Posts Tagged ‘ Global Oligarchy ’

Turkish premier slams Security Council over Syria

October 14, 2012

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s prime minister sharply criticized the U.N. Security Council on Saturday for its failure to agree on decisive steps to end Syria’s civil war, as NATO ally Germany backed the Turkish interception of a Damascus-bound passenger jet earlier in the week.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an international conference in Istanbul that the world was witnessing a humanitarian tragedy in Syria. “If we wait for one or two of the permanent members … then the future of Syria will be in danger,” Erdogan said, according to an official interpreter.

Russia and China, two of the five permanent Security Council members, have vetoed resolutions that sought to put concerted pressure on Damascus to end the conflict and agree to a political transition.

Erdogan called for a reform of the Security Council, which he called an “unequal, unfair system” that didn’t represent the will of most countries. He spoke as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Arab and European leaders amid growing tensions between Turkey and neighboring Syria.

Davutoglu held talks Saturday with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and U.N. envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. He told reporters after the meetings that Turkey was prepared to use force again if it was attacked, just as it did last week when a shell fired across the border from Syria killed five Turkish villagers.

“If a similar incident occurs again from the Syrian side, we will again take counter action,” Davutoglu told reporters, while stressing that the border between Syria and Turkey is also the frontier of NATO.

One week after the shelling, Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus and seized what it said was military equipment on board. Syria denounced the move as air piracy, while Russia said the cargo was radar parts that complied with international law.

The state-run Syrian news agency SANA reported late Saturday that Syria decided to ban Turkish Airlines flights from Syrian airspace. Germany’s foreign minister backed Turkey on Saturday, saying Berlin would have acted the same way if it believed weapons were being transported to Syria over its airspace.

“It’s not just about weapons. Weapons need to be steered. Weapons need to be delivered,” Westerwelle said. “These are all things that don’t need to be tolerated.” But he cautioned the situation between Turkey and Syria could quickly escalate out of control.

“The danger of a ‘wildfire’ is very big,” said Westerwelle, who also met briefly with Abdelbaset Sieda, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group. “If that happens, then this can become a devastating conflict for the whole region.”

In Syria, activists said Saturday that army troops clashed with rebels on several fronts across the country, including in Aleppo, the largest city. Amateur video posted online Saturday shows the aftermath of what is described as an artillery attack on a neighborhood in Aleppo. The video shows a large cloud of gray smoke pushing through a narrow street lined by apartment blocks. Residents then converge on a damaged building. “Is anyone in there?” one of the men is heard calling out as others try to put out small flames with pieces of cloth.

Eventually, rescuers are seen pulling at least two bodies out of the building. One has a bloody face, and another is carried away on a stretcher, amid shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great. The authenticity of such videos cannot be confirmed independently, since Syria imposes tight restrictions on foreign journalists.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, said at least two people were killed in the shelling. Another amateur video posted Saturday showed the scattered, burning wreckage of what appeared to be an aircraft. Several gunmen stood near the debris, as civilians rushed to the scene. The narrator said video was shot in the countryside west of Aleppo.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Observatory, said he was told by local rebel fighters in the area that they had shot down the plane. The video showed flames shooting out of what appeared to be left of a wing or tail, and other wreckage a few dozen yards away.

The claim could not be verified independently. Opposition fighters have claimed to have shot down helicopters and warplanes in the past, although the regime blamed most of the problems on mechanical difficulties.

Over the past month, rebels overran two air defense bases, including one on Friday near Aleppo. This would give them access to heavy weapons, though experts questioned whether they would be able to make use of any missiles they may have spirited away.

More than 32,000 people have been killed in Syria since a revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted 19 months ago. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the fighting, which has devastated whole neighborhoods in Syria’s cities and towns.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said regime forces were pounding the rebel stronghold of Homs in central Syria with mortar fire and artillery Saturday. The southern province of Daraa, the birthplace of the revolt, also sustained shelling by the Syrian army throughout Saturday. Fighting between army troops and rebels raged around Idlib province, in and around Aleppo and on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, the Observatory said.

