NORTH KOREA: ‘ Claims the US targeted them with Live Anthrax ‘

#AceNewsReport – NORTH KOREA:June.12: Pyongyang has accused the United States of using “biological warfare schemes” to target North Korea with live anthrax and wants the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to investigate.

North Korea Claims US Targeted them with Live Anthrax '
‘ North Korea Claims US Targeted them with Live Anthrax ‘

The accusations were made in a letter to the UNSC and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon from North Korea’s ambassador to the UN Ja Song Nam.

The letter, which was dated June 4, was made public on Friday and comes after US defense officials revealed in late May that low concentration samples of live anthrax were mistakenly shipped to labs in 19 states and to at least 70 labs in four countries, including a US facility based in South Korea. Australia, Britain, and Canada have also reported receiving shipments of the deadly bacteria.

Anthrax bacteria

According to the US Defense Department, the anthrax was supposed to have been killed before it was shipped to laboratories for research, a practice that has been carried out successfully for ten years.

“The United States not only possesses deadly weapons of mass destruction…but also is attempting to use them in actual warfare against [North Korea],” Nam wrote in his letter.

Referring to the delivery as “the gravest challenge to peace and a hideous crime aimed at genocide,” the letter also “strongly requests the Security Council take up the issue of the shipment of anthrax germs in order to thoroughly investigate the biological warfare schemes of the United States.”

Pyongyang has been openly critical of the US’ military presence in South Korea, and has strongly objected annual US-South Korean military exercises which it views as a threat.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke dismissed the allegations on Friday, telling reporters in Washington that they were “ridiculous” and “didn’t merit a response.”

The US House of Representatives announced on Wednesday that a thorough investigation has been launched into the incident, and vowed that they will hold the Defense Department accountable for the error.

#ban-ki-moon, #biological-warfare, #national-defence-commission, #north-korea, #pyongyang, #secretary-general-of-the-united-nations, #the-pentagon, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council, #united-states, #unsc

Protective Edge: ‘ News From The Front-Line Crisis, Civilians and Casualties No Care Just Death ‘

#AceWorldNews – GAZA CITY – August 01

‘Look at the Casualties and then Ask do l Need a Reason to Support this Conflict ‘

GAZA CRISIS UPDATE (JULY 31, 2014)

  • At least 852 Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 249 children and 135 women. 
  • 68 Palestinians families have had three or more family members killed by the Israeli military in the same incident since July 7, totalling 360 people. 
  • 245,000 internally displaced people (IDP) are sheltering in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and registered in government schools. As many as 200,000 others are taking refuge with host families, meaning the total number of IDPs could exceed 400,000 people. 
  • 299,000 children require specialized psychosocial support (PSS) due to trauma caused by the death or injury of someone they know or loss of home. 
  • At least 24 medical facilities have been damaged since July 8. At least two doctors and four medics have been killed. 
  • Israel has destroyed or severely damaged at least 4025 housing units, including numerous multi-story buildings, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. Another 4565 housing units have sustained damage. 
  • Since July 7, 136 schools have been damaged. At least six teachers are known to have been killed. 
  • The Israeli army has declared 44% of the tiny Gaza Strip a military “buffer zone.”

Notable Incidents of Civilian Casualties

  • On July 25, 15-year-old Adullah Alathamna, who lost his mother, two sisters, and a foot when the Israeli military bombed his home in 2006, was injured again by an Israeli attack, suffering shrapnel wounds to the back and leg when Israeli forces bombed his home again. 
  • On July 24, a UN school in Beit Hanoun where approximately 1500 IDPs were sheltering was struck by several missiles, killing at least 16 people and injuring 150 others. Late Thursday the Israeli military acknowledged that it had fired into the area at the time of the incident, claiming they were responding to hostile fire. According to UN officials, they twice asked the Israeli military to allow a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the school during the day, but Israel refused. Over the past three days, the Israeli military has attacked UN schools housing IDPs on three different occasions, despite the fact that the UN has provided the military with precise GPS coordinates for all of its facilities. 
  • On July 24, the Israeli military killed at least ten members of the al-Astal family, including three children, in two separate attacks on civilian homes in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. According to the UN, in one of the incidents, Israeli forces fired on civilians attempting to aid the survivors of the initial strike. At least six other members of the al-Astal family have been killed by the Israeli military in the past week. 
  • Also on July 24, Israeli forces killed five members of the Abu Aita family, including an eleven-year-old boy in Jabalia in northern Gaza. The dead were 67-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah Abu Aita, 65-year-old Jamila Salim Abu Aita, 30-year-old Ahmad Ibrahim Abdullah Abu Aita, and 11-year-old Adham Ahmad Abu Aita. 
  • On July 22, Israeli forces killed four members of the Hajjaj family in Gaza City. The dead were 15-year-old Rawan Ziad Hajjaj, 28-year-old Yousef Muhammed Hajjaj, 31-year-old Muhammad Shehadeh Hajjaj, and 66-year-old Fayzeh Saleh Hajjaj. 
  • Also on July 22, the Israeli military killed two elderly women in Rafah in southern Gaza. The dead were 75-year-old Hakema Nafe Abu Odwan, and 85-year-old Najah Nafe Abu Odwan. 
  • On July 21, the Israeli military carried out a number of attacks that killed multiple members of several different Palestinian families in Gaza. They included:

