Daily Archives: February 15, 2014

Obama says considering new pressure on Syria’s Assad

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California February 14, 2014.

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday he is considering new ways to pressure the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he pledged fresh U.S. assistance to Jordan’s King Abdullah, whose country is reeling from the Syrian civil war.

Obama and Abdullah held talks at the Sunnylands retreat, the estate of the late philanthropist Walter Annenberg, in this desert region of California.

With the Syrian civil war a central focus of their talks, Obama told reporters with Abdullah seated beside him that he does not expect the conflict to be resolved any time soon and that “there are going to be some immediate steps that we have to take to help the humanitarian assistance there.”

“There will be some intermediate steps that we can take applying more pressure to the Assad regime and we are going to be continuing to work with all the parties concerned to try to move forward on a diplomatic solution,” Obama said.

Obama did not disclose what steps he has under consideration, but Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier while traveling in Asia that a set of new options are under discussion.

With Jordan under pressure from housing more than 600,000 Syrian war refugees and facing other economic troubles, Obama announced at the outset of their talks that he intends to provide the strong U.S. ally with $1 billion in loan guarantees.

In addition, he said Washington will renew a five-year agreement that locks in annual aid for Jordan. The current package, which expires at the end of September, has been providing $660 million a year.

While announcing his desire to lock in another five-year agreement, Obama did not say what funding level he would urge Congress to back.

Frustrated that conditions on the ground in Syria remain horrendous and confounded by Assad’s refusal to engage in serious negotiations about a transition in power, Obama has been signaling a potential shift toward a more aggressive policy.

Senior administration officials who briefed reporters about Obama’s talks with Abdullah said all options remain on the table short of putting American boots on the ground.

Among the long-standing options has been the possibility of arming Syrian rebels. Such a step would only be applied if it would help nudge the process toward a political solution, one official said.

“Helping to improve the position of the Syrian opposition, put pressure on the Syrian regime, is certainly part of the overall calculation,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Obama met Abdullah at the Sunnylands retreat as a way to hold informal discussions on a wide-ranging set of issues.

Did CIA official suppress Benghazi narrative? Accounts raise new questions

6789By : Catherine Herridge

New information about the intelligence available in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack raises questions about whether the former No. 2 at the CIA downplayed or dismissed reporting from his own people in Libya that it was a coordinated attack and not an out-of-control protest over an anti-Islam video.

Then-Deputy Director Mike Morell, whose own agency lost two employees at Benghazi, former Navy Seals Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, was heavily involved in editing the administration’s internal narrative on what happened – known as the “talking points” – which served as the basis for then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial claims about a protest on the Sunday talk shows after the attack.

According to the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi, on Sept. 15, four days after the attack and one day before Rice’s appearance, the CIA’s most senior operative on the ground in Libya emailed Morell and others at the agency that the attack was “not/not an escalation of protests.”

Fox News has confirmed that three days earlier, the CIA Chief of Station and the agency’s team in Libya also sent situation reports, known as sitreps, to Washington.The raw intelligence reporting described a coordinated attack by extremists, not an out-of-control protest.

“In a crisis like Benghazi, you would expect it’s going directly to the seventh floor,” Sam Faddis, who recently retired from the CIA and writes extensively about the intelligence community, said. The “seventh floor” refers to CIA leadership – at the time, Director David Petraeus and his second-in-command Morell, among others. “In a situation like this, you’re going to be looking at it immediately … your aides are going to be asked to flag it to your attention the second that it comes in and bring it to your desk — right in front of you,” he said.

Further, Fox News has learned new details about a secure video teleconference some 72 hours after the attack.Two sources familiar with the call say it included Morell, the CIA chief of station and Benghazi survivors who were evacuated to Germany — as well as Greg Hicks, the late Ambassador Chris Stevens’ deputy.

Fox News is told that after an update from personnel on the ground, Washington’s singular focus on the video left participants in Libya baffled, angry and dismayed that Morell seemed to dismiss their on-the-ground reporting.

On Sept. 12, based on the intelligence disseminated to senior lawmakers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., also told Fox News that Benghazi was a “coordinated, military style commando-type” attack.

In a brief statement to Fox News, Morell did not address the situation reports. Separately, Bill Harlow, who is working with Morell on a book, said there was early intelligence reporting from the CIA operation in Libya of a protest before the assault.

This claim conflicts with the assessment of Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which recently released a bipartisan report concluding the Benghazi attack was preventable.

