraw its forces from Syria and agree to the formation of a transitional government, as agreed in a previous round of talks in Geneva in June 2012.

When Iran refused to do so, Mr Ban was forced to backtrack. “He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva communique,” his spokesman said. “Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation.”

The Montreux part of the talks will be attended by a Syrian delegation led by the Assad regime’s foreign minister and the Coalition representing the rebels, as well as ministers from an array of states supporting either side in the conflict, including Russia, the United States and Britain.

Talks will then resume in Geneva on Friday, with direct negotiations taking place between the two Syrian sides conducted in closed-door session by the UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.

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Syria talks: Iran and Russia angry over invitation withdrawal

Tehran says UN’s rescinding of invite is deplorable while Moscow says Iran’s absence could jeopardise peace talks
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said the UN’s withdrawal of Iran’s invitation to Syrian peace talks was a mistake, but not a catastrophe. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Bashar al-Assad’s key international allies in Moscow and Tehran have reacted angrily to the UN’s decision to rescind Iran‘s invitation to this week’s peace talks on the crisis in Syria.

The UN hastily withdrew its surprise invitation after pressure from the US and a threat that the Syrian opposition would boycott the talks.

The build-up to the talks, which are due to start in the Swiss town of Montreux on Wednesday, is being overshadowed by Iran’s non-attendance, and new evidence showing the Syrian government has been involved in the systematic killing of thousands of political detainees.

Iran, which is accused of providing military and financial backing to the Assad government, said the decision to withdraw its invitation was deplorable.

Russia‘s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who helped broker the talks with his US counterpart, John Kerry, said the UN move was a mistake. While it was not a catastrophe, it made the slim prospect of an agreement less likely, he said.

Speaking at his annual press conference in Moscow, Lavrov said Iran’s presence at the event would have given it more chance of succeeding.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking to reporters in Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, said it was regrettable that the UN general secretary had rescinded the invitation and that Tehran had only accepted it reluctantly in the first place.

“Unfortunately, Ban Ki-moon came under pressure after extending an invitation to Iran,” Zarif said, according to the semi-official Isna news agency. “We were not eager to participate in the first place and had only decided to attend because we were invited.”

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The New American

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On September 11, the United Nations reasserted that it believes it has the exclusive and undeniable right to determine when a people is worthy of sovereignty and when the UN must step in and rule for them.

At an informal meeting of the General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared the international body’s continuing commitment to protecting populations of member states from suffering under regimes that fail to “fulfill their obligations under the rule of law.” This includes Syria, Libya, and anywhere else in the world that isn’t toeing the one-world-government line.

Societies, said Ban, must “embrace diversity” or face the intervention of regional and international bodies that will step in to “protect and empower” the people living under the offending regime.

In order to impose its will and enforce its vision of “diversity,” the UN will prevent the governments of member states from passing laws, programs, and policies that prohibit the establishment of a UN-approved body of law.

Preventing governments from opposing the UN is a significant step toward the achievement of the UN’s ultimate aim: permanent aggregation of all national sovereignty into one global entity under the rule of globalists bureaucrats. Ban addressed this issue in his statement on September 11:

Prevention may sound abstract, but it is very concrete and specific. It means, among many things, that States translate obligations and standards set out in international law, notably international humanitarian and human rights law, into policies, programmes, laws and institutions that protect and empower their people.

This principle underlying this drive to force nations to, as U.S. UN Ambassador Samantha Power (shown) said, give up a “pinch of sovereignty” in exchange for the United Nation’s version of peace and prosperity is known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

Power, it must be noted, played a significant role in the development of R2P. Her influence on President Obama and his nationally televised address on Syria was recognized by National Review Online. “This was a Samantha Power speech,” wrote Stanley Kurtz, referring to President Obama’s call for American intervention in Syria.

Americans committed to the maintaining our Republic, our Constitution, and our right to determine our own laws, regulations, and policies must become familiar with the Responsibility to Protect doctrine and the extraordinary lengths the UN will go to to impose its provisions.

