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US-RUSSIA AGREEMENT ON SYRIA BAKED FROM SCRATCH:
BY MATTHEW LEE. ASSOCIATED PRESS - GENEVA
Here's what it took to produce Saturday's U.S.-Russian deal on Syria's chemical weapons: three days of intense, tough, round-the-clock negotiating spurred by an abrupt U.S. policy change based on a surprise Russian proposal, according to American officials involved in the talks.
Just on Tuesday, President Barack Obama had decided to delay consideration of unilateral military strikes against Syria and explore the Russian idea about securing and destroying the Assad government's chemical weapons.
That gave U.S. and Russian officials only 24 hours to organize and prepare for the meetings at the same luxury hotel in Geneva where the much-maligned "reset" in relations between Washington and Moscow was inaugurated to great fanfare in 2009.
The 29-member American delegation, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel Geneve at midday Thursday after a turbulent, eight-hour overnight flight from Washington.
The U.S. side had no guarantee that the Russians were interested in an enforceable deal or willing to conclude one quickly, the American officials told reporters. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the negotiations.
Gauging the Russian' seriousness was a major part of the mission that Obama sent Kerry on. It came only two days after Kerry had opened the door to a potential agreement with an apparently off-the-cuff remark in London that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seized on.
U.S. and Russian teams had met for a year to discuss the eventual disposition of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. But those talks had focused on how to deal with the weapons only after Syrian President Bashar Assad's government had been replaced by a transitional government in a political process, the officials said....
Syria Tomorrow movement welcome the new agreement, and celebrate diplomacy as the best solution to resolve conflict, what is needed from United State and Russia now to pressure and influence both side of the Syrian conflict to use the rational of saving lives, infrastructure, and the nation to negotiate a peace agreement. It's about time to mature into real leadership for the sake of Syria instead of different execuses used by both side.
No matter what we have to agree that if Russia and USA agreed on something, both side of Syrian conflict have to agree on peace.
Syria Tomorrow Editorial
Fox News Latino
Answering Pope Francis' cry for peace, both Christians and non-Christians alike were in fervent prayer for Syria at vigils around the world.
Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday.
The Vatican estimated about 100,000 took part in the Rome event, making it one of the largest rallies in the West against proposed U.S.-led military action against the Syrian regime following the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
Francis spent most of the vigil in silent prayer, but during his speech he issued a heartfelt plea for peace, denouncing those who are "captivated by the idols of dominion and power" and destroy God's creation through war.
"This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!" he said.
"May the noise of weapons cease!" he said. "War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity."
In Damascus, a few dozen Syrian Christians attended a service in the al-Zaytoun Church, joining Francis' invitation for a global participation in the day of fasting and prayer and to oppose outside military intervention in the conflict.
Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch and All East presided, saying most countries supported a political solution to the crisis in Syria and few wanted military action. "This is the start of the victory," he told the Damascus faithful. "No to war. Yes for peace."
Syria Tomorrow ask the bigger question: Why all the world praying for peace in Syria, while some of the Arabs working hard to keept it going on?
All of us should look for peace in our hearts.
U.S. Secretary of State Is Soliciting Support for Military Strikes
The Wall Street Journal.
PARIS—The Arab League is in agreement that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday as he continued his drive to round up international support for military strikes in Syria.
Mr. Kerry, who was meeting with ministers of the Arab League in Paris on Sunday, told reporters the group was weighing "possible and necessary measures" to deter the Assad regime from using chemical weapons in the future. But Mr. Kerry stopped short of saying the Arab League endorsed military intervention in Syria.
"All of us agreed—not one dissenter—this crosses an international, global red line," Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah.
Mr. Kerry declined to name the countries or describe what kind of measures they might take, saying he expected each Arab League government to make its own public announcement on the matter in the next 24 hours. The Arab League is an umbrella organization of more than 20 states stretching from North Africa to southwest Asia.
"What we are seeking is to enforce the standard with respect to chemical weapons," Mr. Kerry said. "We are not seeking to become engaged in, or party to, or take over Syria's civil war."
Some of the countries, Mr. Kerry said, immediately signed onto the statement published by the U.S. on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, calling for a "strong international response" to the Assad regime's alleged chemical-arms attack on Aug. 21 on the outskirts of Damascus.
