Shaaban: we came to Geneva to stop terrorism, bloodshed in Syria
Geneva, Jan 24, 2014 (SANA) - Presidential political and media advisor Dr. Buthaina Shaaban, Deputy Chairman of Syria’s official delegation taking part in Geneva 2 conference said on Friday that no force on land would be able to touch a little bit of Syria’s soil or target the dignity of any Syrian citizen.
Dr. Shaaban added in a statement to journalists in Geneva “We came to Geneva for the sake of our country, people and to stop terrorism, bloodshed through a political track that would be determined by the Syrians themselves, and we will not retreat”, clarifying that “because we believe that our army and people are the only ones who determine… and we represent them and the decision wouldn’t not be except for Syria and the Syrians ,”
She pointed out that “what is confirmed till today is that the coalition called /opposition/ has no issue of a homeland or people.
A woman with a vision
Buthaina Shabaan was born in 1953 in a small town called Am-Massoudiah, which belongs to Homs. Graduating as the top student in Homs and receiving the fourth highest score in Syria for the secondary school exam in 1971, she met the new leader of Syria, Hafez Assad, who awarded her a scholarship to complete a university degree. Even though her familly was strict, her father, an Arabic teacher, allowed her to study at Damascus University. She was the first female student to major in English, and she received another grant to continue her studies in Britain. In 1977, she earned an MA degree from Warwick University, where she also finished her PhD degreee. Her PhD dissertation was on the English poet Shelley, who is well-known for his revolutionary political and poetic visions as in his poem 'Revolt of Islam,' about someone who has 'a resolution to confer the boons of political and intellectual freedom on his fellow-creatures'.
Demonstrating a great deal of fearlesness and independence, she maried, against the will of her family, an Iraqi national whom she met during her doctoral study in Britain.
After graduation, Shabaan taught for two years (1982-1984) in Algeria, before going back to Damascus to start a career as a professor in comparative women's literature and a writer exposing and agitating against the hindrances of women.
Shabaan's high achievements in school and her membership in the Ba'ath party from an early age attracted the attention of President Hafes Assads, who invited her to do a simultaneous translation for his meeting with former US Secretary of State, Warren Minor Christopher.
Dr. Assaad Al-Saleh is an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at the Department of Languages and Literature & Middle East Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Obama, U.S. media lied about Syrian nerve gas
By David Sole
December 17, 2013
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour M. Hersh has written a detailed and devastating exposure of the U.S. government’s manipulation of military intelligence to create a pretext for the war it very nearly unleashed against Syria last September.
Hersh’s main conclusion is that President Barack Obama and many in his administration “omitted important intelligence … presented assumptions as facts … [and] failed to acknowledge something known to the U.S. intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the … war with access to sarin.”
Hersh gained worldwide fame for exposing the My Lai massacre and cover-up in Vietnam in 1969. His 2004 articles detailed the systematic torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq directed by the U.S. military, the CIA and private contractors.
This latest article, published in the London Review of Books on Dec. 8, utilizes current and former intelligence sources to whom Hersh has a long history of access. Classified documents going back months before the Aug. 21 sarin attack outside Damascus, Syria, show that the U.S. government concluded that the al-Nusra Front, a major force in the Syrian rebel movement, had “mastered the mechanics of creating sarin … in quantity.” Yet in his Sept. 10 televised speech, President Obama insisted that the Syrian government was responsible and that only they had sarin capabilities.
Some high-level intelligence officers went to Hersh about this misuse of intelligence. One compared it to the fraudulent Gulf of Tonkin incident that was used to justify widespread bombing of north Vietnam in 1964. “Obama … and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along,” stated one officer.
By selective reporting, some major U.S. media also collaborated with the Obama game plan of deception. Nine days after the Aug. 21 incident, the administration delivered a document making the case for Syrian government culpability to a handpicked group of journalists. The Washington Post gave front-page coverage to how the U.S. traced every step of the attack, linking it to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
When the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was forced to issue a correction days later, the Washington Post chose not to reveal this to its readers.
Similarly, the New York Times made use of a Sept. 16 United Nations report to claim that the munitions, the flight path and the length of the rocket flight conclusively implicated the Syrian army as the source of the sarin attack. The report itself, however, warned that the rebel controlled area allowed the evidence to be “possibly manipulated.”
When Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of science, technology and international security Theodore Postol and missile technology expert Richard M. Lloyd later concluded that calculations of the flight path and range could not be as earlier reported, the New York Times failed to report this.
Read more at: http://www.iacenter.org/nafricamideast/syria121713/
Photo: Heartbreaking portraits of Vietnamese children suffering from devastating effects of toxic herbicide sprayed by US Army 40 years ago. Three decades after the United States started destroying its own chemical weapons, the nation’s stockpile stands at more than 3,000 tons — about three times what the U.S. now says Syrian President Bashar Assad controls. A total of 20 million gallons of dioxin-containing herbicide was sprayed by U.S. aircraft on at least 10 percent of what was once South Vietnam over 3.6 million acres, much of it populated, even heavily populated.
"Homeland warm lap" event to fill 10 thousand food baskets
December 19, 2013
Damascus, (SANA) - General Establishment for distributing textile production "Sundos" in cooperation with the High Relief Committee held an event at al-Jalaa stadium in Damascus under the title "Homeland warm lap" to fill 10 thousand food baskets and distribute them to the citizens affected by the acts of the armed terrorist groups.
