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ISIS (DAASH) Now Recruiting In Palestinian Camps In Lebanon

June 29, 2014

Who Are Those Guys? Ein el Helwe camp — As Washington and London were affirming the past few days their intentions to continue to arm “moderate rebel factions” in Syria, Tel Aviv just announced it would like to be helpful by joining with “moderate Arab nations” to battle their mutual Muslim enemies. Israel offered on 6/26/14 to help “moderate” Arab nations who may feel threatened by the lightning land grabbing offensive by Islamic militants in Iraq. As its foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, an arch... Read article

Will ISIS Create Al-Sham Caliphate & Liberate Palestine?

June 21, 2014

Not What the Neocons Planned… One need not be prescient to understand the unfolding “Jihadi Spring” is fueling the plans and perhaps destiny of ascendant Islamists in this region with the increasing help of in-country nationalists, including remnants of the Iraqi Baath Party. This, according to more than a dozen ardent supporters of The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), known locally as DAASH whose representatives allowed this observer over the past six months to interview some of its supporters to... Read article

Syrians Working To Preserve Jewish Cultural Heritage

May 31, 2014

Jewish Quarter, the Old City, Damascus… It’s always encouraging when one comes upon some inspiring human enterprise, here in Syria or elsewhere, that refutes the worn shibboleths and clichés about how this or that group, or this or that religion, hates others and won’t cease targeting them until they are destroyed and burning in Hell. In Syria today there is much evidence to refute the claims, often politically motivated, that Jewish cultural heritage sites are being singled out for destruction by rabid anti-Semites.... Read article

Liberating Syria

May 24, 2014

One Archeological Site At A Time… Krac des Chevaliers, Between Homs and the Lebanese border. Visiting archeological sites in Syria can arouse within one a rather sharp and distinct feeling of trekking along the same paths traveled a century ago by the field archaeologist, and later colonel in the British Army, T.E. Lawrence. Indeed there are a number of still-visible “Lawrence of Arabia” footprints to be found here—both in Damascus as well as deep in the Syrian countryside. In Damascus, for instance, one may marvel... Read article

Update: The Syrian Disposal of Chemical Weapons

March 24, 2014

President Assad and Ayatollah Khomeini are keeping their word. Will President Obama keep his? Recent reports from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the accuracy of which have been conceded by the White House, but denied in Tel Aviv, have it that slightly less than half of Syria’s chemical weapons have already left the country and 100% of the country’s stockpiles are believed to have been neutralized. Well along the path to meet the June 30 agreed discard date. Both Iran and Russia have... Read article

Return To Seyeda (Lady) Zeinab—Now Secured And In Protective Hands

February 28, 2014

Seyeda Zeinab, Syria - During a meeting at the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus the other morning, this observer was briefed by ‘Abu Modar,” a reputedly battle-honed field commander of the “Death Brigade,” a unit based in the northern Syria Eskanderoun region, north of Latakia. Abu Modar explained that he personally had chosen the rather peculiar name for his outfit to symbolize the willingness of its members to die for their cause—protecting Syria. “Before each battle or each mission I ask my God to let me die defending... Read article

‘Coalition of the Willing’ Promotes No Fly Zone

February 22, 2014

Syrian Regime Solidifies Recent Gains… Damascus – Since around Valentine Day and aided by truly magnificent warm weather for this time of year, the dozens of parks in Damascus have been receiving unusually large numbers of visitors, not least of whom are Syrian soldiers on leave, enjoying the green space with girlfriends, families and friends. At the large garden with dozen of benches and sculptures, called Al-Manshia (Presidents Bridge) public park, and located between two five-star hotels, the Dama Rose and... Read article

How Not To Get Aid Into Syria Via A UN Resolution

February 15, 2014

Al Nebek, Syria - Who authored the seemingly designed-to-fail UN Security Council Draft Resolution on delivering urgent humanitarian aid into the Old City of Homs and other besieged areas of conflict-torn Syria? When we know this, much may become clearer with respect to the cynical politicization of the continuing civilian suffering. The draft resolution was put forward by Australia, Luxembourg, and Jordan, and according to a UN/US congressional source—one who actually worked on rounding up the three countries to front... Read article

A Faux “Humanitarian Pause” In Homs?

