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October 20 2013

Qatar recovers sites hacked by pro-Assad group

#Qatar recovers sites hacked by pro-Assad group
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/qatar-recovers-sites-hacked-pro-assad-group

Qatari authorities have restored several government websites attacked by hackers from the #Syrian_Electronic_Army, who support President Bashar al-Assad’s government, local media reported Sunday. Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Technology (ictQatar) said in a statement carried by local media that it has “recovered all government websites hacked on Saturday.” It said it is ready to “deal with any similar future operations.” read (...)

#syria #Top_News

October 16 2013

Seventy Syrian rebel groups say they no longer recognize SNC legitimacy

Seventy Syrian rebel groups say they no longer recognize #SNC legitimacy
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/seventy-syrian-rebel-groups-announce-they-no-longer-recognize-snc

http://english.al-akhbar.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/4cols/leading_images/424821-01-08%20%281%29.jpg

A picture taken on October 9, 2013 shows an opposition fighter firing an rocket propelled grenade (RPG) during clashes in the Salaheddin district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. (Photo: AFP - Abo al-Nur Sadk)

Rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s government in southern #syria said Wednesday the main opposition National Coalition had “failed” and announced they no longer recognize the Western-backed group. The video statement signed by nearly 70 groups (...)

#Top_News

September 09 2013

Md. Rep. Chris Van Hollen speaks from 1988 Iraq gas experience in backing Syrian strike - The…

Md. Rep. Chris Van Hollen speaks from 1988 Iraq gas experience in backing Syrian strike - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-rep-chris-van-hollen-speaks-from-1988-iraq-gas-experience-in-backing-syrian-strike/2013/09/07/1544cb92-174c-11e3-804b-d3a1a3a18f2c_story.html?hpid=z2

“I have always found it cruelly ironic that the United States and the world did nothing when Saddam Hussein actually used chemical weapons against his people, and then wrongly went to war more than 15 years later when Saddam Hussein did not even have any chemical weapons,” Van Hollen said.

Today, Van Hollen wants to make sure Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad doesn’t escape punishment as Saddam did in 1988. He is helping to lead the effort to round up congressional support to authorize President Obama to carry out air and missile strikes to deter Syria — and others — from using poison gas again.

(...)

Even Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler refrained from using chemical weapons on the battlefield.

“I’m well aware of the argument that this was a bloody civil war in which over 100,000 people have already been killed. Some people ask, ‘What’s the difference?’ ” Van Hollen said.

“But there is a reason that the international community for almost 90 years has banned the use of poison gas. That’s because it’s a weapon of mass destruction that kills indiscriminately,” he said.

He noted that last month’s gas attack killed more people at one time than any other assaults during the Syrian fighting.

(...)

“I strongly believe that if the United States and the international community had taken some action [in 1988], then it would have reined in Saddam Hussein early on, that the failure to act emboldened Saddam Hussein to take reckless action, including the invasion of Kuwait,” Van Hollen said.

#WMD #gas #ADM #Syrie #Irak #Saddam

September 07 2013

Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.

Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE98603A20130907?irpc=932

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the United States threatening to attack Syria, U.S. and allied intelligence services are still trying to work out who ordered the poison gas attack on rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

No direct link to President Bashar al-Assad or his inner circle has been publicly demonstrated, and some U.S. sources say intelligence experts are not sure whether the Syrian leader knew of the attack before it was launched or was only informed about it afterward.

While U.S. officials say Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons strike even if he did not directly order it, they have not been able to fully describe a chain of command for the August 21 attack in the Ghouta area east of the Syrian capital.

It is one of the biggest gaps in U.S. understanding of the incident, even as Congress debates whether to launch limited strikes on Assad’s forces in retaliation.

...

A declassified French intelligence report describes a unit of the SSRC, known by the code name “Branch 450”, which it says is in charge of filling rockets or shells with chemical munitions in general.

U.S. and European security sources say this unit was likely involved in mixing chemicals for the August 21 attack and also may have played a more extensive role in preparing for it and carrying it out.

“BEST EVIDENCE”

Bruce Riedel, a former senior U.S. intelligence expert on the region and sometime advisor to the Obama White House, said that intelligence about the SSRC’s alleged role is the most telling proof the United States has at hand.

“The best evidence linking the regime to the attack at a high level is the involvement of SSRC, the science center that created the (chemical weapons) program and manages it. SSRC works for the President’s office and reports to him,” Riedel said.

