Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sweden Contributes to Operation Atalanta Off the Coast of Somalia

Sweden contributes to Operation Atalanta off the coast of Somalia

Fri, 2013-02-01 05:40 — editor

Stockholm, 01 February, (
Swedish Government decided yesterday to place Swedish armed forces, comprised of a maximum of 260 people for at the most four months during 2013, at the disposal of the EU maritime operation, Operation Atalanta, off the coast of Somalia.

The force has a mandate from the UN Security Council. Since 2008, Operation Atalanta has protected vessels from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and contributed to keeping trade routes open.

"The problems of piracy and armed robbery along Somalia's coast, together with the humanitarian situation in the country, pose an enormous challenge for the country and the region as a whole. It is therefore important that Sweden, as part of the international community, takes responsibility and contributes to controlling these problems," says Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt.

The proposed Swedish contribution to Atalanta will be launched in April and will be provided by HMS Carlskrona, including a helicopter unit, a vessel boarding security team and capacity for providing health care and surgery.

Asian Tribune -

Somalia Refugees In Kenya Lament Government Push for Relocation

Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Somalia: Somali Refugees in Kenya Lament Government Push for Relocation


Nairobi — Eighty-year-old Abdiweli Bulle worries the recent Kenyan government directive that requires refugees to move back to camps will destroy the life he has built in Nairobi over the past two decades.

Bulle and hundreds of thousands of Somalis were displaced by the civil war that erupted in 1991 after the fall of the Somali central government. Bulle and his family of five fled to Kismayo when the unrest reached Marka, his hometown. "A year later, we could not stand the escalating violence and we had to flee again, ending up in the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya," Bulle said.

After the government granted his family refugee status, he left the camp in 1994 on a livestock lorry and travelled to Nairobi in search of job opportunities. "My friends and I chose Eastleigh as our destination, and since then it has been my home," he said.

He soon found a job as a truck loader and used the earnings from that job to buy foodstuffs, which he started selling at the roadside in Eastleigh. Eventually Bulle brought his family from Dadaab and worked his way up to becoming a major distributor of foodstuffs, employing more than 30 people in four outlets.

Bulle said he could lose everything he has built if the government forces him to return to Dadaab, and he may again have to depend on aid.

Refugee relocation meant to improve security

On December 18th, the Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons ordered all refugees in urban areas to return to designated refugees camps. Somali refugees are expected to report to the Dadaab refugee complex and those from other countries are to report to the Kakuma refugee camp.

The ministry immediately ceased accepting and registering refugees in urban areas.

"We were forced to make this decision due to a spate of attacks," said acting commissioner for the Department of Refugee Affairs Sora Badu Katelo. "It is neither ill conceived nor discriminatory in any manner, but is meant to protect our citizens and the country from insecurity threats and attacks orchestrated by al-Shabaab and their sympathisers, who disguise as refugees."

Katelo told Sabahi that keeping refugees in the camps will make it easier for security forces to monitor criminal activity.

He said refugees who do not leave urban areas voluntarily will be moved forcefully, but acknowledged that the government had not yet come up with a plan to address cases in which refugees own property or have investments.

The government had set January 21st as the deadline for voluntary relocation, with refugees to be forcibly moved afterwards. Last week, however, Kenya's High Court temporarily blocked the decision to transfer refugees while the court hears a case against the move.

'All I know and call home is Eastleigh'

Hassan Abshir, who sells imported textiles and carpets in local markets, says he arrived at the Dadaab complex in 1991 when he was 16 years old.

"We were among the first refugees to be registered at the camp, but one day my mother fell sick. This forced us to come to Nairobi so she could seek treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital," he told Sabahi.

Upon their arrival, the family stayed in Eastleigh with Abshir's mother's friend, who then provided them with capital to start a business.

"All I know and call home is Eastleigh, and we will not accept a recall to Dadaab or Somalia," he said.

Forced relocation violates rights of refugees

Rufus Karanja, programme officer for the Refugee Consortium of Kenya, which provides legal assistance to asylum seekers and refugees, said the government's decision violates the rights of refugees and contravenes Kenya's international obligations.

"We have engaged the government on this issue on many occasions, and officials have failed to demonstrate to us how refugees in urban centres are a threat to national security and warrant the decision to have them returned to camps," Karanja told Sabahi.

According to the Refugees Act of 2006, he said, refugees have the right to settle anywhere in the country as long as they have the necessary documents to prove their status.

He said most refugees were forced to leave the camps due to deplorable living conditions, overcrowding, and lack of services and basic facilities such as hospitals and schools. By coming to the cities, refugees have been able to become independent from aid, integrating into the socio-economic life of the city by starting businesses or working as labourers, he said.

"Forcing them back to camps is like mocking their resilience and resolve to succeed against the odds," he said. "It stigmatises them and we will contest the government's order in court in order to protect the rights of refugees."

According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which has condemned Kenya's decision to discontinue services for refugees in urban areas, more than 54,000 refugees reside in Nairobi.

Returning that many refugees to Dadaab will put increasing pressure on the camps, which are already overwhelmed, Karanja said, adding that this could lead to more conflicts and instability.

European Union to Pour More Money Into Western-backed Somalian Regime

European Union pledges to increase support for Somalia

January 31, 2013

European Union leaders on Wednesday (January 30th) promised to institute an economic and political support programme for Somalia during Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's visit to Brussels, the first stop on his EU tour, AFP reported.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that the European Union would host a global conference in the autumn to "come up with a New Deal for Somalia that will help deliver political, security and development support".

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said that all parties have agreed to enhance EU-Somali relations. "We believe there is a real commitment to go forward," he said.

The EU has contributed 600 million euros ($814 million) to Somalia over the last five years as part of a three-pronged approach of defence, diplomacy and development.

Mohamud said his nation needs greater support to move from being a country "in relief" to one in recovery. "Everything is zero, everything has to be started from scratch," he said. "And we cannot do it alone."

Mohamud is scheduled to meet with the EU's 27 foreign ministers on Thursday before departing for London.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, With Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Featured on Heart of Africa: 'The Psychology of War'

The Pathopsychology of War with Cynthia McKinney & Abayomi Azikiwe – 30 Jan 13

To listen to the January 30, 2013 editionof "Heart of Africa" just click on the website below:

This week on Heart of Africa, Kudakwashe hosted Former US Congresswoman & 2008 US Presidential Candidate for the Green Party, Cynthia McKinney & African Historian, Political Analyst & Editor of Pan African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe. The phenomenal discussion was on “The Psychology (Pathopsychology) of War”.

Many are the wars Africa has endured over decades. Cynthia & Abayomi gave valuable insight on the kind of mentalities that drive the relentless wars, and how these mentalities are developed and sustained.

They also discuss the plight of black people not only in Africa, but in America as well. The discussion is not short of the impact of Zionism and Israel on American public and foreign policy.

The original topic was “The Psychology of War” but the discussion turned it to the “psychopathology” of war, if you are in the US or “pathopsychology” of war in other regions. Both terms have the same meaning that shows the mental “processes” to a condition, in this case, to continual war.

Kudakwashe concludes the show with a message that touches on the “The Psychology (pathopsychology) of Peace” drawn from biblical principles.

The word “pathopsychology” used to mean the mental processes to peace building.

