Is Syria concealing the full extent of the chemical weapons in its possession? A report published on Tuesday by CNN alleged that the US is currently examining new intelligence which may indicate that the Bashar al-Assad regime may not declare its chemical weapons arsenal in full, and may possess a hidden stockpile of chemical weapons past the conclusion of the efforts to destroy such weapons.
The report, which quoted several US officials, indicated that US intelligence agencies, the US Department of Defense, State Department and the White House are going over the intelligence, and an effort is currently underway to obtain more information so as to fully recognize the efforts being carried out by the Assad regime.
According to a US official quoted in the report, while the intelligence being examined is not conclusive at this point, “there are information threads that could shake our confidence - things have been done recently which indicate that Syria is not ready to see all of its chemical weapons destroyed.”
The BBC reports that The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 10 cases of polio in war-torn Syria - the first outbreak in the country in 14 years.
The UN body says a further 12 cases are still being investigated. Most of the 22 people who have been tested are babies and toddlers.
Before Syria’s civil war began in 2011, some 95% of children were vaccinated against the disease.
The UN now estimates 500,000 children have not been immunised.
Polio has been largely eradicated in developed countries but remains endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The WHO said the suspected outbreak centres on the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
There are more than 100,000 children, all under age five, now at risk of polio in Deir al-Zour province alone, which has been caught in fierce battles between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters.
I typically ignore these types of stories, but since an LGF Page was created last month on the supposed practice “sexual jihad” in Syria, in the comments section of which I expressed my strong doubts about the story’s veracity, I want to point out that my instincts were correct
—it was yet another example of yellow journalism by the “Daily Fail”. [Correction: The source for the September Page about this topic was “Business Insider”, which in turn was citing “The Telegraph” and the Saudi-owned “Al Arabiya”.]
No other leader in the region — not Saddam Hussein in Iraq, nor Moammar Gadhafi in Libya — has relied as heavily on propaganda as Assad. His PR teams and state media are churning out a steady stream of partially or completely fabricated new stories about acts of terror against Christians, al-Qaeda’s rise to power and the imminent destabilization of the entire region. These stories are circulated by Russian and Iranian broadcasters, as well as Christian networks, and are eventually picked up by Western media.
One prime example is the legend of orgies with terrorists: The 16-year-old presented on state TV comes from a prominent oppositional family in Daraa. When the regime failed to capture her father, she was abducted by security forces on her way home from school in November 2012. During the same TV program, a second woman confessed that she had submitted to group sex with the fanatical Al-Nusra Front. According to her family, though, she was arrested at the University of Damascus while protesting against Assad. Both young women are still missing. Their families say that they were forced to make the televised statements — and that the allegation of sex jihad is a lie.
An alleged Tunisian sex jihadist also dismissed the stories when she was contacted by Arab media: “All lies!”, she said. She admitted that she had been to Syria, but as a nurse. She says she is married and has since fled to Jordan.
Two human rights organizations have been trying to substantiate the sex jihad stories, but have so far come up empty-handed. It appears that the Tunisian interior minister had other motives for jumping on this rumor: Hundreds of Islamists have left his country and traveled to Syria, and he is apparently trying to stem the tide by discrediting these fighters. Furthermore, Sheikh Mohammad al-Arifi, the man who is allegedly behind the sex jihad fatwa, denies everything. “No person in their right mind would approve of such a thing,” he says. […]
Please read the entire source article as it also covers some fictitious stories about the killing of Christians, at least one of which involved a forgery that managed to fool even the Vatican’s official news agency.
And please, before anyone starts sniping at me about how jihadists really do kill Christians—yes, I’m well aware of that, but it doesn’t mean that every story published about such things is true. As much as some people may prefer to believe otherwise, my intent is not to act as an apologist for Islamist jihadis or avoid legitimate criticism of the behavior of Muslims, but to push for and insist upon factual, verifiable stories, not propaganda manufactured by brutal Middle Eastern tyrants fighting for their survival.
Likewise, I’m equally disgusted by the propaganda manufactured by organizations that support or promote extremism of any sort, not to mention brutal jihadist groups, which is one of the reasons I posted a Page yesterday on West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.
This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever read about. It truly does sound like some sort of twisted Disneyland—currency exchanges & flight booking, ethnic restaurants, good cell phone service, internet cafes, video games…
Oh, and check out the new term to keep in mind: jihad tourists. What next, summer jihad camp for kids? Maybe Junior Jihadi Scouts where aspiring youth can go to learn killing skills?
Good grief. It reminds me of a now deceased Palestinian guy I knew years ago who told me that as a kid in the West Bank (this would have been in the 1970’s) they had an organization that was like the PLO version of the Boy Scouts that he & his friends joined—IIRC they called themselves Lion Cubs or some such thing.
I just… I can’t even… *smh*
“Subhan’Allah, bro, I asked for ketchup,” says one man.Atmeh looks like the set for a movie about al-Qaida. New arrivals pulling suitcases on wheels search for their emirs, Africans and Asians can be seen on the village streets, and long-haired men dressed in traditional Afghan clothing walk around wielding AK-47s. There are patrons at the local kebab stand whose northern English dialect is peppered with Arabic words and phrases. “Subhan’Allah, bro, I asked for ketchup,” says one man. The many languages heard on the street include Russian, Azerbaijani and Arabic spoken with a guttural Saudi Arabian accent.
