The West is already supplying weaponry to Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said when asked about Russia’s possible reaction to arms deliveries discussed by the West.
“According to our information, the arms are already being delivered,” Putin said at a press conference Tuesday after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The Russian President has been keen to stress that the reduction of activity in south-eastern Ukraine in particular, Donbas, where he said Kiev forces have been fighting against independence supporters since last spring. “Regarding the hostilities [in Donbas], we [Russia] generally mark a significant, and I want to stress that, reduction of military activity there,” Putin said.
The new online state run news paper Sputnik is already covering stories that implicate President Obama is considering considering arming Ukraine in case the latest ceasefire is breached, but says that the US political analyst Stephen Lendman told Sputnik in an exclusive interview that the US has been supplying arms to Kiev from the very start of the military operation.
The Russian President added that the sooner the suspension of hostilities and withdrawal of artillery is implemented in Donbas, the sooner the Ukrainian conflict will be settled.
The New York Times yesterday reported that the CIA, working with American troops during the US occupation of Iraq, “repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups.” In their report NY Times journalists C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt report, “The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a non-proliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The effort was run out of the C.I.A. station in Baghdad in collaboration with the Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion and teams of chemical-defence and explosive ordnance disposal troops, officials and veterans of the units said. Many rockets were in poor condition and some were empty or held a nonlethal liquid, the officials said. But others contained the nerve agent sarin, which analysis showed to be purer than the intelligence community had expected given the age of the stock”
Looking at the points raised in a reddit post lordderplythethird commented the following :
“It’s been long known there were chemical weapons still in Iraq after the US invaded in 2003, but people seem misinformed on what that means
Western Nations (Germany was the largest culprit, followed by the US, UK, France, etc) supplied Saddam with chemical and biological weapons, and the compounds required for the production of both, during the Iraq-Iran War. Germany practically built Saddam the nuclear reactor that Israel bombed in the 80s.
These same biological and chemical weapons were still around Iraq when the US invaded in 2003, just in highly degraded, non usable states
These are not the chemical and biological weapons Bush/Cheney/Powell/etc were referring to.
The Bush Administration was stating that Iraq had a current chemical and biological weapons program
He comments that the Bush Administration refused to acknowledge that the only weapons they uncovered, were ones given to Iraq by Western forces over 2 decades previously, because the administration who authorized this was headed by George Bush Snr, was then Vice President. “It’s still not admitted that the US gave Iraq chemical and biological weapons during the Iraq-Iran War (not sure if places like Germany have admitted to it though), so the W Bush Administration covered it up, and refused to acknowledge that WMD were in fact found in Iraq”
Because of this, US soldiers who were exposed to these weapons when they came across them, are developing severe medical conditions to which they’re not to claim happened during military service, because the Administration refused to admit those weapons were there
“So now we see documented proof that there were in fact WMD in Iraq, that a previous US administration gave them to Iraq, and US service members are getting sick because of those weapons, but the administration refused to acknowledge the actions of the previous administration”
This is perhaps why US service people are being denied access to help and compensation due to developing sickness to these weapons that did not originate in their entirety from Iraq but rather the possible reason for the US and UK going to war on the threat of the chemical weapons threat was perhaps due to the embarrassment of previous US and European assistance in Iraq developing these weapons in the first place.
Below is the original document that was classified and now de-classified that is forwarded by Tony Blair’s on the ‘Iraqi Chemical Weapon Threat’ this document was the precursor to the Iraqi war
Cicero Lounge Files Area:
After the sycophantic tributes paid by various world leaders to the passing of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia , many people are angered (including this blog writer) that people such as David Cameron, the Queen and even President Obama have felt the need to offer “touchy feeling diplomacy” following the Monarch’s death.
The lowering of flags in the UK on Government Buildings; Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace have not only angered people who are genuinely appalled at Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights abuse for a monarch who’s countries laws meet out sadistic and barbaric sentencing but point to double standards when on one hand our governments over the years have deplored it’s laws and on the other our praising a man in passing because we wish to maintain our relationship with an oil rich country.
