The American Kafir


Indonesian Militant Arrested

Source Stratfor

Click on image below to watch video:

Tactical analyst Sean Noonan discusses the arrest of Umar Patek and explains why the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group has been marginalized in recent years.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Today, Sutanto, the head of Indonesia’s national intelligence service, confirmed that Umar Patek — a wanted Jemaah Islamiyah militant and planner of the 2002 Bali bombings — was arrested by Pakistani security services on Jan. 25 in Pakistan.

Umar Patek, who is also known as Umar Arab and various other aliases, has been wanted since 2002 for his involvement in the Bali bombings, which killed 88 Australians, a number of Indonesians and other foreigners. His arrest was confirmed by Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday, showing that authorities across the world are fairly confident that he has been caught and has been in Pakistani custody for almost three months, which gives the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan the ability to find out everything he knows about militant networks in Southeast Asia and their connection to Pakistan.

This is very important for all of those involved. First, for simply getting justice for his attacks, but more importantly, in finding out how Jemaah Islamiyah, a Central Java-based Islamic militant group that has carried out a number of attacks across Indonesia in the last decade, is connected with groups in the Philippines, as well as in Pakistan. What this does is finds how they’re getting training for bombmaking to carry out these operations and so on. Jemaah Islamiyah first developed this capability by sending its members to Pakistan in the 1980s. With the arrest of so many Jemaah Islamiyah members, including Dulmatin who was killed early last year, as well as Abu Bakar Bashir, who is currently on trial — he is thought to be the sort of inspiration for Jemaah Islamiyah militants — there is not much left of the group, the arrests sort of leaves everyone wondering who will take over leadership of the group, especially the operations, and who has the capability to build explosive devices. This leaves only a few members left such as Sibhgo and Zulkarnaen, both of which are thought to not be in Indonesia, and without that kind of capability it will be hard for them to carry out the attacks they have in the past.

However, as we’ve seen over the last month or 2 months, there have been a number of parcel bombs sent to officials in Indonesia, that while they haven’t been very damaging and show a very low level of capability, they also show that there are people in Indonesia who would like to seek out the kind of training to carry out these operations. And the largest fear now for the Indonesia is the alliance of other Islamist groups who developed as sort of militias and security forces for the parliament like Front Pembela Islam, who have been carrying out riots and attacks on what they see as affronts to Islam — the fear is that these groups will somehow come in connection with Jemaah Islamiyah members and develop the capabilities to carry out larger attacks.

America: Beware Giving in to the False Concept of Islamophobia

Source INN
Written By Dr. Phyllis Chesler

We are drowning in anti-Israel propaganda, and still it never stops coming.

Simultaneously, the “Palestinian narrative” appears to us as if in a dream, over and over again, always slightly surreal and yet overly familiar. By now the “Palestinian narrative” is a brand and we have all been hypnotized.  This is not surprising.

For more than 40 years, the Soviet, Arab, and Saudi Lobbies, eventually joined by the Iranian Lobby, have funded the demonization of Israel and the popularization of Palestine. The condemnation of Israel for crimes it has never committed (“ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “apartheid”) and the call for a Palestinian one-state solution is echoed, similarly, in films, books, poems, academic papers and lectures; we see and hear this on television, at conferences, at campus demonstrations, in the halls of the United Nations, the European Union, in Parliaments, and, of course, in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

By now, the “Palestinian narrative” has effectively rendered Jews unsafe and unwelcome in Europe. Jews who look “Jewish” or “religious” are not safe on the streets of certain European countries such as England, France, Holland, Belgium, and Scandinavia. European pagan, Christian, and Nazi-era Judeophobia has found a new outlet in the obsessive demonization of Israel, the only Jewish state. This is also the way Europeans hope to appease Muslim immigrants who live in Europe but in parallel universes, who are hostile to the Western enterprise, and who demand the right to be brutally intolerant as a Western civil right.

This same false Palestinian narrative has morphed into a belief that all Muslims—who are, themselves, the largest practitioners of religious apartheid in the world, and who persecute all non-Muslims—are, as Muslims, being persecuted in the West. This may be because Islam is not (yet) dominant in the West.

In my opinion, the success of the “Palestinian” narrative is what has led to the unquestioning acceptance of the false concept of “Islamophobia.”

Those Europeans who have challenged the idea of “Islamophobia” and who have told the truth about Islam in Europe—or who have chosen to leave the Religion of Peace—have put themselves in harm’s way. Either they are sued for blasphemy or defamation—or they must live in exile and with bodyguards. Some have been murdered, even butchered.

What about America? Surely that is not true here.

In 2008, America’s FBI found that 66.1% of religious hate crimes targeted Jews, but only 7.5% of religious hate crimes targeted Muslims. On March 29, 2011, The Center for Security Policy released a revised edition of their groundbreaking longitudinal study, Religious Bias Crimes 2000-2009: Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims — Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend in Muslim Victimization. (I have provided a PDF Copy of this study at the bottom of this article) It is based on annual FBI statistics and contradicts the assertions that religious bias crimes against Muslims have increased in America and that the alleged cause is widespread “Islamophobia.” In fact, the study shows that religious bias crimes — also known as hate crimes — against Muslim Americans, have remained relatively low with a downward trend since 2001, and are significantly less than the numbers of bias crimes against Jewish victims.

According to the Center’s analysis, in 2009, Jewish victims of hate crimes outnumbered Muslim victims by more than 8 to 1 (1,132 Jewish victims to 132 Muslim victims). From 2000 through 2009, for every one hate crime incident against a Muslim, there were six hate crime incidents against Jewish victims (1,580 Muslim incidents versus 9,692 Jewish incidents). Even in 2001 when religious bias crimes against Muslims increased briefly for a nine-week period, total anti-Muslim incidents, offenses and victims remained approximately half of the corresponding anti-Jewish totals.”

Nevertheless, American Muslims have alleged rampant “Islamophobia” in America. Countless number of Talking Heads have taken this allegation seriously.

Thus, it is not surprising that CNN just aired a documentary which was titled Not Welcome: The Muslims Next Door.

On camera, the Muslims are all so very…peaceful. There is not one angry or hate-filled Muslim man on camera. Not one. Despite the fact that we have seen hundreds, possibly thousands of angry, frightening, violent Muslim demonstrations, including prayer services, all across America and across the Islamic world, and many hate-filled captured Islamic and Palestinian terrorists on camera, CNN’s chosen Muslim-American men of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, including the Sheikh of the planned Islamic Center, are all soft-spoken, emotional, tearful, non-violent. Except for the Sheikh’s American wifewho converted to Islam, the Muslims on camera are all innocent, good, non-white people.

Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s special anchor, likes them, and, as someone with Afro-Cuban as well as Caucasian Australian parents, perhaps she even identifies with them. In any event, O’Brien questions them very politely, sympathetically.

However, the white, Christian-Americans on camera—all of them, without exception—are portrayed as hateful, cruel, insidious, dislikable, selfish, phobic, and no doubt racist. O’Brien interviews them with barely disguised hostility and contempt.

At issue, according to CNN’s website are America’s post-9/11 fears about radical Islam, terrorism, and “Sharia Law.”  As CNN sees it:

“Murfreesboro, Tennessee has just over 100,000 people, 140+ churches, and one mosque. For decades, Muslims have lived and prayed in Murfreesboro without incident, but last May, when the Muslim community gained county approval to build a new 52,000 square foot Islamic center in town, hundreds of Murfreesboro residents took to the streets in protest…. O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight to block the mosque project in Murfreesboro and the fight over religious freedom; a fight that would ultimately include protests, vandalism, arson and an explosive lawsuit that would involve the U.S. Department of Justice.”

What’s wrong with Murfreesboro is that it is too damn Christian and too damn white. It is not diverse enough.It is not Middle Eastern enough.

O’Brien, herself a Harvard graduate, dresses as a modern American woman. She has absolutely no comment to make about the fact that most of the adult Muslim women on camera are all wearing long, shapeless dresses and severe hijab—while the Muslim men are all dressed in modern, American style. The Sheikh’s wife insists that women are not “oppressed” under Sharia Law, that she is not oppressed, that no Muslim woman she knows has ever been oppressed, etc.