Burr said investigators never found credible reporting linking the attack to a demonstration spawned by an anti-Islam video.

“We’ve done a forensic on that event. We’ve never found a reference to demonstrations from individuals who were on the ground — whether it’s the chief of station in Tripoli, whether it’s the diplomatic security, or the GRS (Global Response Staff) that went … from day one, all referrals were an attack that was underway that continued well into the night and to the (CIA) annex.”

Yet on Sept. 14 — when the bodies of Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, as well as Woods and Doherty, were flown to Andrews Air Force base – then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to talk about the video.

“We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men,”Clinton told the somber gathering.”We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing do to with.”

The video was linked to protests elsewhere in the region. But on Sept. 15, in what appears to be a direct response to the administration’s public statements about the cause of the attack, the CIA’s chief of station sent the email to Morell saying protests were not involved in Benghazi.

Faddis said it was unusual for the chief of station to directly e-mail the deputy director, but it appeared to be an effort to cut through the bureaucracy, to be sure nothing was getting lost in translation. And by taking the message outside standard intelligence channels, it may have been an effort by the chief of station to allow Morell and others to save face.

“The way the agency works, he’s (chief of station), been running 24 hour a day to nail every fact,” he said, “… and now he is reaching out four days into this directly to the most senior levels of his organization, saying again with the big red crayon as clearly as he can, ‘there were no protests, I am trying to do my job and tell you at the most senior level don’t go forward with anything that says something we can’t factually support’.”

Documents released by the administration last May show that by Sept. 15, Morell was engaged on the talking points with the State Department and White House.The bipartisan Senate report shows that on the same day, Morell cut half the text including prior intelligence warnings to the State Department.The word “Islamic” was dropped, but “demonstrations” stayed in.

Harlow said Morell was not aware Rice – or any administration official – was going to use the talking points, adding Morell believed they were being prepared for lawmakers. After the Sept. 15 e-mail, Harlow said Morell asked the chief of station to provide more information, adding that on Sept. 16, the chief of station’s response was forwarded to the agency analysts.

“Morell immediately passed that to the analysts who produced the original analysis and asked for their reaction,”Harlow explained. “They responded that they had contradictory information and stuck with their judgment. It wasn’t until several days later that the CIA was able to get their hands on the CCTV video (Sept. 18) — when they did, it was clear there were no demonstrations and the analysts changed their reporting.”

This emphasis on the analysts who are thousands of miles from the scene of the attack versus the agency personnel on the ground in Libya does not feel right, according to Faddis and other former intelligence officials contacted by Fox News.

“When I hear that explanation, the words that come to mind are disingenuous and frankly incomprehensible,” Faddis said. “This strikes me as — what you’re doing is you’re looking for an excuse for not paying attention to what (the chief of station) said.”

Since retiring from the CIA last year, Morell has taken on high-profile assignments for the administration, including the NSA review panel, which formulated recommendations for President Obama. In addition to the book deal, he is now a TV commentator on national security issues for CBS News and has taken a position for Beacon Global Strategies, which was founded by Philippe Reines.The New York Times magazine recently described Reines as Clinton’s “principal gatekeeper.”

In a series of questions via e-mail, Fox News asked Morell for his recollection of the early intelligence, the video teleconference and whether he notified the administration at any point that its public statements were in direct conflict with the reporting of U.S. personnel on the ground in Libya.

While not disputing he was aware of the situation reports and participated in the video teleconference, Morell said: “I stand behind what I have said to you and testified to Congress about the talking point issue. Neither the Agency, the analysts, nor I cooked the books in any way.”

While Morell has a standing invitation to speak with Fox News on camera, in his statement he said he does “not intend to get into an extended dialogue with you on the subject nor do I intend to grant you an interview on this matter.”

While the bipartisan Senate report speculated that protests elsewhere over the anti-Islam video may have played a role in inspiring the attack, the report concludes the intelligence analysts stayed with the protest explanation for too long.“Analysts inaccurately referred to the presence of a protest at the Mission facility before the attack based on open source information and limited intelligence, but without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC (Intelligence Community) took too long to correct these erroneous reports, which caused confusion and influenced the public statements of policymakers.”

In an addendum to the bipartisan Senate report, six Republicans on the committee concluded of the talking points: “Rather than simply provide Congress with the best intelligence and on the ground assessments, the administration chose to try to frame the story in a way that minimized any connection to terrorism.”

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

via Did CIA official suppress Benghazi narrative? Accounts raise new questions | Fox News.

