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Thu, 29 Sep 2016
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Syrian militants in tumult after Israel restructures Fatah al-Sham command in Quneitra

The Israeli spy agency has called Sheikh Assim Qassim, the Mufti of Fatah al-Sham (Nusra) Front in Jabat al-Khashab region and Taranja in the Northern parts of Quneitra, to order him a reshuffling of commanders in the region, Arab media sources said Wendesday.

The Arabic-language Axis News website quoted sources as saying that the Israeli intelligence officials have appointed Ali Mare'i Suleiman and his brother Faisal Mare'i Suleiman as commanders of the Eastern front of Jabat al-Khashab, including Qob al-Hamriya front, Hazar town and regions near the district that the Syrian army's Division 4 is deployed. Also, Taj Leili and Adnan Leili have been assigned as commanders of Taranja, Tal al-Ahmar and al-Saraya regions, and Ma'as Nasar has been reinstated as commander of the Western parts of Jabata al-Khashab which is adjacent to the Golan Heights.

The sources told the Arab media outlet that after Sheikh Qassim (who was once a judge of the terrorists' Al-Sharia courts in Quneitra) informed the new commanders of Israel's orders, the militants who have recently left the Dara'a fronts and joined Fatah al-Sham's forces in Quneitra started angry protests, believing that they should also share a major role in the command structure.

Comment: The supporters of these terrorists are now out in the open and desperate to reorganize.


SOTT News Snapshot: The new JIT MH17 report is in - rebels did it, case closed, don't ask any questions

© AP Photo/ Peter Dejong
Today the Joint Investigation Team released their findings on the shoot-down of MH17. This follows the October 2015 Dutch Safety Board report, which concluded that the plane was shot down with a Buk missile armed with a 9N314M warhead, and stressed that Ukraine had failed to close the airspace over the war zone. However, the Russian company that produces the Buk system conducted their own tests, allegedly ruling out the separatist-held village of Snezhnoye as the launch site, pointing to Kiev-held Zaroshchenskoye as the only possible site, and questioning the type of warhead identified by the DSB based on the physical damage to the wreckage. (See: Closing the BUK on MH17? Dutch final report is clearly biased.)

Initially, on July 21, 2014, Russia released data showing that a Ukrainian jet was in the vicinity of MH17 before it was shot down. This matched up with eyewitness accounts and analysis of the damage suggesting the possibility of fighter jet machine-gun fire. However, just two days ago, Russia released some "newly discovered" civilian radar data alleging to show the situation in the air at the time of the shoot-down and crash. The data showed three civilian aircraft in the vicinity, but "no foreign objects near the Malaysian plane which could have caused its destruction". So this latest release contradicts their earlier statements: the radar shows no indication of a fighter jet in the air.

According to the Russian experts, due to the capacities of the radar station involved, the data suggests that a Buk was not fired from rebel-held territory, but the same could not be said for the territory held by Kiev, because the radar station wouldn't have been able to detect a missile fired from Zaroshchenskoye. (The author of the What Happened to Flight MH17 blog argues the opposite - that the radar would have detected a missile fired from Zaroshchenskoye more easily, but without a detailed expert analysis, it's hard to say either way.) According to the Russians, Ukraine has yet to release their radar data, and the investigation is proceeding based on false premises, namely the misidentification of the type of missile used.


Putin submits agreement on bilateral cooperation with China to State Duma

© REUTERS/ Kim Kyung-Hoon
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has submitted the Russian-Chinese agreement on cooperation in the war on terror to the State Duma for ratification, this information was issued through the electronic database of the lower house.

The agreement, signed in Beijing on September 27, 2010, is aimed at the development of bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, and contains articles on taking joint measures in order to detect and effectively suppress activities connected to planning and carrying out terrorist attacks, the accompanying documents stated.

War Whore

No surprise there: Iraqi forces complain that the US refuses to target ISIL targets

Commander of Iraqi popular forces in Haditha town, West of al-Anbar, disclosed that the US-led coalition forces in al-Ratba town continue to shrug off targeting the ISIL terrorists.

"The US forces refuse to target the ISIL gathering centers near al-Ratba town in the Western parts of al-Anbar under the pretext of the presence of Hashd al-Sha'abi (popular) forces in the region," Colonel Nazzem al-Juqaifi told al-Ma'louma news website on Wednesday.

He said that his forces are responsible for safeguarding the security of a highway which links the 160km region to al-Ratba town.

While the ISIL terrorists are preparing to attack the town, the coalition forces refuse to launch airstrikes on their gathering centers which have posed a serious threat to the Iraqi security forces near al-Ratba, Juqaifi said.

The Iraqi volunteer forces' commanders have continued to lash out at the US and its regional allies for continuing their military and logistical supports for the ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Iraq all throughout the last two years.

Comment: Captured ISIL leaders in Iraq confess to receiving US intelligence support - Iraqi military commander: 'We saw US coalition jets transporting terrorists'


East Libya's general asks Russia for weapons and military support against Daesh

© REUTERS/ Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Libya's Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who leads forces loyal to the Tobruk-based Council of Deputies, has requested Russia to end its arms embargo on Libya and begin supplying weapons and military equipment to eastern Libyan forces, a Russian diplomatic source said Wednesday.

