Syria
Masayaf

Russia conniving in Israeli strikes on Syria?

Satellite images show significant damage from an Israeli air-strike on the Assad regime’s main center for conventional and chemical weapons development. Nine buildings of the Scientific Studies & Research Center (SSRC)¬†were destroyed or damaged, and a military captain was reportedly killed. The attack came as Russia removed the S-300 air defense system that it had positioned near the complex. The site, near Masyaf in northwest Syria, is also reportedly a base for Iranian forces and Iran-supported militias. (Photo via¬†EA Worldview)

Iran
ivel

Iran demolishes houses, farms of Baha’i community

Security forces laid siege to a village in northern Iran, demolishing houses and farms belonging to members of the persecuted Baha’i faith. Over 200 troops were deployed to Roshankouh, in Mazandaran province, blocking the road into the village and confiscating residents’ cell phones before commencing demolition of several properties. However, video footage of heavy machinery demolishing buildings was posted to social media by the Baha’i International Community. The organization reports that six homes were destroyed and over 20 hectares of land were confiscated. Troops used tear-gas and fired shots in the air to disperse residents who gathered to protest the demolitions. (Photo of¬†Baha’i village in Mazandaran: Baha’i Communiyu of Canada)

Palestine
apartheid

Catalan parliament recognizes Israeli ‘apartheid’

The Parliament of Catalonia passed a resolution recognizing Israel’s actions in the Palestinian Occupied Territory as “against international law and…equivalent to apartheid as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” The resolution was approved with support from all the left parties in the regional body: Esquerra Republicana (ERC), Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP), En Com√ļ Podem (ECP), and the Socialists (PSC). The pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) voted against it, while the center-right Ciudadanos and far-right VOX abstained. In a tweet celebrating the resolution, the ECP said that the regional parliament is “the first European institution to recognize that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, as noted by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.”¬†(Image: HRW)

The Andes
Partnership of the Americas 2009

Colombia joins ‘new partnership’ with NATO

President Joe Biden issued an executive order designating Colombia a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) of the United States. The designation facilitates further weapons transfers from the US to Colombia, and increased military cooperation between the two countries. Colombia is the third MNNA in Latin America, after Brazil and Argentina. Weeks earlier, a delegation of NATO staff visited Colombia to discuss the South American country’s participation in the alliance’s Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP). Colombia became NATO’s newest “global partner” in 2018, but this relationship was reinforced last December, when it became a member of the NATO Individually Tailored Partnership Program (ITPP). (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Palestine
temple mount

Israel high court approves Temple Mount development

The Israeli Supreme Court¬†ruled in favor of the government’s planned cable car over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The ruling was met with approval by proponents such as Jerusalem’s mayor, Moshe Lion, who claimed the project will reduce air pollution and “allow comfortable and efficient access to the Western Wall and the Old City.” However, the project has been met with condemnation by many, including city planners and architects,environmental groups, and Karaite Jews, a minority sect with a cemetery located along the proposed cable car’s path. Palestinian groups have especially criticized the proposed path through East Jerusalem, an area ceded to Arab control in the 1949 armistice but occupied by Israel in 1967. Advocacy group Ir-Amim tweeted: “Folks will hop in in [West Jerusalem] and have no idea they’re cabling over the heads of occupied Palestinians.” (Photo: Adam Teva V’Din)

Europe
russonazis

Russian ‘denazification’ goes full Nazi

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just days after issuing blatant nuclear threats, now engages in the classic anti-Semitic trope of blaming Nazism on the Jews. Speaking to Italian TV, Lavrov responded to a reminder that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish thusly: “When they say ‘What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews,’ well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing. For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves.” This as Russian state media voices are openly calling¬†for the “total annihilation” of Ukraine, and more mass graves are being discovered daily. Russia will be glorifying this campaign of extermination in¬†massive military parades next week, commemorating the Soviet Union’s 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. (Photo via Twitter)

