Question: I would like to start our conversation from your last international contacts and, first of all, from your meeting with US Secretary of State in Moscow on 7 May. The day after he left Moscow, John Kerry made a statement in Rome that there is no place for President Bashar al-Assad in the new transitional government. There were also statements that the White House had not made its final decision about armament of the opposition and is waiting for the results of the investigation of the use of chemical weapons in SAR to make this decision. We know about the agreements reached between Russia and the USA in Moscow, however, we would still like to understand why we have heard other statements, which do not fit within the framework of the agreements reached the day before, as soon as the US Secretary of State left Moscow.
Sergey Lavrov: I will start from stating that we had very good negotiations, when John Kerry was in Moscow. He had a long conversation with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, during which they touched upon the topic of Syria and several other international problems along with a detailed discussion of a number of bilateral issues. As to Syria, John Kerry provided the analysis that is very close to what we talk about, when spotting threats as a result of preservation of status quo and stimulation of the inexorable opposition to grab power, solve the problem in a military way. We talk (and John Kerry supported it) about the need to stop bloodshed, start political negotiations according to the logic established in the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, which was signed by almost all key external players affecting the situation in Syria one way or another. John Kerry opted in favour of convention of the next international meeting with participation of the parties to stimulate them to move in the political direction of formation of a transitional governing body based on unanimous consent of SAR Government and all the opposition groups, to make them prepare stable agreements ensuring safety and rights of all the ethnic, religious and other groups in Syria.
We have been advocating for such forum for a sufficiently long time. We proposed to convene Geneva-2 last August. That time our Western partners, Arab participants of the Geneva process and Turkey told that they were not ready yet. Our American, French and British colleagues, Europeans in general, talked in favour of the unity of the opposition on a constructive platform of readiness to negotiations. The National Coalition was created; however,unfortunately, it was formed on an absolutely opposite platform – overthrow of the regime and dismantling of all institutes. The decision of the League of Arab States that the National Coalition is the only representative of the Syrian people and should occupy the place of Syria in LAS did not help either. To that end,the question arises: what about the rest of opposition groups, because the National Coalition is not the only group? There is an external opposition that is not represented in the coalition, there is an internal opposition as well, which has never left Syria and opts for the internal reform of the country.
On this background, we welcome the consent of Americans represented by John Kerry to the concept of holding the conference without preconditions (no preconditions were formulated in things we have coordinated with our US colleague). The President of Russia Vladimir Putin supported the idea expressed by the US Secretary of State, and placed me in charge of formulating ideas on paper together with my US colleague, as we did by voicing them at the jointpress-conference. I have agreed with John Kerry that we will secure consent of the governments to the formulated propositions. The President Vladimir Putin is also working with a number of countries, which have to be involved into such conference, but the American party will continue its efforts in uniting the opposition on a platform of support of such approach.
These efforts are continuing. I heard about the statements made by John Kerry in Rome, and about statements of other colleagues of ours. I presume that it is difficult to persuade the opposition. Unlike the Government of Syria, that made a sufficiently positive statement in response to the Russian-American initiative, it has not done it, but was ambiguous by saying that, in fact, it would welcome any initiative, which could stop violence, but Bashar al-Assad should “disappear” first – that is, they expressed again the approaches that have been causes of the deadlock in the Syrian crisis for many months. Therefore, we continue our actions and contacts with many partners. The President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in Sochi some days ago, where they also supported the Russian-American initiative. I know that another meeting of opposition forces attracted to the National Coalition is scheduled in Istanbul in a few days, presumably on 19-20 May. Immediately after that, the National Coordination Committee will hold a meeting of the internal constructive patriotic opposition in Madrid, I think. We will see what approaches will be expressed as a result of these events.
We think that we need to refuse from preconditions, because we need to be realistic rather than because we like or dislike somebody. While realism and taking care of interests of the Syrian people require stopping violence as soon as possible without any preconditions. Any preconditions will only drag on this vicious circle of bloodshed.
NPR Why Benghazi stays in the news: Smoke and bombs in Libya, mistakes and ... Newser In this photo taken May 13, 2013, President Barack Obama defends his administration's actions in the wake of the attacks on the U.S.
Five decades since the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) while the Pentagon and NATO escalates its war drive on the continent
The following lecture was delivered at the Africa & U.S. Imperialism Conference held in Detroit on May 18, 2013. The event was sponsored by the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI)
May 25, 2013 represents the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner of the present African Union which formed in 2002. This conference today is taking place at a critical time within the history of Africa and the Diaspora.