 

Protective Edge Previous Days 

#ANS2014

#balata, #ban-ki-moon, #gaza, #gaza-city, #gaza-strip, #israel, #israel-defense-forces, #jabalia, #palestine, #protective-edge, #wednesday

‘German Government Express Concern Over Israeli Settlements Plan’

#AceNewsServices – BERLIN – June 06 – The German government is extremely concerned about Israeli plans to build more settlements in the occupied territories, Reuters said.

The Israeli move is being seen as a response to the inauguration of a Palestinian unity government backed by Hamas Islamists.

The German government is “very worried… because this step poses the threat of making efforts to continue peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians even harder,” said German government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz, calling on both sides to avoid provocative steps.

Berlin urged the Israeli government to refrain from inviting bids to construct homes.

(PressTV) – This comes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel to abide by international law and freeze settlement activities. Ban expressed deep concern over Israel’s plans to build more than three thousand settler units in the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

On Thursday, Tel Aviv ordered the construction of 3,300 more settler units in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds.

According to Israel’s Housing Minister Uri Ariel, the decision is a response to the formation of a new Palestinian unity government.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says it will appeal to the UN Security Council against Israel’s expansionism.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

The developments come as Israel is currently faces a widening boycott campaign by some European businesses over its illegal settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian land.

Two of Europe’s biggest financial institutions have boycotted transactions with Israeli companies involved in the illegal settlement construction.

The European Union has also blocked all grants and funding to any Israeli entity based in the illegal settlements.

#ANS2014

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` UN Voices Concern Over Apparent Use of UN-Marked Helicopter’s in Kiev ‘

#AceWorldNews -UKRAINE – May 14  –  The UN has voiced concerns over the apparent use of UN-marked helicopters by Kiev troops in their military operation against Donetsk regional militia. A video of a white-painted Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter with UN logo has emerged.

When inquired about the United Nations’ stance on the use of peace-keeper-marked military hardware in non-peace-keeper operations, the office for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson said such use would violate UN rules.

“It is the responsibility of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) that provide Contingent Owned Equipment to peacekeeping missions to remove all logos and signage bearing the UN’s name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes,” the office told RT.

It added that UN-marked aircraft can be used for missions tasked by the UN and that UN’s Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities to clarify the issue.

A video of a UN-marked Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter was published on Tuesday by LifeNews television. It said its correspondents covering Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk Region took the video near Kramatorsk. LifeNews said at least three combat Mi-24 and one transport Mi-8 helicopters carrying UN colors were spotted in the area.

 

#ANS2014

 

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` United Nations Elects First Woman to Serve as Head of Peacekeeping Operation ‘

#AceNewsServices – UNITED NATIONS – May 13 – UN chief Ban Ki-moon named the first ever woman to serve as the head of a UN peacekeeping operation Monday, appointing a Norwegian commander to the UN mission in Cyprus.

Kirsten Lund

Major General Kristin Lund of Norway, 56, will replace outgoing Major General Chao Liu of China in mid-August.

Lund, who has 34 years of experience at home and with UN forces, served as deputy commander of the Norwegian Army Forces Command from 2007 to 2009 and chief of staff of the Norwegian Home Guard.

She was also involved in UN missions in Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia.

The UN peacekeeping mission for Cyprus, UNFICYP, was established in 1964 to prevent the recurrence of fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

A force of 930 soldiers and 66 police patrol the cease-fire lines and buffer zone, undertaking humanitarian activities and supporting the UN mission in general.

The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup seeking union with Greece.

In 2004, Greek Cypriot voters rejected a UN blueprint to reunify the Mediterranean island at a referendum despite overwhelming acceptance by their Turkish counterparts.

