Zhang Ziyi (Chicom) aka Jiao Long in "Wo hu cang long (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2000)" aka Moon in "Ying xiong (Hero 2002)" aka Xiao Mei in "Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers 2004)" aka Hu Li in "Rush Hour 2 (2001)" aka Sayuri in "Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)" (age 33)
[Pak Daily Times] Somali piracy cost the world nearly $7 billion in 2011, including more than $2 billion for military operations, armed guards and equipment to protect ships, a monitoring group said on Wednesday. The US-based Oceans Beyond Piracy said 80 percent of the cost is borne by the shipping industry with the remainder covered by governments. It said the most notable cost was $2.7 billion in fuel to allow ships to travel at higher speeds through high-risk areas, followed by $1.3 billion for military operations and $1.1 billion for armed guards and security equipment. Another $635 million are attributed to insurance, $486-680 million are spent on re-routing vessels along the west coast of India, and $195 million on increased labour costs and danger pay for seafarers, it said.
A cost shared by taxpayers (for the military ops), insurance policyholders (and increased premiums to cover the rising costs of piracy claims), and consumers who pay higher prices on goods that now cost more to transport.
Posted by: American Delight ||
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] A jacket wallah killed at least 11 people Wednesday in the war-torn Somali capital Mogadishu when he detonated an explosive-laden vehicle near the presidential palace, officials said.
"There was a heavy kaboom, a car full of explosives exploded. At least 11 people were killed and a greater number were maimed," politician Mohamed Iro said.
The bomber detonated the vehicle at a small cafe where people had gathered to drink tea, a spot also close to a hotel once popular with officials and located in the heart of the government quarter.
"It was a suicide bomber in a car -- they were trying to target the people near the hotel," said Abdi Abullahi Jama, a security official.
"There are many people dead and many maimed, we are still investigating."
The blast occurred outside the Mona hotel, where 32 people including six members of parliament were killed in an August 2010 attack by two Islamist suicide gunnies wearing government security uniforms.
No group immediately grabbed credit for Wednesday's attack, the latest in a string of blasts including roadside kabooms and grenade kabooms that have rocked the Somali capital in recent months.
The city has seen an increase in such attacks since the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab abandoned fixed positions there in August and switched to guerrilla tactics against the Western-backed government and African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... troops.
[Yemen Post] Fierce festivities continued on Tuesday between al-Qaeda faceless myrmidons and army troopers in the southern trouble-torn province of Abyan, leaving at least four killed.
Al-Qaeda faceless myrmidons carried out an offensive on an army unit stationed in Abyan's bustling provincial capital of Zinjubar, however, the army managed to repel the attack and incur al-Qaeda great losses, military source told Yemen Post, requesting anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
The army used heavy weapons in the festivities, including artillery and tanks, the source added.
The initial accounts indicate that at least 3 faceless myrmidons were killed in the festivities, but locals assert that Yesterday's corpse count is much more.
Al-Qaeda has strengthened its foothold in the southern provinces of the fragmented-state, apparently taking advantage of the distracted government.
Elsewhere, an army trooper was killed and another badly maimed in a passerby shooting by al-Qaeda faceless myrmidons in the southern Province of Lahj.
[Yemen Post] Three al-Qaeda inmates managed to escape the central prison in the southern trouble-torn province of Abyan.
Of course. Prisons in that part of the world are for escaping from.
Three inmates placed in durance vile on charges of having links to the terror network of al-Qaeda managed on Monday to break out of Lawdar prison in Abyan, local source told Yemen Post.
One of the inmates was badly maimed as the prison security guards fired on them to prevent them from escaping, the source added.
Parliamentary Mediation Committee has been formed to broker a ceasefire between the bully boyz and the army troopers.
On Monday, al-Qaeda followers have submitted their demands to the Committee, including withdrawing the army personnel and vehicles to barracks and establish a local rule in the province based on Islamic teachings, which the army considered unachievable.
A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a house in Pakistan's northwest tribal region Thursday, killing five suspected militants, intelligence officials said. The Taliban identified one of them as a number three prominent commander who has served as a key link to al-Qaida. I wonder if he was followed from the site of yesterday's Zap. And who is being followed from today's zap...