By Ahmed Elumami. Tripoli, 16 may 2013: Exhumed bodies found in a mass grave discovered earlier this week are not civilians from Misrata but are people from Tawergha, the town’s local council in exile has said, demanding that a neutral committee be...
Last October, senior Obama officials anonymously unveiled to the Washington Post their newly minted "disposition matrix", a complex computer system that will be used to determine how a terrorist suspect will be "disposed of": indefinite detention, prosecution in a real court, assassination-by-CIA-drones, etc. Their rationale for why this was needed now, a full 12 years after the 9/11 attack:
Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaida continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight. . . . That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism."
On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether the statutory basis for this "war" - the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) - should be revised (meaning: expanded). This is how Wired's Spencer Ackerman (soon to be the Guardian US's national security editor) described the most significant exchange:
"Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least 10 to 20 years.' . . . A spokeswoman, Army Col. Anne Edgecomb, clarified that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today - atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted. Welcome to America's Thirty Years War."
That the Obama administration is now repeatedly declaring that the "war on terror" will last at least another decade (or two) is vastly more significant than all three of this week's big media controversies (Benghazi, IRS, and AP/DOJ) combined. The military historian Andrew Bacevich has spent years warning that US policy planners have adopted an explicit doctrine of "endless war". Obama officials, despite repeatedly boasting that they have delivered permanently crippling blows to al-Qaida, are now, as clearly as the English language permits, openly declaring this to be so.
The short message screeched over a walkie-talkie, prompting the half a dozen rebels in the room who had been lounging on flat mattresses and drinking tea to jump to their feet, grab their guns and run out of the door.
Así que Bashar al-Asad ha hablado, exclusivamente con el periódico argentino Clarín [hay una inmensa diáspora siria en Argentina, así como en el vecino Brasil).
Viendo a través de la niebla de la histeria occidental, hizo algunas observaciones valiosas. El historial muestra que sí, que el régimen ha aceptado varias veces hablar con la oposición; pero la miríada de grupos “rebeldes” sin una dirigencia creíble y unificada, siempre se ha negado. Por lo tanto no existe un camino al alto el fuego que pueda finalmente acordarse en una cumbre, como la próxima conferencia en Ginebra de EE.UU. y Rusia.
Asad tiene algo de sentido cuando dice: "Nosotros no podemos discutir una hoja de ruta con una parte si no sabemos quiénes son”.
Bueno, a estas alturas cualquiera que observe la tragedia siria sabe quiénes son en su mayoría. Se sabe que el Ejército de Caníbales Sirios No-libres, perdón el Ejército Libre Sirio (ELS), es una colección variopinta de señores de la guerra, gángsteres y oportunistas de todo tipo cruzados con yihadistas de la línea dura del tipo de Jabhat al-Nusra (pero también con otros grupos vinculados a al Qaida o inspirados en él).
Reuters tardó meses en admitir finalmente que los yihadistas dominan el show sobre el terreno . Un comandante “rebelde” incluso se quejó a Reuters, “Nusra es ahora dos Nusras. Uno que sigue la agenda de al Qaida de una gran nación islámica y otro que es sirio con una agenda nacional para ayudarnos a combatir a Asad”. Lo que no dijo es que el grupo realmente efectivo está vinculado a al Qaida.
Siria es ahora el Infierno de las Milicias; muy parecido a Irak a mediados de los años 2000, muy parecido al “liberado” Estado fracasado libio. Esta afganización/somalización es una consecuencia directa de la interferencia del eje OTAN/CCG/Israel . Por lo tanto Asad también tiene razón cuando dice que Occidente está avivando el fuego y que solo está interesado en el cambio de régimen, sea cual sea el coste.
So Bashar al-Assad has spoken - exclusively, to Argentine daily El Clarin (there's a huge Syrian diaspora in Argentina, as well as in neighboring Brazil).
Cutting through the fog of Western hysteria, he made some valuable points. The record shows that, yes, the regime has agreed several times to talk to the opposition; but myriad "rebel" groups with no credible, unified leadership have always refuted. So there's no way a ceasefire, eventually agreed on a summit - such as the upcoming US/Russia Geneva conference - can be implemented. Assad makes some sense when he says, "We
can't discuss a timetable with a party if we don't know who they are."
