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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Riddle in the sands: Thousands of strange ‘Nazca Lines’ discovered in the Middle East

September 16, 2011 1 comment

dailymail

Peru’s Nazca Lines, the mysterious geoglyphs etched into the desert centuries ago by indigenous groups, are world famous – and now thousands of similar patterns have been found in the Middle East.

Satellite and aerial photography has revealed mysterious stone ‘wheels’ that are more numerous and older than the Nazca Lines in countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The structures are thought to date back 2,000 years, but why they were built is baffling archaeologists and historians.

Ancient mystery: The stone wheels are thought to be 2,000 years oldAncient mystery: Read more…

China Violating Missile Proliferation Controls, Cables State

July 14, 2011 1 comment

globalsecuritynewswire

Recently leaked U.S. diplomatic memos assert that China has flouted missile proliferation controls by selling the arms and their components to Pakistan, Iran and Syria, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday (see GSN, June 2).

A classified September 2009 State Department memo written ahead of a meeting of the 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime repeatedly references a “lack of political will” on Beijing’s part to block Chinese firms from proliferating missile technology.

The Missile Technology Control Regime is a voluntary coalition of nations that aims to constrain the sale of missiles with traveling distances in excess of roughly 185 miles and explosive payloads weighing more than 1,100 pounds. It also works to head off the proliferation of missiles designed to carry weapons of mass destruction.

“Chinese authorities and firms fail to Read more…

US punishes Pakistan Army in major shift

July 11, 2011 2 comments

thenews.com

WASHINGTON: The US confirmed on Sunday that direct and indirect aid worth $800 million to the Pakistan Army had been withheld while Pakistani diplomats disclosed that a 10-point list had been given to the GHQ, compliance of which would determine how much and when the flow of money would restart.

The official confirmation came from the White House chief of staff who told a TV channel on Sunday that Washington was holding back the money after a major New York Times story revealed the military aid had been suspended.

The 10-point list was given some time back and diplomats said Pakistan had Read more…

Riyadh will build nuclear weapons if Iran gets them, Saudi prince warns

June 30, 2011 1 comment

guardian

Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador

Prince Turki al-Faisal: he said that if Iran came close to developing nuclear weapons Riyadh would not stand idly by. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images

A senior Saudi Arabian diplomat and member of the ruling royal family has raised the spectre of nuclear conflict in the Middle East if Iran comes close to developing a nuclear weapon.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, warned senior Nato military officials that the existence of such a device “would compel Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences”.

He did not state explicitly what these policies would be, but a senior official in Riyadh who is close to the prince said yesterday his message was clear.

“We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don’t. It’s as simple as Read more…

Hopes for democracy fade as civil wars grip the Arab world

June 13, 2011 Comments off

independent

A Syrian soldier on a military bus near Jisr al-Shughour, where authorities said 120 soldiers and police were killedA Syrian soldier on a military bus near Jisr al-Shughour, where authorities said 120 soldiers and police were killed

The Arab awakening is turning into the Arab nightmare. Instead of ushering in democracy, the uprisings in at least three Arab states are fast becoming vicious civil wars. In the past 10 days, crucial developments in Syria, Libya and Yemen have set these countries spiralling into violent and intractable struggles for power.

In Syria, thousands of troops are assaulting the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour where the government claims 120 of its soldiers and police were killed last week. Leaving aside exactly how they died, the government in Damascus is making it lethally clear that in future its opponents, peaceful opponents or not, will be treated as if they were armed gunmen. An extraordinary aspect of the Syrian uprisings is that people go on Read more…

Israel says 10 killed on Golan, Syria inflated toll

June 6, 2011 Comments off

ahram.org

The Israeli army on Monday said 10 people had been killed during Sunday’s “Naksa Day” protests along the Syrian ceasefire line, describing Damascus’s toll of 23 as “exaggerated.”
Troops in the Golan Heights remained on high alert after Sunday’s bloodshed in which Syrian state television said 23 people were killed and 350 wounded when Israeli troops shot at protesters marking the anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War.

But the Israeli military said it counted 10 protesters dead — none of whom was killed by Israeli fire.
“We are aware that around 10 of the casualties that the Syrians reported yesterday were killed by the fact that they used Molotov cocktails in the Quneitra area that hit some Syrian landmines,” Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovitz told AFP.

