Posted by Joshua on Monday, November 10th, 2008
Rumsfeld’s secret raids on Syria by Matthew Weaver, Guardian, Monday November 10 2008
Was the controversial US attack on Syria a sign that US troops are still marching to the secret orders of the former defence secretary
The US military has made several undisclosed attacks against Al-Qaida in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere under a secret order signed by the former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2004, according to the New York Times today.
It claims the order gave the US military broad authority to attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world, including countries not at war with the US.
Last month’s raid on Syria, in which eight people were killed, was cited as an example. The attack, which enraged the Syrians, was described as the first by the US on Syrian soil for years. But the New York Times claims there have been others raids into Syria under the so-called “Al Qaida Network Exord”, or executive order, as well as attacks in Pakistan.
The story, sourced to more than six unnamed officials, appears to back claims made by a former Bush administration official to Jonathan Freedland, who also said the US has made several raids on Syria, but Damascus has just kept quiet about it.
According to the New York Times, Rumsfeld’s order streamlined the approval process for such missions to take place. (But up to 12 raids were still vetoed by senior officials.)
Perhaps the order itself will be vetoed by Barack Obama under his bid to “unpick the most egregious acts of the Bush administration“. But given that, as Jonathan Steele wrote, Obama has refused to repudiate the so-called war on terror, maybe not.
“Anti-U.S. sentiment grows in Syria after raid,” by Brooke Anderson, San Fran Chronicle
Abu Kamal, Syria — The U.S. incursion into Syria late last month put this eastern border town near Iraq on the world stage and many of its residents on edge.
Syria’s Assad says Israel must prove it wants peace, Damascus AFP, 9 Nv. 2008
…”Peace for Israel is a tactical act and not a strategic choice,” Assad said in an address to a meeting of Arab lawmakers in Damascus.
“Israel must provide proof of its desire for peace because it is the Israelis who are occupying our land and aggressing our people,” he said, adding that Syria would never make any concessions to the Jewish state.
Indirect negotiations between the two neighbours — which technically remain in a state of war — were resumed in May under Turkish mediation but have been on hold since July.
The two sides held four rounds of discussions but a fifth round scheduled for October was postponed at Israel’s request amid political turmoil following the resignation of scandal-hit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Direct negotiations were frozen eight years ago after Israel baulked at Syrian demands for the return of the whole of the occupied Golan Heights, right down to the Sea of Galilee, its main water source.
“Up until now, Israel has been using the peace slogan for internal political purposes and world opinion believes these Israeli manoeuvres,” Assad said, calling on Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 war borders.
“Syria decided to resume the peace process… because we are committed to achieving a fair and comprehensive peace,” he said, but added that “Our rights cannot be the subject of compromise.”
Assad has said that the negotiations need “international patronage” chiefly from the United States, despite the chilly state of diplomatic relations between Damascus and Washington.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livnia told Ynet just hours prior to her departure for Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to attend Sunday’s Quartet conference marking the one-year anniversary of the Annapolis peace summit. “We’ve seen some progress in the talks with the Palestinians (since Annapolis), but there are many more issues on the table,” the Kadima chairwoman said. “The process will continue, and I prefer to continue negotiating until we reach an agreement that coincides with Israel’s security interests.”
Two brothers seized in Lebanon are accused of a role in the death of a Hezbollah chiefUzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv Two brothers held in Lebanon as Israeli spies are linked to a team responsible for the assassination of a notorious terrorist leader, Lebanese security sources have claimed.
Ali Jarrah, 50, a Lebanese citizen, and his brother Youssef, from Marj in the Bekaa valley, were arrested last week by the Lebanese army, which charged them with espionage. A third suspect has also been held, sources close to the investigation said. All three face the death penalty.
The spy ring has been linked to the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a leading figure in Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite militia, who was killed in a bomb blast in Damascus in February. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, blamed Israel for the attack and vowed to take revenge…..
… According to some reports, Jarrah was first picked up in the southern suburbs of Beirut by Hezbollah security men on July 7, after being suspected of having had a role in Mughniyeh’s assassination.
Hezbollah is said to have finally handed Jarrah to the Lebanese authorities after questioning him for nearly four months.