The commander, Badar Mansoor, led a group of over 200 Pakistani Taliban fighters in the North Waziristan tribal area, the main sanctuary for militants in Pakistan, said a fellow insurgent. Do we have any significant events associated with this Mansoor guy? One never quite knows whether these purported Taliban confirmations of death are real Taliban, real death, or red herring, but might want to let the accordian player know she should warm up.
Bill Roggio has now answered some of my questions:
Mansoor is known to run terrorist camps in North Waziristan that are used to train fighters to wage jihad in Afghanistan. He is also said to be the mastermind of the May 2010 suicide assault on an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore that killed scores of Pakistanis, as well as several attacks in Karachi.
Mansoor was the "de facto leader of al Qaeda in Pakistan," a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP. A US intelligence official described Mansoor as "al Qaeda's go-between with Pakistan's umbrella Taliban movement and a member of al Qaeda's leadership shura [council] in Pakistan."
"Badar Mansoor had moved between the militant groups of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda where he became a key figure," according to a report in the BBC.
[Pak Daily Times] Two Khasadar Force officials were killed and another was injured when an kaboom took place during routine patrolling in the Safi Tehsil of Mohmand ... Named for the Mohmand clan of the Sarban Pahstuns, a truculent, quarrelsome lot. In Pakistain, the Mohmands infest their eponymous Agency, metastasizing as far as the plains of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar, Charsadda, and Mardan. Mohmands are also scattered throughout Pakistan in urban areas including Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta. In Afghanistan they are mainly found in Nangarhar and Kunar... Agency, officials said. The official sources said that two men who were killed were part of the Khasadar Force who were on routine patrolling in the Alenger area. The injured was shifted to a hospital. The kaboom seemed to be the result of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The Safi Tehsil was considered to be the homeland of the Taliban in Mohmand Agency prior to the security forces operation that cleared the area.
A US drone aircraft killed 10 suspected gun-hung tough guys in the North Wazoo region near the Afghanistan border on Wednesday, security officials and residents said, the fifth such strike this year.
A drone fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a terror hideout in Thapi village, 15 kilometres east of Miranshah ... headquarters of al-Qaeda in Pakistain and likely location of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Haqqani network has established a ministate in centered on the town with courts, tax offices and lots of madrassas... . The building was completely destroyed and 10 suspected bad boyz were potted, security officials said.
"Almost all the men were burnt beyond recognition," a villager said after visiting the destroyed house. "Dozens of gun-hung tough guys arrived later and took over rescue work. They pulled out nine bodies," he said, requesting anonymity. Security officials and villagers said the dead included imported muscle, but they did not specify their nationalities.
The unacknowledged Central Intelligence Agency drone programme was apparently halted after a November NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants... air attack from across the Afghan border killed 24 Pak soldiers. The US resumed attacks with the missile-firing drones in northwest Pakistain on January 10.
While the Haqqani faction says it no longer needs a sanctuary in North Waziristan and has made enough battlefield gains in Afghanistan to stay there, it is known to still operate in the Pak border region.
A Pashtun tribal elder said gun-hung tough guys usually avoided gathering, limiting groups to three or four people to minimise losses in the event of a drone attack. But they had dropped their guard recently.
"It has been freezing cold in the last few days and then there were no drones for some time. That's why the gun-hung tough guys started living together and suffered heavy losses," the elder, who declined to be identified, told Rooters.
The use of the unmanned aircraft over Pakistain is opposed by most members of the public and Pak politicians, who regard the attacks as violations of illusory sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties.