When actually asked as to confirm who is responsible in the government for the decision to lower the flags as to honour the late Saudi King (a gesture normally only befitting the passing of British royalty or heads of government for the Commonwealth countries and only world leaders at the discretion of the UK Government) Whitehall appears to be confused with both the FCO and the Department for Media and Culture both denying their respective authority and concurring each other for permitting the honour.
Labour leader Ann Clywd was the latest MPs to voice her anger at the tributes paid to the late King Abdullah, stating that the country had one of the worst human rights records in the world and said “People in countries such as ours should use every opportunity to protest because the public are appalled by such barbarity” adding “Lots of people die but I dont think flying the flags at half mast for a country which has such a human rights record is acceptable.” Her comments following similar outrage from others, such as Louise Mensch the former Corby Conservative MP, who on Friday erupted on Twitter condemning the ‘supine’ adoration of male leaders on Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women. Many wondered, as I did, what Tony Blair actually was referring to when he called the later King a ‘moderniser’ in light of the little he did in terms of the rights of women in Saudi Arabia.
Even the Council for Advancement for Arab and British Understanding are also baffled by the ‘dishonesty’ of the tributes paid; Chris Doyle it’s director saying that although Britain and Saudi Arabia need to maintain relations on a global stage that the tribute “..wont be taken seriously if we go over the top in paying respects” and highlighting the fact that British Muslims are being asked to accept British Values by our Government on the one hand and then watching our establishment blindly ignore and accept human rights abusewhere the Saudi’s flogs their own citizens – thus our diplomacy runs incompatible UK values Mr Doyle pointing to the sentence met of 1000 lashes said “what does that mean when there’s a completely non-critical reaction to the events in Saudi Arabia like the flogging of a blogger? This creates a sense of double standards”
Maybe the politicians in our country could learn from the Briton that was Winston Churchill, the audacious and insubmissive politician whose death the UK will soon be celebrating in terms of his passing 50 years ago. When in 1945 he met the then founder of Saudi Arabia, King Ibn Said (the father of King Abdullah) and was warned by both his own Government officials and interpreters and from Saudi Officials that the smoking and drinking alcohol in the presence of the Saudi King would not be tolerated he replied to his interpreter, in answer to the Saudi officials “If it was the religion of his Majesty to deprive himself of smoking and drinking alcohol, I must point out that my rule of life, prescribed as an absolute sacred rite, smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before; after and even during meals, and in the intervals between them.”
It is thus a tribute to a man who never fell short of actually saying what was on his mind and rarely conceded to the force of others. In 2002 Sir Winston Churchill was named as the greatest Briton that ever lived in a vote of 100 Great Britons including other prominent luminaries such as Darwin, Shakespeare and Elizabeth I. The case for him is a powerful one, of course. He was first a government minister in 1908, and occupied most of the top jobs in politics during half a century. He finally retired in 1955, having served as prime minister for a total of nine years.
His greatest triumph of course was his leadership and rallying of the British people in World War Two that marked him out and his brave and tireless in his resolve to take on Nazi Germany, even when at times it seemed that Britain may have fallen to the Nazis in a war torn Europe. He remained constantly resilient and this probably inspired the US to enter the war after Britain France and it’s other allies were teetering on defeat.