“I think there is solid ground to believe that (the Syrian figures) are exaggerated,” she said. “A big number of them died as a result of their own deeds.”
Asked whether any protesters were killed or wounded by Israeli fire, she was Read more…

UN Experts to Consider Proposal Condemning Syria

May 26, 2011 Comments off

voanews

An image grab taken from a video posted on YouTube, May 20, 2011, shows a Syrian soldier pointing his rifle and firing at anti-regime protesters during a demonstration in Hama, north of Damascus

Photo: AFP An image taken from a video posted on YouTube, May 20, 2011, shows a Syrian soldier pointing his rifle and firing at anti-regime protesters during a demonstration in Hama, north of Damascus

U.N. Security Council experts are expected to discuss a draft resolution on Thursday that would condemn Syria for its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

The draft – put forth by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal – appeals for an immediate end to violence in Syria. It also condemns what the European sponsors call  a “systematic violation of human rights” that includes killings, arbitrary detentions, disappearances and the torture of peaceful demonstrators.

Rights groups estimate that roughly 1,000 people have died since the government started a crackdown to stop protests against Read more…

Iran, North Korea Partnering on Ballistic Missiles, U.N. Says

May 16, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

(May. 16) - An Iranian Shahab 3 ballistic missile lifts off in a 2009 test. The Shahab 3's warhead appears comparable in design to a North Korean warhead unveiled last year, according to a U.N. report that says the countries seem to have exchanged ballistic missile technology (Shaiegan/Getty Images). Iran and North Korea seem to routinely be swapping ballistic missile equipment in breach of U.N. Security Council directives, a classified expert report to the international body stated on Friday (see GSN, Dec. 1, 2010).

Illegal trades of missile technology had “transshipment through a neighboring third country,” the report states. Multiple envoys told Reuters the nation in question is China.

The report by the Panel of Experts assigned to oversee adherence to U.N. sanctions levied against North Korea was sent to the Security Council on Friday and viewed by Reuters on Saturday.

The document is expected to increase apprehension over Pyongyang’s collaboration with Tehran and to bolster worries about Beijing’s willingness to implement sanctions targeting North Korea and Iran’s nuclear activities, diplomats said.

The Security Council sanctions forbid commerce in atomic and missile systems with the North.

“Prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air,” the experts stated.

“For the shipment of cargo, like arms and related materiel, whose illicit nature would become apparent on any cursory physical inspection, (North) Korea seems to prefer chartered cargo flights,” the document says.

Chartered cargo flights typically travel “from or to air cargo hubs which lack the kind of monitoring and security to which passenger terminals and flights are now subject,” according to the report.

A number of envoys to the Security Council said Beijing was not pleased with Read more…

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian protesters

May 16, 2011 Comments off

bbc

Israeli soldiers confront protesters near the northern Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights
Israel’s army said it faced a “serious” incursion at Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights, where a number of people were reported killed and injured.

Jon Donnison in Ramallah: “Palestinians are feeling emboldened and inspired by the uprisings elsewhere [in the Middle East]”

Israeli forces have fired on groups of protesters at borders with the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon.

Reports say that at least 12 people have died and dozens more have been injured.

In one incident, thousands of Palestinian supporters from Syria entered the Golan Heights, Israel says.

Palestinians are marking the Nakba or Catastrophe, their term for the founding of the Israeli state in 1948.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in fighting after its creation.

Responding in a televised address to Sunday’s violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped “calm and quiet will quickly return, but let nobody be mistaken, we are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty”.

Impetus

Clashes have been taking place at four separate borders or crossing points – at Erez in Gaza, near Ramallah in the West Bank, on the Golan Read more…

Why the world is quiet as Syria crackdown continues

May 10, 2011 Comments off

csmonitor

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, pictured here at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome Friday, also spoke in Italy about the US plan to keep pressure on Syria for political reforms.

The United States on Monday suggested it is using the current weak position of the Syrian government on the world stage to try to pressure it into dropping its support for Hezbollah, the extremist organization in Lebanon.

In an interview with the US-funded Radio Sawa, US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said the US is demanding from the Syrian government that it immediately cease its assistance to Hezbollah and treat Lebanon as a friendly and sovereign country.

Aside from that development, however, the US – like much of the international community – appears to have adopted a muted response to Syria in the wake of its continuing crackdown on dissidents.

Officially, the Obama administration says that unlike Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, President Bashar al-Assad still has time to reverse Read more…