Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Junta / Coup Watch Updates -- May 21 , 2014 --- Libya , Thailand and Ukraine in focus.......

Libya....

Anti war....

State Dept: US Not Supporting General’s Libya Takeover

Officials Could Decide to Evacuate Embassy at Any Minute

by Jason Ditz, May 20, 2014
Given Libyan General Khalifa Hifter’s decades of US (and CIA in particular) ties, the State Department has apparently decided it can’t stay completely mum on his military takeover of parliament.
State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that “we do not condone or support”  anything Gen. Hifter is doing, including his attack on Libya’s parliament, nor did they play any role in “assisting” the operation. She punctuated that point by insisting “we have not had contact with him recently.”
Psaki went on to say that the State Department supports a resolution through “peaceful means” of the ongoing disputes in Libya, and called on “all parties” to refrain from violence.
US Marines were deployed to Sicily days before Hifter’s actions, anticipating having to evacuate the embassy. On that front, officials say the decision could change “minute by minute,” as casualties in the Tripoli fighting build.




Libya Announces June Election in Attempt to Preempt Civil War

Missile Fired at Parliament's 'Secret' Location

by Jason Ditz, May 20, 2014
Libya’s electoral commission has announced a parliamentary election for June 25, in an attempt to stave off a growing civil war centering around the takeover of parliament Sunday by General Khalifa Hifter, and a growing civil war between his allies and the elected government.
The announcement came in the wake of what was supposed to be a secret meeting of parliament at anundisclosed luxury hotel, a meeting that was preempted by someone firing a missile at the hotel, sparking a panic.
Technically, parliament’s term in officeended on February 7, but no elections were ever held, and parliament decided to extend their term indefinitely instead of dissolving.
Gen. Hifter’s takeover centered on his objection to Islamist MPs, while the Muslim Brotherhood party condemned Hifter as a Gadhafi-era remnant, and several Islamist militias remain furious at Hifter’s move.
Though the election might conceivably give Hifter some pause, barring a miraculous turn-around for secular parties in the next vote, it seems the Islamist parties are still going to be a force to be reckoned with, meaning at best the vote may just delay Hifter’s crusade against them for a month.



US Sees No Coup in Military Takeovers in Thailand, Libya

State Dept Defends 'Constitutional' Thai Declaration of Martial Law

by Jason Ditz, May 20, 2014
Between a self-proclaimed military marching into Libya’s parliament and Thailand’s military declaring martial law, it seems that coups d’etat are becoming more fashionable.
Unless you’re in the State Department, that is, as the policy there continues to be not recognizing anything as an actual coup, and is insisting neither of these cases count.
The State Department has disavowed the Libya takeover, conducted by a long-time CIA asset, but seemed supportive of the Thai military’s move, declaring it “constitutional” and saying the military had promised the US their takeover was “temporary.”
The US doesn’t have a great history of recognizing when coups happen, either, as with the Egyptian military’s summer coup last year. The Egyptian military took over a democratically elected government, and continues to rule to this day, but because a formal recognition of a coup would require the US to suspend aid, the Obama Administration openly insisted they would never recognize it as one.
The Pentagon remains keen on military ties with Thailand, which would explain the reluctance to “notice” a coup there, but since the Libyan National Army isn’t even a real army, the reluctance to see what’s happening in Libya as a coup attempt seems to reflect an overall administration policy of not noticing things like that.



Libya Herald..



Confusion surrounds June date for House of Representatives election
By Libya Herald staff.

Tripoli, 20 May 2014

There was confusion today over reports that 25 June had been announced for elections to the new House of Representatives, replacing the General National Congress.

The Libya news agency Lana reported that the Higher National Elections Commission (HNEC) had set the date. However, this was despite an earlier HNEC statement that national elections to a new legislature would be logistically impossible before August. The HNEC later said 25 June was just one of a number of dates it was considering.

Despite some media reports, the decision as to when to hold the vote was not made at the General National Congress (GNC) which today met in secret. Congress was supposed to consider the items which remained on its agenda following Sunday’s attacks on its buildings: a vote on the government of Ahmed Maetig and the passing of a budget for 2014. However, not enough members attended its session in the Mahari Radisson Blu Hotel for a quorum on the vote. Only 95 members were present out of a required 101.