In an address given in last September, the UN secretary-general promoted the global shadow government’s ultimate goal of eradicating national sovereignty by way of the R2P policy.

Agreed to by the UN General Assembly at a summit of world leaders in 2005, R2P purports to grant the global government power to decide whether individual nations are properly exercising their sovereignty.

UN literature describes R2P as the concept that holds “states responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.”

That is to say, if the UN determines that a national government is not voluntarily conforming to the UN’s idea of safety, then the “international community” will impose its will by force, all for the protection of that nation’s citizens.

Lest anyone believe that the globalists at the UN are simply pacifists whose desire is to meekly encourage regimes to treat their people kindly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a more forceful posture at the conference held at the UN headquarters in New York:

We all agree that sovereignty must not be a shield behind which States commit grave crimes against their people. But achieving prevention and protection can be difficult. In recent years, we have shown how good offices, preventive diplomacy, mediation, commissions of inquiry and other peaceful means can help pull countries back from the brink of mass violence.

However, when non-coercive measures fail or are considered inadequate, enforcement under Chapter VII will need to be considered by the appropriate intergovernmental bodies. This includes carefully crafted sanctions and, in extreme circumstances, the use of force.

Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizes the Security Council to use force in the face of a threat to peace or aggression, taking “such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.” As there is currently no UN military, all such interventions are carried out by the national armed forces of member nations.

Faithfully, the United States, as the chief financial engine of the international body, has not only signed on to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme, but President Obama has established a federal agency to ensure that it is executed effectively.

The agency is the White House Atrocities Prevention Board (APB), which was headed by Samantha Power until she was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the UN.

Exercising the powers he created for himself in Executive Order 13606, President Barack Obama demonstrated his support for the R2P program when he established the Atrocities Prevention Board.

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UN Wrapping Up Syria Chemical Inspection Early

U.N. weapons inspectors headed out for one final day of investigations after a delayed start this morning, as the United States signaled it is ready to launch a military campaign against the Syrian regime on its own.

The U.N. team was seen leaving their Damascus hotel this morning, only to turn back moments later. Journalists in Syria’s capital reported heavy government shelling in nearby rebel-controlled suburbs but the U.N. team got underway around noon local time.

White House Says Syria Is Not Iraq

Traveling with the U.N. convoy this morning, the BBC reporter in Damascus tweeted that the inspectors unexpectedly visited a military hospital instead of the sites of the reported Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack.

The U.N. team plans to leave the country Saturday morning, one day ahead of schedule, and will report immediately to U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.

While the international community awaits the results from the U.N. investigation, Washington is regrouping after losing British support Thursday night. Dealing a major blow to its stalwart ally, the British House of Commons voted down a motion authorizing military action in Syria.

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UN team tour stricken Syria areas, activists say

The head of UN inspectors’ team, Professor Ake Sellstrom, second right, and Angela Kane, right, the representative on the United Nations for Disarmament Issues, watch as the UN inspectors’ team leaves the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Syria, August 28, 2013. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pleaded for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict, even as world powers appeared to be moving toward punitive military strikes against President Bashar Assad's regime for what the United States and its allies say was a deadly chemical weapons attack. Syria has denied it was behind the alleged attack. (AP Photo)
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Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Activists said U.N. inspectors investigating suspected poison gas attacks toured stricken areas for a third day Thursday, ahead of a weekend departure from Syria that heightens the possibility of punitive strikes from Western countries against Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he has not decided how the U.S. would respond to the Aug. 21 attacks near Damascus that, according to the group Doctors Without Borders, killed 355 people.

However, Obama signaled Wednesday that the U.S. is moving toward a punitive strike, saying he has “concluded” that Assad’s regime is behind the attacks and that there “need to be international consequences.”

Both Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were trying to shore up domestic political support Thursday for possible military action.

The Obama administration was planning a teleconference briefing Thursday on Syria for leaders of the House and Senate and national security committees, U.S. officials and congressional aides said.

Cameron convened Parliament for an emergency meeting to vote on possible international action against Syria. Cameron promised he would not go to war until the U.N. weapons team has had a chance to report its findings.

In Vienna, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he spoke to Obama a day earlier about ways of expediting the U.N. investigation.

U.N. chemical weapons experts who are investigating …

Ban said the U.N. team is to leave Syria on Saturday, and suggested that the Western powers hold off on any decisions until the inspectors have presented their findings.

Ban said he told Obama the U.N. investigators “should be allowed to continue their work as mandated by the member states and I told him that we will surely share our information and our analysis.”

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Published on Aug 28, 2013

08/28/2013

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pleaded Wednesday for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict, even as world powers appeared to be moving toward punitive military strikes against President Bashar Assad.
Ban said Wednesday a United Nation team investigating the alleged chemical attack must be given time to establish the facts.
Syria has denied it was behind the alleged attack and challenged Washington to present proof to back up its accusations

Ban urged a peaceful resolution to Syria’s civil war. “Here in the Peace Palace, let us say: Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop fighting and start talking,” Ban said.

Ban was speaking in the Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace in The Hague, which is marking its 100th anniversary.

The timing of the celebrations in The Hague was uncomfortable. The Peace Palace opened its doors in 1913 as a venue for peaceful resolution of conflicts and currently houses the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, but Washington is building support for a military attack on Syria — possibly without U.N. backing.

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ABCNews.com

Obama US Syria.JPEG

The Obama administration hopes its decision to give lethal aid to Syrian rebels will prompt other nations to beef up assistance, now that the U.S. has cited evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people. But the international reaction Friday ranged from flat-out disbelief of the U.S. intelligence assessments to calls for negotiation before more weapons pour into the vicious civil war.

The administration now says it has “high confidence” that President Bashar Assad’s forces have killed up to 150 people with sarin gas. Although that’s a tiny percentage of the approximately 93,000 killed in the civil war so far, the use of a chemical weapon crosses President Barack Obama’s “red line” for escalating U.S. involvement in the conflict and prompted the decision to send arms and ammunition, not just humanitarian aid and defensive non-lethal help like armored vests and night goggles.

The administration’s plan heading into the G8 meeting of industrialized nations beginning Monday is to use the chemical weapons announcement and Obama’s decision on arms to persuade Russia to increase pressure on Assad to send a credible negotiating team to Geneva for talks with the opposition.

In addition, Obama is expected to use the G8 meeting and discussions on the sidelines to further coordinate with the British, French and potentially others an increase of assistance — lethal, non-lethal and humanitarian — to the rebels, the political opposition and refugees.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said the United States has determined that sarin was used in a March 19 attack on the Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Assal and in an April 13 attack on the neighborhood of Shaykh Maqsud. She said unspecified chemicals, possibly including chemical warfare agents, were used May 14 in an attack on Qasr Abu Samrah and in a May 23 attack on Adra.

U.S. officials have not disclosed any details about the weapons they intend to send to Syria or when and how they will be delivered. According to officials, the U.S. is most likely to provide the rebel fighters with small arms, ammunition, assault rifles and a variety of anti-tank weaponry such as shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and other missiles.

As of Friday, however, no final decisions had been made on the details or when it would reach the rebels, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal administration discussions with reporters.

Obama has consistently said he will not put American troops in Syria, making it less likely the U.S. will provide sophisticated arms or anti-aircraft weapons that would require large-scale training. Administration officials are also worried about high-powered weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups. Hezbollah fighters are among those backing Assad’s armed forces, and al-Qaida-linked extremists back the rebellion.

The lethal aid will largely be coordinated by the CIA, but that effort will also be buttressed by an increased U.S. military presence in Jordan.

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Exclusive: Obama Asks Pentagon for Syria No-Fly Zone Plan

May 28, 2013 3:06 PM EDT Updated

Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan sent the following statement to The Daily Beast after this story posted: “There is no new planning effort underway. The Joint Staff, along with the relevant combatant commanders, continue to conduct prudent planning for a range of possible military options.”

Along with no-fly zone plans, the White House is considering arming parts of the Syrian opposition and formally recognizing the Syrian opposition council, reports Josh Rogin.

The White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by the U.S. and other countries such as France and Great Britain, two administration officials told The Daily Beast.

Syria
A Syrian army soldier holds a machine gun during a battle against opposition fighters in the city of Qusayr, in Syria’s central Homs province on May 23, 2013. (AFP/Getty)

The request was made shortly before Secretary of State John Kerry toured the Middle East last week to try and finalize plans for an early June conference between the Syrian regime and rebel leaders in Geneva. The opposition, however, has yet to confirm its attendance and is demanding that the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule be a precondition for negotiations, a condition Assad is unlikely to accept.

President Obama’s dual-track strategy of continuing to pursue a political solution to the two-year-old uprising in Syria while also preparing for more direct U.S. military involvement includes authorizing the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first time to plan for multilateral military actions inside Syria, the two officials said. They added that no decisions on actually using force have yet been made.

“The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it’s more advanced than it’s ever been,” one administration official told The Daily Beast. “All this effort to pressure the regime is part of the overall effort to find a political solution, but what happens if Geneva fails? It’s only prudent to plan for other options.”

In a May 8 meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee, the White House tasked several agencies with reporting on the pros and cons of two additional potential courses of action: arming vetted and moderate elements of the Syrian opposition, such as the Free Syrian Army, and formally recognizing the Syrian opposition council as the government of Syria, which would mean removing formal U.S. recognition of the Assad regime.

Sen. John McCain—who’s advocated for more aggressive U.S. support of the Syrian rebels and who traveled secretly into the country Monday to meet with the leaders of the Free Syrian Army—told The Daily Beast last week that despite the request for plans he doubts the White House will decide to implement a no-fly zone in Syria. The Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs are opposed to the idea, he said.

“One thing about the Pentagon, if they don’t want to do something, they will tell you all sorts of reasons why they can’t do it. It’s going to take significant pressure for them to come up with realistic plans,” McCain said. “They will invent ways for us not to do it until the president of the United States says we’ve got to do it.”

McCain said a realistic plan for a no-fly zone would include hundreds of planes, and would be most effective if it included destroying Syrian airplanes on runways, bombing those runways, and moving U.S. Patriot missile batteries in Turkey close to the border so they could protect airspace inside northern Syria.

In April, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that the military was planning for a range of options in Syria but that he did not necessarily support using those options.

 

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The Economic Collapse

 

Is Obama Starting A War With Syria Just To Distract Us From All The Scandals?

Is Obama Getting Us Into A War With SyriaWell, isn’t that convenient?  At the moment when the Obama administration is feeling more heat then ever before, it starts another war.  Suddenly everyone in the mainstream media is talking all about Syria and not about the IRS scandal, Benghazi, NSA snooping or any of the other political scandals that have popped up in recent weeks.  As if on cue, Obama made headlines all over the globe on Thursday by claiming that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the rebels “multiple times”, and that the U.S. was now ready to do more to assist the rebels.  That assistance is reportedly going to include “military support” for the rebels and a no-fly zone over at least part of Syria is being discussed.  Without a doubt, these are acts of war, and this conflict is not going to end until Assad has been ousted.  But Assad will not go quietly.  And all it would take is for Assad to fire a couple of missiles at Tel Aviv for a huge regional war to erupt in the Middle East.  And what happens if Russia or China decides to get involved in the conflict in Syria?  Obama is playing with fire, but he has shown again and again that he is willing to do virtually anything if it will benefit him politically.

As far as the Obama administration is concerned, there is no such thing as a coincidence.  The timing of this announcement regarding Syria was not an accident.  If Obama wanted to use chemical weapons as an excuse to go after Syria he could have done it weeks ago, or he could have waited several more months before taking action.  He chose to do it right now for a reason, and hopefully the American people will be able to see right through this.

So exactly what are we going to be doing for the Syrian rebels?  Well, we will definitely be arming them and training them.  And it is probably reasonable to assume that there will be American “advisers” on the ground inside Syria helping to organize the Syrian resistance.  In fact, according to Debka, a large U.S. Marine force has already been deployed to the Jordanian border with Syria.

In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. aircraft may be involved in enforcing a no-fly zone inside Syria…

A U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials.

Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border.

To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials.

No matter how you slice it, the United States is now in a state of war with Syria.  The only question is how “involved” we are going to get.

And several prominent Republicans are already rushing forward to applaud Barack Obama on this latest move.  The following comes from a CBS News report…

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with the rebels last month and has been a vocal critic of the president’s Syria policy said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: “We appreciate the President’s finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President’s red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions.”

But you know what?  Many of these Syrian rebels have actually pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The whole point of the “war on terror” was to supposedly fight al-Qaeda, but now the U.S. military is allied with them.

Why in the world would we want to help the people who are supposed to be our greatest global enemy?

 

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Published time: April 29, 2013 07:30
Edited time: April 29, 2013 17:45

 

Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halqi survived an attempted bombing assassination in central Damascus on Monday. Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, has condemned the attempted assassination, calling it a “terrorist attack”.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halqi (Photo by Nadezhda Kevorkova)

Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halqi (Photo by Nadezhda Kevorkova)

The explosion struck near a school in a southwestern district of Damascus, and at least ten were killed in the attack.

The attack was reported by Syrian state television. “The terrorist explosion in al-Mezze was an attempt to target the convoy of the prime minister. Doctor Wael al-Halqi is well and not hurt at all,” the report said.

Image from sana.sy

Image from sana.sy

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on April 29, 2013, shows people gathered at the scene of a blast in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. (AFP Photo/SANA)

“The Secretary-General condemns the terrorists attack on the convoy of Srian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki in Damascus earlier today, which resulted in deaths and injuries,” Ban Ki-moon’s press office said in a statement.

At least 19 people, including one of Halqi’s bodyguards, were killed and 25 others were wounded in the attack, local correspondent Abdullah Mawazini told RT. Syrian media reported that up to 10 people may have been killed in the explosion.

Halqi’s driver and a second bodyguard were seriously wounded in the explosion, AFP said, quoting the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

An explosive device was placed under a black BMW vehicle that was parked along the route of Halqi’s convoy. The explosion took place near a kindergarten and a school. No children were killed in the attack, but two were injured, Mawazini said.

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Image from sana.sy

Image from sana.sy

UN resolution condemns third nuclear test ‘in the strongest possible terms’ and warns the North against further provocations

Susan Rice North Korea sanctions

UN ambassador Susan Rice votes at a security council meeting on imposing a fourth round of sanctions against North Korea. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The United Nations security council has voted unanimously to punish North Korea for last month’s nuclear test with a toughened sanctions regime, hours after Pyongyang threatened to unleash a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.

Secretary general Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, said the resolution “sent an unequivocal message to [the North] that the international community will not tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons“.

The decision by the 15-member council followed lengthy negotiations between the United States and China, the North’s main ally. Measures range from tightened financial restrictions to cargo inspections and an explicit ban on exports of yachts and racing cars to the North, but experts say the real issue is enforcement.

North Korea immediately rounded on the UN with more threats, saying it would cancel a non-aggression pact with the South and end other bilateral measures such as a hotline between Pyongyang and Seoul.

China’s UN ambassador Li Baodong said Beijing, Pyongyang’s main trading partner, wanted to see “full implementation” of the resolution.

Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, told reporters that the measures would “bite hard”. She added: “North Korea will achieve nothing by continued threats and provocations.”

A foreign ministry spokesman in Pyongyang had threatened to launch “pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the headquarters of the aggressors” because Washington was pushing to start a nuclear war against it, in a statement hours before the UN vote.

Experts do not believe the North has managed to produce a warhead small enough to be mounted on a missile that could reach the US. They also pointed out that the original Korean language version referred to “invaders” rather than merely the “aggressors” of the English translation.

Jennifer Lind, associate professor of government at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, said that while the statement was disturbing, “North Korea has a long history of bluster and issuing threats that of course it does not carry out, [such as] its long term threats of turning Seoul into a sea of fire.”

Earlier this week the North threatened to cancel the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

Thursday’s resolution condemns the North’s third nuclear test “in the strongest possible terms” as a flagrant breach of previous resolutions, which bar it from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology and importing or exporting material for the programs.

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North Korea cancels non-aggression pact with South

The Associated Press

Posted: Mar 7, 2013 9:06 PM ET

Last Updated: Mar 8, 2013 2:42 AM ET

North Korea has cancelled its nonagression agreements with the South and cut off a direct hotline with as well Thursday. North Korea has cancelled its nonagression agreements with the South and cut off a direct hotline with as well Thursday. (Jon Chol Jin/AP)

North Korea is cancelling a hotline and a non-aggression pact with South Korea and reiterating past threats in anger over a UN Security Council vote to impose more sanctions on the North for its third nuclear test.

The statement the North issued Friday comes after the council leveled tough, new sanctions targeting the North’s economy and leadership. North Korea already has threatened of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.

North Korea says it will retaliate with “crushing strikes” if enemies intrude into its territory. It also says it is voiding past nuclear disarmament statements between North and South Korea.

 

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North Korea Hit by New UN Sanctions After Test

PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a New Year's Day address in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea Threatens a Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike on U.S.
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By EDITH M. LEDERER and HYUNG-JIN KIM Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS March 7, 2013 (AP)

 

The U.N. Security Council responded swiftly to North Korea’s latest nuclear test by punishing the reclusive regime Thursday with tough, new sanctions targeting its economy and leadership, despite Pyongyang’s threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.

The penalties came in a unanimous resolution drafted by the U.S. along with China, which is North Korea’s main benefactor. Beijing said the focus now should be to “defuse the tensions” by restarting negotiations.

The resolution sent a powerful message to North Korea’s new young leader, Kim Jong Un, that the international community condemns his defiance of Security Council bans on nuclear and ballistic tests and is prepared to take even tougher action if he continues flouting international obligations.

“Taken together, these sanctions will bite, and bite hard,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said. “They increase North Korea’s isolation and raise the cost to North Korea’s leaders of defying the international community.”

The new sanctions came in response to North Korea’s underground nuclear test on Feb. 12 and were the fourth set imposed by the U.N. since the country’s first test in 2006. They are aimed at reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development by requiring all countries to freeze financial transactions or services that could contribute to the programs.

North Korea kept up its warlike rhetoric Friday after the U.N. vote, issuing a statement saying it was canceling a hotline and a nonaggression pact with rival South Korea.

North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the country’s arm for dealing with cross-border affairs with Seoul, said it will retaliate with “crushing strikes” if enemies intrude into its territory “even an inch and fire even a single shell.” It also said it was voiding past nuclear disarmament agreements between North and South Korea.

South and North Korea agreed in a 1992 joint declaration not to produce, test or use nuclear weapons. North Korea has since conducted three nuclear tests.

The resolution also targets North Korea’s ruling elite by banning all nations from exporting expensive jewelry, yachts, luxury automobiles and race cars to the North. It also imposes new travel sanctions that would require countries to expel agents working for sanctioned North Korean companies.

The success of the sanctions could depend on how well they are enforced by China, where most of the companies and banks that North Korea is believed to work with are based.

 

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The Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.


Pentagon Warns North Korea Against Further Provocations

By — (March 7, 2013)

By Luis Ramirez

The Pentagon is warning North Korea to stop its provocative actions after Pyongyang threatened a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States. Defense Department officials say that despite the North’s successful nuclear tests, they doubt it is able to deliver on its threats.

Bellicose threats from North Korea are nothing new, but this is the first time Pyongyang has threatened a direct nuclear hit on the United States.

The threat comes in response to new U. N. sanctions supported by the U.S., its allies and China — after Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test last month.

“The resolution tabled today will take the U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea to the next level, breaking new ground and imposing significant new legal obligations,” said U.S. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

It is also a reaction to U.S. and South Korean joint naval exercises that the U.S. says are routine, but which the North claims are preparations for a U.S. nuclear attack.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Storms

 

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

477 dead, homeless swell after Philippines typhoon

by Staff Writers
New Bataan, Philippines (AFP)


UN offers to mobilize help for Philippine storm victims
United Nations (AFP) Dec 6, 2012 – The United Nations on Thursday offered to mobilize international support for the Philippines after a major typhoon left at least 477 dead.”The United Nations stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance and to mobilize international support for the response,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Nesirky said UN leader Ban Ki-moon had sent “sincere condolences” to the Philippine government over Typhoon Bopha, which hit Mindanao island on Tuesday leaving the hundreds of dead and at least 250,000 homeless.

Philippine rebels offer truce in storm-hit areas
Manila (AFP) Dec 6, 2012 – Philippine communist guerrillas offered to suspend attacks in typhoon-hit areas Thursday, as the military led efforts to look for hundreds of missing from a disaster that claimed nearly 500 lives.

“In light of the urgent humanitarian considerations, the (New People’s Army) can suspend offensive military operations… for a period of time,” the rebel group’s parent organisation the Communist Party of the Philippines said.

A rebel statement said its forces would “raise funds, seek donations and contributions” for Typhoon Bopha’s victims on the southern island of Mindanao, while its armed guerrillas would help in the relief work.

In reaction, military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, said “if they really want peace and stability for our country for unhampered progress and development, they should abandon armed violence”.

The armed forces are at the forefront of rescue and relief efforts after Tuesday’s disaster, which killed 477 people and forced 250,000 others to seek shelter at government evacuation centres after losing everything.

The military estimates the NPA’s current strength at about 4,000 fighters nationwide, significantly down from more than 26,000 at its peak in the 1980s.

The communists have been waging a rebellion since 1969, and more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the government.

The government opened peace talks with the CPP but negotiations were suspended in November last year due to continued rebel demands for the release of jailed comrades they claimed were consultants to the negotiations.

 

 

Typhoon Bopha ploughed across Mindanao island on Tuesday, flattening whole towns in its path as hurricane-force winds brought torrential rain that triggered floods and landslides.

Erinea Cantilla and her family walked barefoot for two days in a vain search for food and shelter through a muddy wasteland near the mountainous town of New Bataan after the deluge destroyed their house and banana and cocoa farm.

“Everything we had is gone. The only ones left are dead people,” Cantilla told AFP as she and her husband, three children and a granddaughter reached the outskirts of the town, which itself had been nearly totally obliterated.

Rescuers said they were looking for 380 missing while seeking help for more than 250,000 others who were sheltered in schools, gyms and other buildings after losing everything.

Shell-shocked survivors scrabbled through the rubble of their homes to find anything that could be recovered, as relatives searched for missing family members among mud-caked bodies laid out in rows on tarpaulins.

President Benigno Aquino has sent food and other supplies by ship to 150,000 people on Mindanao’s east coast where three towns remain cut off by landslides and wrecked bridges, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said.

Officials said many of the 477 dead victims were poor migrants who found work at landslide-prone sites such as New Bataan and nearby Monkayo towns, either at unregulated gold mines or at banana plantations.

Bopha, flower in Cambodian, wiped out a fourth of the country’s banana crop, according to the local industry association.

Major-General Ariel Bernardo, head of the army division leading the rescue effort, said 36 people had been dug out alive in two days, but the prospects were looking dimmer for the hundreds still missing.

 

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