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Isis and Syria: ‘Western hypocrisies have been driving support for extremism’ (Nick Cohen) - 01-nov-2014

September 28, 2014 - After the military corrupted the English language with "collateral damage", I’d like to introduce the equally dainty and equally misleading "collateral benefit". I hope you like the smooth way the euphemism oozes from the lips; the imperceptible subtlety with which it shuffles off responsibility.The phrase implies, without being so crude as to say so out loud, that the west does not intend mass murderers to benefit from its wars any more than it intends civilians to die in its airstrikes. If when the accountants of violence make their reckoning, the dictators are as triumphant as the civilians are dead, that is no concern of ours. Bashar Assad is now enjoying the collateral benefits of western foreign policy. It is not that he, and by extension Iran and Hezbollah, is our formal ally. We still have our standards, after all. If their power is strengthened, and the bombing and slaughtering of civilians continues, we regret it, naturally. These are unintended side-effects no one can expect us to control...

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The Fake Terror Threat Used To Justify Bombing Syria (By Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain) - 01-nov-2014

September 28, 2014 - As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the "homeland." A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval. The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded "The Khorasan Group."..

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Israel, America and the combined aggression strategy (Nabil Al-Sahli) - 01-nov-2014

September 28, 2014 - No two people would ever disagree on the strategic nature of the relationship between Israel and successive American administrations over the course of the past six decades. Not only does Israel play a strategic role that is aligned with American interests in the Middle East but the true extent of that relationship also became even more evident during Israel's recent offensive against the Gaza Strip. Any observer could have seen the true nature of this relationship through the Obama administration's position on the massacre of civilians in the occupied territory, which confirmed that the US-Israel partnership was unshakable and clearly defined....


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Syria News - September 27, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 01-nov-2014

September 27, 2014 - By the end of Saturday, LCC has documented the fall of 43 martyrs including 3 women, 3 martyrs under torture and 2 children: 21 martyrs reported in Damascus and its suburbs, 12 martyrs in Hasakeh due to International Alliance airstrikes, 5 in Aleppo, 2 in Deir Ezzor, 2 in Idlib and 1 in Hama...

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US/Syria: Investigate Possible Unlawful US Strikes
At Least 7 Civilians Dead; Residents Say No Evident Military Target
(Human Rights Watch) - 31-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - – Apparent US missile strikes on Idlib in Syria that killed at least seven civilians should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war. On September 25, 2014, in statements to the press, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the United States was looking into reports of civilian casualties in Syria from their strikes but that the US military had "no credible reporting from operational sources" of civilian deaths. Three local residents told Human Rights Watch that missiles killed at least two men, two women, and five children, in the early morning hours on September 23 in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib...

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Abbas at UN outlines bleak future in negotiations with Israel (By Lynda Franken -) - 31-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - "The hour of independence of the State of Palestine has arrived," were the final words of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the 69th annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In his outspoken address, Abbas referred to the latest Israeli military operation in Gaza as a "genocide" carried out by the "racist occupying State (of Israel)." He argued that the difference with former Israeli military assaults like Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) and Operation Cast Lead (2008/9) was the scale of the crimes and the unprecedented list of killed, wounded and disabled...

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Demonstrators Denounce Civilian Deaths in Syria as Coalition Airstrikes Continue (By Liz Fields) - 31-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - Coalition warplanes launched a fresh wave of airstrikes against Islamic State targets across Syria on Saturday, despite demonstrations in the town of al Atareb condemning the US-led assault, which residents have blamed for the deaths of at least 27 people, including civilians, in the area. The protests in al Atareb on Friday brought together dozens of people who marched and chanted through the streets, some holding placards. One sign written in English read: "Don't kill our children by your aircrafts." The outcry from residents comes three days after coalition forces conducted joint drone and plane strikes against a militant base. The bodies of at least 27 locals were pulled out of the rubble, including an unspecified number of civilians, according to a report from a group called the al Atareb Civil Defense...

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Will You Be Free: Caught in the Trap of Permanent War (Chris Floyd) - 31-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - The murderous absurdity of the new American-led war in the Middle East almost defies commentary, although I'm currently working on a piece that tries to thread through the obfuscation. In the meantime, below is something I wrote about one of our earlier wars in the region — but as we now live in a state of permanent war, it remains sadly apt for today … and no doubt far into the future. The questions in the lines are aimed chiefly at all those who give their support -- however grudgingly, reluctantly, with great sweatdrops of blood and wringing of hands -- to the continuing series of military attacks by Western powers in the Middle East, East Asia and Africa for the ostensible reason of quelling terrorism....