Palestine
Israeli police

Israel: detention of ‘terror suspects’ without charge

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed security services to hold “terror suspects” in “administrative detention,” even without charge. The order extends to Palestinians in Israel¬†a policy long applied to Palestinians on the West Bank. Bennett cited “a new situation that requires suitable preparations and adjustment by the security services to the circumstances within which extremist elements of Arab society, directed by extremist Islamic ideology, are carrying out terror attacks and taking lives.” The order follows deadly attacks by Israeli citizens who were said to be supporters of the so-called “Islamic State.”¬†(Photo: Wikimedia)

Iran
KRG

Iran claims missile strikes on Iraqi Kurdistan

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed responsibility for ballistic missile attacks on northern Iraq’s Kurdish regional capital of Erbil, saying that the strikes targeted an Israeli “strategic center” in the city.¬†Iranian state media reported that the missiles were aimed at “Mossad bases”¬†in Erbil. The IRGC had days earlier vowed to seek revenge against Israel, saying the Zionist state¬†will “pay the price”¬†for killing two of its guards in recent Israeli air-strikes on targets in the Syrian capital Damascus. Erbil’s governor Omed Khoshnaw denied any Israeli military or intelligence presence in the city, calling the accusation “baseless.” The estimated 12 rocket strikes took no casualties, but caused damage to civilian properties and triggered panic among the populace in neighborhoods of Erbil. (Map: UNHCR via ReliefWeb)

Syria
Khan Sheikhoun

UN: Syria must come clean on chemical weapons

Syria’s declaration to the United Nations of its chemical weapons program cannot be considered accurate due to gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs told the Security Council. Izumi Nakamitsu urged the country to cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), adding that “full cooperation” is “essential to closing these outstanding issues.” The disarmament chief was presenting an update on implementation of Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) regarding the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program.¬†Nakamitsu said that 20 outstanding issues remain unresolved, involving¬†undeclared research, production, and the arming of unknown quantities of chemical weapons.¬†(Photo from April 2017 Khan Sheikhoun attack via EA Worldview)

Palestine
bedouin protest

Bedouin land protests rock the Negev

As part of a “forestation” plan, Israel’s Jewish National Fund began clearing cultivated lands at the “unrecognized” Bedouin village of Sawa in the Negev desert, sparking angry protests by the villagers. The protests started as villagers and Bedouin leaders expressed their objections the JNF plan to plant trees on an area of 5,000 dunums (1,250 acres), much of which had been planted with wheat only a few months ago. Things escalated as tractors arrived at the area to begin clearing the fields, and villagers physically resisted. Police detained 18 local youth for throwing stones. Protests continued for the following two days, with the security forces firing rubber-coated bullets, tear-gas and malodorous “skunk water,”¬†causing several injuries. (Photo: WAFA)

Syria
idlib

Russian warplanes bomb Idlib water station

Russian warplanes are reported to have carried out an air-raid on the main water pumping station for the city Idlib, capital of the besieged province of that name in Syria’s north. Witnesses on the ground said Russian Sukhoi jets dropped bombs on the water plant as well as several towns outside the provincial capital. A UN humanitarian official acknowledged the air-raid without naming the perpetrators, tweeting: “The country is already facing a water crisis & continued destruction of civilian infrastructure will only cause more suffering of civilians.” An official in the opposition administration of the city¬†said the plant is now out of operation, charging: “The Russians are focusing on infrastructure and economic assets. This is to add to the suffering of people.” (Image via Twitter)

Watching the Shadows
killer robot

UN chief calls for action against autonomous weapons

UN Secretary General Ant√≥nio Guterres called upon member states to devise “an ambitious plan…to establish restrictions on the use of certain types of autonomous weapons” ahead of the Sixth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). A coalition of over 65 CCW states has endorsed a proposed ban on lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS). But some member states, including the US and Russia, oppose¬†the ban.¬†States such as the US, Israel, India¬†and France are believed to oppose the ban owing to their heavy investments into the development of AI for military use.¬†(Photo: Future of Life Institute)