Official: Direct Clashes between US, Russia Possible in Syria, Baltic Region
TEHRAN (FNA)- A Russian official said Washington and Moscow might enter direct military confrontation in Syria or the Baltic region given the heightened tensions between the two countries in the past few months.

Representatives of Russia's Council of Federation Alexei Pushkov believes that a direct military conflict between the United States and Russia may spark only in two places of the world, adding, "There are two zones of potential confrontation between the US and Russia - Syria and the Baltic region."

"The US military activities in the Baltic may trigger a serious crisis," he added.

Also, Igor Shatrov, a Russian political analyst, said that stakes are high for military conflicts between Washington and Moscow, adding that Syria is the only place in the world that the Russian units are confronting the western forces and different countries' fighter jets in practice.

He also said that the Russian forces are also witnessing provoking acts by the NATO forces in the Baltic region which cannot be considered as accidental.

Shatrov said the confrontation in the Baltic Sea would be meant to prevent construction of North Torrent-2 pipelines, adding that Germany has started operations to build infrastructures for the pipeline.

On April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom delivered a massive strike on Syrian targets in bypassing of the United Nations Security Council. Washington, London and Paris claimed that the strikes had been a response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that a total of 103 cruise and air-to-surface missiles had been fired, 71 of them were shot down by Syria’s air defense units. Russian missile defense systems were not used.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:44| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

中東の実像 10 イラン


Nowruz Ceremony in Tangsir Village, Kurdistan Province
TEHRAN (FNA)- People in different parts of Iran celebrate Nowruz with their local customs and traditions. One of the most joyful and colorful celebrations is held at the village of Tangsir in Iran's Kurdestan province.

こちらはイラン東北部のトルクメニスタンに接する地域の新年の行事。Driyos さんのコメントのとおり、民族により慣習、伝統は全くと言ってよいほどに異なっています。こちらは牧畜民族です。

Iranian Turkmans in Northern and Northeastern of Iran celebrated festival of Nowruz, which takes place on the spring equinox on the first days of spring in the new year of the solar calendar or the Persian New Year.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:10| Comment(1) | 国際・政治


More American, French Military Convoys Arrive in Northeastern Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- The US and France have dispatched new military convoys to Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria, an Arab media outlet reported on Tuesday, adding that the American and French forces have increased their military movements in the Northeastern part of the war-held country.

Al-Manar TV network reported that a new American military column, including several vehicles, arrived in Hasaka city and later moved toward the town of al-Shadadi in Southern Hasaka.

The network quoted field sources as reporting that the US convoy of armored vehicles moved towards al-Shadadi from a military base North of Khabour Dam.

Al-Manar further said that three military vehicles under French flags entered a Kurdish militia base in al-Aliyeh silos region South of the town of Ra'as al-Ein in Northwestern Hasaka.

Another Arab media also reported earlier today that the US Army has set up a new military base in Hasaka province despite President Donald Trump's claims that Washington is resolved to withdraw forces from Syria.

Moraseloun news website quoted media activists as reporting that the US forces have embarked on setting up a new military bas between the towns of Tal Tamer and Tal Bidar in Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria.

It added that the US plans to set up a military airport near the base.

Donald Trump recently announced that Washington is determined to withdraw its military forces from Syria.

US, S. Arabia, Turkey Negotiating on Raqqa Power Transition to Jeish Al-Islam Terrorists
TEHRAN (FNA)- Washington, Riyadh and Ankara are reportedly holding talks to hand over the Northeastern city of Raqqa to Jeish al-Islam terrorists amid Turkey's opposition to the presence of the Kurdish militias in Northern Syria.

"The US-led coalition is negotiating with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while Washington has also started talks with Turkey to hand over Raqqa to the Saudi-backed Jeish al-Islam terrorist group," the Arabic-language al-Hadas News quoted Kurdish sources as saying on Wednesday.

The sources noted that in the second step, the Arab tribes in Deir Ezzur will receive control of the regions on Eastern Euphrates in an operation to be funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and backed by the US.

