Top Israeli and US military officials discussed on Monday the possibility of “security cooperation” between the Zionist entity and some Arab states in the Persian Gulf.
The New York Times reported that a meeting took place on Monday between Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Gen. Martin Dempsey, visiting chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in al-Quds.
Prior to the meeting, Gantz hinted that even in the current period of instability there could be opportunities, Israeli daily, Haaretz reported.
Those opportunities became clearer when Dempsey said after the meeting that the discussions included “an outreach to other partners who may not have been willing to be partners in the past,” the Israeli daily said according to NYT.
“What I mean is the Gulf States in particular, who heretofore may not have been as open-minded to the potential for cooperation with Israel, in any way.” Dempsey said.
Haaretz noted that while Dempsey did not go into specifics, other American military officials said that possibilities include “intelligence-sharing, joint counterterrorism exercises and perhaps looking for how Israeli and Saudi troops could jointly work on the training of Syrian opposition fighters.”
Remarking that “world jihadists are not fighting only against Israel,” Gantz added that it would be in the interests of both Israel and neighboring states to “look for ways to combat common enemies.”
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 140,000 people have been reportedly killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the foreign-backed militants.
Western powers and some of their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – are reportedly supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed Monday the importance of dialogue among the state’s parties in order to reach a sound political environment.
During his meeting with Baath party figures – Damascus branch, Assad pointed out to the importance of the Syrian capital Damascus, which is featured by preserving the Islamic and Christian inheritance together, thus presenting a model of modern openness.
“Damascus played a major role in Syria’s steadfastness during a three-year crisis,” the Syrian President indicated.
He also stressed the need for dialogue and effective and constructive communication with the new parties in Syria, in order to identify future mechanisms of sound communication.
“We are facing great challenges emerged by the crisis and the first one is to confront the extremist ideology which tries to penetrate the society,” he stated.
“We also have unprecedented serious intellectual vacuum… Our duty is to deal with it,” Assad went on to say, adding that “Without dialogue we cannot develop neither the party (Baath) nor the country.”
President Assad assured that the popular support of terrorism is shrinking while the reconciliation circle is being widened, and it is the most effective way to fight off the project of defeating Syria.”
Two terrorist blasts hit southern Beirut on Wednesday near the Kuwait embassy in Bir Hassan, leaving dozens of martyrs and injured.
Security sources confirm that the bombings were suicide attacks adding that they coincided and that they were targeting the cultural center of the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
The Al-Manar correspondent reported that the first explosion took place near Gondoline sweets which lies in the building of the Iranian cultural center.
The second took place near a restaurant facing an army base.
Health minister Wael Abu Faour visited the blast scene and said that the suicide bombings left at least five martyrs and 103 injured.
State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr also arrived in blast scene, confirming that the attacks were suicide bombings.
The first blast was carried by a BM X5 4×4 vehicle, rigged with 90 kgs of explosive materials, Saqr said. He noted that the second explosion was carried out by a Mercedes car rigged with 75 kgs of explosive materials.
For its part, the Iranian embassy in Beirut confirmed all staff were safe.
Historical images over 60 years old, showing the fleeing of Palestinians from their land, homes, and properties, which would then be immediately seized by migrating Jews.
This video is an excerpt from a recent documentary series produced by Al-Manar Tv titled ‘If Hezbollah was Defeated’
The US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has ordered foreign-backed opposition figures to take part in the international peace conference, noting that there are many changes in Saudi policy regarding the Syrian crisis.
Quoting an official in the executive committee in the so-called “Syrian National Coalition”, Nidal Hamade said that Ford had called for an urgent meeting for the SNC figures in Istanbul, noting that the US envoy had threatened to cut funds for anyone who will not attend the meeting.
In addition to Ford, all SNC figures who were opposing Geneva 2 participation were at the meeting: Loay Safi, Anass al-Abdeh, Haitham al-Maleh, Burhan Ghalioun, Najeeb al-Ghadban and Maher Noaimi, Hamade wrote in his corner on al-Manar Website.
During the meeting, Ford told the SNC figures that Saudi prince Bandar Bin Sultan is on a long vacation in the United States, “because of sickness and psychological fatigue,” Hamade added, citing the Syrian opposition official who is also close to former Prime Minister, Riyad Hijab.
