Friday, January 15, 2016

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A report by a private television channel revealed that a banned organization has been brain washing students of NED University for Daesh. In a letter sent to relevant departments, it has been revealed that a banned organization is active in brain washing students of an engineering university.
It has been said in the letter that university students Farhan, Faraz, Shafqat and Abdul Haq have been brain washing other students of the University for working with terrorist organizations. It has also been revealed that these students instead of using telephone use WhatsApp and Viber to communicate with each other.

It needs to be mentioned here that Islami Jamiat e Talba and Hizb ul Tehrir have already been active in brain washing innocent students of the university and force them to work for terrorist organizations like Daesh and Taliban. They have also diverting students towards a so-called Caliphate based on brutality, inhumanity and injustices and these organizations also enjoy support of some of the University’s teachers and staff.
It should also be remembered that terrorists involved in Safoora incident in Karachi were also linked with Hizb ul Tehrir and Jamiat. In addition to this, the mastermind of the attack on a bus of Ismaili community was from IBA where he was associated with Iqra society which is a part of Islami Jamiat e Talba.


Wahhabi and takfiri institutes in Pakistan promoting terrorism in the country
Wahhabi takfiri institutes are behind the ongoing terrorism in Pakistan who have been extensively supported by Saudi Arabia and Gulf states. Hundreds of Wahhabi terrorists have so far been arrested from Wahhabi takfiri institutes of Pakistan and many of their madaris have also been sealed. Wahhabi institutes have been trying to please the enemies by destabilizing Pakistan and thus, have been the grestest hindrance in Pakistan's development and betterment.
According to Dawn News, CTD department of Punjab police sealed a madarsa yesterday that was associated with a mosque in Mandeki Goraya area of Sialkot and arrested 14 people present there. The mosque and madarsa was operated by Wahhabi terrorist and banned organization Jaish e Muhammad. A senior official told that in a joint action by CTD and Police, a raid was conducted at a grand mosque and madarsa Al-Noor located 14km away from Daska and arrested 14 members of the outlawed organization Jaish e Muhammad. However, their identity has not been revealed.
Jaish e Muhammad had claimed the responsibility of attack on India's Pathan Kot Airbase which created a threat of worsening India-Pakistan relations, once again. However, Pakistani government took timely action and sealed the terrorists' Centre. In aadition to this, an investigation team was also sent to India for cooperating with the Indian governemnt in investigations.

British and US military 'in command room' for Saudi strikes on Yemen


Saudi Arabian foreign minister also reveals UK and American officials have access to lists of targets, but do not choose them.

British and American military officials are in the command and control centre for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, and have access to lists of targets, although they do not play any role in choosing them, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has said.
Human rights groups, the European parliament and the UN have all expressed concerns about airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, in support of the internationally recognised government. 
Nearly 3,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen since full-blown civil war broke out in March, according to the UN. A million other people have been displaced and the country is now at serious risk of famine.
The UK government has been put on notice that it is in breach of international lawfor allowing the export of British-made missiles and military equipment to Saudi Arabia that might have been used to kill civilians.

