rats from sinking ship
DrMarty | March 15, 2012 at 02:56 amby
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Today, two prominent Syrian dissidents announced that they have quit the Syrian National Council, predicting that more would soon join them in abandoning the so-called "democratic" opposition, whose organization one of them described as "autocratic."
One of the dissidents who resigned, Kamal al-Labwani, accused the leadership of the Syrian National Council of controlling the body's work while sidelining most of its 270 members.
"There is no council, it's an illusion," said Mr. al-Labwani, who worked for years against the Assad family regime before being jailed in 2005.
He joined the council soon after being released from jail in November. He accused council chief Burhan Ghalioun and a few others of running the organization autocratically, even comparing it to Mr. Assad's ruling Baath Party.
"They are trying to build an autocratic rule inside the council," he said. "There is no group work. Everyone is working by himself and the whole council has not met once."
He said that another council member, Catherine al-Talli, has also quit, and said he expected many more to quit soon.
Another dissident, 80-year-old lawyer Haitham al-Maleh, said he, too, had quit the council.
--- US Pressure on India Regarding Iran Is Not Working
The Obama administration's efforts to pressure India to kowtow to the US-imposed sanctions against Iran, hit a brick wall last week when an 80-member Indian business and economic delegation arrived in Iran, March 9, for a five-day visit and lauded relations between Iran and India as conducive for the entire region.
According to the China Daily, in the meetings held there during past two days, Iranian and Indian officials voiced their resolve to boost economic relations.
Head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, Mohammad Nahavandian, said Saturday that the Indian economy provides a good opportunity for Iran to cooperate and interact with the country, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Commenting on the insane, and futile, US pressure on India to part ways with Iran, Ray Chickerie of Stabroek staff, a Guyana-based economic analysis group, wrote that India realizes "Mullahs in Iran are more moderate and rational than those in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan."
When India and Iran labeled the Taliban barbaric, neither the US nor the EU went that far.
Chickerie said India is seeking access to Central Asia and the Caucasus nations via Bandar-e-Abbas Port, Iran. Delhi is actively looking to build a rail link with Iran to these areas. "It is this geopolitical reality that has drawn India closer to Iran and India will be reluctant to succumb to Washingtons pressure to abandon historical ties with Iran and its national interest."
He pointed out that in response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments that "the US was engaging in very intense and very blunt conversations with India and others," like China and Turkey, to stop importing oil from Iran in order to pressure Tehran over its covert nuclear program, officials in New Delhi said they would not be coerced by any country.
Pakistan Determined To Go Ahead with the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline
Under intense pressure from Washington to abandon the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Islamabad is exhibiting determination not to yield to the pressure. Pakistan is extremely short of energy.
Addressing a joint press conference with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildte at Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in MArch 14, "This is a completely viable project, and we will adopt such a policy which should be in our interest."
Meanwhile, RT reported a Pakistani official having informed them that the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) that had agreed to finance the pipeline is no longer interested in the project.
The bank was to finance the Pakistani section of the gas pipeline. Pakistani Finance Ministry spokesman Naveed Iqbal said the Chinese bank was apparently backing out, adding that "the geopolitical situation" could be the reason.
Foreign Minister Khar, responding to the ICBC decision, said there are sources available to arrange finances for the project. She said Pakistan's Economic Coordination Committee has already set up a committee to look into the financing of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.
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