With authentic dedication to human dignity, peace and justice, Cynthia McKinney is well known for speaking her mind and challenging authority. This began from the first day of her political career, emerging into multiple terms in US Congress as well as a campaign for US Presidency in 2008.

She is determined never to look back. Cynthia has infused inspiration that has attracted both admiration and controversy. Cynthia is known to speak out against war and injustice everywhere she goes around the world.

Maybe we will see Cynthia in the race for American Presidency in the future as she is contemplating a return to elected office.

Listeners are welcome to follow Cynthia on twitter, facebook or watch her videos on youtube. For all information visit

Abayomi Azikiwe is a regular honoured guest on Heart of Africa. More information on Abayomi’s work is mainly available from Pan-African News Wire on

The Pan-African News Wire is an international electronic press service designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world. Since January 1998, this press agency has published thousands of articles and dispatches in newspapers, magazines, journals, research reports, blogs and websites throughout the world. Abayomi is also a frequent commentator on global political matters across various international media, including Press TV & Russia Today. He too is available on facebook and twitter.

This week’s edition is definitely not to miss! Feel free to listen in and share. Heart of Africa is broadcasted live every Wednesday night at 2100 hours Central Africa Time (British Winter Time) or 2000 hours Central Africa Time (British Summer Time), on

It is dedicated to examining matters that affect Africa from a Pan-African Christian perspective, as we envisage the revival of the African dream. Comments and questions welcome here or via twitter @HeartOfAfrica55. All rights reserved.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed on RT Satellite Television: 'Israeli Warplanes Bomb Research Center Near Damascus'

Israeli warplanes bomb research center near Damascus - Syrian military

Published: 30 January, 2013, 23:18
To watch the interview Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the following URL:

Israeli fighter jets targeted a military research center near Damascus early on Wednesday morning, the Syrian army said. The statement follows earlier reports of an Israeli airstrike on a convoy with Syrian weapons heading to Lebanon.

­The Syrian army’s general command has issued a statement, saying an airstrike was launched by the IAF targeting a military research center in Jamraya, rural Damascus.

“Israeli fighter jets violated our air space at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research center in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defense,” the army statement said as cited by SANA.

The strike caused material damage to the center and a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others, the statement added. The Israeli warplanes were flying low under the radars and “snuck in from the north of Al-Sheikh Mountain” according to the report. It called the strike a “blatant act of aggression” against Syria and accused Israel of supporting terrorist activity in the country.

Earlier there were reports in the media of an attack by Israeli jets on Wednesday morning striking a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border amid repeated violations of Lebanese airspace. A US government official has confirmed reports that Israeli warplanes targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon, the Associated Press says.

The Syrian military however has denied this, saying there was no Israeli strike on a convoy of trucks on its border.

However, it was “possible” that the convoy was near the large military site when it came under attack, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Although it has not yet been confirmed whether an airstrike indeed targeted a military site near Damascus, experts believe that after months of constant rebel attacks on Syrian air defense systems an airstrike would make sense.

“It finally makes sense because the rebels or as they like to call themselves the revolutionaries, they have been attacking air defense bases near Damascus for the past seven months,” Dr Ali Mohamad, editor in chief of the Syria Tribune news website told RT. “They’ve managed to attack the S-200 base and over four SM-2 and SM-3 bases. Now this followed by an airstrike from Israel. So it all adds up, it makes sense. It only shows that Israel has a great interest in the instability in Syria and that it is being helped by groups of armed rebels in Syria.”

­Chemical weapons false flag?

­Israel had reportedly been planning for several days the airstrike to hit a shipment of sophisticated weaponry – allegedly including chemical weapons and Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles – bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“This episode boils down to a warning by Israel to Syria and Hezbollah not to engage in the transfer of sensitive weapons,” a regional security source told Reuters.

So far none of the officials in Israel or other concerned parties have pinpointed the exact location and target of the airstrike. The anonymous diplomatic sources however have told Reuters that chemical weapons were believed to be stored at the Jamraya research center, although the vehicles in convoy were unlikely to be carrying them.

Israeli officials have said repeatedly they fear Assad losing his grip on his chemical weapons stockpile. But Dr. Ali Mohamad believes the chemical weapons danger was just a pretext to destroy Syria's military research centers to ensure that Damascus can’t produce arms for its military or to ship to its allies in the region.

“Military research centers are responsible for developing weapons in particular land-to-land long range missiles,” he explained. “And what Israel wants is to stop this research and stop this process. And of course Israel will claim that this is connected to a chemical weapons arsenal, but this is of course not true because nobody stores chemical weapons in a research center.”

Everybody who lives in Syria knows “that this is not at all about chemical weapons,” Mohamad said.

“Let’s remember that the Syrian official who was responsible for all military research projects has been assassinated in Damascus by the rebels,” he explained. “Let’s also remember that the person who orchestrated the Syrian long-range missile project colonel Dawoud Rajiha was also assassinated in Damascus. This is about stopping the Syrian scientific military research projects and is about breaking the link that will help [Israel] overcome the Lebanese resistance and the Palestinian resistance.”

­Editor of the Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, told RT that the air raid on Syria could have been intended to distract international attention from the atrocities carried out by some of the rebel groups on the ground.

“The rebels have been involved in tremendous human right violations inside the country,” he said. “We saw what happened just yesterday with the finding of some 80 people who’ve been massacred, with handcuffs behind their backs shot in the head. And of course these actions carried out by the US-backed rebels inside of Syria are tremendously damaging to their image internationally. So in order to deflect attention away from these developments Israel has launched an air raid, alleging that Syria is transporting weapons to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.”

Another reason for “opening another front” in Syria was to put further pressure on the government of Bashar al-Assad.

“Part of that strategy of course has been the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey,” he said. “And with the airstrikes that took place today this is designed to create a sense of encirclement with regard to the Syrian government.”

French Imperialist War in Mali Breeds Sectarian Violence

Military success in Mali raises fear of sectarian revenge attacks

Published: 30 January, 2013, 21:30

As French, Malian and troops from other African countries enter the key northern Malian towns of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, reports are emerging of revenge attacks against the Islamists and some of the local Tuareg and Arab population.

As Malian and French forces closed in and retook Gao last weekend virtually unopposed, residents have been hunting down and beating up suspected Islamist extremists who did not have time to flee into the desert. Malian troops then bundled the suspected terrorists into a truck.

Members of a youth militia called the Gao Patrolmen, went house to house hunting for suspected Islamists.

“They have gone into homes to hide, so we’ve been rounding them up to hand them to the military,” Abdul Karim Samba, a spokesman for the group told AP.

For almost a year al-Qaida linked extremists have controlled the town, where they swiftly introduced Sharia law, banning music and carrying out public executions and amputations.

Troops from Chad, one of the African nations which has sent troops to help the Malian government and the French, were patrolling the streets, backed up by French soldiers overnight.

Reports from Timbuktu say that residents have also attacked property there owned by Arab and Tuareg traders who are suspected of collaborating with the Islamic rebels.

There were also reports Tuesday of widespread looting of shops in Timbuktu, which belonged to Arabs, with the Malian army unable to control the anger of many residents towards the Islamists. Many black African locals connect Arabs, who have lived in the town for hundreds of years – to the extreme Islamists because of their appearance and religion.