GNC member for Murzuk, Taher Kanah Makni, told the Libya Herald that he attended the session but left soon after it became clear not enough members would arrive for the vote.

Benghazi Congressman Ahmed Langhi said he, like many other members from the east, had been unable to attend the session because of the closure of Benina Airport.

Congressman Abdullah El Kabier said that he had not attended the vote but did not doubt there would be later discussions in the GNC on the current political impasse. He said he himself had become disillusioned with Congress’ infighting and felt that it had become the source of many problems. Kabier said he hoped these problems could be resolved peacefully.

Ahmed Maetig, whose election to the post of Prime Minister at the beginning of this month is contested by many members of Congress, today asked the GNC for anther ten days to propose a new government. The request appeared to contradict rumours that he was reconsidering his acceptance of the premiership in light of recent violence, although he had said a week ago that he would have a government ready within seven days.

His  decision to form a new cabinet without a second round of prime ministerial elections came into direct conflict with advice given to the Congress by the sitting government yesterday. Following an emergency sitting Abdullah Al-Thinni’s cabinet told the GNC it should hold a new ballot to choose a Prime Minister, pass the 2014 budget and then cease all its activities.

A group of 21 Congress members announced today in an open letter that they supported Thinni’s decision. They said Congress had failed to listen to the voices of the Libyan people and that it was in the interest of the entire country that the GNC stepped down.

One of the signatories to the letter, Congress member for Geminis Abdullah Al-Gmati, said he had signed it with his colleagues in support of the Thinni government and in hope that it would help resolve the current crisis.



Read more: http://www.libyaherald.com/2014/05/20/confusion-surrounds-june-date-for-house-of-representatives-election/#ixzz32M8vvGQe

Confusion surrounds June date for House of Representatives election

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 20 May 2014
There was confusion today over reports that 25 June had been announced for elections to the new House of Representatives, replacing the General National Congress.
The Libya news agency Lana reported that the Higher National Elections Commission (HNEC) had set the date. However, this was despite an earlier HNEC statement that national elections to a new legislature would be logistically impossible before August. The HNEC later said 25 June was just one of a number of dates it was considering.
Despite some media reports, the decision as to when to hold the vote was not made at the General National Congress (GNC) which today met in secret. Congress was supposed to consider the items which remained on its agenda following Sunday’s attacks on its buildings: a vote on the government of Ahmed Maetig and the passing of a budget for 2014. However, not enough members attended its session in the Mahari Radisson Blu Hotel for a quorum on the vote. Only 95 members were present out of a required 101.
GNC member for Murzuk, Taher Kanah Makni, told the Libya Herald that he attended the session but left soon after it became clear not enough members would arrive for the vote.
Benghazi Congressman Ahmed Langhi said he, like many other members from the east, had been unable to attend the session because of the closure of Benina Airport.
Congressman Abdullah El Kabier said that he had not attended the vote but did not doubt there would be later discussions in the GNC on the current political impasse. He said he himself had become disillusioned with Congress’ infighting and felt that it had become the source of many problems. Kabier said he hoped these problems could be resolved peacefully.
Ahmed Maetig, whose election to the post of Prime Minister at the beginning of this month is contested by many members of Congress, today asked the GNC for anther ten days to propose a new government. The request appeared to contradict rumours that he was reconsidering his acceptance of the premiership in light of recent violence, although he had said a week ago that he would have a government ready within seven days.
His  decision to form a new cabinet without a second round of prime ministerial elections came into direct conflict with advice given to the Congress by the sitting government yesterday. Following an emergency sitting Abdullah Al-Thinni’s cabinet told the GNC it should hold a new ballot to choose a Prime Minister, pass the 2014 budget and then cease all its activities.
A group of 21 Congress members announced today in an open letter that they supported Thinni’s decision. They said Congress had failed to listen to the voices of the Libyan people and that it was in the interest of the entire country that the GNC stepped down.
One of the signatories to the letter, Congress member for Geminis Abdullah Al-Gmati, said he had signed it with his colleagues in support of the Thinni government and in hope that it would help resolve the current crisis.






Ukraine ......

Anti war....