Well, by now everyone following the Syrian tragedy knows who most of them are. One knows that the Un-Free Syrian Cannibals, sorry, Army (FSA) is a ragged collection of warlords, gangsters and opportunists of every possible brand, intersecting with hardcore jihadis of the Jabhat al-Nusra kind (but also other al-Qaeda-linked or inspired outfits).
It took Reuters months to finally admit that jihadis are running the show on the ground.  A "rebel" commander even complained to Reuters, "Nusra is now two Nusras. One that is pursuing al Qaeda's agenda of a greater Islamic nation, and another that is Syrian with a national agenda to help us fight Assad." What he didn't say is that the real effective outfit is al-Qaeda-linked.
Syria is now Militia Hell; much like Iraq in the mid-2000s, much like the Western-imposed, "liberated" Libyan failed state. This Afghanization/Somalization is a direct consequence of NATO-GCC-Israel axis interference.  So Assad is also right when he says the West is adding fuel to the fire, and is only interested in regime change, whatever the cost.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a highly politicized, non-binding draft resolution on Syria. The resolution contradicts the reality on the ground and the political reality pertaining Syria, contradicts the purpose and Charter of the United Nations, endorses international, state-sponsored terrorism, and obstructs a political solution to end the war on Syria.
The success of the resolution lies in the fact that it is one of the clearest yet demonstrations of the depth of the systemic crisis of the United Nations, for the fact that the United Nations has turned into an instrument of neo-colonialism and imperialism, and that human rights advocates, peace advocates, advocates for international law and justice and progressives, such as the International Progress Organization and Dr. Hans Köchler are seriously mistaken when they suggest, that it would be safe to salvage and reform the United Nations.
The UNGA resolution on Syria ought to become the basis for discussing a new approach to a global community of sovereign nations.
Until government and revolutionary forces attacked the Libyan town of Bani Walid, about 170km southeast of the capital Tripoli in October last year, Abdullah Warfella had been determined never to leave.
LONDON—A tiny tip of the vast subterranean network of governmental and intelligence agencies from around the world dedicated to destroying WikiLeaks and arresting its founder, Julian Assange, appears outside the red-brick building on Hans Crescent Street that houses the Ecuadorean Embassy. Assange, the world’s best-known political refugee, has been in the embassy since he was offered sanctuary there last June. British police in black Kevlar vests are perched night and day on the steps leading up to the building, and others wait in the lobby directly in front of the embassy door. An officer stands on the corner of a side street facing the iconic department store Harrods, half a block away on Brompton Road. Another officer peers out the window of a neighboring building a few feet from Assange’s bedroom at the back of the embassy. Police sit round-the-clock in a communications van topped with an array of antennas that presumably captures all electronic forms of communication from Assange’s ground-floor suite.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), or Scotland Yard, said the estimated cost of surrounding the Ecuadorean Embassy from June 19, 2012, when Assange entered the building, until Jan. 31, 2013, is the equivalent of $4.5 million.
Audio clip one: Chris Hedges talks with Julian Assange about his opponents’ legal strategies. Your browser does not support the audio element. (Transcript)
Audio clip two: Julian Assange shares his thoughts on the Bradley Manning Case. Your browser does not support the audio element. (Transcript)
PARIS - Lovers of turbo-neoliberalism, rejoice - and take your bottles of Moet to a prime ringside seat; there won't be a nastier catfight this summer than the opening rounds opposing two Western giants. Forget about the Pentagon "pivoting" to Asia without ever abandoning the Middle East; nothing compares with this voyage in the entrails of turbo-capitalism, worthy of a neo-Balzac.
We're talking about a new Holy Grail - a free-market deal between the United States and the European Union; the advent of a giant, internal transatlantic market (25% of global exports, 31% of global imports, 57% of foreign investment), where goods and services
(but not people) will "freely" circulate, something that in theory will lead Europe out of its current funk.
The problem is that to reach this Brave New World presided by the Market Goddess, Europe will have to renounce some of its quite complex juridical, environmental, cultural and health norms.
In that Kafkaesque/Orwellian bureaucratic paradise also known as Brussels, hordes of faceless equivalents of the bowler hat men in a Magritte painting openly complain about this "adventure"; there's a growing consensus Europe has everything to lose and little to gain out of it, in contrast with the much-derided enemies of the European integration, as in the fanatics of an "pro-American" and "ultra-liberal" Europe.