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China demands end of US theft of Syrian resources

The Cradle | September 23, 2022

The People’s Republic of China called on the US government to stop the plundering of Syria’s oil resources, in a press statement on 22 September.

“We call on the United States to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, unilaterally lift sanctions, and end the theft of Syria’s national resources,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin in a news briefing.

The call made by the Asian giant comes in light of repeated news that US armed forces have transported oil out of Hasakah governorate to military bases in Iraq.

The Syrian foreign ministry revealed the oil sector has incurred losses of at least $107.1 billion since the start of the US-sponsored war in 2011.

Meanwhile, Syria suffers from a severe energy crisis with repeated blackouts in various parts of the country.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin claimed that “this is not the first time that the United States military has stolen oil from Syria and they seem to be becoming more and more uncontrollable.”

Wenbin also called on the US government to investigate the claims made by Syria’s foreign ministry and compensate the country for any damages.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman highlighted that the US military has used at least 800 tankers in August alone.

“By June 2022, US military’s extraction, smuggling, and illegal transaction of Syrian oil, gas, and mineral resources have brought an estimated $18.2 bln of direct losses on Syria, making Syria’s humanitarian disaster much worse,” he added in his statement.

Wenbin described the situation in Syria relative to other countries such as Libya and Afghanistan, adding that “the rights and lives of the Syrian people are being taken away, instead of being protected.”

September 23, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Iran president: Israel’s ‘savagery is not ending’

MEMO | September 22, 2022

Israel’s “savage power” and its “savagery is not ending”, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told the UN General Assembly yesterday.

“The region has not seen an occupying savage power such as the Zionist regime in its midst in the past,” Raisi said.

He explained: “The killing of children and women are present in the dark report card of the Zionist regime. It has managed to form the biggest prison in the world in Gaza and the expansion of settlements and housing illegally on Palestinian territories.”

“The killing of Palestinian women and children shows everyone that seven decades of Israeli occupation and savagery is still with us and not ending.”

“The occupying Zionist power that has occupied Jerusalem and other lands in the region cannot be a partner for security and stability,” he continued.

To solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Raisi proposed a vote by all Palestinians — “Muslims, Christians and Jews” — to establish a single state.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Iraqi girl killed during US military drills

The Cradle | September 22, 2022

A 15-year-old Iraqi girl, Zainab Essam Majed al-Khazali, was killed on 20 September by the gunfire of US army troops as they were conducting military drills on Victoria Base, near Baghdad International Airport.

The Iraqi Security Media Cell (ISMC) announced that it has launched an investigation into the murder, which it initially referred to as a “random shooting.”

Iraq’s security forces, however, said: “The killing of Zainab Essam Majed coincided with the presence of training operations for the American forces … the bullet that was taken out of the girl’s head confirms that it is from one of the weapons used by the American forces in the embassy and airport.”

The head of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, Qais al-Khazali, demanded via twitter that “intelligence services present a detailed report to the Iraqi people, explaining … this cowardly incident, and how a military base can exist on Iraqi soil in clear violation of the Iraqi constitution … and sovereignty.”

Khazali also condemned the use of live ammunition in the US training and drill exercises, which he said were carried out in a residential area with a disregard for civilian life.

According to reports, the girl, who bears the same family name as the Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, is the granddaughter of a member of the organization who was martyred, Majed al-Khazali. Her funeral procession was held the following day.

The killing of Zainab al-Khazali took place near the notorious Abu Ghraib prison camp, which was formerly run by US forces during the years following its invasion and occupation of the country in 2003.

Abu Ghraib was the center of several scandals involving the brutal torture, mistreatment, and murder of dozens of Iraqis by US military personnel.

The illegal US occupation of Iraq, which persists until today, has been responsible for the deaths of at least one million Iraqis.

Khazali was killed just days after the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, whose passing has been used by western media and political leaders to further their attacks against the Islamic Republic.