NSA memo alleges co-worker unwittingly provided Snowden password for classified data

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has denied that he stole colleagues’ passwords to gain access to classified documents. (The Guardian / July 8, 2013)

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has denied that he stole colleagues’ passwords to gain access to classified documents. (The Guardian / July 8, 2013)

The National Security Agency forced out a civilian employee who unwittingly provided password access to former agency contractor Edward Snowden that he later used to obtain classified information he normally couldn’t access, according to an NSA memo.

The memo was sent to members of Congress and reveals for the first time that a Snowden coworker was essentially tricked into giving up his password.

“At Mr. Snowden’s request, the civilian entered the PKI password at Mr. Snowden’s computer terminal. Unbeknownst to the civilian, Mr. Snowden was able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified information,” the memo said.

NBC News first reported on the memo.

The FBI interviewed the unidentified civilian employee, who admitted he entered his password but said he didn’t know what Snowden was up to, according to the memo.

By capturing the password, Snowden was then able to get to highly classified information that he normally couldn’t access.

Snowden has claimed responsibility for leaking a vast trove of NSA documents describing classified surveillance programs, and prompting the Obama administration to overhaul some of the government’s surveillance data collection.

The memo also said two other people may have inadvertently given Snowden access, a contractor and a military employee.

The memo didn’t say what role they may have played, but they have lost their access to the NSA’s database.

The civilian employee resigned in January, according to the memo.

Snowden, who now lives in Russia under asylum, has denied that he stole passwords access government databases.

NSA memo alleges co-worker unwittingly provided Snowden password for classified data – CNN Security Clearance – CNN.com Blogs.

Three former NSA workers accused of aiding Snowden – latimes.com.

​Japan indicates US could bring nukes into its territory in case of emergency

The U.S. Navy’s USS George Washington aircraft carrier

Tokyo suggested that it would allow the US to bring nuclear weapons into Japanese territory in the event of a serious threat to its security.

In a briefing with lawmakers, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida outlined conditions that would lead Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to make exceptions to Japan’s longstanding posture against possessing, producing, or allowing nuclear weapons within the nation’s borders, Kyodo News reported.

Kishida said the Abe administration adheres to the policy of its predecessor: Whether or not Japan would “adamantly observe the (non-nuclear) principles despite threats to people’s safety depends on the decision of the administration in power.”

“The future cannot be determined in advance,” Kishida said, echoing comments by former Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada of the current opposition Democratic Party of Japan. In 2010, Okada disclosed that Japan and the US had agreements during the Cold War era in which Tokyo would allow the US to bring nuclear-armed submarines into Japanese ports in an apparent violation of the non-nuclear policy. The agreement expired in the early 1990s, upon the end of the Cold War.

Abe said last month it was a “mistake” that previous administrations led by his Liberal Democratic Party avoided acknowledging secret US-Japan pacts that had been declassified in the United States.

Kishida’s comments come amid heightened tensions between Japan and China thanks to a heated territory dispute in the Pacific. Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kishida to stress that the US will support Japan in the conflict.

Late last year, China declared a portion of the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan to fall within its exclusive economic zone, infuriating Japanese officials who had long considered that region to be within their control. In an almost immediate response, the US mobilized in the region and sent surveillance craft and B-52 bombers over the air defense zone in defiance of China’s wishes.

The two countries have further clashed in their respective claims to a small group of islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

“I… underscored that the United States remains as committed as ever to upholding our treaty obligations with our Japanese allies,” Reuters quoted Kerry as saying, referencing the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between both nations signed in 1960.

“The United States neither recognizes nor accepts China’s declared East China Sea [Air Defense Identification Zone] and the United States has no intention of changing how we conduct operations in the region,” he added, according to the Associated Press. “We are deeply committed to maintaining the prosperity and the stability in the Asia-Pacific. And that won’t be possible without respect for international law, including freedom of navigation and overflight.”

The US has numerous military bases in Japan and across the region, and would be obligated to provide military assistance under the mutual cooperation treaty should China launch a strike in an attempt to strengthen their hold on the disputed territory.


Saudi Arabia to supply Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles

Frustrated by the deadlock of the second round of Geneva 2 talks, Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to supply the rebels with anti-aircraft missiles. Meanwhile Russia has accused the US of once again hijacking peace talks and pushing for regime change.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Russian-made antitank guided missiles and Chinese man-portable air-defense systems are up for grabs, already waiting in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.