Gonzalo Wancha, a freelance journalist in Mali, who was travelling north from Timbuktu with French and Malian soldiers, told RT that he saw evidence of war crimes committed against the local population. He said that residents of the town of Sevare had been murdered by Malian soldiers and then thrown into a well, used by locals for drinking water. He also said that there has been evidence of extra judicial killings. Many local Tuaregs and Arabs are being persecuted for allegedly collaborating with al-Qaeda, he added.

Whilst it is too early to say exactly what has happened in Mali, it is inevitable that there will be civilian casualties in such a campaign in a country as poor as Mali where the rule of law has never been strictly enforced, Lode Vanoost, an international consultant and former deputy speaker of the Belgian parliament told RT.

“First of all the Malian army does hold a grudge against the people who ousted them from the northern part of the country and secondly these soldiers are very low paid with very little armaments, they are not really a regular army in that sense. Mali is a very destitute country; it’s always the same tragedy. This country needs our support yes, this country needs our help but why is it this help always comes in the form of military intervention?” He said.

Last night French forces also flew into the northern desert town of Kidal, one of the last strongholds for the Islamists.

“The French arrived at 9:30 pm [Tuesday] aboard four planes. Afterwards they took the airport and then entered the town and there was no combat,” Haminy Maiga, the interim president of the Kidal region told AP.

Islamists hijack old tribal differences

The Tuareg are Berbers who have lived a nomadic life across the Sahel and Sahara regions of north and west Africa for hundreds of years and make up 11% of the population of northern Mali.

They populate the desert and semi desert areas of northern Mali and have always viewed themselves as different from the black Africans who live in the South and west of the country.

Tuareg rebels have been waging an on-off secessionist war for decades against the Mali government in the capital Bamuko, situated in the south east of the country.

But the Tuareg movement is split into different factions. The secular Tuareg nationalist militia (MNLA) has been fighting for an independent northern republic and has recently said that its supports the French military intervention.

But Another group, the IslamistAnsar Dine, which includes many Tuareg fighters, which spearheaded last year’s successful attempt to take the north of Mali, has close links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM is a terrorist organization, which aims to overthrow the Algerian government and create an Islamist state.

As a result, many Malians now blame the Tuareg for the capture last year of the northern towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.

“They are traitors. They are also racists. They have lighter skins than us. They look down on us black Africans,” Amadu Traore, an English teacher from Youwarou, near Timbuktu told the Guardian Tuesday.

“They have been fighting for independence since colonial times. When the MLNA was on its own it wasn’t powerful. Then it joined with al-Qaida it became more powerful,” he added.

Trarore claimed the Tuareg would never accept the authority of the Mali state.

Tuareg civilian leaders have repeatedly distanced themselves from AQIM and complain that they have suffered discrimination from the central Malian government.

They say the government failed to implement a 2006 peace deal, which was supposed to improve their opportunities.

The MNLA said it was ready to work with French forces in the north against “terrorist organizations” but would not allow the Malian army to enter Kidal and wants negotiations with the Malian government about autonomy for the region.

With the fall of Kidal, Islamists who have taken refuge in the mountainous desert regions near the Algerian border will need to be flushed out.

Although the French have said they will remain in Mali for as long as necessary, at some point control will need to be handed over to Malian forces. Meanwhile, France has been pushing for an African Union backed force, the International support mission to Mali (Afisma) to take control of Malian towns.

Although there have been early successes in the military campaign, analysts are warning against calling the mission complete, Lindsay German from Stop the War coalition told RT.

“They have been able to bomb, they have been able therefore to take a number of towns, which were controlled by the rebels in Mali, but most people’s assessment is that this is not the end of the fighting or the end of the war, that the rebels will disappear into the desert, will regroup, will appear in other towns and the situation will continue,” she said.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

French Troops Enter Malian Town of Kidal

French troops enter Malian town of Kidal

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:10PM GMT

French forces have entered Mali’s northern town of Kidal, the last major town held by local fighters, as part of its war in the West African country.

The arrival of French troops in Kidal on Wednesday came only days after they took control of Gao and Timbuktu, the other urban strongholds of the fighters, in a three-week war in its former West African colony.

"French elements were deployed overnight in Kidal," said French army spokesman Thierry Burkhard on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday reports also said that French troops had landed at Kidal airport.

"We confirm that French aircraft are on the Kidal landing strip and that protection helicopters are in the sky," a regional security source said.

Haminy Maiga, the interim president of the Kidal regional assembly, said that the French troops “arrived at 9:30pm local time [Tuesday] aboard four planes. Afterwards they took the airport and then entered the town and there was no combat.”

"The French are patrolling the town and two helicopters are patrolling overhead," he added.

Thousands of people in Mali have been forced to flee their homes amid the French war, which involved some 3,500 troops on the ground supported by warplanes, helicopters and armored vehicles.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that more than 5,000 Malian refugees have arrived in Mauritania alone since January 11, when France launched the war under the pretext of halting the advance of the fighters in the African country.

Analysts believe that behind the military campaign are Mali’s untapped resources, including oil, gold, as well as the uranium in the region.

British Prime Minister Cameron Holds Security Talks With Algerian Government

Britain forges new Algeria alliance to fight terrorism

David Cameron to propose 'strengthened security partnership' as intelligence chiefs join him on historic visit

Oliver Wright, John Lichfield
Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Britain will share intelligence from MI6 and GCHQ with the Algerian Government as part of a new joint security partnership in the wake of the In Amenas hostage crisis, David Cameron has said.

Arriving in Algiers as the first British Prime Minister to visit the country since independence, Mr Cameron said he would be announcing a "strengthened security partnership" between Britain and Algeria.

Talks on closer security co-operation will start in the spring with a progress report in the summer. The British side will be led by Sir Kim Darroch, the prime minister's national security adviser, who is with Mr Cameron on the trip, as is the head of MI6, Sir John Sawers.

British soldiers will also work with the Algerians on a limited number of operations. This could potentially include the training of Algerian special forces by British special forces, although this has not been confirmed by the Government.

Mr Cameron said his aim was to help the country "help itself" amid a growing threat from al-Qaida-linked terrorists in the region.

"I would stress the greatest threat of terrorism in this region is to the countries of this region," he said. "Of course there are potential threats to the UK, but the focus is very much on helping these countries to protect their security and protect British people in this region. It is very much about helping the region to help themselves."

The partnership is also designed to give British advice on how to tackle the cross-border jihadists operating both in Algeria and neighbouring Mali. But Mr Cameron stressed that the British response in Mali – and other countries affected by Islamic extremism – should be a combination of factors and not just a military one.

"We don't look at this region and think that the answer is purely a military one – it isn't.

"What is required in countries like Mali – just as countries like Somalia on the other side of Africa – is that combination of a tough approach on security, aid, politics, settling grievances and problems, an intelligence approach that brings together all the things we need to do with countries in this neighbourhood to help them to make them safer and to make us safer too."

Mr Cameron is to hold talks with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal and pay his respects to victims of the hostage crisis during his visit – the first by a UK Prime Minister to Algeria in 50 years.

