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Friday, December 21, 2012
Excerpts: Canada adds Irans Quds Force to terrorist list. Russia wants end to Syria war. More Iran arms supplies to Syria sanctioned. Israel calls for U.N., EU action re Hizbullah arsenal December 21, 2012

Excerpts: Canada adds Iran's Quds Force to terrorist list.Russia wants end
to Syria war. More Iran arms supplies to Syria sanctioned. Israel calls for
U.N., EU action re Hizbullah arsenal December 21, 2012

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 21 Dec,’12:”Canada Adds Elite Iranian Force to
Terror :ist for ‘Arming’ Hizbullah, Other Groups”, Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Canada adds Iran’s Quds Force to terrorist list

QUOTE: “Quds Force …providing ‘arms, funding and paramilitary training to
extremist groups. Including the Taliban,Hizbullah, Hamas,Palestine Islamic
Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-

General Command’ “

FULL TEXT:Canada added Iran's Quds Force to a list of terrorist groups on
Thursday[20 Dec,], saying the elite special operations unit of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard had been arming the Taliban, Hizbullah, Hamas and
others.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the Quds Force was responsible for
"exporting the Iranian Revolution through activities such as facilitating
terrorist operations."

He accused it of providing "arms, funding and paramilitary training to
extremist groups, including the Taliban, Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian
Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command."

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards told a news conference in
Tehran in September that members of the Quds Force were present in Syria and
Lebanon but insisted they were only there to provide "counsel."

Canada lists 43 entities as terrorist groups. On Wednesday[19 Dec.], it
announced it would remove Iran's Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) from its list
after similar moves by both the United States and the European Union.

The MEK is blamed for the killing Americans in Iran in the 1970s and an
attack on U.S. soil in 1992 but says it has now laid down its arms and is
working to overthrow the Islamic regime in Tehran through peaceful means.

SourceAgence France Presse

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 21 Dec.’12:”Ending war takes priority over Assad’s
fate”; “PUTIN’S VOLTE F-ACE ON SYRIA”
SUBJECT: Russia wants end to Syria war
QUOTE:Russia. . .goal is to end the bloody conflict in Syria, not help the
nation’s embattled president cling to power at all costs.”
MOSCOW – Russia declared Thursday[20 Dec.] that its goal is to end the
bloody conflict in Syria, not help the nation’s embattled president cling to
power at all costs.

“We are not preoccupied that much with the fate of the Assad regime; we
realize what’s going on there and that the family has been in power for 40
years,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a televised news conference
in Moscow.

“Undoubtedly, there is a call for changes.”

“We are advocating the solution that would prevent the collapse of the
region and the continuous civil war. Not retain (President Bashar) Al-Assad
and his regime,” Putin said signaling a major policy shift on Syria.

“We are worried about another thing: what happens next,” he said. “We don’t
want to see the opposition come to power and start fighting the government
that becomes the opposition, so that it goes on forever.”

Russia wants “people to come to an agreement on how they will live further
and how they will ensure their safety and their participation in governing
the country and then start changing the current order based on those
agreements.”

Assad has not visited Moscow a lot in his tenure, and Russia does not have
“special economic relations” with Syria, according to Putin.

The Russian president’s comments came just a week after Russia’s top envoy
for Syria was quoted as saying Assad’s forces were losing control of the
country.

Although the Foreign Ministry backpedaled on that statement, analysts have
suggested for months that the Kremlin is resigned to losing its longtime
ally.

At his annual hours-long news conference, Putin said Moscow stands for a
settlement that would “prevent the country from breakup and an endless civil
war. Agreements based on a military victory can’t be effective,” he said.

Meanwhile, a new UN human rights report said Thursday[20 Dec.] that Syria’s
civil war is increasingly turning into a sectarian conflict pitting majority
Sunni rebels against government forces supported by the country’s religious
and ethnic minorities.

Sergio Pinheiro, who heads an independent commission investigating abuses,
said in Brussels that the bulk of the victims of the nearly two-year war
were civilians, and blamed both sides for abuses including torture and
illegal executions. Activists say about 40,000 people have died on both
sides since the conflict erupted in March 2011.

The report, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, found that foreign
fighters, many linked to extremist Sunni groups, are infiltrating into
Syria. They are operating in independent units that coordinate actions with
the Free Syrian Army — the Western-backed armed group which is the rebels’
main military force.