An Arab diplomat and several opposition figures with knowledge of the Saudi efforts have told WSJ that these supplies are likely to tip the battlefield scales, as the rebels will become capable of taking on the government’s air power and destroying heavy armored vehicles.

“New stuff is arriving imminently,” a Western diplomat with knowledge of the planned weapons deliveries told the American publication.

Leaders of the Syrian opposition said they don’t yet know the total amount of military aid that will be shipped. The new weapons are expected to reach southern Syria from Jordan while the opposition in the north will get arms from Turkey, the Western diplomat said.

Raising fears that civilian aircraft may eventually become targets, last June several media outlets suggested that Saudi Arabia had already begun supplying anti-aircraft launchers and missiles to militants in Syria. But so far Saudi Arabia, as well as the US, has been officially opposed to arming the rebels with big guns and antiaircraft missiles as they could fall into extremist hands.

According to the WSJ report, rebel commanders struck a deal on the new armaments shipment during a meeting with US and Saudi intelligence agents in Jordan on January 30. During that meeting, rebels allegedly claimed that their new military gains would help force official Damascus consider President Assad’s ouster and bring forward a political solution to the conflict.

Mercenaries on US payroll?

The Wall Street Journal also reports that their rebel sources claimed the US government is paying their salaries to fight the Assad forces. The Southern Front brigades allegedly received $3 million in cash in salaries during the two meetings in Jordan, one held on January 30 and the other late last year.

Meanwhile, congressional aides told the WSJ about scheduled meetings with Syrian opposition leaders next week. The Syrian delegation will allegedly seek extra armaments in order to battle al-Qaeda and al-Nusra elements.

“We’re trying to assure the international community that they can support moderates without the threat of arms falling into the hands of al-Qaeda,” said Oubai Shahbandar, a senior adviser to the Syrian opposition. Saudi Arabia and US have so far refused to comment.

Geneva 2 stalemate

As the second round of Geneva 2 talks so far fails to produce any results, the Russian Foreign Minister has criticized the American stance at the negotiations accusing it of hijacking the talks for the purpose of “regime change” in Syria.

“The only thing they want to talk about is the establishment of a transitional governing body,” Sergey Lavrov said Friday after meeting with the German foreign minister in Moscow. “Only after that are they ready to discuss the urgent and most pressing problems, like terrorism.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a meeting in Moscow on February 14, 2014.

“I am very worried about the systematic attempts to disrupt the political settlement in Syria,” therefore “forcing the (Syrian) government to slam the door.”

Lavrov recalled that talks were kick started to implement the original Geneva communique, position of which Russia and Syria solemnly defend. The June 2012 document stipulates the creation of a transitional political body, holding of free and fair elections, the start of a national dialogue, a review of the constitution and legal system. Nowhere does it mention removal of president Assad.

“Now they are saying that to keep talking is senseless, because the government (of Syria) doesn’t want to agree about the makeup of a transitional governing body. We are going in circles,”
Lavrov said.

The Syrian government’s position remains that stopping terrorism and bloodshed should be the priority at the negotiations that started last month. The second round of negotiations between government and opposition representatives began on Monday but no progress has yet been made. The opposition, backed by the US and its allies, insists on forming a transitional authority with “full executive powers,” thus ousting Assad.

Rebel fighters inspect an alley in the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on February 14, 2014.

After five days of negotiations the opposition has accused the government’s team of “belligerence,” while the government delegation said that the opposition have an “unrealistic agenda.”

“The negotiations are not moving toward a political solution,”
said Louay Safi, a spokesman for the Syrian opposition delegation, accusing the government side of adopting a hostile stance.

“I deeply regret to say that this round did not achieve any progress,”
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said. “We came to the Geneva conference to implement Syria’s declared position to reach a political solution. … Unfortunately the other side came with another agenda, with an unrealistic agenda.”

The UN’s Lakhdar Brahimi, curator of the talks, plans to meet the sides on Saturday, the final day for round two of the negotiations, but it remains unclear if he can offer any prospect of drawing the warring parties closer together.

Saudi Arabia to supply Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles – report — RT News.

Former German chancellor surprised that NSA continued to spy on Merkel — RT USA

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of German social democratic

The former chancellor of Germany now says he was surprised to hear that the United States National Security Agency, or NSA, spied on his country’s current head of government after he left office almost a decade ago.

Earlier this month, NSA documents showed that the spy agency conducted surveillance operations starting in 2002 that targeted Gerhard Schröder during his term as chancellor.

