Puppet MastersS


3 police, 10 Taliban killed in clashes in Afghanistan

Three Afghan police and 10 Taliban insurgents were killed in separate clashes in Afghanistan, local officials said Tuesday.

Eight Taliban insurgents were killed and 18 others were injured in a joint Afghan-Nato operations in Abuzio, Raml, Katal, Maidani, Shahid Ba Ba, Sayed Kala, Agha Kuli, Basram and Badi Abad distrits of eastern Laghman province on Monday, local security officials said.

Two Afghan policemen were also killed in the operations, officials said.

The joint forces have seized many weapons during the operations, officials added.

It comes as an Afghan police and two Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes in Ala Say district of northeastern Kapisa province, provincial governor Mehrabuddin Safi said.

Four civilians, including a women and child, were injured in the clashes, he said.

In the past a week, several Taliban commanders has been captured or killed by Afghan and Nato operations.


Unknown gunmen shoot 12 dead in Christmas Eve attacks on Nigerian churches

© naharnet.com
Church set on fire on Christmas Eve

At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services, police said.

One assault occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, in Yobe province. Gunmen attacked worshipers during prayer, killing six people, including the pastor, and setting the building on fire

Worshippers also were attacked at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state. A deacon and five church members were killed.


17 killed as U.S.-backed Yemen army clash with tribesmen

'Revolution' in Syria = good; Real revolution in Yemen = bad.
Yemen's army has launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of repeatedly sabotaging an oil pipeline in the country's east, sparking clashes that left 17 people dead, tribal sources say.

The dead included 10 tribesmen and seven soldiers, said the sources, who added the offensive in Marib province's Habab valley, 140 kilometres east of the capital Sanaa, was launched in the early hours of Tuesday and backed by air raids.

The sources said the army was "randomly shelling" the area where some al-Qaeda militants joined tribesmen battling Yemeni troops. Marib is a major al-Qaeda stronghold.

Tribesmen, of whom 18 were also wounded according to the same sources, fought back with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, one source said.


When U.S. drones kill civilians, Yemen's government tries to conceal it

Victims of a US drone strike in a war that officially doesn't exist
A rickety Toyota truck packed with 14 people rumbled down a desert road from the town of Radda, which al-Qaeda militants once controlled. Suddenly a missile hurtled from the sky and flipped the vehicle over.

Chaos. Flames. Corpses. Then, a second missile struck.

Within seconds, 11 of the passengers were dead, including a woman and her 7-year-old daughter. A 12-year-old boy also perished that day, and another man later died from his wounds.

The Yemeni government initially said that those killed were al-Qaeda militants and that its Soviet-era jets had carried out the Sept. 2 attack. But tribal leaders and Yemeni officials would later say that it was an American assault and that all the victims were civilians who lived in a village near Radda, in central Yemen. U.S. officials last week acknowledged for the first time that it was an American strike.

"Their bodies were burning," recalled Sultan Ahmed Mohammed, 27, who was riding on the hood of the truck and flew headfirst into a sandy expanse. "How could this happen? None of us were al-Qaeda."

More than three months later, the incident offers a window into the Yemeni government's efforts to conceal Washington's mistakes and the unintended consequences of civilian deaths in American air assaults. In this case, the deaths have bolstered the popularity of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network's Yemen affiliate, which has tried to stage attacks on U.S. soil several times.

War Whore

Obama kills 5 rebels in Yemen with drone strikes

I come in peace
The first drone strike hit a vehicle in a town in Al Bayda province

At least five people were killed in two drone strikes in south Yemen on Monday in what security and local officials said were attacks on suspected Al Qaida-linked insurgents. Improving stability and security in Yemen is a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies because of its strategic position next to the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and shipping lanes, and because it is home to one of the most active wings of al Qaida.

Monday's strikes were the first in almost two months by pilotless aircraft against suspected Al Qaida men in Yemen, an impoverished country of mountains and desert on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

The United States has escalated its use of drones against Al Qaida in Yemen, where the group exploited mass anti-government unrest last year to seize swathes of territory in the south before being driven out by a military offensive in June.

Snow Globe Xmas

Best of the Web: Christmas message from Syria citizens in Damascus

As printed in the 'Newsline' paper on 24th December 2012

Our lives are being made hell by the armed groups. We are all wearing coats in the house. We are freezing in the winter. There is no fuel. There is no bread.

Yet, every western government is pretending to be speaking for the Syrian people. In fact, they are completely ignoring what the Syrian people want. The Syrian people want peace, security and return to normal life.

The Syrian people have had enough with the unscrupulous world powers playing with the plight of the Syrian people and causing us more suffering while they reside in palaces and hotels, travel with bodyguards and worry about feeling too full at the dinner tables.

They don't worry about the million Syrian people who are shivering in their beds either out of fear, cold or hunger. We tell them, please stop meddling under the pretext of helping the Syrian people....

All we want is a return to life when we could walk in the street without fear of being kidnapped, sniped at or shot.

We want to return to life when people celebrate Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, Christmas, New Year and Easter without mourning the death of beloved ones.

We want to return to normal life where asking a stranger for directions does not scare you. Where you could get into a taxi or go into a shop without fearing for your life.

Return to normal life where you go into your own home and do not fear the cold and the chill of the winter.

