Voices from Russia

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Patriarch Youhanna of Antioch Held a Vigil in Lebanon for Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops

01 Arab Orthodox in Beit Jala

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On Saturday, Christians in Lebanon held a candlelit vigil for two archbishops captured in Syria in April, appealing to their kidnappers to free them and urging Syrian security forces to do more to win their release. Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna al-Yazigi of Antioch and all the East led around 300 people in the vigil near the Lebanese city of Tripoli to call for the release of his brother, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos al-Yazigi, and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim. The archbishops, seized near Aleppo on 22 April, are the most senior church figures caught up in the battle between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s forces and the mainly-Sunni Muslim rebels trying to overthrow him. Patriarch Youhanna said, “It hurts our soul to see what is happening in our homeland”. The Syrian Civil War has killed 93,000 people, driven 1.6 million refugees abroad, and left many more homeless inside Syria. Many Christians feel vulnerable to the sectarian dynamic of the conflict, with hardline Islamist brigades becoming increasingly-powerful in the rebel ranks. Syrian authorities blamed the abduction on a “terrorist group”, the label they usually give to the rebels, but opposition fighters in Aleppo denied they’d kidnapped the archbishops. Patriarch Youhanna said that he appreciated the efforts of Syrian security services to free the clerics, saying, “However, we nevertheless wonder about their inability in this regard. Are they really incapable of doing anything?”

22 June 2013

Dominic Evans

Reuters

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/patriarch-leads-candlelit-vigil-syrias-kidnapped-bishops-184550955.html

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Orthodox priest attacked in Libya

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Archimandrite Joachim of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and all Africa was attacked at St George Church in Tripoli, its parishioners are Greeks and CIS citizens. An unknown gunmen fired at the priest when the latter was standing in the churchyard, but he wasn’t wounded. Greek and Cypriot diplomats issued a protest to the Libyan government over the incident.

5 May 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_05_05/73883379/

Editor’s Note:

The neocon Republicans and Interventionist Democrats cream their jeans over the new Libyan government. Actually, the place has descended into anarchy, which suits the Western multinational corporations just fine. You see, the money that Gaddafi “wasted” on social programmes will now flow into the already-swollen coffers of the McMansion dwellers. Isn’t that SPECIAL? Who cares if they shoot at priests? The money’s flowing to the RIGHT PEOPLE now… THAT’S what important. I observe that the inordinate cost of the attempt by the American political/economic ruling element at enforcing global hegemony by the multinational oligarchs has bankrupted the nation… it has crippled it for the next generation, at least (if not more… Reaganite voodoo economics sucked away at the substance of the economy). Those McMansions bear a very dear price tag, indeed… borne by the ordinary sloggers out there, not by the snotty affluent effluent filth who inhabit them. God DOES see and He SHALL judge.

If you vote for the Republicans, you vote for greed, torture, “the survival of the fittest”, and no regulation upon the most feral amongst us… Remember their motto… “Be silent, you ungrateful bastard, or you’ll find out what the Patriot Act‘s REALLY all about…”

The Nazis, at least, took care of the German working class (there’s no Tea Party equivalent of KdF)… the American Republicans do NOT… draw your own conclusions.

BMD

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Libya: A Failed State? An Interview with Charles Heyman, Chief Analyst With armedforces.co.uk.

THIS is what the West brought Libya… I think that Syrians don’t want such “liberty”… would you? “Might makes right”… that’s the motto of the Neoliberal West… I don’t think that’s very Christian at all, is it? If this is what the American Enterprise Institute supports throughout the world (and it does), why did JP speak there?

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Charles Heyman

The country does appear to be in desperate stress and, if we aren’t careful, Libya could become a failed state within the next year or so. I’ve been speaking to quite a lot of Libyans who come to London and the situation that they describe on the ground in Libya is really difficult, there’s no doubt about that. This latest move in the east of the country to declare itself semi-autonomous really does suggest that the country is in danger of breaking up.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Is there something we can already describe as a civil war going on or is it just instances of some kind of militant insurgency? What is it?