Schröder told reporters at the time that he wasn’t surprised about the operation, which was made public due to documents disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

During an event in Berlin on Thursday this week, however, the former chancellor said he didn’t expect the NSA to continue monitoring his office after he ended his tenure in 2005.

“I knew, of course, that there were always spying activities going on but essentially, no spying activities among friends, but rather under enemies, let’s say. In this sense it was surprising for me to find out to what extent this kind of spying took place,” Schröder said Thursday during a book launch even for his most recent work, “Klare Worte” (Clear Words) at the Deutsche Bank event hall in Berlin.

RT’s video news agency, Ruptly, caught the remarks on camera.

Schröder said earlier this month, and again in Berlin this week, that he expected US intelligence would monitor him due to his outright opposition to the war in Iraq after the extent of the NSA’s spy operations were first unveiled. What did surprise him, though, was that Angela Merkel, German’s current chancellor, was watched over as well after being elected nearly nine years ago, he said Thursday.

“The political problem, as I had to read especially in the newspapers, was that it was my own fault because I was against the Iraq War and therefore should have assumed that it was a given for the Americans to find out what my motives were and whom I was scheming with. This, of course, brought me to the question of why Mrs. Merkel was spied on because either the NSA somehow overslept the transition of power in 2005, or, but one really cannot imply this about Mrs. Merkel, that she disputed with the Americans in a particularly stubborn way,” Schröder said.

“It didn’t even interest them if it was me or her,” he added.

The Snowden documents cited earlier this month by the German media suggested the NSA began monitoring the chancellor of Germany starting in 2002. When top-secret documents leaked last year by the former contractor began to show the extent of the NSA’s operations, Ms. Merkel accused the US of spying.

The US “is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel,” White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted back in October. Only one month later, however, additional leaks showed that Merkel’s mobile telephone was on a list maintained by the NSA’s Special Collection Service from 2002 up until as recently as early last year.


Global terrorism, insurgency attacks surge 150% in 5 years – report

Three Western hostages taken captive in northern Mali almost nine months ago by the Qaida-linked Al-Din movement, appear in an undiscloed location in Mali.

The number of terrorist and insurgency attacks worldwide has increased by more than 150 percent since 2009, driven in large part by suicide attacks in Iraq and an ongoing civil war in Syria.

Riding on a wave of violence, notably across a large swathe of the Middle East that began with the so-called Arab Spring in December 2010, terrorism and insurgents have witnessed a sharp increase in the last five years.

“In 2009, a worldwide total of 7,217 attacks were recorded from open sources. In 2013, that number increased by more than 150 percent to 18,524,” said Matthew Henman, manager of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), the organizers of the study.

The highest rate of violence last year was reported in the Middle East, with major “pockets of violence” moving like a contagion to parts of Africa and South Asia.

This movement led to a dramatic rise in the number of militant and non-militant casualties.

In 2012, the deaths of 13,872 militants and 10,562 non-militants were recorded from public sources. Last year, non-militants fatalities nearly doubled to 17,554, while militant fatalities were reported at 21,490.

“These are some of the largest rises we have recorded in the past several years,” Henman said.

Jane’s defines an attack as any event in which a sub-state actor, whether an individual, individuals or organization, commits politically or ideologically motivated acts of violence with the goal of coercing others to adopt or comply with their objectives or to submit to their authority, that results in death, damage, or disruption.

A single spark

It is tempting to blame at least part of the surge in regional violence on a single individual, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor who immolated himself on December 17, 2010 to protest what he believed was ill treatment at the hands of local officials. His death became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution, which stoked the fires of what came to be known as the Arab Spring.

Following the 2011 overthrow of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the revolutionary fires spread to Egypt, where millions of protesters demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Violent clashes broke out between security forces and protesters resulted in 846 people killed and tens of thousands injured.

Violence and political upheaval continues to plague both Arabic nations, the report noted

“In 2013, JTIC recorded a spike in activity by non-state armed groups in Tunisia and Egypt. Attacks in Tunisia grew from 21 in 2012 to 72 in 2013. In Egypt, the number of attacks recorded jumped from 63 in 2012 to 431 in 2013.”

Violent protests erupted once again in June 2013 following the toppling of President Muhammad Morsi, who replaced Mubarak just over a year earlier. Egyptian violence accounted for “the majority of sub-state violence recorded by JTIC,” Henman said.

In Libya, meanwhile, which suffered an 8-month civil war in 2011 that led to the toppling of strongman Muammar Gaddafi, there were 237 attacks recorded in 2013, up from 81 in 2012.