Talks between the two sides under the auspices of the United Nations were largely fruitless and discontinued in 2012, only to resume again in February of this year.

http://tinyurl.com/lpon3r7

http://tinyurl.com/lpon3r7

 

#ANS2014 

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&nbsp #AceWorldNews SYRIA May 09  The last 16…

#AceWorldNewsSYRIAMay 09 – The last 16 containers of Syrian dangerous chemicals to be destroyed remain in area where fighting is on, the head of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, Sigrid Kaag told AP.

She said a ceasefire will be needed to get the remaining containers, representing 8 percent of Syria’s declared stockpile, out of an air base near Damascus controlled by armed opposition groups of “the more extreme kind,” Kaag said.

She called on countries with influence on forces fighting in Syria to help arrange access for experts to the site and safe transport for the chemicals to the port of Latakia, where Danish and Norwegian ships are waiting to take the containers to a US vessel for destruction.

#ANS2014

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AceBreakingNews UNITED NATIONS May 05 U N Under…

AceBreakingNews – UNITED NATIONS – May 05 – U.N. Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman will arrive in Moscow within several hours for consultations on Ukraine, an informed source in the United Nations told ITAR-TASS on Monday, May 5.

He said Feltman had wound up his mission in Cyprus and was on his way to Moscow.

In Moscow, Feltman will hold meetings with Russian officials.

On May 7-8, he is planning to visit Kiev.

Last week, he said that during his talks in Moscow and Kiev he would seek to convey U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for restraint and immediate resumption of dialogue.

Ban told Agence France Presse earlier on May 5 that he was “ready to play a role” in the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis.

He said he was maintaining contact with all sides involved – Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the United States – and urged all sides to resolve the issue peacefully.

His deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said Ban’s mediation would be possible only if the sides concerned wished so.

#ANS2014

#acebreakingnews, #russia, #ban-ki-moon, #cyprus, #european-union, #kiev, #moscow, #russian, #ukraine, #united-nations, #united-states

` UN Mission in South Sudan Said a Convoy of Barges Carrying Food Aid has been Attacked by Gunmen '

#AceNewsServices – SOUTH SUDAN – April 25 – The UN mission in South Sudan has said a convoy of barges it hired to deliver food aid and fuel came under attack by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Four people were wounded, including UN peacekeepers, AP reported.

The barges were travelling on Thursday to the city of Malakal on the Nile River.

The assailants were not identified. The military and rebel leaders both denied responsibility.

Juba (AFP) – April 17 – Gunmen stormed a UN base in South Sudan Thursday, wounding dozens of civilians from a rival tribe in an “unprovoked” attack before peacekeepers fought them off, the UN said.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the assault in the war-ravaged town of Bor which also left two peacekeepers wounded, warning any attack on UN troops constitutes a war crime.

Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering inside the fortified base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), one of the most bitterly contested regions in the four-month-long conflict splitting the country.

“This attack on a location where civilians are being protected by the United Nations is a serious escalation,” said Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“The Secretary-General reminds all parties that any attack on United Nations Peacekeepers is unacceptable and constitutes a war crime,” he added.

Ace Related News:

  1. April 25 – http://tinyurl.com/kf5m9tu http://www.unmiss.unmissions.org/Portals/unmiss/%20Press%20Releases/April%202014/Press%20Release%20on%20attack%20on%20barge%20convoy%20near%20Tonga%20Upper%20Nile%20State%20–%2024%20April%202014%20final.pdf
  2. April 18 – http://tinyurl.com/mnmr2oa
  3. April 17 – http://tinyurl.com/n7d6ds8

#ANS2014

#ban-ki-moon, #bor, #south-sudan, #un, #united-nations, #unmiss

#AceWorldNews UKRAINE UN April 14 RT Ukraine’s coup…

#AceWorldNews – UKRAINE – UN – April 14 – (RT) – Ukraine’s coup-installed president, Aleksandr Turchinov, has proposed the conducting of a joint operation with UN peacekeeping forces, signing a decree immediately imposing a special anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country.

Turchinov said in a phone call with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, that Kiev’s new authorities would welcome the possibility that “if with your [UN] help, there is to be a joint anti-terrorist operation conducted in the east of the country…specialists and observers will be able to confirm the legitimacy and legality of our actions,” the press office of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party quoted Turchinov as saying.

On his part, Ban Ki-moon said that Kiev could rely fully on help from the UN as its partner.

Late Monday afternoon, Ukraine’s coup-appointed President Aleksandr Turchinov signed a decree to officially begin a “special anti-terrorist operation” in the east of the country, Ukraine’s presidential press-service said in a statement.