"This is while the Arab forces will quit the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to join the Saudi Pact in Syria," the report added.

"Meantime, an Arab-Kurdish army will be formed to control other Kurdish regions," the sources said.

In a relevant development on Sunday, a Kurdish media outlet reported that the Turkish Army continued sheltering hundreds of militants and their family members in a region in Northwestern Aleppo after the terrorist group left Eastern Ghouta and Eastern Qalamoun for Northern Syria a couple of days ago.

Hawar news reported that the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants expelled the entire residents of the village of Bar A'afa in Shera region in Afrin to pave the ground for settling the Eastern Ghouta terrorists in the region.

Hawar news further said that the Ankara forces plan to settle 1,700 militants and their family members who have left the town of al-Dumayr in Eastern Qalamoun in the houses of the locals who have been expelled from Jandaris region in Afrin.

The London-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed on Monday that Faylaq al-Rahman Commander Abdul Naser Shamir and several more senior commanders of the terrorist group that had left Eastern Ghouta after sustaining heavy defeats in the fight with the Syrian Army have been relocated in Bolboleh region in the Northern countryside of the town of Afrin near border with Turkey.

The Turkish troops' move in replacing local population with the militant commanders has enraged the local residents.

In the meantime, over 150 families of Eastern Ghouta terrorists recently were settled in residential units in the town of Afrin after the Turkish troops prevented the local population from returning to their houses.

Faylaq al-Rahman is affiliated to the Al-Nusra Front that is backed by Turkey. Yet, the Turkey-backed militants have treated other militant groups like Jeish Al-Islam that are backed by Saudi Arabia differently, forcing them to surrender their weapons and stay in camps.

France, US & allies to ‘build Syria of tomorrow’ - Macron
Paris is seeking to bridge the moribund Geneva talks with the Russian-led Astana process in order to build peace in Syria, French President Emmanuel Macron said on his last day of a state visit to Washington.

The US, the UK, France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have formed a “contact group” on Syria, which is coordinating with Turkey and Germany, Macron told reporters gathered at the George Washington University on Wednesday evening. The group is seeking to “build a bridge” between the UN-led Geneva talks that have so far gone nowhere, and the Astana process led by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The Astana talks are not satisfactory to the West and would “lead to the partition of Syria,” Macron said. The new contact group is aiming to “open a line” with Russia and Turkey and bring all sides to the table.

This is a multilateral, “potential win-win approach,” Macron said.

Russia is allied with the Syrian government and has maintained a military presence in the country since September 2015 at the invitation of Damascus, fighting both Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels groups, some of which are backed by Western and Gulf Arab governments.

Countering the statements by US President Donald Trump that he wanted to withdraw American troops from Syria once IS is defeated, Macron said that France, the UK and the US are committed to fighting the war against terrorists “till the end.” After that, however, Macron said “we have a political goal of building a free Syria,” which is not under the influence of another country or destabilizing the region.

The US has been openly backing anti-government rebels in Syria and calling for President Bashar Assad to step down since the start of the civil war in 2011. At the same time, both the US and France say that the involvement of Iran, which has contributed money, troops and equipment to the Syrian government’s struggle against both IS and a variety of rebel groups, is unacceptable.

France is providing support for the current US military presence in the north of Syria, east of the Euphrates river, Macron confirmed, without specifying its nature.

US to expand role in Syria – Mattis
The United States will expand its role in Syria, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said. The expansion comes in response to increased Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) offensives in the region.

"Right now we are not withdrawing," Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We are continuing the fight, we are going to expand it and bring in more regional support. This is the biggest shift we’re making right now."

In his statement, Mattis maintained that the US was not stepping in to take sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria. “No military solution is possible in the Syrian civil war,” Mattis said.

In his testimony, Mattis maintained that the US was not stepping in to take sides in the ongoing Syrian civil war. “No military solution is possible in the Syrian civil war,” Mattis said. “We continue to support a diplomatic solution as part of the UN-led peace process.”