Even as a Sandhurst cadet, Churchill was defiant, his first speech and act of defiance was probably in 1894 when he was among a group of upper-class ‘hooligans’ who tore down a screen that was erected by the League for Social Purity, at the Empire in Leicester Square which was placed there to keep the West End’s prostitutes from their clients, many of whom were the gentry of the City by the London County Council. The vandals spokesperson shouted “Ladies of the Empire, I stand for liberty” this was none other than a young Winston Churchill and in a letter to The Times and the Bishop of London bemoaned the conduct of the young Churchill that he should ever see any of the Dukes of Marlborough ‘hailed by a flourish of Strumpets’
The sad fact is that politicians that speak out and are of Churchill’s nature would never get elected, even Boris Jonson, almost a devotee of Churchill’s manner and British values seems implausible in our corporate world of diplomatic, insincere and disingenuous politics
Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, has warned American Congress against imposing financial sanctions against Iran – this however runs contrary to the views expressed by Israel’s President Benjamin Netanyahu who is supporting a bill that calls for more sanctions imposed on Iran. Iran was treaty to signing the Joint plan of Action, known as the Geneva interim agreement in 2013 in Switzerland. The pact which would ease the economic sanctions that had previously been passed on Iran in exchange for Iran’s suspension of it’s Nuclear program. However two republican senators, Robert Menendez and Mark Kirk opposed the agreement, calling instead for a new bill in US Congress that imposes greater sanctions should Iran not make the substantive changes in it’s nuclear programme to the P5+1 countries by 30th June.
Bloomberg news agency has reported that the Israeli security and intelligence service Mossad has discreetly approached US officials and politicians and cautioning them that the Menendez-Kirk bill could completely ruin the Geneva agreement that Iran has signed to. The Obama administration and leading republican have already used this disagreement within the Israel government and it’s security forces to oppose greater sanctions and leading Republican Senators such as John McCain would like to see new legislation that doesn’t contain sanctions but would require that the Senate vote on any pact that is agreed upon in Geneva.
US President Barack Obama who opposed the bill, feared it could prompt Iran to accelerate its nuclear program, and has publicly said he would veto it. Meanwhile, his Secretary of State, John Kerry, quoted this week an Israeli intelligence official who allegedly told him that, if enacted, the Menendez-Kirk bill would “throw a grenade into the process”. Bloomberg says in it’s report that the the Israeli intelligence agency has warned US officials abroad, and also contacted a US delegation visiting Israel. It said that senior US officials were told by Mossad staff that any bill calling for more sanctions against Iran would collapse talks already inexistence.
Saudi Arabia is the top oil exporter and a member of the oil rich OPEC countries, the late King had a personal wealth himself of £18 billion. Saudi Arabia as a country is extremely important historically to the world’s Muslims as it’s believed to be the birthplace of Islam. However although many have been praising King Abdullah for his ‘modernisation’ within his rule, it’s still quite apparent that his country’s human rights practices are still abhorrent to many in the western world with public floggings been met to anyone who has fallen fowl of it’s extremely harsh Islamic teaching.
Only recently was Raif Badawi, a liberal Islamist and blogger sentenced to 1000 lashes of a cane and it has also stoned and beaten and even sentenced to death homosexuals and women accused of adultery or infidelity. Those who have praised him; including the former Prime Minister and Middle Eastern ‘Peace’ envoy, Tony Blair have pointed to more positive attitudes now adopted in Saudi Arabia such as the introduction of education for women in the country. However Saudi Arabia still is one of the countries that human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regularly monitor, and it often calls on members to take urgent action on.
Following his inauguration the new King Salman has named his half-brother Muqrin as his crown prince and heir. Today the following announcement surrounding King Abdullah was made, “His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning.”
King Abdullah who was 90 years old and was suffering from illness for quite recently has ruled Saudi Arabia as King for the past 8 years (since 2006), but had run the country for 10 years prior to this as a de facto ruler after it’s previous King Fahd had become incapacitated following a stroke.
Countries throughout the world will be closely watching the new King’s progress amidst the turmoil across the Middle East, and also on the country’s direction in terms of it’s human rights of it’s citizens. King Salman is a self-appointed champion of Sunni Islam and the US hopes that the country will remain a close ally in the face of the ISIS threat that has engulfed other middle eastern countries such as Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s was a strong influence in the overthrow of President Mubarak’s Egyptian government in 2012 when they intervened militarily in support for it’s current government, they also have supported Syrian rebels against President Bashar al-Assad.
The new King, who is 79, was crown prince and the Saudi Arabian Defence Minister since 2012. He was governor of Riyadh province for five decades before that.