During his speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), US President Joe Biden blasted Tehran for Amini’s death while in police custody, while at the same time failing to make any mention of Khazali.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

The West is poised to throw Yemen under the bus again to fuel its economic war on Russia

By Robert Inlakesh | Samizdat | September 11, 2022

Strained by the consequences of the ongoing conflict between NATO and Russia over Ukraine, France may be destroying all prospects for peace in Yemen, in a bid to secure energy resource from the United Arab Emirates.

Considered to be home to the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history, according to the United Nations, earlier this year, its people saw glimmers of hope towards ending its seven-year long war. A ceasefire truce, which has largely held since April, has been viewed as the first step towards reaching a UN-mediated solution for peace between the Ansarallah government in Sanaa and the Saudi-led coalition forces which claim to represent the internationally backed Yemeni government in exile.

According to UN estimates, the total number of people killed in Yemen’s war already reached 377,000 by the beginning of 2022. The civilian death rate is said to have doubled, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), since the controversial withdrawal of UN human rights monitors last October.

Although Saudi coalition forces and Ansarallah, popularly referred to in Western media as the “Iran-backed Houthi rebels,” have managed to keep fighting to a minimum during the past months, another major player in the south of Yemen has recently decided to go on the offensive. The Southern Transitional Council (STC), often called Yemen’s southern separatists, are backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and declared the start of a new military operation in the Abyan province “to cleanse it of terrorist organisations.” This follows territorial gains by the STC, in neighboring Shawba province, against the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Islah Party and others. The offensives launched by the UAE-backed STC have been regarded as a major challenge to UN efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, as well as having imperiled the Saudi initiative, which it calls the ‘Yemen Presidential Council,’ aimed at solidifying the legitimacy of the alternative Yemeni leadership in exile.

Where France Comes In

Although its role is little known to the Western public, Paris is the third largest arms supplier to the UAE and Saudi Arabia for their war efforts in Yemen, ranking just behind the US and UK. In fact, Germany, Spain and Italy have also sold weapons that have been used in the devastating war. Despite criticism, from human rights groups, of French weapons being used by Abu Dhabi and Riyadh to commit war crimes, the sale of weapons has continued from France.

April 15, 2019, French investigative magazine, Disclosepublished an expose on Paris’s role in Yemen’s war. The information presented was based on a leaked French Military Intelligence (DRM) report dating back to September, 2018, clearly proving that the country had sold offensive weapons that were used in civilian areas, a charge that the French government has denied. As far back as June, 2018, credible reports began to emerge that French special forces units were operating on the ground in Yemen, alongside forces belonging to the UAE. Last December, Paris decided to further tighten its relationship with Abu Dhabi, signing its largest ever weapons sale to the UAE, worth 19.23 billion US dollars according to a report from Reuters.

France first turned to the US

France is now desperately in need of alternative energy suppliers to Russia, in order to meet its required needs, fearing that as the winter hits, Moscow may strategically cut off its natural gas completely. As part of NATO, Paris is backing a US-led initiative which seeks to make Russia pay an economic and military price for its offensive in Ukraine, however, this strategy has majorly backfired economically.

US President Joe Biden made two major foreign policy pledges when running for office in 2020, which are relevant to the current French predicament. The first being to revive the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and the second being to find a diplomatic solution to the war in Yemen. Due to the ongoing NATO-Russia conflict, seeking a revival of the Iran nuclear deal has re-emerged on the political agenda of his administration in a major way. Iran, free from sanctions, could become an alternative source to fill the energy needs of Europe in the future, yet it could take some time for this to actually happen.

On the issue of the war in Yemen, Joe Biden pledged as part of his first speech on his government’s foreign policy goals, that he would hold Saudi Arabia to account and seek to find a solution to the crisis in Yemen. However, the war in Ukraine clearly changed his approach to Riyadh, so much so that Washington signaled in the review a decision to not sell offensive weapons to the Saudi government. The US President was heavily criticized by Human Rights Watch for traveling to Saudi Arabia in July.