[Pak Daily Times] Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam ...Assembly of Islamic Clergy, or JUI, is a Pak Deobandi (Hanafi) political party. There are two main branches, one led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, and one led by Maulana Samiul Haq. Fazl is active in Pak politix and Sami spends more time running his madrassah. Both branches sponsor branches of the Taliban, though with plausible deniability... -Ideological (JUI-I) central leader Maulana Abdul Ghani was bumped off in Nayabad area of Chaman on Wednesday. According to Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... Levies, Ghani was on his way home when unidentified gunnies riding a cycle of violence opened fire on him. An injured Ghani was admitted to the District Headquarters Hospital. He was later referred to a Quetta hospital where he succumbed to the injuries. A large number of party workers gathered and protested outside the hospital on receiving the news of Ghani's killing. The motive behind the killing had not been ascertained until the filing of this report, as no one had grabbed credit. Balochistan Levies started the paperwork but haven't done much else against the attackers and launched an investigation. Meanwhile, ...back at the chili cook-off, Chuck and Manuel's rivalry was entering a new and more dangerous phase... the JUI's Maulana Muhammad Hanif condemned the killing of Ghani and announced a shutter-down strike in Chaman today (Thursday). Ghani was assassinated as at least four people, including a child, were maimed in a hand grenade attack on Zarghoon Road area near the Saryab Bridge of the picturesque provincial capital on Wednesday. According to police, unidentified persons riding a bike hurled the grenade, injuring four passers-by and damaging three vehicles.
[Dawn] Local police rounded up 60 students, mostly Afghans, on suspicion of terror links during a raid on a religious seminary Tuesday morning and jugged them in the nearby Yakatoot cop shoppe. I thought Yakatoot was 20 minutes' flying time from Nome?
Dozens of irate students and teachers of the seminary later blocked the City Circular Road near Yakatoot cop shoppe but bravely ran away after police baton-charged and teargassed them to clear the road to the traffic.
Police said they raided Jamia Zubairia seminary near Science Superior College in Yakatoot area on a tip-off that some terror suspects had taken refuge there and placed in durance vile 60 students.
According to them, personnel of the city's different cop shoppes cordoned off the area during the raid to quell possible trouble.
A police official said the seminary raid was part of the investigation into the recent blasts and kidnappings for ransom in the city. He said the 'seminary operation' remained successful as many suspects, including Afghan nationals illegally living in the country, were taken into custody. The official said the placed in durance vile seminarians had been kept under surveillance.
As the news of the raid and arrests spread, locals and families of the jugged seminarians showed up.
Along with other students and teachers, they later blocked the City Circular Road near the cop shoppe, where detainees were kept, and linked their dispersal to release of 'innocent children' amidst sloganeering against police and the government.
They claimed that police had denied food and water to the captured seminarians in illegal confinement.
A protestor said the detainees were aged between 10 and 15 years and had nothing to do with terrorism. Seminary teachers accused police of raiding the premises without prior notice.
"We will contact people at other seminaries and Wafaqul Madaris (a seminary watchdog) to take up the matter with the government," a teacher said.
As protestors blocked the road, a police inspector called in their representatives for dialogue but they refuse to show up and continued with the blockade demanding unconditional release of seminarians. Later, police baton charged and teargassed protestors, who decamped to clear the road.
[Dawn] Police registered cases against more than 200 protesters on Tuesday for blocking Hangu road at Muhammadzai area and damaging government property.
The protest was staged by students on Monday after arrest of a teacher of government high school in a terrorism case.
The protesting students, who were joined by residents of the area, had blocked Kohat-Hangu road five hours and burnt a police checkpost.
The protesters had damaged armoured personnel carrier of police and smashed windscreen of vehicles.
They also burnt the furniture of an under construction checkpost at Zawaki Banda and took away its doors and windows. A policeman was also injured in the incident.
The teacher was locked away for allegedly running a parallel policing system and attacking the alleged illegal occupants, belonging to Bezote tribe of adjacent Orakzai Agency ... crawling with holy men, home to Darra Adam Khel, the world's largest illegal arms bazaar. 14 distinct tribes of beturbanned primitives inhabit Orakzai agency's 1500 or so square kilometers... , of the village's land.
The highway, which was closed soon after the arrest of the teacher at 8am, was opened by the protesters after five hours following successful negotiations between the police and elders of the area.
The SHO of Cantt cop shoppe, Aqeeq Hussain, told Dawn that the locked away teacher, Azmat, was a runaway and his name was present in the list of wanted people.
He had been booked under sections 324,395,452,427, 148 and 149 of Pakistain Panel Code, registered on December 10, 2011.