Some 37 foreigners, at least 10 Algerians and dozens of terrorists died in the attack on the In Amenas gas plant, which is jointly operated by BP, earlier this month. The Algerian government took the controversial decision to storm the site in the Sahara desert, with Mr Cameron and other world leaders protesting about not being notified in advance. In his discussions with Mr Sellal and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, Mr Cameron is expected to stress the need for a "tough, patient and intelligent response" to extremism in the region.

War and peace: A mixed reign

The Algerian President – a 75-year-old veteran of Algeria's war for independence from France – has a reputation as a peace broker, though he has also seen plenty of bloodshed in his country.

After years of brutal civil war between the military and Islamist militants which killed more than 150,000 people, Abdelaziz Bouteflika is credited with pushing through a reconciliation plan that managed to calm the violence shortly after taking office in 1999 with army backing.

Known as "the dandy diplomat" during his 16-year tenure as the country's Foreign Minister in the 1960s and 1970s due to his Westernised sense of style, Bouteflika found favour with Western countries in his first term as President, having established a fragile peace and transformed Algeria's international image.

But allegations of corruption have also plagued Bouteflika. He spent six years in self-imposed exile in the 1980s following corruption allegations, and his election (plus subsequent re-election) has been marred by claims of vote rigging. In 2008, Algeria's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of scrapping a rule limiting presidents to two terms, making way for Bouteflika's third term.

Speaking at the time, Saïd Sadi, the head of small secular opposition party the Rally for Culture and Democracy, said: "We are living through a disguised coup d'état."

Bouteflika said the measure was part of the government's aim to "strengthen our political system".

Israel Carries Out Airstrikes On Research Center in Syria

‘Two killed, five injured in Israeli airstrike on Syrian research center’

Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:1PM

The Syrian Army says two people have been killed and five others injured in an Israeli airstrike on a scientific research center in Jamraya, near the capital Damascus.

"Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research center in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence," the Syrian Army said in a statement on Wednesday, AFP reported.

The attack was carried out against the center, which was tasked with boosting Syria’s resistance and self-defense, "after terrorist groups made several failed attempts in the past months to take control of the site."

"This assault is one of a long list of acts of aggression and criminality against the Arabs and Muslims," the statement added.

"They... carried out an act of aggression, bombarding the site, causing large-scale material damage and destroying the building," the army said.

The Israeli regime claimed earlier that it had targeted a convoy of chemical weapons in Syria.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.

And several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.

30 January 2013
Last updated at 16:54 ET

Syria 'confirms' Israeli air strike but disputes target

Israel has not commented on reports of an attack on Wednesday.

The Syrian military says Israeli jets have carried out an air strike on its territory, but denied reports that lorries carrying weapons bound for Lebanon were hit.

It said in a statement that the target was a military research centre northwest of the capital Damascus.

Two people were killed and five injured in the attack, it said.

Lebanese security sources, Western diplomats and Syrian rebels say an arms convoy was hit near Lebanon's border.

The attack came as Israel voiced fears that Syrian missiles and chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militants such as Lebanon's Hezbollah.

BBC Middle East correspondent Wyre Davies says none of the reports can be verified, although some well-placed diplomats and military sources say they would not be surprised if Israel had acted, given the recent instability in Syria.

Israel and the US have declined to comment on the incident.

The Lebanese military and internal security forces have not officially confirmed the reports, but say there has been increased activity by Israeli warplanes over Lebanon in the past week, and particularly in recent hours.

Hezbollah fears

The army statement, quoted in Syria's official media, said: "Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research centre in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence."

The centre, in Jamraya, northwest of the capital Damascus, was damaged in the attack, along with an adjacent building and a car park, the statement said.

It said that "armed terrorist gangs", a term the government uses to describe rebel groups, had tried and failed repeatedly to capture the same facility in recent months.

The statement specifically denied reports that an arms convoy had been hit.

Hours earlier, unnamed Lebanese security sources reported that Israeli warplanes had struck lorries carrying missiles towards the Lebanese border.

The Associated Press quoted a US official as saying the lorries were carrying Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.

Correspondents say Israel fears that Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah could obtain anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, thus strengthening its ability to respond to Israeli air strikes.

However, an attack on the Syrian side could cause a major diplomatic incident, they say, as Iran has said it will treat any Israeli attack on Syria as an attack on itself.

The attack came days after Israel moved its Iron Dome defence system to the north of the country.

Israel has also joined the US in expressing concern that Syria's presumed chemical weapons stockpile could be taken over by militant groups, although there is no evidence that the convoy was carrying such weapons.

Analysts say Israel believes Syria received a battery of SA-17s from Russia after an alleged Israeli air strike in 2007 that destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor.

The US government said in 2008 that the reactor was "not intended for peaceful purposes".

Israeli jets bomb military target in Syria

10:50p.m. EST January 30, 2013

Among Israel's fears is that Assad will pass chemical weapons or sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah — something that could change the balance of power in the region.

Story Highlights
Syrian military confirmed the attack on state TV
Israeli military has declined to comment
Strike comes amid Syria's bloody civil war

BEIRUT (AP) — Israel launched a rare airstrike inside Syria, U.S. officials said Wednesday, targeting a convoy believed to contain anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The attack adds a potentially flammable new element to tensions already heightened by Syria's civil war.

It was the latest salvo in Israel's long-running effort to disrupt the Shiite militia's quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel's air force and spreading destruction inside the Jewish state.

Regional security officials said the strike, which occurred overnight Tuesday, targeted a site near the Lebanese border, while a Syrian army statement said it destroyed a military research center northwest of the capital, Damascus. They appeared to be referring to the same incident.

U.S. officials said the target was a truck convoy that Israel believed was carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the operation.

Regional officials said the shipment included sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which if acquired by Hezbollah would be "game-changing," enabling the militants to shoot down Israeli jets, helicopters and surveillance drones. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

In a statement, the Syrian military denied the existence of any such shipment and said a scientific research facility outside Damascus was hit by the Israeli warplanes.

The Israeli military declined to comment. However, many in Israel worry that as Syrian President Bashar Assad loses power, he could strike back by transferring chemical or advanced weapons to Hezbollah, which is neighboring Lebanon's most powerful military force and is committed to Israel's destruction.

The airstrike follows decades of enmity between Israel and allies Syria and Hezbollah, which consider the Jewish state their mortal enemy. The situation has been further complicated by the civil war raging in Syria between the Assad regime and rebel brigades seeking his ouster.

The war has sapped Assad's power and threatens to deprive Hezbollah of a key supporter, in addition to its land corridor to Iran. The two countries provide Hezbollah with the bulk of its funding and arms.

A Syrian military statement read aloud on state TV Wednesday said low-flying Israeli jets crossed into Syria over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and bombed a military research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of Damascus.

The strike destroyed the center and damaged a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others, the statement said.

The military denied the existence of any convoy bound for Lebanon, saying the center was responsible for "raising the level of resistance and self-defense" of Syria's military.

"This proves that Israel is the instigator, beneficiary and sometimes executor of the terrorist acts targeting Syria and its people," the statement said.

Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive 34-day war in 2006 that left 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead.

While the border has been largely quiet since, the struggle has taken other forms. Hezbollah has accused Israel of assassinating a top commander, and Israel blamed Hezbollah and Iran for a July 2012 attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. In October, Hezbollah launched an Iranian-made reconnaissance drone over Israel, using the incident to brag about its expanding capabilities.

