Archive for July 20th, 2011

Iran helped Damascus suppress rebellion?

AHVAZ, Iran, May 16 (UPI) — Iranian military forces are training Syrian troops to help put down a wave of deadly demonstrations across the country, an Iranian opposition leader said.

Syrian troops are roaming the streets of the country to curb anti-government demonstrations that have raged throughout the country. Hundreds of people have been killed or injured in the protests.

Ammar al-Qurabi, the head of Syria’s National Organization of Human Rights, told Asharq al-Awsat during the weekend that Syrian authorities have turned the country into a “huge prison.”

Nasir Jabr, a spokesman for the opposition Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz in western Iran, told the pan-Arab daily newspaper that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have been training Syrian forces since 2009.

“The Revolutionary Guards Corps currently provides the latest military training for the forces of (Syrian President) Bashar Assad and helps them with tactics to bring the protests in Syrian cities under control,” he was quoted as saying.

Some regional observers note the Syrian upheaval is reminiscent of the Iranian response to the political unrest that greeted the 2009 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The opposition leader said Tehran was anxious to see the Syrian regime remain intact.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Italy upgrades Palestine’s diplomatic status

Monday 16/05/2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Monday that Rome would upgrade Palestine’s representation to a full diplomatic mission.

During a visit to Bethlehem, Napolitano said the head of the mission would have the status of an ambassador.

At a joint press conference, President Mahmoud Abbas thanked his Italian counterpart for upgrading Palestinian diplomatic status and for Rome’s commitment to a peaceful settlement in the Middle East.

France, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Spain and Ireland have all elevated Palestine’s diplomatic representation in their capitals.

Following his meeting with Napolitano, Abbas said that 63 years after Palestinians were forced from their homes in what is now Israel, there was still an opportunity for a historic solution.

But Palestinians could not return to negotiations while Israel continued to build illegal Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land, Abbas said.

The president said that Israel deepened the occupation by building settlements on land which would be a Palestinian state in a peace agreement.

The Palestinian leadership accepted the 2002 Road Map, which called on Israel to stop building settlements, and tried to move on after the Annapolis conference in 2007, reaching understandings with the previous Israeli government, Abbas said.

However, the current Israeli administration was “putting everything on hold,” he said.

Abbas said the Israeli government was launching a media campaign to discredit the recent reconciliation of Palestinian factions in Cairo. He noted that Israeli leaders had previously said that peace was impossible because of Palestinians’ division.

Israel must realize that “our people will not fade away,” even after decades of occupation, the president said.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.