Government forces and affiliated militia have committed murder, torture, rape, forcible displacement, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts. Many of these crimes were perpetrated as part of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations and constitute crimes against humanity. War crimes and gross violations of international human rights law –-- including summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful attack, attacking protected objects, and pillaging and destruction of property --- have also been committed. The tragedy of Syria’s 4.25 million internally displaced persons is compounded by recent incidents of IDPs being targeted and forcibly displaced.
Over the past week, several of the eight Presidential candidates --- especially moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani --- have attempted to emphasize that they have female supporters or are reaching out to women voters in their campaigning. EA provides a brief look at some images from the past several days:
Fars News Agency general director Abbas Aslani tweeted a photograph of two women, one a Rouhani supporter and the other supporter of principlist candidate Saeed Jalili, and commented on the difference between them:
Residents digging through rubble in Kafar Hamra section of Aleppo after Sunday's missile strike
The White House has been cautious about a French finding that the regime has used chemical weapons.
"We need more information" about claims of such use, spokesman Jay Carney said.
Carney said there is a need to gather more evidence to pin down when chemical weapons were used, who employed them, and what the chain of custody was: "[We must] establish a body of information that can be presented and reviewed, and upon which policy decisions can be made."
Carney had no timetable for when the review might be completed, although he said, "I can assure you that we are working very diligently as an administration with our allies and the Syrian opposition on this matter."
James Miller writes to EA readers:
It has been my honor to write for EA Worldview for the last 2 1/2 years. Now, however, I am leaving EA to pursue new projects.
This is a bittersweet moment for me. I am excited about the new directions in which my life is headed, and I anticipate wonderful things for EA; at the same time I will miss a place that has been my "home".
One of the opportunities I am pursuing is The Public Eye Journalism Project in conjunction with Professor Matt Sienkiewicz of Boston College. Still in beta, PEJ is dedicated to using open-sources to investigate international events of legal, political and historical importance.
Our first case is the examination of the double bombing on January 15th that left 80 students dead at Aleppo University in Syria.
I wish Scott Lucas, the writers and staff at EA, and all of the readers --- many of whom I have come to know well --- all the best.
A senior Pentagon official has said that the US and Jordan are discussing the possibility of sending American Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Kingdom, amid the Syrian conflict and the training and arming of insurgents from a base in Jordan.
The official emphasised that an agreement over the deployment has not been reached. However, he said the missile batteries could be flown to Jordan within days and used initially as part of a multinational military exercise in June.
Police confront protesters in Turkey
See also EA Animated Video: A 4-Point Guide to Obama's Not-Quite-War-On-Terror br>
Syria Today: Deadly Clash Between Insurgents and Hezbollah in Lebanon br>
Sunday's Middle East Today: Turkey --- Will the Protests Grow?
On 23 May, President Obama set out what he claimed what was a new US approach to threats abroad: "We must define our effort not as a boundless 'global war on terror' – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America."
So what is this not-quite-War-on-Terror? Your 4-point animated guide....
1. A War By Any Other Name is Just as Deadly
2. We Are Killing Them To Bring Your Boys Home and To Prevent Attacks on You
3. The Fear Will Never Stop
4. Where Did Our Values Go?
Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili swears on a Quran that he will sacrifice his life for the Supreme Leader at the request of a student during a rally at Tehran University.
The student asks Jalili if he is ready to swear on the Quran, and he replies: "Enshallah, I am".
After Jalili takes the Quran, the crowd chants his name.
In his speech on State TV on Monday, moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rohani said that he planned to use experts in his "government of hope and prudence" if elected --- a promise made by other candidates as well, notably Saeed Jalili and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf/
Rouhani's comments indicate that he is attempting to pitch himself as a centrist candidate with a broad appeal. Perhaps with a nod at earlier comments on Monday by political commentator Sadeq Zibakalam, who said that reformist voters must back Rouhani or face a Jalili presidency, Rouhani said that he is able to work with all parties, and that he only opposed extremism.
With regard to Iran's nuclear program, Rouhani said Iran needed to clarify its position but stressed that Tehran was not seeking a nuclear weapon, and rather was developing nuclear technology for national development.
Referring to the ongoing battle between himself and his rival Saeed Jalili, Rouhani defended his term as nuclear negotiator:
Rouhani also discussed regional cooperation and national security, noting that he planned to examine specific foreign policy issues to "identify the countries with whom Iran could work".
Rouhani said that public diplomacy --- even with the United States --- was important for Iran, across issues like culture, sports and religion.
The moderate candidate mentioned the Syria question:
#Rouhani: Regardless of our counterpart, all interaction must take place within framework of mutual respect/interests.— Rouhani Campaign (@HassanRouhani) June 3, 2013
Moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani sharply criticized his rival Saeed Jalili's campaign manager, nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri on Monday, over the ongoing row over claims by the Jalili camp that Rouhani made concessions during his tenure as nuclear negotiator.
Conservative news outlet Asr Iran published Rouhani's response to Bagheri's claims, and Rouhani's campaign team also noted them on his Twitter account.
Rouhani slammed Bagheri for using the "unfounded allegations" against him for capital in Jalili's election campaign, but suggested that Bagheri read his book, "National Security And Nuclear Diplomacy".
The moderate candidate also accused Bagheri of making Iran an international laughing stock when he submitted a two-page document to theP5+1 in 2008 that was "full of errors".
Ssturday's campaign speech by Hassan Rouhani, with the crowd chanting the name of detained opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi
With 11 days to go before the first-round vote in the Presidential election, three points on the main contenders and a look at the possibilities....
1. JALILI MAINTAINING MOMENTUM? br>
2. QALIBAF, HADDAD ADEL, VELAYATI --- THE FAILURE TO GET A "UNITY" CANDIDATE br>
3. THE RISE OF ROUHANI? br>
4. THE RISE OF DISSENT?
Claimed footage of a police van hitting a protester
Hamdullah replaces Salam Fayyad, who resigned in April after weeks of tension with others in the Authority. An English professor and dean of al-Najah University in the West Bank, Hamdullah has no prior political or government experience.