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October 01 2013

Turkish Court Investigates Syrian Jihadist Use of Chemicals - Al-Monitor : the Pulse of the Middle…

Turkish Court Investigates Syrian Jihadist Use of Chemicals - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

An investigation in progress in Turkey and a court case brought by prosecutors in Adana province in south Turkey also indicate that the Syrian opposition was making efforts to produce chemical weapons. According to an indictment by an Adana prosecutor dated July 22, Syrian national Haytham Qassab — who has connections with Ahrar-i Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria — along with four Turkish citizens he was working with, tried to obtain the elements needed for production of chemical weapons from a variety of sources.

The 130-page indictment prepared by the prosecutor mainly lists telephone contacts between the accused and with sources of chemical supplies. The indictment says the accused were trying to procure fuses, chrome piping to build mortar tubes and certain chemicals. The chemicals they were looking for were thionyl chloride [SOC12], potassium fluoride [KF], methanol [CH3OH], isopropanol [C3H8O], isopropanolamine [C3H9NO], white phosphorus [P4], medical glucose and buoxite. The prosecutor charges that when these elements are combined, sarin gas can be produced and that was the aim of the accused.

#false_flag, #golfe_du_Tonkin

September 29 2013

September 14 2013

US and Russia come to agreement on syria chemical weapons

#US and #Russia come to agreement on #syria chemical weapons

Syrians hold banners and flags during a sit-in protest against a foreign military action on Syria on 13 September 2013 in Damascus. (Photo: AFP - Anwar Amro)

Updated at 2:40pm: The United States and Russia have agreed on a proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday after nearly three days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Kerry said that, under the pact, Syria must submit a (...)


September 05 2013

In Kurdish Syria, a Different War - FPIF

In Kurdish Syria, a Different War - FPIF

Amid the[..] deepening regional divisions, a new opening has emerged for one of the Middle East’s longest-suffering minority groups: the Kurds.

The shifting regional balance of power has enabled the Kurds to exercise greater control over their destiny. While the future is unpredictable, it is entirely plausible that Syria’s Kurds will maintain autonomy in northeastern Syria when the dust eventually settles.

However, the ongoing war between jihadist and Kurdish militias over control of northern Syria—a conflict far less well known than the battle between Assad and the rest of the Syrian rebels—will likely lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe for Syria’s Kurds before any political gains can be consolidated.


August 29 2013

August 28 2013

The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart Après le petit texte (posté deux fois…

The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart

Après le petit texte (posté deux fois sur seenthis) expliquant que oui, le Proche-Orient c’est compliqué, voici le graphique qui explique aussi que, oui, le Proche-Orient c’est compliqué.

What could be simpler than the Middle East? A well-known Egyptian blogger who writes under the pseudonym The Big Pharaoh put together this chart laying out the region’s rivalries and alliances. He’s kindly granted me permission to post it, so that Americans might better understand the region. The joke is that it’s not a joke; this is actually pretty accurate.

#proche-orient #visualisation #graphique #infographie #cartographie

August 27 2013

Une introduction à l'« Orient compliqué » : A Short Guide to the Middle East : letter to the editor…

Une introduction à l’« Orient compliqué » :

A Short Guide to the Middle East : letter to the editor published in the Financial Times

That whole Middle East deal sure can be confusing. Thankfully, in this concise and clearly articulated letter to the editor published in the Financial Times, Mr KN Al-Sabah, of London, lays it all out in a way anyone can understand. In full, his letter, entitled “A Short Guide to the Middle East,” read:

Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!
Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.
But Gulf states are pro Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!
Iran is pro Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!
Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the US!
Gulf states are pro US. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!
Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

#Proche-Orient #Golfe #US #géopolitique

August 20 2013

Erasing Palestine From the Map » CounterPunch : Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Erasing Palestine From the Map » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

A foreign affairs blogger [#Max_Fisher] for The Washington Post recently posted “40 Maps that explain the world.” Some of the maps are important (“Economic inequality around the world”), some are interesting (“Meet the world’s 26 remaining monarchies”), but others grossly distort the reality they purportedly represent. Chief among this latter category is “How far Hamas’s rockets can reach into Israel” .

... a map showing where and with what deadly ramifications Israel’s responses have taken place, such as this one (1) produced by the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East at Harvard University and the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, didn’t make the Post’s list.

Any attempt to cartographically represent the context within which Hamas’s rockets and Israel’s “response” may have been launched, such as this UN map (2), is also entirely missing from the Post’s compilation.

In addition to nearly erasing the Palestinian West Bank altogether, the Post’s map reveals nothing about the multiple ways in which the territory is occupied by Israel.  Maps of Israeli-only roads, checkpoints, the separation barrier, settlements, and the ethnically-based divisions of the West Bank (such as these from Btselem, the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (3), and The Applied Institute for Research – Jerusalem (4)) don’t, according to the Washington Post, help explain this part of the world as much as Gene’s map of Hamas’s rocket-firing potential.

The Washington Post’s map of choice sheds no light on the Palestinian villages within Israel that were ethnically cleansed and destroyed in 1948-1949.  References to these maps from the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) and Visualizing Palestine could have at least begun to cartographically resurrect these erased landscapes.