Although Pinheiro visited Damascus, the panel was not allowed into Syria and
was forced to compile its report — which covers Sept. 28 to Dec. 16 — from
interviews with Syrians who have fled the conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have escaped into Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon
and Iraq.

Pinheiro noted that anti-government rebels were hiding in Syrian cities
where they were “failing to distinguish themselves” from the civilian
population, triggering strikes by government artillery and the air force.

While the sectarian divide is sharpest between the Sunnis and Allawite
communities — from which most of the senior government and military leaders
hail — other minority groups have been increasingly drawn into the conflict,
the report said.

“As battles between government and anti-government armed groups approach the
end of their second year, the conflict has become overtly sectarian in
nature,” it said, adding that Christians, Armenians, Druze and others have
largely aligned themselves with Assad’s regime. – Agencies

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 21 Dec.’12:”Security Council Sanctions 2 Iran
Firms over Syria Arms Supplies”, Agence France Presse
SUBJECT:More Iran arms supplies to Syria sanctioned

QUOTE: “The U.N. Security Council on Thursday [20 Dec.] slapped sanctions on
two Iranian firms accused of supplying arms to the Syrian government”

FULL TEXT:The U.N. Security Council on Thursday[20 Dec.] slapped sanctions
on two Iranian firms accused of supplying arms to the Syrian government, a
U.N. statement said.

Yas Air and the SAD Import Export Company were added to a growing Iran
sanctions list for breaching an arms embargo ordered against the Islamic
republic for its nuclear drive.

According to diplomats, Turkish authorities intercepted arms shipments
organized by Yas Air to Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2011.

U.S. ambassador Susan Rice said that Yas Air and SAD were "significantly
involved in Iranian arms smuggling."

The two firms were "responsible for shipping ammunition, assault rifles,
machine guns, mortar shells and other arms from Iran to Syria," Rice said in
a statement.

The sanctions action orders an assets freeze against the firm and bans
dealings with the companies.

The U.N. Security Council has ordered four rounds of increasingly tough
sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Western
nations say this is part of a drive for a nuclear bomb. Iran denies the
charge.

Iran is also a key backer of the Syrian leader and the sanctions regime
allows countries to inspect Iranian cargo deliveries to prevent weapons
proliferation.

"We have long known that Iran smuggles weapons and provides military
assistance to terrorists and extremist groups worldwide," said Rice.

"Iran has also repeatedly been caught providing weapons and military
assistance to Syria, where the Assad regime has used them against Syrian
civilians

+++Naharnet (Lebanon) 21 Sept.’12:”Israel Urges U.N to Act Against Hizbullah
Arsenal, Calls for EU Sanctions”
SUBJECT: Israel calls for U.N.,EU action re Hizbullah arsenal

QUOTE:”Hizbullah . . . now possessed 50,000 missiles capable of hitting
Israel”

FULL TEXT:Israel has urged the U.N. Security Council to condemn Hizbullah
for allegedly building its arsenal to unprecedented levels, saying the party
now possessed 50,000 missiles capable of hitting Israel.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said in a letter to the 15-nation
council on Thursday[20 Dec,] that the buildup was in clear violation of
Resolution 1701.

"In flagrant breach of (Security Council) Resolution 1701, Hizbullah has
built its arsenal to unprecedented levels, amassing 50,000 deadly missiles
in Lebanon - more missiles than many NATO members have in their possession,"
he said.

"These missiles can reach all of Israel and well beyond," he added.

In the letter of complaint, Prosor said an explosion in the southern town of
Tairharfa on Monday[[17 Dec.] was at a weapons depot.

"This explosion offers yet another reminder to the world about the grave
danger before our eyes in Lebanon," he wrote.

The letter urged the Security Council and the international community “to
send a clear signal that Hizbullah's rapid rearmament will not be
tolerated - backed by concrete steps on the ground.”

"A logical first step is to ensure that Hizbullah is placed on relevant
terrorism watchlists in all corners of the globe, including in the European
Union," it said.

On Tuesday, a U.S. State Department official has expressed a cautious
optimism at prospects for a European designation of Hizbullah as a terrorist
organization.

“We've been engaging with our partners in Europe, and we are cautiously
optimistic about the prospects for an EU designation of the group,” the
State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, said
in an address at the Brookings Institution

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

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