Interestingly enough, the Sheikh has a foreign accent. One wonders why so many Sheiks have been imported from the Middle East to America. Asra Nomani is a religious Muslim feministwho was born in India and raised in America. Her father founded the mosque of Morgantown, West Virginia. Nomani tried to persuade her mosque to become more woman-friendly. She failed. In a PBSdocumentary about this story, Nomani claimed that when Arab Muslims joined her mosque, her battle to bring it into the 21st century failed. On camera, she says:

“Extremists — mainly Arabs — led by one rather physically and verbally violent Egyptian, Hany Ammar, took over. At that point, I began hearing really scary sermons. An unchaste woman is worthless. The West is on a bad path. We must hate those who hate us. Women should be silent in a mosque. Jews are descendants of apes and pigs.”

Incredibly, on camera, Ammar says: “I pray to Allah that you be punished. May Allah get revenge for Ammar.” Ammar is also heard, but not seen, physically attacking a young moderate Muslim man. Ammar’s wife Mona is even more conservative, more aggressive than he is. She minces no words in expressing her contempt, even hatred for Nomani. Like certain kinds of religious women, she is even more zealous in upholding the patriarchal status quo, more aggressively empowered to strike down any other woman who dares challenge male supremacy or Islamic gender apartheid.

Ultimately, Ammar tries to ban Nomani from the mosque. Eventually, both she and her family leave.

Why do I even bring this in? Because Murfreesboro’s Sheikh Ossama Mohamed Bahloul is also a foreign-born Arab Muslim. All this means is that he may (or may not) be a religious Muslim supremacist or an Islamist. Bahloul is an Egyptian-born graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He was the Imam of the Islamic Society of Southern Texas, in Corpus Christi, and then the visiting Imam for the Islamic Center of Irving, Texas.

Sheikh Bahloul is not a terrorist, nor did he have anything to do with the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, an organization which raised money for Hamas and was based in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. However, he was summoned from Egypt to work in Texas, and left for Murfreesboro a year after the Holy Land trial began. Texas is known as a hotbed of increasingly fundamentalist Islam. Perhaps Bahloul was chosen for his radical beliefs and for his ability to mask them as something else. After all, his wife is dressed as if they live in Cairo, not in America.

To me, this is a sign and signal of a desire to live in a parallel universe, one in which Muslims are taught that they are superior to non-Muslims; one in which Muslims are taught to hate Jews and other infidels;one in which Muslims are taught that Sharia Law is, indeed, superior to American law. That is why CNN invites Harvard Professor Noah Feldman on. He assures people that “Our constitution prohibits any religion from becoming the law of the land.”

It does. But look at how Sharia law and/or Islamic custom has usurped the law of the land both in Europe and in America, where female genital mutilation, child arranged marriage, polygamy, the burqa and honor killings are pandemic.

An Egyptian father killed his two American daughters in Irving, Texas. Yaser Said came from Egypt, married his American-born wife when she was fifteen years old, honor murdered their daughters in 2008, and then fled. He has yet to be found.

A series of attacks were perpetrated against the building of the mosque. “Not Welcome” was spray painted on the sign which announced the mosque opening, arson was perpetrated, a lawsuit was brought. The graffiti and the arson are unacceptable. But no one who opposes the mosque is given a fair hearing or the slightest respect on camera. And, Sheikh Bahloul may be as clever as he is soft-spoken. In a very emotional but determined voice, pitched precisely to gain sympathy for his causehe says:  “This is America. This is too much.”

Ah, so the Egyptian-born Sheikh understands America and fully knows what his rights are here. Funny, he only arrived here post 9/11. Actually, for all I know, he could have arrived here sooneror more recently. None of his many biographies and interviews share this information with us.

Is he, perhaps, asecret lover of Zion, an admirer of the American way of life, a Sufi-style peaceful Sunni Muslim? He graduated from the most prominent school of Islamic learning in the Sunni world. If he is really a man for the 21st century, he will have to take some very prominent and public stands which prove that this is so.

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at City University of New York. She is an author, psychotherapist and an expert courtroom witness. She has lectured and organized political, legal, religious and human rights campaigns in the United States and in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Dr. Chesler’s thirteen books and thousands of articles and speeches have inspired people on many diverse issues. Her books include: Women and Madness; Women, Money and Power; About Men; With Child: A Diary of Motherhood; Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody; Sacred Bond: The Legacy of Baby M; Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness; Feminist Foremothers in Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Mental Health; Letters to a Young Feminist; Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman; Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground at Judaism’s Holy Site; The New Anti-Semitism. The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It; and The Death of Feminism. What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom.

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Lebanon: Kidnapped Estonians In Syria

Filed under: Lebanon, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Syria — Tags: , — - @ 1:27 pm

Source Stratfor

According to unconfirmed reports March 31 from a STRATFOR source linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, seven Estonians kidnapped March 23 in the Bekaa Valley are in Syria. The Syrians suspected the foreigners because they were in Syria during protests, traveling to places rarely visited by tourists, and because they were riding bicycles, which allowed them to explore Syrian installations and side roads. Syrian officials did not want to apprehend the Estonians in Syria, so they asked them about their next destination and waited for them there. Local Syrian agents, most likely members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, kidnapped them and brought them back to Syria for questioning. The Estonians will soon be returned to Lebanon and released from there, the source said.

Greece: Mail Bomb Defused At Athens Prison

Filed under: Progressives, Socialists, Terrorism — Tags: , — - @ 1:22 pm

Source Stratfor

Police defused a mail bomb March 31 sent to a maximum security prison in Athens where alleged members of an armed anarchist group are on trial, authorities said, AP reported. The package, which prison authorities determined was suspicious, was sent to the governor of Korydallos prison in western Athens. The padded envelope had Italian postage stamps but no postmark. It listed Eurofor, the four-nation military alliance based in Florence, Italy, as the sender. Nine suspected members of the armed Greek anarchist group Revolutionary Nuclei of Fire are currently on trial inside the prison.

Militants Put Gazans in Danger, Group Says

Source Link: NY Times

Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images The wreckage of a motorcycle hit by an Israeli rocket in the southern city of Rafah. Two militants were wounded; one died.

GAZA — A Palestinian human rights group in Gaza took the unusual step this week of condemning the building and storage of anti-Israel rockets in densely populated areas, a practice that has led to injuries and deaths of civilians.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that it had investigated recent rocket explosions and found that locally produced projectiles had fallen on homes in Gaza or exploded in factories where they were made or stored. Shrapnel severely wounded several people, including a 22-year-old woman and her 7-month-old baby.

It called on the Hamas government, which controls Gaza, to investigate “and take measures to protect Palestinians and their property.” It added that “members of the Palestinian resistance continue to store explosives or to treat such explosives in locations close to populated areas.”

“This poses a major threat to the lives of the Palestinian civilians,” it said.

Israel has long accused Hamas and other groups of endangering Palestinian civilians by carrying out militant activities in densely populated areas.

Hamdi Shaqura of the rights center said conducting such investigations was risky in Gaza. Militant groups generally deny responsibility. He noted that the Hamas Interior Ministry Web site blamed Israel for the landing of what were locally produced rockets on Palestinian targets.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian militant was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, days after armed groups here announced a commitment to an unofficial cease-fire with Israel.

A rocket fired from a drone hit two militants on a motorbike in the southern city of Rafah, wounding them both, and one later died in the Rafah hospital, doctors there said. The two were members of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, which has fired dozens of mortar shells and missiles at Israel recently. The Israeli military said they were part of a squad that launched rockets at southern Israel a day earlier.

Also Wednesday, Hamas police officers broke up a small demonstration by youths calling for an end to the split between Gaza and the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority holds sway. Recent efforts by the authority to reconcile with Hamas have so far led nowhere.

Fares Akram reported from Gaza, and Ethan Bronner from Jerusalem.

Germany: Police Thwart Possible Attack On Soccer Game

Filed under: Germany, Islamist, Terrorism — - @ 11:11 am

Source Stratfor

German police have arrested a 25-year-old man in Cologne suspected of plotting an attack on a top Bundesliga soccer match in Dortmund, DPA reported March 31. During interrogations, the suspect made Islamist statements and said he was planning terrorism attacks, German state TV reported. Police later found three explosive devices at the suspect’s apartment near the soccer stadium in Dortmund. A police spokeswoman confirmed that an investigation is under way in connection with the explosive devices found at the apartment.