President Donald Trump had previously stated that US forces would withdraw from Syria once Islamic State (ISIS) was defeated, but has not yet provided any kind of timeline for when that might be.

At a White House news conference on Tuesday, the president said that US troops would be “coming home relatively soon,” but he also wants to leave a “strong and lasting footprint” in the region.

Powerful explosions have been heard in the countryside of Hama and Aleppo provinces, the Syrian state news agency reports. The state media says military bases there were hit by rockets launched by an unspecified enemy.

The alleged attacks were reported by Syria’s Sana news agency on Sunday evening. Citing a military source, it said that “a new aggression with hostile missiles” took place at around 10:30 pm local time, targeting military positions in the Hama and Aleppo villages.

A Syrian law enforcement source told RIA Novosti that the army’s munition depots were hit, in what was most likely an airstrike.

The source said one of the targeted military sites was a munition depot belonging to the Syrian Army's 47th Brigade. A fire at the depot broke out as a result of the attack, he said. Another target was reportedly a munition depot to the east of Aleppo, in northern Syria, located between the Al-Malikiayh and Al-Nayrab airport.

There have been unconfirmed reports of injuries and fatalities as a result of the reported strike. Sky News Arabia reported, citing rebel sources, that over 40 people might have been killed.

Videos posted online, allegedly from the scene of one of the strikes, show a massive explosion that lights up the skyline.

The explosions at the Hama depot lasted for over an hour and a half, spreading to the nearby area and forcing some of the residents to flee their homes, Sky News reported, citing sources.

Israel has so far neither confirmed nor denied that it is behind the strikes. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said “we have no intention to attack Russia or to interfere in domestic Syrian issues… But if somebody thinks that it is possible to launch missiles or to attack Israel or even our aircraft, no doubt we will respond and we will respond very forcefully.” The defense chief stressed that Israel “will maintain freedom of operation in all of Syria” to “prevent Iran from establishing a forward base in Syria.”

Earlier this month, Israeli jets crossed into Lebanon's airspace to carry out an airstrike on Syria’s T-4 airbase near Homs, reportedly killing seven Iranian advisers. Two Israeli warplanes fired eight guided missiles, five of which were shot down by Syria’s air defenses, according to the Russian military. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei denounced the April 8 airstrike as “Israel’s crime,” vowing retaliation.

When asked about the latest attacks, the Israeli military neither denied nor confirmed its involvement. Contacted by RIA Novosti, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) press spokesperson said that she would not comment on the issue.

In mid-April, a massive joint air and missile strike by American, British and French forces hit one civilian and two military targets, which the Western powers claimed were related to Damascus' alleged chemical weapons program. That airstrike was publicly announced by the three nations' leaders and resulted in no fatalities. It caused massive strain on the diplomatic relations between the three attackers and Russia, whose forces are present in Syria on Damascus' invitation to help fight extremists.

US Warplanes Struck Syrian Army Positions in Deir Ezzur Province
TEHRAN (FNA)- The US-led coalition fighter jets bombed the Syrian Army positions in Eastern Deir Ezzur after the army's advances against the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the province, militant-affiliated websites reported on Tuesday.

Qasyoun news website reported that the fighter jets bombed the army positions between the towns of al-Qouriyeh and Mahkan near the Euphrates River bank in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

The coalition's air raid came after the army won control of several villages, including al-Ji'eh and Janineh in Western Deir Ezzur.

Field sources said on Sunday that the Syrian army had driven the SDF forces out of Al-Jieh Water Pump as well as the villages of Shaqareh and al-Alian West of Deir Ezzur city and also on the Eastern coast of the Euphrates.

The Syrian army's advances in the region took place several days after construction of a bridge by the Russian forces between the two coasts of the Euphrates river for the passage of the military equipment and delivering them to the army positions in Eastern Euphrates, the sources added.

The army troops regained control over the two villages of al-Ji'eh and al-Janineh in Western Deir Ezzur after heavy clashes with the SDF forces.

