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Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Excerpts: Arab Leagues Mussa angers Syria Syrian crackdown intensifies. Iranian and Hizbullah snipers aiding Syria. Germany says unilateral moves very counter productive. Eastern Europe on Mideast rift. Proof Syria planned effort to storm Israel border Ju

Excerpts: Arab League's Mussa angers Syria Syrian crackdown intensifies.
Iranian and Hizbullah snipers aiding Syria. Germany says unilateral moves
"very counter productive". Eastern Europe on Mideast rift. Proof Syria
planned effort to storm Israel border June 15, 2011

+++SOURCE: Syria Report 15 June:”Press Review - Syria’s Ambassador to the
Arab League Slams Outgoing Secretary General for Remarks”
SUBJECT: Arab League’s Mussa angers Syria

FULL TEXT:The semi-official al Watan newspaper reported on June 14 that
Syria’s ambassador to the Arab League Yousef Ahmad slammed the outgoing AL
Secretary General Amr Moussa for remarks Moussa recently made regarding
Syria.

“Ahmad warned any party to use the Syrian blood as a tool for personal goals
and private ambitions, or in complying with Western agendas. …

“Ahmad said that “the unbalanced remarks made by Moussa bluntly go beyond
the truth that Syria is being targeted by foreign forces that uses internal
tools to assault the security and satiability of Syria. …

“Moussa is considered to be a godfather of the Atlantic strike of Libya, and
works hard to be the upcoming Egyptian President. …

“Ahmad added that the personal ambitions of Mr. Moussa have made him choose
a dubious timing to serve those ambitions, and made him close his eyes to
the facts regarding what Syria is undergoing, which he is very well aware
of. …”

Background

Moussa had voiced his "worries" on Monday[113 June] on almost three months
of clashes in Syria but signaled division in the 22-member body over how to
proceed.

"Though their views differ, Arab states are all worried, angry and actively
monitoring the current crisis in Syria," Amr Moussa said in a statement.

"What we are hearing and monitoring, about many victims falling, indicates
great tumult in Syria ... The situation in Syria should not be left in this
state."

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 15 June ’11:”Syrian forces extend reach in border
areas”, Associated Press
SUBJECT: Syrian crackdown intensifies
QUOTE:”the government . . .abandoned most pretenses of reform”

FULL TEXT: BOYNUYOGUN, Turkey: Syrian tanks pushed toward more towns and
villages near the Turkish and Iraqi borders Tuesday, expanding the crackdown
against a 12-week uprising to the north and east as more Syrians flee their
homes.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad appears to have abandoned all pretense of
offering reform, sending tanks, helicopter gunships and only his most loyal
forces into population centers to crush dissent.

Anti-government activists reported tanks in the northern market town of
Maaret Al-Numan and in smaller villages near Jisr Al-Shughour, a town
stormed Sunday[12 June] by Syrian elite forces backed by helicopters.

Human rights activist Mustafa Osso said tanks were also moving in the large
eastern province of Deir El-Zour, which borders Iraq. The Syrian government
claimed to have thwarted cross-border weapons smuggling in that area.

The growing military campaign has sent some 8,000 Syrians fleeing for the
lives to neighboring Turkey, where they offer a grim picture of what they
left behind.

Troops “damage homes and buildings, kill even animals, set trees and
farmlands on fire,” said Mohammad Hesnawi, 26, who fled Jisr Al-Shughour. He
accused pro-government militias known as “Shabiha” of atrocities there.

Turkish authorities were giving priority to women and children fleeing the
border village of Al-Hasaniya, where people “are eating fruit out of the
trees, including apples and cherries,” since there’s not enough food for
all, Hesnawi said.

Only sketchy reports are emerging from the embattled northern area, since
foreign journalists have been expelled from Syria.

Some analysts have said Assad is trying to keep the opposition from
establishing a base, as happened in Libya, where the rebels trying to
overthrow Muammar Gaddafi took over the coastal city of Benghazi. Assad
initially had promised mild reforms, but his gestures have been rejected by
the thousands who have staged protests across Syria, who say they won’t stop
until he leaves power, ending his family’s 40-year ruling dynasty.

In the past week, as the government appeared to be on the verge of losing
control of major swaths of the country, it abandoned most pretenses at
reform.

Most of the major military operations have been carried out in border areas,
including Jisr Al-Shughour, the southern city of Daraa, near the border with
Jordan, and the central province of Homs, bordering Lebanon.

Activists say more than 1,400 Syrians have died and some 10,000 have been
detained in the government crackdown. Turkey’s prime minister, opening his
borders to those fleeing the government onslaught, has accused Assad’s
regime of “savagery,” but also said he would reach out to the Syrian leader
to help solve the crisis.

Turkey and Syria once nearly went to war, but the two countries have
cultivated warm relations in recent years, lifting travel visa requirements
for their citizens and promoting business ties.

Refugees and relatives on both sides appeared to be crossing unimpeded
around the village of Guvecci.

In an apparent anticipation of more refugees, workers of the Turkish Red
Crescent, the equivalent of the Red Cross, began building a fourth tent camp
Monday[13] near the border.

– Associated Press

:
+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 15 June ’11:”Defecting Syrian Officer Saw
'Iranian, Hizbullah Snipers' in Damascus Suburb”,AFP
SUBJECT: Iranian and Hizbullah snipers aiding Syria
QUOTE:” ‘Many officers and soldiers want to defect but they don’t because
they are afraid of being killed – them and their families’ “

EXCERPTS:A man who identified himself as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Syrian
army has told Agence France Presse that he had seen “Iranian and Hizbullah
snipers” in the Damascus suburb of Saqba.