February 11, 2014

Are the Warring Parties Playing Round Two of Geneva II? El Nubek, Syria – As two delegations, one representing the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, led by Bashar Assad, and the other claiming to represent the popular opposition which is seeking its overthrow, arrived in Switzerland this morning to continue with Round Two of Geneva II, there is uncertainty over the agenda and whether to extend this weekend’s 36 hour “Humanitarian pause” to allow aid into the Old City of Homs. Such a deal, which could... Read article

Lifting The Siege of Yarmouk

February 7, 2014

One food parcel & one polio vaccination at a time… Damascus – As of 2/6/14 it’s been seven days since the first humanitarian aid, generally in the form of 56 lb. food parcels packed by UNWRA, the World Food Program, the ICRC or European aid organizations have been able to enter Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp following half a dozen aborted attempts the past few months by various militia and political groups to achieve consensus to deliver aid.  The aid parcels, including two kilos of rice, two kilos... Read article

Long Odds To Save Their Country: The Syrian Team In Geneva

January 27, 2014

Damascus - As a new workweek begins here is Damascus many citizens across a fairly broad spectrum appear to be backing, and even exhibiting a kind of pride for their diplomatic team at the Geneva II conference. It might appear flippant for this observer to suggest that returning to  Damascus after recent events in his neighborhood of Haret Hriek in Dahiyeh, South Beirut sort of feels like one has arrived in a peaceful holiday local rather stress free, but others have told me the same thing once they crossover from Lebanon.... Read article

The Siege of Yarmouk

January 18, 2014

Damascus – At the Palestine Embassy in Beirut recently, a young lady showed this observer a video of a gentleman in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. The video showed the man killing and eating a cat. Food ran out in Yarmouk weeks ago, and nearly 18,000 refugees are facing death from starvation and other conflict-related causes. This siege has been ongoing since July 2013, and it has become viciously lethal. The Palestinians living here have been targeted. They are part of the quarter million people—children, women, and... Read article

A Palestinian-Hezbollah War In Lebanon?

January 10, 2014

Pressures Mounting… Ain el Helweh camp, Lebanon – It’s not just the leadership of the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine, six decades after the 1948 Nakba, that appears to be salivating at the current stoking of current tensions between the Palestinian Resistance and in some respects, its historic off-spring Hezbollah. From Tel Aviv, to Amman, Riyadh, the Gulf Kingdoms to Washington DC and beyond, the forces allied against the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah-Palestinian Resistance are working on yet another... Read article

Will Lebanon Survive 2014? Should It?

January 4, 2014

Beirut – Another week, another terrorist bombing. It’s beginning to look a lot like that here in Lebanon these days. Another apparent suicide bomber detonated a car rigged with explosives in the southern suburbs yesterday killing at least five people and injuring at least 77. The health ministry released a statement just a short while ago reporting that an additional 67 people were treated in hospitals for wounds and released, while 10 people remained hospitalized with more severe injuries. Many who thought their... Read article

Privacy Rights: Is Anything Left?

January 1, 2014

The answer to this question is being pondered across America in light to the two seeming mutually contradictory US Federal Court decisions handed down this month from Courts in Washington DC and New York. The legal issue of what rights are left to American citizens that can prevent governmental intrusions into their privacy and also governmental invasions using heavy handed searches and seizures following the launching of the Bush administrations ‘war of terrorism’ has gained new impetus following disclosures by former... Read article

UNRWA’s Bitter Winter Solstice

December 21, 2013

Damascus – It is Winter Solstice in the Levant. This is the day which astronomically marks the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days—a day which, since ancient times, has been celebrated with festivals, gatherings, rituals, feasting, singing, dancing and bonfires. Historically it has been viewed as a significant annual event because communities were not certain of living through the winter and had to prepare during the previous nine months for dramatic rises in starvation, communicable... Read article

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