Earlier, Syria’s state-run news agency reported that Damascus supported a proposal by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to find a “mechanism of direct security communication between Syria and Turkey.”

SANA reported that Syrian government officials and Russia’s ambassador in Damascus discussed ways to establish a joint Syrian-Turkish security committee that would “control the security situation on both sides of the border in the framework of respecting the national sovereignty of the two countries.”

Turkey has made no comment on the proposal, and it is unclear whether Moscow has presented it to the Turkish government yet.

Barbara Surk in Beirut and Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.


French direct aid a dubious break for Syria rebels

September 07, 2012

PARIS (AP) — France’s decision to send direct aid to Syria’s opposition represents a break for the rebels after months of Western hesitation over fears that costly equipment intended for Syria’s opposition could get lost or fall into the wrong hands. But even the French action, rebels and activists say, amounts to so little that it’s all but useless.

France, Syria’s one-time colonial ruler, began sending the aid without intermediaries last week to three regions of Syria where the regime of President Bashar Assad has lost control, in the first such move by a Western power, a diplomat said Wednesday. But it remains limited, primarily repairing bakeries, water systems and schools. And while apparently more than the indirect assistance extended by other Western countries, it’s still far from the magnitude needed to make a difference, Syrian opposition activists said.

In the province of Aleppo, which includes Syria’s largest city, and in the southern province of Daraa, activists said even the new French aid hadn’t helped. When something is broken, it’s locals who must fix it or just make do, said Mohammed Saeed, an activist in the Aleppo area.

“Instead of fixing water systems,” Saeed said, “they should go and give food to 5,000 refugees stuck on the border with Turkey.” France has pushed to secure “liberated zones” in Syria amid mounting calls for the international community to do more to prevent bloodshed. It has increased contact with armed rebel groups and started direct aid deliveries last Friday to local citizens’ councils in five cities outside the government’s control, the diplomatic source said, without disclosing the value of the assistance. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the French actions amid Syria’s violence.

Britain has offered a total of $10 million in non-lethal aid to Syria’s opposition, including medical supplies, communications gear and generators, intended to reach Syria through a small number of trusted intermediaries. Foreign Secretary William Hague says the supplies are for opposition activists — not fighters. U.S. and French officials have made similar comments about the destination of their aid.

“The amounts that have been delivered are even laughable,” said Ausama Monajed, spokesman for the Syrian National Council, one of several groups of Syrians outside their homeland trying to win over Western backing.

Hague said Friday that EU countries can only provide non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition groups because of an EU arms embargo. “At the moment we have a European Union arms embargo on Syria, it’s not possible or legal for any EU nation to send weapons to anybody in Syria and therefore our chosen route and is the same route of France and the United States, is to give non-lethal assistance and we’re doing that,” Hague told reporters in response to a question about whether France may be considering providing arms to the Syrian opposition.

He said Britain is also mulling sending protective clothing that doesn’t fall under the arms ban. Hague has acknowledged that the West is cautious, offering equipment only to a small number of groups and in small batches. He said it had only been possible to send equipment after developing better ties to members of the country’s varied opposition groups, some of whom are directing the deliveries.

The State Department set aside $25 million to supply the political opposition with non-lethal assistance, distributing 900 pieces of equipment through one program called the Conflict Stabilization Office. The gear includes cameras to document atrocities for potential future prosecutions, encrypted radios, phones, laptops and software that can be used to circumvent Internet controls, according to officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details.

The Assad regime, meanwhile, continues to get assistance from its allies in Russia and Iran. The Kremlin has insisted that the continuing Russian arms sales don’t violate any international agreements and scoffed at Western demands to halt the trade. Syria’s arsenal includes hundreds of Soviet-built combat jets, attack helicopters and missiles, as well as thousands of tanks and artillery systems. Russia also has said it has military advisers in Syria training the Syrians to use Russian weapons, and has helped repair and maintain Syrian weapons.

