Posted tagged ‘Syria’

Russian President Warns Against US Action in Syria

September 3, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the West against taking action in Syria but also stated that Russia “doesn’t exclude” supporting a United Nations resolution on military strikes if it is proved that Syria used poisonous gas on its own people.

It has been reported that more than 1,400 people died in the August 21 attack outside of Damascus.

From the Associated Press:

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television, Putin said Moscow has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria but has frozen further shipments. He suggested that Russia may sell the potent missile systems elsewhere if Western nations attack Syria without U.N. Security Council backing.

The interview Tuesday night at Putin’s country residence outside the Russian capital was the only one he granted prior to the summit of G-20 nations in St. Petersburg, which opens Thursday. The summit was supposed to concentrate on the global economy but now looks likely to be dominated by the international crisis over allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the country’s civil war.

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Syria May Study Lifting Emergency

March 31, 2011

Syria plans to study the idea of lifting the country’s state of emergency and investigate the deaths of civilians and troops in two regions.

From CNN:

The moves come amid countrywide protests that have left dozens dead in Daraa and Latakia provinces, according to activists and human rights organizations.

President Bashar al-Assad ordered the Supreme Judicial Council to form a committee that would conduct “an immediate investigation in all cases that killed a number of civilians and military personnel.”

“The committee will work in accordance with the law provisions and may use the help of anyone it deems appropriate to accomplish the task entrusted to it. It also has the right to request any information or documents from any party whatsoever,” the report said.

Terror Suspect Planned to Attack Mall

October 21, 2009

Investigators have charged a Boston man with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and other crimes as he planned to attack at least one U.S. shopping mall.

From Reuters:

U.S. federal prosecutors have charged a Massachusetts man with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, alleging he and co-conspirators traveled to the Middle East seeking training, discussed attacking a shopping center, and distributed videos promoting holy war.

Tarek Mehanna, 27, from Sudbury, Massachusetts, was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning, officials said.

“Mehanna and the co-conspirators had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall, and that the conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack, including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders,” the U.S. Justice Department said.

Mehanna had been previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other officials in connection with a terrorism investigation, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Prosecutors allege that from 2001 to 2008 Mehanna conspired with a man named Ahmad Abousamra and others in an attempt to kill, kidnap or injure people in the United States.

From CNN:

Planned to attack at least one U.S. shopping mall, Loucks said, but that did not happen because they couldn’t obtain the assault weapons they wanted, he said. He didn’t name the mall.

Loucks said the men had planned to assault multiple entrances of the mall, and had determined the steps they would take when first responders arrived.

Mehanna also is charged with using material support and resources in a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure people or to damage property in a foreign country, Loucks said.

“I think we’re satisfied that we know every member of this group,” the attorney said. “We do not believe that there are any terrorist cells in this area.”

Plot To Assassinate President Obama Foiled

April 6, 2009

Saudi Arabian newspaper al-Watan is reporting that Turkish security services have arrested a man of Syrian origins in connection with a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama during his visit to Turkey.

From CBS News:

The man, who was carrying an Al-Jazeera TV ID card in the name of M.G., confessed after his arrest that he was planning on stabbing the U.S. president with a knife during the Alliance of Civilizations summit held in Istanbul, adding that he had three other accomplices to help him execute his plan.

According to the paper, Turkish investigators were trying to verify whether the Qatari-based Arab TV channel has truly issued the ID card produced by the man, or if it’s a forged copy.

The suspect, a permanent resident of Istanbul, has been regularly attending all conferences and events relating to the Middle East held in the city.

Al-Watan contacted Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Ankara, Yucef al-Sharif, who said that news of the suspect came as a complete surprise to Al-Jazeera staff in Turkey, who all claimed that they knew nothing about the man.

“We learned that he (the suspect) claimed to be working for our bureau … if that has been the case then he most certainly forged our ID card,” al-Sharif told al-Watan in a phone call from Ankara.

Secret Order Allows U.S. Military to Raid Al Qaeda

November 10, 2008

According to Senior US officials, the United States military has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere since 2004. It makes you wonder how many attacks that we have not heard about have been carried out.

From the New York Times:

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.

In 2006, for example, a Navy Seal team raided a suspected militants’ compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officials watched the entire mission — captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft — in real time in the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorist Center at the agency’s headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles away.

Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the C.I.A., according to senior American officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of C.I.A.-directed operations.

But as many as a dozen additional operations have been canceled in the past four years, often to the dismay of military commanders, senior military officials said. They said senior administration officials had decided in these cases that the missions were too risky, were too diplomatically explosive or relied on insufficient evidence.

More than a half-dozen officials, including current and former military and intelligence officials as well as senior Bush administration policy makers, described details of the 2004 military order on the condition of anonymity because of its politically delicate nature. Spokesmen for the White House, the Defense Department and the military declined to comment.

North Korea Removed From Terror List

October 12, 2008

The U.S. removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, granting the communist state a long-sought prize in exchange for allowing wider scrutiny of its nuclear-weapons program.

From the Associated Press:

After North Korea relented on nuclear inspection demands, the U.S. on Saturday erased from a terrorism blacklist the communist country President Bush once branded part of an “axis of evil.”

The U.S. step, assailed by some conservatives who say it is sketchy and rewards North Korea’s bad behavior, is aimed at salvaging a faltering disarmament accord before President Bush leaves office in January.

State Department officials said the inspection agreement and the decision to take North Korea off the state sponsors of terrorism list were in the interests of national security and consistent with the “action for action” principle of the negotiations.

Bush approved the action on Friday and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice followed suit Saturday.

“Every single element of verification that we sought going in is part of this package,” her spokesman, Sean McCormack, told reporters at a rare weekend briefing. The North’s removal from the list was effective immediately.

The terrorism designation — now shared only by Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan — carries severe penalties. But U.S. officials said North Korea would not see any immediate benefit because it is punished under other programs and could return to the list if it does not comply with the inspections.