“We would like to inform you that there are some changes that will take place in Saudi Arabia next March,” Ford said, noting that these changes will reach Bandar Bin Sultan and Saud al-Faissal.
“We also would like to tell you that the US had asked Saad Hariri (head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc in Lebanon) to participate in a coalition government with Hezbollah.”
The US ambassador added that the Saudi committee for Lebanon and Syria (which comprises Abdulaziz Khoja, Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Saud and Muqren Bin Abdullah Al Saud) is to be activated and will take over the Lebanese and Syrian file from Bandar.
Ford told the Syrian opposition figures: “Bandar’s plan for the Syrian conflict, put [in place during] 2012, had catastrophic repercussions on Syria and the region. It had made of Syria a powerful hub for al-Qaeda that US cannot confront. For that, you have to stop objecting and to go to Geneva 2, this is the US’ interest.”
The US military plans to establish an intelligence center in Bahrain in a bid to compensate for its dwindling presence in Afghanistan.
A senior US military official told a Senate hearing that the planned espionage center in the Arab state, home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, will be an “integral part” of the Pentagon’s post-2014 strategy in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The official, Erin Logan, who oversees the Pentagon’s “counter-narcotics efforts,” claimed during a US Senate hearing on narcotics on Wednesday that the plan is part of Washington’s efforts to “continue fighting” Afghanistan’s “booming drug industry.”
“The center,” she added, “will help fill the gap where space for personnel on the ground in Afghanistan is no longer available.”
The US move to expand its military and intelligence presence in Bahrain comes, however, despite the grave human rights record of the ruling Al Khalifa regime for its brutal crackdown on a popular uprising that has left scores shot and tortured to death and many more injured and prosecuted for taking part and even sympathizing with the continuing anti-regime protests in the country.
The United States has long been suspected by regional countries, particularly Iran and Russia, of promoting the growth of the narcotics trade in Afghanistan ever since American and NATO military forces invaded the country in 2001 under the pretext of fighting terror and bringing stability to Afghanistan.
There have been numerous press accounts over the past years pointing to the involvement of US troops and CIA operatives in Afghanistan’s expanding drug trade that largely finances the al-Qaeda-linked Taliban militants in the country.
The US military aims to establish an intelligence center in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain in a bid to compensate for its dwindling presence in the war-torn Afghanistan.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah opened an annual Gulf summit on Tuesday with a call for an end to the “human catastrophe” in Syria and announced support for the nuclear agreement between Iran and World Powers.
Kuwait hosts Tuesday and Wednesday the thirty-fourth Gulf Cooperation Council summit amid serious divisions among its members.
The summit witnessed exacerbated disputes among the member states that concentrated their discussions on the new American attitude towards Iran.
Although many of the Gulf countries viewed the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers positively, Saudi Arabia revealed surging rage as it is concerned that the Iranian-American agreement may weaken its role in the region.
The augmenting strategic role of Iran in the region and the decline of the American dependence on the Gulf sources of energy intensified the concerns of the GCC states.
Analysts emphasized that the Gulf Union was proposed to compensate the strategic losses, yet Oman’s threat of withdrawing from the council tackled the proposal and deepened the rift among the its states.
Qatar’s concerns about being subjected to the Saudi influence also represented a main obstacle facing the union.
Economically, the disputes between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates thwarted the efforts to establish the custom union.
Three Lebanese were cleared of terrorism charges in Nigeria on Friday.
“The Nigerian authorities released Mustapha Fawaz and Abdallah Thahini, while Talal Ahmad Roda’s trial is still ongoing for possessing weapons,” Lebanese charge d’affaires in Nigeria told FM Adnan Mansour.
Federal High Court Judge Adeniyi Adetokunbo Ademola said Hezbollah “is not an international terrorist organisation in Nigeria” and therefore membership is not criminal.
He said there was “no evidence” that the group was planning an attack or had received “terrorism training” as the prosecution alleged.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported that Israeli violations against detained Palestinian children are still ongoing, despite an alleged Israeli decision to improve their conditions, and the methods of interrogation.
