Austria says UK push to arm Syrian rebels would violate international law & Putin warns against actions fueling crisis in Syria

Forceful Austrian position signals deep EU divisions on Syria ahead of this month’s embargo decision

Fighters from Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra take their positions on the front line during a clash with Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo. Photograph: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters/REUTERS

By Julian Borger, The Guardian

“Die Briten sind not amused,” is how Die Presse reported it today. “The Brits are not amused.” The Austrian foreign ministry circulated a discussion paper (known in Brussels jargon as a non-paper) among the EU member states yesterday forcefully rebutting British and French arguments for amending the European embargo on Syria to allow weapons shipments to the rebels.

Update: here is a link to an English version of the Austrian paper [click here]

The Austrian paper argues that lifting the embargo would “constitute a breach of international and EU law” and be contrary to the “principle of non-intervention and non-use of force” laid down in the UN Charter. If the weapons ended up in the hands of the al-Nusra Front, it would also violate UN Security Council resolutions on al-Qaida, given al-Nusra’s stated affiliation.

According to the Austrian press reports the UK asked the Austrians not to circulate the paper, but Vienna did it anyway – a sign of the declining clout of the UK in Brussels as the country sinks into an internecine quagmire on EU membership.

Austria has a particular reason for opposing the lifting of the arms embargo, as it has UN peacekeeping troops deployed in the line of fire on the Golan Heights, but sources in Brussels suggest the Austrians may also be expressing the views of a EU majority that has deep reservations over lifting the embargo, particularly at a time when there is at least the glimmer of diplomatic hope in the wake of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement to hold a new international conference on Syria.

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Turkey keeps providing Syria insurgents with logistical support: erDOGan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara on September 30, 2012.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara will stand firm by foreign-backed armed groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, and will keep providing them logistical support.

Erdogan made the remarks in Ankara on Sunday during his address to a major congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is celebrating a decade of electoral success and a solid economic growth.

“We will do what a brother would do. And we will continue to give the Syrian people our logistical support,” declared the Turkish prime minister whose country along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States are accused of arming and funding the insurgents operating in the Arab country.

Western states and some of their Middle Eastern allies have been calling for President Assad to step down but Russia and China are strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.  Continue reading

Le Quartier Général terroriste d’Erdogan

par Bahar Kimyongür

Des années durant, les autorités turques ont exercé des pressions diplomatiques sur les pays qui accueillaient les bureaux d’information de mouvements turcs ou kurdes d’opposition. Ces pressions ont conduit à la fermeture de nombreux bureaux et à l’emprisonnement de leurs administrateurs.

Les sympathisants du mouvement de la gauche anti-impérialiste turque DHKP-C de Londres, Bruxelles, Paris ou Berlin en savent quelque chose.

Aujourd’hui, une organisation militaire syrienne, nommément l’Armée syrienne libre (ASL) qui utilise ouvertement le terrorisme pour parvenir à ses fins est accueillie à bras ouverts par le régime d’Ankara.

Elle y dispose d’un bureau d’information en bonne et due forme.

Son site officiel est :

On y découvre que sa base principale est le Hatay, une province frontalière majoritairement arabophone qui accueille les réfugiés syriens. Continue reading