Despite US attempts to have Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states increase their oil production, none have yet complied in the manner that Washington had hoped for. Specifically in the cases of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, it is clear that both are seeking to fast track their journey to diversify their economies. That has meant them hanging onto their strategic reserves of oil and gas, during a global energy crisis, which has made fiscal sense for them. In the cases of Venezuela and Iran, despite the US having seemingly reached out to both, neither seem to be a real replacement to Russia in the near future.

All Bets On Yemen

France is now looking for alternatives on its own. In June, the European Union announced that it had signed an agreement with Israel and Egypt. Under the deal, Israel will send gas through pipelines to Egypt, where it will then be transported to Europe. Although this may work, Tel Aviv does not have the capacity to replace Moscow as Europe’s main supplier of gas. Israel seeks to double its gas output, but in doing so is already running into potential problems over its maritime border dispute with Lebanon and its planned extraction of gas from the ‘Karish field’ in September, considered to be located in a disputed area. Lebanese Hezbollah has even threatened to strike all of Israel’s gas facilities in the event that Beirut is not given a fair deal to access its own resources.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, has attempted to persuade resource rich Algeria to become part of the EU’s solution, also going on a three-day trip to Algiers in order to mend ties. Algeria, which maintains close relations with Moscow, withdrew its ambassador from Paris for three months last year, during a diplomatic row. Macron had accused the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s government of “exploiting memory” and “rewriting history” of the colonial era and even questioned the legitimacy of Algeria as a State prior to French settler-colonial rule there. Around 1.5 million Algerians were killed in the battle for independence from France, which its resistance eventually managed to win in 1962. The tone of the French president has now dramatically changed from that of last year, with Macron remarking that both nations “have a complex, painful common past. And it has at times prevented us from looking at the future.”

The other major alternative path that France seems to be now seeking, is through its close alliance with the UAE. As mentioned above, it has been clear for some time that Paris has been involved in supplying weapons, logistical support and even boots on the ground to its allies in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, aiding their fight in Yemen. However, it is also clear that the UAE has not been interested in cutting into its strategic oil reserves to meet the demands of Europe.

In July, as President Macron hosted the Emirati President, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, in Paris, the French ministry of economy announced a new strategic energy agreement between the UAE and France. An aide to the French president noted that France was eager to secure diesel fuel from the UAE, hinting that the cooperation agreement involving France’s ‘Total Energies’ and the UAE’s ‘ADNOC’ may be linked. Although it is unknown as to what the specifics of the “strategic agreement” are, it has been speculated that the deal could potentially be worth billions.

Then, in August, the UAE-backed STC suddenly began new offensive operations in both the Shabwa and Abyan provinces. It just so happens that the STC forces decided to take over the energy sites in the Shabwa province too. Leading human rights NGOs had urged Paris to keep in mind Abu Dhabi’s human rights abuses in the advent of the signing of the strategic energy agreement, calls clearly not heeded. On August 21st, when UAE-backed forces seized the oil facilities in Yemen’s south, it may have been with the French deal in mind. Yemen’s former foreign minister, Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi stated on Twitter that “preparations are being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility in light of increased international gas prices.” This was then followed by an announcement from the parliament of the Sana’a-based National Salvation Government, warning of suspicious movement from both US and French forces.

The key Balhaf facility, in Yemen’s Shabwa province, has reportedly been turned into a base for forces belonging to the UAE, with allegations suggesting that Paris could “provide protection for the facility through the French Foreign Legion.” There are also countless reports of the UAE looting resources from Yemen, which would seem to support the idea that they could be attempting to extract them to send to France. The latest reported looting of Yemen’s resources, from June, quotes Yemeni officials as having alleged that a Gulf Aetos tanker, carrying 400,000 barrels of Yemeni crude oil, had departed from Rudum port and was being operated by the UAE.

What these offensive moves by the STC also mean, is that the Saudi-backed forces in Yemen and Ansarallah will likely also get involved in the combat too. This could mean the dissolution of the ceasefire truce between the two sides, the renewal of the Ansarallah offensive to take the oil rich Marib province from the Saudi-backed forces and the death of any potential peace initiative to end the war.

