Countries that "sow chaos" in Syria could find the tables turned, Syrian President Bashar Assad told a state-run Russian television station in comments aired on Wednesday.Assad gave one of the few interviews he has conducted during a 14-month crackdown on anti-government protests to a station from Russia, which has supported him with arms supplies and vetoes in the UN Security Council. Western governments have told Assad to step down.Assad suggested the West was behind an uprising against his rule and told Rossiya-24: "Whatever happens in the Middle East, the chaos that is now being created, the terrorism, will have a bad effect on Europe as well, because it is not far from our region."
In his first interview since December, Syrian President Bashar Assad insisted his regime is fighting back against foreign mercenaries who want to overthrow him and not innocent Syrians aspiring for democracy.Rebels and anti-regime activists have accused Syrian forces of mining many of the smuggling routes where weapons flow into Syria, mainly from neighboring Turkey and Lebanon.The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the Obama administration is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming Syrian rebels. Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood also is channeling aid to the opposition, the report said.The Gulf States have shipped weapons, including anti-tank weaponry, to help the rebels fight back against Assad, added the report.
Syrian rebels battling President Bashar Assad's government are beginning to get more and better weapons in an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated partly by the United States, the Washington Postreported late on Tuesday.US contacts with the rebels and the information-sharing with Gulf nations mark a shift in Obama administration policy as hopes dim for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, the Postsaid.
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili warned Thursday that applying pressure on the Islamic Republic in upcoming nuclear talks would not impede Iran's nuclear progress, but rather it would serve to encourage Tehran to localize nuclear technology.
“Today, what is running out is the time for applying pressure and this approach has failed to bear results,” Jalili stated.
Western diplomats said Wednesday that Iran is installing more centrifuges in an underground plant but does not yet appear to be using them to expand higher-grade uranium enrichment that could take it closer to producing atom bomb material.
New cascades of centrifuges are being installed at Iran’s Fordo nuclear underground facility raising the total to 3,000 machines. All the 800 machines operating at present are devoted to the 20-percent refinement of uranium, a grade just short of bomb material. This was disclosed by Western diplomatic sources Thursday, May 17, at the same time as Washington sources reported that the Obama administration had consented to Iran producing low-grade 5-percent enriched uranium in their secret direct dialogue....by installing new centrifuges in Fordo, Tehran is cynically mocking President Barack Obama who defined the main objectives of their back-channel dialogue as being to halt Iranian production of 20-percent enriched uranium and shut down nuclear activity at Fordo.But now, by installing the new centrifuges in Fordo, Iran is trying to use that dialogue as a foot through the door for turning tacit, provisional American tolerance of highly-enriched uranium production taking place during negotiations into absolute US acceptance of Iran’s right to keep going unhindered and so attain the status of a nuclear power.
Turkey accused Israel on of violating the airspace of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the AFP reported.
An Israeli aircraft allegedly violated the TRNC’s airspace five times on Monday, prompting Turkish fighter jets to chase out the supposed intruder, claimed a statement issued by the army command.Turkish-Israel relations became increasingly hostile in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect Israel’s national security, boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled with pro-Palestinian activists seeking to infiltrate Israel’s borders. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists, including one US citizen.
Israel and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus have both discovered large amounts of offshore natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea, and have tentatively discussed cooperation on delivering gas to European and Asian markets.
The drilling for gas and oil in the area off Cyprus, which began last year, angered Turkey, which says it abuses northern Cypriots' rights to the same resources.
In April, Turkey initiated its own exploratory drilling in the seabed offshore the TRNC in the north, resulting in condemnations from the government of Cyprus, who called the action illegal.
An Israeli aircraft repeatedly violated the airspace of Turkish Cyprus earlier this week near the site of a controversial gas exploration field, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Thursday, citing Ankara military officials.
The reported incident is just one in a long line of apparent scuffles between Israel, Cyprus, and Turkey over the rights to explore the eastern section of the Mediterranean for gas and oil.
Israeli forces opened fire near the Karni border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources reported on Thursday, adding that eight civilians were wounded, two of them seriously.
According to Army Radio, the soldiers opened fire at armed Palestinians approaching the border crossing, despite the force's repeated warnings, in what the troops suspected was a bid to lay explosive devices at the compound.
Hundreds of Alaska Airlines flight attendants have filed a formal complaint about uniforms they suspect might be causing their skin to rash and develop lesions, and their hair to fall out. But based on the timing of the symptoms and their relation to similar symptoms in local marine life and polar bear populations, it appears as though radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster may also be a potential culprit.But not everyone is convinced that the uniforms are to blame, including Alexander Higgins who recently connected the dots to discover a potential link to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. After comparing the flight attendants' symptoms to those reported on polar bears and marine life from the northwest U.S. throughout the past year, the timing and correlation of the two is highly suspect.