Zio-Watch News Round-up

NATO member states wary of Turkey’s row with Russia: Zio-Watch, February 20, 2016

From PressTV

Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:35AM

Some NATO member states have expressed alarm at Turkey’s escalation with Russia, saying they would not get involved in a potential confrontation.

Officials from NATO members expressed serious concerns about the tensions that have been brewing ever since Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian aircraft inside Syria.

They are also concerned over Turkish threats to deploy ground troops to Syria, where Russia is carrying out an aerial campaign against terrorist groups on Damascus’ request.

“The armed forces of the two states are both active in fierce fighting on the Turkish-Syrian border, in some cases just a few kilometers from each other,” German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying.

“NATO cannot allow itself to be pulled into a military escalation with Russia as a result of the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey,” Asselborn added.

He said that Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty, which guarantees backing for any of its member countries, in a potential confrontation with a foreign enemy, “is only valid when a member state is clearly attacked.”

French President Francois Hollande also emphasized on Friday that Ankara’s growing involvement in war-ravaged Syria was generating a risk of war between Turkey and Russia.

French President Francois Hollande (photo by AFP)

“Turkey is involved in Syria… There, there is a risk of war,” said Hollande in remarks to local broadcaster France Inter radio.

Der Spiegel cited an unnamed German diplomat as saying, “We are not going to pay the price for a war started by the Turks.”

NATO’s leadership expressed similar concerns soon after Turkey downed the Russian jet within Syrian territory in November 2015, with of the pilots killed by militants on the ground.

“We have to avoid that situations, incidents, accidents spiral out of control,” NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said at the time.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Bernie Sanders says he’s lucky to be white, but what about Jewish?

By Ron Kampeas

At a town hall in Nevada Thursday night, Bernie Sanders talked about the advantages of being descended from white, as opposed to darker-skinned, immigrants.

Contrasting his experience with the “hatred thrown at” President Barack Obama,” the Democratic presidential candidate said, “No one asked me whether I’m a citizen or not. My father came from Poland. Gee, what’s the difference? Maybe the color of our skin.”

As has been noted, Sanders sometimes seems inclined to take the opportunity to ignore his Jewishness. He has by no means denied being Jewish when queried. But in discussing the historic dimensions of his presidency in two recent debates, he alluded to his Jewish background without explicitly claiming it.

Even in discussing his white privilege Thursday night at the MSN town hall, he missed an opportunity.
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:4PM

Syria’s deputy foreign minister said Saturday that Damascus is disappointed over a decision by the West to reject a Russian draft resolution aimed at de-escalating tensions in Syria.

Faisal al-Mekdad said he “regrets” that Western countries decided to reject the UN draft resolution proposed by Russia aimed at halting cross-border shelling and preventing a foreign ground intervention in Syria.

“We are not surprised” by the decision taken by Western countries “that have conspired against Syria and submitted all kinds of support for terrorists,” Mekdad said in comments carried by the Syrian news agency SANA.

The draft resolution was put forth by Russia on Friday at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

The council held an emergency meeting on Friday afternoon at Moscow’s request to discuss Syria-related developments, including the resolution, which calls on the council to express “its grave alarm at the reports of military buildup and preparatory activities aimed at launching foreign ground intervention into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

It also called on countries to “refrain from provocative rhetoric and inflammatory statements inciting further violence and interference into internal affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
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From Russia Today

Libya slams US airstrike on Sabratha as flagrant violation of sovereignty

Published time: 20 Feb, 2016 18:03

© sabratha.gov © sabratha.gov

The Libyan interim government has condemned the US airstrike on a suspected Islamic State training camp in Sabratha in which two abducted Serbian embassy staff were killed, calling the unsanctioned bombardment a grave violation of its sovereignty.

Libya’s interim government issued a statement saying that it “strongly condemns the airstrikes carried out by the US Air Force at certain positions in the town of Sabratha on Friday morning, February 19, 2016, without any coordination or consultation with the interim Libyan government.”

“Any interference, similar to the one that has taken place, will be considered an open and flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the Libyan state and international law,” the statement said.
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From Russia Today

South Ossetia, former part of Georgia, to hold ‘special’ referendum to join Russia

Published time: 20 Feb, 2016 07:20

Archive: Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, at a meeting with President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov, 12 May 2012. © Alexei Druzhinin Archive: Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, at a meeting with President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov, 12 May 2012. © Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik

South Ossetia’s president said the small country wants to hold a referendum of “special form” to join Russia as one of its regions. The move is to help unite the once separated Ossetian people and safeguard it from various threats for decades to come.

President of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, said in his address to the republic’s parliament on Friday that a roadmap for the referendum would be worked out within a year.
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From Russia Today

US ‘concerned’ about Syrian Army & Kurdish Syria gains, urges stopping actions upsetting Turks

Published time: 20 Feb, 2016 07:12

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with US President Barak Obama © Ozan Kose Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with US President Barak Obama © Ozan Kose / AFP

The US president has sided with Turkey and warned the Syrian Kurdish militia not to seize more territory in Syria to avoid upsetting Ankara or the so-called “moderate” opposition. Obama voiced support for Erdogan against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. TrendsIslamic State, Russian anti-terror op in Syria, Syria-Turkey

In a long phone conversation that lasted an hour and twenty minutes, Obama told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the US has an “unwavering commitment” to Turkey’s national security.

Obama said he is “concerned” about the Syrian Army’s and Kurdish fighters’ gains in northern Syria as he “urgently called for a halt to actions that heighten tensions with Turkey and with moderate opposition forces in northern Syria,” according to a statement from the White House.

The US president stressed that the ongoing advance of Syrian armed forces and Kurdish militia, with support from the Russian Air Force, could “undermine our collective efforts in northern Syria to degrade and defeat ISIL.”
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:21PM

Israeli forces have detained 10 Israelis for taking part in a rally to mark the 22nd anniversary of an Israeli massacre at a mosque in the occupied West Bank at the hands of an illegal settler.

Nearly 200 protesters, most of them Palestinians, participated in the anniversary demonstration on Saturday in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

The forces attacked the demonstrators to disperse them after some of the protesters reportedly threw stones at troops.

On February 25, 1994, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque, which is also revered by Jews, in the heart of al-Khalil.

Goldstein was affiliated with a racist group, which advocates the forcible expulsion of all Palestinians from the “Greater Israel.”

The anniversary demonstration comes as tensions are running high in the al-Khalil region. Scores of Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces in a new upsurge of violence against them since last October.
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