Wanted on several planets, 'e wuz -- and not the nice ones..
He and other members of Muhammadzai Welfare Organisation had injured coppers, who asked them to surrender during patrolling of the area last year, he added.
[Dawn] Mansehra police have booked 12 holy men on charges of instigating people to create a law and order situation during Eid Miladun Nabi.
Police said FIR was lodged by SHO city police Mohammad Khursheed Tanoli after meetings of district coordination officer, district police officer and representatives of other law enforcement agencies the other day.
In the first information report, SHO Khursheed Tanoli stated that leaders of certain groups delivered hate speeches and instigated people to attack opponents on Karakoram Highway.
The FIR also revealed that one of the groups blocked KKH for over eight hours causing inconvenience and disturbance for passengers and other people at Ghazikot.
Maulana Faizul Bari, Maulana Abdul Munan, Maulana Shafiqueur Rehman and Maulana Aftab of Sunari Mosque group were booked under sections 341, 427, 147 and 149 of Pakistain Penal Code.
But, so far no arrests have been made.
While Umer Farooq Saeedi, Saleem Qadri, Maulana Habibul Malik, Maulana Qudratullah Qadri, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Salkheen, Nazar Shah and Mohammad Altaf of rival group were booked under sections 341, 147, and 149 of the PPC. But, so far no arrests have been made.
Meanwhile, ...back at the buffalo wallow, Tex and his new-found Indian friend were preparing a little surprise for the bandidos... DCO Mansehra imposed ban on use of loudspeakers except Azan and Friday sermons in the district.
A man was gunned down while having tea with his friends and a rubber tapper was murdered in an ambush in Narathiwat province on Tuesday morning.
Asi Masila, 39, was killed at a teashop in Narathiwat's Si Sakhon district. He was drinking tea with three friends when two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot at them with a 9 mm pistol and then fled. Asi was hit twice in the chest and died at the scene.
In Sungai Padi district, a rubber tapper was killed and his wife seriously wounded in an ambush early this morning.
Pol Lt Pongeke Chanta, duty officer at the local police station, led a team to the scene and reported finding the body of Witthaya Rattanakul, 53. He had been shot three times in the back and died on the spot. His wife, Wanna, took three bullets in her leg and hip and was taken to hospital.
Witnesses said that the couple were riding a motorcycle to their rubber farm on a rural road when gunmen hiding among the roadside trees fired on them with 9 mm handguns. The attackers then fled.
Police blamed both attacks on separatist terrorists militants.
Posted by: Frank G ||
"Disappearing these submarines" > OOOOOOOOO, well alrighty then, new "NIS" Episode on the USA Channeeel???
The SOKORS could achieve agz NOKOR's assets what the US did, or greater, ala "OP PRAYING MANTIS" iff only Seoul could be reassured a new + nuclear Korean War wouldn't begin.
* MY READ OF PERSIAN, SELJIK/SELJUK, NOW IRANIAN HISTOIRE' AGZ WESTERN POWERS = "STRATEGIC DEFENSIVE"-MINDED IRAN WILL SWEAt + WAIT-N-SEE FOR A TIME YET. The real crux is on the Bammer-led USA, i.e. how a "perfect storm" of National, Global econ woes + geopol obstuctions, etc. will pressure the US + NATO-EU during a POTUS, Congressional election summer + year.
Remember, many Arab-Muslim Govts - pro-US or anti-US or Neutral - don't consider the Bammer as a strong or serious Leader. IFF ONE IS ANTI-US, THEN THE SAME HAS A GEOPOL STAKE IN THE BAMMER WINNING RE-ELECTION THIS YEAR. IRAN ALREADY KNOWS THAT HIS GOP OPPONENTS [save Ron Paul] FAVOR MAJOR SANCTION-N-WAR AGZ IRAN ASAP ONCE THEY GET INTO THE WH.
As per the above, iff-n-when there is any US-Iran conflict, WOULD NOT IRAN PREFER TO FIGHT A PERCEIVED "WEAK/IMMATURE" [etc?] LEADER LIKE THE BAMMER, AKA ON MSM-NET = "JIMMY CARTER II"???