It is unlikely that Ansarallah will stay silent, if the STC are aiding in the theft of Yemen’s resources for the sake of France. One of the major reasons behind the dramatic escalation of violence last year, was the Ansarallah offensive, launched with the aim of taking out the last northern stronghold of the Saudi-led coalition, Marib. The purpose of taking the resource rich area would be to stop the looting of Yemen’s resources, which according to reports is amounting to the theft of millions of barrels per year. Some sources claim that an unofficial agreement is in place between the US and Saudi governments, to purposefully keep the resources of Yemen away from its people and instead, divert the profits to Saudi banks.

Part of the reason why there was a Yemeni revolution in 2011, then a seizure of power in 2015 by Ansarallah in conjunction with the country’s military, was the popular belief that the past two Presidents of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh and Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, were corrupt. The people of Yemen were fed up with Saleh for a multitude of reasons, primarily that he mismanaged resources, had sold out to the United States and was corrupt. President Hadi was later to be seen as a stooge, controlled completely by the Saudis.

Perhaps the biggest problem here however, is not just that Yemen is a resource rich country, with a starving population, being torn apart by foreign powers, but also that nobody even knows what their governments are involved in. On August 25, then British prime minister, Boris Johnson, stated, about rising energy bills, that “While people are paying energy bills, people in Ukraine are paying with blood”. Yet, it may turn out that for Europe to keep the lights on, the people of Yemen will pay with their blood. Except in this case, the UK, US and France can’t blame that bloodshed on Moscow, this is their own doing.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News.

September 11, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli naval delegation deployed to Yemen’s Socotra Island

The Cradle | September 2, 2022

Yemeni media reported on 2 September that a delegation of Israeli military experts has been deployed to the UAE-controlled Yemeni island of Socotra, located in the Gulf of Aden.

According to the report, the Israeli team has been on the island for the past few days, and is accompanied by several Emirati intelligence officers.

The report adds that the delegation, who belong to Tel Aviv’s navy, have been carrying out search operations and excavations across Socotra Island.

The island, inhabited by around 60,000 people, overlooks the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab, a major shipping corridor that links the Red Sea to both the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Over the past year, Israel has reportedly been working with its Gulf partner to establish a presence on Socotra.

According to a Yemeni media report from March, the UAE is involved in the development of a construction project to build facilities on the island for the purpose of hosting Israeli soldiers, officers, and other military experts and personnel.

This is allegedly part of a plan to turn the Yemeni island into a center for regional espionage, as well as to increase military control over maritime routes.

Last year, Israel signed an agreement with the UAE, allowing it to establish an intelligence center at the island’s Hadibu Airport.

Israel is also interested in the strategic Yemeni island because it serves as a potential flashpoint for a confrontation with Iran. In 2020, the Washington Institute published an analysis examining how Israeli submarines could potentially strike the Islamic Republic from positions near Yemen.

In January of this year, Socotra Island made headlines due to controversial photos of Israeli tourists who had visited the island under a UAE-issued visa.

In June of 2020, the UAE established control of the island by bribing its tribal authorities.

Former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi described the UAE’s takeover of the island as “a full-fledged coup,” however.

Since the start of the war on Yemen in 2015, the UAE has been an integral part of the Saudi-led coalition, backing mercenary groups across the country and taking part in indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

The Saudi-led coalition, which continues to violate the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement, receives logistical and military support from the US, the UK, France, and most notably Israel.

September 2, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

US Drones Flying in Afghan Airspace, Taliban Says as Group Yet to Confirm Death of al-Zawahiri

Samizdat – 25.08.2022

Afghanistan on Thursday accused the US of flying drones over its territory without official permission.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his government raised the issue with the US as it considers operating drones without its consent to be an act of aggression.

The spokesman also mentioned that the alleged killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the al-Qaeda network, is still a claim, and “the investigation has not yet been finalized.”

