2018-12-26: News Headlines

aljazeera (2018-12-26). Syria air defences 'confront Israeli missiles' near Damascus. aljazeera.com State media says government air defences intercept missiles fired by Israeli fighter jets near the Syrian capital.

aljazeera (2018-12-26). China opens trial of prominent rights lawyer amid tight security. aljazeera.com Wang Quanzhang, who defended political activists and victims of land seizures, is accused of subverting state power.

Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers (2018-12-26). We Can End the US War on Syria. counterpunch.org The US war against Syria was one that people almost stopped. President Obama was unable to get Congress to authorize the war in 2013, but the Pentagon and foreign policy establishment, who have long wanted to control Syria, pushed forward with war anyway. It has been a disaster. The war has resulted in hundreds of thousands of More

aljazeera (2018-12-26). Defying the odds: Nina's journey from Syria to the Special Olympics. aljazeera.com Nina – an athlete from Syria – will be representing a new team a the Special Olympics, but her heart belongs to Damascus.

Stephen Lendman (2018-12-26). Trump Administration Indicts Chinese Nationals on Alleged Cyber Espionage Charges. globalresearch.ca Were charges evidence-based or politically motivated? Most likely the latter. More to develop on this ahead. | Hostile US political, economic, and financial actions against China, Russia and Iran risk developing into something much more serious than already. | China is America's …

teleSUR (2018-12-26). Turkish Forces Bound for Kurdish-Held Territory in Syria. telesurenglish.net The Turkish government pledged it would enter the Kurdish-held territory in Syria, by crossing the Euphrates river. | RELATED: | Turkey Will Take Over Fight with IS After US Pulls Out of Syria | The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters his country is "determined" to carry out the move. | Both the United States and Turkey have traced a roadmap in Syrian which involves the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the town of Manbij. | "It is crucial that the U.S. doe…

Tony Cartalucci (2018-12-26). US Withdrawal from Syria Paves Way for Israeli Strikes. globalresearch.ca The US suddenly and unexpectedly announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria after years of illegally occupying the country. The US presence aimed at ousting the Syrian government, boosting militant groups the US and its partners have armed and …

Middle East Monitor (2018-12-26). Israel Preparing for Comprehensive War in Syria: Report. theantimedia.com (MEMO) — Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta said that Israel is preparing for a comprehensive war on Syria following the US' withdrawal from the country. The newspaper said that the decision of US President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from Syria has left Israel forced to face the Iranian presence in Syria with its troops alone. The newspaper quoted Israel's former defence …

Jason Ditz (2018-12-26). Mattis Signs Order to Withdraw US Troops From Syria. theantimedia.com (ANTIWAR.COM) — With just a week left before his new departure date, Defense Secretary James Mattis has signed the official order to withdraw US troops from Syria. Mattis had opposed the withdrawal, and it is seen as a major reason for his resignation. The withdrawal will see some 2,000 US troops removed from Syria, a plan announced …

Zero Hedge (2018-12-26). Iran To "Build A Force Of 100,000 Ground Troops" In Syria, Claims Israeli Defense Chief. iranian.com Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to intensify military action in Syria after the White House's order for all US troops to pullout out of the country — expected to be complete within months — and now Israel's outgoing defense chief, Gadi Eisenkot, has revealed more details of what's driving Israel's thinking. Gen. Eisenkot, who is set to complete his four-year tenure next month, warned […]

Middle East Eye (2018-12-26). Syrian Army Downs Missiles From Israeli Air Strike, State Media Says. iranian.com An arms depot was hit and three soldiers were injured due to the attack, which was launched from Lebanon's airspace, state media said Syrian air defences on Tuesday confronted Israeli missiles above Damascus and downed most of them before reaching their targets, state TV quoted a military source as saying. "Our air defences confronted hostile […]

RFE (2018-12-26). Iran's Judiciary Signals A Less Restrictive Position On Women Attending Men's Sports. iranian.com The deputy head of Iran's judiciary says women can be allowed to go to stadiums to watch men's sports if certain "conditions" are met. "Women attending matches at the sports arenas, is not a problem, per se," says mid-ranking cleric Hadi Sadeqi, adding, "They are allowed to go to sports arenas, as men are, provided […]

ACLU (2018-12-26). Congress Is Trying to Use the Spending Bill to Criminalize Boycotts of Israel. indybay.org According to recent reports, congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle are planning to sneak a bill criminalizing politically motivated boycotts of Israel into the end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill.

amnesty (2018-12-26). China: Trial of lawyer Wang Quanzhang a "cruel charade" amnesty.org The trial of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang is a cruel charade and he should be immediately and unconditionally released, Amnesty International said. | Wang is one of the few lawyers still held in detention after the Chinese government's mass crackdown in 2015, which targeted nearly 250 lawyers and activists. He is on trial at the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People's Court accused of "subverting state power," which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. | "This is a sham trial in which Wang Quanzhang is being persecuted only for peacefully defending human rights," said Doriane Lau, C…

STAFF (2018-12-25). Jets Fire Missiles at Damascus Area; Israel Said to Target Hezbollah. truthdig.com Warplanes over Lebanon shoot missiles at targets near the Syrian capital. Observers say Israeli airstrikes aimed to destroy arms depots.

Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J. S. Davies (2018-12-25). Bring the Troops Home, But Also Stop the Bombing. counterpunch.org As our nation debates the merits of President Trump's call for withdrawing US troops from Syria and Afghanistan, absent from the debate is the more pernicious aspect of US military involvement overseas: its air wars. Trump's announcement and General Mattis' resignation should unleash a national discussion about US involvement in overseas conflicts, but no evaluation More

teleSUR (2018-12-25). Libya: 3 Dead and 6 Injured in Attack on Foreign Ministry. telesurenglish.net On Tuesday, suicide bombers targeted the foreign ministry of Libya killing at least three people and injuring six. | RELATED: | UN Security Council Extends Sanctions on Libya Until 2020 | Smokestacks rose from the building where multiple bomb attacks were carried out. | RELATED | Libya: Fezzan Movement Threatens Shutdown of Largest Oilfield | Two of the pe…

Medea Benjamin (2018-12-25). Bring the Troops Home, But Also Stop the Bombing. zcomm.org As our nation debates the merits of President Trump's call for withdrawing US troops from Syria and Afghanistan, absent from the debate is the more pernicious aspect of US military involvement overseas: its air wars. Trump's announcement and General Mattis' resignation should unleash a national discussion about US involvement in overseas conflicts, but no evaluation Read more…

Middle East Monitor (2018-12-25). Ex-Israel PM: Netanyahu Not Fit To Remain Prime Minister. iranian.com Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak said yesterday that Benjamin Netanyahu is not fit to continue to serve in his position as prime minister, Quds Press reported. "Netanyahu cannot concentrate on anything and does not remember whether his wife was in Nicaragua or Guatemala," Barak said. "Netanyahu is no more trusted." He added: "Netanyahu's role is to […]

Juan Cole (2018-12-25). Christmas And Sufism: Rumi On The Nativity And The Christ Within. iranian.com The great medieval Muslim mystic and poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273), interpreted the birth of Jesus as an allegory of the soul. Rumi was born in Balkh in northern Afghanistan, but his family fled the Mongol invasions and settled in Konya in what is now Turkey. Rumi was a refugee child. Anatolia had been Byzantine territory and […]

RT (2018-12-25). 'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'. rt.com The US is trying to send a message to Tehran, with its aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, that even though it is leaving Syria, this doesn't mean lifting any pressure on Iran, professor of political science Hamed Mousavi said.

The Intercept (2018-12-25). The Double Games of Foes and Friends: The Intercept's 2018 National Security Coverage. theintercept.com From government eavesdropping on private citizens to revelatory details about Russian interference in the 2016 election to Washington's draconian efforts to track and punish whistleblowers and journalists, surveillance and spying have been recurring themes this year. Influence-peddling has been rampant, with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies cozying up to the Trump administration in exchange for insider information, freedom to silence dissidents, and crucial assistance for their brutal war in Yemen. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has been up to its old tricks, honoring war criminals and promoting a notorious over…

Fight Back (2018-12-24). Israel tries to wreck Christmas for Palestinians. fightbacknews.org Minneapolis, MN — The Ma'an press agency is reporting, December 23, that once again Israeli authorities are refusing to give Palestinian Christians in Gaza travel permits that would allow them to celebrate Christmas with loved ones in other parts of Palestine, or to visit Bethlehem. | The Ma'an article states "The Israeli occupation annually obstructs the travel of Palestinian Christians from Gaza to Bethlehem and Jerusalem to attend Christmas celebrations and be reunited with their families in the occupied West Bank." | In a related development, Israeli troops shot and killed four demonstrators in Gaza, Fr…

Democracy Now! (2018-12-24). Angela Davis on Running from the FBI, Lessons from Prison and How Aretha Franklin Got Her Free. democracynow.org For more than four decades, Davis has been one of most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States. An icon of the black liberation movement, Davis's work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. She is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a prisoner and fugitive on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list more than 40 years ago. Once caught, she faced the death penalty in California. After being acquitted, she has spent her life fighting to change the criminal justic…

Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J. S. Davies (2018-12-24). Bring the Troops Home, But Also Stop the Bombing. commondreams.org As our nation debates the merits of President Donald Trump's call for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, absent from the debate is the more pernicious aspect of U.S. military involvement overseas: its air wars. Trump's announcement and General James Mattis' resignation should unleash a national discussion about U.S. involvement in overseas conflicts, but no evaluation can be meaningful without a clear understanding of the violence that U.S air wars have unleashed on the rest of the world for the past 17 years.

