Iran, China Conduct Joint Naval Drills

Last summer, when the Syrian conflict was near its peak under the Obama administration, China unexpectedly warned it was ready to enter the proxy war when in a stunning announcement, Xinhua reported that Beijing was prepared to side with Syria and Russia, against the US-led alliance, and that Xi and Assad had agreed that the Chinese military will have closer ties with Syria and provide humanitarian aid to the civil war torn nation.

A high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer also said that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed: the Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua added. Guan said China had consistently played a positive role in pushing for a political resolution in Syria. “China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Xinhua quoted Guan. Continue reading

U.S. Position in the Middle East Continues to Decline

While President Barack Obama and his would-be successor Hillary Clinton try to convince the American people that everything is fine in regards to the U.S. position in the world and the security of the nation; foreign adversaries are celebrating what they see as the country’s decline. For example, an August 18 editorial in Global Times, the official media outlet of China’s ruling Communist Party, proclaimed “US suffers new setback in Middle East.” The column hailed its axis partner Russia for basing long-range bombers in Iran to attack targets in Syria in support of the regime of Bashar Assad. It is official Washington policy to remove Assad from power to end Syria’s civil war, but Russian and Iranian military intervention has thwarted the half-hearted, slow-motion effort of the Obama administration to aid the Sunni rebels. “More sadly for Washington” continues the Chinese editorial, “Iraq also consented to the passing-through of Russian military aircraft under some symbolic limits.” This is not surprising given that U.S. policy has allowed Baghdad to become a Shiite satrap of Iran. Though this error goes back to the Bush administration, Obama’s withdrawal of all American troops in 2011 allowed the Iraq regime to openly embrace Tehran. Continue reading

China Says Seeks Closer Military Ties With Syria

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Guan Youfei on April 7, 2014 / A

 

BEIJING (Reuters)–China wants to have closer military ties with Syria, state media on Tuesday cited a senior Chinese officer as saying during a rare visit to the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

Guan Youfei, director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, met Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij in Damascus, China’s Xinhua state news agency said. Continue reading

Hunt for Assad is on amid claims of wife Asma’s exit to Russia

President allays injury suspicions with TV appearance to swear in Defence Minister

Rumours about the location of the royal couple were rife yesterday with unverified reports claiming that President Bashar al-Assad had fled to safety in the coastal province of Latakia while his glamorous British-born wife left for Russia.

Although the president made a brief appearance on state television yesterday to swear in his new Defence Minister, Fahad Jassim al-Freij, whose predecessor was killed in the Damascus blast that took out several top regime officials, state television did not say where or when the footage was filmed.

The president’s first public appearance since the attack will, however, allay suspicions that the president was himself injured.

Opposition sources and a Western diplomat told Reuters that the president was directing the official response to the assassinations from Latakia, the heartland for the Alawite sect to which the ruling family belongs. The Assad clan hails from the provincial town of Qardaha which perches on a hill above Latakia city.

Assad’s mother Anisa Makhlouf and his newly widowed sister Bushra travelled with the body of his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat to Latakia last night on a private jet, according to a Free Syrian Army source who said the group had “insiders” informing them of the ruling family’s movements.

The same source said that Assad had been injured – but in an attack earlier on Wednesday and not the blast at the national security centre.

“The president was in Al Shaab Palace in Damascus and there was a warning at 3.30am and they decided to move him,” the source said. “As they moved, the Free Syrian Army was striking the area with mortars and one hit the cars. He only had small injuries.”

The Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Riyad Haddad, told Russian news agency Interfax that reports that the First Lady Asma al-Assad, had fled there were “completely false”.

Full article: Hunt for Assad is on amid claims of wife Asma’s exit to Russia (The Independant)