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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al Qaeda, Egypt, False Flags, and Hasbara

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(Part 2) (I enjoyed seeing Paul cite an FDL article!)

The U.S. needs to withdraw militarily from the Middle East. I’ve made this argument over the course of several years. I think that the projection of American power comes at great environmental and human cost. I think we prop up regimes that are bad for the region, including the Saudis, the Bahrainis, now the Egyptian military, and others. I think this antagonistic relationship with Iran has been counterproductive on so many levels, from the perspective of the energy, but also from human rights and from suffering in the region, almost constant war.

-Toby C. Jones, associate professor of history at Rutgers University and author of Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia

I couldn’t agree more with Toby…!

Now, it’s always refreshing to see a MSM outlet shine some sort of light on our perfidy…

New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims

A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.

However, b @ MOA takes McClatchy to task…

Missile Experts: White House Made False Claims Over Syrian WMD Use

…The short version of this whole story is this: The scientific facts are clear and the White House version of the WMD story is definitely false. These facts are not new but where known when the White House claims were made. Obama (and Kerry) deliberately lied about the WMD attack in Syria to wage an open war against the Syrian government and people. Threatened with a possible conflict with the Russian fleet and a possible impeachment Obama caved in. But he has not yet given up on his aim of regime change and of destroying Syria and its people.

It is time for Congress to investigate who prepared, on who’s order, the false claims about chemical weapon use in Syria and to draw consequences.

Speaking of the White House… White House releases summary of six-month Iran nuclear plan

I must say, despite the obvious Neocon Bias, I concur…

Obama has ‘No Sense’ of Military Strategy

A top British defense adviser has called President Barack Obama “chronically incapable” of implementing a successful military strategy in Syria and Afghanistan, and has “no sense of what he wants to do in the world.”

Sir Hew Strachan, a member of the United Kingdom’s Chief of the Defense Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel, told The Daily Beast Wednesday that Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis was “crazy” and, as the publication put it, perhaps “the most egregious example of a fundamental collapse in military planning that began in the aftermath of 9/11.”

“If anything it’s gone backwards instead of forwards. Obama seems to be almost chronically incapable of doing this,” Strachan said. “[Former President George W.] Bush may have had totally fanciful political objectives in terms of trying to fight a global War on Terror, which was inherently astrategic, but at least he had a clear sense of what he wanted to do in the world.

Obama has no sense of what he wants to do in the world,” he added.

*ouch*

Here’s another great look-see at our misbegotten FP…

To be sure, Kerry is truly tone-deaf… Geneva-2 to establish Syria’s transitional governing body: Kerry

Moving along to Egypt’s recent referendum…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al Qaeda, Egypt, Iran, and Yemen

5:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

 

From the intrepid Pepe Escobar…

Al-Qaeda to the rescue

When the going gets tough, count on the Ministry of Truth to get going.

The end of Ramadan was imminent. The jihadi chattering classes of that fuzzy entity, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), went on overdrive. It was jailbreak galore from Libya to Pakistan via Iraq. And all this in perfect synch with two successive fatwas issued by that perennial bogeyman, former Osama bin Laden sidekick Ayman “Doctor Evil” al-Zawahiri.

Imagine a rushed crisis meeting at the highest levels of the Orwellian/Panopticon complex: “Gentlemen, we have a golden opportunity here. We are under siege by defector spy Edward Snowden – liberated by the Soviets – and that terrorist hack Greenwald. Snowden may be winning: even among US public opinion, there’s a growing perception we may be more of a threat than al-Qaeda.

So we must show we are vigilantly protecting our freedoms. Yes; we’re gonna scream Terra, Terra, Terra!” {…}

…The bottom line is that the Bush-Obama continuum never ceases to reassure us – not to mention that old fox al-Zawahiri. Doctor Evil, as warped a strategist as he is, figured out a while ago that if the “al-Qaeda” global bogeyman myth is now “stronger than ever” it’s thanks to the Obama administration and its poodles, European and Persian Gulf-based, with their Three Stooges strategy from Libya to Syria. Afghanistan is a completely different story; there’s no “historical” al-Qaeda left, only a handful in the Pakistani tribal areas…

Doctor Evil and the Orwellian/Panopticon complex are on the same side – and that explains why he’ll be allowed to be a motor mouth fatwa machine for as long as he wants, and won’t be nabbed like some patsy in the underwear bomber mould. The complex is back in offense. Reform the NSA? Interfere with our metadata? What for? We have just alerted the US government to “pre-9/11″ levels of terrorist chatter!