U.S. Has Not Exhausted All Solutions for Syria
Syria Tomorrow interaction with Syrian's showed the division between them, Some support the US effort for a strike agains Syria, while other object, and feel that more destruction to come. Both arguments are understood, but what is noticed that the issue is becoming much more complicated than any one imagined, and all Syrian,with no exception, are very concern about the end of this war, and what is to come after.
WHile the Pope is praying in the Vatican for peace in Syria, we ask all Arabs, Syrian's, Muslim, Christian's, and Jews to pray to save what is left in that wonderful country, pray to guide both side to save the innocent lives, to guide both sides for a better judgement, to help both sides understand that war as a destructive behaviour. Syrian's are getting tired of the argument about who is right and who is wrong, tired of blood shed, tired of the lies and propoganda, tired of the unkown.
We call on all Syrian's: It is about time to realize that became the joke of the world, described as unhuman, linked to killers, sold our selves and soles to many outsiders under different execuses, and finally violated the basic principle of our Islamic religion, not to kill.
Syrian's: It is time for peace
Turkey of 2013 is reminiscent of Greece of antiquity, when gods reigned in their hundreds. In Turkey, almost no actor is likely to accept that he can err. All are fully confident that theirs is the ultimate correct position on any issue around the globe. As a typical specimen of such bizarre conjecture, you deserve to be labeled immoral. Why? Simply, for this reason: Political actors quickly define a specific position as the only moral approach, then promptly declare all alternatives immoral. Thus, there is one position on Syria, one on Iran and one on Egypt. If you come up with an alternative, you are either a traitor or anti-democratic or amoral! (But then, this is not limited to Turkish citizens.)
The Turkey of 2013 does not like other states' perspectives: The US is corrupt, the EU is still colonial and the Muslim countries sleep, still without any real sense of politics. It is only the Turks who know the truth! Every day, one can read a tweet or an article -- not from a marginal person, but from a leading journalist, scholar or bureaucrat -- to the effect that the whole world awaits the Turks' wisdom and leadership to overcome its problems.
By Samia Nakhoul BEIRUT | Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:32pm EDT - (Reuters)
As the army ruthlessly crushes the Muslim Brotherhood on the streets of Cairo, having swept away its elected president, Egypt is being painted as the graveyard of the Arab Spring and of Islamist hopes of shaping the region's future.
This week's bloody drama has sent shockwaves out of Egypt, the political weathervane and cultural heart of the Arab world. The effect on the region of the army's power grab will not be uniform, because while countries such as Egypt are locked in a battle over identity, other states, from Syria to Yemen, and Libya to Iraq, are in an existential struggle for survival.
The Egyptian chapter of the Arab awakening began with the uprising that ended the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and has moved on to the spectacular implosion of the Brotherhood that replaced him. Having been outlawed intermittently since their founding 80 years ago, the organization won parliamentary and presidential elections, then self-destructed in one year.
أنقذوا أطفال سورية
More than a fifth of Syria's schools have been destroyed or made unusable in more than two years of conflict, jeopardising the education of 2.5 million young people, Save The Children aid agency reported on Friday,
The civil war in Syria has contributed to a sharp increase over the past year in the number of violent incidents affecting children's education reported worldwide, the agency said.
More than 70 percent of 3,600 such incidents in 2012 occurred in Syria, where school buildings were shelled, teachers attacked and children recruited into armed groups, it added.
Syrian plans to run for a spot on the U.N. Human Rights Council met with sharp criticism from the United States and Israel on Thursday, while Tehran announced it had withdrawn its candidacy for the world body's rights watchdog.
The General Assembly's annual elections for the United Nations' 47-nation, Geneva-based human rights body will be held in November in New York. There will be 14 seats available for the five U.N. regional groups for three-year terms beginning in January 2014.
From the so-called Asia group, which includes the Middle East and Asia, seven countries - China, Iran, Jordan, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Vietnam - will be vying for four seats, several diplomats from the Asia group said on Wednesday.
A spokeman for Iran's U.N. mission, however, said on Thursday that Iran had withdrawn its candidacy and did not provide an explanation.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters)
New York, Jul 8 2013 - The increasing use of rhetoric by political and religious leaders in the context of the Syrian crisis could exacerbate the violence in the Middle Eastern country and fuel tensions between different groups in the region, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide warned today.