The Dangers of Distorted Cartography

In sum, The Washington Post’s map explains very little about this part of the world.  But what the map does reveal is The Washington Post’s myopic view of Israel and Palestine.  The ongoing colonization of Palestine by Israel is reduced and reversed, in this map’s representation, to a normal country that must fend off existential threats from its shadowy neighbors.  The effects of this distorted cartography are dangerous—erasing the geographies of Palestine is yet another step in the ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

#Robert_Ross is an Assistant Professor of Global Cultural Studies at Point Park University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.





#Palestine #Israël #manipulation #inversion #cartographie

Sympathy for the devil : Israel's efforts on behalf of Cairo's generals By Chemi Shalev 20th of…

Sympathy for the devil: Israel’s efforts on behalf of Cairo’s generals
By Chemi Shalev
20th of August 2013

In June 1941, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill famously told his personal secretary John Colville “If Hitler invaded hell, I would at least make a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” The next day he expressed unequivocal support for his arch-enemy Stalin and dispatched military assistance to beleaguered Moscow.

This “principle of the lesser evil” that Churchill so pithily expressed has been the guiding principle of much of America’s post-World War II policy. In its name, the U.S. has supported a long line of disgusting dictators and terrible tyrants who were considered to be critical for vital American interests such as combatting Communism and terror or safeguarding oil supplies in the Middle East. Democracy and human rights, in most cases, took a back seat, often for many decades.

This is the general theme of the Israeli effort to persuade Washington not to cut U.S. military aid to the Cairo regime, despite its transgressions. America and Israel share an overriding interest in preserving the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and in preventing Sinai from turning into a launching pad for Al-Qaida attacks, Israel says. Former ambassador to Egypt Eli Shaked told the New York Times on Monday, “We don’t have good guys. It is a situation where you have to choose who is less harmful.”

August 19 2013

The New Axis of Evil : Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Pentagon Are Backing Egypt's Bloody Crackdown |…

The New Axis of Evil: Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Pentagon Are Backing Egypt’s Bloody Crackdown | Pepe Escobar | 16 août

Perception is everything. Informed opinion all across the Middle East immediately identifies [Robert] Ford as a creepy death squad facilitator. His CV prior to Syria - where he legitimized the “rebels” - is matchless; sidekick to sinister John Negroponte promoting the “Salvador Option” in Iraq in 2004. The “Salvador Option” is code for US-sponsored death squads, a tactic first applied in El Salvador (by Negroponte) in the 1980s (causing at least 75,000 deaths) but with deep origins in Latin America in the late 1960s throughout the 1970s. 

Sisi will keep playing his game according to his own master plan - bolstering the narrative myth that the Egyptian army defends the nation and its institutions when in fact defending its immense socio-economic privileges. Forget about civilian oversight. And forget about any possible independent political party - or movement - in Egypt. 

As for Washington, MB or “deep state”, even a civil war in Egypt - Arabs killing Arabs, divide and rule ad infinitum - that’s fine, as long as there is no threat to Israel. 

With Israel possibly mulling another invasion of Lebanon; the Kerry “peace process” an excuse for more settlements in Palestine; Bandar Bush back practicing the dark arts; the pre-empting of any possible solution to the Iranian nuclear dossier; Egypt in civil war; Syria and also Iraq bleeding to death, what’s left is the certified proliferation of all kinds of axes, and all kinds of evil.


There’s no other way of saying it; from Washington’s point of view, Arabs can kill each other to Kingdom Come, be it Sunnis against Shiites, jihadis against secularists, peasants against urbanites, and Egyptians against Egyptians. The only thing that matters is the Camp David agreements; and nobody is allowed to antagonize Israel.

Canada's double standards on Middle East sink to new low

Canada’s double standards on Middle East sink to new low

The extremism of Canada’s support for Israel just keeps growing.

The latest example is the Conservative government in Ottawa helping convince the European Union to list Hizballah’s military wing as a “terrorist” organization. After that decision was taken, Foreign Minister John Baird declared, “We are thrilled that the European Union unanimously has agreed to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization. We’ve been pushing for this.”

The National Post detailed Canada’s behind-the-scenes effort to get the EU to list Hizballah as a “terrorist” organization. Despite opposition from the Lebanese government, a foreign ministry official told the paper that this was “a clear priority that was set out by the minister.”

Canadian diplomats held bilateral talks with various European countries and also pushed for Hizballah to be listed at numerous multilateral meetings. At both a recent United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime meeting and a UN conference on radicalization in Europe, Canadian officials pressed key EU officials to define Hizballah as a “terrorist” group (“Canada pushed EU to add Hezbollah to list of banned terrorist organizations, official says,” 24 July 2013).

Canadian law enforcement and security officials were also part of the lobbying effort. Reportedly, they’ve been feeding their European counterparts information about the supposed threat Hizballah poses to both Canada and Europe.

August 15 2013

Prévenez Fabius : lui et ses copains européens n'intéressent plus personne au Moyen-Orient. EU…

Prévenez Fabius : lui et ses copains européens n’intéressent plus personne au Moyen-Orient.