Israeli officials believe that Hezbollah's arsenal has markedly improved since 2006, now boasting tens of thousands of rockets and missiles and the ability to strike almost anywhere inside Israel.

Israel suspects that Damascus obtained a battery of SA-17s from Russia after an alleged Israeli airstrike in 2007 that destroyed an unfinished Syrian nuclear reactor.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of the dangers of Syria's "deadly weapons," saying the country is "increasingly coming apart."

The same day, Israel moved a battery of its new "Iron Dome" rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa, which was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire in the 2006 war. The Israeli army called that move "routine."

Syria, however, cast the airstrike in a different light, linked to the country's civil war, which it blames on terrorists carrying out an international conspiracy.

Despite its icy relations with Assad, Israel has remained on the sidelines of efforts to topple him, while keeping up defenses against possible attacks.

Israeli defense officials have carefully monitored Syria's chemical weapons, fearing Assad could deploy them or lose control of them to extremist fighters among the rebels.

President Barack Obama has called the use of chemical weapons a "red line" that if crossed could prompt direct U.S. intervention, though U.S. officials have said Syria's stockpiles still appear to be under government control.

The strike was Israel's first inside Syria since September 2007, when warplanes destroyed a site that the U.N. nuclear watchdog deemed likely to be a nuclear reactor. Syria denied the claim, saying the building was a non-nuclear military site.

Syria allowed international inspectors to visit the bombed site in 2008, but it has refused to allow nuclear inspectors new access. This has heightened suspicions that Syria has something to hide, along with its decision to level the destroyed structure and build on its site.

In 2006, Israeli warplanes flew over Assad's palace in a show of force after Syrian-backed militants captured an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

And in 2003, Israeli warplanes attacked a suspected militant training camp just north of the Syrian capital, in response to an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in the city of Haifa that killed 21 Israelis.

Syria vowed to retaliate for both attacks but never did.

In Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria, the military and the U.N. agency tasked with monitoring the border with Israel said Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity in the past week.

Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace are not uncommon, and it was unclear if the recent activity was related to the strike in Syria.

Syria's primary conflict with Israel is over the Golan Heights, which Israeli occupied in the 1967 war. Syria demands the area back as part of any peace deal. Despite the hostility, Syria has kept the border quiet since the 1973 Mideast war and has never retaliated for Israeli attacks.

In May 2011, only two months after the uprising against Assad started, hundreds of Palestinians overran the tightly controlled Syria-Israeli frontier in a move widely thought to have been facilitated by the Assad regime to divert the world's gaze from his growing troubles at home.

Russia's Priority Is Achieving Comprehensive Solution in Syria No Regime Change

Lavrov: Russia's Priority Is Achieving Comprehensive Solution in Syria Not Regime Change

Jan 30, 2013

MOSCOW, (SANA) – Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that that the Geneva statement, issued by the international action group on Syria on June 30th last year, needs no clarification or interpretation as it simply provides for halting violence by all sides and nominating the negotiators to form the structure of the temporary leading body and specify its tasks.

In an article published by the Diplomatic Group Annual Bulletin for 2012, Lavrov added that we are very determined to go ahead with solving the crisis in Syria through Geneva statement and the rest is related to our partners.

He expressed his country's belief that the UN Security Council and all foreign players who have influence on the situation in Syria should pave the way for implementing this document.

He added that these efforts are based on UNSC resolutions and the Geneva statement, which has been reached with Russia's serious efforts.

Lavrov stressed that his country will continue working to achieve a settlement for the crisis in Syria as the fighting is getting more violent and causing more victims.

The Russian Foreign Minister said that Russia is doing its best to have violence halted and get the conflict parties to set down around the negotiating table through which the Syrians have to reach reconciliation and agree on the political structure of their country.

He added that Russia's priority is reaching a comprehensive settlement for the crisis, rather than changing the regime, which explains the use of veto by Russia and China at the UN Security Council when there were intentions for military intervention in Syria.

Lavrov warned that the doubled game in the current situation in Syria is very serious as it will lead to nothing but the militarization and escalation of conflict as well as to stoking violence and increasing extremism and terrorist threats.

He stressed that the alternative to the peaceful solution in Syria is the spread of bloody chaos, adding that the more the conflict expands the worse the situation gets for all.

He noted that the situation in Syria and the region raises serious concerns, adding that the terrorist acts are being committed on a daily basis and the support of the fighting groups, including those which fight in the African deserts, with arms is still on.

Gatilov: Geneva Statement is Still Urgent in Vital, Main Obstacle is Interpretation of Its Articles and Behavior of Some Sides and Foreign Players

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in a statement on Wednesday that the Geneva statement on Syria is still as urgent and vital as ever, voicing Russia's readiness to discuss new mechanisms for implementing it with its colleagues.

Gatilov said that this doesn't mean reconsidering the statement as Russia believes that it contains the articles needed for settlement in Syria, and that these articles aren't the issue but rather the main obstacle is the interpretation of the statement and the behavior of some sides of the conflict and foreign players who are betting on a resolution and change of government through force, which is why they reject dialogue.

He noted that Russia launched an initiative for a second session of the workgroup on Syria in what is known as Geneva 2, stressing the need to expand participants and involve important local players like Saudi Arabia and Iran, noting that other countries were evasive towards this suggestion.

Gatilov stressed the need to formulate the Syrian solution via group effort through the workgroup, and that talks shouldn't be about imposing solutions from outside but rather on launching political dialogue as per the commitments made by the foreign sides that took part in the Geneva statement.

He pointed out that Russia is in contact with both the Syrian authority and the opposition, sending both sides messages to end violence, launch political dialogue and resolve the crisis independently without relying on external aid, voicing hope that other sides would adopt this approach.

Gatilov said that there's no talk of a new Security Council resolution on Syria, and that not adopting the Geneva statement by the Security Council officially was a mistake, and that this didn't happen because of the position of some members who didn't support this idea.

He added that Moscow is still in contact with UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Ibrahimi and that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet Ibrahimi on the sideline of the International Security Conference in Munich, voicing hope that Ibrahimi will continue seeking means to resolve the crisis in Syria.

R. Raslan/ H. Said / H. Sabbagh

Moscow Condemns Massacre in Aleppo As Merciless Crime

Moscow Condemns Massacre in Aleppo as Merciless Crime

Jan 30, 2013

MOSCOW, (SANA)- Russia expressed its condemnation of and resentment towards the terrorist massacre which took place in Aleppo and claimed the lives of scores of innocent citizens, describing it as "a new merciless crime on the Syrian land".

A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday stressed the need for conducting a thorough investigation into this crime and identifying the perpetrators specifically.

"We express our deep sympathy with the Syria government and people and the victims' families," the statement said.

It reiterated Russia's call upon all the parties to contribute to immediately halting the armed violence in Syria and starting an unconditional dialogue based on Geneva Statement issued on the 30th of last June in order to save lives and stop the suffering of innocent people.

The Russian Foreign Ministry referred in its statement that "the bodies of the massacre's victims were found in al-Queiq River in Bustan al-Qasr area in Aleppo where illegal armed groups are active."

Terrorist groups from Jabhat al-Nusra in Aleppo carried out a mass execution against tens of abducted persons and threw their bodies in Queiq river in Bustan al-Qasr area in Aleppo.