Syria and Iraq smoldering

Syria, where rebel and Islamist forces have been attempting to oust the government of President Bashar Assad since March 15, 2001, has witnessed a two-fold increase in attacks between 2012 and 2013.

“Due to a plurality of factors, the anti-government insurgency in Syria intensified notably in 2013,” the report read. “Between 2012 and 2013, the number of attacks recorded by JTIC almost doubled. In 2012, we recorded 2,670 attacks. In 2013, that number jumped to 4,694.”

Meanwhile, Iraq, struggling to get back on its feet after a nearly nine-year-long occupation of its territory by US-led forces, is coming under a barrage of suicide attacks.

“A key indication of the intensifying level of violence in Iraq was that the number of suicide attacks in the country quadrupled from 2012 to 2013, with the 2013 total almost triple that recorded in neighboring Syria and almost double that recorded in Afghanistan,” the report said.

In 2013, 207 attacks were believed to be carried out by Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which represents a 160 percent jump from the 79 recorded in public sources in 2012.

The report pointed to the “AQI’s predominant role” behind the 52 percent increase in the recorded number of attacks in Iraq and the 148 percent surge in non-militant fatalities.

“In 2012 there were 2,297 attacks in Iraq. At the end of 2013, that figure stands at 3,499,” the report said.

For RT’s report on Iraq carnage, click here.

World of Warfare: Top 10 most active non-state armed groups in 2013

1. Barisan Revolusi Nasional (Thailand)
2. Taliban
3. Islami Chhatra Shibir (Bangladesh)
4. Communist Party of India – Maoist
5. Al-Qaeda in Iraq
6. Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab)
7. FARC (Colombia)
8. New People’s Army (Philippines)
9. Jabhat al-Nusra (Syria)
10. Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist

Source: IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre

Global terrorism, insurgency attacks surge 150% in 5 years – report — RT News.

ليبيا .. مظاهرات ضد التمديد للمؤتمر الوطني


تظاهر الآلاف من الليبيين في العاصمة طرابلس ومدينة بنغازي الجمعة للمطالبة بعدم التمديد للمؤتمر الوطني الليبي العام (البرلمان) وتنديداً بأدائه

وقد رفع المتظاهرون شعارات تندد بأداء المؤتمر والحكومة الحالية وتؤكد على ضرورة إنهاء المرحلة الانتقالية بدستور يكفل حقوق جميع الليبيين وبرلمان منبثق عن صناديق الاقتراع

وجاءت هذه التظاهرات في أعقاب دعوة وجهها اللواء خليفة حفتر، في تسجيل مصور، إلى تعليق عمل المؤتمر الوطني وتشكيل هيئة رئاسية تتولى حكم البلاد إلى أن تجرى انتخابات جديدة

ووصف حفتر، وهو شخصية بارزة في انتفاضة عام 2011 ضد الزعيم الراحل معمر القذافي، دعوته بأنها “خارطة طريق” وليست محاولة للانقلاب

وقال أحد المحتجين في طرابلس “نحن نحتج على المؤتمر الوطني العام والحكومة سلمياً، لكن هذا الاحتجاج لا علاقة له بما قال حفتر… مازلنا نعلق أملاً على الديمقراطية”

وسارع مسؤولون بالحكومة الليبية إلى رفض دعوة حفتر، الذي ظهر في الفيديو وهو يرتدي الزي العسكري، وقالوا إنه ضابط متقاعد ولا يحظى بأي تأييد في القوات المسلحة الليبية

 Gen. Khalifa Hifter

Gen. Khalifa Hifter

قال رئيس الوزراء الليبي علي زيدان الجمعة إن الحكومة تمارس عملها بشكل عادي، وأن الأمن تحت السيطرة، نافياً أي تحرك لوحدات عسكرية نحو أي مؤسسة

وقال زيدان لرويترز إن ليبيا مستقرة وتابع “اؤكد للشعب أن المؤتمر الوطني العام قائم يمارس مهامه بكيفية طبيعية وعادية وأن الحكومة تمارس مهامها بكيفية طبيعية وعادية وأن الموقف في البلاد تحت السيطرة لا يعتريه أي أمر وأن الأمور في البلاد على ما يرام”، مضيفاً أن حفتر ليس له سلطة

وأضاف زيدان بأنه ستتخذ إجراءات قانونية بموجب القانون العسكري ضد حفتر بعد البيان الذي أدلى به