He ordered “that the National Security and Defence Council’s decision of April 13, 2014 ‘On urgent measures to overcome the territorial threat and to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine’ be put into effect”. The order becomes effective from the day of publication.

Turchinov has appointed acting Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Andriy Parubiy, to oversee the operation.

#ANS2014

#ban-ki-moon, #batkivshchina-fatherland-party, #kiev, #ukraine, #un

UN : ` Humanitarian Aid in `Syria ‘ has increased by ` One Million ‘ since the Start of 2014 ‘

#AceWorldNews – SYRIA – March 24 – The number of people in need of humanitarian aid in Syria has increased by one million since the start of 2014, totalling 3.5 million people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the UN Security Council.

“As the intensity of fighting grows, increasingly more people end up with no access to humanitarian organizations,” Ban said in the document, as quoted by Itar-Tass.

The UN chief regretted that a month after a UN resolution urged both Syrian authorities and the rebels to allow access for humanitarian supplies, there has been no significant breakthrough on the matter.

The Syrian government should fast-track authorizing the UN convoys delivering aid for the people in need, and opposition fighters should grant safe passage for the convoys, he said.

#ANS2014

#syrian, #ban-ki-moon, #itar-tass, #syria, #un, #un-security-council

` Putin discusses situation in the `Ukraine’ with ` Obama ‘ by telephone’

#AceWorldNews says that Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed the situation in Ukraine with his US counterpart Barack Obama by telephone.

Putin reminded the US president of crimes committed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists with the connivance of Kiev’s new self-proclaimed government.

The conversation was at Obama’s request and lasted more than an hour, according to the Kremlin’s press service.

In response to Obama’s concerns over the possible use of Russian troops in Ukrainian territory, Putin said that Russia reserved the right to defend both its own interests and the interests of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine if violence spread to Ukraine’s eastern provinces and Crimea.

According to Voice of Russia and Itar-Tass.

Putin accentuated the existence of real threats to life and health for Russian citizens and millions of compatriots living in Ukraine.

Putin also spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He made clear that, if violence against the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine and Crimea escalated,

Russia would not remain aloof but would take all necessary measures within the framework of international law.

Both sides pinpointed the need to prevent the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.

#ANS2104

#ans2014, #ban-ki-moon, #barack-obama, #crimea, #itar-tass, #kiev, #russian-president-vladimir-putin, #ukraine, #un, #us, #vor

#Sochi : ” UN Condemns Attacks on LGBT Community ahead of Olympics”

#AceWorldNews says UN chief condemns attacks on the LGBT community ahead of Olympics
The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, has used a speech ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to condemn attacks on the LGBT community, the Guardian reported.

Addressing the IOC, the UN secretary-general highlighted the fact that the theme of the UN’s human rights day last December was “sport comes out against homophobia.” Speaking to reporters after his address, Ban said he appreciated the assurances of President Vladimir Putin that “there will be no discrimination and that people with different sexual orientation are welcome to compete and enjoy this Olympic Games.”

#humanrights, #ban-ki-moon, #guardian, #ioc, #lgbt, #olympics, #president-vladimir-putin, #sochi, #un, #winter-olympic-games

#Syria : UN Report Asserts `Children are being Recruited to Fight with Opposition’ and are `Used’ as Civilian Shields”

#AceNewsServices says a new report by United Nations investigators asserts that children in Syria are not only actively recruited to fight with the opposition but are also tortured and used as civilian shields by the rebels.

child-soldier-with-rebelsThe report, the first to assess the impact of the nearly three-year-old Syria war on children, was quietly presented to the Security Council last week, as Syrian government and opposition representatives met in Switzerland for peace talks under the auspices of the United Nations.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, is scheduled to brief the Council next week on the report, which was not released publicly until Monday.

“The suffering endured by the children in the Syrian Arab Republic since the outset of the conflict, as documented in this report, is unspeakable and unacceptable,” Ban said in the report, dated January 27, which was posted online on Tuesday.

“Ill treatment and acts tantamount to torture reportedly included beatings with metal cables, whips and wooden and metal batons; electric shocks, including to the genitals; the ripping out of fingernails and toenails; sexual violence, including rape or threats of rape; mock executions; cigarette burns; sleep deprivation; solitary confinement; and exposure to the torture of relatives,” the report said.

Notably, the government denies it detains children. In Geneva, Fayssal Mekdad, the deputy foreign minister, said in response to a question last week, the day before the report went to the Security Council: “I categorically deny any children being detained. Those are rumours.”

He accused opposition forces of abducting and killing children.