By LEE KEATH Associated Press
The Egyptian cleric was in a fervor. With Hezbollah's Shiite fighters helping Bashar Assad crush Syrian rebels, he wanted to sound the alarm to Sunnis across the Middle East: "Now is the time for jihad."
Speaking on a Saudi TV station, Sheik Mohammed el-Zoghbi called on "young men in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait, Jordan, Yemen," to go to Syria to fight. "We must all go to purge Syria of this infidel regime, with its Shiites who came from Iran, southern Lebanon and Iraq," he shouted during an appearance on Al-Khalijiya TV.
The overt entry by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia in Syria's civil war on the side of its ally President Assad has sharpened sectarian divisions throughout the Middle East.
Fighters from the Shiite guerrilla group helped Syrian forces batter the rebel-held town of Qusair for three weeks until they finally overran it this week in a significant victory for Assad's regime. Many Sunni hard-liners have taken Hezbollah's intervention as a declaration of war by Shiites against Sunnis.
That could have dangerous implications not only for Syria's conflict but for the entire region.
Calls for jihad by Sunni clerics could increase the flow of foreign militants into Syria to fight alongside the rebels. Sunni Arab powers like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, who see the war as a way to break the influence of Assad's Shiite ally Iran, may step up weapons supplies to Syria's rebels to counterbalance Hezbollah.
It has been conventional wisdom for a while now that the Syrian civil war — lasting two-plus years and claiming perhaps nearly 100,000 lives — would end in the fall of the Bashar Assad regime.
Time to think again.
For the moment, the reported entering of Hez-bollah, Iranian and Iraqi (Shia) fighters into the fray has shifted the sands of victory once again in favor of pro-government forces.
It’s entirely possible that the more than 40-year old Assad political dynasty might survive the rebel uprising.
Of course, there’s always been plenty of reason to worry about what a rebel victory might mean — considering that Islamists, foreign fighters and al-Qaeda allies (such as the Nusra Front) fill their ranks.
A post-Assad Syria might look a lot like post-Gadhafi Libya: various Islamist militias and terror groups running rampant, carving out spheres of influence — and that’s not to mention the trouble they might cause beyond Syria’s borders.
But the serious problem of a rebel victory aside, what’s the outlook if the Assad regime endures? That picture isn’t pretty.
The good news, if there is any, is that Damascus will be severely weakened in the short term. The Assad regime won’t have many international friends, government coffers will be drained and its armed forces will be exhausted.
This means that they probably won’t go looking for a fight with neighbors such as Israel or Turkey, which would be in much better shape militarily for any sort of engagement.
Now, the bad news.
On Syria's Menu: the Bad, the Ugly
By Kemal Dervis - Business Day
A cycle of terrible violence has taken over much of the Middle East. Its centre has shifted from Iraq to Syria, but it encompasses Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia as well. Farther east, Afghanistan is suffering its second decade of violent conflict, while Pakistan seems to be chronically on the brink of war, civil war, or social breakdown.
The most worrisome underlying threat is the increase in fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Likewise, pious conservatives and secular youth, who joined forces in Cairo and Tunis in 2010-11 to challenge the dictators, have now turned on each other: witness the Egyptian security forces' appalling massacres of Islamist demonstrators in Cairo, following a military coup carried out with liberals' support. The region's people are sliding into enemy camps.
I have often argued that Turkey should not intervene in the internal affairs of its neighbours or adopt a Middle East-centred policy. Both government and opposition should remain steadfastly focused on Europe, despite the obstacles that the European Union has placed in Turkey's way during membership negotiations.
But Turkey cannot be indifferent to the tragedy engulfing its neighbours. The Arab world's pain is acutely felt, owing to Turkey's historical, religious, and emotional bonds with these countries. Moreover, economic ties and sheer proximity mean that Turkey's prosperity depends, to some degree at least, on that of the Middle East.........
The civil war in Syria is becoming a religious war which splits the Muslim world between Sunnis and Shiites, notes Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi.
The rebels belong to Sunni Islam while the regime is Alawite, a branch of Shiism supported by Iran and assisted by fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, units from the Shiite group Hizbullah and Shiite volunteers from Iraq.