Siona Peterous (2018-12-24). How Activists Are Moving the Dial on Student Loan Debt. commondreams.org The national conversation has come a long way in the years since activists started pushing the issue of student debt during the 2008 recession.

South Front (2018-12-24). France Plans to Replace the US in Syria, Alongside Proxy Forces from Saudi Arabia and UAE. globalresearch.ca Syrian government and pro-Iranian sources have increased their activity in the eastern part of Syria in response to the announced decision of the US administration to withdraw troops from the country. | On December 22, a spokesperson for Iraq's Kata'ib Hezbollah, …

Kevin Zeese (2018-12-24). Hands Off Syria: We Can End The US War On Syria. globalresearch.ca The US war against Syria was one that people almost stopped. President Obama was unable to get Congress to authorize the war in 2013, but the Pentagon and foreign policy establishment, who have long wanted to control Syria, pushed forward …

Alan Macleod (2018-12-24). Our Poor, Defenseless Military Industrial Complex. theantimedia.com (FAIR) — It is a sign of our times that our media attempt to decipher future government policy by analyzing the president's tweets, like some bizarre game of telephone. Throughout November, there was speculation of a coming reduction in military spending, and when Donald Trump took to Twitter (12/3/18) to describe the $716 billion budget as "crazy," media took …

Jessica Corbett, staff writer (2018-12-24). Watch: Doc Follows Six Activists Facing Felonies for Exposing Animal Cruelty at Utah Factory Farms. commondreams.org A documentary published Sunday by The Intercept follows the story of six animal rights activists with the group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) who are facing felony charges—which could result in decades behind bars—for rescuing sickly animals from two factory farms in Utah. | www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files…

The Iranian (2018-12-24). Turkish President Erdogan Slams Netanyahu On Twitter. iranian.com Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a new war of words, with the two heads trading insults again on Sunday. Erdogan slammed Netanyahu as an "oppressor", following the Israeli Prime Minister's claim that he had massacred Kurds. "You are an oppressor, cruel and at the head of state terror," […]

Patrick Cockburn (2018-12-24). Trump's Syria Withdrawal Is A Simple Case Of Foreign Policy Realism. iranian.com President Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is being denounced by an impressive range of critics claiming that it is a surrender to Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran — as well as a betrayal of the Kurds and a victory for Isis. The pullout may be one or all of these things, but […]

M. K. Bhadrakumar (2018-12-24). Why Mattis' Exit Is A Defining Moment In US Foreign Policy. iranian.com Within the week, President Trump's sudden announcement of "total" troop withdrawal from Syria has ripped apart the American political system and exposed its fault lines. Trump's decision is intrinsically a sound one. He didn't start the Syrian conflict and he has been on record repeatedly that the US had no business to intervene in it militarily. But […]

Juan Cole (2018-12-24). With Trump Leaving, Syrian Kurds Seeking Support Of Damascus, Moscow Against Turkey. iranian.com Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned on Thursday in part because he felt his president was violating the code of the Marines, that no man should be left behind. In abruptly pulling out of Syria, Trump was abandoning the Syrian Kurds, the only allies the US could find in the Middle East against ISIL. The […]

Tehran Times (2018-12-24). Uh-Oh, 65% Of Iranian Population Overweight, Obese. iranian.com Obesity and overweight have affected about 65 percent of the country's population, while physical inactivity is the main reason behind, the Health Ministry's director for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has said. Over 55 percent of the population are physically inactive, which means not having at least 150 minutes of physical activity during the week, ISNA quoted […]

Shared by Jocelyn Dombroski (2018-12-24). Dem. Rep. of Congo Postpones Election While US Props up President Kabila. therealnews.com After 58 years of repression, the battle for democracy picks up in the DRC, while PResident Joseph Kabila continues to enjoy unquestioned support from the US and has an Israeli security company working for him. We speak to Maurice Carney

amnesty (2018-12-24). Russian Federation: The Network case, shrouded in secrecy and marred by numerous torture allegations. amnesty.org Amnesty International is concerned about the ongoing prosecution of at least 10 young men from Penza and St Petersburg, mostly left-wing political activists describing themselves as antifascists and anarchists, in connection with the so called "Network" (Set') case. It is particularly concerning that the complaints, made by several of the co-accused, about torture and other ill-treatment allegedly being used to extract "confessions", are not being investigated effectively.

RT (2018-12-24). Rand Paul owns warmongers in epic 'Festivus Twitterstorm'. rt.com Taking a break from the busy legislative season, US Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) had a field day on Twitter, roasting President Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham and John Bolton among others.