The inhabitants have identified a number of the killed and confirmed that Jabhat al-Nusra abducted their relatives because they had rejected to cooperate with this terrorist group and demanded that its members leave their residential neighborhoods.

The authorities, along with the inhabitants, are following evidence on this new massacre, which adds to a series of brutal massacres perpetrated by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group against unarmed civilians.

H. Said

Syrian Army Restores Security to Busr al-Harir in Daraa, Confronts Terrorists in Several Other Areas

Army Restores Security to Busr al-Harir in Daraa, Confronts Terrorists in Several Other Areas

Jan 30, 2013

PROVINCES, (SANA) – Units of the Armed Forces targeted terrorists' gatherings in Busr al-Harir town in Daraa countryside and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

An official source told SANA reporter that security and stability were restored to the area after eliminating the terrorists.

The Army Foils Terrorists' Attempt to Detonate Car Loaded with 200 kg of Explosives in Aleppo

A unit of the Armed Forces foiled terrorists' attempt to detonate a car loaded with 200 kg of explosives, filled inside a water heater, in Khan al-Asal in Aleppo.

The army killed the car's driver Mahmoud Madrati.

Israeli-made Food Stuff Seized, Explosive Devices Dismantled in Aleppo

In cooperation with the locals, a unit of the Armed Forces confiscated Israeli-made food materials coming from Turkey in al-Jamiliyeh area in Aleppo city.

The army units eliminated all members of a terrorist group who were planting explosive devices on the roads to the south of al-Sfeira in the countryside of Aleppo and dismantled a number of IEDs.

Terrorists Killed, 82-mm Caliber Mortar Seized in al-Qseir, Homs

A unit of the Armed Forces stormed into a terrorists' hideout near the agricultural nursery in the countryside of al-Qseir and seized a 82-mm caliber mortar inside it.

A source in the province told SANA that two terrorists were killed and others were injured in the operation while the rest ran away.

The source added that another army unit destroyed two vehicles equipped with heavy machineguns and killed all terrorists inside them in Ein Hussein village in the countryside of Homs.

It noted that a unit of the Armed Forces also destroyed a vehicle, killing all the terrorists inside it near al-Hashimiyeh School in Jouret al-Shaiyah neighborhood in Homs city.

Two Terrorist Infiltration Attempts from Lebanon Foiled

Units of the Armed Forces foiled infiltration attempts by two terrorist groups from the Lebanese territories through Edlin and Azeir sites in the countryside of Talkalakh in Homs.

A source in the province told SANA reporter that the army killed and injured a number of terrorists while the rest fled away back into the Lebanese territories.

Terrorists Killed, Two Explosive Devices Neutralized in Hasaka

A unit of the Armed Forces clashed with an armed terrorist group which attempted to attack a base for law-enforcement forces in the area 47 in the countryside of al-Shaddadi city in Hasaka.

SANA reporter quoted a source in the province as saying that the clashes resulted in killing and injuring most of the group's members, while the rest fled away.

The source noted that the engineering units neutralized two explosive devices, each of them weighed 30 kg, planted by terrorists on al-Shaddadi – Deir Ezzor way.

Army Units Eliminate Terrorists and Destroy their Weapons in Damascus Countryside

Army units carried out a series of qualitative operations against the armed terrorist groups in Douma and Daraya areas in Damascus Countryside and destroyed several dens with weapons, ammunitions and terrorists inside.

An official source told SANA reporter that the army units pursued terrorists and eliminated several snipers including Abdu Jaafa al-Sayyad, leader of an armed terrorist group, and Kutaiba Khudeir, Abdul-Razzaq Khalil, Hatem al-Qaderi and Abu-Omar al-Shami.

The source added that several explosive devices were dismantled in Daraya city.

The source pointed out that an army unit carried out a qualitative operation and destroyed a den of an armed terrorist group in Douma and killed several terrorists, including Mohammad Sreiwil, Adnan Dugheim, Abdul-Azim Darmoush and Ziad Taleb.

The Army Unit Eliminates Terrorists in Damascus Countryside

Units of the Armed Forces clashed with armed terrorist groups in al-Sbaina, Alhajar al-Asowad and al-Nabik area in Damascus countryside, killing scores of terrorists and destroying their weapons.

An official source told SANA that the Army unit pursued armed terrorist groups who were perpetrating acts of terrorism in al-Sbaina and Alhajar al-Asowad, killing and injuring scores of them.

Taha Sami, Muhammad Ramadan, Ghanim Ghanim, Yaser Ahmad and Riad al-Barghash were identified among the killed terrorists.

In the same context, another Army unit inflicted heavy losses among the armed terrorist groups in the west farm of al-Nabik, among the killed terrorists were Hazem al-Rifa'ai and Khalid al-Rifa'ai.

B.Mousa / Mazen

The Armed Forces Destroy Terrorists' Gatherings in Idleb

A unit of the Armed Forces carried out a qualitative operation and killed a number of terrorists who were attempting to attack Law- Enforcement point in Idleb –Sermen road.

The source clarified to SANA that among the killed terrorists were Houssam Eisa, Abo Hassan Altounsi and Omar Haj Hamdan.

Another Army unit destroyed gathering for terrorists who were attempting to attack al-Rami village and another gathering in Kafer Zaita, killing scores of terrorist and destroying their cars.

B.Mousa /Mazen

The Army Eliminates Terrorists in Homs and Hama Countryside

The Armed Forces carried out qualitative operations against the terrorists' gatherings and destroyed their vehicles along with weapons and ammunition in Hama and Homs countryside.

A military source told SANA that an Army unit destroyed a rocket launcher and antiaircraft were used by the terrorists in their acts of terrorism in Aein Houssen village, killing and injuring scores of them.

The source added that another Army unit destroyed in a qualitative operation a car equipped with a heavy machinegun and terrorist gathering near the gas station in al-Rastan city.

The source pointed out that the Army unit destroyed 6 cars for the terrorist groups, 3 of them were equipped with heavy machineguns in Talbisa area.

Meantime, another Army unit destroyed a mortar for terrorists in al-Mashtal area in Homs countryside.

In the same context, another Army unit carried out qualitative operations against the terrorists' gatherings in Karnaz, al-Haoush, al-Hamamiat and Kafer Nabuda in Hama, destroying two terrorists' dens and 8cars equipped with heavy machineguns.

Ali al-Ahmad and Abdull-Hamid Darouish were identified among the killed terrorists.

The Armed Forces Continue Targeting Terrorist Gatherings in Aleppo and its Countryside

Units of the Armed Forces continued targeting the terrorist gatherings in several areas in Aleppo and its countryside, killing and injuring large numbers of them.

A source in the province told SANA that an Army unit targeted a terrorist gathering in al-Sfira area in Aleppo countryside, killing a number of them. Among the killed terrorists were Walid Staif, Abdulrazak al-Hourani and Walid al-Khatib.

Another Army unit targeted terrorist gatherings in Khan Touman and Ming. Among the killed terrorists were Oudai Ra'fat Hablas, Egyptian terrorist from the so- called "Jabhat al-Nusra," Muhamad al-Burj and Hassan Fayssal al-Dgheim.

