Autor: João

Syria: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

BY FREDERIC C. HOF 05/02/2016   Word out of Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom is willing to contribute ground forces to the anti-Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, Daesh) fight in Syria and the positive reaction of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter combine to form one of earth’s rarest elements: good news on Syria. The ongoing display of official American disbelief about the motives and methods of Russia with respect to Syria adds to the usual ration of bad news. And the ugly may be found in Russia’s aerial blitzkrieg in northwestern Syria, producing as it does the customary humanitarian abomination even as it sinks the prospect of productive peace talks. In early 2015 the Atlantic Council produced a report recommending that the Obama administration pursue an alternative to its anti-ISIL “train and equip” initiative: the building of a “Syrian National Stabilization Force”—in effect a new Syrian army—whose mission would be to pacify the country by militarily defeating any combination of destabilizing elements. The report predicted that train and equip, built as it was on the fatally flawed premise that anti-Assad rebels could be persuaded to turn their backs on their principal enemy and join a fight run by foreigners for foreign purposes, would fail. When it did fail the Obama White House—which had created the fatal premise—took the extraordinary step of blaming outsiders for having forced the program on it....

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Syria Army, Kurds Expand Critical Aleppo Corridor

After establishing a corridor between Aleppo and a Shia and Kurdish enclaves in NW Syria – that also splits Islamist rebels in two and leaves them without one route to Turkey and ISIS oil – the Syrian army and the Kurdish YPG went on to expand it making it more likely they will be able to hold it Chris Tomson  (Al-Masdar News)  05/02/2016 Originally appeared at Al-Masdar News   Moments ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – heavily aided by Hezbollah fighters and the Russian airforce – finally imposed full control over Mayir and Kafr Naya near the newly liberated towns of Nubl and al-Zahraa after hours of ongoing combat wth Islamist rebels during the morning and afternoon. These newly captured towns have otherwise been rebel-held since early 2012. Since launching their offensive a few days ago, government troops have captured the aforementioned villages, Duwayr az-Zaytun, Tall Jibbin, Hardatnin and partially the village of Rityan. While the SAA is busy expanding a buffer zone around the supply route that links Nubl and al-Zahraa with the government-held mainland of Aleppo City, local Islamist rebels have had their main Turkish supply line from Azaz to Aleppo city entirely severed. According to an al-Masdar source, the battle for Mayir and Kafr Naya caused heavy casualities for Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaish al-Fateh and Jabhat al-Mujahideen as dozens of rebels fighters were killed during the loss of these towns. More...

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‘Ecumenism of blood unites us,’ Francis tells Coptic pope

by Cindy Wooden posted Tuesday, 12 May 2015 Pope Francis sends message to Coptic Pope Tawadros II to mark ‘day of friendship’ Pope Francis has told Coptic Pope Tawadros II that an “ecumenism of blood unites us”. Francis sent a message to the Coptic patriarch on Sunday to mark the “day of friendship” between the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches. “Today more than ever we are united by the ecumenism of blood, which further encourages us on the path toward peace and reconciliation. I assure you and the Christian community in Egypt and throughout the Middle East of my unceasing prayer, and I remember in particular the Coptic faithful recently martyred for their Christian faith. May the Lord welcome them into his kingdom,” he wrote. During his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Monday, Pope Francis also discussed a telephone conversation he had with Pope Tawadros on the previous day. “I remembered his faithful whose throats were slit on the beach (in Libya in February) because they were Christians,” the Pope said. “By the strength the Holy Spirit gave them, these Christians were not scandalised. They died with the name of Jesus on their lips. It was the strength of the Holy Spirit. Witness. It’s true, martyrdom is the supreme witness.” In his homily, the Pope said that the Holy Spirit strengthens modern martyrs, giving them...

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Pope Francis to have historic meeting with head of Russian Orthodox Church

By Richard Greene and Joshua Berlinger, CNN February 5, 2016  It will be the first meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. It will take place in Cuba on February 12 London (CNN) It’s a meeting nearly a millennium in the making. Pope Francis will meet the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kyril, next Friday in Cuba, the Vatican announced Friday. It will be the first meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches in history. The Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity broke apart during the Great Schism in 1054. The Vatican has repaired relations with several branches of Orthodox Christianity in recent decades, but the Russian Church accused Catholics of trying to convert Russians after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989, leading to tensions between the churches. Pope Francis has made concerted efforts to heal the breach, telling Patriarch Kyril in 2014 that “I’ll go wherever you want. You call me and I’ll go.” Both sides apparently consider Cuba neutral ground. Kyril will be there for an official visit; Francis will fly off later that day for Mexico, where he will spend six days. A joint news release from the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow said Francis and Kyril will have a “personal conversation” at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana and will conclude their meeting by signing...

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Wahhabist Saudis Can’t Stop ISIS, Because They Are ISIS

As long as the rogue state of Saudi Arabia is involved, the Geneva talks are doomed to failure Eduard Limonov  (LiveJournal)  05/02/2016  Originally appeared at LiveJournal. Translated by Rhod Mackenzie and Julia Rakhmetova The author is a famous writer and left wing political activist Media report that “the Geneva Conference on Syria announced that it has been postponed til February 25th”. The pro-government Russian media often explain the failure of the talks in Geneva by the success of the military intervention of Russia enabling the advance of the Syrian army. Personally, I’ve paid attention to the fact that the delegation of ‘opposition’ forces, before coming to Geneva, spent a week in Saudi Arabia being coached on how to behave. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Wahhabism, which constitutes two-thirds of the ideology of ISIS. In 1744 Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was exiled from his native town of Uyyauna where he preached a return to the pure beliefs of old times. He arrived in Diriyah, another small town whose people were poor, not wihstanding good soil. The city was known for its orchards and fig plantations, its emir and a bandit named Muhammad ibn Saud. The two Muhammads discovered they were meant for each other. Wahhabism rejects the deifying of Mohammed and condemned Muslims who prayed at the graves of the saints, criticizing the custom of marking the grave with names, denounced...

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