Double-plus good reportage from PMSNBC; you can hear them hyper-ventilating over the wire. Of course, they and the good people at HuffPo would consider the title of 'Israel' and 'terror groups' to be redundant, but let's not try to change their world-view too much -- they're more entertaining this way.
An interesting side point this pushes out is that if you support these 'terrorist' organizations, you're a TOOL OF THE JOOOZ!
Something for everyone, even if it's true.
Posted by: ed in texas ||
Gee Stanley, where do you think they got the strategy?
Probably got the suggestion from some jackass ex CIA who thought running dozens or hundreds of Cuban exiles against Castro was good idea. And it's not "strategy" -- if these tactics were informed by any kind of strategy, I wouldn't be nearly as worried.
This would appear to be the most effective resistance movement in Iran. They're Marxists who are secular on social issues (i.e. no restrictions on women, sexuality), but claim that Islam's edicts are a prescription for Marxism. (Much like Democrats claim that Christian moral precepts lead inexorably to Marxism). From Wikipedia:
Government sources claim that over 17,000 Iranians were killed by the MKO.
Following the 1979 revolution, the newly established theocratic government of Ayatollah Khomeini moved to squash dissent. Khomeini attacked the MEK as elteqati (eclectic), contaminated with Gharbzadegi ("the Western plague"), and as monafeqin (hypocrites) and kafer (unbelievers). In February 1980 concentrated attacks by hezbollahi pro-Khomeini militia began on the meeting places, bookstores and newsstands of Mujahideen and other leftists driving the Left underground in Iran. Hundreds of PMOI supporters and members were killed from 1979 to 1981, and some 3,000 were arrested.
The MEK responded in turn, and on 28 June 1981, bombs were detonated at the headquarters of the since-dissolved Islamic Republic Party. Around 70 high-ranking officials, including Chief Justice Mohammad Beheshti (who was the second most powerful figure in the revolution after Ayatollah Khomeini at the time), cabinet members, and elected members of parliament, were killed. The Mujahedin never publicly confirmed or denied any responsibility for the deed, but stated the attack was `a natural and necessary reaction to the regime's atrocities.` The bomber was identified as a Mujahedin operative by the name of Mohammad Reza Kolahi, who had secured a job in the building disguised as a sound engineer. Khomeini accused them of culpability and, according to BBC journalist Baqer Moin, the Mujahedin were "generally perceived as the culprits" for it in Iran. Two months later on August 30, another bomb was detonated killing the popularly elected President Rajai and Premier Mohammad Javad Bahonar. An active member of the Mujahedin, Massoud Kashmiri, was identified as the perpetrator, and according to reports came close to killing the entire government including Khomeini. The reaction following both bombings was intense with many arrests and executions of Mujahedin and other leftist groups, but "assassinations of leading officials and active supporters of the regime by the Mujahedin were to continue for the next year or two."
According to the CNN article quoted below, Clinton put the MEK on the list of terrorist groups as a sop to the mullahs in Iran. The attempt at detente fell flat on its face, and 15 years later, here we are dealing with an Iran about to go nuclear.
In 1997, the Clinton administration added the MEK to the State Department's blacklist in what a senior administration official, according to the Los Angeles Times, described as a good will gesture to Iran -- thought at the time to be moving toward a more moderate form of government. The Bush administration maintained the ban, which many saw as an effort to persuade the Iranians to abandon their nuclear weapons program. But Iran is no closer to moderation and its nuclear ambitions get closer and closer to fulfillment.
[An Nahar] U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay called Wednesday for urgent international action to protect civilians in Syria, as troops continued to shell the city of Homs, a center of protest in the country.
"I am appalled by the Syrian government's willful assault on Homs, and its use of artillery and other heavy weaponry in what appear to be indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas in the city," said a statement from Pillay.
"The failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have fuelled the Syrian government's readiness to massacre its own people in an effort to crush dissent," it added.
Pillay, the United Nation's High Commissioner for Human Rights, stressed the "extreme urgency for the international community to cut through the politics and take effective action to protect the Syrian population."
Syria's army has sharply increased its use of tanks, helicopters, mortars, rockets and gunfire to attack civilians in Homs, according to accounts from local sources, her office said.