Pentagon Is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria With a Focus on Forces - NYTimes.com

Pentagon Is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria With a Focus on Forces - NYTimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/world/middleeast/pentagon-is-ordered-to-expand-potential-targets-in-syria-with-a-focus-on-fo

President Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that the government of President Bashar al-Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

September 05 2013

Senate Panel Backs Resolution on Use of Force Against Syria - WSJ.com

Senate Panel Backs Resolution on Use of Force Against Syria - WSJ.com
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324577304579054973488682120.html

Apparemment le feu vert du Sénat est compatible avec l’emploi d’une force plus grande,

The revised options under development, which reflect Pentagon concerns that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dispersed his military equipment, include the use of Air Force bombers to supplement the four Navy destroyers armed with missiles that are deployed in the eastern Mediterranean. Initially, Pentagon planners said they didn’t intend to use aircraft in the proposed strikes

...

The Pentagon’s new planning stems from Mr. Assad moving equipment, including Russian-made helicopters, to bases around the country while the U.S. debates, a change that could require the Pentagon to use many more Tomahawk cruise missiles and other types of munitions than initially envisioned.

Moreover, U.S. officials say, Mr. Assad has moved aircraft and other equipment into hardened bunkers and shelters. In some cases, destroying these hardened targets, officials say, could require the use of multiple Tomahawks.

The Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean carry about 40 Tomahawks each. Air Force bombers could carry dozens more munitions, potentially allowing the U.S. to carry out follow-on strikes if the first wave doesn’t destroy the targets.

Among options available are B-52 bombers, which can carry cruise missiles; low-flying B1s that are based in Qatar and carry long-range, air-to-surface missiles; and B-2 stealth bombers, which are based in Missouri and carry heavy guided bombs.

August 31 2013

Hitting Syria to deter Iran ? | Al Jazeera America

Hitting Syria to deter Iran ? | Al Jazeera America
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/8/31/hitting-syria-todeteriran.html

Barbara Slavin voit des signes en faveur d’une solution diplomatique par le fait que les Etats-Unis semblent accepter l’Iran dans la table de négociations.

Proponents of tougher action against Tehran have long argued that muscular U.S. intervention to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would deal a heavy blow to Iranian influence in the region. Syria, after all, is Iran’s only durable ally among Arab nation states — it was the only Arab country that sided with Iran during the 1980-88 war with Iraq. Syria is also the conduit for Tehran’s delivery of weapons and money to Hezbollah, the most powerful pro-Iranian organization in the Arab world.
 
As the civil war has dragged on, however, the notion that removing Assad would be a pure strategic win for the United States and its allies has become muddied. Ironically, if Assad were to be removed now, the biggest beneficiaries would likely be Sunni Muslim radicals who hate Iran as passionately as they do Syria’s Alawite minority, Israelis and the U.S.

Then there’s the fact that Iran is one of only two foreign countries with real leverage over the Assad regime — the other is Russia. For the past two years, the U.S. has resisted calls to include Iran in multilateral talks on Syria’s future, but that position appears to be changing as the Syrian crisis deepens and a less confrontational government has taken office in Iran.
 
Russia and the United Nations have insisted for months that Iran, as a key outside player in the conflict, must be invited to any new peace talks in Geneva if there is to be any chance of progress toward a political solution. The Obama administration refused but later hedged, noting that the U.N. would be the one to issue invitations.
 
In his interview with the PBS Newshour on Aug. 28, Obama appeared to open the door a bit wider to participation by Tehran. “We hope that, in fact, ultimately, a political transition can take place inside of Syria, and we’re prepared to work with anybody — the Russians and others — to try to bring the parties together to resolve the conflict,” he said.
 
While Obama did not clarify whether “others” included Iran, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Jeffrey Feltman was in Tehran a day earlier meeting with Iran’s new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Feltman is currently U.N. Undersecretary General for political affairs, but the Iranian press identified him as a “senior U.S. official.”
 
 "Mr. Feltman shared the U.N. position that Iran, given its influence and leadership in the region, has an important role to play and a responsibility in helping to bring the Syrian parties to the negotiating table," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

It’s a safe bet that Feltman would have informed his old bosses in Washington of Zarif’s response. Sultan Qaboos of Oman, a long-time intermediary between the U.S. and Iran, was also in Tehran this week, and Syria was almost certainly discussed.

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

France's Hollande reaffirms will to sanction Syria | Reuters

France’s Hollande reaffirms will to sanction Syria | Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/31/us-syria-crisis-france-idUSBRE97U0DM20130831?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNew

(Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed to U.S. President Barack Obama in a telephone call on Saturday his will to sanction Syria for a chemical attack this month, a source close to Hollande told Reuters.