Read more at: http://18.104.22.168/eng/21/2013/12/19/518596.htm
November 30, 2013
The international organization's director-general, Ahmet Uzumcu, said in The Hague, Netherlands, that the U.S. government will contribute "a destruction technology, full operational support and financing to neutralize" Syria's chemical weapons — most likely on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The weapons are to be removed from Syria by Dec. 31.
Separately, the woman appointed as go-between for the United Nations and the OPCW on destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile laid out some logistical details. Sigrid Kaag said the weapons will first be sealed and packaged and then transported from multiple sites within Syria to the country's largest port, Latakia. Then they will be loaded onto ships owned by other OPCW members before a second hand-off to U.S. vessels.
Photos: Victims of American chemical weapons in Vietnam
July 22, 2013 - 4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese:
US Government Refuses to Compensate Victims of Chemical Weapons in Vietnam:
When Israel's Help for Injured Syrian Children Is More Than Craven Hasbara
Every Good Deed Is Not for Public Relations Value
Hasbara Help: Israel has quietly helped a handful of injured Syrians cross the border and receive medical help. Critics scoff at the notion that the move is about anything more than winning positive headlines.
Water apartheid leaves Palestinian children ill
23 May 2012
Faqua is one of many Palestinian villages not connected to a water network. A few kilometers east of Jenin, it is located right on the edge of the massive wall that Israel continues to build in the West Bank.
Unlike most of the other villages in the area, however, Faqua is allocated a certain amount of water from the Mekorot (Israel’s national water company) pipe that serves Jenin and is used to serve the Israeli settlements of Kadin and Ganim, which were evacuated in 2005. Following talks with Israel in 2005, the Palestinian Water Authority managed to obtain a quota of 300,000 liters of water per day for the village. Before 2005, the water from Faqua came from an “illegal” connection in Jenin, but the water was contaminated.
Yet for Faqua’s roughly 4,000 inhabitants, 300,000 liters amounts to a mere 75 liters of water per person per day — well under the minimum of 100 liters recommended by the World Health Organization.
Moreover, the filling point from which the PWA water tanker brings the water is located halfway between Jenin and Faqua, about 6 kilometers outside the village. The filling point is the only source of water available to the village — since Israel controls all sources of freshwater in the West Bank, and forbids Palestinians from drilling wells and extracting water from the rich aquifers lying under their feet.
Under the Olso accords, Palestinians are allocated 118 million cubic meters of water from the West Bank aquifers per year (compared to 483 million cubic meters for Israel), which isn’t enough for the growing Palestinian population.
Due to the difficulty in bringing water from the filling point, the price of the water is much higher than in cities connected to the water network: a 10 cubic meter tanker from the PWA costs 110 shekels ($29) in Faqua, compared to 40 shekels ($10) for those lucky enough to be connected to a Mekorot pipe. A private tanker bringing water from privately-owned wells in Jenin costs 140 shekels ($36) for the same amount of water, but the water is unregulated and of dubious quality.
Just on the northern edge of the village, Israel’s wall zigzags through the land, a stone’s throw away from the village’s houses. In this area, the concrete wall has been replaced with an electronic fence and a double row of barbed wire on both sides of a road used exclusively by patrolling Israeli military vehicles. The barbed wire allows the residents of the village to gaze into present-day Israel, but the view is only a sad reminder of the water abundance that Israeli citizens enjoy. Green and yellow fields of crops and cereals stretch across the plain, interspersed by a few hills.
“In the summer, the fields behind the wall are always green,” said Tahane Abu Khamis, a mother of three living just by the rows of barbed wire that mark the boundary between Israel and the West Bank. “You can see the sprinklers watering their crops and vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants,” she added, in a flat tone. In Faqua, the fertile land remains mostly uncultivated due to the lack of water; crops are grown sporadically during the few winter months that bring occasional rain.
Children ill from dirty water
In order to cope with the lack of water, many households in the village build their own cistern in order to collect rainwater. Abu Khamis’s cistern is underground, a few meters away from her home; a small concrete canal runs down a slope, channeling the rainwater to the cistern below. Her family used to boil the rainwater and use it for cooking and drinking, but when her children started to get sick, she decided to buy bottled water instead.
Abu Khamis’ unemployed brother, who lives in same house as her, with his own wife and children, still drinks water from the cistern in winter, unable to afford bottled water for his family. His youngest son is sick with diarrhea, and Abu Khamis suspects the water to be the cause.
Yet even during particularly rainy winters, water from the cistern runs out quickly — by the end of April this year, the cistern was already empty.
“We just bought our first tanker this year, but even the water from the private tankers isn’t clean, you can see insects inside,” Abu Khamis explained. Rather than buying water from the PWA tanker, which is not only cheaper but much cleaner, the village’s poorest families are forced to purchase tankers from private sellers, who let them pay late or in several installments.
Abu Khamis’s family belongs to this category; her husband, who works as a street cleaner, spends most of his salary on water, electricity and food. Abu Khamis predicts that the water from the tanker will run out in a few weeks and the two households will need to purchase a new one. For the 13 people living in her house, this amounts to a mere 35 liters of unclean water per day per person, at more than three times the rate consumers pay for tap water.