The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that British forces were in the operation room to provide training and advice “on best practice targeting techniques to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law”, under a long-standing arrangement, but said they did not have an operational role.
“UK military personnel are not directly involved in Saudi-led Coalition operations,” a spokeswoman said.
The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said his country had nothing to hide. A host of foreign officials have been posted to the Yemen command and control centre, he said, have been able to scrutinise its air campaign, and were satisfied by its safeguards.
“We have British officials and American officials and officials from other countries in our command and control centre. They know what the target list is and they have a sense of what it is that we are doing and what we are not doing,” he told journalists in London after meeting British ministers and US secretary of state, John Kerry.
The foreign military officers did not play any role in choosing targets, Jubeir said. “We pick the targets, they don’t. I don’t know technically exactly what part of the process they are in, but I do know they are aware of the target lists.”
“The idea is that it should be transparent, we don’t want people to say ‘what are you doing,” Jubeir said. “We have nothing to hide.”
He also said that Saudi Arabia used smart bombs for precision targeting, assessed the aftermath of every strike and corrected any flaws in its process. “The notion that we are bombing civilians indiscriminately is a) not born out by the facts and b) is not fair,” he said.
Amnesty International has warned of “a pattern of appalling disregard for civilian lives displayed by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition” and the UN has expressed similar concerns. Last year Saudi-led coalition strikes hit a Médecins Sans Frontières mobile clinic and hospital and several schools. Saudi coalition strikes are alleged to have targeted electricity and water plants.
Lawyers acting for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) have stepped up legal proceedings against the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which approves export licences, accusing it of failing in its legal duty to take steps to prevent and suppress violations of international humanitarian law.
Jubeir said Saudi Arabia’s partners were satisfied their checks to protect civilians were sufficient, pointing to recent comments by his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, who this week told parliament that British officers were working with the Saudi military to make sure they did not violate international humanitarian law.
“We do have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, and we are working with the Saudi Arabians to ensure the following of correct procedures to avoid breaches of international humanitarian law,” Hammond said in response to a question from the shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn.
“We also use the personnel who are present as a quick check. So far, in every case, our people on the ground have reported that there is no evidence of deliberate breaches.”
Jennifer Gibson, from the anti-death penalty charity Reprieve, said: “The Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians, hitting Médecins Sans Frontières clinics, a school for the blind and a wedding hall.
“It is shocking to discover that our government has embroiled British personnel in the targeting process that is creating this mayhem. More disturbingly, we’re learning about the UK’s involvement not from the our government, but from the Saudi authorities who now appear to be more transparent than their British counterparts.
“Crucial questions remain unanswered: whose command are British personnel in the Saudi operations centre under – British or Saudi? Are they ‘embedded’ personnel referred to in the defence secretary’s vague December statement, which stated that 94 British personnel were embedded in ‘coalition HQs?’ And what part have ministers played in signing off their activities? The British public has a right to know.”

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Spotlight: Chinese president's Middle East tour goes far beyond oil

By Xinhua writers Zheng Kaijun, Zhu Junqing and Shang Jun

Those calling China a bystander in the Middle East will see Beijing take a proactive approach to the region of great geopolitical importance next week.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Friday that President Xi Jinping will pay state visits to Saudi Arabia, EgyptIran from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23.
While the world's second-largest economy needs oil to feed its development, the first visit by a Chinese top leader in more than five years since the start of the region's turmoil, goes far beyond ensuring its energy security.
With economic cooperation, the refugee crisis and terrorism expected to be unavoidable topics during Xi's visit, China will show the world that it is committed to peace and development in the Middle East.


For years, China's non-interference policy regarding Middle East issues, though appreciated by the Arab world, have been criticized by some Westerners as an excuse for "staying aloof" the hotspot region.
The truth, however, is that the importance and complexity of the situation there allows neither premature decisions nor hasty action.
"It takes adequate consideration, research and sound judgment" for China to form policies adapted to the rapid changes in the Middle East, said Wu Bingbing, head of the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Culture Studies at Peking University.
Just ahead of Xi's visit, China published its Arab Policy Paper, reaffirming the strategic significance that Beijing attaches to the region.
It is China's long-held diplomatic principle to consolidate and deepen China-Arab traditional friendship, read the paper, the first of its kind issued by the Chinese government.
It meanwhile underlines China's wish to enrich and deepen all-round, multi-layer and wide-ranging cooperation with Arab nations, and safeguard peace, stability and development of the region and the world at large.
The three countries to be visited all have strong links with China. And in the face of new regional development, "China needs to further strengthen cooperation and ties with them," said Hua Liming, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a new chapter of their long-standing sectarian rift. Although China never takes sides, it will be a rare opportunity for China to call for calm and restraint from both sides.
As China's Arab Policy Paper puts it, China supports Arab countries' efforts in promoting solidarity.


During Xi's long-awaited trip, more concrete opportunities will be offered, particularly Xi's signature "Belt and Road" initiative.
The president may well discuss with the three nations ways to link the initiative with their respective development plans.
But it is not a one-size-fits-all game. China needs different modes of collaboration with different countries, said Yang Guang, director general of the Institute of West Asian and African Studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
With such populous countries like Egypt and Iran, China should focus on production capacity cooperation that can generate more jobs for the local communities, Yang said.
Whilst for smaller economies, China should assist them in building service platforms with characteristics like financial centers, clearance centers, air transit hubs and trade ports, Yang said.
China should also help regional countries to improve connectivity by upgrading telecommunications and Internet access, he added, calling this a linchpin in the implementation of the initiative in the Middle East.
Majdi Amir, Egyptian ambassador to China, is among many who look forward to seeing the initiative bear fruit. As his country eyes an array of mega projects including the new Suez Canal to revitalize the economy, China's experiences could certainly help.
Many air and water routes that Egypt offers may facilitate China's investment in the region and even beyond, while Egypt will be given the chance to export more to China and receive more tourists from China, he added.
According to a tailor-made "1+2+3" cooperation pattern announced in 2014 for implementing the initiative in the region, high and new-tech fields of nuclear energy, space satellite and new energy are also where China and Middle East countries can achieve breakthroughs.