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Iraq snapshot - September 27, 2014 (The Common Ills) - 31-oct-2014

September 27, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, US bombing kills civilians in Iraq, Iraqi military continues to bomb residential areas in Falluja, Barack's 'plan' is a bust the same way the 'surge' was, England wants a piece of it and its not the only country that does, Haider al-Abadi's window of opportunity continues to close, and much more... Friday, NINA reported 3 civilians are dead and nine more injured. In addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted Falluja General Hospital received the corpses of 2 children and eight more people who were injured from last night's bombings of the residential neighborhoods. And how were Friday prayers in Anbar celebrated? With more civilian bombings....And NINA notes a Friday Mosul bombing by US war planes killed 4 civilians...

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Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah assist Houthis in Sana’a: intelligence source (Arafat Madabish) - 30-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 — Forces with links to Iran and Shi’ite Lebanese militia Hezbollah are helping Houthi rebels to strengthen their hold on the Yemeni capital Sana’a, intelligence sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. "Elements affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, who were training Houthis in the north of Yemen, are currently present in the capital Sana’a," an intelligence source, who requested anonymity because he was not permitted to brief the media, told Asharq Al-Awsat. Following a month of protests against Yemen’s central government, Houthi militants last week gained control of key government buildings in Sana’a and looted the homes of top government officials....

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Syria News - September 26, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - By the end of Friday, LCC has documented the fall of 50 martyrs including 4 women, 2 martyrs under torture and 1 child. There were 15 martyrs reported in Damascus and its suburbs, 10 in Hama, 9 in Aleppo, 8 in Homs, 6 in Idlib and 2 in Daraa. The International Alliance conducted 29 air strikes at the Syrian cities and towns and used 3 Tomahawk missiles. In Raqqa, the air combats of the International-Arabian alliance conducted 7 air strikes at the Vanguards Camp, the 17th Battalion, the Maqas checkpoint and the Municipality building. There were also 10 air strikes at The Tabaqa Airport (southern of the city) and Kreen area (western of the city). In Hasaka, the alliance's air combats targeted the Khamael village with 3 air strikes in addition to 2 others at the Melabiyeh regiment and 1 air strike at the Hawl area. In Deir Ezzor, the alliance's air combats targeted Mayadeen city with 4 air strikes and the Zgheer AlJazera village with 2 air strikes. The city of Raqqa was also targeted with 3 Tomahawk missiles...

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Iranian president gives qualified support for western action against Isis (Julian Borger) - 30-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, gave qualified support to western military action against Isis inside Iraq, saying a concerted campaign could be successful as long as it was requested by the Iraqi government. Speaking to journalists in New York while attending the UN general assembly, Rouhani appeared to draw a sharp distinction between Syria, where the Assad regime had not been informed of US air strikes, let alone asking for them; and Iraq, where the new government has formally called for military assistance. He criticised western states for responding late to Iraq’s call for help, claiming Iran had been the first to come to its defence and helped prevent Irbil and Baghdad falling to Isis. He also questioned the value of relying on aerial power alone...


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Is Sunni terrorism haram and Shiite terrorism halal? (By Dr. Faisal al Qassem) - 30-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - There is now a widespread perception in the Islamic world generally and in the Arab world in particular that the first and last target of the supposed international campaign to combat terrorism is Sunni Muslims alone and no other group. Adding insult to injury and confirming Sunni fears, the New York Times front page headline a few days ago stated "US aircraft and international coalition forces targeting Sunni terrorists in Syria and Iraq’. This seems to suggest that the Shiite militias wreaking havoc, destruction and slaughter in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere are mere fluffy lambs. Certainly nobody in Western media ever mentions the Shiite fighters, who appear to have been completely excluded from the recent decisions issued by the UN Security Council to combat terrorism by limiting the number of foreign fighters travelling among the hotbeds of conflict in the Middle East...


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Life Sentence for Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Discredits Guantánamo’s Military Commissions (Andy Worthington) - 30-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 -On Tuesday, in a courtroom in New York City, a long-running chapter in the "war on terror" came to an end, when Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 48, a Kuwaiti-born cleric who appeared in media broadcasts as a spokesman for Al-Qaeda the day after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, received a life sentence based on the three counts for which he was convicted after his trial in March: conspiracy to kill Americans, providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. The life sentence came as no surprise, as it is permissible for the main conspiracy charge, although Abu Ghaith’s lead defense lawyer, Stanley L. Cohen, had, as the New York Times described it, "sought a sentence of 15 years, saying in a court submission that his client was facing 'the harshest of penalties for talk — and only talk.’"...

