Clampdown on Shi'ism in Malaysia a cause for concern
Salim Osman, The Straits Times/ANN, Singapore | Fri, 08/23/2013 9:06 AM | Opinion
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Deputy Chairman of Iranian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri warned the United States on Sunday of ‘dire consequences’ if red line crossed on Syria over claims of chemical attacks.
"If the United States crosses this red line, there will be harsh consequences for the White House," Jazayeri was quoted as saying.
A year ago US President Barack Obama warned the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a "red line" and have "enormous consequences". On Sunday, his Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US military was ready to take action against Syria.
"President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that," Hagel told reporters in Malaysia. "Again, we are prepared to exercise whatever option, if he decides to employ one of those options," he said, a day after Obama held a rare meeting his top aides and brass to discuss Syria.
But the Iranian military leader warned Washington, its Western allies and Israel against playing with "fire". "The terrorist war underway in Syria was planned by the United States and reactionary countries in the region against the resistance front (against Israel)," Fars news agency quoted Jazayeri as saying.
"Despite this, the government and people of Syria have achieved huge successes. "Those who add fire to the oil will not escape the vengeance of the people," added Jazayeri.
China urges caution on Syria chemical Weapon allegations
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - "All parties should handle the chemical weapons issue cautiously to avoid interfering in the overall direction of solving the Syria issue through political settlement," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website on Monday.
Meanwhile, a team of UN experts started its investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Damascus suburbs from Monday.
Beijing backs the UN investigation to "find out the truth as soon as possible," the statement added.
"China has paid high attention to the reports that chemical weapons have been used in Syria," Wang said, adding, "China's view is that we will firmly oppose anyone who uses chemical weapons."
On August 21, the head of the so-called opposition Syrian National Coalition, George Sabra, claimed that 1,300 people were killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar.
The Syrian government, however, has vehemently rejected the allegation, saying the foreign-backed militants had carried out the attack.
Last week, China said the UN team of inspectors should be ‘objective’ and ‘fully consult’ with the government of President Bashar al-Assad in their investigation.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the outbreak of the violence.
President Assad: Failure Awaits US If it Attacks Syria
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad considered Western claims his government used chemical weapons were an "insult to common sense" and warned the United States it faced failure if it attacked, in an interview with a Russian newspaper published Monday.
Assad told pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia in an extensive interview that Syria would never be a "puppet" of the West and said Washington had never succeeded in reaching its political aims through war.
"The comments (accusing the regime of using chemical weapons) made by politicians in the West and other countries are an insult to common sense... It is nonsense," Assad said.
Assad accused the United States of first making the accusations that his government used chemical weapons in an attack outside Damascus, and only later starting to look for proof.
He said the frontline in the area where the incident took place was not clear and the Syrian regime would have risked killing its own army forces if it used chemical weapons. "This contradicts elementary logic," Assad said. "Such accusations are completely political and the reason for them is a number of victories by the government forces against the terrorists."
The president said it is "not us but our enemies who are using chemical weapons." With calls mounting for military action against Syria, Assad warned Western states to stop interfering in the affairs of other countries and instead "listen to the opinion of the people". "If someone is dreaming of making Syria a puppet of the West, then this will not happen.
"We are an independent state, we will fight against terrorism and we will build relations with whom we want for the good of the Syrian people." He warned the United States against attacking Syria and argued Washington's previous military campaigns in recent years had always fallen short of their aims.
"The United States faces failure just like in all the previous wars they waged, starting with Vietnam and up to our days," he said. "America has taken part in many wars but could not once achieve its political goals for which the wars were started. Yes, it is true, the great powers can wage wars but can they win them?" he asked.
Assad said he is in touch with Russian President Vladimir Putin "from time to time", not by telephone, but by intermediaries visiting respective capitals. Asked about Russia's hugely controversial contract to deliver Damascus with S-300 missile systems, Assad said that "all contracts agreed with Russia are being fulfilled." "Russia is supplying Syria with what is needed to protect Syria and its people," he said.
While hailing Russia’s stance, Assad said Qatar was a "sponsor of terrorists" while Turkey "trains and provides corridors for them". Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, was a country "which only has money and someone who has just money cannot create a civilized society," Assad said.
Asked about the chances of organizing the so-called Geneva-2 peace conference backed by Russia and the United States, Assad replied: "We cannot start a political dialogue until the support from abroad for terrorism is halted."