On August 1, US President Joe Biden announced that Zawahiri was killed in a “precision” strike in Kabul, where the terrorist mastermind had, as Washington claimed, moved to “reunite with members of his immediate family.”

Under the Doha peace deal which was struck between the US and the Taliban in 2020, the group reportedly agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in areas under their control.

According to media reports, al-Zawahiri had been in charge of the terror group al-Qaeda since 2011.

August 25, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US Carries Out Airstrikes Targeting “Iranian-Backed” Groups in Syria

By Kyle Anzalone | The Libertarian Institute | August 23, 2022

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced it carried out airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday. The Department of Defense claims the bombs hit facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and were in retaliation for an attack on US personnel in Syria.

The CENTCOM press release asserts that Iranian-supported groups attacked US forces in Syria on August 15, and Tuesday’s bombing was necessary to protect American troops. “Today’s strikes were necessary to protect and defend US personnel. The United States took proportionate, deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize the risk of casualties,” the Pentagon said.

Pentagon statement on August 15 said a US base in al-Tanf, Syria, was attacked by a series of drones causing no damage or injuries. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. The White House has not provided evidence that an Iranian-backed group carried out the attack.

The US occupies about a third of Syrian territory with 900 troops. Washington claims its forces remain in Syria to ensure the enduring defeat of the Islamic State. However, Iranian-backed groups support the government of Bashar al-Assad, an avowed enemy of ISIS. In recent months, ISIS has carried out several attacks against Assad’s forces, killing scores of soldiers.

President Joe Biden asserted he had Constitutional authority to carry out the strikes. “The President gave the direction for these strikes pursuant to his Article II authority to protect and defend US personnel by disrupting or deterring attacks by Iran-backed groups,” the press release said.

While Article II may give Biden the power to defend US troops, Congress has never passed a declaration of war or authorization of military force for Syria. Without Congressional authorization, three successive American presidents bombed Syria.

The strikes also come as Washington and Tehran have made significant progress towards reviving the Iran nuclear agreement. The US and Iran have been engaged in indirect talks for over a year. Reuters reported Monday that Tehran had dropped two key demands, paving the way for a deal that would see the US and Iran return to compliance with the nuclear deal.

August 24, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Negative effects persist a year after US withdrawal from Afghanistan: Chinese FM

An Afghan girl holds her little sister at a displaced person camp in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province, Afghanistan, on July 22, 2021. Photo:Xinhua
Global Times | August 19, 2022

Afghanistan is a living example of US belligerence, and the negative impacts of US aggression against Afghanistan still persist a year after the US withdrawal, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Friday.

The US’ two-decade invasion of Afghanistan has reduced the country to rubble, ruined the future of an entire generation of Afghans, killed 174,000 people including more than 30,000 civilians, and displaced tens of millions. Even though the US troops have left, Afghanistan is yet to emerge from the long shadow of the invasion, Wang said.

Millions of Afghans are struggling on the verge of death. About three million Afghan children are too poor to go to school. And 18.9 million people face acute food shortage. The US must take responsibility for all of this, said Wang.

Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Research Center for the Belt and Road and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, echoed this opinion. The US is responsible for Afghanistan’s misshapen economy and the rampant drug abuse, Zhu told the Global Times on Friday.

The US has not made developing Afghanistan its main goal, but has used it as an “experimental place,” which is the fundamental reason for the problems in Afghanistan, Zhu said.

The problems Afghanistan is facing are “comprehensive and systematic,” but the root cause of these problems is connected with the US’ 20-year-long invasion of Afghanistan, according to Zhu.

Afghanistan is a living proof of the failure of the US program of “democratic transformation”. The two-decade war in Afghanistan has cost the US more than $2 trillion, claimed over 2,400 US soldiers’ lives, and injured more than 20,000 US soldiers, only to end with the biggest US military debacle since the Vietnam War. People compare the “Kabul moment” to the “Saigon moment,” according to the spokesperson.