Charles Heyman

What’s going on really is that Libya’s breaking down into tribal units. The tribes are still very important in Libya; each tribe controls its own particular area in most cases, and it doesn’t want a very strong central authority. The tribes are administering their own areas and, of course, that means that there’s a whole raft of problems being thrown up with tribes actually beginning now to fight each other over particular sort of things left over from the Gaddafi regime which they want to appropriate for themselves.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Do I get it right that the power of the Central Government is nonexistent?

Charles Heyman

It’s as good as nonexistent. It seems to exist in the Tripoli area, but really nowhere else, I mean people decide whether they are going to obey them or whether they aren’t going to obey them. At this moment, the Central Government doesn’t have the army and the police it needs to make sure that its will is obeyed throughout the country. So, the Central Government’s in control only in the Tripoli area. The Central Government isn’t even in control of Tripoli airport, as far as I can make out, for the airport’s in control of what we call the Zintan militia. Besides that, various militias around Tripoli itself control various areas on the outskirts.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

What about Benghazi?

Charles Heyman

Benghazi’s a different scenario and it always has been, even in the days of the Gaddafi régime. Historically, Libya was three different countries, we had the Fezzan in the south, we had Tripolitania, the area out to the west towards the Egyptian border, and Cyrenaica around Benghazi. So, it’s beginning to revert to three almost-independent entities again. It’s possible, in the longer term, that the best scenario is probably a federal arrangement in Libya, to keep some form of the Libyan national state together. However, as things are going at the moment, that’s probably unlikely and the situation seems to be getting worse by the day.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Now, Libya seems to be a vast armaments market. So, do I get it right that arms are still being supplied and getting into the country?

Charles Heyman

Well, as far as I can make out, it isn’t that arms are coming into the country; it’s that arms are going out of the country.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Oh, really?

Charles Heyman

Various militias have seized a lot of the arms, there are huge stockpiles of arms from the Gaddafi era, and they’re selling them worldwide, making large profits for arms dealers who are in league with the Libyans themselves. Of course, some of those weapons are getting into Syria and arming the opposition. However, in the longer term, a lot of this has to be modernised, and, of course, the arms dealers are banging on the doors of the Libyan Transitional Government in Tripoli saying, “We can give you all the modern weapons you want once you’ve got enough money and once the situation’s calmed down”. So, there’s a lot of people who’re trying to get in on arms deals with the Libyan Government for the future, but for now, a lot of older Libyan weapons from the Gaddafi era are being sold throughout the world.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Some militant groups or Islamist groups in neighbouring countries, like those in Nigeria, also seem to draw inspiration from the developments in Libya, and they’re becoming increasingly active in those countries.

Charles Heyman

Well, I think that there’s some truth in that. Certainly, what’s happened in Libya inspired a lot of people, especially the fundamentalist factions, and they believe that it’s easy to take down a state. In Libya, you see some instances now of fundamentalism breaking through, and I think it’s almost certain that’s somewhat encouraging to other fundamentalist groups throughout the region. How far that encouragement goes is a little bit early to tell, but that’s what the suspicion is, and the suspicion is that some of the fundamentalist groups allied to al-Qaeda are actually benefiting now in Libya from the breakdown of law and order.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Doesn’t it resemble the situation in Iraq?

Charles Heyman

It’s different from the situation in Iraq.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

How different?

Charles Heyman

It is very, very different because in Iraq there’s a huge SunniShia split, whereas in Libya most of the population are Sunnis of one persuasion or another, but, you know, just because they’re Sunni it doesn’t mean that everybody thinks exactly  the same way and follow exactly the same policies. That’s one of the reasons for difference. Besides, I think the tribal aspect in Libya’s far stronger than it is in Iraq. What you’re seeing is a huge upsurge in the power of the twelve really, really important tribes in Libya.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Which means that I must’ve been mislead by some seeming outward resemblances, because Iraq seems to be falling into three parts, too, and it also seems the consequence of external invasion.