AQAP might well decide not to participate in this worldwide “pre-9/11″ script. Real jihadis, after all, are not foolish enough to be caught by XKeystroke. So here’s a Dylanesque riddle for you. All along the watchtower, a false flag is approaching – said the joker to the thief. There’s too much Terra confusion, and we won’t get no relief.

Emptywheel asks… Was It NSA or a Yemeni “Ally” Leaking the “Clear Orders” from Zawahiri to Wuhayshi?

From Foreign PolicyWashington Spin War Erupts Over Terror Alert.

To be sure…

…In Washington Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said an alert that forced U.S. embassy closures across the Middle East and Africa may remain in place all month.

“Our current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond,” Carney said during a media briefing.

“And our information suggests that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” he said.

From RT…

US Special Forces on alert against Al-Qaeda attacks following intercepted communiques

…”While I can’t go into specific details, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee noted yesterday that this information was collected using Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, rather than the Patriot Act,” said Democrat Senator Ron Wyden as cited by The Guardian newspaper. “I still haven’t seen any evidence that the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of Americans’ phone records is providing any unique value to American counterterrorism efforts.”

Some alleged that the shutdown of US embassies and the media hype it caused may have been blown out of proportion.

“The NSA takes in threat information every day. You have to ask, why now? What makes this information different?” asked Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “The NSA’s choice to publish these threats at this time perpetuates a culture of fear and unquestioning deference to surveillance in the United States.”

The range of diplomatic facilities affected by the alert seems a bit baffling, argues The Washington Post. While the focus of the security beef-up seems to be in the Persian Gulf region, the closures also included some unlikely locations.

Among those are Rwanda and Burundi, two Central African countries with small Muslim minorities and little experience with Islamist extremism or terrorism. The US recently opened a new fortified embassy in Burundi and moved embassy staff in Rwanda to a new high-security building, so in both countries the diplomatic personnel are apparently well-protected.

There is also hardly any apparent explanation for the closure of diplomatic sites in Madagascar and the tiny Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, the newspaper adds.

And, No, al Qaeda Is Not About to Blow Up Your Blouse…!

Moving along to Egypt… So was it a ‘coup’ or not…?

In Egypt, U.S. Senators Label Morsi’s Ousting a ‘Coup’ as Tension and Confusion Reigns

…The simultaneous visits of both Burns and the two senators represent a significant shift on the part of the US—an active re-engagement after several weeks of semantic gymnastics over how to define this crucial phase of Egypt’s revolution. The American government is deeply distrusted by both players in the dispute and seemed, until recently, to be willing to take a back seat and endorse the EU mediation efforts.

But the renewed US engagement hasn’t brought much more clarity to the situation. Last week, Burns’s boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, made the strongest comments yet in favor of the post-Morsi government while on a visit to Pakistan, stating that the Egyptian military’s intervention was aimed at “restoring democracy.”

On Tuesday however, Senators McCain and Graham seemed to be singing from a completely different songsheet. The senators openly labeled Morsi’s ouster as a “coup”—a word the White House and State Department have studiously avoided for weeks and one which, when invoked, draws the ire of the transitional government and its supporters.

Still, McCain stated that cutting off the U.S.’s $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt—an action mandated by current U.S. law in the event of a coup against a democratically-elected government—would be “the wrong signal at the wrong time.” But Graham, in comments to reporters on Tuesday, offered a blunt assessment of the Egyptian playing field—one that directly challenges the transitional government’s statements of its own legitimacy. “The people who are in charge were not elected. The people who were elected are in jail,” he said. “The status quo is not acceptable.”

Interestingly… Egyptian govt rejects McCain’s ‘clumsy’ statements on Morsi’s ouster…!

Moving on to Iran, this about sums it up…

America displays more stupidity on Iran

…The problem with this approach that has failed for many years is that it is based on a series of arrogant assumptions or aggressive preconditions that no self-respecting government in the world would accept. It mentions substantive issues with Iran only in terms of Iran’s nuclear efforts, without acknowledging that Iran also has security, economic, nuclear rights and other concerns to discuss about how it is treated by the U.S. and the Western powers.