The US public also paid a dear price. According to US non-profit organizations, since 2001, 114,000 US veterans, or 18 per day, have taken their own lives, and nearly 40,000 veterans have become homeless, said Wang.

The “Kabul moment” put on full display the US’ hypocrisy on democracy and human rights and its true colors of relying on power politics and bullying practices, Wang said.

The US has failed in Afghanistan, but it has yet to abandon its policy of interference. It still frequently meddles in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy and human rights, and continues to peddle the so-called “democracy versus authoritarianism” narrative to stoke division and confrontation around the world. This would only lead the US to new and greater failures, Wang noted.

August 20, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Israel ‘yields to Lebanon’s maritime demands’ as Hezbollah-set deadline approaches

Press TV – August 19, 2022

Israel has reportedly yielded to Lebanon’s full maritime demands over the disputed waters and gas fields, asking the Arab country for extra time to finalize a deal.

According to a report by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on August 19, the regime sent a message to Hezbollah through diplomatic channels, saying it accepts Lebanon’s full demands.

Israel has pledged to acknowledge that Line 23 and the Qana prospect field are in Lebanese territory while also pleading with Hezbollah to set aside potential plans to attack Israeli gas fields in case of a delayed deal, the report added.

Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has already rejected any delays in the case as Lebanon is going through dire economic conditions. “Time is short, and depending on the [Israeli] response, we will surely act,” he said in a speech during Ashura mourning procession.

Hezbollah had set a deadline for Lebanon to secure its rights over the disputed areas, which will expire on September 15.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported an Israeli official is set to make a trip to the United States to discuss the dispute in the hopes of achieving an agreement.

According to Al-Akhbar, some firms have warned Israel they would withdraw their employees and facilities in case the regime fails to guarantee their safety.

Nasrallah had earlier said the Israeli regime would not be allowed to conduct drilling operations for oil and natural gas in the disputed area in the Mediterranean Sea until Lebanon gets what it deserves.

“Lebanon is facing a historic and golden opportunity to get out of its financial crisis. If we fail to take advantage of it, we would not be able to extract oil within the next 100 years. We are not looking for moral gains out of extraction in the Karish natural gas field. We rather want to tap into our oil reserves. There would, therefore, be no room for oil or gas extraction in the entire region if Lebanon does not get its right,” Nasrallah said at a local event in Beirut on July 19.

Lebanese politicians hope commercially viable hydrocarbon resources off Lebanon’s coast could help the debt-ridden country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for drilling in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, Eni, and Novatek.

Lebanon and Israel took part in indirect talks to discuss demarcation in 2020. But the talks stalled after Lebanon demanded a larger area, including part of the Karish gas field, where Israel has given exploration rights to a Greek firm.

The talks were supposed to discuss a Lebanese demand for 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of territory in the disputed maritime area, according to a map sent to the United Nations in 2011. However, Lebanon then said the map was based on erroneous calculations and demanded 1,430 square kilometers (552 square miles) more further south, including part of Karish.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Syria denies holding American citizens captive, including journalist Austin Lee

Press TV – August 17, 2022

Syria has dismissed allegations of holding American nationals, including freelance journalist and veteran US Marine Corps Austin Tice, who disappeared a decade ago while reporting on the foreign-sponsored conflict in the Arab country.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement on Wednesday that Damascus “denies that it has kidnapped or is hiding any American citizens who entered its territory or resided in areas under the sovereignty and authority of the Syrian government.”

“The US administration, represented by President [Joe Biden] and Secretary of State [Antony Blinken], issued last week misleading and illogical statements that included baseless accusations against Syria that it had kidnapped or detained American citizens including former US Marine Austin Tice,” it said.

“The Syrian Arab Republic categorically denies the accusations of his kidnapping, or holding any American citizen,” the ministry stated, reiterating the Damascus government’s full commitment to the principles of the international law and the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The Syrian foreign ministry also denied any secret contacts with US officials on missing Americans, emphasizing that “any official dialogue with the American government will only be public based on the respect of Syria’s sovereignty.”