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Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan condemns joining US coalition on ISIL (Middle East Monitor) - 30-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 -The Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan condemned on Thursday Jordanian participation in the US-led coalition against ISIL, as well as the announcement that Jordanian forces targeted ISIL in Ar-Raqqa.Jordanian newspaper Assabeel reported a statement from the Muslim Brotherhood calling the Jordanian participation in the coalition and targeting ISIL in Syria as a "contradiction with Jordan's interests."The Shura Council considered "the real terrorism that of Zionism, not that of the groups being fought by the US."According to the statement the Muslim Brotherhood stressed that the origins of extremism are the corruption and autocracy practiced by the oppressing regimes. This, the Muslim Brotherhood said, is what led to us refusing them as they contradict Islam, a religion that offers a "great model" for freedom, citizenship, coexistence and social peace...

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Sanaa is the fourth Arab capital that fell in Iran's hands (Middle East Monitor) - 30-oct-2014

September 27, 2014 - The Tehran city representative in the Iranian parliament, Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to the Iranian supreme guide Ali Khamenei, said: "Three Arab capitals have today ended up in the hands of Iran and belong to the Islamic Iranian revolution". He noted that Sanaa has now become the fourth Arab capital that is on its way to joining the Iranian revolution. The Iranian Rasa News Agency quoted Zakani saying to the Iranian parliament that Iran is passing through the phase of "grand jihad". He pointed out that this phase requires a special policy and a cautious approach because it may lead to many repercussions....

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Syria News - September 26, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - By the end of Friday, LCC has documented the fall of 50 martyrs including 4 women, 2 martyrs under torture and 1 child. There were 15 martyrs reported in Damascus and its suburbs, 10 in Hama, 9 in Aleppo, 8 in Homs, 6 in Idlib and 2 in Daraa. The International Alliance conducted 29 air strikes at the Syrian cities and towns and used 3 Tomahawk missiles. In Raqqa, the air combats of the International-Arabian alliance conducted 7 air strikes at the Vanguards Camp, the 17th Battalion, the Maqas checkpoint and the Municipality building. There were also 10 air strikes at The Tabaqa Airport (southern of the city) and Kreen area (western of the city). In Hasaka, the alliance's air combats targeted the Khamael village with 3 air strikes in addition to 2 others at the Melabiyeh regiment and 1 air strike at the Hawl area. In Deir Ezzor, the alliance's air combats targeted Mayadeen city with 4 air strikes and the Zgheer AlJazera village with 2 air strikes. The city of Raqqa was also targeted with 3 Tomahawk missiles...

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Striking the Islamic State: A smaller misadventure in Iraq (Mustafa Salama) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - ...Ironically, Bayan Jabr, previous commander of "the Badr Brigades," one of Iraq's most notorious death squads that killed and abused Sunni Iraqis arbitrarily, is still in the new government. Currently the minister of transport; he was previously minister of finance under al-Maliki and in the Iraqi transitional government, 2005-06, as minister of interior; a year that witnessed thousands of sectarian murders carried out by groups under Bayan's control as noted by John Pace, who was the United Nations human rights chief in Iraq.One could dwell much more on the root causes of the internal conflict within Iraq, which involves marginalisation and wide scale grave human rights violations against Sunnis. Such oppression contributed to Iraq joining the Arab Spring, and having popular demands of reform, which have been overwhelmingly ignored in the media’s coverage of Iraq, as the IS takes the spotlight. The demands of hundreds of thousands of protestors were not honoured, but instead, they were met with bullets, prompting a full-blown Sunni rebellion as a last resort. Till this very moment, Sunnis are fighting the Iraqi central government. Fighting the IS does not in any way address the root causes of the conflict in Iraq...

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Beyond Mosul (Erin Evers) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - ...Residents told me that Shia militias, still operating under the control of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, are laying siege to the town, especially the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq militia. Sunni residents of other towns to the north accused that group and other militias of carrying out summary executions there after the militas took control in the wake of US air strikes against the Islamic State.The militias, along with federal police and the Iraqi army’s infamous seventeenth division, have kidnapped and killed dozens of residents in Latifiyya, the residents told me – but their stories are falling on deaf ears in Washington. A taxi driver said he saw a car stop next to two men. The men inside the car ordered the two to sit on the street. "Two men got out of the car, shot them both in the head, got back in their car and made a U-turn," the taxi driver told me. "Everyone assumes this is Asa’ib [Ahl al-Haqq], and all of this was just 50 meters from the federal police checkpoint."...