In its Arab Policy Paper, Beijing reiterates its commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East and its political solution to regional hotspot issues, signaling China's willingness to play an active and constructive role in the region.
Over the past decades, China has been undertaking due responsibility and making its contributions to promoting the Iran nuclear talks and defusing the Syrian crisis.
"Through promoting the Iran nuclear talks, China helps the international community find a way of solving chronic problems politically and peacefully, which is unprecedented," Wu pointed out.
China's consistent stance of narrowing differences in an open and inclusive manner and solving conflicts through dialogue and consultation have been better understood, accepted and even learned from.
In the Saudi-Iran spat, the United StatesRussia, some European nations and countries with regional sway like Turkey have all spoken in one voice, expressing the hope that the pair can ravel out the mess in a peaceful way, which is in line with China's thinking, Wu said, adding that so is for the Syrian peace talks.
At a forum in Beijing last year, Lakhdar Brahimi, former UN/Arab League special envoy for Syria, said China, upholding the principle of justice and friendship, enjoys high reputation among Middle East countries.
Refuting the Western fallacy that China tries to shirk its due responsibility, Wu said: "It is absolutely the opposite. What China did is to adhere to its stance in political issues, and meet local people's practical demand in development and help them live better."
China has been taking its advantages in economic, trade, cultural, educational and technological fields to carry out win-win cooperation in Arab states to effectively improve people's life.
"It is much valuable that China has never imposed its own view on others, even when differences occur. This is China's respect to other countries," Wu said.
"China has its own solution and thinking ... Its persistence itself is a responsible stand and reserves more choice for solving problems," he said.

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Why Israel thinks Russia is a stabilizing force in the Middle East

RD Interview: Tel Aviv University professor Itai Sened shares his vision for the Middle East, discusses global security challenges for 2016 and underscores the differences in the foreign policy approaches of the U.S. and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu on Sept. 21, 2016. Photo: Kremlin
The annual Gaidar Forum 2016 kicked off on Jan. 13 in Moscow. Traditionally hosted by the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), theGaidar Institute for Economic Policy and the Yegor Gaidar Foundation, this year the topic of the conference was “Russia and the World: Looking To the Future.” As in prior years, the forum gathered together prominent scholars, experts and practitioners, making the event an outstanding platform for insightful discussions.
On the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum 2016, Russia Direct sat down with Itai Sened, the head of the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University, and talked about Russian and U.S. Middle East policies, their implications for Israel and regional security as well as about major challenges to the world and the region in 2016.
Russia Direct: How does Israel view Russia’s Middle East policy?
Itai Sened: So, first of all, Israel is mostly concerned with its own security issues and for many years, it has seen Russia as part of what can actually help. Israel has never seen Russia as an enemy even in the years when the relations between the two were not so good. You have to remember that 25 percent of the Israeli Jewish population is Russian and they have special affinities with Russia, very strong connections; Israel also has a very strong political movement that is very Russian in its content and understanding of the world. And now Israel even sees Russia as a stabilizing force in the Middle East. The main problem in the Middle East right now is that you can trust or rely on nobody.
So, the fact that Israel can go to the current Russian administration and say: Look, this is what we are going to do, this is what you are going to do, here is how we need to coordinate – this is a rarity in our days in the Middle East because you cannot really trust anybody.
So, Russia is seen as a trustworthy player: we may agree or disagree with Russia but it is a stable player.
RD: Does Israel see eye-to-eye with Russia’s approach to Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS)?
I.S.: Yes and no. Israel has always been careful not to take sides with regard to Syria. Israel has very strong reservations when it comes to Hezbollah, which is a close ally of the Assad regime and Iran, and of course it has very big issues with the Iranians. So, almost half of this whole arena (the Levant) is very much of concern to Israel.
Prof. Itai Sened
So, Iran and Hezbollah are a concern for Israel, while Assad is not a concern for Israel. Russian weapons that are ending up in the hands of Hezbollah and Iran are a big issue but amongst the public and among most leaders and policy makers, they believe that they can manage the situation with Russia. So, again, it is the same idea – we can work with the Russians because they understand us, we understand them: we do not agree with them, we don’t like the weapons they send, but when weapons should not arrive, we know how to tell them that we cannot allow that and how to better deal with it.
RD: Ok. On the other hand, there is U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. It has been changing for quite some time in the last years. How do you view it currently?
I.S.: It is very much so [in the process of change]. The U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been suffering for a long time from very profound inconsistencies. It is built on a neoliberal approach to international relations, which does not really exist. Neo-liberal means one thing and that is no interventions, so how can you put intervention and no intervention under the same ideological umbrella? It does not work. So, they have a very serious issue with inconsistency.
But Israel has traditionally seen the U.S. as its main ally. However, the public and many decision makers are very frustrated with the internal inconsistencies of the American policy in the Middle East. And again – an advantage for the Russians – they don’t necessarily like what the Russians do, but they understand it. So, to wrap-up, there is a profound and very straightforward consistency in the Russian Middle East policy and exactly the opposite in the U.S.

