Posted by: Chuck | June 17, 2013

The World News Report


U.S. to keep F-16s and Patriot missiles in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone

15 Jun 2013 The United States said on Saturday it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman’s request, and Russia bristled at the possibility they could be used to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria. Washington, which has long called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, pledged military support to Syrian rebels this week, citing what it said was the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons – an allegation Damascus has denied. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a Jordanian request for American F-16s and Patriot missiles to remain in the Western-backed kingdom after a joint military exercise there next week, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Russia slams US talks of imposing no-fly zone on Syria

16 Jun 2013 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned against any effort by the United States and its allies to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, saying the move would be a ‘violation of international law.’ “You don’t have to be a great expert to understand that this will still violate international law, and we really hope that our American colleagues will align their actions in accordance with the approach of the Russian-American initiative in preparation for the conference (on Syria),” Lavrov said on Saturday. The Russian foreign minister was referring to Western media reports that US F-16 warplanes and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles in Jordan might be used in creating a no-fly zone over Syria to suppress the Syrian government forces fighting the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the country.

 Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria

16 Jun 2013 The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni [CIA-backed] rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s government, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.

 US decide to keep fighters in Jordan – The military equipment had been sent to Jordan for a major military drill, dubbed Eager Lion.

 14 Jun 2013 The United States has decided to keep F-16 fighter jets and Patriot anti-missile weapons in Jordan after ending a joint military drill there this month. On Thursday a US defense official said Washington will also keep a unit of marines on amphibious ships off the coast in the region after consultations with Jordanian leaders. The US officials decided to keep the troops and weapons upon the request of Jordan amid concerns over the conflict in neighboring Syria.

CIA to use secret bases to arm ‘rebels’

14 Jun 2013 The CIA is preparing to deliver arms to ‘rebel’ groups in Syria through clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan that were expanded over the past year in an effort to establish reliable supply routes into the country for non-lethal material, U.S. officials said. The bases are expected to begin conveying limited shipments of weapons and ammunition within weeks, officials said, serving as critical nodes for an escalation of U.S. involvement in a civil war that has lately seen a shift in momentum toward the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Within the past year, the CIA also created a new office at its headquarters in Langley to oversee its expanding operational role in Syria.

Decision to arm Syrian ‘rebels’ was reached weeks ago, U.S. officials say

14 Jun 2013 President Obama’s decision to begin arming the Syrian ‘rebels’ followed more than a year of internal debate over whether it was worth the dual risks of involving the United States in another war and seeing U.S. weapons fall into the hands of extremist groups among the rebels. The White House said the final push came this week after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded with “high certainty” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons against the rebels.

 U.S. Military Proposal to Arm ‘Rebels’ Includes No-Fly Zone in Syria

13 Jun 2013 A U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels [aka cannibals, terrorists, and rapists] also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials. Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border. To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials. The White House is currently considering proposals to arm the rebels in Jordan, according to U.S. officials.

 ‘US to give military support to militants fighting Syrian government’

13 Jun 2013 US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says the president of United States has decided to provide militants fighting the Syrian government with military support. “The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition. That will involve providing direct support to the SMC,” Rhodes said on Thursday, referring to Syrian Military Council (SMC). “That includes military support,” he added.

 Sweden warns against US aid to Syria militants

14 Jun 2013 Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has warned against the humanitarian ramifications of the US decision to provide new weapons to militants in Syria, saying the scenario will spark an “arms race” in the Arab country. “I don’t think the way forward is to get an arms race going in Syria. There’s a risk that that would undermine the conditions for a political process,” Bildt said in a Friday TV interview… Bildt expressed concern that the US scenario to arm the militants in Syria would prompt Russia to boost its military support for the Syrian government.

Bill Clinton Urges More U.S. Involvement in Syrian Civil War

14 Jun 2013 Former President Bill Clinton applauded the White House decision to help Syrian rebels and said today the U.S. must “do more” to end foment the conflict. Clinton spoke in a Bloomberg Television interview in Chicago a day after the U.S. made clear it would provide small arms and ammunition to the Syrian opposition amid battlefield setbacks by ‘rebels.’ President Barack Obama is authorizing lethal military aid to rebel groups under a classified order instructing the Central Intelligence Agency to arrange delivery of the weapons, according to a U.S. official familiar with the decision who asked not to be identified discussing the action.

Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin

14 Jun 2013 Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny. “It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark,” said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies. “It’s not just that we can’t prove a sarin attack, it’s that we’re not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack. Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cell phone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath.

US claims of Assad’s chemical weapons are lies – Pushkov

14 Jun 2013 A senior Russian MP holds that the recent White House statement of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is as false as the notorious reports about Iraqi WMDs. “The data about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is fabricated by the same facility that made up the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Obama is walking George W. Bush’s path,” the head of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksey Pushkov tweeted. The Russian MP was referring to the 2003 invasion in Iraq prompted by the US and UK claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that threatened neighboring nations.

Israel Official: Iran Sanctions Must Be Tightened

16 Jun 2013 A senior Israeli official says international sanctions are still needed to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program, despite the election of a reformist-backed president. Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence and strategic affairs said Sunday that there won’t be any change on Iran’s nuclear policy since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei still runs the country. Steinitz is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program. How about sanctions over Israel’s nuclear program?

Rohani becomes Iran’s new president

15 Jun 2013 Hassan Rohani has won Iran’s 11th presidential election following a vote that saw a massive popular turnout on June 14. Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar announced on Saturday that of a total of 36,704,156 valid ballots counted, Rohani won 50.70 percent of the ballots with 18,613,329 votes. Principlist candidate Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf came in behind Rohani by a wide margin, winning 6,077,292 votes

 Facebook reveals details of US requests for user data

15 Jun 2013 Facebook revealed Friday it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data from US authorities in the second half of last year, as it seeks to shield itself from a growing scandal. The requests covered issues from child disappearances to petty crimes and terror threats and targeted between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts, the social networking site said, without revealing how often it complied with the requests.

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