(Reuters) U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has ended talks with President Bashar al-Assad and left Syria with little sign of progress on halting the country’s growing political bloodshed. “I am optimistic for several reasons,” Annan said in Damascus on Sunday. “The situation is so bad and so dangerous that all of us cannot afford to fail.” There was no clear response from Assad to Annan’s “concrete proposals” for a ceasefire, dialogue and humanitarian aid. Assad told Annan opposition “terrorists” were blocking any political solution. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New York on Monday when the U.N. Security Council holds a special meeting on Arab revolts. Russia, long an ally of Syria, and China have blocked attempts to pass a Security Council resolution condemning Damascus for its attempts to crush a year-old rebellion by force, in which thousands have died. Moscow and Beijing want any international blame for the violence to be apportioned more evenly. China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said in Riyadh on Sunday both Syrian sides should stop fighting and aid should be sent to strife-torn areas – but he also warned other states not to use aid to “interfere”. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have taken a hawkish line against the Syrian government. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Feisal on Sunday repeated calls for the Syrian opposition to be provided with weapons. This was the only way to end the conflict without foreign intervention, he said. “The regime in Syria is committing a massacre of its own citizens,” he added, after talks with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Riyadh. “We cannot accept the completely unreasonable continuation of the atrocities being perpetrated by the Assad regime against its own people,” Westerwelle said. The United Nations says Assad’s forces have killed more than 7,500 people in their crackdown on protesters and insurgents. Authorities say rebels have killed 2,000 soldiers. Annan’s mission coincided with a Syrian military offensive against opposition strongholds in the northwest. Activists said at least four people were killed in the town of Idlib on Sunday after troops and tanks moved in a day earlier. Three soldiers and a civilian were also killed in fighting in the village of Janoudiya in Idlib province on Sunday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. State news agency SANA said “terrorists” shot dead a former boxing champion, Ghiath Tayfour, in the city of Aleppo and also killed a leading Baath Party member in Homs province. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are both ruled by autocrats and espouse a strict version of Sunni Islam, are improbable champions of democracy in Syria. Riyadh has an interest in seeing Assad fall because this could weaken its Shi’ite regional rival Iran, which has been allied with Syria since 1980. The exiled opposition Syrian National Council ruled out talks while Assad is in power. “Negotiations can never take place between the victim and torturer: Assad and his entourage must step down as a condition before starting any serious negotiations,” it said. (Andrew Roche and Dominc Evans)
(abc/AP)Hellwig and German photographer Jens Koch — both working for Bild am Sonntag — had entered Iran on tourist visas and were detained in October 2010 after interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
Her case had generated widespread international outrage.
The two journalists were freed a year ago after German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle traveled to Tehran for a rare meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then brought the pair home on his government plane.
Iranian resistance groups later criticized Westerwelle’s Tehran visit as a propaganda victory for the Iranian regime.
Hellwig said that prison guards, in an apparent move to frighten him, took him “to a torture cell to show me what they were using there to torture people.”
“I was beaten. And there were some other things, but I do not want to talk about them,” he said.(MORE)
These silly Germans were shocked… just shocked! What do you think he doesn’t want to talk about? I’m guessing his ass is sore.
Carl must of written this blog post on the fly. They not only want to avoid war with an aggressive state, but they want to do business with people who are religiously inclined to be martyrs. These aren’t Shinto Buddhists or Communists, these are Muslims and you can not co-op their emperor or prove their system doesn’t work. It is obvious that Europe wants their cake and to eat it to. It seems like the whole world does.
(Have one’s cake and eat it too – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) A French equivalent expression is: vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre, meaning literally to want the butter and the money for the butter. The idiom can be emphasized by adding et le sourire de la crémière (“and the smile of the female buttermaker”).
The expression avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca (“to have the barrel full and the wife drunk”) is used in Italy with an equivalent meaning.
In Spanish, querer estar en misa y en procesión (“wishing to be both at Mass and in the procession”) and nadar y guardar la ropa (“swimming and keeping an eye on the removed clothes”) are similar in meaning.
There is a Serbian equivalent as well, Не можеш да имаш и јаре и паре (“You can’t have both goatling and money”).
Similarly, in Chinese, “也要马儿好，也要马儿不吃草” (pinyin: Yě yào mǎ hǎo, yě yào mǎ bu chī cǎo) means “you want the horse to be the best, but don’t want it to eat any grass”.
There is a Greek equivalent as well: “Και την πίτα ολόκληρη και τον σκύλο χορτάτο” (“you want the pie whole and the dog full”).
A similar expression in Swiss German is Du chasch nit dr Füfer und s Weggli ha (“you can’t have the five cent coin and a -certain type of swiss- bread roll”).
A Nepalese equivalent also exists that goes dubai haat ma laddu, which means having laddu (a sweet candy) in both your hands.
In Argentina, the expression la chancha y los veinte literally means “the pig and the twenties”. It comes from the old piggybanks for children that used to contain coins of 20 cents. The only way to get the coins was to break the piggyback open — hence the phrase. This can be emphasized by adding y la máquina de hacer chorizos, which translates to “and the machine to make sausage”.
In Bulgaria it’s a very often occurrence for the expression to be used: “И вълкът сит, и агнето цяло” (“The wolf is full, and the lamb – whole.”)