Read Russia Direct report: "Russia's New Strategy in the Middle East"

Despite the U.S. being a major ally of Israel since the 1960s, right now there is a lot of frustration, mainly with the current administration regarding the inconsistencies of its policies.
RD: In these circumstances can Israel play a cementing role trying to bring Russia and the U.S. closer to each other in their Middle East policies?
I.S.: They can, but they do not always do so.  One very interesting figure to follow is of course Avegdor Liberman, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel. As a Minister, he has been very effective in creating behind-the-scenes meetings and bridges. He is no longer a Minister and Israel at the moment does not have a Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Currently, relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin are still pretty good; between Netanyahu and Obama, they are not very good. Without Liberman those bridges that were always behind-the-scenes no longer exist in my opinion. But they can exist. And by the way, during the Crimea crisis in 2014 Liberman was deeply involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations and meetings.
RD: With the rise of the ISIS threat and increased instability in the region, the Israeli-Palestinian issue seems to be sidelined. How do you see this development? What are the prospects for its settlement?
I.S.: Well, interestingly enough, ISIS is regarded as a major threat mainly for the Europeans and mainly because of the refugee crisis. For Israel, for example, ISIS is not interesting. They do not really threaten Israel, there are some terrorist activities that are remotely related to ISIS. For Israel, ISIS is not an issue. Actually it is a kind of blessing in disguise: they preoccupied everybody so much that nobody is dealing with the Palestinian issue, Hezbollah has no time for Israel as it has to deal with ISIS, so for Israel ISIS is a blessing in disguise.

Also read: "How ISIS became a threat to Middle East stability"

RD: What global challenges should the world expect in 2016?
I.S.: Currently, I believe that the main concern is and should be the issue of refugees – there are way too many people floating in this region between the Middle East and Europe (previously it was only Western Europe, now it is also Eastern Europe). We estimate about five million people - and it is a very conservative estimate - are trying to move from one place to another – this is a very powerful destabilizing force and nobody knows what to do about it. Just take recent events in Cologne, in Germany. Has anybody ever heard about anything like that before? When there is so much tension, so many people, homeless and on the move – that is the main concern and that is the biggest threat.
They come from the Middle East out of fear of both Assad and ISIS, but currently, mostly ISIS. What to do with them here we don’t know. So, 
Prof. Itai Sened
if you destroy ISIS – will that solve the problem? The answer is no. The Middle East will remain very unstable. Right now, it is hyper-tense between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Therefore, there is a very threatening call of instability in the Middle East. Right now it is probably around ISIS, but ISIS is not a reason - it is just one of the symptoms.
RD: What major issues should we look for in 2016?
I.S.: Out of three main issues that I see as most prominent, the most important is probably Iran. And this is where Russia has to play a very important role. Russia is Iran’s main ally right now and it has an interest and it should be an adult in the room. Moscow should work with Iran and move it in a somewhat reasonable direction. There are forces within Iran that are going in this direction but we need an adult in the room and Russia can probably play that role. So, this is issue number one.
Issue number two is probably Syria. What will happen: will it explode or implode? It will be something to look for as it can make a big difference.
Prof. Itai Sened
I think that ISIS is a greatly overestimated problem – it is a  much smaller issue than we make out of it. I am not quite sure why, maybe because terrorism is frightening. So there is a big successful terrorist group and it is frightening – so people are paying attention. But this is not a threat and if I have to rank it, it is number three.
RD: In your opinion, which nation is the most stable force in the region?
I.S.: Israel is the only stable government in the region. Egypt is now doing much better than previously, so maybe Egypt too, but Egypt is unsuccessful in eradicating ISIS from the Sinai desert. So, Israel is definitely is the most stable force in the region.
Israel was depending on the U.S. as the main stabilizing force in the Middle East. And the U.S. rolled back from this position: they cannot serve in this role anymore - maybe they can, but they do not want to and they do not serve like they want to.
Historically it has always been the case – we have waves like that: Russia comes in and fills the void and this is exactly what is happening now.