Saudi Arabia, holds more than a fifth of the world’s crude oil and is influential to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim population, as the King is regarded as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” in Mecca and Medina.
This week Microsoft unveiled it’s new plans to package a holographic headset to accompany it’s new operating system soon to be released, Windows 10.
The “Hololens” as it’s known, will be shipped with the new operating along with it’s voice activated software “Cortana” which is already available on it’s phones. The holograph headset, will allow users to wirelessly view holograms and both have a due date when they will be available it’s expected later in
(Image : Mashable.com)
It’s also expected that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8/8.1 users during it’s first year. Those who don’t upgrade or are not Windows 7 Vista users and upward operating system users will have to buy the product in full. Currently it’s not known how much this will be as there is confusion on pricing but it’s expected that Microsoft will charge a one off licence fee and not move to having to subscribe to it.
Microsofts new CEO, Satya Nadella said of his hopes for Windows in the future “We want to move from people needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows, that is our goal.”
The inquiry said it did not see any “realistic prospect” of it’s publication of the report before elections are due to be held on the 7th May 2015 and the inquiry will probably face being questioned about it’s delay by a committee of MPs, while the chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Richard Ottaway asked Sir John Chilcott to explain why the publication of the report has been delayed.
The inquiry was initially set up in 2009, under Gordon Brown to examine not only Britain’s involvement and it’s initial decision to go to war but also any cases of misconduct of British troops amidst claims of torture by both US and British allied forces against Iraqis forces and civilian. The report was expected to reach it’s conclusion within about three years and held it’s last hearing in 2011, following an unprecedented call for Tony Blair to give evidence to the inquiry in 2010.
There was even speculation by many political observers and even MPs that delays of the reports findings may have occurred due to involvement or intervention from the former Prime Minister Tony Blair or those close to him pointing to a cover-up of the findings of the report following the invasion of Iraq by British and American forces after Tony Blair’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and after his decision to ignore, many people believe unlawfully, the United Nations Resolution 1441 in November 2002 that offered Iraq under Saddam Hussein one last final opportunity to comply with disarmament obligations.
Leaders within coalition British Government have expressed concern over the delays with Nick Clegg saying that the delay was “incomprehensible” and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith saying the delay was “disappointing”. Sir John Chilcott had written to the David Cameron informing him that “substantial progress” had been made but that those criticised by the report needed an opportunity to respond to the criticism so far provided in the report. Mr Cameron in reply to Sir John has said he would have like to have seen the publication already and has criticised the former Labour Government for it’s delay in being published.
Cicero Lounge has a link to the Aitken Report (National Archives – MOD) which documented and examined allegations of the British Army’s conduct against the allegations of abuse against Iraqi soldiers and civilians loyal to Saddam Hussein
See also the War Report for information on other reports issued following the Iraq and Afghan wars
MPs will debate a motion to approve the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2015 in the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 January 2015.
Proceedings on the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2015 will follow the conclusion of today’s Opposition Day debate on the NHS.
The draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2015 was laid on 20 January 2015 under the affirmative procedure. The instrument must be approved by the House of Commons and House of Lords before it can come into force.
Once approved the instrument will add ‘Jund Al-Aqsa (Soldiers of Al-Aqsa) and Jund al Khalifa–Algeria (Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria)’ to the list of proscribed organisations in the Terrorism Act 2000.
Despite an international outcry and calls by Amnesty International for the Saudi Arabian authorities to quash the severe sentence and punishment of 1000 lashes for a charge of blasphemy, Saudi Arabian rights activist Raif Badawi was publicly flogged on Friday it is reported. This has been confirmed by Amnesty international from an eye-witness in Jeddah and from Mr Badawi’s wife.
Mr Badawi is a Saudi Arabian writer and activist and was the creator of the website “Free Saudi Liberals”
This is the first of 20 such public floggings that Mr Badawi will face after his conviction for insulting Islam through a forum/blog that his wife actually said he set up to merely examine and provide people the opportunity to discuss their Islamic faith. The forum was taken down by the Saudi authorities and Mr Badawi handed a sentence of 1000 lashes in 2014.