Iran also has been accused of helping to sustain the regime. The U.S. alleged this week that Tehran is flying weapons to the Assad regime across Iraqi airspace. The rebels have also benefited from weapons flowing to the rebels via Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere, according to activists and diplomats. Some of the arms, activists say, are purchased with Saudi and Qatari funds. Other sources are murkier.

In Istanbul, however, a rebel commander denied that the opposition was receiving arms deliveries via Turkey, dismissing the Assad regime’s claims that foreign powers were stirring up the uprising. “If we were given any weapons assistance, the Syrian regime would not be standing now,” Abdul-Qadir Saleh, the commander of the Tawhid Brigade, the main rebel outfit in Aleppo province, told a press conference. “The weapons we have are either looted from Syrian army depots or came with those who defected.”

Peter Harling, of the think tank International Crisis Group, said Syria’s opposition, although divided, was more than capable of handling aid. He criticized European and American diplomatic hesitancy as “a tendency to posture, to make statements as opposed to actual policy-making.”

Harling said words without action would have long-term consequences among Syrians: “There’s a huge disconnect which is causing a lot of frustration and will cause ultimately hostility on the part of Syrians who hear a lot of empty statements but see very little happening on the ground.”

Associated Press writers Paul Schemm in Azaz, Syria; Greg Keller in Paris; David Stringer in London; Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Lebanon; and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Biden to meet Jordan king in Washington

(August 20th 2012, Monday)

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden on Monday was to meet King Abdullah II of Jordan, a key US ally in the Middle East that has seen an influx of refugees from the conflict in neighboring Syria.

The two were scheduled to meet at 4:15 pm (2015 GMT) at the vice president’s residence in the US capital, the White House said, without providing further details.

Some 150,000 Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Jordan since the start of the March 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

The uprising and the government’s brutal crackdown have increasingly come to resemble a civil war, with 23,000 people killed, according to a Syrian human rights group. The United Nations puts the figure at around 17,000.

Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

Panetta, Jordan’s king agree Assad must step down

August 02, 2012

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A spokesman for U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon chief and Jordan’s King Abdullah agree that Syrian leader Bashar Assad must give up power.

Spokesman George Little made the statement after Panetta met with the king in Amman on Thursday. Little said the two men discussed the prospects for a political transition after Assad is gone. They also discussed the problem of Syrian refugees entering Jordan, Little said.

Jordan was the final stop on Panetta’s five-day, four-country trip to the Middle East and North Africa.

Hamas opposes Palestinian UN bid, warns of consequences

GAZA CITY (BNO NEWS) — The Palestinian militant group Hamas on Wednesday said it does not support the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations (UN) and warned of its consequences, the Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

A spokesman for the movement, Salah al-Bardawil, said that President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to go to the UN is a tactical move, part of a negotiation process that is ‘not based on principles.’ He added that Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions it leads would therefore not support the decision.

Bardawil also told a seminar in Gaza City that if the Palestinian state is ratified within the 1967 borders, the Palestinian resistance would not be able to shoot a single bullet ‘against the Israeli occupation,’ according to PNN.

On Tuesday, the Fatah Revolutionary Council called for the Palestinian support of the UN bid and urged people to go out and demonstrate in city centers. Fatah said the demonstrations will increase until September 23, when President Abbas will speak to the UN General Assembly.

Last week, the United States said it will veto any Palestinian bid to seek a full United Nations membership and warned that any action at the United Nations will only increase tensions in the region. The United States is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The U.S. comments came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. officials that the Palestinian bid does not contradict the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but will end the deadlock that resulted from “Israeli intransigence.”

Abbas also said that Palestine is willing to return to negotiations if Israel accepts the terms of reference to the peace process, the two-state solution on the 1967 borders and stops settlements in the Palestinian Territory, according to the Palestine News and Information Agency.

Last year, Israel and the Palestinian Authority stalled the peace negotiations, which were supported by the United States and the United Nations, after the Jewish nation refused to extend a moratorium on settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territory in September.

In response, President Abbas broke off direct talks as recommended by Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union and countries such as the United States and Israel. Israel has since resumed settlement construction even though they have been labeled as a violation of international law by the international community.

