Saturday, May 25, 2013
Sectarian Violence On The Rise In Iraq As Sunni Insurgency Reemerges And U.S. Tries To Play Peacekeeper
....By his count, violent incidents have escalated to about 1,100 a month from 300 monthly at the end of 2010.
After the Hawija clashes, the U.S. official said, "For the first time really in a few years, we saw people with their faces covered and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and heavy weapons, coming into the streets in a very visible way."
The official called the increase in suicide bombings by al Qaeda in Iraq "very concerning," adding that such sophisticated insurgent groups could "wreak havoc" on political efforts to solve the conflict.
"I wouldn't call it a strategically significant increase, yet," the official said of the violence. "We're in this post-civil war, pre-reconciliation interregnum, gap, period, in which Iraq can tilt either way."
Still, Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA and White House official now at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy said: "I think we're going to see great sectarian violence. The question is, how bad does it get?"...
Friday, May 24, 2013
After weeks of reinforcing their positions around Qusayr near the Lebanese border, Syrian government forces stormed the strategic town early on Sunday. Many opposition fighters fled, accusing their commanders of betrayal.
Both opposition and army sources on the ground in Qusayr agree that the town – taken by opposition fighters early on in the Syrian crisis – will be in the hands of the regime in a matter of days.
For weeks now, government forces have been conducting military operations around the strategic town, which is located to the southwest of Homs, a few kilometers from the northern tip of Lebanon....
-bth: I see no indication that the Syrian government is going to fall.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Two suspects in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires are candidates in Iran’s presidential election.
Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati, who are believed to have planned the 1994 attack, were among the eight candidates approved Tuesday for the June 14 election by Iran’s Guardian Council to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad....
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
...At the same time, other ingredients are increasingly being used as the main ingredient in the bombs. Walters said 47 percent of the homemade IEDs used in Afghanistan are made with material derived from calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer. But he said that potassium chlorate is now the main charge in 45 percent of the bombs — an increase from 20 percent a year ago.
About 80 percent of the IEDs that the U.S. and its allies encounter are termed “homemade,” while others are made from old shells or other explosive ordinance....
Monday, May 20, 2013
Syria is making preparations to strike Tel Aviv in case Israel launches another attack on its territory, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
The Syrian army has begun deploying advanced surface-to-surface missiles, the report said, adding that it has received orders to strike central Israel in case additional attacks against Syria are carried out.
The Sunday Times said that the information was obtained by reconnaissance satellites that were tracking the Syrian forces. According to the report, Syria was deploying advanced Tishreen missiles which are capable of carrying a holf-ton warhead....
Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Hatay Police Department had informed the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) about preparations for a bomb attack in the province's Reyhanlı district, but MİT told the police department to take no further action because it was taking care of the plan, the media reported on Sunday.
On May 11, one car bomb exploded outside the town hall while another went off outside a post office in Reyhanlı, a main hub for Syrian refugees and opposition activity in Hatay. Fifty-one people were killed and as many as 100 were injured in the bombings.
Since the incidents, many people have begun to question whether there had been negligence on the part of state officials and if the attacks could have been prevented....