The statement accuses Iran of not engaging substantively and seriously, when the evidence shows that Iran has offered many substantive gestures (including freezing nuclear enrichment for two years and allowing all its enrichment facilities to be inspected by the United Nations), but now refuses to advance further mainly as a response to the U.S.-Israeli-driven campaign of sanctions, threats and cyberattacks against it. The U.S., Israel and others in the West never waste an opportunity to threaten to use military force against Iran, but in this context they also demand that Iran be responsible for taking the initiative to resolve this issue peacefully…

…Iranians and Rouhani took the first step of moving their national policies in a different, perhaps more fruitful, direction. Why could the White House not simply have replied to Rouhani’s calls for respect and equal treatment with the same magnitude of fusion between the display of new style and substance that hold the promise for a better world for all? Why did the White House instead reassert the aggressive ways that have only steadily increased tensions across the entire region for the past decade or more?

From the dynamic duo of Flynt and Hillary Leverett… America’s Iran Policy, the Undermining of International Order, and the Bankruptcy of Washington’s Approach to Nuclear Diplomacy…

And in closing… Yemen Scholar Says U.S. Drone Strikes May Have Driven al-Qaida Membership…!

You don’t say…? *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Barrel Bombs, Bunker Busters And Scud Busters

7:42 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

You know what’s lost amongst all this mass hysteria over Assad’s Scuds and WMDs, is the rank hypocrisy of our own misguided bombings…! Does anybody realize the sheer depths of depravity we’d sunk to, in Fallujah, as one sordid example of our ‘Shock and Awe’ in Irak…? Truly… Why Remember Iraq?

Now, to add insult to injury… After Deadly Siege in Gaza, US to Restock Israeli Munitions

… The DoD notified Congress on Monday of the $647 million deal with Israel to restock the Israel Air Force (IAF) with munitions used in the over one thousand bombings conducted during the “Operation Pillar of Defense” on Gaza last month. Congress is expected to approve the deal this week.

The DoD said the deal includes roughly 7,000 Joint Attack Munitions kits, and 10,000 bombs of various kinds, mostly bunker-buster bombs, including 1,725 BLU-109 bunker-buster bombs, and 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs.

In addition to the large amount of civilian casualties, the assault on Gaza also destroyed roughly 8,000 buildings and roughly $1.2 billion in infrastructural damage, according to Palestinian officials.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials announced Wednesday that it will now withhold needed tax revenues from the Palestinian administration in the West Bank for at least four months in retaliation for the Palestinians’ bid for observer status at the UN this month. The December funds transfer was already withheld…

To be sure… Palestine calls for end to Israeli blockade of Gaza…

…The international community needs to take “action to remove the tremendous obstacles the occupying power is placing on the ground, ” with lives of more than 1.6 million Palestinians being affected, according to Mansour.

The Israeli government “regrettably continues to impose trade restrictions making the Palestinian economy dependent on the Israeli economy,” said the Palestinian ambassador.

At this time, according to him, Palestine is “unable to access the international marketplace, Palestinians are forced to trade with Israel, the occupying power, which makes the State of Palestine the number one importer of Israeli products.”

Consequently, “this high dependence deprives the Palestinian economy of more competitive sources of imports and markets for exports, and heightens its vulnerability to the Israeli business cycle,” said Mansour.

Mansour noted that the limited economic freedom has posed ” another immense impediment to achieving sustainable Palestinian economic growth” because Palestinian entrepreneurs have limited access to competitive international markets, especially for exporting agricultural goods.

According to the envoy, these circumstances have created a desperate need for “economic and humanitarian assistance by the international community” which is “crucial, but not enough.”

“If the international community truly aspires to witness the two-State solution materialize and observe a sustained economic growth trajectory and development for the Palestinian people, it must compel the occupying power to end all of its illegal measures and actions and finally terminate its military occupation,” said Mansour. “The international community must step up its responsibility and put pressure on Israel to abide by its legal obligations under international law, humanitarian law and human rights law.”

C’mon now, seriously…? 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs…? Wtf, over…?

Incidently… Israel special forces conducting cross-border operations in Syria…!

Moving on… US Providing Training to Syrian Rebels in Jordan…!