Recommended: "The US and Russia in Syria: From incidental to deliberate cooperation?"

Being such a small country that is very sensitive to instability, Israel immediately seizes the opportunity, arranges this kind of management system to work through with a partner. And again – for Israel it is very easy to work with Russians. They have a lot of commonalities in terms of how to manage crises, how to deal with issues. Both countries have a deep understanding, a nuanced understanding of the region, so you do not have to spend much time explaining yourself. So, definitely, paradoxically the U.S. is somewhat moving out and the Russians somewhat moving in. And Israel is quite good in adjusting itself to the new situation, definitely working closer with Russians now than with the Americans.
RD: And the last question. Recently China has started to be more active in the Middle East, improving or expanding their relations with countries of the region, including Israel. So, how does Israel see China’s role and growing involvement in the Middle East?
I.S.: In this respect, Israel is no different than the rest of the world.
Prof. Itai Sened
China has a very confused foreign policy and no one can make much sense of it and everybody is struggling to understand what the Chinese are doing.And Israel is as confused as everybody else. China has a huge economic potential that is now in question. Israel has been trying to tie itself to the economic growth in China, which currently has become a somewhat risky strategy because we don’t know what will happen in China. So any analyst in the stock market will tell you: reduce your dependency on China right now. So, Israel has to do the same, but it has not, like the rest of the world. Everybody continues to bet that China will somehow figure it out. It is true that the economic engagement will help it to do so also in the international arena, but it depends on a lot of assumptions that may or may not work.
One final note that is very interesting  and one that is kind of flying under the radar  is the prospect of new relations with India. India is an easier player for Israel and an easier player to play with in general. As for Israel, India is an obvious ally to it because they have a lot of similar issues: 20 percent of Muslims, concerns about Pakistan and Iran. So they have similar threats and are dealing with similar issues, and on top of that, India is simply an important player. 

Putin invites Qatari leader to Moscow as MidEast diplomacy intensifies

The Emir of Qatar is set to arrive in the Russian capital early next week to hold talks on the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa. The high-level negotiations will also focus on energy issues at a time of falling global oil and gas prices.
Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s first official visit to Russia on January 18-19 has been organized at the behest of President Vladimir Putin, who will meet the Qatari leader on Monday, January 18.
“The talks will focus primarily on comprehensive development of trade and economy, investment, energy sector, and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Qatar. The two leaders will have a detailed exchange of views on current international affairs, particularly the situation in the Middle East and North Africa,” the Kremlin’s official website reports.
Thani’s visit comes a month after Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammed Attiyah met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow to discuss a range of bilateral and international issues.
Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, who co-chairs the Russian-Qatari trade and economic cooperation development committee, said that so far attempts to attract Qatari investment in joint projects have not been successful.
Although Moscow and Doha do interact on gas industry issues through the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, “there are no specific projects being executed on either Russian or Qatari territory,” Novak said.
Although Russia and Qatar are direct rivals in the international gas market, the volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be produced in Russia’s LNG projects like Yamal are not likely to interfere with Qatar’s market share in Europe, Aleksey Grivach, deputy head of the Russian National Energy Security Fund, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“Qatar might offer some concessions in the energy sphere in return for concessions from our side,” Grivach said, adding that in his opinion any progress will be heavily dependent on political issues.
Over the last month, Moscow has been a center for shuttle diplomacy with Middle Eastern and Gulf States representatives holding a string of meetings with the Russian president and ministers.
On Thursday, President Putin discussed fighting terrorism with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who visited Russia in August and November 2015.
On the sidelines of a gas summit in Tehran, Putin met with, among many others, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
In mid-November, Putin met with Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, where the Russian president accused 40 countries, “some of them G20 members,” of financing Islamic State terrorists. 
On November 10, the Emir of Kuwait met with President Putin in Sochi. 
And on October 20, Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar Assad in Moscow, conducting lengthy negotiations, which then continued in the presence of Russia’s top policymakers. 
Earlier in October, the Russian president met in Sochi with Saudi Arabia’s defense minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman, confirming similar goals concerning Syria.
Also in Sochi, Vladimir Putin discussed the fight against international terrorism with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Ahead of launching the Russian Air Force operation against ISIS in Syria, Russia’s leader held short talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Iraq, Syria and Russia united in fight against Islamic State, exchanging intelligence on a daily basis. 
In late August, following talks in Moscow between President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel el-Sisi, Cairo praised support to the creation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition to fight Islamic State. 
Vladimir Putin is also holing regular personal and phone contacts with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Russian army launches humanitarian op in Syria - General Staff