Meantime, the SDF forces started dispatch of military equipment from al-Kasreh city to Western Deir Ezzur after Syrian army's victory in the two regions.

This is while neither the Syrian army nor the Kurdish forces have confirmed or dismissed the news.

Militants get R&R in US-guarded part of southern Syria – Lavrov
A part of southern Syria, which the US has seized under its control, has become a safe haven for militants, the Russian foreign minister said. He added that the same militants are preventing humanitarian aid deliveries.

On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov reiterated Russia’s criticism of the US presence in the area of At-Tanf, which is located on Syria’s border with Jordan. US troops unilaterally declared it under its protection in April 2017, and, according to the Russian minister, “very strange things are happening there.” These include armed groups getting shelter and a chance to recover in the Rukban refugee camp, which is located in the US-controlled area, after which they “continue hostilities in violation of all ceasefire agreements,” Lavrov said.

Speaking alongside his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, Lavrov said the militant groups protected by the US are the reason why the camp cannot receive much-needed supplies.

“The Americans for a long time has been refusing access to humanitarian aid convoys, claiming that the Syrian government would not give its permission. That is not true. All the issues the Syrian government and the aid organizations had have been settled,” he said. “In fact, the US now would not provide sufficient safety assurances to allow humanitarian access to that camp.”

He added that the US has suggested that whatever aid is provided can be distributed by the people in Rukban. Lavrov criticized this idea.

“We have seen many times, including in Eastern Aleppo and in Eastern Ghouta, how humanitarian aid delivered in this way either got seized by the militants or sold at inflated prices. That is not a solution,” he stated.

Moscow is highly critical of the deployment of US troops in Syria, saying it amounts to illegal occupation and an attempt to partition the country. While the At-Tanf area is relatively small – comprising a 55km radius around the US military outpost – the American troops are also present in a large portion of north-eastern Syria. The US has neither a mandate from the UN Security Council nor an invitation from Damascus to be in Syria.

Scores of NATO-made mines found amid massive ammo cache in Syria’s Douma (VIDEO)

Hundreds of mines, some said to originate from NATO countries, as well as scores of mortar shells and frag grenades have been retrieved by Syrian sappers in the town of Douma. The mine-clearing effort was caught on camera.

A stunning amount of projectiles, among them land mines, hand grenades and mortar shells, were recorded strewn on the ground in Douma, in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, which was one of the Islamists’ last remaining bastions in this part of Syria.

Syrian bomb disposal teams have been dealing with explosives on a day-to-day basis, having so far detected and defused a total of 1.2 thousand mines, 1.5 tons of explosive material and four thousand improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to the Russian Reconciliation Center.

The sizeable ammunition cache reportedly included land mines manufactured in some of the NATO countries, according to the Defense Ministry. The Russian military says the mine-clearing effort in Douma could last for at least three months.

The Syrian military announced earlier in April that it had fully cleared the war-ravaged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta following a two-month campaign, while more than 21,000 militants and members of their families reached a deal to relocate from the area.

Syrian Kurds: US Intends for Arab States to Deploy Military Contingent to Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, has agreed with some Arab countries to send military personnel to Northern Syria and to the Eastern Bank of the Euphrates River in Syria, a source in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said.

The source was quoted by Sputnik as reporting that countries such as Egypt and Jordan are opposed to such a step.

Earlier, Mazlum Abdi, commander of the SDF, gave an interview to Arab media in which he stressed willingness to cooperate if Arab forces under the banner of the international coalition are deployed to Syria instead of US units.

In turn, one of the leaders of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, Ewwas Eli, in an interview with Sputnik said, “Based on the information we have received, which has not yet been officially confirmed, the US intends to deploy a number of Arab states to the north of Syria as part of the development of a further foreign policy strategy in the region.”

He went on to say that “The goal of the US is to prevent increased pressure on itself in the region from Turkey, and to strengthen its Syrian policy by attracting the Arab states to its side.”