Israel’s Military Justice System in Times of Terror

Filed under: Gaza, Hamas, Hizbullah, Israel, Laws, Lebanon, Terrorism — - @ 11:07 am

Source JCPA

Written By Judge Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Amnon Strashnov
Former IDF Military Advocate General

  • Israel and the world must fight terrorism without any reservations and without any concessions, since terrorism endangers everyone. On the other hand, Israel has an obligation to guard the basic rights of the local population in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Why should Israel keep the rules of engagement and follow international law while fighting terrorists when the terrorists do not adhere to the rules of engagement? Because Israel is a civilized state and the Israeli soldier is not the same as the Palestinian terrorist. We do not shoot at civilians or kill women and children, and we do not put bombs in buses.
  • Every inhabitant of the West Bank has the right to petition Israel’s Supreme Court. This is unique and unprecedented in the rules of international law – that a resident of an administered area can turn to the High Court of the administering state to ask for a remedy based on justice. In many cases the Court has accepted these petitions.
  • Some human rights organizations have said that because terrorists are civilians, they should be protected under Article 51 of the Geneva Convention. However, Israel’s Supreme Court has declared that once you harm civilians, then you are no longer entitled to be covered by this section.
  • International law does not say that collateral injury to civilians is forbidden. What is forbidden is if you purposely kill civilians, which is what Hamas does when it shoots at kibbutzim, towns and cities in Israel from Gaza.

Fighting Terror While Guarding Human Rights

Fighting against terrorism is not only Israel’s responsibility but that of the entire world. The problem is that terrorism is not being fought as diligently and determinedly as it should be. Israel and the world must fight terrorism without any reservations and without any concessions, since terrorism endangers everyone. On the other hand, Israel has an obligation to guard the basic rights of the local population in the West Bank and Gaza.

Recently, two IDF soldiers were tried and court-martialed for asking a 9-year-old to check a bag which they suspected might contain explosives. The child obeyed their orders and nothing happened, as there were no explosives in the bag, but the soldiers’ actions violated the rules of international humanitarian law because you are not allowed to use the local population in order to help you in the activities of war. Article 51 of the 4th Geneva Convention says: “Protected persons may not be compelled to undertake any work that would involve them in the obligation of taking part in military operations.” Therefore, the Military Advocate General decided to prosecute those soldiers, though he was criticized for doing so. The mission of soldiers is to fight wars and they are not accustomed to performing policing missions or checking bags. This case illustrates the Israeli dilemma, to balance the needs of security and the human rights of the local population.

There is no convention that defines terrorism as a war crime. Most of the world sees people as terrorists when they act against a civilian population when they are not in a uniform, and they are also not entitled to the status of prisoners of war, according to the Geneva Conventions. While some countries will see them as freedom fighters, Hizbullah wants to control Lebanon and Hamas wants to control Israel.

In England and Spain, every citizen can turn to a court and ask for an arrest warrant for an Israeli general or politician. Therefore, there were certain times after the Gaza and Second Lebanon Wars when the chief-of-staff, certain generals, and members of the Israeli government could not go to Europe because they were being prosecuted for war crimes. At the same time, the terrorists can go wherever they want and usually nobody is going to stop them. While it seems that the world has turned upside down in its basic attitude toward terrorists, certain Israelis who are trying to catch those terrorists and minimize terrorism all over the world have to worry about being arrested in certain countries.

We try to adhere to the rules of international law in fighting terrorists and the Israeli government and army often face internal criticism for this. Why should Israel keep the rules of engagement and follow international law while fighting terrorists when the terrorists do not adhere to the rules of engagement? Because Israel is a civilized state and the Israeli soldier is not the same as the Palestinian terrorist. We do not stoop to their level of fighting. We do not shoot at civilians or kill women and children, and we do not put bombs in buses.

The Principles by Which Israel Fights Terrorism

There are four main principles by which Israel fights terrorism:

  1. Military necessity – the obligation to use force only in a way that yields a direct military advantage.
  2. Distinction – the obligation to distinguish between combatants and innocent civilians, who must be kept unharmed to the extent possible.
  3. Humanity – the obligation to refrain from operations which cause unnecessary suffering.
  4. Proportionality – the obligation to ensure that actions against legitimate targets do not affect protected persons and targets in a manner disproportionate to the military advantage expected from the attack.

The most important of these principles are distinction and proportionality. The first Palestinian uprising (intifada) between 1987 and 1991 (when I was the Military Advocate General) was basically civil unrest. There were demonstrations, roadblocks, and burning tires. It was not terror and we took measures such as bringing Palestinians to trial, administrative detention, and deportation. The difference is that now it is a situation of terrorism – a situation which is just short of war, and it is necessary to take other measures, one of which is targeted killing.

There must be proportionality between eliminating the terrorists wherever they are and keeping the civilian population as safe as possible. Sometimes there is collateral damage, when you shoot at a terrorist and some innocent civilians can be harmed, but you cannot do this intentionally. There is a case before the Supreme Court right now regarding proportionality when many people were killed in the bombing of one terrorist. In the war against terrorists, the State of Israel acts within the framework of the rules of humanitarian law.

Every inhabitant of the West Bank has the right to petition Israel’s Supreme Court. This is unique and unprecedented in the rules of international law – that a resident of an administered area can turn to the High Court of the administering state to ask for a remedy based on justice. In many cases the Court has accepted these petitions. The settlement of Elon Moreh near Nablus (Shechem) was first established on land claimed to be private. The Supreme Court accepted the claim of the Arabs and Elon Moreh was moved to state land. Since then, Israel has established settlements only on state land.

Israel’s Military Advocate General

The military justice system in the State of Israel is handled by the Military Advocate General and by legal professionals, not by military commanders. The American Military Advocate General only has the power to make recommendations, but he does not decide. In Israel, the power to prosecute soldiers, or Palestinians, in the military courts in the West Bank rests with the Military Advocate General. He can consult with the commanders, such as the chief-of-staff or other generals, but the final decision on whether to prosecute somebody is in the hands of the Military Advocate General.

When I was Military Advocate General during the first Arab uprising, we tried a few soldiers for acting in excess of the rules of engagement. The army did not like this, but they were tried for misbehavior or for acting beyond the scope of what the commanders ordered them to do. Even in times of war, the rule of law must prevail and we have to act according to humanitarian law and to basic norms of behavior. That was also the situation in the Second Intifada, which was not a civil uprising but a conflict which was defined as just short of war – a fight against terrorism. This was not about children throwing stones at soldiers or blocking roads. From October 2000 until 2005, more than a thousand Israeli citizens were killed, buses were blown up, and families were eliminated. Coffee shops became scenes of bloodshed and devastation. It was a real war, and we had to fight it determinedly and decisively, and that is what we did.

Not long ago, a battalion commander told a soldier, or that is what the soldier understood, to shoot next to the feet of a Palestinian in order to frighten him, and it worked. The case was initiated by a human rights organization and the soldier and the battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel, were court-martialed. The decision was highly criticized, but the Military Advocate General was persistent that such behavior is manifestly illegal and that you cannot agree to it in a civilized country like Israel.

Israel Supreme Court Oversight

We are all subject to the power of the Israel Supreme Court, which has made some landmark decisions. Once we used to destroy houses based on emergency regulations enacted by the British during the Mandate, by which we have the right to confiscate and demolish houses. The Supreme Court said that we have to give the owners the right to a hearing and check if the terrorist lived in the house for the last five years. The Supreme Court also decided to abolish the use of physical pressure on prisoners, except in the case of a ticking bomb.

In 1991 during the Gulf War, when the government decided to distribute gas masks only to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians turned to the Supreme Court, which said that we have an obligation to keep the civilians as safe as possible. Once there is a decision that Jewish towns might be endangered from Scud missiles, we are obligated to give gas masks to the Palestinian population as well.

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel and some other organizations said that because terrorists are civilians, they should be protected and have the right to not be touched. They based their argument on Article 51 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention which says: “Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.” Their claim was that the terrorists could not be touched if they were sitting in their homes, even if from time to time they went out to kill some Jews. The Supreme Court declared that once you harm civilians, then you are no longer entitled to be covered by this section.