The Russian military is maintaining logistics support for a humanitarian operation in Syria aimed to provide the civilian population with basic needs. International humanitarian missions have so far been providing aid to regions which remain under terrorist control.
Although a number of non-governmental organizations have been providing humanitarian aid on Syrian territory, most of the supplies sent have ended up on territories controlled by terrorists.
“The extremists used most of that aid for the supply of [terrorist] gangs,” Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, said during a press briefing in Moscow.
“On top of that, multiple attempts have been registered to deliver arms and munitions, and to evacuate wounded militants under the guise of humanitarian convoys,” Rudskoy stressed. According to the general, these issues with the foreign aid sent so far have led to Russia taking the decision to launch a humanitarian operation of its own in Syria.
A Syrian Ilyushin Il-76 jumbo jet has already delivered the first batch of humanitarian aid to the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, Rudskoy said. At present, most of the aid is being channeled to Deir ez-Zor, which was under siege by terrorists for a long period of time, Rudskoy said. The first 22 tons of humanitarian aid have been airdropped from a Syrian Il-76 using Russian parachute platform airdrop systems. Supplies are set to continue, Rudskoy said, stressing that Russia will provide the Syrian people with all possible help to liberate the country from extremists and return peace to the nation.
At the same briefing, Rudskoy announced that up to 10,500 fighters of the democratic Syrian opposition have joined with government forces to oust Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists from Syrian territory. The armed opposition forces are playing “an increasing role” in the fight against terrorism, he said.
Also speaking at the briefing, Defense Ministry spokesman General-Major Igor Konashenkov said the ministry refutes Amnesty International’s allegations of the Russian air force delivering airstrikes on civilian installations in Syria.
Rudskoi said Moscow is set to continue to inform the international public about the results of the airstrikes delivered by the US-led coalition in Syria to avoid falsifications.
“In case our colleagues stay quiet about the results of their bombings in Syria, we will have to inform the public of such facts ourselves,” Rudskoi said. “If someone does not realize that, that’s too bad.”
“Over just 100 days of the Russian Air Force operation in Syria, Islamic State lost control over 217 communities; over 1,000 sq. kilometers have been liberated,” Rudskoi said.
According to the general, since the beginning of the air operation in Syria on September 30, the Russian Air Force has conducted 5,662 operational sorties, including 145 sorties made by strategic bombers from the territory of Russia. Altogether 97 cruise missiles have been launched from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea, a diesel submarine in the Mediterranean and from strategic bombers.

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Biden Sees Politics of Cancer World as Obstacle to a Cure