According to Lebanese security sources, the brothers are distantly related to Ziad Jarrah, one of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001, killing everyone on board. Their families come from the same town in the Bekaa valley.
DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday called on the United States to pull its troops out of Iraq, saying they posed a threat to neighbouring states.
“The presence in Iraq of American forces of occupation is a permanent threat to neighbouring countries and an element of instability in the region,” Assad said in a speech to Arab parliamentarians in Damascus.
Assad also slammed a security accord being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad, saying it was “aimed at making Iraq a base for attacks on neighbouring nations.”
Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, former co-chairmen, 9/11 Commission in Washinton Post Op-ed
P resident Obama’s top priority must be to keep America safe. But to do so, he must break a promise he made to his supporters. During the campaign, he pledged an immediate, phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, which he said would be completed by mid-2010. Although conditions in Iraq have improved dramatically over the past year — thanks largely to the surge in U.S. troops that he opposed — stability is still fragile. If our enemies perceive any weakness, they will take advantage to attack us not only in Iraq but elsewhere.
Candidate Obama said that we must pull out of Iraq in order to engage fully in what he has called “the central front” in the war on terror, Afghanistan. But a defeat in Iraq would make victory in Afghanistan far less likely. The new president will find out soon enough that the only thing worse than breaking a campaign promise is keeping one that would endanger American lives.
Kurish groups decry the new Syrian law limiting land sales within 25 kilometers of the border. They see it as part of a larger effort to deprive Kurds of their civil and national rights which they say will backfire, causing ever greater social discontent in Syria. (That is the gist of the following article by An-Nidaa “The Clarion” or “The Call.”
السبت 8/11/2008 www.annidaa.org/
يستمر النهج الظالم من دون مبرر فيما يخص القضية الكردية في سوريا، ويتابع النظام ما درجت عليه الأنظمة المتعاقبة منذ الإحصاء الظالم في عام 1962 الذي جرّد ستين ألفاً من الأكراد من جنسيتهم، أصبحوا ثلاثمائة ألف اليوم بحكم التزايد السكاني الطبيعي. وزاد على ظلمه ظلماً بإصدار المرسوم 49 لعام 2008 مؤخراً.
لم تجد المشاكل الناتجة عن إحصاء عام 1962 حلاّ لها، رغم الوعود الكثيرة وغير الصادقة، بل العكس من ذلك، فقد تراكمت عليها وتفرعت منها مشاكل من نوعٍ آخر زادها الاستبداد السياسي توتراً وخطراً.
وآخر ذلك أن المرسوم 49 المذكور يمنع ” عمليات البيع والشراء والإيجار والاستثمار لأية أراضٍ أو عقارات بعمق 25 كم من الحدود السورية لأكثر من ثلاث سنوات، إلا بموافقة خاصة من وزير الداخلية”.
نقلت قناة الـ(B.B.C)
لإخبارية عن مصادر قولها إن السلطات السورية سلمت 18 مطلوبا من تنظيم “القاعدة كانوا محتجزين لديها إلى الشرطة العراقية في الأنبار.
الأمم المتحدة تطالب إسرائيل الانسحاب من الجولان وإلغاء قرار ضمه
وطالب القرار الذي صدر يوم الجمعة, وجاء تحت عنوان “الجولان السوري المحتل”, إسرائيل بـ”الإلغاء الفوري لقرارها بضم الجولان”, معتبرا “جميع التدابير والإجراءات التي اتخذتها وستتخذها (إسرائيل) بهدف تغيير طابع الجولان السوري المحتل ووضعه القانوني ملغية و باطلة وتشكل انتهاكاً صارخاً للقانون الدولي ولاتفاقية جنيف المتعلقة بحماية المدنيين في زمن الحرب”.
ودعت الأمم المتحدة من خلال قرارها “جميع الدول الأعضاء في الأمم المتحدة إلى عدم الاعتراف بأي من التدابير والإجراءات المخالفة للقانون الدولي التي اتخذتها إسرائيل في الجولان المحتل”.
وصوت لصالح القرار 161 عضواً في الأمم المتحدة فيما امتنعت سبع دول بينها الولايات المتحدة عن التصويت وصوتت إسرائيل لوحدها ضده