President Vladimir Putin gave little indication on Tuesday of a shift in Russia’s stance on the escalating Syria crisis, telling UN special envoy Kofi Annan only that the Kremlin continues to back his faltering peace plan.“We will do everything in our power to support your efforts,” Putin told Annan ahead of Kremlin talks on the eve of a key United Nations vote on the violence-plagued Middle East state. “We have supported and continue to support your efforts to restore peace.”Annan arrived in Moscow on Monday on a two-day visit to the Russian capital in an attempt to persuade the Kremlin to support harsher measures against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime at a UN vote on Wednesday.Moscow is continuing to promote Annan’s six-point peace plan as the only way to bring an end to the spiral of violence in Syria, despite the failure of a ceasefire stipulated under the deal. Annan’s plan does not call for the departure of Assad - something Russia has said should be determined by “the Syrian people.”The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France – agreed on June 30 in Geneva that a transitional government should be set up in Syria. The text of the document said this could include members of the government and opposition, although Russia later objected to U.S. suggestions that the deal ruled out any role for Assad.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon flew to China on Tuesday as part of a twin diplomatic effort to convince Moscow and Beijing to agree to drop their objections to a resolution that could see foreign military intervention in Syria.
“But Putin has fallen into a trap over Syria. He tried to use the Syria card in Russia’s disagreement over the NATO anti-missile shield in Europe and on Western support for the anti-Putin opposition,” Shumilin added. “But nothing worked out for him and he is now trying to distance himself from Assad, but still keep face. Russia has become too closely linked to Assad and is now bearing responsibility for his crimes.”Russia has warned repeatedly that a full-scale war in Syria would be a “catastrophe” for the region and other Moscow-based analysts believe the West had no real appetite for an attack on Damascus.As Putin and Annan met in Moscow, fighting continued to rage for a third straight day in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The hostilities are the heaviest in the capital since the start of the revolt.
The idea of a managed transition of power in Syria is an "illusion," Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday, as his Syrian counterpart expressed Damascus' commitment tointernational mediator Kofi Annan's peace plaThe plan calls for a ceasefire, which has been widely ignored by both sides, as a first stage in the political transition to ending the violence.
It also calls for access for aid, the release of arbitrarily detained people, freedom of movement for journalists and the freedom to protest peacefully."Thinking naively and wrongly that if there is a power vacuum perhaps in Syria and if there is a transition of power in Syria,simply another government will come to power, that I think is just a dream," Ali Akbar Salehi said at a news conference with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Mouallem
Mouallem said Syria was able to defend every inch of its soil from what he called a conspiracy by armed terrorist groups that served Israel's interests.
"I assure you the Syrian people are insistent, not just on confronting this conspiracy, but they are insistent on emerging victorious," Mouallem, who has not appeared since a bomb attack killed four of President Bashar Assad's top security officials nearly two weeks ago.
Assad may be down to his last move, which as I see it, is to deploy chemical weapons against Israel, in hope of diverting attention away from himself and rally Moslems around the common enemy, Israel. That scenario most likely would result in the total destruction of Damascus as the Israeli’s have announced, if chemical weapons are used against them they will annihilate Syria. However the wild card is Putin. So far he has not come to the air of Assad, as he’s on the sidelines, letting events play themselves out. It’s hard to predict at this point what the outcome will be. In my opinion, Assad is now cornered completely and unless he does something drastic he will lose the reigns of power. In the eyes of the world he most likely has reached pariah status, so he has nothing to lose. I’m sure images of Saddam Hussein swinging from a rope and Moamar Gaddafi being gang raped by men, give Assad nightmares.Another wild card is Iran. Will the Islamic Republic come to Assad’s aid or will they do nothing? Khamanei, the supreme leader of Iran, announced recently that Iranians should prepare for the last days. If the Iranians move to aid Assad will the Russians join the fray as well?
In my opinion the major player here is Putin, as I believe he literally holds Assad’s fate in his hands. We’re down to what may be the final act of this drama that has played out for months and resulted in thousands of Syrian civilians killed.
With that in mind, Israel has voiced its concern over what government will replace Assad if he is deposed. Most likely the Moslem Brotherhood will attempt to take power as they did in Egypt. If that is the case then Israel would be hemmed in on its West and Northern borders by hostile countries.
In closing today’s short post: The situation in Syria has reached a crises point, an endgame is unfolding and at this point anything can happen. Assad has two choices, flee the country or use his chemical weapons. Without the aid of Putin he has little choice.
The officials and a World Health Organizationrepresentative told a news conference in Kampala Saturday that there is "an outbreak of Ebola" in Uganda.
"Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute…have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola hemorrhagic fever," the Ugandan government and WHO said in joint statement.
Kibaale is a district in midwestern Uganda, where people in recent weeks have been troubled by a mysterious illness that seemed to have come from nowhere. Ugandan health officials had been stumped as well, and spent weeks conducting laboratory tests that were at first inconclusive.
On Friday, Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told The Associated Press that investigators were "not so sure" it was Ebola, and a Ugandan health official dismissed the possibility of Ebola as merely a rumor. It appears firm evidence of Ebola was clinched overnight.
Officials urged Ugandans to be calm, saying a national emergency taskforce had been set up to stop the disease from spreading far and wide.
There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, and in Uganda, where in 2000 the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized, it resurrects terrible memories. There have been isolated cases since, such as in 2007 when an outbreak of a new strain of Ebola killed at least 37 people in Bundibugyo, a remote district close to the Congolese border, but none as deadly as in 2000.