“The US must immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces that are unlawfully present on the Syrian soil, stop plundering and smuggling Syrian crude oil and wheat crops, end support for separatist groups and terrorist outfits stationed at the illegal US-run military base in al-Tanf region, and remove sanctions imposed by successive US administrations against the Syrian nation,” the ministry statement added.

Biden last week claimed that his administration knew with “certainty” that Tice, who was abducted in the Syrian capital Damascus in August 2012, was being held by Syria’s government.

“On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I am calling on Syria to end this and help us bring him home,” the US president said in a statement.

The Syrian government has denied on multiple occasions that it is holding Tice, who reported for The Washington Post and McClatchy newspapers, among other news outlets.

Tice’s family said Austin was traveling in the Damascus suburb of Darayya to work on one of his final pieces for the summer on August 13, 2012, when he was abducted. He was supposed to leave for Lebanon the following day.

Since then, the only information Tice’s family has received from his captors was a 43-second video that surfaced five weeks after his disappearance.

It was titled “Austin Tice is Alive” and showed Tice and a group of militants, but contained no other information.

Tice is one of two Americans who went missing in Syria. The other is Majd Kamalmaz, a psychologist from Virginia, who vanished in Syria in 2017.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Russia holds Israel responsible for latest offensive against Gaza

MEMO | August 9, 2022

Russia blames Israel for the latest three-day military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow has announced.

“The new escalation was caused by the Israeli army firing into the Gaza Strip on 5 August,” said ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. She pointed out that the Palestinian factions responded to this escalation by firing rockets indiscriminately towards Israeli territory.

“We are observing with profound worry how events are evolving,” added Zakharova. “The resumption of a full-scale military confrontation [would see the] already deplorable humanitarian situation in Gaza deteriorate further.”

The ministry official reaffirmed Russia’s “principled and consistent position, reflected in the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, in support of a comprehensive and long-term settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the two-state principle.

“It is possible to put an end to cyclical violence only within the framework of the negotiation process, the result of which should be the realisation of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state within the 1967 borders.”

Zakharova’s statements come at a time when relations between Israel and Russia are tense.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel, Yevgeny Kornichuk, declared his solidarity with the occupation state: “As a Ukrainian whose country is under brutal attack by its neighbour, I feel great sympathy for the Israeli public. An attack against children and women is an abominable thing. Terror and a malicious attack against civilians are the daily reality of Israelis and Ukrainians and this appalling threat must be stopped immediately.”

Kornichuk made his comments before the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Gaza and Israel came into effect.

Although the occupation state declared that it was targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed that 44 citizens were killed as a result of the Israeli offensive, including 15 children and four women. Another 360 Palestinian civilians were wounded. Moreover, many homes and residential buildings were destroyed.

August 9, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hezbollah Releases Coordinates of Israeli Platforms in Mediterranean: “Within Our Reach”

Al-Manar | July 31, 2022

Hezbollah’s Military Media Department released on Sunday video showing the Israeli platforms operating in the Mediterranean, warning the Zionist enemy of its attempts to plunder Lebanon’s gas and oil fields.

The video shows surveillance scenes taken from land and air, some form yesterday, for Israeli vessels at the Karish field near the Lebanese maritime borders.

Starting with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s warning that “procrastination is useless”, the video shows Hezbollah’s anti-ship missile readying to be launched.

The footage included detailed coordinates of Israeli platforms, showing their names and locations.

The one-minute-video, which includes subtitles in Hebrew, concluded by “within our reach”, referring to previous threats by Sayyed Nasrallah that all Israeli platforms and targets are within the reach of the Lebanese Resistance missiles.

The video was released just hours before the US’ so-called ‘mediator’ Amos Hochstein arrives in Lebanon, probably holding a message from the Zionist entity concerning the maritime border talks and gas extraction.

Sayyed Nasrallah earlier this month, warned the Israeli enemy that if Lebanon is prevented to extract oil and gas off its shore then the Zionist regime won’t be able to do so.

Video

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments