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2018/09/24 02:09




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2018/09/24 01:45

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2018/09/21 00:02




Satellite pics show Syria strike as Israeli Air Force chief goes to Moscow to explain Il-20 incident
Published time: 19 Sep, 2018 23:51
Edited time: 20 Sep, 2018 07:43

Timely released satellite images have revealed the destruction left by IDF air strikes in Syria’s Latakia after Israel was forced to make a rare admission to the raid which resulted in the downing of the Russian Il-20 recon plane.

On Wednesday, Israeli satellite imaging company ImageSat released three photos of an “ammunition warehouse” in Latakia, showing it before and after the Monday night attack. The three photos, posted on Twitter, show the building was completely destroyed in the strike.

Israel does not normally acknowledge its airstrikes in Syria, at least not until much later. However, the IDF made a rare immediate admission of responsibility on Tuesday, after the Russian Defense Ministry identified Israeli F-16 jets as taking part in the attack, and said the Il-20 aerial observation platform vanished from radars during the strike.

Preliminary #BDA - the ammunition warehouse striked two day ago in #Latakia, #Syria, is completely destroyed. pic.twitter.com/Wg5MRgiOFR
— imagesatintl (@imagesatint) September 19, 2018

Moscow criticized Israel for not providing advance warning of the raid and said the Israeli jets used the Russian plane to mask their approach. Targeting the Israelis, Syrian air defenses fired the missile that shot down the Il-20 instead.

The IDF rushed to explain that their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” On Tuesday, the IDF expressed“sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but once again said the responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences and offered to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report.

Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including “the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event,” and the “pre-mission information” the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.

Norkin will be joined by Brigadier General Erez Maisel of the International Cooperation Unit, as well as officers of the Intelligence and Operations directorates of the Israeli air force, according to the IDF. The delegation is also supposed to further acquit themselves of any blame and inform Moscow of “continuous Iranian attempts to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization and to establish an Iranian military presence in Syria.”

Though the Russian military condemned“these provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said it reserves “the right to an adequate response,” President Putin described the loss of the plane as a likely "chain of tragic accidental circumstances," rather than a deliberate provocation.

Monday’s attack came just hours after Russia and Turkey negotiated a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government militants, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as the Jabhat Al-Nusra).

At the request of Damascus, Russia sent an expeditionary force to Syria in September 2015, to help the government defeat Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorist groups.
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2018/09/20 23:42



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2018/09/20 23:35
アレッポ・ハマー街道は(近日中に?)開通。アレッポ・ラタキア街道は2018年末までに開通。ソースは昨日のSyrian Arab TV。


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2018/09/19 03:34
Russian Aircraft Went Off Radar Near Hmeymim Airbase in Syria, Military Reports
01:40 18.09.2018(updated 10:30 18.09.2018)

Israel Unlikely to Fly Freely Over Syria After Il-20 Incident - Ex-Official
16:28 18.09.2018

Putin: Israel Didn't Down Il-20, Chain of Tragic Circumstances Led to Incident
16:14 18.09.2018(updated 18:08 18.09.2018)

Netanyahu: Israel Ready to Assist Russia in Il-20 Incident Probe
18:45 18.09.2018

F-16s Were Already in Israeli Airspace When Syria Hit Russian Aircraft - IDF
17:28 18.09.2018






9/18(火) 18:03配信






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2018/09/16 04:30
Russia completes replacement of Ukrainian imports in defense industry – deputy PM
Published time: 14 Sep, 2018 09:21


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2018/09/16 03:54
US Encouraging the Division of Ukraine along Religious Lines
Alex GORKA | 14.09.2018



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パラグアイが大使館をエルサレムからテルアビブに戻す イスラエル歯ぎしり

2018/09/06 03:54






Paraguay cancels embassy move to Jerusalem, Israel responds by closing its embassy in Paraguay
Published time: 5 Sep, 2018 17:35
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シリア戦は「内戦」ではない イスラエルが直接関与を認める

2018/09/06 03:25





Israel admits 200+ strikes against ‘Iranian targets’ in Syria over 18 months
Published time: 5 Sep, 2018 01:00
Edited time: 5 Sep, 2018 08:41

The Israeli military has admitted that over the past 18 months it carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria, which it claims destroyed hundreds of alleged Iranian targets, local media report.

Accusing Tehran of constants attempts to gain a foothold in Syria, and potentially deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on the ground, the IDF on Tuesday said that it carried out attacks against at least 202 “Iranian targets” on its neighbor’s soil. Overall, 792 bombs and missiles were launched at Syria since 2017, the IDF said on Tuesday during a special briefing with military correspondents.

Summarizing the achievements over the past year, after Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot issued a “highly confidential” report to the political echelon about the “Competence and Preparedness of the IDF,” the military stressed that Iran is still determined to smuggle in weapons and establish air bases as well as intelligence capabilities in Syria.

The IDF also noted that Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, remains a threat but currently has no capabilities to launch precision strikes against Israel. The army said that Iraq is more important to Iran than Lebanon where Israel’s arch enemy is being accused of arming Shia militias. The IDF also said it is aware of the fact that missiles are being transferred from Iran to Iraq and from there to Syria.

Israel rarely acknowledges carrying out raids in Syria, but Damascus repeatedly accused the Jewish state of violating its sovereignty and aiding the terrorists. On Tuesday, Syrian air defense systems responded to an attack on targets located in the Hama and Latakia provinces. The raid, which Sana news agency pinned on Israel, left one dead and at least four others wounded.

الفيديو من منطقة #مصياف لإعتداء "صهيوني" قبل قليل.. pic.twitter.com/QDXFFjwdse
— اخبار سوريا الوطن Syria (@SyriawatanNews) September 4, 2018

Previously, Tel Aviv was accused of striking targets in other parts of Syria, including the outskirts of Damascus and on the border with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

Jerusalem Post to RT: Report on IDF funding Syrian rebels pulled on request of ‘army's censor'
Published time: 5 Sep, 2018 17:06
Edited time: 5 Sep, 2018 17:47

IDF has forced the Jerusalem Post to remove its explosive report on the Israeli military giving weapons to the Syrian rebels, the newspaper’s managing editor confirmed to RT.

“We were told by the army’s military censor to remove that part of the story,” David Brinn, the managing editor of the Jerusalem Post told RT as he replied to a request for comment. The report, ‘IDF confirms: Israel provided light-weapons to Syrian rebels,’ which claimed that the Israeli military acknowledged for the first time that it had provided money, weapons and ammunition to the Syrian militants, was removed just hours after being published without any explanation.

According to Brinn, the story was removed “for security reasons evidently.” The IDF told RT that it would not comment on the issue.

The Jerusalem Post article was removed shortly after being published, but a version of the article can still be read using Google cache

It claimed that regular supplies of light weapons and ammunition to the Syrian militants holding the territories near the Israeli border were part of the Operation Good Neighbor, which Israel portrayed as a humanitarian mission, which was focused on providing Syrians with “food, clothes and fuel.”

Israel has been arming at least seven different armed groups in Syria’s Golan Heights, the report said. It also added that the Israeli military believed that providing weapons to the militants was “the right decision” as they sought to keep Hezbollah and Iran away from Israel’s Golan Heights by such means.

The deleted report comes on the heels of another major disclosure. On Monday, the IDF announced that Israel has carried out more than 200 strikes on Syrian targets in the past year and a half.
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2018/09/02 00:43


Russia Holds Up Publication of UN Panel Report on North Korea - Envoy to UN

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Russia has held up the publication of a report on North Korea by a UN Security Council independent panel over differences about its contents, Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia said Thursday.

“We put on hold the report of 1718 Committee because we disagree with certain elements of the report, with the conduit of the business itself," he told reporters in New York City.

He said he could not divulge details of the confidential draft compiled by the UN Security Council’s 1718 Sanctions Committee but said member states were concerned about repeated Internet leaks.

“We and other delegations expressed concern about regular leaks of the Committee information to the press. You can look it up on the Internet. We requested to investigate it through the Committee but some members are not very willing to do so,” Nebenzia added.

Karen Pierce, the British envoy to the UN who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, said afterwards the panel would convene for informal talks on Friday. She stressed that getting the report out was an important step in enforcing sanctions against North Korea.

“We weren’t able to resolve the immediate issue. The immediate issue is that the Russians object to some elements of the panel of experts’ report,” she said. “We have agreed that there will be some informal consultations tonight and tomorrow morning.”

The official said the panel would try to “elicit what it is what the Russians object to,” but she added it was very important to publish the report, which will assess sanctions measures against North Korea.

"The overriding point is that we must have that report published. It must go to the UN membership. The Council has been very strong on enforcing DPRK sanctions and getting this report out and implemented is the next step in enforcing the sanctions," she stressed.

North Korea has faced several rounds of UN sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, conducted in violation of UNSC resolutions. The restrictions targeted exports of coal, iron ore, lead and seafood from the Asian nation to UN member states. In December, new sanctions against North Korea were imposed over the country's continuing missile tests.

However, the situation on the Korean peninsula has significantly improved over the last months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding two summits with his South Korean counterpart in Spring, and signing an agreement, envisaging Pyongang's denuclearization in exchange for US-South Korean military drills freeze and eventual US sanctions relief, with US President Donald Trump on June 12.

Last week, spokesman for the South Korean presidential office Kim Eui-kyeom refuted claims that the inter-Korean liaison office in the North Korean town of Kaesong was somehow violating the UN sanctions against North Korea. The decision to open the liaison office was made in April at the summit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In early August, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono have agreed that it was necessary to continue implementing UNSC resolutions, which impose sanctions on North Korea. In turn, Kim Jong-un has slammed maintenance of the pressure against Pyongyang by the US and UN as "brigandish sanctions and blockade."
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2018/09/02 00:35



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「私はあなたの味方よ」 恐っ(笑) 日本体操協会パワハラ事件

2018/08/31 04:53













8/30(木) 10:25配信


【画像】体操・宮川紗江選手が会見(全文2) 協会から「五輪に出られなくなるわよ」



※【**** 00:35:30】などと記した部分は、判別できなかった箇所ですので、ご了承ください。タイムレコードは「【全編動画】体操女子の宮川選手会見「私とコーチを引き離そうとしている」」に対応しております。





 速見コーチのほうから私も話を聞き、私も事情聴取に立ち会ったほうがいいというふうに考えまして、速見コーチに対して弁護士も同席させてもらいたいという旨を協会のほうに連絡してほしいと、このようにお願いいたしました。で、同席の可否を確認させていただいたんですが、ただ、体操協会の山本専務理事のほうから今回の弁護士先生の同席はなしでお願いします。今回の聞き取りは速見コーチが聞き取りに応じるか拒否するかということになりますので、弁護士同席なら聴取に応じるという回答は拒否と見なしますので、聴取を拒否された場合には第三者の供述を基に事実を認定することになりますので、ご理解願いますとの回答がなされました。そのためやむを得ず【聴取 00:03:16】の同席を諦めて、速見コーチ1人で事情聴取に行ってもらうということになりました。
























体操・宮川紗江選手が会見(全文2) 協会から「五輪に出られなくなるわよ」
2018.08.30 11:30




※【**** 00:35:30】などと記した部分は、判別できなかった箇所ですので、ご了承ください。タイムレコードは「【全編動画】体操女子の宮川選手会見「私とコーチを引き離そうとしている」」に対応しております。

     ◇     ◇



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マケイン米上院議員死去 密入国者で対米協力者を見殺しにした張本人

2018/08/27 04:25









8/25(土) 10:06配信 産経新聞




8/26(日) 10:12配信 読売新聞




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2018/08/24 19:05



Hidden internal directive on Syria that got no UNSC approval DOES exist – Russian Foreign Ministry
Published time: 24 Aug, 2018 02:46
Edited time: 24 Aug, 2018 08:32

The UN has devised internal guidelines for limiting cooperation with Syria until a "political transition" takes place there, and it was drafted without any consent from the Security Council, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

The document in question is entitled 'Parameters and Principles of UN Assistance in Syria,' the ministry wrote in a statement to RT. It was issued by the UN Secretariat in October 2017 and provides guidelines for the UN agencies and programs in their work with the war-torn country.

The Secretariat issued the paper without requesting consent or even consulting the UN Security Council or the UN member states, at least on an official level, the ministry noted, adding that the "guidelines" document still "penetrates deeply" into the political situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, thus "going beyond the issue of simple coordination between the UN structures."

One particular provision of the document explicitly states that the UN "would be ready to facilitate reconstruction" in Syria only "once there is a genuine and inclusive political transition negotiated by the parties." The Russian ministry described it as an apparent attempt to prevent the international organization from contributing to Syria's recovery under the current circumstances, while enforcing a "politicized approach of the countries advocating a regime change."

The directive also implicitly restricts the UN agencies’ cooperation with Damascus, the ministry said, adding that the text of the document says that "UN assistance must not assist parties who have allegedly committed war crimes or crimes against humanity." The US and its allies in the West have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of various violations of international law and particularly blamed them for chemical weapons incidents that took place on Syrian soil. No hard evidence has ever been presented to substantiate those claims, while the West ignored relevant data provided by the Russian military operating in Syria.

"If some influential [UN] donors believe that … it is time to toughen the sanctions regime against Syria, it does not necessarily mean that the UN agencies should be guided by the same irresponsible approach," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement, expressing its hope that the UN Secretariat will review its methods as Syria's need for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction aid grows, not least due to an increasing number of refugees returning home.

The issue of an alleged "secret directive" having been distributed by the Secretariat throughout the UN system in October 2017 was first raised by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday. He did not name the document but said that it "prohibited the agencies… from participating in any kind of projects aimed at restoring the Syrian economy" until a "political transition" there.

Lavrov also linked the release of the directive with the "absolutely deconstructive" stance of the US on the issue of Syria's reconstruction. The next day, the office of the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general denied the existence of any such document by saying that neither its department of political affairs nor any other UN entity had issued a "secret directive" on Syria.

Meanwhile, the 'not secret' but rather hard-to-find document mentioned by the Russian Foreign Ministry apparently indeed exists: It was briefly mentioned on an official UN website in a temporary job description. However, the text of the document has never been officially made public by any UN agency.

However, a supposed copy of the text of the directive, entitled 'Parameters and Principles of UN Assistance in Syria' and dated October 2017, was included as an annex in another paper published by the Global Protection Cluster – a structure directly linked to such UN agencies as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). This document is still available online.

After declaring its commitment to the UN Charter and the Security Council resolutions, the document indeed states that any UN aid to the reconstruction efforts would be possible only following "political transition." It also states the UN work should de-facto focus on basic humanitarian assistance only, while any "development and reconstruction activities that are outside this will need to be reflected in other frameworks that are by nature a longer negotiation with governments."

The paper also openly states that the UN "will not promote the return of refugees." Apart from prohibiting cooperation with "parties who have allegedly committed war crimes or crimes against humanity," the guidelines also state that assistance must be "prioritized based on the needs of the population (rather than government-driven)," in what might be potentially considered an indirect attempt to limit the UN agencies' cooperation with the Syrian government.

What Makes the West Reject Russia’s Syria Reconstruction Initiative?
Peter KORZUN | 24.08.2018
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2018/08/16 02:12

First group of Syrian kids arrives in Russia for military education
Published time: 15 Aug, 2018 13:02

Eight kids from the Syrian “School for Late Heroes’ Children” have arrived to St. Petersburg and are now preparing themselves for studies in various Russian military schools, a popular daily reports.

The head of the Syrian Culture Center in St. Petersburg, Waddah al-Jundi, has told Izvestia daily that the eight children are expected to begin their studies in Russian military schools on September 1, as part of the recently signed agreement that allows Syrians to study in Russian military schools for free, given that they prove their knowledge of Russian and pass all necessary medical tests.
Read more
Servicemen of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria hand out humanitarian aid in Jiba in the Quneitra province, Syria © Sputnik Most Russians support continuing Syria aid after war ends

Waddah al-Jundi added that the kids will be the first ever Syrian citizens to receive military education in Russia.

The Syrian Embassy in Russia confirmed the news, adding that the children were undergoing adaptation training that would allow them to begin the studies together with Russian cadets. “There is an agreement that allows to accept Syrian children to Russian cadet corps. This is a permanent agreement and it provides that Syrian kids will arrive to the Russian Federation every year,” the embassy source told Izvestia.

The head of the Russian Upper House’s Subcommittee for International Military-Technical Cooperation, Senator Olga Kovitidi, also said that the program offering Syrian citizens to receive Russian military education was long-term and expressed hope that it would contribute to peace and security in this country. “The preparation of highly professional military officers by Russia is a considerable investment into the future of peaceful Syria. The children of late Syrian heroes who receive their training in Russia will become the military elite of the Syrian Arab Republic,” she said.
Read more
Russian Su-25s take off at the Hmeimim base in Syria. © Dmitriy Vinogradov Most Russians reject US criticism of air force’s anti-terrorist operation in Syria – poll

The senator added that she and her colleagues thought that in 10 to 15 years time, Syrian borders would be defended by servicemen who had undergone the same highly professional training as their Russian colleagues.

In mid-July this year the Russian government issued a decree that allows Syrian kids to study in Russian military schools for free if they have sufficient knowledge of Russian and pass the necessary exams. The future cadets are selected by the Syrian side on the basis of medical tests and the Russian side decides on the number of successful candidates depending on the number of applications.
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2018/08/16 02:04







Qatar pledges $15bn of direct investments in Turkey – Ankara
Published time: 15 Aug, 2018 15:23
Edited time: 15 Aug, 2018 16:06

Qatar has pledged $15 billion of direct investment in Turkey’s financial markets and banks. The news comes in a statement released on Turkey’s President’s website following his meeting with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

"The Turkish President and Emir of Qatar met today [Wednesday[ in the presidential complex in Ankara. They have exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional issues, Al-Thani said that Qatar intends to directly invest $15 billion in Turkey,” said a press release after the meeting.

The Turkish lira firmed to 5.8699, from 6.04 to the US dollar after the news. The record low level of 7.2 against the greenback happened on Monday.

The Turkish officials did not provide any further information on the nature of the investments, according to AP. Erdogan's office said the pledge was made by Qatar's head, Al Thani.

The investment will be channeled into Turkish financial markets and banks, a government source told Reuters.

The Turkish economy has recently been hit by a record depreciation in the national currency lira. On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on aluminium and steel from Turkey in response to the detention of a US citizen. American pastor Andrew Brunson is being held on terrorism charges in Turkey, facing up to 35 years in prison for his alleged role in a failed coup in 2016.

In response, Erdogan announced boycott of US electronic devices, including Apple iPhones. Turkey has also hiked tariffs on US goods such as tobacco, alcohol, cars, cosmetics and others.

Turkey favors switching from dollars to national currencies in trade with Russia & China
Published time: 15 Aug, 2018 11:06

Ankara has given a green light to Moscow’s proposal to switch to ruble-lira trade between the countries. Turkey also has similar plans for trade with China and other countries.

“We are discussing the transition to national currencies not only with Russia and China, but also with other countries. It is not just Turkey's request. In other countries, there has been reaction to US attacks,” said Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.
Read more
© Murad Sezer Turkey raises tariffs on some US imports in response to economic 'attacks'

“Many countries oppose the pressure of the US dollar as a means of political and economic coercion, and we see that the demand for payments in national currencies between different countries is increasing," he added.

Both Russia and Turkey’s currencies have been exposed to the US sanctions pressure. They both lost half of their value against the greenback since 2014 and 2018, respectively, despite relatively strong economic performance.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on aluminum and steel from Turkey in response to the detention of a US citizen. American pastor Andrew Brunson is being held on terrorism charges in Turkey, facing up to 35 years in prison for his alleged role in a failed coup in 2016.

The political and economic pressure from Washington caused the Turkish lira to collapse to a historic low against the US dollar. Ankara has responded by threatening to boycott US gadgets including Apple iPhones and sharply increasing duties on a number of American goods like tobacco, alcohol, cars, cosmetics, etc.

White House Says Turkey’s Tariffs on U.S. Goods Are ‘Wrong Direction’
By Justin Sink
August 15, 2018, 2:51 PM EDT
Updated on August 15, 2018, 3:27 PM EDT

The Trump administration assailed retaliatory tariffs imposed by Turkey on $1 billion of U.S. goods as the standoff between the two NATO allies over the detention of an American pastor worsened.

The new tariffs are “regrettable” and “a step in the wrong direction,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Wednesday.

Turkey’s new tariffs follow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call on Tuesday for a boycott of U.S. electronics including Apple Inc.’s iPhones to retaliate for the Trump administration’s punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing an evangelical Christian minister, Andrew Brunson.

Tensions between the two nations has sent the Turkish lira to record lows and has weighed on global financial markets.

Sanders said the Trump administration “would consider” lifting sanctions imposed on Turkey’s Justice and Interior ministers for their roles in the detention of the pastor once he is released.

Sanders said that even if Erdogan releases the U.S. clergyman, the additional tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum won’t be lifted because they are based on “national security.” Trump cited national security in announcing the tariffs earlier this year, then doubled the levies for Turkish metals amid his clash with Erdogan.

A calculation by Bloomberg shows the items listed in the recent decree accounted for $1 billion of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week.

“The tariffs that are in place on steel won’t be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson," Sanders said.

The lira extended gains Wednesday to 6 percent after Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Al Thani promised to invest $15 billion in the country. It follows a string of urgent steps Erdogan has taken to protect its economy from an escalating feud with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump over an American pastor held in Turkey.
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2018/08/15 21:34



ボクシング連盟「山根明」氏が明かす半生 韓国から密航、息子との極貧生活…
週刊新潮 2018年8月16・23日号掲載








 辛かったですよ、そりゃ。僕はアマチュアスポーツやってますからね。当時なんかは差別がいっぱいあった。「朝鮮人、朝鮮人」って周りに言われましたね。だけど僕は日本人になって、連盟に入りました。僕はね、日本国の日の丸大好きなんですよ。最高に愛しています。だけど同時に韓国、北朝鮮愛してます! スポーツには国境がありません。



































独占手記「日本ボクシング連盟会長 山根 明 韓国から密航、息子と極貧の車上生活… 大悪人にされた私の『血と骨』全て明かす!」より
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2018/08/11 03:46



Russian PM Compares Further Anti-Moscow Sanctions to Economic Warfare
06:30 10.08.2018(updated 08:56 10.08.2018)

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the United States on Friday that sanctions it plans to impose in August over the ex-spy poisoning might be treated as a declaration of economic war.

Russian Prime Minister said that if some sort of ban on banking activities or currency ban was imposed on Russia — it would mean a declaration of economic war.

"All I can say is: if they ban banking operations or the use of any currency we will call it a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it – economically, politically or in any other way, if need be. Our American friends should make no mistake about it," he said during a trip to the Kamchatka region.

Earlier, the US Department of State announced new sanctions on Russia over the accusations of involvement in poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom in March. However, no evidence to substantiate the case has been presented by the US or the UK.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that it would lay out counter-measures to address the new sanctions.

The first package of the newly-announced US sanctions implies will include, according to media reports, a complete ban on the export of electronic devices and dual-use components to Russia, while the second one may imply a decrease in the level of diplomatic relations, a ban on flights by Russia's Aeroflot carrier to the US and almost complete suspension of US exports.
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2018/08/05 04:42

"Japan is ready to implement small projects on building or restoring schools and hospitals. The Japanese authorities voice their readiness to implement large-scale projects as well," Mizintsev said.

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2018/08/05 04:36


China Willing to Assist Syrian Army in Idlib Offensive – Ambassador to Syria
14:18 03.08.2018(updated 17:41 03.08.2018)
Suliman Mulhem

Although China has provided political support to Damascus and is widely expected to play an important role in Syria’s post-war reconstruction, Beijing has so far shied away from offering direct military support to the Syrian Army.

Chinese Ambassador to Syria Qi Qianjin has suggested Beijing could soon deploy forces to assist the Syrian Army in its upcoming Idlib offensive, in addition to anti-terrorist operations in other parts of the country.

Speaking to Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper on Thursday, the Chinese diplomat said they are monitoring the conflict, adding that the Chinese military “is willing to participate in some way alongside the Syrian Army that is fighting the terrorists in Idlib and in any other part of Syria.”

READ MORE: Armed Groups in Syria's Southwest Surrender Tanks, Howitzers

A source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) told Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem he wasn’t aware of plans for China to militarily enter the war, but said the Syrian government “welcomed any support” in its ongoing drive to dislodge terrorists from Syria.

Meanwhile, Chinese military attaché Wong Roy Chang told the Al-Watan newspaper there is “ongoing” military cooperation between the two countries and said China wishes to advance its relationship with the Syrian Armed Forces.

When questioned about the prospect of Chinese forces aiding the Syrian Army in its operation to liberate the Idlib Governorate, Chang said such an initiative “requires a political decision,” without elaborating.

Thousands of hardline Islamist Uyghur militants smuggled themselves and their families into Syria over the course of the multi-year conflict, with the bulk of them ultimately settling in Idlib province, alongside other foreign and domestic jihadists.

A Muslim woman reading a newspaper at a market place in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, the capital city of the Chinese restive Xinjiang region.
© Flickr / Gilad Rom
China Bans Burqas in Xinjiang Uyghur Region as Part of Anti-Extremism Fight - Reports
The Chinese government is undoubtedly concerned about the fate of these militants, as they pose a threat to China’s national security, but the deployment of a large contingent of forces to Syria would be surprising, especially as the war is nearing its end.

Instead, Beijing is likely to deploy a limited number of special forces soldiers and military advisors to assist Syrian government forces, while also working with Syria’s various intelligence agencies to prevent Uyghur militants from sneaking back into China and carrying out terrorist attacks.
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2018/08/04 21:30

Russia Swats Away Israeli Bluster On Syria
by M. K. Bhadrakumar6 days agono comment
Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 8.38.47 AM

The Russian version of the visit by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov to West Jerusalem on July 23 became available, finally, on Wednesday in the nature of a terse TASS report quoting a ‘military-diplomatic’ source in Moscow as saying that the visiting Russian officials “looked into the tasks of completing the anti-terrorist operation in Syria’s South.”

An unnamed Israeli official had earlier floated a story that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did some tough talking with Lavrov and “rebuffed” a Russian offer to create a 100-kilometre buffer zone adjacent to Golan Heights. Netanyahu reportedly insisted that he won’t be satisfied with anything short of Iran ending its presence in Syria conclusively.

The first indication that the talks didn’t go well came when Israel shot down a Syrian jet on July 24 in Quneitra bordering Golan. It was a calculated act of belligerence by Israel. (The Islamic State fighters who are present in the region have since released the photograph of the wreckage and the mutilated body of the Syrian pilot.)

The TASS report on July 25 punctures the Israeli version that the two Russian officials were deputed by President Vladimir Putin specially to discuss with Netanyahu the future of Iranian presence in Syria. (It now transpires that the Russian officials were on a tour of Israel, Germany and France.) The Israeli bravado can only be seen as a desperate ploy to cover up its humiliating defeat in Syria with the terrorist groups that were its proxies surrendering lock, stock and barrel in Daraa and Quneitra to the Syrian-Russian forces – especially the hasty exfiltration of the controversial group known as the White Helmets to Jordan via Golan Heights with the logistical help from the Israeli military.

Quite obviously, Moscow does not want to get entangled in the Israel-Iran tensions. This is also the American assessment of the Russian thinking, as articulated by the Director of the National Intelligence Agency Daniel Coats on Thursday: “We have assessed that it’s unlikely Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement and counter Iranian decisions and influence (in Syria.) Russia would have to make significantly greater commitments [in Syria] from a military standpoint, from an economic standpoint. We don’t assess that they’re keen to do that.”

Nonetheless, the Israeli propaganda has gone overboard in attempting to create a wedge between Russia and Iran. (Read a fine piece, here, by Moon of Alabama on the Israeli disinformation campaign.) This couldn’t have gone down well in Moscow. At any rate, Russian Foreign Ministry came out on July 24 with some sharp criticism of the move by the Israeli parliament (six days earlier) to adopt a bill known as Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

The operation by the Syrian forces (backed by Russian allies) to liberate Quneitra succeeded beyond expectations once Washington signaled that the extremist groups entrenched in the southern provinces bordering Jordan and Israel should not expect any American intervention to bail them out.

Damascus is now turning attention to the liberation of the northwestern province of Idlib. It will be a major confrontation due to the presence of a large number of foreign terrorists in Northwestern Syria. The Iranian media reported that a Russian flag ship Ro-Ro Sparta was spotted crossing the Bosporus en route to Syria’s Tartus, carrying military cargo mostly ammunition, shells and missiles and that the reinforcements are meant for the Syrian Army’s “upcoming assault” on Idlib province.

Syria - For The Third Time Israel Falsely Claims Iran Pull-Back Deal With Russia

A typical Israeli propaganda scheme is to falsely claim that an agreement with some entity has been made and to then push that entity to stick to a "deal" it never agreed to. Israel dislikes any 'Iranian presence' in Syria. It tries to press on Russia to push Iran out of Syria by claiming that Russia offered or made such a deal.

Last fall a campaign in Israeli media claimed that Russia had agreed to push Iran away from the border with Israel. Russia denied that anything like that happened. Iranian forces in Syria are legitimately there. In late May a similar campaign repeated that scheme. It claimed that the Russian Foreign Minister had agreed to move Iran out, when in fact he had called on U.S. forces to leave Syria. Moon of Alabama documented both campaigns.

Yesterday we saw a third attempt by Israel to pretend that Russia had offered or made a deal to counter 'Iranian presence':

A senior political source participated in the meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem Sunday evening.

"It was made clear again that we would not accept Iranian consolidation in Syria, not near the border, and not in the 100-kilometer strip that the Russians are talking about and committing to," the senior official said. "We said that there is long-range weapons placed beyond this area and all these forces have to leave Syria. Russia has considerable capabilities to deal with this, because it is a very significant factor within Syria."

Damascus is only some 50 kilometers from the Israel occupied Golan Height. Does anyone believe that Russia can tell Iranians to not go to Damascus? That it can tell Iran to not defend its ally Syria? Such an "offer", which Russia most likely never made, would be nonsense. Russia has no means to tell Iran what to do. Even the U.S. acknowledges that:

“We have assessed that it’s unlikely Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement and counter Iranian decisions and influence” in Syria, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum. “Russia would have to make significantly greater commitments [in Syria] from a military standpoint, from an economic standpoint,” he said. “We don’t assess that they’re keen to do that.”

The Israeli haranguing about an 'Iranian presence' is a self fulfilling prophecy. Each Israeli attack on Syrian grounds proves that Iranian forces would have legitimate reason to be in Syria. They are obviously needed to help their Syrian allies to defend against such attacks.

Other news sites picked up on the alleged Russian "offer" claim and pretended that it is real.

Reuters weirdly headlines: Israel rejects Russian offer to keep Iranian forces 100 km from Golan: official:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Monday rebuffed a Russian offer to keep Iranian forces in Syria at least 100 kilometers from the Golan Heights ceasefire line, an Israeli official said on Monday.
The official said that Netanyahu told Lavrov “we will not allow the Iranians to establish themselves even 100 kilometers from the border.”

From that quote it seems that it was Netanyahoo, not Lavrov, who introduced the "100 kilometers" line.

Axios offered a similar stupid headline: Russia wants to push Iran 65 miles from Israel's border in Syria:

Russia wants to push Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Pro-Iranian Shiite militias 65 miles from the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights, a senior Israeli official said after a meeting today in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
The senior Israeli official said in a conference call with reporters that Israel's goal is to get all Iranian and pro-Iranian forces out of the entire Syrian territory, but the Russians want, in the first phase, to push the Iranians 65 miles from the Israeli border.

Russia had rejected such Israeli claims last fall. It again rejected similar claims in May. It will also debunk the current nonsense. No such offer was made. Israel 'rejected' something it invented itself and has the chutzpah to make even more lunatic demands:

According to the Israeli official, Netanyahu gave Lavrov a list of demands regarding Iranian military presence in Syria:

Iran needs to take all of its long range missiles and weapons out of Syria.
Iran needs to stop the production of precision munitions in Syria.
Iran needs to take all its air defense systems out of Syria.
The border crossings between Syria and Lebanon needs to be monitored to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah from Syria.
The border crossings between Iraq and Syria needs to be monitored to prevent infiltration of Shiite militias into Syria from Iraq.

Netanyahoo also asked for a pink pony.

Syrian companies produce ammunition. Syrian workers manufacture missiles of various ranges and precision. They have done so for decades. There may once a while be some lone Iranian engineer visiting to give advice. The Syrian Arab Army has long range missiles and it is the SAA, not Iran, that provides air defense for Syria. There are no longer Iranian forces or other personal in notable numbers in Syria. During the war Iran helped to build up Syria's National and Local Defense Forces (NDF/LDF). Hizbullah came from Lebanon to support the Syrian efforts. Iranian advisors joined some Syrian army groups. But as the Syrian army won back more and more control over its land these groups lowered their presence:

Hizbollah now only has 10% of its units compared to peak of 2016. Similarly, NDF/LDF that used to be almost 90k are now closer to 3k. ...

All the Israeli harrumphing about Iran in Syria is a diversion from the fact the Israel and the U.S. lost their war on Syria.

Israel openly stated that it preferred ISIS and other Jihadis near the occupied Golan Height. But now those forces are defeated. The Syrian army is back at the Golan Heights line and no shooting down of a Syrian jet or attack on this or that minor factory will change that. These are provocations to goad Syria into a response attack on Israel and to draw Iran and the U.S. into a war.

The southwestern Daara region is nearly cleaned up. The Syrian army is already moving forces northwards to Idleb governorate where some 15-20,000 Jihadis are busy killing each other. An all out attack on that last governorate with significant Jihadi presence will commence in September. A local guerilla movement against the U.S. presence in northeast Syria is growing. It is unlikely that the Trump administration is willing to sustain the occupation there when it starts to cause a number of casualties.

In a year from now the Syrian government will likely have regained full control over its country.

Posted by b on July 24, 2018 at 09:17 AM

Russian top diplomat, General Staff chief return after trip to Israel, Europe — source
Russian Politics & Diplomacy
July 25, 19:49 UTC+3

At a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in West Jerusalem on July 23, they looked into the tasks of completing the anti-terrorist operation in Syria’s south

MOSCOW, July 25./TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov have ended unannounced visits to Israel, Germany and France, a military-diplomatic source confirmed to TASS on Wednesday.

"The trip has ended. They have returned [to Moscow]," the source said.

Lavrov and Gerasimov had been on a foreign tour since Monday. At a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in West Jerusalem on July 23, they looked into the tasks of completing the anti-terrorist operation in Syria’s south.

On July 24, they visited Berlin to discuss with German Chancellor Angela Merkel conditions for the return of refugees to Syria, as well as activity of the Normandy Format. On the same day, Lavrov and Gerasimov met in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss Syria and Ukraine.

24 July 201814:55
Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department Artyom Kozhin’s answer to a media question about the Israeli parliament’s approval of the draft Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People


Question: The Israeli Knesset has adopted a bill known as Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. What is your assessment of this step? How can it influence the developments related to the Middle East peace process?

Artyom Kozhin: On July 18, the Israeli Knesset approved in the third and final reading by 62 votes against 55 the Basic Law Bill, which declares Israel the “national home of the Jewish people.” Under the law, only the Jews have the right to self-determination within the country. Hebrew has been recognised as the state language, while Arabic, which previously was regarded as an equal language, has been given a “special status.”

The Knesset’s Arab deputies have denounced the bill. They believe the document is discriminatory against the rights of Israeli Arabs and other ethnic minorities and actually legalises the concept of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, depriving Palestinian refugees of the right to return.

The Jewish left-wing liberals also voted against the bill in the Knesset.

A powerful reaction in Israel itself and elsewhere was evoked by the clause on the status of Jerusalem as the single and indivisible capital of the State of Israel. The bill, which is yet to be signed into law by the Prime Minister and President, commits every Israeli government to continuing an active settlement policy.

Our position in this regard is utterly clear. We proceed from the assumption that a fair and lasting settlement of the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be based on well-known international legislation, including the relevant UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions providing for a negotiated solution to all problems related to the final status of the Palestinian territories, including the fate of Jerusalem and the Israeli settlements on the West Bank. On the contrary, unilateral steps that have not been coordinated by the parties to the conflict do nothing but hinder peace, foment tensions on the ground, and considerably complicate efforts directed at launching as soon as possible a meaningful peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
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2018/07/23 02:19
アサド政権、反体制派地域を続々奪還 トランプ政権の消極姿勢が「存続」後押し

反ロシア、反シリアの産経新聞が7月22日、ようやくシリア政府軍の優位を報じた。米国がみっともなく見えるのをごまかすためのface-saving steps(メンツを保つ方策)が、あちこちで具体的に動き始める予兆だと思う。






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シリア住民を見捨て、ホワイト・ヘルメットだけ救出→イスラエル→ヨルダン→米加英独 はぁ?

2018/07/23 01:32

















White Helmetsはアレッポ県、イドリブ県で活動していたから、シリア政府の了解なしに最南部へ移動することはありえない。彼らは、南部で破壊活動をしていた米欧イスラエルの工作員たちで、脱出するときだけ白ヘルメットをかぶった。白ヘルメットさえかぶれば、誰でもWhite Helmetsになることができる。白ヘルメットは安い変装道具。彼らはシリア人ではない。もしシリア人であるならば、米欧イスラエルは救出しない。わざわざ救出にこだわった理由は、彼らが米欧イスラエルの工作員だから。これが、人道団体と報じられているWhite Helmetsの正体。


Israel evacuates 800 Syrian 'White Helmets' to Jordan

The Israeli military says it has rescued hundreds of members of a Syrian volunteer organization from a volatile border area in Syria's southwest. It's the first such intervention by Israel in Syria's civil war.

Israel evacuated 800 members of the White Helmets and their families from southwestern Syria to Jordan overnight, army radio said Sunday.

The Israeli military said the evacuation was an "exceptional humanitarian gesture" carried out at the request of the United States and a number of European countries due to "an immediate threat to (the Syrians') lives."

Jordan's Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had allowed 800 Syrian citizens to enter the country and said they would travel on to Britain, Germany and Canada within three months.

"The request was approved based on pure humanitarian reasons," ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed said.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said her country was working with Britain and Germany "to ensure the safety of White Helmets and their families."

"We feel a deep moral responsibility towards these brave and selfless people," she said in a statement.

Syrian forces seize territory

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled their homes since Russian-backed government troops launched a major offensive to capture rebel-held territory in the country's south in mid-June.

The request to evacuate the White Helmets came as Syrian troops closed in on Quneitra province, which borders Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Jordan and Lebanon. US officials said the volunteers at the border were likely to be targeted by the government advance.

The rescue marked the first time in the eight-year war that Israel has allowed Syrians to flee through its territory. The military said that did not mean Israel's policy of non-intervention in the conflict had changed.

"Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict and continues to hold the Syrian regime accountable for all activities in Syrian territory," the army said.

Read more: Syria's White Helmets blame Assad regime for hunger crisis

The White Helmets volunteer group, officially known as the Syrian Civil Defense, has been running a rescue service in mainly opposition-held parts of Syria since 2013. They are credited with saving thousands of civilian lives during government airstrikes.

nm/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Israel evacuates hundreds of Syrian White Helmets in humanitarian effort
The evacuation was kept secret and began at 9:30 p.m.


By Seth J. Frantzman
July 22, 2018 06:59

Some 800 Syrians affiliated with the White Helmets and their families are being evacuated from Quneitra through Israel to Jordan, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Syrian Civil Defense, the official name of the White Helmets, is a volunteer organization that has worked in rebel areas of Syria providing medical support during the Syrian conflict.

According to a Bild report published Saturday night by Paul Ronzheimer, Giorgos Moutafis and Julian Ropcke, around 800 Syrians were transported across the Syrian-Israel border. “From there on to Jordan,” the article states. “They are members and families of the famous White Helmets.” Those evacuated will continue on to the UK, Canada and Germany, according to Bild.

The evacuation was kept secret and began at 9:30 p.m. Minibuses took the families through the border in the “dark of night.”

According to Ronzheimer, the evacuation was “still ongoing” after midnight and into the early hours of Sunday. By 5 a.m. the buses had reached the Jordanian border according to Ronzheimer who posted photos at the time. He tweeted that the UN was involved, although the full details remained largely unknown until the morning.

The operation was the result of a unique international effort to secure the safety of the White Helmets and their families. The AP reported on Thursday that US officials had been “finalizing plans to evacuate several hundred Syrian Civil Defense workers, also known as the White Helmets, and their families from the province through neighboring countries.”

Syrian source familiar with the White Helmet operations in southern Syria said he was surprised to learn of the sudden evacuation because Jordan had not allowed the White Helmet volunteers to evacuate over the last few weeks.

However Amman confirmed Saturday that it would allow the 800 Syrians transit via the Kingdom. In a statement posted online, the government said that “Syrians who were working in the civil defense fled the areas controlled by the Syrian opposition after the attack by the Syrian army.”

The Syrians will stay in a closed area while in Jordan for no more than three months and their passage onward has been guaranteed by three western countries. Jordan emphasized that it has hosted 1.3 million refugees from Syria and that the latest deal was organized by the United Nations.

Neither the AP report nor the Jordanian government statement mention Israel. This points to the fact that Israel’s role was considered controversial and that the method of the evacuation had to be kept under wraps until it was complete.

“Following the request of the United States and other European countries, and in according with the directives of the political leadership, the IDF completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civilian organizations and their families from the fighting zone in southern Syria,” the IDF said Sunday morning. The transfer was carried out as a humanitarian gesture and the Syrians were transported to a neighboring country, the statement said. “Israel does not intervene in internal fighting in Syria.”

Canada played a role in supporting the evacuation. Calling them “courageous volunteers and first responders who risk their lives to help their fellow Syrians,” the Press Secretary of the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Canada was working in close partnership with the UK and Germany to ensure the safety of the civil defense workers and their families.

“Canada has been unequivocal about its support for the White Helmets. At a meeting of Foreign Ministers on the occasion of the NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels a week ago, I called for global leadership to support and help these heroes,” foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland said. Canada agreed to take 50 of the White Helmets, which could mean up to 250 people according to Canada’s CBC.

The transfer of the White Helmets was kept secret until the last moment, and raises many questions. Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Research Fellow at the Israeli Forum for Regional Thinking and an expert on the conflict in southern Syria, tweeted that the number of people being reported rescued is incorrect. She played down reports that Israel “rescued” the White Helmets.

“If Western countries did not step up and agree to receive these people as refugees, they would still be trapped inside Syria, facing detention in Assad regime torture dungeons or bombings by the Assad regime and Russia,” she said.

Although Israel has carried out Operation Good Neighbor over the last several years, treating 5,000 Syrians in hospital and providing humanitarian aid, Jerusalem did not allow Syrians fleeing the fighting to enter Israel. When 200 Syrians approached the border fence on July 17 they were told to go back. The thousands of Syrians who gathered near the border in the last month were fleeing fighting in southern Syria.

The Syrian regime launched a large offensive in June that has retaken the rebel-held areas in Dara’a and Quneitra bordering Jordan and the Golan. The Syrian rebels agreed to a reconciliation with the regime Friday and their areas were mostly surrendered by Saturday night, leaving only a sliver of territory near the border and within the 1974 ceasefire lines.

Many of the tens of thousands of Syrians who had fled the fighting began to return home or to take buses to the northern Idlib province Friday where some of the rebels agreed to go. However this apparently left the White Helmet volunteers in a limbo and in fear for persecution. The Assad regime has allowed locals to remain in control of their areas under the reconciliation, but those accused of working for western governments or civil defense felt threatened. The Assad regime has accused the White Helmets of being linked to terrorists and in June slammed the US and UK for funding the group.

Julian Reichelt of Bild praised Israel for opening its border to the “persecuted and hunted Syrians.”

Netanyahu says Trump, Trudeau asked Israel to help evacuate White Helmets
Syrian Civil Defense, the official name of the White Helmets, is a volunteer organization that has worked in rebel areas of Syria providing medical support during the Syrian conflict.

July 22, 2018 18:16

One day after Israel evacuated some 800 Syrian White Helmets, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the action "an important humanitarian step," according to a statement his office released on Sunday.

"In the last few days, United States President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and several others asked for our help in assisting hundreds of Syrian "white helmets." These are people that saved lives and were found in life-threatening danger. I therefore permitted their transfer through Israel to additional countries, as an important humanitarian step."

"In parallel, we are not stopping to act in Syria against the attempts of military entrenchment of Iran there."

Syrian Civil Defense, the official name of the White Helmets, is a volunteer organization that has worked in rebel areas of Syria providing medical support during the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian regime launched a large offensive in June that has retaken the rebel-held areas in Dara’a and Quneitra bordering Jordan and the Golan. The Syrian rebels agreed to a reconciliation with the regime Friday and their areas were mostly surrendered by Saturday night, leaving only a sliver of territory near the border and within the 1974 ceasefire lines.