Eli stressed that the leadership of his party has not yet made an official statement regarding the deployment of Arab military forces in the northern part of the country.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 22:53| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

米国NSA 2017年に5億3千万件以上の通話を記録

NSA Collected More Than 530mln US Call Records in 2017
TEHRAN (FNA)- The National Security Agency collected more than 530 million US call records in 2017, representing a dramatic increase over the previous year.

The spy agency collected 534 million call records in 2017, more than three times the 151 million collected in 2016, according to an annual transparency report released Friday, The Hill reported.

The new statistics were first reported by Reuters.

The report, released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is mandated by the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in 2015 that aimed to restrict and boost oversight of the spy agency’s surveillance program.

The NSA’s surveillance powers have weathered scrutiny since the 2013 Edward Snowden revelations that exposed the agency’s now-defunct bulk collection program. Under the old program, the NSA is estimated to have gathered billions of phone records.

The call detail records, obtained from US telecommunications providers, include the numbers and the time and duration of the phone calls. They do not include the actual content of the call itself. They are collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

A Spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence office told The Hill that the NSA has discovered that a range of factors can influence the number of call records collected and that the agency expects them to “fluctuate from year to year.”

“The government has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain Call Detail Records pursuant to FISA. Rather, the NSA has found that a number of factors may influence the number of Call Detail Records that NSA receives,” Tim Barrett, a Spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, stated.

“These factors include the number of Court-approved selection terms − like a phone number − that are used by the target; the way targets use those selection terms; the amount of historical data that providers retain; and the dynamics of the ever-changing telecommunications sector,” Barrett said.

The report suggested that the call record metric is likely overstated because the government counts each record separately even when it receives the same record several times, such as from different providers.

“Additionally, this metric includes duplicates of unique identifiers − i.e., because the government lacks the technical ability to isolate unique identifiers, the statistic counts the number of records even if unique identifiers are repeated,” the report stated.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 21:26| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


UK Drones Fired ‘Cruel, Unnecessary’ Thermobaric Missiles in Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- The United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry appears to have mistakenly let slip the fact that UK-owned MQ-9 Reaper drones have used thermobaric missiles, an extremely powerful weapon known to kill anything in its path indiscriminately, in Syria.
A Freedom of Information Act disclosure by the British Ministry of Defense dated May 1 shows that the combat drones fired 19 AGM-114N4 Hellfire missiles in Syria during the first two months of 2017. The FOIA disclosure was sent to Drone Wars, which first reported on the use of the UK's weapons, Sputnik reported.

The basic idea behind a thermobaric missile is that it releases a cloud of explosive compounds into the air before impact.

Upon impact and explosion of the weapon's internal payload, the fuel-air mixture is detonated, too. Accordingly, they are also commonly known as fuel-air explosives, or FAEs.

"The ‘N' version of the missile uses a Metal Augmented Charge warhead that contains a thermobaric explosive fill using aluminum with the explosive mixture," according to Drone Wars.

FAEs commonly draw criticism from human rights groups and American intelligence professionals, two groups ostensibly at loggerheads with one another on many other topics.

In 2008, The UK Times reported that "the weapons are so controversial that MoD weapons and legal experts spent 18 months debating whether British troops could use them without breaking international law."

Sophia de Tricht, a rocket motor design engineer and former intelligence professional, wrote in a March 2017 column for Forbes that the United States Army doesn't develop thermobaric missiles "because our investigations into thermobaric weapons is that they are cruel and unnecessary."

However, it's worth noting that in 2003 then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that US Marine AH-1 Cobra helicopters had made use of the AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge in Iraq.

"DARPA [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency, not a typo), did a lot of research into the possibility, but what was discovered is that while the bang was bigger, the weapon itself is… problematic. The employment of a thermobaric weapon against a population is about half a war crime," de Tricht wrote.

Meanwhile, in 2000, Human Rights Watch reported that "the [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique and unpleasant… What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs", citing a DIA study. Thus, the weapons are also sometimes called "vacuum bombs."