Rebels in Deir ez-Zor proclaimed war against the Shiites following their defeat in the battle in Al-Qusayr. In a video posted to YouTube they announce the launch of a sectarian war, while chanting "Death to the Shia" and recalling the 637 The Battle of al-Qadisiyyah, when Muslim Arab forces defeated the Persians.
Senior clerics in Saudi Arabia have backed the position of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who attacked Iran and Hizbullah over their support of Assad and warned of the Shiites’ attempts to take over Sunni states. Fatwas issued in Saudi Arabia stipulate that all Muslims are religiously obligated to take part in the jihad in Syria, whether by givingmoney to jihad or by physically participating in the fighting against the Assad regime.
The Syrian army, with the help of Hizbullah, has managed to retake the city of Al-Qusayr which borders Lebanon, but this military success is not necessarily indicative of the regime's ability to reverse the situation, says Halevi. Many other areas continue to be under control of the rebel forces, who have the support of the population....
The Gulf Media: It it back to common sense, moderation in analysis?
In reviewing the Middle East media publications, we noticed in the last two week a dramatic changes. Suddenly common sense analysis is allowed, where writers are shifting toward documentation the real problem in the Middle East, and reporting the crimes committed under the name of Islam.
Today we have an article, written by Badrya Darwish, in the Kuwait Times, reflecting some of that reality, the surprise things that allowing her to say she is a moderate voice, not siding with any one in all conflicts in Syria, Egypt or any wherellse.
We thank her for her honesty, Syria Tomorrow, as a moderate voice for long time, hope this is the beggining of those thinkers, writers, and leaders who could contributed to stop these crimes by not keeping quite about it, urging the political blinded forces in the Guldf and all Arab world to go back to their common sense, helping building democracy in peace, but also by being honest with themself, to sel what they have, promote what they own, give what they have, and recognize that money will not buy democracy, nations, minds, hearts, but easy to buy weapons and destruction. Time for peace, not wars, saving lives not killing, love not hate.......Here is part of Badrya article:
I have been away from the writer’s desk for a long time. It was not easy to write in Ramadan because people were not so interested to read too. After all, this is the month of prayer. I thought that writing will pick up during the Eid holidays and I will re-communicate with the world. Come Eid, things in the Arab world started deteriorating, be it in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq or Egypt. Iraq has had bombings for years where 20 people die on an average a day. Even the news hardly mentions such deaths any more. Iraq has become like a slaughterhouse. It has been the place of murder. People there have no more feelings.
Go further down to Syria where things get worse. I have said hundred times that I do not side with anybody — neither with the government’s side nor the opposition. There even the opposition has its opposition, which in turn, has its own opposition. It has become hard to understand the equation. Mind you, all the killings were in the name of Almighty Allah. They slaughter people there and say: “Allahu Akbar.” What a shame! Where did the Arabic nation reach?
Lebanon is not in a much better situation. Bombings, car explosions in residential areas and random murders of people. The situation is similar to Iraq but I hope it will not be as bad as in Syria. And it is unbelievable how all that is happening they claim is in the name of Islam. We all know what is going on in the land of the Pharaohs – the raging war between the government and the Muslim Brotherhood. What is most hurting is that wherever there is a killing they claim it is for Islam. But Islam is about mercy for people........
إلى متى الإنتظار ياأبناء بلدي
أطفال سورية لن يسامحونا على ماتسببنا لهم فيه من تشرد وضياع و لكن سيغفرون لنا أخطائنا إذا استطعنا أن نعود الى الحكمة والعقل في حل أمورنا
The Moderate Voice:
Syria Tomorrow Movement
Lets call on every honest Syrian, Arabic, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish, to think for a second about stopping this crime in Syria, its not easy to forget what is happening but we can stop all of this and let our children build their own future, far from our failed generation.
Let start the new path, new blood stream in our veins, new ideas and new leadership.
So I call on all of you as intellegent peoples to find another solution, we need to rasie our voice and say NO to Assad and NO to the freedom army, NO the Mulims Brother Hood organization, No to weapons, NO to killing, NO to destruction, and finally NO to all of them.
Join us in calling for an independent move who work only for our future and our kids future.
Syria Tomorrow Movement