Britain hailed the evacuation, saying it and other allies had requested it.

"Fantastic news that we - UK and friends - have secured evacuation of White Helmets and their families - thank you Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on our request," tweeted British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

German weekly magazine Bild, which broke news of the evacuation and published footage of buses used to transport the Syrians across Golan, said 50 of them would be granted asylum by Berlin.

"Humanity dictates that many of these brave first-aiders should now find protection and refuge, some of them in Germany,” it quoted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as saying.

A spokeswoman for the German interior ministry said Berlin would take in eight White Helmets plus their families. It was not immediately clear if that amounted to the same 50 people.

A Canadian Foreign Ministry statement on Saturday said the White Helmets "have witnessed vicious atrocities committed by the Assad regime and its backers." It added: "We feel a deep moral responsibility to these brave and selfless people."

Seth J. Frantzman and Reuters contributed to this report.
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2018/07/21 03:28



Read the full Jewish Nation-State Law
The controversial law passed a final vote in the Knesset overnight Wednesday.
July 19, 2018 12:05

The following is the complete text of the Jewish Nation-State Law, which passed a final vote in the Knesset overnight Wednesday, with links to The Jerusalem Post reporting on the discussions about its various elements.

Basic Law: Israel - The nation state of the Jewish people

1. The State of Israel
a) Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people in which the state of Israel was established.
b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it actualizes its natural, religious, and historical right for self-determination.
c) The actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

2. National symbols of the State of Israel
a) The name of the state is Israel.
b) The flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the center.
c) The symbol of the state is the Menorah with seven branches, olive leaves on each side, and the word Israel at the bottom.
d) The national anthem of the state is "Hatikvah"
e) [Further] details concerning the issue of state symbols will be determined by law.

3. [The] unified and complete [city of] Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

4. The Language of the State of Israel
a) Hebrew is the language of the state.
b) The Arabic language has a special status in the state; the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be regulated by law.
c) This clause does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created.

5. The state will be open to Jewish immigration and to the gathering of the exiled.

6. The Diaspora
a) The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in trouble and captivity due to their Jewishness or their citizenship.
b) The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora.

7. The state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.

8. The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the secular calendar will serve as an official calendar. The usage of the Hebrew calendar and of the secular calendar will be determined by law.

9. National Holidays
a) Independence Day is the official holiday of the state.
b) The Memorial Day for those who fell in the wars of Israel and the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and heroism are official memorial days of the state.

10. Saturday and the Jewish Holidays are the official days of rest in the state. Those who are not Jewish have the right to honor their days of rest and their holidays. Details concerning these matters will be determined by law.

11. This Basic Law may not be altered except by a Basic Law that gained the approval of the majority of the Knesset members.
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2018/07/20 04:07








The Putin-Trump news conference that made Netanyahu smile

There, at a news conference being watched by the whole world, both leaders – both! – acknowledged Israel’s security concerns in Syria and the need to address them.

The Democrats hated Monday’s news conference between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin; even some Republicans cringed when Trump said he believed Putin’s denial of involvement in the 2016 US election over what his own intelligence agencies maintain; and many Europeans leaders surely recoiled at the US president appearing so cozy with a man they view as a real and present threat.

But one man who was definitely pleased at what he saw at that extraordinary news conference in Helsinki on Monday was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

No, his pleasure had nothing to do with the two leaders’ answers to the questions about the alleged election collusion, or their discussion about how they will deal with their competition in the field of gas and oil.

Netanyahu was pleased because his full-court diplomatic press leading up to this meeting – a diplomatic campaign that brought him to Moscow last week for less than 24 hours, and included a phone conversation with Trump on Saturday – paid off.

There, at a news conference being watched by the whole world, both leaders – both! – acknowledged Israel’s security concerns in Syria and the need to address them.

And Netanyahu did nothing to try to conceal his satisfaction. On the contrary: he issued a statement after the news conference “commending” the abiding commitment to Israel’s security that Trump articulated during that address to the media.

“The friendship between Israel and the US has never been stronger,” he said.

The prime minister also gave a warm shout out to Putin, saying that Israel “also very much appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia, and the clear position expressed by President Putin regarding the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.”

One of Netanyahu’s key talking points over the last few weeks has been the need to uphold the 1974 Separation Agreement that followed the Yom Kippur War, which separated Israel and Syrian troops.

That agreement created a 235 km. buffer zone on the Golan Heights which Israel is demanding be respected, even as it is deeply concerned that Iranian or Shia forces moving south with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops may try to violate it.

Then comes Putin, who within the first five minutes of his statement alongside Trump says: “The south of Syria should be brought to the full compliance with the treaty of 1974, about the separation of forces of Israel and Syria. This will bring peace to the Golan Heights, and bring a more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel, and also provide security of the State of Israel.”

Trump, Putin said, “paid special attention to the issue during today’s negotiations. And I would like to confirm that Russia is interested in this development and will act accordingly.”

Had this been the only reference to Israel during the 45-minute news conference, then for Netanyahu, that would have been enough.

But there was more. When Trump was asked to provide some details of possible arrangements where the US and Russia could work together in Syria, he also mentioned Israel, and did so glowingly.

“We’ve worked with Israel long and hard for many years, many decades,” Trump said. “I think we’ve never – never has anyone, any country, been closer than we are.

“President Putin also is helping Israel. And we both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu, and they would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. So in that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. And Israel would be working with us. So both countries would work jointly.”

Does that mean that all of Netanyahu’s wish list was answered at the news conference? No.

First, Putin also came down strongly behind the Iranian nuclear deal – though no one really expected anything different.

Secondly, the Russian leader did not commit to removing the Iranians from Syria, another key Netanyahu demand, though Trump said that “the United States will not allow Iran to benefit from our successful campaign against ISIS.”

Netanyahu has long warned that nothing would be gained if the areas in Syria evacuated by Islamic State were then filled by Iranian forces or their proxies.

That both Trump and Putin chose at this extremely high profile setting – with the whole world watching – to stress their understanding and even commitment to Israel’s security concerns in Syria is no mean diplomatic achievement, and one for which Netanyahu can rightfully be proud. This understanding and commitment is not something that “just happens,” and is by no means a given.•
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2018/07/20 03:46


Russia should be back in G7 as ‘we spend 25% of time’ talking about it anyway – Trump

The leaders of the G7 group spent a lot of their time during last week’s summit discussing Moscow, and so having Russia itself at the negotiation table would have been an extremely logical move, US President Donald Trump has said.

“You know, we spend probably 25 percent of our time talking about Russia, and I said wouldn’t it be better if they were here,” Trump said, in an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, adding that “I'm not for Russia. I’m for the United States.”

President Trump made headlines last week after stating that Russia should be invited back to the gatherings of the Group of Seven industrialized nations. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he suggested, ahead of the 2018 G7 summit, held in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada.

Speaking to Fox, Trump explained his position, noting that Russia's presence in a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, would allow these countries, and especially the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, to not just discuss but actually to address the pressing issues of the day.

“Now I think I would probably have a good relationship with him or I will be able to talk to him better than if you call somebody on the telephone to talk,” Trump said, referring to Vladimir Putin, in an interview on board Air Force One. “I will tell you, as an example, if he were at that meeting I could ask him to do things that are good for the world, that are good for the country, that are good for him.”

The US is not alone in seeing Russia as a partner that should be talked with, Trump pointed out, noting that Italy’s new anti-elite Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also wants Moscow back at the table. Besides Conte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also voiced her support for Russia's return, but only if the roadmap to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine is fulfilled. “I can imagine Russia’s return. But first of all we need to make progress in implementing the Minsk agreements,” Merkel told ARD in an interview on Sunday, omitting the fact that Kiev itself is largely to blame for prolonging the crisis.