"If the fuel deflagrates but not does detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common [fuel-air explosive] fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents," HRW continued, still citing DIA.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 21:05| Comment(0) | 福島原発事故


UK High Court to Hear Appeal against Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia
TEHRAN (FNA)- Two Court of Appeal judges Friday granted Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to appeal against the High Court judgement which allows the UK government to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

The judicial review is being brought against Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, for granting export licences amid extensive allegations of war crimes by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, Middle East Monitor reported.

“We are delighted the Court of Appeal judges have recognised that a full hearing into this case must take place. It is clear from the open evidence in this claim that there is a clear risk the arms sold from the UK might be used in serious violation of international law. Where our politicians have sadly failed to follows [sic] UK legislation and policy, our client hopes the Court will ensure the rule of law is upheld,” Rosa Curling, lawyer at Leigh Day, stated.

The UK has licensed some $5.4 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including $3.6 billion in value of aircrafts, helicopters and drones. In addition, $2.6 billion in value of grenades, bombs and missiles.

CAAT had requested permission to appeal against a judgement made in July last year which failed to class the granting of licences illegal.

"The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has killed thousands of people and created one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. Despite this, the Saudi regime has been armed and supported every step of the way by successive UK governments," Andrew Smith, the media coordinator at CAAT, said.

“We believe that these arms sales are immoral, and are confident that the Court of Appeal will agree that they are unlawful,” Smith continued.

Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen of war crimes and violating the law of armed conflict.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states to neutralise Ansarullah in Yemen, running an air campaign since March 2015.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country’s population has been displaced, according to UN officials.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 20:33| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


China's top oil company Sinopec cuts Saudi crude imports
China’s Sinopec will cut its June imports of crude from Saudi Arabia by 40 percent for the second month in a row because of unjustified high prices, an official from the top Asian refiner, Unipec, told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia raised the price for its Arab Light to a four-year high, and according to the Unipec official, the grade is now considerably overvalued compared to other Middle Eastern crudes.

Last month, a Unipec official told Reuters, “Our refineries think these are unreasonable prices as they do not follow the pricing methodology.” Besides Sinopec, a source from another two refineries in northern Asia said they will be cutting their imports from Saudi Arabia by ten percent as oil buyers have a hard time grasping how the Kingdom is calculating the price for its most popular grade.

The price increase came as a surprise to the biggest market for crude in the world. However, it is likely that Sinopec will be penalized for the reduction as the usual sales contracts with Saudi Arabia are on a take-or-pay basis, with leeway of up to ten percent only.

Sinopec imported an average of 730,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Saudi crude during the first quarter, down from 845,000 bpd a year earlier, but imports by other state-owned refiners increased by 120,000 bpd, or 73 percent on an annual basis as they expanded their refining capacity.

This month, Sinopec will carry out regular maintenance across its refineries, so the lower import volumes will not urgently need a cheaper replacement, but the refineries will be back into normal operation by July, and will need more crude.

Saudi Arabia said last year it would reduce the amount of crude it exports to below seven million bpd, and last month the energy ministry reiterated that it is sticking to this target, which could explain the higher prices.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 14:35| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


最近辞任したテロリストグループJaysh al-Islamの代表が組織のカネ47百万ドルを持ち出してトルコやサウジでレストランや商業センターを買ったと伝えられています。Mohammed Alloushはアスタナの会議に呼ばれて参加したこともあります。



Jaysh al-Islam (Arabic: جيش الإسلام‎, meaning Army of Islam), formerly known as Liwa al-Islam (Arabic: لواء الإسلام‎, Brigade of Islam), is a coalition of Islamist rebel units involved in the Syrian Civil War. Its primary base of operations has been the Damascus area, particularly the city of Douma and the rest of the region of Eastern Ghouta,[16] where Jaysh al-Islam is or was the largest rebel faction,[40] as was Liwa al-Islam before.[41]

Former Jaysh al-Islam Leader Stole Mlns to Make Business in Turkey - Reports
The head of Jaysh al-Islam recently resigned after multiple heavy defeats in battles with the Syrian army. He had led its political office since the establishment of the terrorist group.