It is reported by an eye-witness that Mr Badawi raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arched his back in preparation for his flogging and remained silent after it but it was obvious it was said through his face and his body that he was in pain. Mr Raif Badawi was “beaten by a officer on his back and legs, who counted the lashes until they reached 50” the witness states.
This flogging it is worth noting took plays only days after the Saudi Arabian government and authority announced their condemnation of the actions of the terrorists who last week killed staff at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
It is also worth mentioning that Amnesty International gravely concerned for Mr Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair a well known human rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia following his Mr Badawi’s arrest and conviction in 2012-4. Amnesty International is running a separate campaign for Waleed Abu al-Khair, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison last July. It is unfortunately expected that he could also face a similar sentence to Mr Badawi handed down as well as his prison term that he currently serving.
Cicero Lounge has today sent a letter to the Saudi Authorities immediately calling for his sentence to be either commuted immediately or nullified. Anyone wishing to contact the Saudi embassy and respectfully call for action to the following: Prime Minister Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, also Deputy Prime Minister Ministry of Defense HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir was appointed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
President Obama reflected on the growth of America in 2014 stating that the increase in 11 million more jobs, affordability of better healthcare, the lowering of oil and gas in light of increased oil/gas production he said of his hopes for an increasing economy:
‘The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. All told, over a 57-month streak, our businesses have created nearly 11 million new jobs. Almost all the job growth that we’ve seen have been in full-time positions. Much of the recent pickup in job growth has been in higher-paying industries. And in a hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are on the rise again.’
Speaking on manufacturing and the increased oil and gas production rate the President said :
‘American manufacturing have helped fuel its best stretch of job growth also since the 1990s. America is now the number-one producer of oil, the number-one producer of natural gas. We’re saving drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas. And effectively today, our rescue of the auto industry is officially over. We’ve now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration committed, and the American auto industry is on track for its strongest year since 2005.’
After the FBI tying North Korea to a alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and its involvement for the film “The Interview” and following also it’s decision to withdraw its release this Christmas following continued further threats, President Barack Obama has vowed a US response but he also added that Sony had “made a mistake” in refusing to release a controversial satire depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
On Friday US authorities linked North Korea to the hack, which saw sensitive studio information publicly released.
The film centres around two journalists who’s intention is to kill the North Korean leader. Many cinemas made the decision not to show the film, following the cyber-attacks on Sony and some people are calling for it to be made released and made available on the internet. Sony withdrew the film following threats.
“We will respond,” Mr Obama said on Friday to reporters declining to be any more specific, “We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose…” adding “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States.”
The US leader said it could have significant economic and social impacts if both public and private cyber-systems were under attack and therefore important to protect these systems. On the question of Sony’s potential self-censorship he said “Americans cannot change their patterns of behaviour due to the possibility of a terrorist attack,” he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”
In the UK, Phillip Hammond the foreign secretary said he was “deeply concerned at the findings of the US investigation, which seems to provide further evidence of North Korea’s blatant disregard for international norms and obligations”.
The BBC website asks ‘ What is the FBI evidence?’
The U.S. Department of State has blocked the publication of a long-awaited documentary history of U.S. covert action in Iran in the 1950s out of concern that its release could adversely affect ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
The controversial Iran history volume, part of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, had been slated for release last summer. (“History of 1953 CIA Covert Action in Iran to be Published,” Secrecy News, April 16, 2014).
But senior State Department officials “decided to delay publication because of ongoing negotiations with Iran,” according to the minutes of a September 8, 2014 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation that were posted on the Department of State website this week.
Dr. Stephen P. Randolph, the Historian of the State Department, confirmed yesterday that the status of the Iran volume “remains as it was in September” and that no new publication date has been set. The subject was also discussed at an Advisory Committee meeting this week.
The suppression of this history has been a source of frustration for decades, at least since the Department published a notorious 1989 volume on U.S. policy towards Iran that made no mention of CIA covert action.