Investigators were also able to chronicle abuse by opposition forces, including summary executions of children. It received two reports from Hasakah Province, in north-east Syria: a 16-year-old boy fatally shot last April by the Nusra Front, which is aligned with al-Qaeda, and a 14-year-old boy killed by a Kurdish group.

The Syrian government told United Nations investigators that at least 130 children had been killed by opposition forces.

The report said the Free Syrian Army, the main opposition force, had recruited children in military and support roles. While there seemed to be no policy of doing so, the report said, there were no age verification procedures.

“Many boys stated that they felt it was their duty to join the opposition,” the report said.

A loose alliance of moderate rebel groups form the Free Syrian Army, which is run by the Supreme Military Command. Western and Arab powers have tried to build it into a force to topple President Bashar al-Assad, but the group has lost the support of rebel brigades to an Islamist alliance.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have backed the Supreme Military Command with weapons, training, money and intelligence, while the United States and Britain have given non-lethal aid, such as like communications and transportation equipment.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

But the United States is supplying light arms to moderate Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country and U.S. funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, according to security officials.

Courtesy of:  Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters

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#Geneva2 : ” Small Progress in Talk’s `Ending Friday’ and Due to Resume in February”

#AceNewsServices say `UN Chief Cites ‘progress’ at Syria Talks’

Ace News Desk There has been “progress” at peaceful talks inSwitzerland, between Syria’s government and opposition delegations, UN Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon said in Berlin on Thursday, Itar-Tass reported. The negotiations will be suspended on Friday, so that participants could discuss talks at home, he said.

They should resume in February, however the exact date was not determined yet. International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round of Syria talks ending on Friday.

 

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#Geneva2 : ” Syria & Peace are Misnomer’ s Provided to Make Us Believe in Miracle’s”

#AceGuestNews and `Views’ says `Syria and the Geneva 2 Charade’

Courtesy of: Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.In the summertime, people flock to Montreux, Switzerland, to follow the jazz festival. This week, though, the ‘performance’ is by a positively un-swinging lot, part of the (in theory) very serious Geneva 2 conference on Syria.

What is Geneva 2 for? It has nothing to do with ‘peace’. It won’t yield an international deal to end the Syrian tragedy. The horrible war facts on the ground will remain facts, and horrible; many perpetrators won’t be gathering in Montreux. Syrian civil society has not even been invited.

And then the whole charade degenerated into pitiful parody even before it started.

This past Sunday, it seemed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to spring out of his trademark vegetable slumber, inviting Iran to Geneva 2. The invitation lasted less than 24 hours; after the requisite ‘pressure’ by Washington – instigated by those sterling democrats of the House of Saud – it was duly rescinded.

Thus we had Ban Ki-moon parroting the US State Department, according to which Tehran had not agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 communiqué, which called for a sustained cessation of armed violence. Iranian diplomats strongly begged to differ, stressing how Tehran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the previous, June 2012 conference, even if Iran was not part of it.

Ban Ki-moon also invited the Holy See, as well as Australia, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, among others, to Montreux; as if these actors had any clue about what’s going on in Syria.

But the apex of the farce is that Iran cannot go, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who continue to weaponize every Syrian ‘rebel’ in sight, from young adrenaline seekers to Western-supported Takfiris and beheaders – can. And will.

Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) shoot at advancing government troops in the al-Jadeida neighbourhood, in the Old City of Aleppo, on August 21, 2012. (AFP Photo)

Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) shoot at advancing government troops in the al-Jadeida neighbourhood, in the Old City of Aleppo, on August 21, 2012. (AFP Photo)

Meet ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda

Time to break it down. Washington ruled that Iran cannot be in Montreux because it supports Assad. It’s as simple as that.

Washington dictating to the UN is the norm. Washington dictating to the Syrian exiled ‘opposition’ is also the norm. Everyone is a puppet in this lethal comedy.

As for Western spin doctors, they are dizzier than flies over corpses. As part of the new Western myth that the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Islamic Front – formed last September against the US-backed Supreme Military Council – are nothing but ‘good Al-Qaeda’, now we have top ‘rebels’ routinely acknowledging to Western corporate media they are, well, Al-Qaeda.

Tens of thousands of foreign jihadis using Al-Qaeda’s network of safe houses in Turkey – well, that’s not such a big deal. As the narrative goes, ‘our new friends’ in the Islamic Front are just ‘conservative Salafi Muslims’. What if they are fond of the odd torture binge and will think nothing of slaying the odd Shiite or Christian? Not such a big deal.

