The situation in Syria has been completely transformed by the unanticipated vigour with which al-Qaeda has entered the fray and turned everything upside down. Now, anything might happen and the only thing that is certain is the escalation of bloodletting on all sides and the continued misery of the victims of this horrific war.
From one perspective, only a miracle will salvage the situation. That miracle would be the unification of all the other factions and brigades in Syria (even temporarily) to declare war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Shams (ISIS) and other al-Qaeda-linked groups in order to weed them out, without mercy or pity, as soon as possible.… [+]
Lebanese sources with very close ties to Syria have informed Rai al-Youm that the next six months will
witness a massive military escalation in Lebanon and Syria, especially by groups supported by Saudi Arabia.
The sources say that there is a great concern about this escalation and its repercussions, especially on Lebanon.
The sources have told Rai al-Youm that Iran, which has sensed this destructive danger to everyone (as described… [+]
by the sources), has started making huge efforts on high levels to open a dialogue with the Saudi leadership in order to settle unresolved issues and reach an accord that ends the war in Syria and clamps down on the situation in Lebanon.
By Abdel Bari Atwan
Highly placed sources in the Gulf have told Rai al-Youm that a final planning meeting for the Geneva 2 conference on Syria is to be held in London on 11 January. The meeting will decide on the agenda and which states will be invited to participate.
Eleven states will attend the planning meeting and they are sharply divided regarding two major issues: first, should President Assad’s continuation in office be supported and second, should Iran be invited to participate.… [+]
- Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu/©Gulf News
Underlying all the major events in 2013 was the relentless spread of sectarianism; borders melted away as once mighty regional giants imploded in civil strife, which has resulted in semi-failed states of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon and Sudan.
The emerging phenomenon of geo-sectarianism has fragmented these countries as Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and other minorities, who once lived harmoniously side by side, are displaced — either voluntarily or by force — into ‘safe’ areas dominated by their co-religionists or ethnic brethren.… [+]
17 December 2013
Rai al-Youm has learned from senior Gulf diplomats that Oman is currently hosting secret talks
between Syrian regime officials and representatives of some Syrian
factions, under the auspices of the United States.
The talks aim to reach an understanding on the transitional phase, which will be the backbone of
the talks at the Geneva II conference.
The sources added that the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s delegation arrived in Muscat without prior
In the meantime, a delegation from the opposition also arrived in Muscat.… [+]
By Abdel Bari Atwan
Earlier this week, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to London, published an OpEd in the New York Times which contained an unprecedented attack on Western countries and their policies toward Syria and Iran.
The Prince said that the West’s failure to move on Syria and its rapprochement with Iran represented a real threat to his country’s safety and regional stability.
He added that Saudi Arabia ‘ruled nothing out’, including militarily, and was prepared to act alone.… [+]
By Abdel Bari Atwan
Seven bullets fired by a Lebanese soldier across the border with Israel killed an IDF soldier this week. Israel responded by cordoning off the border immediately, for fear of escalation.
The shooting came as a timely reminder that Israel is still the enemy. That the enemy is in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and other Arab territories including the Syrian Golan Heights and the Shaba’a farms. This enemy is the same one who invaded southern Lebanon in 2006, and committed the Qana massacre in 1982.… [+]
No western government has yet afforded Palestinians any support in their struggle for justice
- Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News
The memorial service for Nelson Mandela last week became, for many of the world leaders who attended, a diplomatic opportunity, laced with amnesia and hypocrisy.
Mourning Mandela was ‘the right thing’ to do, hence the presence of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who demonstrated his grief by posing for a grinning ‘selfie’ with US President Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt — like excited teenagers in Disneyworld.… [+]