There are reports that hospitals are now overwhelmed or inaccessible and people have set up makeshift clinics throughout the city, the statement said.
[An Nahar] Russian leaders under fire for a U.N. veto Wednesday rejected outside interference in the Syrian conflict, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ...Second President of the Russian Federation and the first to remain sober. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits he is the current Prime Minister of Russia. His sock puppet, Dmitry Medvedev, was installed in the 2008 presidential elections. Putin is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law. During his eight years in office Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase, poverty decrease and average monthly salaries increase. During his presidency Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to Putin. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile... warning against behaving "like a bull in a china shop." Because Syria is so full of such fine china, of course.
"Of course we condemn violence from whichever side it comes, but we must not behave like a bull in a china shop. We need to allow people to decide their own fate independently," Putin said in televised remarks.
The Russian strongman, who is standing for a third presidential term on March 4, spoke after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... for talks in Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... on Tuesday.
Talking to religious leaders during his presidential campaign, Putin warned that intervention in Syria could lead to a situation similar to that in Libya after the overthrow of its leader Muammar Qadaffy ...whose instability was an inspiration to dictators everywhere, but whose end couldn't possibly happen to them... "I know very well the quality of the regime in Libya and it was talked about a lot. But today for some reason no one shows or talks about what is happening in Sirte and other cities that supported the former leader," he said.
"Terrible crimes are happening there ... These are the awful consequences of outside interference, most of all when it is armed."
"No doubt we should give the peoples of these countries an opportunity to decide these problems independently," he was quoted as saying, referring to both Syria and Libya.
"Our task is to help them do it without any outside interference," he said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev later Wednesday urged further efforts to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, including at the United Nations ...what started out as a a diplomatic initiative, now trying to edge its way into legislative, judicial, and executive areas... Security Council.
Medvedev stressed "the necessity of continuing -- including at the U.N. Security Council -- a search for coordinated approaches to help the Syrians regulate the crisis themselves" , the Kremlin said in a statement.
The vast majority of Syria's 2m Christians (excluding the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians sheltering in Syria) are Orthodox. Russia sees itself as the protector of Orthodox Christians around the world. And a Syria under Sunni Arab rule would be far worse for Christians, Druze, Kurds and Alawites alike, which is why the 40% of the population that isn't Sunni Arab is mostly standing with Assad. While some self-anointed representatives of these minorities are being very vocal about supporting the Sunni Arab Islamist-led opposition, the actual minorities themselves have read the writing on the wall with respect to Sunni Arab rule, and are sticking with the devil they know - Assad.
[An Nahar] An Iranian deputy foreign minister, whose country remains an ally of unrest-swept Syria, held talks in Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... on Wednesday with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, Syria's state news agency SANA said.
It said Muallem briefed the Iranian envoy, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, on the wide-ranging reforms being undertaken in Syria in the face of "ferocious attack ... by terrorist groups backed by foreign parties."
Abdollahian stressed Tehran's support for reforms in Damascus and "confidence that the Syrian leadership and people will be able to overcome the current events," SANA reported.
Iran on Tuesday denied any interference in the internal affairs of Syria, its Arab ally, or charges of providing aid for its deadly crackdown on anti-regime protests.
[An Nahar] Syrian forces pressed a relentless assault on the protest city of Homs Wednesday, with dozens of civilians reported killed.
The barrage of gunfire, mortars and shells was launched at daybreak and continued during the day. State television said a car boom had destroyed the central city, killing and wounding civilians as well as security officers.
The blast hit the neighborhood of Bayada, the television reported, blaming "armed terrorist gangs." If confirmed, the attack would be the first of its kind in Homs.
Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least 62 people were killed across the country on Wednesday, including 50 in Homs.
Among those killed in the beleaguered city were three entire families slain overnight by pro-regime thugs known as Shabiha, he said. They included at least three children aged five, seven and 15.
The most intense shelling was in Baba Amr, where at least 23 buildings were completely destroyed, including a home hit by a rocket that killed a little girl.
Activists in Homs said the widespread shelling was a clear bid to pave the way for a ground assault on Syria's third city.
