Wednesday, March 15, 2006

News Round UP (March 14, 2006)

Syria president agrees to meet UN investigator and be interviewed in Hariri probe.

Lebanese judges and the UN have agreed on the form of the International court to be established to rule on the Hariri assassination case.

Lebanese leaders agree on ties with Syria but can't delay decision on new President and resistance.
14/03/2006 - 19:26:39

Leaders of Lebanon’s rival factions agreed today to demand that Syria establish diplomatic relations, but continued to spar over the fate of the country’s president and the disarmament of the militant Hezbollah group.

The 14 faction leaders – Muslim and Christian, pro- and anti-Syrian – did agree on disarming Palestinian guerrillas outside Lebanon’s refugee camps, and on the Lebanese identity of Chebaa Farms, a sliver of disputed territory on the southern border.

The convener of the national conference, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, told reporters at the end of today’s session that the talks had been adjourned to March 22.

“The issue of the presidency has been discussed, but it needs to be followed up,” Berri said, referring to the division over President Emile Lahoud, a staunch ally of Syria.

Anti-Syrian factions are pushing for him to step down, but pro-Syrians disagree.

Referring to the other sticking point, Berri said: “The matter of the resistance (Hezbollah) weapons is still under discussion.”
Syria kills 'Islamist militants'
Two Islamist militants have been killed in armed clashes with Syrian forces north-west of Damascus, the official Syrian news agency says. Mohammed Ali Nassif and Yasser Adawi, members of the militant group Jund al-Sham, were killed near the mountain resort of Zabadani, Sana said. There were several clashes between Syrian troops and militants last year. In December, two alleged members of Jund al-Sham were shot dead near the northern city of Aleppo.
Washington DC, March 14, 2006/RPS/ -- The Syrian government, through its private channels, has posted three new "red lines" against the Syrian opposition and journalists intended to stifle further the liberties and freedom of activists and dissidents.

The Syrian authorities declared that any Syrian opposition inside the country is forbidden any further from associating with or congregating with the Syrian opposition outside the country. This comes on the heels of a successful meeting of the Syrian opposition that took place in Paris on March 9 and 10 sponsored by the Aspen Institute in Berlin.

The second so called "red line" prohibits any Syrian from demonstrating in the street. Several demonstrations have taken place in recent months and this new threat is intended to stop people from taking to the street the way the Lebanese people did on March 14, 2005. The third deals with new rules governing the reporting of military news or movement of troops without the tacit approval of State security apparatus.

Syrian activist held for attending open meetings abroad
Ammar Qurabi of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in Syria was arrested on Sunday at Damascus airport upon his return from Paris.

Riad Seif was detained along with at least five members of the Kurdish

Democratic Progressive Party during a sit-in near a Damascus government building, said a statement by the Syrian Organization for Human Rights. They were commemorating the second anniversary of the Kurdish riots in the north of Syria in which some 40 people were killed according to Kurdish sources. The Syrian government puts the deaths at 25.
Russia sees no need for Syria to face sanctions
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Daily Star

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that his country does not see "any reason" for imposing sanctions against Syria because it is "cooperating with the UN probe" into the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.

In an interview published Monday by the Russian daily Vremya Novostei, Lavrov, who met with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Moallem, said: "The probe is ongoing and Syria is cooperating."

He added: "We will encourage it [Damascus] to fully cooperate, and we don't see any reason for sanctions."

Lavrov said he would discuss the UN-led investigation with Moallem, who arrived Sunday on a three-day visit to Moscow.

Moallem attacked U.S. administration policies blaming them for the "complicated situation in the Middle East.

"The situation in the Middle East is now very complicated thanks to U.S. policies in the region and the continuation of Israeli occupation of Arab lands," Moallem said, according to Syria's official news agency SANA.

SANA added that Moallem was carrying a message from President Bashar Assad to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. administration has been pressuring the Syrian regime over its policies toward its neighbor Lebanon, and the infiltration of terrorists to Iraq through Syrian-Iraqi borders.

Lavrov said he discussed the issue with U.S. officials in Washington last week, saying his "American interlocutors told me there had been some positive shifts."

The minister added: "We will encourage the Syrian leadership to continue paying increased attention to the unaccaptable use of its territory by those trying to destabilize neighboring nations."