Palestine has demanded a stop to settlement construction in the disputed East Jerusalem and West Bank area as a key element for continuing peace talks, aimed at reaching a two-state solution based on the 1967 Green Line. However, Israeli authorities have rejected the Palestinian solution based on the 1967 borders as that measure would leave a large population of Israelis in Judea and Samaria outside Israel’s borders.

About 120 out of 193 countries have currently recognized the State of Palestine and those are seen as possible supporters if the UN votes on the issue. If the UN Security Council resolution to recognize Palestine is approved, Palestine would become the 194th member of the United Nations.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

Jordanian Threatens to Sue US Billionaire Embroiled in Iraq Contracting Scandal


By Shaherah Khatatbeh and Banan Malkawi

AMMONNEWS -Jordanian Badr al-Masaafa has threatened to sue Mustafa Abu Naba and Harry Sargeant – the American billionaire who owns the company that suppose the Iraqi Army with oil, for his failure to be compensated for his services to the two partners.

An American tribunal condemned Sergeant and Abu Nabaa on a charge of defrauding their third partner Jordanian businessman Muhammad al-Salah, and ordered for him to be paid 28 million USD at the end of last July.

The same tribunal called on 13 people in Jordan, including al-Masaafa, to testify in the case last April in one of the Amman hotels after The Association of Jurors and Interpreters and Scribes attended the tribunal along with the complainants and defendants and their lawyers.

al-Masaafa’s testimony was made after Abu Nabaa sent him a text message saying ‘Hello Badr, if necessary are you ready to talk about what our friend said to you when he called threatened me”,

Another text sent by Abu Nabaa before the testimony said ‘you don’t have any objections to telling me what you heard word for word?’. Al-Salah had sent a threatening verbal message to Abu Nabaa via al-Masaafa after the the two partners argued.

During the trial al-Salah’s lawyer asked al-Masaafa whether Sergaent or Mustafa Abu Nabaa had paid him money to testify. al-Masaafa denied it and said before the Jurors that he had rights to claim from the partners and that he would sue them to obtain compensation that he estimated to be around 150 thousand Jordanian Dinars.

Abu Nabaa and Sergaent lost the case and the American tribunal ruled for millions of dollars to be paid to al-Salah for being cut out of the partnership and as a share of the money and benefits earned by the partners since 2004.

al-Masaafa’s story began early 2006 after he had asked to retire from the Jordanian army in mid 2005 and began working with Mustafa Abu Nabaa – a Jordanian with Danish nationality – after a short period working as a bodyguard without a contract with Harry Sergaent, the American billionaire.

al-Masaafa recounted to ‘Ammon News’ ‘I was working as a driver for a member of the royal family and I met Mustafa Abu Nabaa who was visiting al-Salah, the husband of Princess Alia, and I decided to work with him, so I asked for retirement from the army and began working for him.

al-Masaafa said that during the 2006 war when Israeli warplanes attacked Beirut and other Lebanese towns he was assigned with getting Harry Sergeant’s son out of Beirut. He went by land after the Israeli warplanes bombed Beirut airport, using a taxi, and drove for 20 hours to reach the Royal hotel in Beirut where he met ‘Harry Junior’. After two days of tele-communications and transport breakdown he paid a Syrian taxi driver 3000 Jordanian dinars to return to Amman.

When al-Masaafa and Harry Junior reached Amman they went to one of the Amman hotels meet Sergaent and Majdi al-Bastami, Director General for the State Center for Trading Petrol which had a monopoly for providing oil to the US forces in Iraq via Jordan.

When al-Masaafa handed over Sergaent’s son and asked for the dangerous nature of the task he had undertaken to be taken into account when he was paid, Sergaent agreed to pay him later.

Not long afterwards, after al-Masaafa had signed a contract with the company, Abu Nabaa asked him to bring ‘friends’ from Beirut. He returned a second time to Beirut in 2008 when the country was witnessing murders and bombings.

al-Masaafa affirms that he completed his task. He acted as a bodyguard to the partners and their families and undertook various other tasks such as protocol issues, and was responsible for the safety of Harry Junior while he was traveling through Lebanon and Jordan and Egypt.

