Archives 18th June 2017

‘Qatar’s former prime minister admitted in an interview that the United States and its Gulf allies supported Islamist extremists in Syria.

In CIA-run training sites located in Jordan and Turkey, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani explained, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar, “all of us, we [were] supporting the same groups,” he said. Among them were extremists, al-Thani noted.

This testimony adds to the growing body of evidence that the U.S. government and its proxies backed hard-line Salafi-jihadists in order to weaken the Syrian government and its allies Iran and Hezbollah.’

Read more: More Damning Evidence That the U.S. Is Directly Backing Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

 

‘Responding to US-led attacks on Syrian and allied forces, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said Sergey Lavrov “strongly disagreed with the US strikes against pro-government forces, calling for specific measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

The most recent incident occurred in what CENTCOM called a “deconfliction” zone – unilaterally declared by Washington.

Lavrov said he knows nothing about this zone. Russia rejects it, he stressed. US-led forces operate illegally in Syria without Security Council or Damascus authorization.

Establishing Pentagon bases in the country shows regime change remains Washington’s objective. Phony claims about combating ISIS conceal its real aim.’

Read more: Are More US Attacks on Syrian Forces Planned? Establishing Pentagon Bases in Syria?

‘The SAA reportedly entered into the Al-Ajrawi farm south of the Tabqah airbase after repelling an attack by ISIS fighters on its new positions in the Raqqah province. Earlier this week, the SAA liberated the Al-Thawra oil field, the Al-Thawra housing and pumping station.

According to pro-government sources, the SAA may continue its advance via the Athria-Rusafa-Raqqa road. If government troops reach Rusafa, they will control the northern road to Deir Ezzor.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed up by the US-led coalition’s airpower, artillery units and military advisers, have taken control of Al-Sinaa district in the eastern part of the ISIS-held city of Raqqah. The SDF also began storming Al-Batani and continued clashing with ISIS in Al-Bared.’

Read more: US Rocket Artillery Systems Pose Direct Threat to Government Forces in Southeastern Syria

‘Russian military intelligence has exposed an Islamic State plan to mount a major attack on the city of Deir ez-Zor in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It added that preemptive strikes to prevent the attack resulted in some 180 terrorists killed, including two commanders.

The concentration of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) forces near the besieged Syrian city was noticed by Russian surveillance drones in early June, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The military command decided to conduct preemptive airstrikes to prevent their ensuing attack.

Two airstrikes delivered on June 6 and 8 by the Russian Air Force in Syria killed two prominent IS field commanders, Belgian Abu Umar al-Beljiki and Egyptian Abu Yasin al-Masri, the statement said.’

Read more: Russian airstrikes kill two ISIS commanders, thwart major attack on Deir ez-Zor – military

‘Saudi warplanes have bombed a bustling marketplace in Yemen’s extreme northwest, killing at least 24 people, the al-Masirah television reports.

The aircraft hit the al-Moshnaq market in Sa’ada Province’s Shada’a District Saturday night as people gathered to buy staples for Eid al-Fitr, a festivity which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The network said the casualty figure could rise because the aircraft kept bombing after relief teams arrived at the scene.

The report said some of the fatalities have already been identified as relief workers, who died trying to reach the marketplace amid continued bombing.’

Read more: Saudi bombing of Yemen market kills at least 24 civilians

‘Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime are in clandestine talks to establish official economic relations for the first time since the entity was created on the Palestinian territories some 69 years ago, a report says.

The Times, citing unnamed Arab and American sources, said in a report on Saturday that forming economic connections between to two, which would be gradual and step by step, could begin by allowing Israeli companies to open shops in the Arab kingdom, or granting El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. permission to fly over Saudi airspace.

“However, any such progress would bolster the alliance between Iran’s two most implacable enemies and change the dynamics of the many conflicts destabilizing the Middle East,” the report speculated.

So far Saudi officials have had some open meetings with senior officials in Israel, trying to gradually pave the way for establishing ties with the occupying regime.’

Read more: Saudi Arabia, Israel to establish economic relations for first time: Report

‘Having succeeded in blocking a recent UN report that accused Israel of maintaining a system of apartheid, Israeli officials are now attempting to remove another UN report, which has charged Tel Aviv with carrying out extrajudicial executions along with a list of other human rights violations.

The report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which previously accused Israel of apartheid, has come under fire from Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, because it states that in the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 Israeli security forces killed 63 Palestinians, including 19 children, and wounded an additional 2,276 Palestinians including 562 children.

The previous ESCWA report, which had accused Israel of apartheid, was removed by the UN following protests by Danon and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who this week described the UN report of “reeking with anti-Israel bias”.’

Read more: Extrajudicial Executions and Torture of Palestinians: Israel Attempts to Block Yet Another UN Report

‘Israeli officials must have been tripping over each other in their rush to endorse the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar. “The Sunni Arab countries, apart from Qatar, are largely in the same boat with us since we all see a nuclear Iran as the number one threat against all of us,” said Israel’s former defence minister Moshe Ya’alon. The blockade represented a “new line drawn in the Middle Eastern sand,” tweeted US-born former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, while revelling in the regional turmoil. “No longer [is it] Israel against Arabs but Israel and Arabs against Qatar-financed terror,” he added.

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman described the crises as an opportunity for Israel and “certain” Gulf states. “It is clear to everyone, even in the Arab countries, that the real danger to the entire region is terrorism,” he insisted. The extreme right-winger added that the Saudi-led bloc had cut ties with Qatar “not because of Israel, not because of the Jews, not because of Zionism,” but “rather from fears of terrorism.”

Rejoicing over the punishment of a country which Israeli officials describe as a “pain in the ass” raises all sorts of questions, not least the connection between the siege imposed on Qatar and US legislation introduced by Republican Congressman Brian Mast to impose sanctions with respect to foreign support for “Palestinian terrorism”, and other purposes.’

Read more: The blockade of Qatar may have more to do with Palestine than we think

‘Theresa May will face a “stalking horse” challenge to topple her as Prime Minister if she waters down Brexit, senior Tories have warned.

Leading Eurosceptic MPs have told The Telegraph they are prepared to mount an immediate leadership challenge if Mrs May deviates from her original plan.

The revelation comes after a torrid week for the Prime Minister in which she faced fierce criticism for her handling of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe.

Conservative MPs – including Cabinet ministers – have concluded that Mrs May cannot lead them into the next election and they are now discussing when she could go.

Eurosceptic MPs have warned that any attempt to keep Britain in the customs union and single market or any leeway for the European Court of Justice to retain an oversight function will trigger an “overnight” coup.’

Read more: Secret plot to oust Theresa May as ministers threaten ‘stalking horse’ if PM fails to deliver ‘hard’ Brexit

‘Theresa May has cancelled the 2018 Queen’s Speech to smooth the path for Brexit reforms as a deal with the DUP hangs in the balance.

The Prime Minister announced that a two-year parliamentary session will be launched on Wednesday rather than the traditional one-year session.

The step breaks with historical precedence and was last taken in the early days of the Coalition as it scrambled to create stable government in 2010.

Government sources last night insisted the move was planned before the election and would give time for laws needed for Brexit to be fully debated.

Read more: Theresa May cancels 2018 Queen’s Speech as DUP pact hangs in the balance

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