Also on Monday, Lavrov met with UN Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen in Moscow where "the present fragile and complex situation in the Middle East was the key subject of talks," according to a statement issued by the UN Information Center.

Russia, Syria to Push Hamas
Moscow News: Wednesday, March 15, 2006.

Russia and Syria are both trying to persuade the Palestinian group Hamas to fulfill steps laid out in the road map toward Middle East peace, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday. Speaking after talks with Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moualem, Lavrov said Russia's controversial arms sales to Damascus were in full agreement with international conventions. "Russia and Syria are doing and will continue to do all that is necessary to ensure that the activities of Hamas are heading towards the principles formulated by the international community," Lavrov said. (Reuters)
Turkish Weekly writes: "Syria and Turkey are converging in political and economical terms, which is crucial for the region’s stability."


At 3/15/2006 04:24:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

I've read a couple of stories that have surprised me. this one is interesting in the sense that Miqdad seems to be pleased so that means Damascus is also pleased.

This does not change my pessimism regarding the continuing pressure on Syria, but at least its some breathing space. some optimists might see this as a change of tone and verdict. but i believe Brammertz is keeping it hush-hush to ease the Syrians anger to get more out of them and maybe to tone down the level of responsibility in the Syrian leadership, but that doesn’t mean that the source of these suspect has changed (even though i hope they did)

You can even read the whole Brammertz report here in arabic

At 3/15/2006 07:46:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

L'Orient-Le Jour has parts of the report in French.

At 3/15/2006 08:45:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

I truly believe the report was a good start for UN investigations team, the team was able to win some trust form the Syrian regime, and possibly open the way for more coordination’s between both sides to resolve murder plot and other political issues linked to it.
The UN and the major powers playing this game, may have realized that the Syrian can continue on the of foot-dragging and obstruction of the investigations as long as it takes, and they need to try other means to get the information’s and the missing links of the plot form the Syrians, at the same time, most likely the Syrian leader with the advice and assurances of regional powers decided to play the game of a good cop!! We may not know what kind of deal, but as we all starting to see some evidence of it!!
1- Lebanon president is almost ready to leave and he endorsed Aoun
2- Hezbollah is still talking to other Lebanese parties and most likely will endorse Aoun to be the next president
3- Shaaba farms and Hezbollah Arms issues will be a none issue very soon.
4- Syria will get a credit for making the political agendas of Hamass more acceptable to both Israel and the west ( supporting Hammas turn to be a good investment for Syria )
5- Any International court will be the last of what we will hear of the Harrie murders, it may last for several years to complete its tasks, if given the support needed to accomplish its goals!!
6- The TRUTH will be known as street and café TRUTH.
7- Syria and Lebanon relations will become healthier and more realistic
8- Dr Bashar will grow wiser, more susceptible to become a poppet of the new “middle east order”

Yea right !!! What else ...

At 3/15/2006 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

Syria frees rights activist
15 March 2006
Agence France Presse
DAMASCUS, March 15, 2006 (AFP) -

Ammar Qurabi, spokesman for the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said he was freed Wednesday, four days after he was detained by military intelligence.

Qurabi was nabbed at the Damascus airport as he returned home from a trip to Paris and Washington, where he attended two conferences on democratic reform and human rights in Syria.

"I assured them that I had not met any Western official during my French and American trip," he said, adding that the matter had been turned over to the state security court.

On Tuesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch called for his release.

"Qurabi's arrest is an ill-disguised effort by the Syrian authorities to punish him for his defense of human rights, and to intimidate others from peaceful activism," said Sarah Leah Whitson, a Human Rights Watch director who participated in one of the conferences Qurabi attended.

"Qurabi's arrest is yet another indication that the Syrian government has scant regard for the rights and freedoms of its citizens."

At 3/15/2006 12:00:00 PM, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Saddam vs. Amerikka: Chronicle of a Neocon Show Trial (Vol.2)

After having become the main recruiting agent for Osama Bin Laden in South Asia and the Middle-East, the Neocon clowns of Washington have succeeded in turning the former Iraqi president into an Arabian folk hero who’s not afraid of confronting America and the corrupt Kurdish judge in charge of overseeing the media circus that is his trial.

It was quite a spectacle to see Saddam take control of the courtroom, and roar in anger at the US-appointed judge: even though he spared no menace, Chief Justice Raouf Abdel-Rahman was unable to intimidate the aging lion of Baghdad. Saddam Hussein was raging with spirit and fight, willing to defend Iraq at all cost against the foreign occupiers who had come from afar to subjugate, torture and pillage in the name of “democracy”.