In the case of targeted killings, if the army concludes that a terrorist is going to perform an act of terror, we are entitled to kill him as a preventive measure in order to defend ourselves. The Supreme Court set out four criteria which have to be considered in the use of targeted killing:

  1. Information is needed before categorizing a civilian as falling into the category of a potential target. Verification is needed regarding the activities of the civilian who has allegedly taken a direct part in the hostilities, so we have to have good intelligence on him.
  2. A civilian cannot be attacked if a less harmful means can be employed, such as bringing him to trial or administrative detention, which we can no longer do in those places that we have relinquished.
  3. After an attack on civilians suspected of taking an active part in terrorism, a thorough investigation regarding the identification of the target and the circumstances of the attack upon him must be performed retroactively.
  4. Every effort must be made to minimize harm to innocent civilians. Harm to innocent civilians, or collateral damage, during military attacks must be proportional.

Proportionality is the most important criterion. When I lecture soldiers, especially pilots, about collateral damage, the question comes up as to its legality. My answer is that it is legal because international law does not say that collateral injury to civilians is forbidden. What is forbidden is if you purposely kill civilians, which is what Hamas does when it shoots at kibbutzim, towns, and cities in Israel from Gaza. If we see a terrorist entering a school or a hospital, we stop, for then an attack would not be proportional.

The Supreme Court recently decided that it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is prohibited according to customary international law, just as it cannot be determined in advance that every targeted killing is permissible according to customary international law. The law of targeted killing is set forth in customary international law and the legality of each individual act must be determined in light of it.

There used to be a practice of sending a neighbor into a building harboring terrorists to tell them to surrender. The Supreme Court said this is illegal and against the rules of international law. According to Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one is not allowed to use a civilian’s assistance during war activities. Article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention says that protected people should not be coerced to do things and should be separated from the military or war zone. Even if the civilian agreed to convey a warning to terrorists in a building, it was determined that perhaps his consent was given when he felt he did not have a choice.

As former Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak has said: “That is the fate of democracy in whose eyes not all means are permitted and to whom not all the methods used by its enemies are open. At times, democracy fights with one hand tied behind its back. Despite that, democracy has the upper hand since preserving the rule of law and recognition of individual liberties constitute an important component of its security. At the end of the day, they strengthen its spirit and allow it to overcome its difficulties.”

*     *     *

Judge Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Amnon Strashnov has served in a variety of key positions in the IDF, managing and controlling Israel’s military justice system. He served as Chief Military Prosecutor, President of the Military Courts in the West Bank, and most recently as the Military Advocate General (Chief Legal Officer) of the Israel Defense Forces. After retiring from the IDF in 1991, Brig.-Gen. Strashnov was appointed a district court judge in Tel Aviv, from which he retired in 2002. This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on the author’s presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on February 10, 2011.

Iranian and Hizbullah Silence in the Face of U.S. Support for the Syrian Regime

Filed under: Hizbullah, Iran, Israel, Jihad, National Security, Obama, Syria — - @ 10:12 am

Source Link: Jerusalem Center

Written by Shimon Shapira

As bloody riots threaten Bashar Assad’s regime and the minority Alawite rule, the silence of Iran and Hizbullah, Syria’s closest allies, is striking.

Iran is following developments in Syria with concern, and through its silence is supporting Syria’s massive use of force, which it had earlier criticized in other countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain.

Iran’s main concern is losing its most important strategic ally in the Middle East. This alliance gives Iran free rein in Lebanon, thus allowing Hizbullah to flourish, and helps fan the flames of jihadi zeal against Israel within Palestinian organizations.

The Iranian influence in Syria has grown significantly since Assad replaced his father. In recent years, Assad has permitted Iran to invest enormous sums toward the creation of a new Shiite community within Syria to act as a counterbalance to the Sunni majority. These investments include the building of new Shiite mosques in Damascus and the surrounding cities, the establishment of educational and cultural institutions to enable Iranian clergy to spread Shiite beliefs, and Persian-language classes in cultural centers across the country. Syria has become a favorite destination of Iranian tourists who visit holy places in Damascus (such as the Shrine of Sayidda Zaynab) and other cities, as well as a transit station for Iranian “Jihad tourism” to Hizbullah battle sites, including those in southern Lebanon. Thus it is no surprise that cries of “no to Iran” and “no to Hizbullah” have become common slogans among the rebels fighting against Assad’s regime.

Hizbullah leader Nasrallah, who issued a furious attack against Arab leaders who were massacring their people and offered assistance to Bahrain’s Shiite citizens in their rebellion against the Sunni authorities, drew his inspiration from Tehran in keeping quiet, as well. Al-Manar, Hizbullah’s official television channel, which broadcasts continuous coverage of the “Arab Spring,” hardly reports on the developments in Syria. The reasons for this are obvious. In contrast with his father, Hafez Assad, who refused to meet with Nasrallah and regarded him as simply one of many Lebanese leaders, Bashar Assad turned Nasrallah into a revered hero who fought Israel with military and strategic success. Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and Hizbullah’s “divine victory” in 2006 transformed Nasrallah into a modern-day Saladin in Assad’s eyes, and he has warmly embraced him. Even the mysterious assassination of Hizbullah Chief of Staff Imad Mughniyeh in the center of Damascus did not harm the special relationship between the two. Nasrallah has never publicly blamed Assad for Mughniyeh’s inadequate protection.

Astonishingly, as events appear today, Nasrallah has been encouraged by American policy towards Assad, who enjoys public American support for his continued leadership. It seems that even Nasrallah is not willing to voice his support of Assad in such a public way as has the U.S. Secretary of State.

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Indonesia: Terror Suspect Wounded During Arrest

Filed under: CIA, Indonesia, Pakistan — Tags: , — - @ 10:02 am

Source Stratfor

The leading Indonesian suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings was wounded in a firefight with security forces during his Jan. 25 arrest in Pakistan, an Indonesian official said March 31, AP reported. The deputy commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, Umar Patek was captured based on a CIA tip, according to Pakistani and Indonesian security officials. One officer was also wounded in the gunfight, the head of Indonesia’s intelligence agency said. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Indonesian consular officials would be given access to Patek in order to confirm his identity, and Pakistani security officials said that after Patek’s questioning he would be handed over to Indonesia.

Libya: South Africa Rejects Foreign-Led Regime Change

Filed under: European Union, Libya, United Nations — Tags: — - @ 9:14 am

Source Stratfor

South Africa on March 31 rejected calls to help drive Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power, saying the military campaign in the country should be limited to enforcing the U.N.-sanctioned no-fly zone, AFP reported. How Libya should be governed is an issue for the people therein, rather than foreign powers, to decide, which is why South Africa rejects the doctrine of regime change, a South African Foreign Ministry spokesman said. The South African government also recognizes the legitimate demands of the Libyan people for reform and democracy, the spokesman added.

Libya: Protect People, Not Arm Them – NATO Chief

Filed under: European Union, France, Libya, National Security, NATO, Obama — - @ 9:11 am

Source Stratfor

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance’s position is to protect the Libyan people, not arm them, Times of Malta reported March 31. He said the alliance will focus on the enforcement of the arms embargo. NATO said it has taken over from the United States all air operations over Libya. (emphasis added)

France Will Not Arm Libyan Rebels – DM

Arming the Libyan rebels in incompatible with U.N. Resolution 1973, so France will neither supply the rebels with weapons nor commit ground troops to the country, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said March 31, AFP reported.

Israel: U.S. Consulate Closed Over Security Concerns

Filed under: Israel, Obama — Tags: , , , — - @ 9:02 am

Source Stratfor

The U.S. consulate in Jerusalem will close its consular annex March 31 due to a mysterious package discovered at the building, AFP reported March 30. The package contained an unidentified powder, an Israeli police spokesman said, adding police and Environmental Protection Ministry officials examined the material before it was sent for a specialist investigation.

CIA In Libya Aiding Rebels

Filed under: CIA, Laws, Libya, Lies and more Lies, National Security, Obama — - @ 8:54 am

Source Stratfor

Small groups of CIA operatives have been aiding rebels in Libya for the past several weeks, The New York Times reported March 30, citing unnamed U.S. officials. The CIA operatives include an undisclosed number who had been working at the CIA station in Tripoli as well as those that have recently arrived, the officials said. Dozens of British special forces and MI6 operatives are working inside Libya, the officials said, adding that the British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British Tornado jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tanks, artillery pieces and missile installations.