As for the ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda gang – from Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – they are on a roll. After all, they are the ones with fighting experience/leverage on the ground. And when push comes to shove, they just run yet another ring around clueless Western necks.

Take Ahrar al-Sham. They now lead the Islamic Front – and talk to the Americans. And guess what; they’re going to Montreux! The icing on this Takfiri cake is that, ultimately, their “interests” are being defended by no less than US Secretary of State John Kerry. Washington promoting al-Qaeda? Well, we’ve seen that movie before.

Should I stay or should I go?

Washington is selling the fiction it is ‘leading’ Geneva 2 to ‘reconstruct’ Syria. This is utter nonsense.

Theoretically – and even that is still extremely debatable – the Obama administration’s core interest in Southwest Asia is to negotiate a very complex deal with Iran, which will take most of 2014.

Ultimately, this whole charade is between Washington and Tehran. The US Navy won’t make Assad ‘go’anytime soon – or ever; so everything, in theory, remains on the table.

A Syrian army tank is seen in the Christian town of Maalula on September 11, 2013. (AFP Photo)

A Syrian army tank is seen in the Christian town of Maalula on September 11, 2013. (AFP Photo)

And everyone else, the UN, the Holy See, the House of Saud, are just onlookers, even as several players, from the EU to India, China and Japan, can think of nothing but finally normalizing everything with Iran.

The Syrian government, for its part, will be in Montreux; it had agreed to the conference long ago. Yet President Assad laid down; he won’t ‘leave’, as US President Barack Obama demanded. He won’t let the foreign-sponsored ‘opposition’ take over. And he may even contest the next presidential elections.

Assad went for the jugular when he said Geneva 2 should be about his own ‘War on Terror’. Terror, incidentally, widely supported by the West.

So under this perspective, even Washington needs Assad not to go. The bottom line is that the only players who really want Assad to go are the House of Saud and the House of Thani in Qatar. Many in the West have now realized Assad must stay to fight ‘the terrorists’.

The notoriously shady US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford – who always pops up when the US is destabilizing something – this time called an urgent meeting in Istanbul, supported by Turkey and Qatar, and pulled a ‘go to Montreux because I said so’ shtick.

He just needed to follow the money. Those who won’t travel – a lot of Syrian National Coalition (SNC) hangers-on – will find themselves short of cash.

So listen to the sound of ‘patriotism’ talking. The SNC, which was always rabidly against any talks with Assad, suddenly said they’ll go, even though one-third of their shady members boycotted the Istanbul meeting.

What’s even more farcical is what Ford may have told the SNC stalwarts – still subject to much debate across the Middle East. If Ford really said that Bandar Bush’s strategy has been a total failure (in fact turning Syria into an Al-Qaeda hub) then this points to the Obama administration, for all practical purposes, sharing the same objective as Assad’s: fighting ‘terror’.

Still, Geneva 2 won’t ‘solve’ anything. Iran and Russia will keep supporting Damascus. The desert wasteland from Syria to Iraq will keep being occupied by Bandar Bush-supported and Gulf-supported hardcore sectarian jihadis.

The war will keep spreading deeper into Lebanon. The government in Damascus won’t collapse. The refugee crisis will soar. And the West will keep striking a pose of being concerned with ‘terror’.

All that non-jazz in Montreux will come to nothing. And then some bureaucrat will call for a Geneva 3.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of :

Ace News Group  

 

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#Geneva2 : #Syria Peace Convention – `Day One’ – Latest – 22 January 2014

#AceNewsServices say ‘We have taken the first small step’ – Ban Ki Moon on Syria peace talks’

Published time: January 22, 2014 17:09
Edited time: January 22, 2014 17:46
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (R) looks on alongside UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) during the so-called Geneva II peace talks dedicated to the ongoing conflict in Syria, on January 22, 2014, in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (R) looks on alongside UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) during the so-called Geneva II peace talks dedicated to the ongoing conflict in Syria, on January 22, 2014, in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that ‘the really hard work begins on Friday’ with regard to reaching a diplomatic solution in Syria. “Nobody underestimates the difficulty of this issue,” he announced on the first day of peace talks in Switzerland.

Lakhdar Brahimi added that it was unclear whether they would be able to successfully bring the two Syrian sides face to face in the same room on Friday.

“Hopefully by the afternoon we will be able to meet with both sides in one room…of course the results will not be brought about in a speedy way, this will take a great deal of time,” Brahimi said.

Ban added that all parties must “respect international humanitarian law, which he said had been“flagrantly violated in this conflict.”

While the state’s institutions must be preserved, civilians are facing desperate health conditions.