Saddam: “What pains me most is what I heard recently about something that aims to harm our people…My conscience tells me that the great people of Iraq have nothing to do with these acts.”

Judge Raouf: “Shut up!”

Saddam: “I am the head of state”

Judge Raouf: “You used to be a head of state. You are a defendant now…You are being tried in a criminal case. Stop your political speech” Raouf Abdel-Rahman said angrily.

Saddam: “Had it not been for politics I wouldn't be here…The bloodshed that they [the Americans] have caused to the Iraqi people only made them more intent and strong to evict the foreigners from their land and liberate their country.”

Judge Raouf: “You are being tried in a criminal case for killing innocent people, not because of your conflict with America.” [sic]

Saddam: “What about the innocent people who are dying in Baghdad? I am talking to the Iraqi people.”

Finally, Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman ordered the session closed to the public, telling journalists to leave the chamber. The delayed video feed also was cut.

“The court has decided to turn this into a secret and closed session,” he said, thus showing the true face of Bush’s brand of neo-totalitarian justice, where “transparency” means “blackout”, “liberty” means “enslavement of Arabs and Muslims” and “war is peace”…

At 3/15/2006 12:56:00 PM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

Does Saddam deserve mercy??????
Read this.....Dogtor Vega...


""""When you enter the museum you will walk through a long and winding hallway. The walls are covered with mirror shards. Each represents one of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Kurds murdered in the genocidal Anfal campaign. A river of twinkling lights lines the ceiling. Each represents one of the five thousand villages destroyed by Saddam Hussein.

Past the hallway of mirrors and light is a small room made up to look like a traditional Kurdish home. Houses like these barely exist in the countryside anymore. Saddam Hussein destroyed most of them. The rural part of the country is now eerily empty of people.

Then the museum begins in earnest. Pictures of Kurdish dead line the walls of the hallways and the old torture chambers and prison cells. I do not believe in ghosts or in lingering negative energy. But if I have ever been in a place that is haunted, this is it.

Did you know? During the Kurdish uprising after the 1991 Gulf War, almost every last person fled to the mountains. The cities were almost completely emptied of people. Imagine living your life like that. Everyone over the age of 20 remembers it vividly.

The Peshmerga fled to the mountains as well. They used those mountains as bases for their military operations against the Saddam regime.

One picture stood out in particular for me. Below you can see a man who was shot dead while crossing one of the main streets. As it happens, the man is lying directly in front of my hotel.

Some rooms in the museum don’t have pictures at all. Instead they show the

instruments and the methods of torture.

In one room, the so-called “Washington Room,” men and women had

hot electric irons pressed into their skin. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dozens of people were packed into single caged cells. This one, pictured below, needed to have blood scrubbed off the walls before it could be opened to visitors.

The hardest thing to see was the cell used to

hold children before they were murdered.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My translator Alan read some of the messages carved into the wall.

“I was ten years old. But they changed my age to 18 for execution.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Dear Mom and Dad. I am going to be executed by the Baath. I will not see you again.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10,725 people were killed in this one building alone. All died during torture. Formal execution actually took place in Abu Ghraib.

""""" Two years ago, I produced the documentary film VOICES OF IRAQ, where we sent 150 DV cameras across Iraq and allowed Iraqis to film their own lives. The cameras got into the prison you visted and others. I viewed several hours of video and testimony detailing the horrors of Saddam's torture.

One woman recalled tearfully how her newborn baby was fed to dogs infront of her eyes. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another video shows floors stained with blood and fat that liquified off torture victoms and poured onto the tiles below them.

What transpired in those chambers is beyond belief. It takes a strong stomach to go through the tours you're experiencing.

Martin Kunert """""""""""""""""


At 3/15/2006 01:40:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Naseef was ordered to come out ,he did not resist surrender , he had no weapon with him, his hands were up,in a surrender gesture, while he was half way to the police he was shot dead, he fell blood cover him and some blood spilled on the groud, this was a murder, they did not want to try him, they just wanted him dead.
the judge in Saddam trial is obviously not fair,and he is full of hate and manipulated by america and the hateful people, Saddam was right, this trial made a muckery of itself.


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