In a report published on Monday, the UNICEF said “violations are ongoing,” seven months after an initial report underlined widespread mistreatment of Palestinian teenagers arrested by Zionist forces in the occupied West Bank.
The UNICEF said that despite its earlier report violations against detained children are still ongoing, despite the 38 recommendations that outlined these violations and the manner to address them.
The international body cited 20 sample cases of abuse of youths in the West Bank in the second quarter of this year.
The UNICEF said that heavily armed soldiers would violently break into homes, before they force the children out of their beds, and take them to interrogation facilities, cuffed, blindfolded, and in a state of extreme fear.
It said that Israeli interrogators would question the children about allegations of throwing stones at soldiers and settlers, and that the interrogators would threaten the children with physical violence, death, in addition to sexual assault threats not only against the children, but also against a family member.
The Lebanese army filed a complaint Thursday to the United Nations to protest the violation by four Zionist soldiers of the Blue Line in the southern Shebaa Heights in Mount Hermon, a security source revealed to Al-Manar website.
“The troops moved for a distance of 300 meters inside the Lebanese territories while they were chasing a Lebanese herder Wednesday afternoon,” the source added.
The Wednesday violation took place near the Zionist Radar checkpoint on the border with Occupied Palestine.
Soldiers from the Indian operating force of UNIFIL have filed a report for their leadership in Naqoura about their observations of the Zionist breach. The Joint Verification Commission – consisting of the Lebanese army and UNIFIL – inspected the area Thursday where they verified the breach and filed the complaint.
The Al-Manar website correspondent also reported Thursday that fifteen Zionist soldiers violated the technical fence in the southern region of Wazzani and moved to a distance of ten meters away from the Lebanese river, adjacent to the parks without violating the Blue Line.
In the meantime, Zionist drones carried out intensive false raids over Lebanon hovering over the southern towns of the country at low altitude on Thursday.
The Zionist army has recently paved a new route at the border with Lebanon in an attempt to terrorize citizens and spread panic among them.
Since the 2006 July war on Lebanon, the Zionist entity has spared no chance to violate the Lebanese sovereignty in flagrant breaching of the UN resolution 1701.
- Israel violates Lebanon border (dailystar.com.lb)
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- ‘Israel forces violate Lebanon border’ (rinf.com)
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Tuesday that the way the US acts regarding Iran’s nuclear issue would determine the possibility of holding further talks between the two sides, according to IRNA.
Commenting on recent talks held between Iranian and US officials in New York last week, Afkham said the talks were “limited to Iran’s nuclear issue.”
“No talks have been held on Iran-US ties,” the spokeswoman stressed during her weekly press briefing.
She added Iran’s nuclear issue was the main topic of discussion between Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his US counterpart John Kerry.
Referring to the phone conversation between the presidents of Iran and US made at the end of President Hasan Rouhani’s visit to New York, Afkham said the conversations focused on “Iran’s interaction with the P5+1” as well as finding a solution to the nuclear issue.ˈ
Asked if it was possible that the next round of talks between Iran and Group 5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) would be held at the level of heads of state, Afkham said “It is too soon to talk about that.”
“We are at the beginning of a long road which is full of ups and downs,” she stressed.
Referring to a report about President Rouhani’s possible visit to Saudi Arabia, Afkham said, “No official invitation has been received yet from the Saudi side through diplomatic channels in this connection.”
A Bahraini court on Sunday sentenced 50 people to up to 15 years in jail, including a prominent Iraqi cleric, for forming an opposition group, a judicial source said.
Sixteen defendants were handed 15-year terms, while four others were jailed for 10 years and the other 30 sentenced to five years behind bars, the source said.
The defendants, including Iraqi cleric Hadi al-Mudaressi who was sentenced in absentia, were charged with forming the February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition, which Bahraini authorities accuse of ‘terrorism’.
Several defendants were sentenced in absentia, including Saeed al-Shahabi, a key London-based Bahraini opposition figure who faces an earlier life sentence for his role in the 2011 uprising.
The interior ministry in June named 11 suspects who were arrested in the case, in addition to 13 people who live abroad.
At least 89 people have been killed by the Bahraini authorities since peaceful protests erupted In February 2011, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.