His jobs often came out of the blue, and he was required to rapidly travel from one state to another, for example when he was required suddenly to travel to Egypt after Abu Nabaa asked him to accompany Harry Junior.

al-Masaafa was surprised and asked Harry Junior why they were traveling, and was taken by surprise when Harry Junior told him that his father and Abu Nabaa were being threatened by ‘al-Qa’ida’.

al-Masaafa added that Harry Junior was attacked in Khalda area of Amman when unidentified individuals driving two Mercedes cars attacked him, prompting al-Masaafa to intervene to protect him. As a result al-Masaafa’s lips were spilt and his eyelid torn and he had to get 11 stitches in hospital.

al-Masaafa then traveled to Germany for a cosmetic procedure at his own expense. On returning to Amman he asked Mustafa al-Nabaa’s father, Abdul Qadr Abu Nabba to intervene in order for him to be financially compensated. Abdul Qadr spoke with the company’s financial director who refused to pay the amount on the pretext that al-Masaafa worked for Abu Nabaa and Sergaent, which meant that he had to be paid by them privately and not by the company.

al-Masaafa, who is 38 and three children, said that he then tried to call Sergaent to demand the compensation he deserved by being exposed to danger on more than one occasion in the course of work, but Sergaent did not reply to phone calls. Once when al-Masaafa called someone who he thinks is ‘Marty Martin’ who worked previously as a boss in the CIA and was appointed by Sergaent to replace al-Salah to improve relations with the Jordanian government, according to documents from the US tribunal.

The government documents indicate that Sergaent appointed Marty Martin, previously Director of the CIA in the Middle East and appealed to him to strengthen the relationship with the Jordanian government at a time when al-Salah was being estranged and defrauded, according to al-Salah’s lawyer.

Sergaent, a former official in the Republican Party in Florida, was one of the closest business partners to the Pentagon and won billions of dollars worth of oil contracts during the war in Iraq.

A member of the US congress, Henry Waxman, who headed the inquiry, said in a letter to the US Minister of Defense, Robert Gates, that Sergaent had exploited his effective monopoly over supply routes across Jordanian land to inflate the prices of his services ‘scandalously’, and he described this as the worst form of war profiteering and trafficking.

The Pentagon’s audit process last month revealed that the ministry had paid up to 204 million USD too much to Sergaent for fuel contracts thought to be worth around 2.7 billion USD over six years.

The financial audit report added that the Ministry of Defense had agreed to Sergaent’s highly inflated prices because there was no competitive service that could obtain an ‘exclusive’ authorization letter from the Jordanian government.

al-Masaafa asked the person who believes was Marty Martin to deliver a message to Sergaent saying that he was entitled to compensation from him, and ‘Martin’ replied in Arabic that he would tell Sergaent and get back to him, which he never did.

al-Masaafa is threatening to sue the Jordanian partner Abu Nabaa and the American, Sergaent, in Jordanian courts if he is not financially compensated to the value of 150 thousand Jordanian Dinars.

Source: Ammon News.

U.S. welcomes Arab pressure on Syria

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Washington welcomes a decision by the Arab League to have an emergency meeting on the situation unfolding in Syria, the U.S. State Department said.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said Washington was calling on its partners in the region to “tighten the noose” on Damascus in terms of political and diplomatic pressure.

Washington is said to be pushing for a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria. Following a statement at the United Nations condemning Damascus for its crackdown on opposition groups, regional leaders have distanced themselves from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“The Arab League (on Saturday) will be looking individually and collectively at what it can do to influence the situation in Syria, and we welcome that,” said Nuland.

The United Nations estimates that more than 2,000 people were killed during the uprising against Assad since March.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, in statements Monday said more than 350 people were reportedly killed across Syria since the beginning of August.

Assad in statements published by the official Syrian Arab News Agency said Damascus “would never offer concessions to the west hence the Syrian people have chosen to have their will and independent sovereignty.”

Source: United Press International (UPI).