The Problem with Arming the Libyan Rebels

Source Stratfor

PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images A Libyan rebel poses next to a destroyed government tank March 26 in Ajdabiya


As the rebels fail to advance on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s strongholds in the western part of the country, allied powers enforcing the no-fly zone have increasingly floated the idea of providing the opposition fighters with weapons. Arming a rebel force can help level the playing field or nudge a conflict toward a certain conclusion, but taken alone, supplying arms cannot fix the fundamental problems that cause a force to be militarily inept.


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Talk of arming the rebel fighters in Libya predates the March 17 decision to initiate an air campaign over the country but is again increasing as the rebels fail to show any sign of being able to successfully engage forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Before the imposition of the no-fly zone and coalition airstrikes, rebel defensive lines were collapsing in the face of an assault by Gadhafi’s forces, and the advance of the rebels from the contested city of Ajdabiya, just south of the rebel headquarters in Benghazi, to the outskirts of Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown, was actually just rebels moving into territory from which loyalist forces had already withdrawn. As soon as the rebels encountered prepared defensive positions outside of Sirte, they were forced to beat a hasty retreat. Already there are reports that loyalist forces have retaken the town of Ras Lanuf, a key energy export hub.

The renewed talk of arming the rebels has its roots in the fundamental problems of a limited air campaign against Libya. Coalition airpower is capable of defeating Gadhafi’s air force, crushing his larger, more fixed air defense capabilities as well as taking out known command, control and communications hubs. But the use of airpower to eliminate Gadhafi’s ability to wage war would entail civilian casualties and collateral damage. If minimizing those casualties is a key objective, then it is simply not possible for airpower alone to force loyalist forces already embedded in urban areas to withdraw.

The Problem with Arming the Libyan Rebels
(click here to enlarge image)

If airpower is the wrong tool for the job and no country is willing to provide the right tool in the form of ground combat forces, providing weapons to the Libyan rebels is increasingly appearing to be the best alternative, at least to some of the coalition partners. In theory, this would provide the capability to do what airpower cannot and enable the rebels to provide the required ground presence. However, at no point in the Libyan civil war have the rebel fighters proved to be a competent military force, and their difficulties are not solely linked to their lack of arms. And without coherent organization, leadership, battlefield communications or command and control, as well as the ability to plan and sustain offensives logistically, no quantity of arms is going to solve the problem.

In the early days of unrest, opposition forces broke open Libyan military arsenals and appropriated an enormous quantity of small arms, ammunition, heavy weapons and related materiel, including armored vehicles and rocket artillery. Numerous reports have described rebels expending massive amount of ammunition to no purpose, firing small arms, rockets and recoilless rifles aimlessly into the air. Early on there were reports that a rebel SA-7 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile was used to shoot down one of the rebels’ own planes, and the rebels have even implicitly acknowledged their limitations by issuing a call for drivers capable of operating a T-55, an archaic Soviet tank and one of the oldest in even the Libyan arsenal.

Indeed, the longer-term problem in Libya is not too few arms, but too many. All of the arms that have been broken out of Libyan stockpiles will not be returned after the conflict ends. Everything from small arms to explosives to man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) will be proliferating around the region for years. There are also minor concerns that even within the rebel movement there are elements of al Qaeda and Hezbollah seeking to take advantage of the situation, though this is largely reflective of the overall lack of understanding by Western countries of the nature of the eastern opposition movement.

Unconfirmed reports have indicated Egypt and possibly Qatar may be involved in smuggling weapons to the opposition. But what the opposition needs is not more weapons but training that will enable them to be a competent fighting force that could advance with only limited outside support, as the Northern Alliance did against Kabul and the Taliban in 2001. Unfortunately, as recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates, training requires time — usually years, not weeks or months — that neither the coalition forces nor the rebels have.

The necessity that training go along with any arms shipments to the rebel fighters has reportedly complicated the internal debate in Washington over whether this policy is the best course of action. The United States has been explicit in its opposition to deploying ground forces in Libya, fearing that placing even a small number of advisers in eastern Libya could suck the United States into a protracted conflict.

Arming an opposition or insurgent force can work when the group or a collection of groups are already composed of capable fighters and competent leadership. When the United States gave FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS to the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet occupation of the country, the mujahideen were a bloodied and battle-hardened force capable of planning and executing ambushes and assaults on Soviet positions. They were already slowly bleeding the Red Army in Afghanistan and may well have ultimately prevailed even without the Stingers. But the new missiles helped reduce a key Soviet advantage, their airpower. And when the Soviets and Chinese armed North Vietnam, the North Vietnamese had the basic military competencies not only to incorporate those arms into their operations but also to orchestrate the massive logistical effort to sustain them in combat and conduct large-scale military operations.

Today, the Taliban are winning in Afghanistan with Lee-Enfield rifles dating back to the 19th century and homemade improvised explosive devices, among other weapons. They are an agile and capable insurgent force that may ultimately prevail even without any expansion of limited outside assistance.

Taken alone, the act of supplying arms to a group cannot fundamentally alter the military reality on the ground. Also, rooting out competent forces from prepared defensive positions in fortified urban areas is a profound challenge for the best militaries in the world. Providing a ragtag group of rebels with additional arms and ammunition will not achieve that, though it may well make the conflict bloodier, particularly for civilians. And like the arms already loose in the country, any additional arms inserted into the equation will not be used only against Gadhafi’s forces, but around the region for years to come.

Media sources reveal details of a conspiracy by Bandar Bin Sultan and Feltman to “destroy” Syria

Source Link: Champress

Media sources reveal details of a conspiracy by Bandar Bin Sultan and Feltman to "destroy" Syria

Several media sources have revealed the details of a “well-organized” plan to destroy Syria and create chaos in the country. The plan is said to be drawn up by Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States,  in collaboration with the former U.S. Ambassador in Lebanon, “Jeffrey Feltman” to overthrow the regime in Syria and to bring Syria back to the “stone age”, according to the sources.

The lengthy and detailed plan, developed by Bandar bin Sultan and his friend Feltman in 2008 with a funding reached  $ 2 billion, consists of many items and precise details which significantly intersect with the incidents  of disturbances the city of Daraa has recently witnessed.

According to sources, the plan “strategically” depended on the exploitation of peoples’ legitimate desire in freedom, dignity and getting rid of corruption and on the turning of these wishes into a revolt against the regime through convincing the people that the road to reform from within the regime  is closed and the solution is an all-out  revolution.

However, the plan tactically divided Syria into three areas (big cities, small cities and villages), and the established five types of networks:

1- The “Fuel”:  This network comprises educated and unemployed youths who are to be linked in a decentralized way.

2- The “Thugs” network  which includes outlaws and criminals from remote areas, preferably non-Syrians.

3- The “Ethnic-Sectarian” network which consists of young people with limited education representing ethnic communities that support or oppose the president. They must be under the age of 22.

4- The “Media” network that comprises some leaders of civil society institutions which have European funding not American one.

5- The “Capital” network which comprises traders, companies owners, banks and commercial centers in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs only.

On how to use these networks and  link between each others, the plan provides for:

The utilization of ambitious young people from the first network (Network of fuel) through attractive phrases such as:

– You must have a voice

– Change can’t be achieved except by force

– Your future is yours to determine

– Your silence is the cause, and so on ….

The plan also provides for exploiting the skills of members of the second network (Network of thugs) through:

– Training the thugs on professional killing including sniping and murdering in cold blood.

– Training them on burning public buildings quickly by using flammable substance.

– Training thugs on penetrating prisons police centers and security buildings.

According to the plan, members of the third network (sectarian ethnic netwrok) will be exploited by

– Feeding their strong feeling of support for or opposition against the President.

– Making them feel that their communities are threatened in all cases.

– Creating the concept of using excessive force against others.

– Convincing them of the idea that all who oppose them in anything are traitors.

– Leading them to a “state of color blindness”, so see only black and white.

-Exploitation their age and lack of knowledge of history and geography and leading them to the brink of being ready to do anything.

The fourth network (media network) will also be exploited to serve the plan. Members of this network will be recruited and their skills will be enhanced  to lead the (public opinion) through:

– Enabling them to communicate with the media by satellite phone that can’t be monitored or cut off.

– Promoting them as nationalists and as individuals who don’t oppose to the regime, but call for civil society.