RT (2018-12-24). Is new acting Pentagon boss a 'fox in henhouse' or easily bullied yes-man? rt.com Patrick Shanahan will become acting defense secretary as of January 1, after President Donald Trump hastened the departure of Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis over the Syria withdrawal. But who is the former Boeing executive?

WSWS (2018-12-24). European powers condemn Trump's withdrawal from Syria. wsws.org Trump's planned withdrawal of US troops from Syria and the subsequent resignation of defence secretary James Mattis have provoked a fierce response from European leaders.

Jason Ditz (2018-12-23). Democrats and Republicans Unite in Panic Over Syria Pullout, Afghanistan Drawdown. theantimedia.com (ANTIWAR.COM) — Open-ended war continuation has so much momentum in the US that President Trump's announced pullout from Syria shocked the nation. Followed up the same week with a drawdown from Afghanistan, the mainstream is now completely apoplectic. On the left and right, comfort with the status quo was virtually uniform. The arguments behind condemning the drawdowns vary …

Middle East Eye (2018-12-23). Turkey Bolsters Troop Levels in Syria, Threatens to Eliminate Syrian Kurds. theantimedia.com (MEE) — Turkey on Saturday sent military reinforcements to northern Syria near an area controlled by Kurdish forces as Ankara threatens to carry out a fresh offensive to wipe them out, a war monitor said. The move comes after US President Donald Trump's surprise announcement on Wednesday of the withdrawal of American troops stationed in northeastern Syria …

Caitlin Johnstone (2018-12-23). Endless War Has Been Normalized and Everyone Is Crazy. theantimedia.com (CJ Opinion) — Since I last wrote about the bipartisan shrieking, hysterical reaction to Trump's planned military withdrawal from Syria the other day, it hasn't gotten better, it's gotten worse. I'm having a hard time even picking out individual bits of the collective freakout from the political/media class to point at, because doing so would diminish the frenetic white …

Philip Giraldi (2018-12-23). Why The United States Has Not Won A Real War Since 1945. iranian.com If anyone is still wondering why the United States has not won a real war since 1945, I offer up the example of retired U.S. Army Colonel Wes Martin (pictured above), who writes for Town Hall and reportedly also has appeared as an expert commentator on Fox. Town Hall is a purveyor of a certain type of "American conservatism." It […]

Caitlin Johnstone (2018-12-23). Endless War Has Been Normalized And Everyone Is Crazy. iranian.com Since I last wrote about the bipartisan shrieking, hysterical reaction to Trump's planned military withdrawal from Syria the other day, it hasn't gotten better, it's gotten worse. I'm having a hard time even picking out individual bits of the collective freakout from the political/media class to point at, because doing so would diminish the frenetic white noise […]

Mehr News (2018-12-23). India To Continue Iranian Oil Imports Via Rupees. iranian.com India's ambassador Saurabh Kumar said on Saturday that his country will continue importing Iranian oil with the help of the new payment mechanism agreed between the two sides. Kumar told ISNA that India's oil imports from the Islamic Republic has not been cut, and the country has been purchasing an average of 1.25 million tons […]

Shared by Jocelyn Dombroski (2018-12-23). The Real Problem Is the US-Saudi Relationship, Not Just Crown Prince MBS. therealnews.com Peace activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK says US support for the Saudi monarchy must be fundamentally challenged. Some American officials want a cosmetic change, simply replacing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but the problem runs much deeper

RT (2018-12-23). Trump says anyone else but himself would be media's 'hero' for Syria withdrawal. rt.com US President Donald Trump has complained that he receives the wrong kind of special treatment from the mainstream media. Anybody else, he says, would be hailed a hero for pulling 2,000 US troops out of the war in Syria.

Clio Chang (2018-12-23). Major Liberal Groups Sat on Sidelines as Senate Passed Historic Resolution on Yemen War. theintercept.com The Senate vote this month to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen marked a historic break from a bipartisan embrace of a pro-war foreign policy, yet it was accomplished without strong backing from Washington's liberal foreign policy infrastructure. | The resolution, co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., invokes the rights laid out in the War Powers Act of 1973 that assert Congress's authority over war, and it was the result of many months of work by a coalition of progressive activists and anti-war lawmakers. The war is Saudi-led, but the U.S. has provided cri…

Leighton Akio Woodhouse (2018-12-23). They Rescued Pigs and Turkeys From Factory Farms — and Now Face Decades in Prison. theintercept.com In the fall of 2017, Glenn Greenwald reported on a nationwide FBI manhunt for two pigs named Lily and Lizzie. The pigs had been removed from a factory farm in Utah by animal rights activists from a group called Direct Action Everywhere. From the perspective of the activists, the pigs were rescued. From the perspective of Smithfield Farms, the Chinese-owned multinational corporation that owns the factory farm, they were stolen. | Direct Action Everywhere, also known as DxE, engages in a practice calle…

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