The once-sleepy smugglers’ nest on the Turkish border has become a mecca for jihad tourists from around the world. A year ago, SPIEGEL reporters in Atmeh met with one of the first foreign fighters in Syria, a young Iraqi who said that he had come to overthrow the dictatorship. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 jihadists are staying in and around Atmeh, making it the densest accumulation of jihadists in all of Syria. Ironically, while war rages in the rest of the country, the foreign jihadists have made one of Syria’s quietest spots into their base. Or perhaps they have chosen Atmeh precisely because it is so quiet. Once they arrive, many are reluctant to leave.
The Turkish mobile phone network provides strong reception, and the shops carry Afghan pakol wool hats, al-Qaida caps and knee-length black shirts made of the same coarse material used in the Pakistani tribal regions. New restaurants have popped up, and a company called International Contacts books flights and exchanges Saudi riyals, British pounds, euros and US dollars into the local currency. The pharmacy sells miswak, a teeth-cleaning stick from Pakistan with which the Prophet Muhammed supposedly brushed his teeth. The package label promises that the use of miswak increases the effectiveness of subsequent prayers by a factor of 70.
The Jihadist is Always Right
In Atmeh, the holy war is a costume spectacle, and everyone can feel as if he were part of it — without suffering any harm.A third Internet café opened in mid-June to accommodate the many jihadists wanting to communicate with their relatives and friends at home via phone, email or chat programs. This prompted the owner of the first café to hang al-Qaida flags above his computers as a sign of loyalty to his customers. The move has improved business despite the growing competition. The heavily armed customers use Skype to tell their friends at home about what a paradise Atmeh is. The rents are cheap, they say, the weather and food are good, they can walk around with their weapons and, with a little luck, they can even find wives. In the evenings, the sound of several jihadists playing Counter-Strike spills into the streets in a cacophony of video game warfare. In Atmeh, the holy war is a costume spectacle, and everyone can feel as if he were part of it — without suffering any harm. In August, a restaurant specializing in various national dishes for the international crowd of jihadists opened in Atmeh. Falafito has koshari for Egyptians, falafel for Saudis and chicken tikka for Pakistanis, to list just a few offerings. […]
Come to think of it, Atmeh sounds like a place some of the Tea Party/Libertarian types might really like: Laissez-faire capitalism! Open carry! Etc.
As Rachel Maddow reported a few days ago, America really is the world police for weapons of mass destruction: we’ve helped secure and destroy WMDs from Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Africa, and all over the world. So if Assad follows through (as applying to the Chemical Weapons Convention suggests) we can expect Syria’s chemical weapons to be safely tucked away for later disposal.
Related: here’s a great segment from 2011 about the National Nuclear Security Administration, “the Department of Saving the World.” Somehow the GOP thought cutting their budget was a good idea.
It’s not what Vladimir Putin’s New York Times op-ed says that’s so worrisome; it’s what it doesn’t say. As a Russian and as someone who has been to Syria multiple times since the beginning of the conflict to investigate war crimes and other violations, I would like to mention a few things Putin overlooked…
There is not a single mention in Putin’s article, addressed to the American people, of the egregious crimes committed by the Syrian government and extensively documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry, local and international human rights groups, and numerous journalists: deliberate and indiscriminate killings of tens of thousands of civilians, executions, torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests. His op-ed also makes no mention of Russia’s ongoing transfer of arms to Assad throughout the past two and a half years.
The Russian president strategically emphasizes the role of Islamic extremists in the Syrian conflict. Yes, many rebel groups have committed abuses and atrocities. Yet Putin fails to mention that it is the Syrian government that is responsible for shooting peaceful protesters (before the conflict even started) and detaining and torturing their leaders - many of whom remain detained - and that the continued failure of the international community to respond to atrocities in Syria allows crimes on all sides to continue unaddressed.
Putin’s plea to use the United Nations Security Council to resolve the conflict sounds great, until you remember that, from the very start of this conflict, Russia has vetoed or blocked any Security Council action that may bring relief to Syria’s civilians or bring perpetrators of abuses in Syria to account.
Geez, what’s a guy have to do to start another war these days? It was so easy for GWB. We didn’t find out about his biased/fake sources until it was too late.
The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.
“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”
O’Bagy told POLITICO in an interview Monday that she had submitted and defended her dissertation and was waiting for Georgetown University to confer her degree. O’Bagy said she was in a dual master’s and doctorate program at Georgetown.
Kimberly Kagan, who founded the ISW in 2007, said in an interview that while she was “deeply saddened” by the situation, she stands by O’Bagy’s work on Syria.
Why not just launch carrier or cruiser missiles at the Syrian’s key points of defenses and get accurate pin points via satellite,
then send planes to finish the raid, afterwards give the )good) rebels some weaponry to purge the rest of the terrorists in the area . Then assign a leader that generally everyone will support in that territory, preferably one that favors democracy.This way the US wouldn’t have to fight and have a fast speedy resolution to the war and we wouldn’t have to occupy the land trying to assymulate it’s people like in afghanistan.