– Qualifying cadres and training them on techniques of modern media such as blogging and using the Internet which help them communicate with the public.

– Holding regular meetings with them and coordinating their efforts so that no one will contradict the other.

The fifth network (capital network) will be exploited by using their fear of their money being wasted, so the following must be achieved:

– Linking traders with trade officials in the European embassies under the cover of trade relations.

– Holding luxurious parties to be attended by businessmen and during which exclusively Arab Gulf deals and investments are to be made.

– Threatening them with certain sexual relations that are filmed for later blackmailing them.

– Urging them against the regime and creating ideas such as: “The country is yours and outsiders control you. The regime makes wealthy people on your expense. You are the ones who build the country and others rule it. Bashar al-Assad steals you via taxes and his supporters enjoy it. All your businesses projects are a loss due to bribery and corruption. Your wealth is threatened and must be transferred outside Syria because the regime will collapse. We will make you rule the country after the collapse of the regime. ”

The plan also contained in its “executive”  chapter several scenarios, and precise details of how to start and move, how networks will be exploited and how to move forward.

According to executive chapter, the plan adopts the following stages:

1- If a targeted person from the Fuel Network responded, another stage will immediately begin based on exploiting his/her need for money, so the plan starts to:
– Provide him/her with small amounts of money.
– Ensure him/her a rented car, a cellular phone and Internet connection.
– Ask him/her to look for and bring other young people and use the same method with them.

– When the number of young people reach 5000 in major cities and 1500 in small cities and 500 in the villages, these people are asked to start to express their desire in change and reform. At this very stage any talk against any side of the people must be avoided. Not a word on sectarian, partisan, rightist or leftist basis is allowed at this stage.

As this stage proceeds, objections by non-enthusiasts are to be faced by a set of appropriate responses such as:
– If someone says there is a change, the response must be: “There is no change at all. This is all a lie”
– If he says change is coming, then the response must be: “We have heard this for more than 40 years”
– If anyone says that time is not suitable, the response must be: “So when must we move. Are we going to move after 100 years”
– If one says that of our dignity lies in resisting America, the response must be: “We have nothing to do with resistance, we want to live” and so on…

– A Moving group has to be pushed into streets inside already existing gatherings such as in crowded markets, in mosques after prayers and in narrow alleys.  This group is divided into three rings: The shouters, the photographers, and the hidden people.  The shouters gather at the center of the circle and begin chanting within the gathering. This ring is surrounded by the ring of the hidden people, while the photographers’ ring surrounds all. If anyone tried to disperse the shouters the hidden people defend them under the pretext: ” let them speak”, and if no one try to disperse them, the same ring of the hidden people assaults the shouters and disperse them. In both cases,” We get an excellent picture for the media.”

– In general, the authorities have to be provoked to be drawn into the use of torture and cruelty. Here the authorities have to choose one of two solutions; either to intervene or not to intervene.

– If the authorities don’t interfere, the number of enthusiasts will begin to increase, because young people’s demands will attract a bigger number of new enthusiasts who all, according to the plan, must not know anything about the network link.

– If the authorities intervene and arrest one of the network members, he/she must make himself/herself appear “innocent and pathetic”, immediately change his/her stance and illusively promise the authorities not to do that again. According to the plan he/she is to be completely frozen to the final stage, but funding continues.

– If the authorities intervene and arrest one from outside the network, the incident must fully be exploited by raising the level of demands. If the security forces torture him/her, this will be better as it will help in fueling the people’s feelings and here phrases linking torture to the whole regime not only to the security forces are to be promoted and the following statements and ideas are to be disseminated:  “Have you seen what happened to the poor man, this is what the president wants.  It isn’t fair, the man wants only to live. Do those traders only have the right to have money. Is it a government or a group of thieves. The reason behind this is the top leadership”, and so on …

2- When moves start in the streets, people must be instigated as fast as possible to change their just demands into calls for the downfall of the regime. Here the following must be implemented:

– The second network, “network of the thugs”, is introduced  to the scene immediately to attack all of the demonstrators and security personnel.

– Videos and photos for dramatic events which hurt religious and social feelings, such as attacking women, preferably veiled ones, must be taken. As a result alleged demonstrators shout general slogans and if they are attacked by security forces it will be very excellent. But if they are attacked by civilians, the group says “security forces dressed in civilian clothes,” attacked the demonstrators. However, if no one attack them, a member of the same group will attack the demonstrators, even if this leads to minor injuries. Video shots must not last more than 20 seconds and they must be taken from a very close position not from a far one.

– The rapid use of bloodshed, because of its significant impact on the people. This includes the killing of a protester from outside the network, preferably a youth from big and famous families, or a youth who has major social ties or a highly  educated person, especially a doctor, an engineer or an intellectual. The killing must be committed rapidly by snipers and with bullets of the same type used by police or security forces. This stage also includes the killing of security personnel or guarding police.

– Burning properties of the traders who have been involved in the plan and dragging them into a state of fear together with other economic figures with the purpose of having influence on the lives of as many people as possible.

– Provoking Bashar al-Assad loyalists and engaging them in polemics with others, especially the Islamists,. Here the loyalist are to be accused of being  from the intelligence and that they are horns of the regime and beneficiaries from the authority.
Creating mistrust and tension between the loyalists and the people, telling about the near end of Bashar al-Assad and calling for random supportive demonstrations and calls advocating slaughter, murder and terrorism are planned to be launched. In turn, opponents keep calm and delay any move till after the creation of sectarian and ethnic killing. They have to be well-organized in their calls for political reform, freedom, democracy and civil life.

– Foiling any attempt to attain political solutions by the regime through burning symbols of power such as the Baath Party headquarters, police stations, prisons and security forces centers in addition to distorting Bashar al-Assad pictures.

3- The fourth network (The media) is introduced. The aim here is to link Bashar al-Assad to all previous era and to devalue all his actions by opening all the old files and holding the current regime responsible for them.

Bandar bin Sultan recognizes in his plan that Bashar Assad enjoys a real popularity inside and outside Syria that should not be underestimated. He believes that this popularity must be exploited and transformed from a point of strength into a point of weakness through the use of the enthusiasm of supporters against demonstrations.

To undermine the military, the government and the security system, Bandar believes that they must be torn into sects, and here comes the role of the third network the ( “ethnic-sectarian” network)  taking into account the neutralization of major doctrines like the Shafi’I and the Hanafi. This will be done as follows:

– Urging each sect to commit horrible bloody massacres against violators. These crimes must be filmed and posted to the media as soon as possible. The start should be in places far from Damascus and there should not be a lot of blood for fear that people may retreat.

For instance, in Lattakia and Tartous, people from the Alawite sect from the network slaughter youths from the Sunni sect, cut parts of their bodies chant long live Bashar.
In Aleppo, Salafis from the network attack Alawites’ villages, burn their homes and terrorizing the people to leave their villages and chant “Death to the “Nasirien” death to the enemies of the Sahaba”.
In Hasakah, Arabs from the network slaughter and hang some young people and make fun of the Kurds in a visual way without language and clear enough to be understood by the Kurds without translation. Some Christians, particularly Armenians are planned to be killed.
In Daraa, “snipers” from outside the city of Daraa kill young people from the Jawabra and the Mahamid families without  approaching anyone from the  Abazeed and the Masalmeh families.

In the city of Al-Boukamal, the Shi’ites kill Sunnis and scream, “Oh Karbala, Oh Hussein”.
In Homs, Arabs kill Turkmen and loot their shops, particularly gold shops and also kill Catholic Christians and Murshdis.
In Sewidaa, Druze members of the network kill a number of Christians in surrounding villages and burning several churches
In Qamishli, Kurd members of the network avenge the killing of Kurds in Hasaka. Some Armenians also kill Arab Muslims.
In Deir Ez-Zour, “snipers” from outside the city kill young people from the Agidat and Bani Naeem tribes without approaching smaller tribes like the “Rolla”, the “Jabour” or the “Shummar” and scream during the filming in the name of the  “Bokhabour  and the “Mohassan”.

Bandar thinks that the regime as a whole will be busy trying to settle the disputes between communities and ethnic groups. Bashar al-Assad will send delegates from his government to resolve sectarian and ethnic differences while Damascus will be empty of government pillars and here comes the turn of Damascus where each minority group avenge and the city flares up from all sides. This will be done as follows:

– The Christians in the east of Damascus kill Muslims who live among them in areas like Qassaa and Bab Touma. They also kill the Druze in the village of Jaramana.