Four weeks after announcing he wouldn't run for president, Joe Biden returned to the world-renowned cancer center in Texas where doctors had tried to save his son's life.
Officially, the vice president was in Houston to speak about infrastructure spending and raise money for Democrats. Left off of his public schedule was a meeting with Dr. Ronald DePinho, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, whose Moon Shots Program has set out to end the dreaded disease.
Since declaring his own "moonshot" to cure cancer three months ago, Biden researched what's holding back a cure, searching for answers with all the meticulousness of a physician diagnosing disease. His conclusion: The hold-up, in large part, lies in the cancer world itself.
"My grandpop used to say, 'Joey, there's three kinds of politics' " — church politics, labor politics and regular politics, Biden recalled recently, before adding one of his own. "Well, there's four kinds. There's cancer politics."
He deemed that particular brand even more vexing than the rest.
As one of his final acts in office, Biden has resolved to "break down silence" he says is pervasive throughout the sprawling and fragmented world of oncologists, scientists and benefactors. Meetings with nearly 200 of them revealed a community rife with competition, territorialism and resistance to information-sharing that's left researchers and their discoveries cloistered in their own corners, aides and others who met with Biden said.
Asked how Americans could help, Biden minced no words: "Demand collaboration from the scientific community," he wrote on Twitter.
Biden, who will kick off his initiative Friday at Philadelphia's Abramson Cancer Center, has yet to lay out exactly what he'll do over the next 12 months that hasn't been done in the half century since Richard Nixon declared war on cancer.
But advisers said in addition to pushing for more funding, Biden would use his influence to encourage data-sharing about patients and treatment outcomes, so researchers from various institutions can better build on each other's work. A key focus will be promising advances in immunotherapy, which uses the immune system to attack tumors, and "precision medicine," which personalizes treatments based on the genetic makeup of a patient's tumors.
For Biden, the emotional undertones of his mission are difficult to avoid. After his 46-year-old son, Beau Biden, died from brain cancer in May, Biden entered a period of painfully public mourning, followed eventually by his decision against getting into the presidential race.
"This is still a blow that he's still recovering from," said former Sen. Ted Kaufman, a Biden confidante for many decades. "He's in his problem-solving mode. He's more comfortable in this area because of his desire to eliminate this thing that caused him so much damage."
Biden is not a doctor, nor a medical researcher. So when he announced a bid "to cure cancer," more than a few eyebrows were raised. Some wondered whether Biden was raising expectations in a way he could later regret.
"I'm an eternal optimist, but I'm not going to go around saying we're going to cure cancer in five years. That's just not realistic," said Dr. George Demetri, a Harvard Medical School professor and researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who met with Biden's staff. "There's a fine line between having big, hairy, audacious goals and realistic goals, so the public doesn't come back and say in five years, 'Hey, you didn't deliver on that, pal.' "
Even President Barack Obama, quizzed by a fourth-grader, said Thursday that cancer "probably won't be cured in my lifetime, but I think it'll be cured in yours."
Immense progress has been made in recent years. Survival rates for most cancers are increasing, although the American Cancer Society still predicts nearly 1.7 million new cancer cases this year and nearly 600,000 deaths.
In a blog post this week coinciding with Obama's State of the Union address, Biden offered a more measured but still ambitious goal for himself: to double the rate of progress so that researchers make 10 years of progress in what would normally take five. "This is our moonshot," he said.
Because cancer takes hundreds of forms, it can't be eradicated by any single advance. Cancer researchers who met with Biden recently said he was intrigued by the possibilities for improving prevention and early detection.
Skewing typical partisan divides, the issue also offers rare prospects for Democrats and Republicans to make common cause in Obama and Biden's last year. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, worked directly with Biden last month to secure a long-awaited funding boost for the National Institutes of Health, including $260 million for cancer.
"What does 'cure cancer' mean? Does it mean prevent cancer? Does it mean nobody dies from cancer? I don't know about that," Blunt said in an interview. "But I do know that we can enhance dramatically the way we look at cancer, understand cancer and deal with it."

You Asked, Hillary Clinton Answered

On Wednesday, we asked you to submit questions for Hillary Clinton. During her visit to the editorial board, she picked one of your questions from a hat to answer on camera. 
Hillary Clinton: Ta-da!
All right, here’s one.
From Lee: How will you achieve all women’s right to equal pay for equal work?
Well Lee, I’m going to enforce the equal pay laws that are already on the books. I’m going to use the Labor Department to send a very clear signal to employers that they’re going to be held accountable. I am going to make the Fair Check Pay- the Fair- the Paycheck Fairness Act a law of the land, something that I introduced and sponsored when I was in the Senate, and that I want to see come into fruition. And I’m going to do a lot through the Labor Department and myself personally to encourage women to speak up for themselves.
Then we’re going to be able to make the case: You have a right to find out what others who are doing the job you’re doing get paid. Right now, it could be a reason for getting fired, or other kind of retaliation on the job.
So we’re going to end that, and we’re going to get to equal pay for women’s work.