But the latest move is also an indirect affirmation of the enduring significance of the withheld records, which date back even further than the U.S. rupture with Cuba that is now on the mend.
Today a cross-party amendment opposing the Government’s proposed temporary exclusion orders (TEO) has been tabled. TEOs would effectively exile British citizens by revoking their passports when outside of the UK – and risk exposing them to torture or delivering them into the hands of terror factions.
The amendment, drafted by Liberty, would replace the TEO with a Notification & Managed Return Order. The NMRO would allow the Home Secretary to require airlines and other carriers to notify her of the return plans of those she suspected of terrorism abroad. The authorities could then use their existing powers against a suspect when they return to the UK. But, crucially, the Home Secretary would not have the power to revoke passports while they were outside of the country.
The “no fly” list procedures that are used to prevent individuals who may present a security hazard from flying on commercial aircraft are being revised to make them more transparent and easier to challenge, government attorneys said Friday. They asked a court to suspend a lawsuit disputing the constitutionality of the “no fly” procedures for two months until the revisions are complete.
“The Government… is currently reviewing and revising the administrative redress procedures for denials of boarding,” Justice Department attorneys said in a November 14 memorandum in support of a motion for a stay of proceedings in the lawsuit Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder.
“The Government is revising current redress procedures to increase transparency of the process for certain persons denied boarding on commercial aircraft,” the memorandum said.
A tribute to one of the greatest men that the 20th Century witnessed who died almost a year ago.
For more information on his struggle against Apartheid and his unifying of South Africa visit http://www.nelsonmandela.org/
• The United States has led airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
• RAF Tornado GR4 and the Reaper remotely piloted air system (RPAS) have conducted airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. Reaper and Rivet Joint aircraft have also been authorised to fly surveillance missions over Syria.
• France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Canada and Denmark have all conducted air strikes in Iraq.
• Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have all supported US strikes against ISIS in Syria.
• Combat troops have been explicitly ruled out by the UK and the other the countries involved, amid debate about the reliance on air power alone. However a number of British soldiers are training Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq, while further advisory personnel are expected to be deployed to Iraqi headquarters as part of a broader package of support announced on 5 November. The US also announced on 7 November the intention to deploy up to 1,500 additional military personnel in order to initiate a more comprehensive training package for Iraqi forces. Several Coalition partners have offered additional trainers as part of that initiative.
Download the full report
ISIS: the military response in Iraq and Syria (PDF PDF, 19 pages, 368.5 KB)
Ukraine’s President. Olexander Turchynov said the airbase at Kramatorsk had been “liberated” from “terrorists”. Gunfire had been heard hours before at an airbase which had been previously seized by militia. He had previously said that the Ukrainian Government would be introduce a gradually stage by stage a “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-Russian separatists.
Pro-Russian rebels have seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across Ukraine’s eastern provinces, which form the heartland of Ukraine’s industry.
The security operations undertaken by the Kiev government have been received by Russia with alarm. As the events unfolding in the Ukraine, officials in Moscow are already fearing the worse – or rather looking at the worse case scenario as one official has said “Events are beginning to develop under the worst case scenario,”.
At present there is no accuracy to the number of casualties, and reports on social media appear conflicting, but obviously it is the perception of what is happening that matters.
Russia’s has got favour with Russian-speakers in the east, and many separatists have taken over buildings in several Ukrainian cities, the Ukrainian Government effectively
challenged for responding – and the fear is if that response will be seized upon by Moscow as a pretext for military action.
Thousands of Russian troops are reported to be deployed along the border, kindling fears that any crackdown on the rebels could trigger an invasion.
Russia has already annexed the Ukrainian Crimea last month, after it broke away and held a controversial referendum on self-determination
Syria’s political opposition said on Monday it will withdraw from international peace talks scheduled this week unless United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon retracts an invitation to Iran, President Bashar al-Assad’s main backer.
Washington, however, suggested it could support Iran’s participation if it explicitly declares its support for a June 2012 plan for a political transition that the United States says means Assad would have to step down.