EU diplomat : Egyptian army rejected peace plan

The EU’s special envoy to the Middle East, Bernardino Leon, has said the Egyptian army rejected a peace deal with the Muslim Brotherhood a few hours before the killing in Cairo began.

He told Reuters that he and US diplomat William Burns in recent days brokered an agreement between the military and the brothers on how to end their month-long sit-ins in two city squares.

“We had a political plan that was on the table, that had been accepted by the other side [the brotherhood] … They [the army] could have taken this option. So all that has happened today was unnecessary,” he said.

He noted that he made a final appeal on the peace plan to military chiefs “hours” before they ordered the assault, at 7am local time on Wednesday (14 August), using armoured bulldozers and live ammunition against people in tent camps.

August 12 2013

Royal Rivalry in the Levant : Saudi Arabia and Qatar Duel over Syria | The Jamestown Foundation

Royal Rivalry in the Levant: Saudi Arabia and Qatar Duel over Syria | The Jamestown Foundation

Due to Syria’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah – a bloc known as the “Resistance Axis” – the uprising in Syria quickly assumed geopolitical overtones. The insurrection in Syria afforded the GCC a chance to undercut Iranian influence in the Middle East. In this regard, the resort to sectarian vitriol by the Sunni-led monarchies and affiliated clergy emphasizing the Shi’a pedigree of the Islamic Republic and the prominent Alawite face of the Ba’athist regime was calibrated to stir up religious tensions between Sunni and Shi’a believers. The provision of support for radical Islamist movements, especially ultraconservative Salafist groups, has been central to the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members. Consequently, the positions of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are often portrayed interchangeably when it comes to their shared goal of toppling the Ba’athist regime. Their fellow GCC allies, particularly the Sunni-led monarchies representing the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain, as well as wealthy private donors, religious associations and ordinary individuals, have likewise provided extensive moral, financial and logistical support to the political and armed factions struggling against the Ba’athist regime (al-Monitor, July 2; The National [Abu Dhabi], February 3). Saudi Arabia in particular saw the uprising in Syria as an opportunity to undermine the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition in Lebanon while strengthening the March 14 coalition headed by the Sunni-led Future Movement.

July 09 2013

Six rules of thumb for writing on Sunni/ Shiite concepts - English | Front Page

Six rules of thumb for writing on Sunni/ Shiite concepts - English | Front Page

Sur Al-Arabiya...

Fourth: when you hear people in Muslim communities or in the Middle East speaking in Sunni-Shiite terms, or analyzing events with reference to an age old civil war, or fearing a Shiite alliance from Iran through Iraq to Syria then Lebanon, or calling for a Sunni stance; when you hear that do not take that as statements about the actual facts out there rather ask yourself why do people insist on looking at events in such an archaic way? It is well known that all peoples place their political conflicts within a bigger narrative; and the question should be: Why do many Muslims insist on this narrative? When did it start to become a widely used one? How did the Islamic Revolution of Iran influence that? Most importantly what other narratives exist out there? We hear all the time of people saying its not a Sunni-Shiite thing… but for some reason those calls are not taken to be narratives about what is going on. Many observers prefer to consider them attempts to make things different.

The myth of the 1,400 year Sunni-Shia war - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

As described by the Saudi writer Abdullah Hamiddadin, this explanation of contemporary events is as absurd as explaining modern tensions between Turkey and the EU as being rooted in the ancient conflict between King Charles and the Empress of Byzantium. Positing that present-day political rivalries can be explained by examining ninth-century conflicts between European powers is transparent nonsense. However, the same logic is readily applied to conflicts within the Muslim world.

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 :
ou sans le paywall, ici :

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 03 2013

Sectarianism and Counter-Revolution in Egypt : Not a Family Affair

Sectarianism and Counter-Revolution in Egypt: Not a Family Affair

Ever since the early Cold War, and Washington's decision to engage with the Middle East, the US preference for working with religiously conservative regimes has been clear. It has consistently employed divide and rule tactics by supporting these states against regional rivals which they have in common. With Washington's first “special relationship” forged with King Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia in the 1940s, US interests in the Middle East crystallized around privileged access to oil and security cooperation. With the establishment of Israel in 1948, US interests extended to include the assurance of Israeli security and military advantage. As decolonization gathered momentum, the new generation of secular pan-Arabist leaders threatened these US interests, by emphasizing the Arab people's unity, and rights to sovereignty and independence. US and UK policymakers singled out the Egyptian vanguard of this trend, Gamal Abdel Nasser, for “containment.” They attempted this containment through a combination of intermittent incentives, subversion, and increasing coercion throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Their principal strategy was to build up regional rivals in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan, all conservative monarchies with state ideologies that revere Sunni Islam—rather than unifying, secular pan-Arabism. In Saudi Arabia in particular, members of the religious establishment founded the Muslim World League in 1962 to proselytize Wahhabism, and fostered strong ties with Egyptian exiles, aided by the “petrodollar effect.” The crucial corollary of this was the stifling of national, let alone trans-national, pan-Arab solidarities.

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