Apparently, the Syrian ‘doom and gloom’ is settling in all over, even in Moscow…

Syrian opposition victory possible, but at an absolutely unacceptable price – Moscow

…”One must look the facts in the face … the regime and government in Syria is losing control of more and more territory,” state-run RIA quoted the envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, as saying. “Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.” {…}

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov warned Thursday of emerging terrorist hotbeds that had been sprouting throughout Syria and the Sinai Peninsula.

“Al-Qaeda extremists constitute a large part of the armed opposition forces,” he said, adding Syrian militants could and actually had already been seizing arms stockpiles…

Seriously, Beware the Ides of March…!

…The propaganda preparation of the American people for another military adventure is now approaching a climax. US recognition of the rebel coalition sets the stage for legal intervention.

Shall we start a war “pool” as to the date? pl

*gah*

by CTuttle

Syrian Hysteria – Déjà Vu All Over Again?

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Then He smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

-Little Drummer Boy

This is just getting outright ridiculous, folks…!

Intel chair warns U.S. must act if Syria moves to use chemical weapon

…The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday warned the Obama administration it must act more urgently to prevent Syria’s government from using chemical weapons.

Rep. Mike Rogers told attendees at the IISS Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrian that the United States has a moral obligation to act immediately if there is concrete proof chemical weapons are loaded and being readied for launch.

Recent U.S. intelligence suggests the Syrian government has started mixing chemical weapons compounds and loading them into bombs, though the bombs are not being moved to any delivery devices, CNN’s Barbara Starr reported.

Visibly frustrated, Rogers argued the United States and the international community were way behind in acting to prevent use of chemical weapons, saying there was a robust debate in Washington on what constitutes a red line for military action – before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad moves to use weapons or after the weapons are launched…

Some more…

…About 400 U.S. and Dutch NATO troops were massed on Turkey’s Syrian border amid fears besieged President Bashar Assad was poised to use chemical weapons.

The soldiers were readying Patriot missiles three days after NATO agreed to deploy the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system in Turkey. Ankara had requested the installations as a defense against a Syrian missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons.

“Nobody knows what such a regime is capable of and that is why we are acting protectively here,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said of NATO’s move.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday the latest intelligence reports heightened fears Assad would use chemical weapons on the rebels trying to oust him.

“The intelligence that we have raises serious concerns that this is being considered,” he said…

…Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad told pro-Assad Lebanese satellite TV station al-Manar, affiliated with the Shiite militant group Hezbollah: “Syria stresses again, for the 10th, the 100th time, that if we had such [chemical] weapons, they would not be used against its people. We would not commit suicide.”

Miqdad accused the United States and pro-opposition European countries of “conspiring” to create the impression the Assad regime would use chemical weapons to justify an intervention…

Now, to be sure folks, it’s not just my starry-eyed, naïveté…

Has Obama decided on war in Syria?

1 – The same two propagandists from WINEP and ISW are quoted as the main sources of this article as in so many other propaganda pieces on this theme and subject. These two fellows have no sources of information that they will admit to other than rebel “news” releases. The level of enthusiasm for this information campaign is so high in the idiot media that these two “experts’” opinions are now quoted as evidence.

2 – Both the president of the United States and the Secretary of State have taken to making speeches threatening Syria with unspecified “consequences” if chemical weapons are employed in the civil war. Syria states that it will not do so.

3- It seems that the United States will soon recognize a coalition of rebel groups as the government of Syria in spite of the presence in that coalition of AQ related groups who are self-declared enemies of the United States.

4- It is the policy of the United States to bring about complete governmental change in Syria. There is no UN sanction for such a policy.

It appears that the Obama Administration has taken upon itself the right to determine the outcome of the civil war in Syria. The ongoing and emerging disaster in Egypt is evidently not a deterrant to “king making” in Syria. pl

Col. Lang’s initial post then sparked this guest post at SST…

HARPER: SYRIA IS DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN

…Both the German BND and the Russian government have issued strong statements in the past 24 hours, indicating that they have carefully looked into the chemical weapons claims and find absolutely no evidence to confirm them.

