Monday, December 21, 2015

Assad to Visit Tehran

Assad to Visit Tehran

by Stephen Lendman

In October, Assad visited Moscow - unannounced for security reasons, flown on a Russian aircraft. It was his first foreign trip since Obama launched war on Syria in March 2011.

His second trip abroad is imminent, this one publicly announced. Fars News and other Iranian media said he’s coming in late December or early January.

For security reasons, he’ll be escorted by four Russian fighter planes. Washington and its coalition partners were alerted - told to stand down and not interfere.

Russian aircraft have orders to “fire at will at any incoming aircraft,” said Fars News. Assad will travel through Iraqi airspace en route to Tehran where he’ll meet with top Iranian officials.

Details of his trip will be announced later. Both countries are valued allies. Iran supports Syria’s war on ISIS and other terrorist groups. Talks will focus mainly on progress achieved and objectives to accomplish, with continued help from Tehran.

Assad now traveling abroad shows his renewed confidence since Russia intervened on September 30. It’s air power let Syrian ground forces recapture earlier lost territory.

It continues advancing against ISIS and other terrorist groups, making slow and steady progress, mindful that US-led efforts continue going all-out to remove him. Rhetorical claims otherwise reflect willful deception.

Separately, Israel continues bombing Syria intermittently. On Sunday, Hezbollah said one of its top officials, Samir Kuntar, was killed by an Israeli airstrike on a Damascus suburb.

A statement said the “Zionist enemy’s planes” struck Saturday evening, killing Kuntar, one or more other Hezbollah commanders, and a number of civilians.

Kuntar was imprisoned for almost three decades in Israel - released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah in 2006.

Syrian National Defense Forces (a volunteer branch of its Armed Forces) issued a statement on Facebook, saying: “Two Israeli warplanes carried out the raid which targeted the building in Jaramana and struck the designated place with four long-range missiles.”

Hamas condemned Israel’s “assassination,” calling it a “heinous crime.” Following the incident, Lebanese fighters and Israeli forces exchanged cross-border fire.

Rockets struck northern Israel, responded to by artillery fire and missiles. No casualties were reported on either side. 

Whether something more serious follows remains to be seen. Conditions along Israeli/Lebanese border areas remain tense. Despite relative calm since the 2006 war, anything could erupt any time for any reason.

A Final Comment

Israel’s war on Palestine continues without letup. Human rights defenders are being harassed, attacked, arrested and detained. Anyone opposing daily IDF and police atrocities is considered an enemy of the state.

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst said “(a)midst a charged and violent atmosphere over past months in the OPT, Palestinian and international defenders are providing a ‘protective presence’ for Palestinians at risk of violence, and documenting human rights violations.”

“The continued harassment of human rights defenders in the OPT, who are exercising their rights to freedoms of expression and association, is simply unacceptable. It should cease immediately.”

Israel ignores all criticisms of its high crimes. They continue daily unaccountably.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.