In Khfer Naseh village, an Army unit clashed with members of "Jabhat al-Nusra" and members of another terrorist group called "Katibet al-Moutasim", resulting in the death of scores of terrorists. Among the killed terrorists were Abdul Aziz Muhammad Sadiq.

In Aleppo city, an Army unit targeted terrorist gatherings in al-Sheikh Sa'ayd area. Among the killed terrorists were Muhammad Abdul Rahman Badawi and Ayman Abdul Aziz Ramadan.

Another Army unit targeted terrorists gatherings in al-Nakharin,al-Amiria and Karim Maisar, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

In the same context, a large number of terrorists were killed in clashes following disagreements among them over stolen items.

B.Mousa /H.Sabaagh

Syrian Committee Charged With Carrying Out Political Program Meets Souria al-Watan Party

Committee Charged with Carrying out Political Program meets Souria al-Watan Party

Jan 30, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA)-Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi affirmed the importance of the political parties, social and economic activities' participation in dialogue to reach common denominators to build a national pact that meets aspirations of citizens and realize the national reconciliation.

The Ministerial committee charged with implementing the political program to solve the crisis in Syria Wednesday met Secretary General Souria al-Watan Party Majd Niazy and members of the party's political office.

Niazy underlined her party's positive interaction with the national issues, its support for the peaceful movement, rejection of violence or using weapons by the armed groups, saying "The party puts all its efforts to help rescue Syria from the challenges to which it is exposed."

Both the Ministerial Committee and members of the Party reached common denominators represented by supporting the national dialogue program and the political program to resolve the crisis in Syria.

They rejected any foreign dictations or intervention in Syria's domestic affairs, calling for democratic Syria with multiplicity, sovereignty, civil society through fair, free elections.

Syrian Foreign Ministry Calls Upon the Security Council to Condemn Terrorist Massacre in Aleppo

Foreign Ministry Calls on Security council to Condemn Jabhat al-Nusra's mass Execution against Scores of Abducted citizens in Aleppo

Jan 30, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA)-Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Wednesday sent two identical letters to President of The UN security Council and UN Secretary General on the mass execution perpetrated by terrorist groups of "Jabhat al-Nusra" against tens of abducted citizens in Aleppo on Tuesday and throwing their bodies in Qweiq river in Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood.

"An armed group of Jabhat al-Nusra perpetrated a new massacre in Aleppo on Tuesday. The terrorists carried out mass executions against scores of Syrian abducted civilians in a cold blood, throwing their bodies in Qweiq river," the Ministry said in the two letters.

It added that while the competent authorities along with the families are following evidence on this new massacre , the facts indicate that the bodies were found in the side where terrorists present and there is no presence for the army on the banks of Queiq river, as well as there are barbed wires along the stream of the river that separate the region form the centers of the army, and the height of water in the river is very little and it is stagnant.

The Ministry pointed out to the comments of one terrorist who was arrested by law enforcement personnel that the terrorist groups were perpetrating their crimes prior to the meetings of the UN Security Council to stir the local and international public opinion against Syria.

"A number of the families have identified some bodies of their relatives, broadcast by some TV channels which are partners in shedding the Syrian blood as bodies for civilians, as usual, attributing this act to the Syrian Arab army, stressing that these bodies are the same of those abducted by the terrorists who contacted them many times asking for ransoms," the Ministry said. '

It added that the families stated that the abduction of their sons was because of their rejection of cooperating with "Jabhat al-Nusra".

The competent authorities along with the families are working to specify the identities of the new massacre's victims which adds to a series of brutal massacres of that terrorist group against the unarmed civilians.

"Syria which relays the facts of this heinous massacre to the UN Security Council, calls on the Council once again to assume responsibilities and issue a clear, frank condemnation of those terrorist acts which target the innocents.. and to condemn its perpetrators and those who supply them with weapons, equipment, money, shelter, political and media cover, encouraging them to go on with their crimes which seek to destabilize the state," the Ministry said.

It called on the international community to truly commit to combating terrorism and its supporters, on top, resolution 1373/2001, indicating that Syria reminds once again that not implementing these resolutions and practicing duplicity in dealing with them would make all suspect the credibility of the Security Council in fighting this dangerous plague.

The Ministry concluded by saying that the obstruction of some member states at the UN Security to issue a clear condemnation by the council as what happened in previous situations means providing a political cover for the terrorists which encourage them to carry out more terrorist atrocities.


Pan-African Journal Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Jan. 26, 2013

Pan-African Journal Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Jan. 26, 2013

To listen to this program hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the link below:

This week's edition features reports on the mass demonstrations surrounding the second anniversary of the Jan. 25, 2011 uprisings in Egypt. The demonstrations have involved hundreds of thousands of youth and workers. Clashes during the demonstrations have left over 40 people dead.

France has continued its bombing and ground invasion of the West African state of Mali. The war is spreading to Niger where Paris has announced the deployment of special forces to purportedly guard the Areva uranium mines.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe attended the 20th Summit of the African Union held in the capital of Addis Ababa in the Horn of Africa state of Ethiopia. The AU Summit is taking place amid increasing turmoil on the continent due to imperialist military, political and economic intervention.

And finally, the Pan-African News Wire has marked its 15th anniversary. The international press service has reached millions around the world.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed by the Foundation for Democratic Advancement on the Situation in Mali

Mali Conflict and Broad Implications

Mr. Abayomi Azikiwe has been covering African political and social issues for more than thirty years.

In this podcast, Mr. Stephen Garvey, Foundation for Democratic Advancement Executive Director, interviews Mr. Abayomi Azikiwe, an African American political commentator and editor who has been covering African political and social issues for more than thirty years.

To listen to the interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:

Mr. Azikiwe shares his breadth of knowledge of Africa on the 2012 Mali conflict including western intervention in the country. Mr. Azikiwe argues that the west via France, United Kingdom, United States and other western countries are using Islam as a cover for their neo-colonial aims in Africa.

Also, with reference to many examples, Mr. Azikiwe contends that western intervention in countries has resulted in overall harm to the people of the countries. He believes that western countries' goal is to continue to destabilize African countries for perceived economic gain.

Overall, Mr. Azikiwe believes that African countries need to unify against imperialist and neo-colonial threats to the continent, and uphold their independence as individual countries and as a continent as a whole. In addition, Mr. Azikiwe provides a concise, provocative explanation for the lack of objective media coverage by western mainstream media when it comes to international affairs.

For non-mainstream, insightful, and provocative discussion from people working in the field of international politics, listen in or download the FDA podcasts.

The views expressed in the Foundation for Democratic Advancement's podcast do not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation.

The FDA supports broad and free speech, and the purposes of its blog posts and podcasts are to encourage discussion and education, and to compensate for deficiencies in mainstream media coverage.

Iranian Leader Warns Against West's New Campaign in Africa

Leader warns against West's new campaign in Africa

Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:10AM GMT

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the West has launched a new campaign to expand its presence in the African continent.

The Leader made the remarks in an address to a group of Iranian officials and the foreign participants of the 26th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran.

“Today the main policy of the global arrogance to counter [the wave of] Islamic Awakening is to sow discord and pit Muslims in Islamic countries against each other,” the Leader added.

Ayatollah Khamenei described calamities in Pakistan, war and massacres in Syria, suppressing the people in Bahrain and disagreements among Egyptian people as the consequences of disputes among Muslims.