Ukraine Oligarch’s Bid to Stop Separatists Fails

Mariupol Anti-Secession Rally Sparsely Attended

by Jason Ditz, May 20, 2014
After last week’s New York Times reported “rout” of pro-autonomy protesters in eastern Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol didn’t pan out, billionaire Rinat Akhmetov decided to take another shot at it this week.
Akhmetov sees his business interests at risk in the event of Mariupol’s secession, and continues to rail against the “economic ruin” the protesters would bring, urging his hundreds of thousands of employees to attend counter-rallies.
Yet despite continued media reports of Akhmetov’s counter-secession moving being a fait accompli, the rallies have been sparsely attended, to say the least, and don’t seem to have seriously stalled the protest movement anywhere.
Akhmetov organized a “peace rally” against secession for noon today, urging his 300,000 employees to take to the streets of Mariupol in support of Kiev’s central government. Instead of a few hundred thousand, the rally saw a few hundred turn out, as virtually no one left his factories at lunch to attend.
Though Akhmetov’s own business interests are somewhat imperiled by a potential loss of export markets in western Europe, the reality is that eastern Ukraine is an economic basketcase to begin with, so his admonitions not to rock the boat are ringing pretty hollow to the man on the street.



State Dept: Russians Captured by Ukraine May Not Be Real Journalists

Cites Reports From 'On the Ground' that Reporters Had Missiles

by Jason Ditz, May 20, 2014
Questioned by an AP reporter about the Ukraine military’s capture of a pair of Russian journalists working for LifeNews, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted there were serious doubts among US officials as to whether the two were “real” journalists.
During the press briefing, Psaki cited reports from “on the ground” that the two had anti-aircraft missiles in their cars, and that they were carrying “fake journalist credentials” from the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Psaki in particular railed against the credentials, dubbing it the “nonexistent Donetsk People’s Republic, self-proclaimed.” The Donetsk People’s Republic is the name given by protesters to their interim government in the region, and which was affirmed in a referendum the US didn’t recognize earlier this month.
Psaki insisted the possession of credentials from them was “obvious relevant information” related to their detention and raised questions about their legitimacy. When asked if the US would call for their release once it was proven the two are “bona fide journalists,” Psaki responded “sure,” but insisted their focus was on journalists detained by the protesters, not those detained by the Ukrainian military.





Thailand....

Al Jazeera....



Thai crisis meeting ends without agreement

Rival groups told by army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha to "go back home" and prepare for another meeting on Thursday.

Last updated: 21 May 2014 10:38
Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker
Email Article

Print Article

Share article

Send Feedback
A crisis meeting between leaders of rival Thai political groups aimed at resolving long-running conflict has ended inconclusively, with the army calling for another meeting on Thursday, a participant has said.
"The army chief asked us to go back home and think about the things we discussed in order to find a solution for the country," Puchong Nutrawong, secretary-general of the Election Commission, told the Reuters news agency.

He said the group would meet again at 2pm (07:00 GMT) on Thursday.
Wednesday's meeting came a day after army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law to try to resolve a decade-long crisis that has raised fears of civil war.
Thailand has been stuck in political limbo since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her ministers were dismissed on May 7 after a constitutional court found them guilty of abuse of power.
The move came after months of anti-government protests that have left 28 people dead and hundreds wounded.
"We ask all sides to come and talk to find a way out for the country," Prayuth told reporters after meeting directors of government agencies and other high-ranking officials.
Government 'sidelined'
Both pro- and anti-government protesters are camped out at different places in the capital Bangkok and the army has warned them against marching to prevent clashes.

Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa, reporting from Bangkok, said: "Whatever roadmap they come up with is not likely to be able to please both the Red Shirts - who want the leaders they elected to be in office - or the Yellow Shirts, who will do everything they can to remove the legacy of the Thaksin Sinawatra dynasty and influence on politics here."
IN PICTURES: Thailand's political crisis
An announcement on military-run television said that the imposition of martial law was not a coup and affirmed that the caretaker government was still running the country.
"The public do not need to panic but can still live their lives as normal," it said.
Niwattumrong issued his own plea for harmony in the country, telling reporters the government wanted "peace and order to prevail in the country".
Martial law allows the military to take over power from the police and other state authorities. The army can now search people, homes, vehicles and even open letters and messages.
Media censorship
Troops, some in jeeps mounted with machine guns, stopped some traffic from entering Bangkok after the martial law order.
They also took up positions at intersections and secured television stations, but life went on as normal in most of the city.
Critics accused the army of media censorship after it ordered 10 satellite TV channels, both pro- and anti-government, to stop broadcasting.
The military, which put down a protest movement against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, in 2010, has staged numerous coups since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.
The last one was in 2006 to oust Thaksin, who has lived abroad since 2008 but wields political influence and commands huge support among the poor.
Anti-government protesters want a "neutral" prime minister to oversee electoral reforms aimed at ending Thaksin's influence.
They disrupted a February 2 election that Thaksin's loyalists looked set to win. It was later declared void.