– The Sunnis in the south of the city kill Shiites living among them in the “Shaghour” and the “Muhajereen” areas.

– Salafis in the areas of “Duma” and “Darayya” burn the headquarters of the municipality, courts and police stations.

– Alawites in the west of the city in “Mezze Jabal” area kill Sunnis who live among them.

– Kurds in the north of the city in “Rukn Eddin” area attack Arabs from all sects.

Meanwhile, Bandar believes that the army will be divided, the security systems and the government will collapse and Bashar will only have the Republican Guard, which he will not be able to move because the army will stand against him. This will make Bashar al-Assad’s presence in power the cause of all problems, and here comes the role of the fifth network the (network of the capital). The following has to be implemented:

– Holding a meeting between capital owners (businessmen) and leaders of the army and security bodies as well as ministers from Damascus and Aleppo. The plan is to convince them to abandon Bashar al-Assad promising them survival after the end of the President’s rule.

– In case some businessmen refuse to cooperate, they are threatened of canceling authorizations, of withdrawing investments and of sex scandals if they are among those penetrated by sexual relations.

– In case some army leaders refuse, they are threatened of imprisonment or assassination. If it is possible under a state of chaos, officers of high ranks, not from Damascus or Aleppo, could be assassinated to terrorize them.

-A national council of businessmen, ministers and security chiefs must be formed and recognized by the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

President al-Assad addressing the nation: Syria is strong and great with its people..Conspirators prepared a mix of sedition, reform demand and daily needs to destabilize Syria

Filed under: Muslim Brotherhood, National Security, Obama, Syria — Tags: — - @ 3:23 pm

Source Link:Champress

President al-Assad addressing the nation: Syria is strong and great with its people..Conspirators prepared a mix of sedition, reform demand and daily needs to destabilize Syria
Whoever belongs to the Syrian people will always keep his head high

Damascus, Champress- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday addressed the Syrian people through the people’s Assembly and stressed that Syria is strong and great with its people and that whoever belongs to the Syrian people will always keep his head high.

In his first speech after the unfortunate incidents which took place in the cities of Daraa and Lattakia, President al-Assad said that those events were a “test to our unity”.

Our enemies work daily to hit Syria’s stability

President al-Assad pointed out that what happened in the Arab arena consolidates the Syrian view point and expresses a popular unanimity and when there is a popular unanimity “we have to be satisfied whether we agree or don’t agree on many points.

Our enemy was stupid in targeting the wrong country where such conspiracies don’t work

President a-assad said: “I know that the Syrian people have been awaiting this speech since last week, but I was waiting to get the full picture… to avoid giving an emotional address that would put the people at ease but have no real effect, at a time when our enemies are targeting Syria.”

He  added that “We admit that our enemy was clever in using very developed tools to make their conspiracy a success, but was stupid in targeting the wrong country where such conspiracies don’t work.”

The President expressed belief that Syria will emerge as victorious out of the test of unity it is facing.

He said Syria’s enemies had taken advantage of the needs of the people to incite strife. “This conspiracy is different in shape and timing from what is going on in the Arab world,” he said, while noting that Syria is not isolated from the region, but at the same time is not a copy of other countries.

President al-Assad also noted that the enemies of Syria are working to continuously hit Syria’s stability. While expressing hope that the latest developments would support the Palestinian cause.

He recalled that Syria’ foreign policy has been based on a decision to hold onto rights and defend the Arab resistance. “Therefore, the objective behind the latest plot against Syria aimed at ending its leadership of the resistance against Israel,” he highlighted.

Addressing the weekend developments in Syria, President al-Assad stressed that the strife began weeks ago through the instigation of satellite TV stations. He praised the people of Daraa who constitute the main arm in protecting Syria.

The President turned to announce the state’s readiness to launch the process of reform.

“We are all for reform. That is the duty of the state. But we are not for strife,” he said. “Reform is not a trend,” he added. “When the people demand their rights, it is the state’s duty to fulfill their demands. What we should watch out for is starting reforms under these circumstances right now, this passing wave.”

President al-Assad stressed that the measures announced Thursday were not taken under pressure. “The measures announced Thursday were not made suddenly,” he said. “The emergency law and political parties’ law have been under study for a year. There are more, unannounced reforms … but giving a timeframe is a logistic matter. When we announce it in such circumstances, it is difficult to make that deadline,” the president said.

“We were late in implementing reform but we will start now,” President al-Assad said, addressing those asking for reform. He said that ties between the state and the people are not based on pressure but on the rights and needs of citizens. He also announced plans to combat corruption and increase job opportunities.

The Syrian President’s Apparent Confidence

Filed under: Libya, Muslim Brotherhood, National Security, Obama, Syria — - @ 3:10 pm

Source Stratfor

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images Pro-government demonstrators rally in Damascus on March 29


The spread of protests in Syria led to speculation that Syrian President Bashar al Assad, in a speech delivered to parliament March 30, would announce reforms or repeal the country’s emergency law. However, al Assad avoided making even token political reforms that could have been construed as a sign of the regime’s weakness. The Syrian regime, still in a relatively stronger position compared to many of its Arab counterparts, is likely to resort to more forceful crackdowns in an effort to discourage the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood from throwing their full weight behind the demonstrations.


Syrian President Bashar al Assad delivered a speech to parliament March 30 that focused on asserting his authority amid intensifying protests. Ahead of the speech, speculation was swirling that al Assad would announce an end to the country’s emergency law, which has been in place since 1963, and a handful of reforms in an attempt to quell demonstrations, which have spread from the southwest Sunni stronghold of Daraa to Damascus, Latakia, Homs, Hama and Qamishli in recent days. Instead, al Assad only vaguely mentioned the need for future reforms (he did not mention the emergency law at all) but, like the Bahraini government, maintained that security and stability would need to come first. He also spent time on a narrative of foreign conspirators exploiting the grievances of the Syrian people to break Syria apart.

When the wave of regional uprisings was still in its nascent stages, al Assad, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, acknowledged the growing need for reforms in Syria while confidently asserting that his country was immune to a popular uprising. In spite of that obviously premature assertion, the Syrian president has observed the tactics employed by neighboring embattled Arab leaders and has deduced that the promise of reform, if announced when a regime is acting defensively in the current regional environment, is more likely to embolden than quell the opposition.

Al Assad instead appears to be steadfast in his intent to intensify a crackdown on protesters. While the protesters in and around Daraa have remained defiant and continue to take to the streets in large numbers, protests elsewhere in the country remain relatively limited so far. The regime’s priority is to halt the demonstrations’ momentum while it still can, in order to avoid giving the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) the confidence to throw its full weight behind the demonstrations. (The Syrian MB still remembers the 1982 Hama massacre, when the government violently put down the Syrian MB’s uprising.) There are some early indications of MB involvement in the demonstrations in Daraa, where the religious movement and tribal landscape is linked to the Jordanian MB. However, it appears that the Syrian MB is waiting for stronger assurances from the West that it will be defended in the event of a severe crackdown.

So far, there is no sign of such assurances. The U.S. administration has been attempting to carefully differentiate the humanitarian military intervention in Libya from the escalating situation in Syria, claiming the level of oppression in the latter does not warrant a discussion of military intervention to protect Syrian citizens. Though this distinction is very blurry — and now much more complicated, given that al Assad is refraining from announcing even token reforms — the United States and its Western allies (including Israel) do not appear to have any strong motivation to entangle themselves in the Levant region and risk the instability that could result from the downfall of al Assad’s regime. Turkey, which has stepped up its mediation efforts with Syria, does not want to see further instability on its borders. Al Assad is likely looking to Ankara for assurances that NATO will not intervene in Syria as it did in Libya, should the government resort to more forceful crackdowns. In return for such assurances, Syria could be helping to clamp down on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad activity.

The 45-year-old al Assad does not face the same succession issues with which many other old and ailing embattled Arab leaders are struggling. Like many regimes in the region, the al Assad regime has its fissures, though those appear to be largely contained for now. A key family feud to monitor is a long-standing rivalry between the president’s brother and head of the elite Presidential Guard, Maher al Assad, and his brother-in-law, Gen. Asef Shawkat, deputy chief of staff of the Syrian army. According to a STRATFOR source, Maher al Assad was staunchly against al Assad’s announcing a package of political reforms and ending the emergency law. He, along with many within al Assad’s inner circle, believes that even token political reforms are a sign of weakness. So far, that view appears to be prevailing.