"I remember well in Damascus, in the Saqba district, I saw people
demonstrating” and “with my own eyes I saw snipers positioned on upper
floors, Iranian and Hizbullah snipers who fired on the crowd," Hussein
Harmoush told AFP, when asked about the presence of Iranian soldiers or
Hizbullah warriors fighting alongside the Syrian army, as recently reported
by many witnesses.

Now wearing civilian clothes but displaying his military ID card, the
lieutenant colonel said he took advantage of a furlough to flee Damascus on
Thursday[9 June] towards the Turkish village of Guvecci near the border with
Syria, where his family is sheltering.

He said he defected because of "attacks on innocent civilians, carrying
nothing in their hands except an olive branch" -- rejecting any notion of an
armed uprising.

. . .

Harmoush said he had no doubt that in all the places he was sent the
protesters were totally unarmed.

"The army received the order to prevent demonstrations at all costs and to
silence the people. They ordered us to open fire on people if the protests
continued," he said.

"I did not accept the orders. But I saw what some soldiers did. I saw tanks
fire on cities, I saw artillery being fired, helicopters firing with
automatic weapons."

"The Syrian army is killing civilians, chasing people out of their homes.
... Villages are emptied, the inhabitants chased to the border and to other
countries," he said.

Harmoush hopes he can persuade other officers to follow his example.

"Some people have come into contact with me, and God willing they will
desert," he said.

The decision is not easy, however, because of the fear of reprisals. "Many
officers and soldiers want to defect but they don't because they are afraid
of being killed -- them and their families," Harmoush said.

He added that an intelligence agent's wife was raped after he refused to
kill civilians.

Source Agence France Presse

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 15 June ’11:”Germany warns against unilateral
Mideast moves”,Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Germany says unilateral moves “very counterproductive” ‘

QUOTE:(German Foreign Minister) stressed talks between Israel and the
Palestinians were the only way to achieve a peace deal”

FULL TEXT:RAMALLAH (AFP) - Germany believes unilateral moves would be "very
counterproductive" to the Middle East peace process, Foreign Minister Guido
Westerwelle warned on Tuesday[14 June].

Westerwelle, who spoke at a joint news conference in the West Bank town of
Ramallah with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, did not specifically
refer to Palestinian plans to seek UN recognition and membership in
September.

But he stressed talks between Israel and the Palestinians were the only way
to achieve a peace deal, even though there has been no direct dialogue since
late September last year.

"The German government thinks that unilateral steps would be very
counterproductive - negotiations should be the way," he told reporters.

"Germany supports a two-state solution. We support the Palestinian people in
having an independent state."

Berlin has repeatedly said it would not back a Palestinian plan to seek UN
recognition in September this year should there be no movement in peace
talks.

Later on Tuesday,[14 June] Westerwelle held talks in Jerusalem with Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before meeting with his Israeli
counterpart Avigdor Lieberman.

Westerwelle said both sides needed to make concessions to get peace talks
back on track.

"We are calling on all sides to be flexible and not be hesitant but to start
negotiations," he said after meeting Lieberman.

Earlier, Westerwelle had expressed doubts about the viability of a French
proposal for a peace conference next month aimed at bringing Israeli and
Palestinian negotiators together and heading off a confrontation before
September.

"A conference should only be organised if it is clear from the start it has
a chance to get results," he told the travelling press.

"If the conference failed, it would only complicate the situation."

Last week, Niebel told Der Spiegel magazine he would underline Berlin's
reservations about the Palestinians' UN ambitions and would instead advise
them to present a draft resolution calling for a peace deal based on the
borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War with mutually agreed land
swaps.

France and other European countries have indicated they would recognise a
Palestinian state, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will
not until a broader peace deal with Israel is agreed.

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 15 June’11:”Eastern Europe new battleground in
Mideast rift”, By Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press
SUBJECT: Eastern Europe re Mideast rift
QUOTE:”(Eastern European) votes will be crucial… on Palestinian statehood”
EXCERPTS:WARSAW, Poland - Warsaw and Prague might seem like unlikely
battlegrounds in the Middle East conflict. Yet it suddenly matters - a lot -
whether Poles, Czechs and others in the region align themselves with the
Israelis or Palestinians.

Their votes will be crucial if the Palestinian leadership carries out a plan
to bring a resolution on Palestinian statehood to the United Nations in
September, and that has sparked intense diplomatic efforts in recent weeks
by both Israelis and Palestinians to win them over to their side.

The Palestinians aim to win two-thirds support in the 192-member General
Assembly at the United Nations - or 129 countries - and are now about 13
countries short of their target.

The vote will be largely symbolic, at least in the short run. The assembly’s
decisions aren’t legally binding. That would require approval by the
powerful Security Council, where the United States has indicated it will
veto any Palestinian move in the absence of a negotiated peace deal.. . .

+++SOURCE: Haaretz 14 June ’11:”Report: Document reveals Nakba Day clashes
planned by Syria government”
SUBJECT: Proof Syria planned effort to storm Israel border

Report: Document reveals Nakba Day clashes planned by Syria government

In his blog on the website of the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Michael
Weiss reveals official Syrian document describing the dispatch of 20 buses
sent to infiltrate Israel's border with Syria on the day when Palestinians
mourn the creation of Israel.

============
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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