Ban added that arrangements must be made for a local ceasefire.

Ban urged the resolution of the violent conflict in the country through political dialogue, rather than military means.

“There is no other solution,” he said. “I have been urging all the countries – who have provided arms to either side…[to] stop – and encourage them to engage in political dialogue.”

Some 100,000 people have been killed over the course of the conflict, and millions displaced.

The Geneva communiqué seeks to formulate plans for political transition within Syria.

However, Wednesday’s talks witnessed fraught scenes between international heavyweights, with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem telling US Secretary of State John Kerry that no one had the right to“withdraw legitimacy” from the Syrian president or government.

 

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#Geneva2 : “Iran Puts #Syria #Peace Talks in Jeopardy if Invitation to Attend is not Withdrawn”

#AceNewsServices says Iran invitation puts Syria peace talks at risk …………………………….

Published time: January 20, 2014 08:53
Edited time: January 20, 2014 13:52
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (RIA Novosti)Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (RIA Novosti)
On the eve of the peace talks on Syria, the Geneva-2 conference is on the verge of collapse with the Western-backed Syrian opposition threatening to boycott it unless an invitation for Iran to attend is withdrawn by 19:00 GMT Monday.

Syria’s main opposition group, the National Coalition, which had earlier bowed to Western pressure to join the talks that include President Bashar Assad’s government, is now saying it will not attend the talks if the UN does not retract its invitation to Iran.

“We are giving a deadline of 1900 GMT for the invitation to be withdrawn,” said Anas Abdah, a member of the Coalition’s political committee, told Reuters on Monday. 

Iran was officially invited to participate in the long-awaited Syria peace conference scheduled for January 22, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Sunday. Tehran has agreed to send its representatives to Geneva.

We have always rejected any precondition for attending the Geneva 2 meeting on Syria … Based on the official invitation that we have received, Iran will attend Geneva 2 without any preconditions,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, Reuters reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov supported the UN decision to invite Iran, saying that without the country the talks would be “profane.”

“Around 40 countries have been invited to the conference, including Australia, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, India and Indonesia,” Lavrov told a media conference in Moscow. “If Iran were not on the list, that would seem profane.”

Lavrov described the opposition’s statement as “capricious” and proof that it’s not genuinely interested in resolving the Syrian crisis.

“If one starts being so capricious… The government agrees without any conditions to participate in the talks, to which countries which directly provide the opposition with funding and weapons, including those not moderate at all, have long been invited. So what should it do, demand that those countries withdraw?”Lavrov asked. “Negotiations are about bringing to one table not those who you like, but those upon whom solving the problem depends.”

A Free Syrian Army tank drives through a street in Aleppo November 30, 2013 (Reuters / Molhem Barakat)A Free Syrian Army tank drives through a street in Aleppo November 30, 2013 (Reuters / Molhem Barakat)

UN peacekeepers in Aleppo is hoax’

Sergey Lavrov dismissed as rumor the information that UN peacekeepers could be sent to Aleppo.

I’ve never heard of this,” he said. “I think it’s another hoax. There are many who are willing to use any chance to let some international military forces into Syria.”

He recalled that the plan was to reach a deal between the Syrian government and the opposition so as to open safe humanitarian corridors to Aleppo in order to guarantee security to humanitarian agency workers.

Lavrov suggested certain forces have tried to use the humanitarian crisis as a pretext for military action. He said before that there were attempts at achieving the same purpose by “the artificially created chemical weapons crisis, when all of the blame for the provocations by the opposition forces was laid on the government.

On Friday, Damascus handed over to Moscow a plan for a ceasefire in the city of Aleppo, asking Lavrov to assist in passing it to the Syrian opposition in order to ensure the implementation of the plan.

 

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#Syria Damascus Confirms Participation in #Geneva2 Conference #Peace

#AceBreakingNews says Damascus confirms its participation in #Geneva2Convention and the #Peace talks
The Syrian government has officially confirmed its participation in the Geneva 2 peace conference. Damascus had formally informed about this in a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Official Representative of the UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq said. The Geneva 2 international peace conference on Syria starts on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland.

#peace-acenewsservices, #ban-ki-moon, #damascus, #montreaux, #switzerland, #syria

UN: “Mission in South Sudan Gains Access to Besieged Areas”

#AceWorldNews says The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) announced today that as it continues to gain access to besieged areas, the number of people killed in the current round of fighting in the world’s youngest country “must be much higher” than the 1,000 figure given earlier in the conflict, which erupted nearly a month ago and continues to grind on.
In a news release from Juba, UNMISS notes fresh media reports, including in the New York Times, estimating that up to 10,000 people may have been killed since the conflict started on 15 December 2013, after President Salva Kiir said soldiers loyal to former vice-president Reik Machar, dismissed from office in July, launched an attempted coup.