Back in 2014, the G8 members boycotted the summit in Sochi scheduled for June and ‘suspended’ Russia′s membership. The group, however, stopped short of a permanent expulsion of Russia from the club. Following Trump's statement on Friday, Vladimir Putin reiterated that G7 members are always welcome to reconsider their boycott and come to Russia.

“As for Russia’s return to the G7, or G8: we did not leave it. Our counterparts refused to go to Russia for well-known reasons. However, we will be glad to see everyone in Moscow,” Putin said, during a state visit to China.

Russia “never asked to be allowed back” to the Group of Eight, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had earlier noted. “When our western partners decided to return to the G7 format, we accepted their decision and have been working on other platforms since then,” including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRICS and the G20, Lavrov explained.
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2018/07/18 05:23









West Scrambling to Find Options to Pull White Helmets Out of Syria – Reports

The NGO, which claims to be acting as a volunteer rescue group, has been repeatedly accused of working with jihadists, such as al-Nusra Front* and staging fake videos that they later use to accuse Damascus of being responsible for attacks against civilians.

Several NATO countries have discussed the possibility of evacuating the White Helmets from Syria, specifically from Daraa province, with US President Donald Trump, CBS News reported, citing an anonymous US official. According to the media outlet, western countries are afraid that Damascus could "assassinate" the NGO's members as it advances through Daraa province.

"They are promising no retribution on anyone in the southwest but nobody trusts or believes that," the source told CBS.

The US official noted that the plan to pull the White Helmets out of Syria is a part of a general US withdrawal plan, earlier announced by Trump, who wants to reduce the country's presence in the Syrian Arab Republic and let other countries deal with the problem. The source also added that Washington has practically admitted that Damascus will eventually regain control over the whole of Syria by evacuating its forces and NGO members.

The media source points out that most of the talks on the topic took place on the sidelines of NATO summit on July 11-12 in Brussels, but the issue might also be raised by Trump during his negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

The anonymous western diplomat explained to CBS that western allies are studying how the White Helmets could possibly be extracted hastily and that their options are limited in this regard. Thus, in the event they fail to find a solution in time, they might be forced to try and ask Putin for help, although they have little hope of that, since Moscow cooperates with Damascus.

"We are not there yet at all in terms of firming up the necessity to have a discussion with Putin […] If we run out of options, and the only option left is the Russians, then it is worth pursuing," he said.

Another problem for western countries is where to move all those White Helmets and their families. According to the media source, Trump refused to harbor the members of the notorious NGO in the US and allies are being forced to study other options.

The White Helmets have on numerous occasions been spotted working with al-Nusra Front* and other militant groups in Syria. The group, founded in Turkey by former MI5 officer James Le Mesurier and funded by several western countries, claims that it is saving the lives of ordinary citizens and reports chemical attacks allegedly conducted by Damascus. However, the Russian Defense Ministry has uncovered evidence and found witnesses suggesting that one of their latest reports of an alleged chemical attack in Douma was fake.

Washington temporarily halted State Department funding for the White Helmets in May 2018, but later in June announced that it would resume payments.

The US has been conducting airstrikes in Syria and supporting certain militant groups, which it calls "moderate opposition," since 2014, claiming to be fighting against Daesh* and other terrorist groups.

Washington and the coalition of western countries led by it are operating on Syrian soil without authorization by the country's government or the UN Security Council and according to the coalition's own data the US air raids have already led to the deaths of 939 civilians, although independent NGOs have calculated a far higher death rate — at least 9,600 people.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Tahrir al-Sham) are terrorist organizations banned in Russia
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2018/07/14 03:23








In Syria, rebel defeat marks 'end of revolution'

As regime forces take over the birthplace of the country's revolution, experts have described it as the "end of the Syrian revolution." What was once known as the "moderate opposition" has all but disappeared in Syria.

A silhouette of a Free Syrian Army soldier in northern Syria

In a defeat steeped in symbolism, Syrian regime forces have ousted rebels from parts of Deraa, considered the birthplace of the country's uprising. Deraa was where peaceful protests erupted in 2011, in what would eventually lead to a bloody regime crackdown that triggered a war.

Seven years later, armed opposition groups in the area agreed to surrender and hand over heavy arms under a Russia-brokered deal, even while regime forces continued to bombard rebel-held pockets in and around Deraa city.

Losing Deraa marks a significant blow to Syria's rebel movement. While under previous surrender deals, opposition fighters unwilling to make peace with the government would be transferred to Idlib, their last bastion in the country, this time regime negotiators have reportedly rejected such a compromise, a sign of how Damascus views its newfound position.

"Deraa is the end of the Syrian revolution," Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and editor of Syria Comment blog, told DW.

"All of Syria's remaining 'independent' rebel militias are in the southeast. Once they are dismantled, the only region where rebel militias will hold sway is in the north … But the militias that hold sway in the north are under direct US and Turkish control."

'In the works for years'

In June 2011, opposition to the regime of President Bashar Assad culminated in the founding of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), bringing together military officers who defected from the armed forces and rebel groups willing to take up arms against the state. In its infancy, the FSA was widely seen as the armed "moderate opposition" in Syria.

While it enjoyed popular and international support at its onset, including receiving aid from the US and European allies, the alliance of armed opposition groups began to splinter a year later, most notably under the weight of hard-line Islamist elements. Some FSA members even defected to the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in 2014.

Since then, the opposition movement has further fractured into various factions, witnessed Islamist militant groups rise to the forefront and seen major losses in its former strongholds, most notably in Aleppo and eastern Ghouta.

"The end of the armed opposition has been in the works for at least the past three years in my view, if not longer," Yezid Sayigh, senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, told DW.

"Any doubts on this score should have been dispelled following their major losses of eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, and in light of their continuing inability to take advantage of the [Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces'] expansion and US deployment in other parts of Syria in order to rebuild or regain some initiative."

Indeed, the fractured rebel movement has been unable to fend off the regime's latest offensives, aside from in Idlib in northern Syria, where experienced militant groups such as the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham have effectively taken control.

Turkey's last stand

But all is not finished for Syria's rebels. Turkey remains a crucial partner for armed opposition groups in Syria, including what has now become the FSA.

In northern Syria, Turkey-backed FSA rebels captured Kurdish-held Afrin earlier this year in an operation that threatened to cause a further deterioration in relations between Ankara and Washington, its military ally and fellow NATO member. The US has backed the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against IS. Turkey considers its own presence in Syria crucial for its security.

"The north will be a very different battle. Assad has promised to take back every inch of Syrian soil. He will want to push the tens of thousands of rebel soldiers who have collected in Idlib province into Turkey, along with their families," Landis told DW.

However, the rebel groups in Idlib aren't considered the "moderate opposition." Brett McGurk, who heads US efforts against IS, described Idlib last year as "the largest al-Qaida safe haven since 9/11," referring to the terror attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. "Idlib now is a huge problem."

Even given the hard-line nature of rebels groups in Idlib, Turkey is unlikely to give way to a regime offensive in the province.

"Turkey will not accept this. The dominant militias are hard-bitten jihadists," Landis said. "Already Turkey has set up over 10 'observation' posts in Idlib that are manned by Turkish soldiers with heavy equipment."

As such, Turkey is also trying to guarantee the rebels it backs still have a place at the negotiating table when it comes time for a peace process. But for many, the "moderate opposition" that rose up on the wave of popular revolts across the region has all but disappeared.
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2018/06/16 05:00












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