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Emergency Humanitarian Appeals and Gaza’s On-going Destruction: The Case of Failed Accountability and Sustainability (by Lamya Hussain) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - The destruction in Gaza as a result of the most recent Israeli assault has been massive. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the bombing of water networks has reduced potable water by fifty percent. The destruction of housing and productive resources has been equally severe. Approximately 23,000 people were being housed in UNRWA shelters and an additional seven hundred displaced families have sought refuge with distant relatives. At least thirty-six fishing boats were destroyed, leaving 3,600 fishermen incapacitated from their key means of livelihood. The assault’s destruction of agricultural land has affected an estimated two thousand farmers who require urgent food assistance as well as other interventions to rectify damage to livestock and crops. Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that the damages have forced farmers and herders to abandon their lands and have crippled fishing activities in Gaza. More specifically, direct damage to around 17,000 hectares of croplands, including agricultural infrastructure (i.e., greenhouses, irrigation systems, livestock shelters, and fishing boats) have contributed to a devastating crisis in food security and sustainability...


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Gaza and the 'crime of crimes' (Ronnie Kasrils) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - ....For the first time with regards to Israel and its' actions in Gaza, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which I am proud to be a juror for, has examined the crime of genocide. As Professor John Dugard, another Tribunal Jurist explains: "The crime of genocide is the crime of crimes. Great care should be taken in considering it. Nevertheless Operation Protective Edge was of such gravity that the Russell Tribunal believes it is necessary to consider whether this crime has been committed." When you deprive a population of the means of life and of movement, when the injured cannot access healthcare, when the exiled are forced time and again back into canvas tents, and when all of this happens under ferocious attack by land, sea and air with the international community looking on whilst quietly arming Israel - what would you call this?..

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Syria protests against the US-led airstrikes: a video round-up () - 30-oct-2014



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The Killers
Lying to Ourselves About the Air War
(by RON JACOBS) - 30-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - ...As the US air campaign against various forces (Islamic State, Al Qaeda, etc.) located in Syria and Iraq widens, the number of civilian casualties will increase. Pentagon spokespeople and their civilian counterparts will express regret while the generals intensify their war, thereby insuring even more civilian casualties. These facts are not stated to diminish the alleged threat the forces being attacked represent. However, they are being presented because growing numbers of civilian casualties will only validate the claims IS and others make that Washington does not care about civilians, especially Muslim ones. From my understanding of US history and the nature of the US’s use of air warfare, those claims come across not just as reasonable but factually verifiable. From World War Two to the second war on Iraq, the US military has used its airpower to kill, maim, and just plain terrorize the civilian populations of those peoples it considered the enemy....

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Kurdish politician proposes segregating Arabs, Kurds in Iraq (Vager Saadullah) - 29-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - Yazidis and Muslim Kurds displaced from their homes in Mosul governorate by the Islamic State (IS) have expressed reluctance to resume life amid their Arab neighbors, many of whom they accuse of supporting the extremist group. The stories of betrayal by Arab neighbors are numerous among the internally displaced persons interviewed by Al-Monitor. Although there was praise for the Arabs who helped them, many also said they were few and that most of the Arabs supported IS....


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Sharmouta: Names Games in Israel (By Hatim Kanaaneh) - 29-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - The Name Games are on in Israel. On the eve of the 5775 Jewish New Year the Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority announced the winning first name most commonly given to a newborn boy in Israel in the preceding year as Youssef, which is used by both Arabs and Jews. The spokesperson neglected to mention that what the Authority had in mind was names among Jews only. When questioned the woman hid behind explanations of who her regular customers demanding the statistics were. Of course, her motives were pure and egalitarian. You can’t really blame this one branch of government. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, an institute reputed for its precision and comprehensiveness would have done the same...

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Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (18- 24 September 2014) (The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)) - 29-oct-2014

September 26, 2014 - ....Summary: Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (18 – 24 September 2014). Shooting:
In the Gaza Strip, although almost a month has past following the truce agreement under Egyptian auspices between the Palestinian armed groups and Israel, the catastrophic consequences of the 51-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip have been present. Hundreds of wounded Palestinians have been receiving medical treatment in hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and other hospitals abroad for the seriousness of their wounds. In the meanwhile, Israeli forces have violated the truce several times by opening fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area and arresting a number of fishermen. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian militants in Hebron, south of the West Bank, while a civilian was wounded at a military checkpoint, south of Nablus. Moreover, 3 children were wounded at the Orphans' school in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. In the Gaza Strip, 3 civilians were killed and 2 others were wounded, including a child due to mishandling an explosive device of the Israeli weapons' remnants in the east of al-Shuja'iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. Moreover, 4 steel and gravel collectors were wounded in the northern Gaza Strip in 2 separate incidents...

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continua / continued










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