“This is something Iran has never done publicly and something we have long made clear is required,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “”If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communiqué, the invitation must be rescinded.
Ban said earlier that he had invited Iran to attend the first day of talks on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland and that Tehran had pledged to play a “positive and constructive role” if it was asked to participate.
Less than 48 hours since Syria’s main political opposition group in exile, the National Coalition, agreed to attend the talks, dubbed “Geneva 2,” it threatened to withdraw.
Iran has accepted the invitation by United Nations Secretary-General to attend talks due to start on Wednesday in Geneva aimed at ending Syria’s civil war a student news agency reported.
“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 the Geneva 2 without any preconditions.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said..
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday he had spoken at length with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in recent days and that he believed Tehran supported for the Geneva 2012 plan for Syria talks.
The humanitarian community’s response and commitment in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan had been phenomenal despite overwhelming challenges, John Ging, a senior humanitarian official said today at a press conference at United Nations Headquarters.
Mr. Ging, Director of Operations for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the Typhoon had left a large trail of destruction across the Philippines. “Currently, 13 million were affected, 1.9 million displaced and 3,600 people have died”, he added.
He applauded the international community for their support to a $301 million appeal launched in Manila, noting that $72 million had so far been received. Furthermore, the OCHA official expressed his gratitude to the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Malaysia, Australia, Japan and Sweden, and to other countries for their logistical support, humanitarian services and recovery efforts. However, he stressed the need for a more sustained and collective response to helping those affected by the disaster to rebuild their lives.
Also present at the briefing was Ted Chaiban, Director of Emergency Programmes for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), who stated that the Typhoon had affected an estimated 5 million children and that the Fund’s emergency efforts were running non-stop. “UNICEF staff were on the ground in Tacloban, Ormoc, Aklan and Capiz, and had set up field offices to render support to those affected,” Mr. Chaiban said.
UNICEF was gaining a clearer picture of the massive needs for clean water, food, essential medicines and sanitation for children in those affected communities, he said. All of those items had become a top priority for the Fund.
Speaking on the issue of water, he said that those resources had been partially restored in Tacloban city and that would improve access to 200,000 people including children and women. Furthermore, significant amounts of supplies had been delivered to the locality including water bladders, hygiene kits, toilet slabs, and water purifying tablets. Through a partnership with Oxfam, hygiene kits were distributed in northern Cebu and, in cooperation with the Department of Public Works and Highways, sludge treatment facilities had been constructed and emergency latrines and mobile toilets deployed.
Responding to questions, Mr. Ging said that money was “grossly” needed to cope with humanitarian crises, not only in the Philippines, but across the world, noting that, “humanitarian activities were unfunded and funds were also needed to tackle the challenges.” Funds were needed to secure relief supplies, and to stock them in warehouses across the world, so as to be well-prepared for natural disasters. In addition, helicopters and other air transportation facilities were required to reach localities that were inaccessible by roads.
Mr Singh is expected to write to Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to explain why he will not be attending the summit which will put political pressure on other counties to take a stronger stance against the allegations of war crimes committed in the war the countries national party and the Tamil Tigers during the 25 year conflict.
The absence of the leader of the Commonwealth’s biggest member state may embarrass David Cameron who has defended his attendance in Sri Lanka because it would allow him to personally deliver a a “tough message” about its human rights record.
The Sri Lankan government has conducted a repressive regime that has silenced resistance to the national party but recent reports of deliberate targeting of civilians in the conflict and crimes committed by its armed forces against violent Tamil separatists in the north of the country.
A British parliamentary committee has noted “continuing human rights abuses” in Sri Lanka with the UN also critical over a lack of effort towards over reconciliation between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority.
Officials at the Indian foreign ministry have downplayed the decision to boycott the summit, which was reportedly taken by senior Congress party officials last Friday. They said it was not unusual for a prime minister to be unable to attend the meeting – however it will send a tough message on India’s Foreign policy against it’s neighbouring country.