"Since dawn the shelling has been extremely intense and they are using rockets and mortars," Omar Shaker, reached by satellite telephone from Beirut, told Agence La Belle France Presse.
"They have destroyed all infrastructure and bombed water tanks and electricity poles. The humanitarian situation is extremely dire and food is lacking.
"We are trying to set up a field hospital but we have no medical supplies."
The shelling intensified as tanks were reportedly moving toward the city from Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... , said Hadi Abdullah, another activist.
"We fear a new massacre," he told AFP by satphone.
Ali Hazouri, a doctor in Baba Amr, said a field hospital had been hit and several physicians were maimed, some critically.
"One rescuer from the Red Thingy had both legs blown off in the shelling," he said. "We have shut down the hospital and are treating the maimed in their homes."
Gay Paree-based aid agency Doctors Without Borders accused the regime of persecuting medics who treat the maimed, as well as denying medical care to opponents.
As the regime forces tightened their grip, severing power, communications and other supplies, state media reported "terrorists" attacked Homs' oil refinery.
The authorities frequently blame "terrorists" for attacks on infrastructure, while its opponents accuse the regime of carrying them out to punish centers of resistance.
The Observatory has reported several hundred civilians killed since the onslaught on Homs, a central junction city of 1.6 million inhabitants, was launched overnight Friday.
In southern Syria on Wednesday, troops used heavy gunfire after an army officer and 17 soldiers defected in the Daraa region, cradle of the uprising against Assad's 11 years of iron-fisted rule.
Rights groups estimate more than 6,000 people have died in nearly a year of upheaval in the country, as Assad's hardline regime seeks to snuff out the revolt that began in March with peaceful protests amid the Arab Spring.
Western and Arab efforts to address the violence have met resistance from Russia, whose foreign minister said after meeting Assad in Damascus on Tuesday that the Syrian leader was "fully committed" to ending the bloodshed.
The numbers don't add up. During the massacre at Hama, between 300 to 900 people were killed daily during a month-long artillery and tank barrage. Given the Sunni tendency towards exaggeration (exemplified by Baghdad Bob and Egypt's war museums dedicated to its military "victories" over Israel), 60 dead might be closer to 20 - not at all consistent with "barrages of gunfire, mortars and shells".
Note that Homs has a population density similar to NYC - between 40K to 60K per sq mile. A daily 10 minute artillery barrage involving 100 rounds should kill hundreds of people easily, probably thousands, if targeted at apartment buildings. Bottom line is that Assad is probably going after rebels, but indiscriminate shelling is not his methodology.
It is if you're trying to convince the population to not stray from the fold.
Actually, the Syrian rebels are trying to convince the West to provide air support so they can defeat Assad. Given that the Ikhwan-led regime that replaces him will arguably be more dangerous than he was, to our interests, I am suggesting that (1) if we intervene in Syria, it ought to be on Assad's side, and (2) we need to be wary of Sunni Arabs who level charges of atrocity - they are religious psychopaths who view the killing of every Sunni Muslim terrorist to be an atrocity and the grisly torture and execution of infidels to be merely a down payment on what all infidels have coming to them.
[Iran Press TV] The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Arab League chief informed him that the League is ready to resend its observer mission to Syria. Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
[Iran Press TV] Russia has dismissed a forced regime change in Syria, stressing that Syrian people must decide about Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Oppressor of the Syrians and the Lebs... not the international community.
Addressing a presser after a meeting with the Syrian president, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned foreign interference in Syria's internal affairs, describing Syrians as the only legitimate authority to decide about the fate of Assad.
He also said that Assad is ready for talks with opposition parties to end the months-long violence and that the Syrian President was "fully committed" to stopping the unrest in the country.
Lavrov visited Syria on Tuesday days after Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution against the country for the second time. Moscow said the resolution which called on Assad to step down would have forced regime change on Syria.
Syria has repeatedly said that negotiation is the only way to end nearly 11 months of violence in Syria. Opposition groups, however, have rejected negotiation proposal.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March and many people have bit the dust in the violence.
The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing protesters. But Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... blames ''outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups'' for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.