Former leader of the militant group Jaysh al-Islam, Mohammed Alloush, has stolen $47 million from its budget, reports the FARS news agency, citing media activists close to the group. There were no official reports confirming the information.

According to the news agency's sources, he used the money to buy restaurants and commercial centers in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Jaysh al-Islam commanders reportedly called on Alloush to return the stolen sum.

Mohammed Alloush was one of the founders of the Jaysh al-Islam militant group and until recently lead its political division. He resigned from his post on May 3, after the group sustained several defeats at the hands of the Syrian army in Eastern Ghouta. In his official statement, he claimed that the desire to free up space for new people was what motivated his resignation.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 11:15| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


US ‘freezes funding’ for White Helmets as group’s Douma chem attack claim falls apart
As the reputation of the controversial militant-linked White Helmets continues to crumble, even the US State Department seems to be having second thoughts about supporting the group, reportedly placing a freeze on its funding.

The State Department’s support for the White Helmets is “under active review,”according to a CBS News report. The group reportedly hasn’t received funding in weeks, but neither has it received formal confirmation that Washington’s financial assistance has come to a complete halt. This would mean a significant blow for the group, as the money accounts for about one-third of the White Helmets’ overall funding.

An internal State Department document cited by CBS said that its Near East Bureau needed confirmation from President Donald Trump’s administration by April 15 in order to approve funding for the White Helmets. If that wasn't received, the department would initiate “shut-down procedures on a rolling basis.”

Online reaction to the report has been mixed, with some continuing to hail the work of the White Helmets. Among them was Samantha Power, the former US ambassador to the UN.

The former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, also took to Twitter to say that he has donated to the White Helmets in the past and "will do so again."

Meanwhile, Middle East political writer and commentator Marwa Osman took an entirely different approach towards the group which many hail as heroes. She referred to the White Helmets as "Al-Qaeda terrorists."

The report comes amid major controversy surrounding the White Helmets, after residents of Douma, Syria, testified in The Hague at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The hearing centered on the alleged chemical attack that was used as a justification for the April 14 strikes by the US, Britain, and France.

In a press conference following the hearing, hospital staff and 11-year-old Hassan Diab – who is seen in troubling White Helmets footage following the alleged attack – said there was no sign of a chemical incident at the time and that the White Helmets’ video with children was apparently staged.

The footage, which showed Diab and other children being hosed down with water, was the only publicly available “evidence” that the attack ever took place. Still, Trump and his British and French counterparts deemed it sufficient proof to launch over 100 missiles on Syria on April 14, accusing the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad of being behind the alleged attack. The three allies were so keen to bomb Syria that they refused to wait for the results of an OPCW investigation before doing so.

If the report from CBS News is true, it could represent a significant U-turn for Washington. Just last month, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called the group “an incredible group of individuals.” At that time, she also stated that as far as she was aware, the White Helmets were still being paid by Washington, despite a $200-million freeze in US funding for recovery efforts in Syria in late March.

Although the White Helmets says it acts solely as a makeshift emergency response team in a time of crisis, claiming to have heroically saved more than 70,000 lives in war-torn Syria, others disagree with its motives. Footage from Syria repeatedly showed members of the White Helmets assisting jihadist groups, while multiple accounts from civilians suggested they only helped “their own” and used civilians caught in the battle only for publicity. Russia has stated that the Douma “chemical attack” was staged by the White Helmets, with the UK pressuring the group to “speed up the provocation.”

The group has enjoyed celebrity status in the West, with a documentary praising it even winning an Oscar. However, some artists have refused to give in to peer pressure and publicly spoke out against endorsing the shady group. Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters recently lambasted White Helmets at a concert in Barcelona, calling the group a “fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for jihadists and terrorists.” His remark came after emails emerged showing that the White Helmets tried to lobby Waters with Saudi money.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:33| Comment(0) | 国際・政治