Following Obama’s announcement that he would seek authorization from the U.S. Congress before taking any military action against Bashar al-Assad’s government, the source said France believed each country’s pace of action must be respected.

“The president reaffirmed to him his determination to act to sanction the regime,” the source said. “Each country’s pace of action must above all be respected. It’s important for the Americans to have the green light from Congress.”

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Writing by Catherine Bremer, Editing Dominique Vidalon)

August 30 2013

August 28 2013

Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE) | Las Vegas Guardian Express

Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE) | Las Vegas Guardian Express
http://guardianlv.com/2013/08/syrian-chemical-weapons-attack-carried-out-by-rebels-says-un

As the Syrian revolt continues to tear the country apart, the international community has been eager to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even as it became clear that the rebels do not, in fact, represent a popular uprising against the oppression of the Assad regime. According to UN diplomat Carla del Ponte, however, it appears that the recent chemical weapons attack, in April, was carried out by the Syrian rebels and not the regime, as it had been widely assumed. Speaking to a Swiss television channel, del Ponte said that there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels had carried out the attack. She also said UN investigators had seen no evidence of the Syrian army using chemical weapons, but that further investigation was needed.

August 14 2013

Le chef d'une des branches d'Al Qaeda en Syrie serait mort :

Le chef d’une des branches d’Al Qaeda en Syrie serait mort :
http://www.aawsat.net/2013/08/article55313503

The commander of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a major Islamist opposition group fighting the government of Bashar Al-Assad, was killed in the city of Salamiyah near Hama during a failed attack the rebel group launched against government forces on Sunday, Asharq Al-Awsat has learnt.

A member of the Syrian opposition, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, said: “Imad Ahmad, a Palestinian national, the commander-in-chief of the ISIS, was killed last Sunday in the eastern suburbs of Hama.”

Note : insister sur le conditionnel. Avec la reprise en main du dossier syrien par Bandar Bin Sultan, je ne doute pas que l’on va nous annoncer, dans les semaines qui viennent, par petites touches successives, la disparition d’Al Qaeda en Syrie.

July 24 2013

Syria : disillusioned rebels drift back to take Assad amnesty - Telegraph

Syria: disillusioned rebels drift back to take Assad amnesty - Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10198632/Syria-disillusioned-rebels-drift-back-to-take-Assad-amnesty.html

Hundreds of men who took up arms against President Bashar al-Assad are defecting back to the government side, The Telegraph has learnt.

July 14 2013

Money, guns flowing from Kuwait to Syria's most radical rebel factions

Money, guns flowing from Kuwait to Syria’s most radical rebel factions
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/11/money-guns-flowing-from-kuwait-to-syria-most-radical-rebel-factions

Syrian rebels have a new source of weapons and cash from inside Kuwait, and their benefactors in the oil-rich state are sending the aid to the most militant and anti-West factions involved in the fight to topple Bashar al-Assad.

The role of Saudi and Qatari governments and individuals in the funding and arming of Islamist fighters in Syria has been well known since the civil war began more than two years ago. But now, guns and money are flowing from private sources and Salafist-controlled NGOs based in Kuwait, and they are going to rebel factions aligned with Al Qaeda.

“We are collecting money to buy all these weapons, so that our brothers will be victorious,” hard-core Sunni Islamist Sheikh Shafi’ Al-Ajami announced on Kuwaiti television last month, listing the black-market prices of weapons, including heat-seeking missiles, anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Days later, Al-Ajami addressed a small throng outside the Lebanese Embassy in Kuwait and gleefully described slitting the throat of a Shiite Muslim in Syria.

“We slaughtered him with knives,” Al-Ajami said to shouts of “God is Great.”

July 07 2013

Article d'il y a un mois et demi du Wall Street Journal : « Arabs ask US to lead on Syria », qui…

Article d'il y a un mois et demi du Wall Street Journal : « Arabs ask US to lead on Syria », qui éclaire les enjeux géopolitiques des évènements récents : http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324244304578473212174423122.html?mod=rss_middle_east_new
ou sans le paywall, ici :
http://www.energia.gr/article_en.asp?art_id=27451

L'article évoque le fait que l'Arabie saoudite, les EAU et la Jordanie faisaient pression à l'époque sur Obama pour qu'il remette de l'ordre au Moyen-Orient sur le dossier syrien et qu'il fasse cesser le soutien du Qatar aux frères musulmans et à certains groupes syriens jihadistes, au motif qu'il nuirait à l'unité de l'opposition armée syrienne et contribuerait à prolonger le règne d'Assad :