On 26 December, 10 days into the crisis, the Mission estimated that 1,000 people may have been killed in the fighting. “This was based on UNMISS’ initial monitoring and investigations in Juba and other relatively more stable locations where its Human Rights Officers and other staff were able to access, investigate and document the unfolding developments,” the Mission said today.
Yet, after two weeks of subsequent violence, characterized by sometimes intense fighting with heavy weapons, there are now clear indications that the casualty count must be much higher, says UNMISS, adding that while it has continues to closely monitor the human rights situation, interviewing witnesses, and following leads, it “is not at this stage in a position to establish and verify the exact numbers of casualties.”
The Mission recalls that on 9 January, Hervé Ladsous, the head of UN Peacekeeping Operations, speaking to reporters in New York following a three hour briefing to the Security Council on the situation in South Sudan, said: “We are not able to provide final figures. We know it will be very substantially in excess of the 1,000 figure”.
Meanwhile the Mission says that despite serious security constraints due to the fighting in Bor and Bentiu, which has restricted access by its Human Rights Officers, during the course of last week, UNMISS began interviewing victims and eyewitnesses among displaced people from Bor who have arrived in Juba and Awerial County in neighbouring Lakes State. UNMISS Human Rights Officers have also been able to return to Bor on 9 January.
“Preliminary indications from these interviews and investigations in Bentiu and Malakal contain horrific allegations of atrocities by anti-Government forces against civilians and surrendering soldiers, including summary executions, torture, sexual violence and ethnically targeted killing,” the Mission says in the news releases, deploring these horrendous acts of violence and utter disregard for human life and dignity.
UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson called on all parties to cease hostilities immediately, and respect and protect civilians. “She reiterates Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon’s] reminder that those who commit such heinous acts will be held accountable,” the news release adds.
UNMISS vowed to continue investigating and documenting atrocities committed by both sides, in all affected areas and called on the Government and the anti-Government forces to cooperate with “these important investigations and to facilitate unhindered access by the Mission’s Human Rights Officers to all affected areas.”
In addition, this past Friday, Mr. Ban that announced that he would dispatch UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, to South Sudan this weekend to look into cases of violations believed to have been committed during the conflict, which has displaced some 230,000 people, more than a quarter of whom are seeking refuge on UN bases.

#humanrightnews, #humanrights, #ban-ki-moon, #new-york-times, #south-sudan, #united-states, #unmiss

UN:”Remembers #Haiti2010 Four Years After The Earthquake”

#AceWorldNews says “Remember Haiti After Four Years” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to increase its aid to Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the impoverished country, noting progress already made in health and education, but warning that more needs to be done.

“Haiti remains extremely vulnerable on many fronts,” he said in a message delivered to UN staff in Port au Prince, the capital, by his Special Representative Sandra Honoré. “145,000 people continue to live in make-shift camps. The country is structurally exposed to recurrent food crises. Haiti has the lowest level of water and sanitation coverage in the Americas.”

“I continue to call on the international community to stand with Haiti at its time of dire need. We must intensify our efforts to help Haiti build a more stable and prosperous future for the all its people. Let us renew today our pledge to follow our fallen colleagues’ dream of a life of dignity for all the people of Haiti.”

The massive quake which struck Haiti on 12 January, 2010, killed some 220,000 people, including 102 UN staff, made 1.5 million others homeless, and caused widespread destruction and a major humanitarian crisis.

“Your commitment, combined with the resilience of the Haitian people, has made much progress possible,” Mr. Ban told UN staff. “Health systems are being strengthened, more children are in school, close to 90 per cent of the displaced population have left the camps and economic activities have resumed allowing Haiti to start moving from crisis to long-term development.”

Referring to his own visit to the country shortly after disaster struck, he said the personal stories of heroism, courage and dedication that he saw and heard “moved me deeply and showed the United Nations at its best.

“I pay tribute to all UN colleagues who have strived through the years to keep alive the memory of our fallen colleagues and friends and serve the people of Haiti,” he added. “This includes those who remained after the earthquake to deliver life-saving support and consolation to the other victims. It also includes those who arrived later to carry on the worthy cause of helping Haiti rebuild its future.

#acedisasternews, #haiti2010, #2010-haiti-earthquake, #ban-ki-moon, #united-nations