What could go wrong edition ? 



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/20/us-armed-rebel-group-seeks-all-syrian-land-occupie/?page=all#pagebreak



One of the militant Syrian rebel groups provided access to advanced U.S. missiles said that it is seeking “the return of all Syrian land occupied by Israel,” a stance that could potentially complicate U.S. military support to the armed rebel group.
The leader of an official rebel group sanctioned by the Syrian Military Council and in possession of sophisticated U.S. arms expressed his opinion in an interview published over the weekend by the Syrian news organization Tahrir Souri.


Ahmad Al-Sa’oud, who heads the rebel unit Division 13, was asked by the interviewer to explain “your stance, as an armed opposition group, on Israel.”
“We are for the return of all Syrian land occupied by Israel,” Al-Sa’oud responded.
Al-Sa’oud’s 13th Division was among the first armed Syrian opposition groups to receive U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles from the Obama administration, which is said to have carefully vetted each of those rebel factions receiving American-made arms.
Al-Sa’oud’s stance on Israel’s presence in the Golan Heights—territory annexed from Syria during 1967’s Six Day War—caused concern among terrorism experts, who have long warned that U.S. arms could fall into the hands of radical militant groups that joined the years-long fight to depose President Bashar al-Assad.
“This is precisely the problem we’ve faced in arming the Syrian opposition,” said terrorism analyst Patrick Poole. “Despite repeated promises that we would only arm ‘vetted rebels’ there’s no confidence that anyone in the U.S. government has any idea who they’re dealing with or what their agenda might be.”
The Obama administration has been hesitant to provide a large quantity of arms to Syrian opposition fighters due to the wide diversity of those fighting against Assad and evidence that extremist Muslim groups have joined the fight, making it difficult for Western officials to differentiate between moderate rebels and those tied to al Qaeda and other terror organizations.
“Undoubtedly there is someone at the State Department that has vouched for Ahmad Al-Sa’oud and declared him ‘vetted’ for giving him TOW missiles and other heavy weaponry, completely unaware that he would like to retake the Golan Heights from Israel—our closest ally in the region—and would use weapons we provided to do it,” Poole said.

These concerns have been bolstered by recent report that Islamist fighters in Syria recently used the U.S. TOW missiles during a fight in the town of Aleppo.
The Islamic Front was reported to have been fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda-tied group designated as a terror organization by the U.S. government.
Asked how the 13th Division obtained the U.S. arms and the criteria used to vet it, Al-Sa’oud said that the unit’s legitimacy was bestowed by “the Syrian people.”
The intermediary, and who has bestowed their trust upon us, are the Syrian people,” Sa’oud was quoted as saying. “The Syrian people who trust that we will face these weapons at the tyrannical Assad regime.”
The U.S. missiles were provided to rebel groups via an intermediary known as the Friends of Syria, a coalition of Western nations and Arab states seeking to bolster the opposition’s fight to depose Assad.
The rebel groups reportedly must return the empty missile shells and have promised not to resell the arms, according to the Washington Post.
Al-Sa’oud confirmed in the interview that the U.S. missiles had been provided to it by the Friends of Syria, which also provided training on how to use the advanced weaponry.
Al-Sa’oud said he expects to receive more shipments of U.S. arms because, “day after day, we are increasing our legitimacy and credibility on the ground.”
Factions like the 13th Division also are exploring the possibility of sending some of the U.S. TOW missiles to other rebel factions fighting in Ghouta, the site of deadly chemical gas attacks.
“Right now, we have no way to deliver these missiles to the Eastern Ghouta,” Al-Soud was quoted as saying. “When a path opens up, we will absolutely lend our support to the rebels there.”