Charles Heyman

Absolutely. In Iraq, we see the direct consequences of an external invasion, whereas, of course, in the first place, Libya had a home-grown insurgency, which was aided by NATO air power. So, I’d hesitate to say that what we had in Libya was a foreign invasion, certainly, there was a lot of foreign interference, but it was a home-grown insurgency, started in Libya, and it had a lot of support in Libya. So, I think, you know, its right to point out that there are some similarities between Iraq and Libya, but Libya’s different in a number of other ways.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Could we compare the actual situation in Libya to the potential situation in Syria?

Charles Heyman

I think there are far more similarities between Libya and Syria, than there are with Libya and Iraq. Syria’s probably different because I think that Assad’s government has more support than Gaddafi’s Government probably did. There’s no doubt that Assad’s régime survives because it still has considerable support in the country and I suspect it has more support than the rebel factions do, although it’s very, very difficult to tell. It’s been more successful in clearing some areas of insurgency than the Gaddafi régime was. However, of course, the Gaddafi régime had NATO air power pounding its military assets all the time. Assad hasn’t got the problem of being attacked by NATO airpower. So, the chances are much higher that the Assad régime will survive.

Yekaterina Kudashkina

So, generally speaking, the situation in the region does seem to be extremely volatile, doesn’t it?

Charles Heyman

It could be cataclysmic, certainly for the West, for northern Europeans, and for NATO as well.

9 March 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_03_09/67929820/

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Russia to Push Syria towards Government Reform

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On Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) said that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Mikhail Fradkov intend to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to launch democratic reforms to stabilise the situation in the riot-hit Middle Eastern country. The statement came as Lavrov and Fradkov are going to Damascus to hold talks with the Syrian president on 7 February, after Russia and China blocked a Morocco-proposed draft resolution on Syria that called on al-Assad to step down. In a statement, the MID said, “Russia, acting in concert with other countries, is firmly set upon seeking the quickest stabilisation of the situation in Syria along the paths of a quick implementation of long-overdue democratic transformations. For this purpose, on instruction of President Dmitri Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Mikhail Fradkov will visit Damascus on 7 February to meet with President Bashar al-Assad. We hope that during the expected discussion of the Syrian issue at the upcoming meeting of the League of Arab States Council of Foreign Ministers that they’ll take a decision in the interests of the current moment to extend the Arab observer mission, which has proven efficiency as a factor in the de-escalation of violence”.

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On Sunday, several dozen Syrian protesters stormed the Russian embassy in Libyan capital of Tripoli, a day after Russia and China blocked a UN resolution on Syrian crisis. According to witnesses, several dozen protesters, condemning the Russian and Chinese decision to block a UN resolution against Syria, climbed onto the roof of the embassy, and desecrated a Russian flag. A witness of the protest told RIA-Novosti, “It wasn’t the first protest near the embassy, but the previous ones were peaceful in nature. However, this time, people were very aggressive”. The MID reported that no one, including Russian diplomats, was injured in the attack, saying, “The Libyan authorities have expressed their apologies and assured us that the incident would be thoroughly investigated and that security would be provided to our diplomatic mission in Tripoli”.

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On Sunday, the newspaper La Libre Belgique quoted Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders as saying that the EU may introduce a new package of sanctions against Syria. Reynders said, “Belgium would actively contribute to this process (preparation and adoption of sanctions) together with its European partners”. On 23 January, the EU adopted its latest sanctions against Syria, they target 22 top Syrian officials and eight companies with a ban on travel to the EU and a freeze on their assets in Europe. Reynders’s statement comes as the “international community” tightened its pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who’s believed to be behind the brutal crackdown on the opposition.

 5 February 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120205/171158189.html

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120205/171160983.html

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120205/171162539.html

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