The propaganda campaign is a carbon copy of the now totally discredited “weapons of mass destruction” claims that were used in 2002-2003 to justify the U.S. led invasion of Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein government. In the words of the immortal American philosopher and linguist Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Not only is the U.S. and NATO showing reckless disregard for the consequences of that Iraq fiasco. There is an even more stubborn refusal to learn some of the most painful lessons of the more recent regime change adventure in Libya. The overthrow and execution of Qaddafi has turned Libya into a hotbed of al-Qaeda insurgency…

…I have no doubt that this Syria fiasco is headed towards a rapid conclusion. The depth of wartime propaganda centered on the chemical weapons scare indicates that the Western powers are committed to bringing down the Assad government as rapidly as possible…

This is all going to end very badly. Harper

Now, b of MOA, responded to Harper’s post at SST, in the comments, and even wrote his own post…

German Paper: U.S. Pressing For NATO War On Syria

…It seems like the U.S. and its tool Rassmussen want, like in Libya, contract NATO for their dirty fights. Judging from user comments in German online media there is, despite an avalanche of anti-Syrian propaganda, a strong opposition against any intervention in Syria. Should Westerwelle (or chancellor Merkel) support a NATO mission their advantage in next years federal elections would be at risk. I therefore expect that the German government will continue to reject any NATO intervention in Syria as well as in Iran. Today’s report on how the U.S. failed to control the weapon flow from Qatar to Libya will only bolster their arguments.

Here is that ‘German report,’ which b roughly translated… Exclusive: NATO Chief Urges Readiness For Military Intervention In Syria…!

Meanwhile, the drumbeats grow ever louder… Unleashing chemical weapons: Syrian risks include deliberate attack, loss of control to rebels…!

Pa rum pum pum pum…! *gah*

by CTuttle

‘Concern’ Over Syria’s WMDs

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

C’mon Folks, this is just another shiny bauble of fear, once again, being dangled before a gullible populace…!

From the WaPoo…

Clinton: U.S. will act if Syria uses chemical weapons

…Clinton did not directly address new reports that Assad may be moving chemical weapons or making other possible preparations to use his known stockpile. But the Associated Press, citing an unnamed U.S. defense official, reported that international “intelligence sources” have detected signs in recent days that Syria has been moving chemical weapons components to new locations.

The official, who according to AP spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters, said officials don’t believe any developments with the weapons are imminent but are trying to figure out what the Syrians are doing…

Give me a freaking break…! C’mon now, Spencer and Noah…! You do realize you were just played…?

Right…?

…All that’s certain is that the arms have now been prepped to be used, should Assad order it.

“Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where the can load it up on a plane and drop it,” the official adds…

Funny how quickly, b at MOA, blatantly pointed out the Obvious

…There is no need for the Syrian army to combine stuff and fill it up because the precursors are already stored in the ammunition when that artillery ammunition or aerial bomb is fabricated. They are stored in two separate chambers and the ammunition is safe for transport and storage. Only firing the ammunition or dropping the bomb will combine the binaries.

What the anonymous American official claims is not happening in Syria. If the Wired writers Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman, (an avid defender of Israel firsters some might note), had even some basic knowledge about ammunition engineering they would not fall for such a stupid claim some anonymous official makes.

The claim that “the Assad regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors” is definitely wrong. Whatever the Syrian army is doing or not doing with its strategic weapons, it is not what that anonymous “American official” claims…

Another FDL Alumna, Marcy, also took Spencer to task…! On Toobz and Gases… With some blistering commentary too…!

Now, I’ve written about this before… Bibi’s ‘ready’ to secure Syria’s WMDs…!

So, let’s look at some recent revelations… FSA-Israeli Connection: Spiritual Leader of FSA declares his complicity with Israel on Israeli TV, and, even more on the failed ‘FSA’, whatever abomination incarnation it’s under…!


Syria’s opposition warns of a rise in extremists

…Jabhat al-Nusra now has somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters, according to officials of a non-governmental organization that represents the more moderate wing of the Free Syrian Army. They say that the Al-Qaeda affiliate now accounts for 7.5 percent to 9 percent of the Free Syrian Army’s total number of fighters, up sharply from an estimated 3 percent just three months ago and 1 percent at the beginning of the year.

The extremist group is growing in part because it has been the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force. “From the reports we get from the doctors, most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line,” said a message sent Friday to the State Department by the moderate Free Syrian Army representatives, who have been warning of the rise of the extremists…

God Help the Syrians, one and all…!

*gah*