The Leader added that any disagreement and dispute among Muslim nations or inside Islamic countries is definitely playing in a court that has been devised by the enemy.

“The only way to counter the enemies’ scheme to sow discord [among Muslims] is to create unity among Muslim nations as well as among groups, religions and various factions in every Islamic country,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader noted that differences between Muslims would overshadow the issue of Palestine, and stressed the need for resistance against extortionist policies of the US and the West.

“The new move the Western [governments] have embarked on in Africa to dominate the African nations is the consequence of Muslims’ differences and preoccupation with one another,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader added that the wave of Islamic Awakening which started in Iran 34 years ago with the victory of the Islamic Revolution and is spreading across the Muslim world, is a sign of the realization of divine promises and the movement towards victory.

The two-day 26th International Islamic Unity Conference started in Iran’s capital, Tehran, on Sunday attended by Shia and Sunni thinkers from 102 countries.

The Islamic unity conference provides an opportunity for scholars to share views and review problems facing Muslims while presenting solutions.

African American Woman Gets Last-Minute Stay of Execution in Texas

Black woman gets last-minute stay of execution in Texas

Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:2AM GMT

A judge in the US state of Texas has granted a stay of execution to death row inmate Kimberly McCarthy, who was scheduled to become the first woman to be executed in the United States in nearly three years.

On Tuesday, Dallas County District Court Judge Larry Mitchell rescheduled the 51-year-old Black woman’s execution for April 3, after her lawyers asked for more time to submit an appeal on grounds of racial discrimination.

The execution was due to take place after 6:00 p.m. local time (2300 GMT) on Tuesday.

"The previous warrant of execution is hereby recalled," Judge Mitchell wrote in the order, which was issued at 1:00 p.m. local time.

"Of the twelve jurors seated at trial, all were white, except one, and eligible non-white jurors were excluded from serving by the state," University of Texas adjunct law professor Maurie Levin said.

Levin assisted in representing McCarthy, who has been on death row for 14 years.

"We are very pleased that we will now have an opportunity to present evidence of discrimination in the selection of the jury that sentenced Kimberly McCarthy to death," Levin added.

"As recognized by the US Supreme Court (Miller-El v. Dretke, 2005), these facts must be understood in the context of the troubling and long-standing history of racial discrimination in jury selection in Dallas County, including at the time of Ms. McCarthy's trial," she stated.

McCarthy was convicted of robbing, beating, and stabbing to death Dorothy Booth, a 71-year-old retired college professor, in a city near Dallas in 1997. She has also been linked to three other murders.

McCarthy is one of 10 women on death row in Texas.

South African Communist Party Message to the ANC 101st Anniversary

SACP Message to the ANC 101st Anniversary to be delivered by SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande
12 January 2013

On behalf of the more than 160 000 members of the South African Communist Party, we wish to congratulate the ANC on this 101st anniversary. In addition the SACP congratulates the ANC for reaching a historic membership of 1,2 million and for the very successful centenary celebrations over the last 12 months. Congratulations on a very successful conference, and the election of Cde Jacob Zuma and the rest of the leadership elected at Mangaung.

Celebrating January 8 must also be a celebration of the achievements of the ANC over the past 19 years, and especially over the last five years.

The SACP rejects with the contempt it deserves the false claims and propaganda that the ANC has not done anything, and that life was better under apartheid and that there is no political leadership in this country. This is nothing but a ploy of sections of the elite who want to derail us from pursuing the goals of our NDR.

Amongst other things as the SACP we celebrate the fact that:

Electrification, water, housing, social grants and other basic services that have been significantly expanded over the last 19 years. Those who say nothing has been done are the rich, the wealthy who never knew what it is like not to have running or clean drinking water, electricity, a house, etc. We cannot judge progress in our country through the eyes of the elites, the wealthy and their newspapers. They often sneer at our achievements precisely because these things mean nothing to them!
We particularly note progress made since Polokwane - increase in life expectancy since 2009 by more than five years; more than 8million children in the school feeding scheme and steady improvement in matric results. We have also achieved steady increase in bursaries for higher education, including free education in FET colleges. Let us celebrate these and other achievements and not be diverted by professional cynics and whiners, and professors of doom, who will always try to negate our progress.
Indeed we still have enormous challenges, especially poverty, unemployment and inequality. Let us use government`s planned investment into infrastructure as a key foundation to address these problems. SACP also calls upon the Alliance to urgently resolve outstanding matters like the youth wage subsidy and labour brokers, so that we do not allow our enemies and detractors to use these matters to cause unnecessary strain in our Alliance.

We wish to take this opportunity to call for the farm bosses in the Western Cape and the rest of the country to go and genuinely negotiate with workers for a decent wage settlement. To most farmworkers 1994 never arrived, instead they live in slave like conditions, if not dragged on the back of tractors or being thrown into lion`s dens. Helen Zille must stop crying to national government; instead she must go tell farm bosses to negotiate in good faith. In 2013, the SACP is taking up issues on basic services and revitalizing our campaign to transform the financial sector; so that its resources are directed into the productive economy and infrastructure spend.

The challenge to our Alliance cadres and supporters is that they must be in the forefront of community work, on all fronts: in SGBs, ward committees, community policing forums, street committees, etc. Let us build unity in defense of the ANC and our Alliance. Let us be everywhere where our people are. Let none of us, especially at leadership of the Alliance, allow ourselves to be media heroes by attacking especially the ANC and/or each other`s formations in public in order to prove that we are independent. Whilst we will continue to articulate publicly as the SACP our positions, we will refuse to become media heroes through attacking the ANC or COSATU.


Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

South African Agricultural Union Addresses Mass Meetings in Western Cape


Press statement on the outcomes of FAWU visit to and mass meetings at Ceres and De Doorns

26 January 2013

The leadership of the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) led by its General Secretary Katishi Masemola, visited Ceres at and De Doorns and held successful mass meetings of members of FAWU and interested farm workers.

We are pleased with the turnout of farm workers and FAWU members at the ANC hosted Ceres meeting were some 700 attended. More workers were encouraged to join FAWU. The De Doorns meeting saw some 500 workers and members attending.

The reason for the low-than-expected turnout in De Doorns was because of the alleged call for the resumption of strike on Monday. We informed workers that as FAWU we distance the union from such irresponsible call and that we expect workers to report for duty on Monday and beyond. Workers responded resoundingly to this message.

Part of the issues that emerged, as expected, were on victimization of returning workers like refusal by some farm owners in allowing workers back or dismissals of those workers and their evictions, following the calling-off of strike action.

We reiterate our call on all farm owners to allow all their workers back and nullify disciplinary actions and to allow those staying on farms to continue dwelling on farms.

If anything, we still encourage all other farm owners and management to turn the new page by negotiating with trade unions and by recognizing their right to organize farm workers. Therefore, FAWU defend its members, legally or through collective power and calls for selected or targeted local consumer boycott or international retailer boycott. We reserve our rights to defend members.

We are pleased with the ongoing and expected negotiations between FAWU and farm owners in other parts of the country, mainly in Sekhukhune district of Limpopo and Humansdorp in Eastern Cape.

For more information kindly contact Katishi Masemola, FAWU General Secretary, at 082 467 2509.