The U.S. 's closest Arab allies are pressing President Barack Obama to take the lead in bridging the Middle East 's divisions over Syria , traveling to Washington to drive home their fears some of the region's leaders are strengthening radicals and prolonging President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
The coordinated message was delivered to Mr. Obama during separate White House meetings in recent weeks with Jordan's King Abdullah II, the United Arab Emirates' Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, according to senior U.S. and Arab officials familiar with the discussions.
The three royals' message to Mr. Obama was a not-so-subtle slap at Qatar and Turkey —both of which, officials in these Arab countries believe, are funneling funds and possibly weapons to groups promoting political Islam and in particular to those aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.
They are also concerned that aid from Qatar has bolstered the Al-Nusra Front, a powerful Syrian militia fighting Mr. Assad's forces, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization.

Il s'agissait non seulement pour les Saoudiens et ses alliés de demander aux USA de reprendre un rôle plus actif afin que les USA leurs délèguent le leadership sur les groupes de rebelles syriens au détriment du coupe qataro-turc, mais aussi et plus généralement au Moyen-Orient comme le laisse entendre la réaction de l'émir du Qatar de l'époque :

Qatar and Turkey have sought to use the Mideast 's transition to expand their diplomatic, economic and religious influence, say U.S. and Arab officials. The two countries have been the most aggressive in seeking to overthrow Mr. Assad. Qatar has been the primary financial supporter of the new governments in Cairo and Tunis , providing billions of dollars in aid to President Mohammed Morsi's government over the past 18 months, according to Qatari officials.
“In my opinion, some of our region, they did not like what happened...and they don't like it when the Muslim Brotherhood came,” Sheikh Hamad, Qatar 's prime minister, said in Washington last month. “But we respect the [other's] will and the people's will in the other nations.”

July 04 2013

Playing Politics With Religion - NYTimes.com

Playing Politics With Religion - NYTimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/opinion/global/playing-politics-with-religion.html?_r=1

Par #OUSAMA_MAKDISI

The fact that Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite and that many of the leading military forces are controlled by Alawite officers is an obviously salient factor in exacerbating sectarian tensions in Syria. But the regime is not Alawite in any religious sense. Like the ostensibly “Sunni” regime of Saddam Hussein that long brutalized Iraq, it is essentially despotic.

(...)

The main characteristic of these regimes has not been sectarianism; they manipulate any division among their people to secure and keep power. By contrast, the dynasties of Saudi Arabia and Qatar reject religious pluralism as a matter of state ideology. Both countries have encouraged an extraordinary outpouring of sectarian incitement against the Shiites of the Arab world in a bid to retain absolute power and to undermine what they regard as their most formidable regional foe: Shiite Iran. Tehran has close ties to Damascus and is patron to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But the intervention by Saudi Arabia and Qatar against the Assad regime is not necessarily for sectarian reasons. Rather, both monarchies have secular interests, namely preserving the region's pro-Western petroleum order, which provides great benefits to the Saud and Thani regimes. To the extent that they are involved in a major struggle against Iran, they do so in explicit coordination with the United States.

Thus the sectarian dimension cannot and must not be isolated from the far more obvious and salient secular geopolitical one. It is politics that pushes sectarianism, that provides it with the enabling context, and that now encourages and legitimates the devastating violence across sectarian lines that is ravaging Syria and Iraq and Lebanon.

#instrumentalisation_du_religieux ressorts du #sectarisme #moyen_orient #géopolitique

June 27 2013

Why Russia evacuated its naval base in Syria - CSMonitor.com

Why Russia evacuated its naval base in Syria - CSMonitor.com
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2013/0627/Why-Russia-evacuated-its-naval-base-in-Syria

In a surprise move, Russia has pulled all its military and nondiplomatic civilian personnel out of Syria. That includes a complete evacuation of the naval supply station in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, which is often discussed as one of Russia's key reasons for its long and stubborn support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

(...)

Other Russian analysts agree that, whatever the reasons for Russia's personnel pullout, it probably doesn't signal any change of the hard, pro-Assad position that Mr. Putin most recently reiterated at last week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

“Russia's position hasn't changed. In fact it's getting tougher,” says Sergei Strokan, a foreign affairs columnist with the pro-business Moscow daily Kommersant.

“The reasons behind this evacuation probably come down to security. That base's importance has been greatly overrated in Western reporting. It just isn't that big a deal. So, I guess the thinking is, why risk some major incident that the rebels might stage by attacking Russians at this sensitive moment when all the hopes are pinned on a new Geneva peace conference?”

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