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Posts Tagged ‘Syria unrest’

Obama threatens to attack Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 21, 2012

Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

US President Barack Obama has a stern warning for the country of Syria. In an address made early Monday, the commander-in-chief confirmed that he has not ruled out an offensive strike on Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

Speaking from the White House, President Obama said that if Syria were to deploy chemical or biological weapons, the United States will follow through with its threat of launching an attack.

Responding to a question about America’s current attitudes towards Assad, Obama said that the United States will not tolerate any efforts to allow Syria or any other countries to use weapons of mass destruction.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” the president said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Syrian rebels attack govt HQ, Assad’s whereabouts unknown

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 18, 2012 shows smoke billowing from a municipality building in the Al-Hajar al-Aswad district of the Syrian capital Damascus during clashes between Syrian forces and armed rebels. More than 200 people, mostly civilians, were killed on July 18 in violence across Syria, including 38 in Damascus where armed rebels are pressing an all-out offensive, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (AFP Photo/YouTube)

•  Assad reported to be in Latakia directing response to killings
• Delayed UN security council vote due to take place
• Obama calls Putin to discuss crisis

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 18, 2012 shows smoke billowing from a municipality building in the Al-Hajar al-Aswad district of the Syrian capital Damascus during clashes between Syrian forces and armed rebels. More than 200 people, mostly civilians, were killed on July 18 in violence across Syria, including 38 in Damascus where armed rebels are pressing an all-out offensive, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (AFP Photo/YouTube)

Clashes between the Syrian army and rebel fighters are taking place near the government headquarters in Syria’s capital Damascus.

At least one person has reportedly been killed in the fighting in the Ikhlas neighborhood adjacent to the Council of Ministers, says Reuters.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the opposition damaged one helicopter and disabled three military vehicles. Read the rest of this entry »

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West clings to Arab influence with airstrike democracy – Putin

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the West for clinging to its influence in the Arab world under the guise of “humanitarian operations.” He dubbed western involvement in Arab affairs as the export of “rocket and bomb democracy.”

At a meeting with top Russian diplomats Putin said that certain countries will do anything to retain the influence they have become accustomed to in the Arab world.

He stressed that western nations often adopt a one-sided policy in Arab affairs that violates international law.

“We must do everything in our power to coerce the opposing forces in the Syrian conflict into coming to a peaceful solution,” underlined the Russian President.

Citing the importance of an active dialogue in Syria, he said “this is, of course, a more complicated and delicate task than just barreling in with military intervention.”

Putin added that only a diplomatic solution could lead to long-term peace and stability in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clinton: Russia and China will ‘pay price’ for supporting Assad

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 7, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" at the MFA Conference Center July 6, 2012 in Paris, France (AFP Photo Pool/Brendan Smialowski)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a meeting of the “Friends of the Syrian People” at the MFA Conference Center July 6, 2012 in Paris, France (AFP Photo Pool/Brendan Smialowski)

Russia rejects in the strongest possible terms allegations that it supports President Assad in the Syrian conflict. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Moscow and Beijing must ‘pay a price’ for backing Assad.

“I do not believe that Russia and China are paying any price at all – nothing at all – for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime.  The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price,” Clinton warned.­

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov  said the west is operating within a friend-or-foe framework that he called outmoded.

“We categorically reject that such a question would even be posed regarding the current situation in Syria and Russia’s ‘backing’ of President Bashar Assad. This is not a question of supporting certain political figures or leaders. This is a question of managing a crisis situation in the country within a normal political framework,” Ryabkov said.

“Unfortunately, we’re unable to get a basic understanding from our western partners. The west is still appealing to “friend-or-foe” terms. We considered such terminology to be a thing of the past,” Ryabkov explained.

Russia and China once again opted not to attend the “Friends of Syria” meeting. Neither Moscow nor Beijing believe the meeting in the French capital will be helpful in uniting the Syrian opposition “on a constructive basis”.

We have frankly laid out the reasons why we have restrained from joining the mechanism, the very name of which has a contradiction between the word and the deed,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks releases Syria Files, almost 2.5 mln emails to be published

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 6, 2012

Screenshot form the Syria Files section on WikiLeaks website

Screenshot form the Syria Files section on WikiLeaks website

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks has announced the release of almost 2.5 million emails derived from 680 Syria-related entities and domain names. They are said to be “embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents.”

“It helps us not merely to criticize one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it,” the announcement quotes Julian Assange, who is currently in the Ecuador embassy in London, where he is awaiting a decision on his appeal for political asylum.

The website says the files“shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another.“

Italy ‘secretly supplied’ Syria despite official censure

The first revelation exposes ties between Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica, which is 30-per cent owned by the government, and Damascus.

Despite the fact that Italy has repeatedly condemned Assad, one of Finmeccanica’s subsidiaries supplied Syria with TETRA, an $50 million interception-proof communications network used by the military and police. Read the rest of this entry »

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EU to freeze Syrian Central Bank assets Feb 27

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 25, 2012

Central Bank of Syria in Damascus (AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

Central Bank of Syria in Damascus (AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

The European Union plans to freeze the assets of the Syrian Central Bank starting next Monday, declared French Foreign Minister Alan Juppe, as quoted by Reuters.

The new sanction will hit Syria the day after the referendum on the new constitution set for February 26.

“Starting from Monday, we will take new strong measures, notably a freezing of the assets of the Syrian Central Bank,”Juppe announced.

The statement comes as the minister is in Tunisia attending the “Friends of Syria” meeting.

Another participant in the event, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Friday called on all nations to freeze Syrian assets and boycott oil from the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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