Return to normal life where you do not have to fear not being able to get medicine, milk or bread for your kids tomorrow.

Return to normal life where we are not fearing for the lives of our children if they leave the house or attend school.

Return to normal life where we are proud of the achievements of Syrian kids at school and not, as seen now on the media, beheading their fellow Syrians on the orders of the foreigners.

Return to normal life where everyone is saluting the other and not fearing them.

Return to normal life where we are proud to be Syrians.

Comment: In short, a return to normal life in Syria as it was under the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Better Earth

Retired General Schwarzkopf dies at 78

Gen. Schwarzkopf
H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the four-star Army general who led allied forces to a stunningly quick and decisive victory over Saddam Hussein's Iraqi military in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and who became the most celebrated U.S. military hero of his generation, died Thursday in Tampa. He was 78.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta confirmed the death in a statement. Gen. Schwarzkopf's sister, Ruth Barenbaum, told the Associated Press he had complications from pneumonia.

Little known outside the U.S. military before Hussein's Republican Guard invaded Kuwait in early August 1990, Gen. Schwarzkopf planned and led one of the most lopsided victories in modern military history.

Even before the rapid victory, the general was known as "Stormin' Norman" for his sometimes volcanic temper.

The campaign, designed to expel Hussein's forces and liberate Kuwait, commenced in January 1990 with a 43-day high-tech air assault on Iraq before a massive armored assault force launched a 100-hour ground offensive that inflicted swift and heavy losses on the Iraqis. Gen. Schwarzkopf commanded more than 540,000 U.S. troops and an allied force of more than 200,000 from 28 countries, plus hundreds of ships and thousands of aircraft, armored vehicles and tanks during the war.

Broadcast to the nation nonstop on CNN, the war gave the nation and the world its first look at a new American military strategy that used precision-guided bombs dropped from hundreds of aircraft and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from ships. Both Gen. Schwarzkopf and his boss at the Pentagon, Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were Vietnam War veterans who had helped rebuild this force.

Bad Guys

Syria chemical attack claims aim to justify foreign interference - Moscow

Syrian army soldiers
© AFP Photo / STRSyrian army soldiers patrol the Sheik Said neighbourhood of Syria's northern city of Aleppo.
Accusations that forces backing Syrian President Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against the opposition is a provocation aimed at making an excuse for foreign military intervention, says the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Another goal of such reports is to stir up panic among Syrians and foreigners who remain in the country, the ministry's spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich told the media on Thursday.

The use of weapon of mass destruction is unacceptable, the diplomat stressed. The Syrian government repeatedly assured Russia, as well as Western partners and the UN that it would not use chemical weapons. Moscow is keeping a close watch on the situation and has no information that the Syrian government plans to use chemical arms.


Regime-change planned for Malaysia?

© Nile BowieDespite claims of being non-partisan and unaffiliated with any political party, the country’s main opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, fully endorsed the movement.
As the South-East Asian nation of Malaysia prepares for general elections, distrust of the political opposition and accusations of foreign interference have been major talking points in the political frequencies emanating from Kuala Lumpur.

­The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) leads the country's ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, and has maintained power since Malaysian independence in 1957.

One of Malaysia's most recognizable figures is former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who has been credited with ushering in large-scale economic growth and overseeing the nation's transition from an exporter of palm oil, tin, and other raw materials, into an industrialized economy that manufactures automobiles and electronic goods.

The opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, is headed by Anwar Ibrahim, who once held the post of Deputy Prime Minister in Mahathir's administration, but was sacked over major disagreements on how to steer Malaysia's economy during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Today, the political climate in Malaysia is highly polarized and a sense of unpredictability looms over the nation. Malaysia's current leader, Prime Minister Najib Razak, has pursued a reform-minded agenda by repealing authoritarian legislation of the past and dramatically loosening controls on expression and political pluralism introduced under Mahathir's tenure.

Najib has rolled back Malaysia's Internal Security Act, which allowed for indefinite detention without trial, and has liberalized rules regarding the publication of books and newspapers. During Malaysia's 2008 general elections, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition experienced its worst result in decades, with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition winning 82 parliamentary seats. For the first time, the ruling party was deprived of its two-thirds parliamentary majority, which is required to pass amendments to Malaysia's Federal Constitution.

In the run-up to elections scheduled to take place before an April 2013 deadline, figures from all sides of the political spectrum are asking questions about the opposition's links to foreign-funders in Washington.

Heart - Black

Israel criminally detained 900 Palestinian children in 2012; possible charges to be filed at the ICC

© Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinian authorities are considering taking legal action against Israel over hundreds of Palestinian children being detained, with some reportedly maltreated.

As a result of the United Nations General Assembly voting to upgrade the Palestinians' diplomatic status to a "non-member observer state," they now have chance to access UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"We need to use the newly gained state status to take measures against Israel for its crimes, especially the arrest, detention, and abuse of Palestinian children, let alone trying them before military courts," Eissa Karakea, Palestinian Minister of Detainees' Affairs told Al Arabiya news channel.

According to a report issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees Affairs, 900 Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli authorities in 2012 - a significant surge from the 700 arrested in 2011. The report suggests that the children are often mistreated during interrogations and beaten in detention.