The Syrian security and intelligence apparatus has been struggling to put down the protests but remains a pervasive, fairly unified and competent force for internal security. Opposition organizers and protesters are being rounded up daily and the regime, well-versed in intimidation tactics, is making clear to the protesters and their families the consequences of dissent. Whether this will be enough to stamp out the current uprising remains to be seen, but the Syrian regime is capable of bringing much more force to bear on the demonstrators should the protests escalate.

Hostage Taking In Lebanon

Filed under: Hezbollah, Lebanon, National Security, Obama, Terrorism — Tags: , — - @ 12:24 pm

Source Stratfor

Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton examines the recent abduction of Estonian nationals in the Bekaa Valley in the context of hostage-taking in Lebanon going back to the 1980s.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Hostage-taking is back in Lebanon with the March 23 abduction of seven cyclists from Estonia, who were kidnapped in the Bekaa Valley. This is reminiscent of Lebanon being a hotbed of hostage-taking in the 1980s.

Masked gunmen in a black Mercedes and two white vans kidnapped the seven cyclists on a road in the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border. The use of the three vehicles tells me there was a degree of premeditation for the abduction, so I would think the kidnappers knew exactly where the cyclists were going to be. The Bekaa Valley is an area that has a high degree of Hezbollah presence, as well as radical Palestinian groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLPGC). There is going to be a tremendous amount of interest from the various Western intelligence services due to the long history of criminal abductions that have taken place in Lebanon. In the 1980s we had hostages that were kidnapped from France, Germany, the U.S. and even South Korea, so there are going to be many different intelligence services wanting to know what has unfolded and working with the Estonian security services to try to help.

The primary concern from the U.S. perspective of why we would be laser-fixated on this abduction is, again, we want to be able to know who was behind this to try to safeguard Americans in Lebanon, as well as the official diplomats. We have very recent information that two suspects have been arrested linked to the criminal abductions, and the concern is that they may be linked to radical Palestinian groups that are very close to the Libyan regime. The concern would be, as we’ve written about at STRATFOR and discussed, is Libya reverting back to terrorism as a means to strike back at the NATO forces currently engaged in the efforts in Libya?

A lot of people may not know that a common criminal abduction in Lebanon can turn into a political hostage- taking. In many occasions you will have common criminals actually do the initial abduction and then the hostages would be sold to a terrorist organization like Hezbollah or a radical Palestinian group such as the PFLPGC. There is a long history of that specific M.O. utilized in the Bekaa Valley as well as Beirut. Although the verdict’s still out as to who specifically did these abductions, we need to be closely looking at this to see if this is a political act of terrorism which has been Libyan-directed or backed, or is this simple criminal kidnapping for the purposes of paying a ransom.

Why Washington is Reluctant To Arm Libya’s Eastern Rebels

Source Stratfor

NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe U.S. Adm. James Stavridis answered questions on the Libyan intervention before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, echoing the refrain voiced in Western capitals of knowing little about the exact nature of the eastern opposition. Though Stavridis labeled the rebel leadership as “responsible men and women” fighting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, he added that there have been “flickers” of intelligence indicating that elements of al Qaeda and Hezbollah exist among the eastern opposition’s ranks. The question of arming the eastern rebels now, when U.S. military officials have gone on record before Congress with such suspicions of Hezbollah and al Qaeda links, seems politically unpalatable to say the least. Indeed, Stavridis’ testimony came on the same day that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama demurred on the notion that Washington is on the verge of sending weapons to Benghazi.

Of the three countries most committed to seeing Gadhafi removed from power – the United States, France and the United Kingdom – none have yet to come up with a clear strategy on how to they intend to see this through. All have been steadfast in the refusal to consider sending ground troops to combat Gadhafi’s forces. Obama drove this point home in his Monday night speech when he drew parallels between the road the United States went down in Iraq and the way things should not be done in Libya. Airstrikes alone, however, are ill equipped to achieve this type of mission. While sanctions are made to be broken and while hope exists that continued international pressure on Tripoli would force Gadhafi to eventually step down, as evidenced by Obama’s words on Tuesday, this creates the possibility for a very long wait. Relying on such an eventuality also increases the chance that the coalition, committed to the enforcement of U.N. Resolution 1973, will splinter and potentially leave Washington to pick up the pieces. What the United States really wants out of the Libyan intervention is an opportunity to transfer responsibility for a multilateral conflict to the Europeans.

If regime change without having to insert Western forces is indeed the end goal, and ground troops are the most expedient way to push Gadhafi out in a somewhat timely manner, it would seem that bolstering the rebel forces in the east with better weapons and training is the next logical step. After all, any doubts that rebel fighters are no match for the Libyan army were erased by the events that unfolded along the coastal stretch between Bin Jawad and Sirte on Tuesday. After several days of steadily gaining ground due to a calculated decision by Gadhafi’s troops to withdraw and dig in more defensible positions, opposition forces were forced to beat a hasty and chaotic retreat from the outskirts of the Libyan leader’s hometown. While arms transfers are believed to have been occurring unofficially, courtesy of Qatar and Egypt, they aren’t going to do the job, and it is not quite clear what level of materiel would. (This is to say nothing of the amount of training that would need to go along with any arms shipments to eastern Libya, as the rebels also have proven themselves to be lacking in command and control, communications and logistics capabilities.)

As Gadhafi’s forces pushed the rebels eastward away from Sirte, an international conference on Libya took place in London, where NATO member states and others that have supported the no-fly zone were attempting to come together and speak with one voice on how to proceed. Included at the conference was a delegation from the Libyan rebel leadership, representing the body known as the Transitional National Council (TNC), or, the “responsible men” fighting Gadhafi that Stavridis referenced in his Senate testimony. One of the TNC officials explicitly requested that fighters be supplied with bigger and better weapons to combat Gadhafi’s forces. This request was rebuffed, ostensibly due to restrictions on such military aid by the U.N. resolution. France suggested that there are ways to get around such restrictions, as did the United States, but neither was willing to go on record as saying that they are on the verge of changing their undecided policy on arming the eastern forces.

For the United States, this is a reflection of what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was saying over the weekend as he made the rounds on the Sunday talk show circuit. Intervening in Libya is not part of the Americans’ “vital national interests.” It may be in their interests to remove Gadhafi and have the Europeans demonstrate that they are capable of taking a greater role in joint military operations, but it is not absolutely critical. Washington has a history of arming rebel groups first, and asking questions later. The fact that it has allowed a lack of familiarity with whom, exactly, the TNC represents indicates that Libya, while certainly a high priority, is not on par with other recent crises that have spurred Washington into immediate action. Indeed, the United States was not an early proponent of the no-fly zone, and only came around after repeated insistences by the France and the United Kingdom (who have motivations of their own) gave it an opportunity to put the Obama doctrine of multilateralism and limited U.S. involvement on display.

In his Senate testimony, Stavridis also pointed out that if recent history is to be a guide, then a “foreign stabilization force” would likely be needed in Libya should the rebels ever successfully topple Gadhafi. Stavridis cited the examples of Bosnia and Kosovo as precedents. Such an assessment by NATO’S supreme allied commander in Europe might give American politicians even more pause to arming the rebels than the suggestion that some of its members may have links to al Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia, U.S.: Plan To Overthrow Syrian Regime Published

Filed under: Corruption, National Security, Obama, Protests, Saudi Arabia, Syria — - @ 12:10 pm

Source Stratfor

A highly detailed plan to overthrow the Syrian regime has been attributed to former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States Bandar bin Sultan in collaboration with the former U.S. ambassador in Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman, Champress reported March 30. The plan, drawn up in 2008 and with a budget of $2 billion depended on the exploitation of Syrian’s ‘desire of freedom’ and to end corruption though a full-scale revolution. The plan details a method of protest involving ‘shouters’ who gather at the center of a circle and begin chanting. If no one challenges the shouters, the ‘hidden people’ should begin to assault them, giving the media “an excellent picture.” In addition, the plans acknowledges the need to form a council of businessmen, ministers and security chiefs to be recognized by the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

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