Haftar has addressed the request to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu via his special representative Abdel Basset Badri, who also serves as Libya's ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Badri visited Moscow on Tuesday, meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian Izvestia newspaper reported, citing a diplomatic source familiar with the situation.

"The meeting really did take place. Badri came to Moscow for one day. During talks with Bogdanov, they discussed the issue of lifting the embargo on arms supplies. Libyans are asking us to send them small arms, but also equipment, including planes. Also, they asked Moscow to start an anti-Islamist military operation in Libya that is similar to the one in Syria," the source told the newspaper.

Haftar visited Russia in late June, discussing a number of issues, including weapons deliveries, with Shoigu and Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Comment: So now both governments in Libya are asking for Russia's help. How to choose? US, Russia and other nations stand ready to provide lethal aid to Libyan Security Forces


OPEC agrees to cut oil production for first time in 8 years

© David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has reached a deal to limit oil production, media reports stated, citing sources in the organization. Production is to be limited to 32.5mn barrels per day, and the deal is expected to come into force in November.

The cartel currently produces 33.24 million barrels per day, which means that if the reports prove true, OPEC countries will cut production by almost 700 thousand barrels. It will be the first reduction in eight years.

One source claims that OPEC will settle production levels for each member country at the next formal meeting, set to be held in Vienna on November 30.

One of the sources also told Reuters that after reaching the target production rate, OPEC will turn to non-OPEC producers for output support. Representatives of the OPEC countries are currently in Algeria attending the International Energy Forum.

The agreement to cut production among the world's largest oil producers could lead to oil supply coming more in line with the demand for the energy source.


Get out! Free Syrian Army protests against participation of U.S. troops

According to information received by a Sputnik correspondent from a source in the command of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group of American soldiers faced visceral protests from the battalion's forces on the eve of the operation to free al-Bab.

US servicemen, accompanied by the members of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA), entered two Syrian towns: Mare and Azaz, located to the north of Aleppo.

They arrived to prepare attacks against Daesh positions in the northern parts of Aleppo, primarily to free al-Bab, which is a Syrian city in Aleppo Governorate.

However, their arrival didn't go down very well with some of the FSA fighters. It is reported that about 100 FSA fighters staged a protest against the participation of US troops in the operation.

Bad Guys

Terrorist groups are preparing provocative attacks by chemical weapons against Syrian Army in Aleppo - Russian MoD

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Alaeddin
The Russian Defense Ministry said that it has information that terrorists are planning chemical attacks against the Syrian army and residential areas in Aleppo.

"It became known that terrorist groups are preparing provocative attacks by chemical weapons on Syrian army's positions and residential areas in the east part of Aleppo to accuse government forces [of the attacks]," Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the situation in Syria has deteriorated as militants have regrouped and launched offensives in Aleppo and Hama provinces.

Bad Guys

Hysteria and histrionics at UN betrays the West's sponsorship of terrorists

Hysteria and histrionics at the United Nations Security Council from the three permanent members, the United States, Britain and France, was tantamount to a signed confession. Ironically, one can imagine how the wording of such a «confession» would go: We the intensely vexed members are hereby displaying our boorish displeasure that the terror proxies we covertly sponsor in Syria for regime change are being thrashed.

Such was the tawdry display of undiplomatic conduct by the US, Britain and France, with officials from these countries inveighing against Russia with unsubstantiated, sensationalist accusations of committing war crimes. The intemperance was then followed by tantrums and walk-outs from the Security Council meeting - a meeting that these three members had originally convened.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later lambasted the imperious attitude from the Western trio as an «unacceptable» breach of diplomatic protocol.


Bizarro Earth

Karimov's Uzbekistan: A prime target for Western exploitation

© Flickr/Robert Wilson
"The final objective is the construction of a strong, democratic, law-governed state, and secular society, with a stable, socially-oriented market economy."
Former Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.

The recent death of Uzbek president Islam Karimov, who had been in power since the creation of the independent state of Uzbekistan 25 years ago, has brought the little-known Central Asian nation into the spotlight. Whenever the Western media referred to the deceased Uzbek leader, 'dictator' and 'autocrat' were the usual terms used to describe him. But distant and unknown lands are often easily misrepresented - particularly when misinterpretation is politically expedient. Few people have any idea of the history of Uzbekistan, nor of the complex social, economic and in particular, geopolitical context that gave rise to Karimov's long tenure as the country's leader. It is time to take a closer look at a nation people in the West may be hearing about more often in the near future.

Uzbek Democracy

The first thing to say about Uzbekistan is that it is a democracy, or to be more precise a bourgeois democracy. The country has a bicameral parliamentary system, with the Oliy Majlis or General Assembly and the Senat. There is separation of powers, and the electoral system has several political parties. The Western media establishment have probably told you it is a dictatorship. They are not entirely wrong. Uzbekistan is a dictatorship of those who own the means of production, just like France, the UK, the United States, Russia, China and most other countries in the world - that is what we call a bourgeois democracy.