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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: The I/P, Egypt, Libya, and Turkey

8:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Col. Pat Lang penned an excellent retort to Oren’s brazen attempt to whitewash the IDF…

IDF marksman caught on tape in teenagers deaths

They do this kind of thing. The IDF can usually simply deny the event because it is not recorded and they feel free to lie to the world. After all, these are just Palestinians.

I witnessed a similar event in Bethlehem about 15 years ago. Three Palestinian teenagers were killed that day when Israeli troops opened fire with ball ammunition from a sandbagged position at Rachel’s tomb. (It is now permanently fortified) Having tried to administer CPR to one of the boys I can certify that he was shot through the thorax with a rifle. I happened to be on the scene shopping. The boys had been throwing rocks at the soldiers. There were about 15 wounded. They had been hit with super-caliber riot control munitions and had broken bones.

They got caught this time because CNN had a camera crew in this town for Naqba Day “festivities” outside Ofer Prison. The CNN camera man caught an Israeli soldier on the wall of the prison firing what looks like an M-4 carbine at the demonstrators. Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador in Washington claimed yesterday on “Wolf” that no ball (live fire) ammunition was used but the father of the boy hit from in front had a bullet that he said went through his son’s chest, through his backpack and a book inside and was found in the pack. It looked like 5.56 mm. to me. It was not noticeably deformed. That would be the case with steel jacketed military ammunition.

Oren suggested that the Palestinians staged all this to make Israel look bad. pl

Meanwhile, Abu Mazen, continues to undermine the Palestinians… The repercussions of forfeiting international recognition

An interesting development… New unity government to review Hamas laws in Gaza

Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity – A Long History of Corruption

Israel-Palestine: Europe should atone for its sins

Moving along to Egypt and Al-Sisi… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Rand Paul, al Qaeda, Iran, and Syria

9:17 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Well, it’s official folks…

Rand Paul: My colleagues just voted to arm the allies of al Qaeda

… Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday, which voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition in a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). “This is an important moment,” Paul said, addressing his Senate colleagues. “You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”

The legislation, which would authorize the shipment of arms and military training to rebels “that have gone through a thorough vetting process,” passed in a bipartisan 15-3 vote. Paul offered an amendment that would strike the bill’s weapons provision, but it was rejected along with another Paul amendment ruling out the authorization of the use of military force in Syria. (Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy was the only senator to join Paul in support of the weapons amendment.)

The dispute centers on the issue of whether the United States could properly vet Syrian rebels so that weapons and body armor would not fall into the hands of extremist groups, such as the al Qaeda-aligned al-Nusra Front. The Pentagon’s top brass has vacillated about whether it’s logistically possible to keep track of weapons as they enter a conflict involving a complex mix of opposition groups, as the new bill would require…

As Antiwar’s John Glaser noted…

For more than a year, the CIA has been facilitating the delivery of arms from countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to Syrian rebel groups, although the Obama administration has stopped short of a decision to directly arm the rebels. This bill is aimed at pushing the president in that direction.

“The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda,” The New York Times almost a year ago. And in the past year, that reality has metastasized, with Jabhat al-Nusra – categorized by the State Department as an official terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda – developing into the rebels’ main fighting force.

Rand Paul was evidently skeptical of claims that rebels receiving arms will be vetted to ensure extremists don’t receive them. And with good reason: the process is made up of untrustworthy, third-party sources and intelligence officials told the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as far back as a year ago that the truth is that the U.S. doesn’t know who is getting the money and weapons

Now, about those possible Peace Talks, in Geneva, once again…

Meanwhile, Syria submits five names for possible peace talks…

However, that was not the end of the Senate’s foreign f*ckery today…

US: We’ll back Israel if it defends itself against Iranian nuke threat

The US Senate decided unanimously to support Israel should it pursue military actions to defend itself against the Iranian nuclear threat. The decision’s sponsors are the Foreign Affair Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D) and senior Senator Lindsay Graham (R).

According to the resolution, the US will furnish Israel with diplomatic, military and economic support to defend its territory, citizens and existence. The resolution also determines that the US policy is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and take the necessary steps to pursue this policy.

Who’s defending against whom…?

*gah*

Here’s a bonus clip with RT’s Abby Martin interviewing Dr. Noam Chomsky that was published yesterday…

by CTuttle

Syria’s ‘Dead Man Walking’…

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters reported today…

America and Syria’s ‘dead man walking’

…A peaceful solution to Syria’s protracted crisis now looks remote enough to wonder whether Bashar Assad might outlast Obama in power. The US president is not assured of winning another term in office next November. But the odds of the Assad regime surviving into 2013 look better with every passing day, even though one of the US government’s top experts on Syria has labeled the Syrian president a “dead man walking.”

There are several reasons for skepticism about a resolution to the Syrian crisis in the near future. One is the government’s military superiority over fractured and lightly-equipped opposition forces. More importantly, there is no international consensus on how to deal with what began 14 months ago as peaceful demonstrations against a 40-year family dictatorship and now includes huge suicide bombings of government targets that have raised suspicions of Al-Qaeda involvement.

At the summit of the G8 — the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and Japan —an aide to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev made clear, again, that Moscow, unlike the West, does not see Assad’s departure as a necessary step toward ending the bloodshed.

“Some may like or dislike the Syrian government but one cannot avoid a question — if Assad goes, who will replace him?”
said Mikhail Margelov…

A very savvy question, indeed…

Beyond Bashar, Syria’s rebels are facing far more significant resistance

…China, Russia and Iran support for Bashar Assad makes a Western military intervention in Syria impossible, given the likely catastrophic repercussions for all concerned. In the eyes of this coalition, Assad is a tool and pretext. He is the façade against which the courage of the insurgents will continue to collide as long as Russia and its allies on the one side, and the United States and its allies on the other, fail to dispassionately settle their differences, therefore reach agreement over their contending interests, through negotiations…

Negotiations…? What negotiations…

U.S. considering plan that arms Syrian rebels…

…The effort, U.S. officials told The Associated Press, would vet members of the Free Syrian Army and other groups to determine whether they are suitable recipients of munitions to fight the Assad government and to ensure that weapons don’t wind up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked terrorists or other extremist groups such as Hezbollah that could target Israel.

The plan, which has not yet been finalized, reflects U.S. frustration that none of the previous efforts — including diplomatic rhetoric from the United Nations and the multinational Friends of Syria group, and special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for a cease-fire — has even begun to nudge President Bashar al-Assad from power. The vetting would be the first tiny step the U.S. has made toward ensuring that the Syrian opposition uses the weapons to fight Assad and not to turn it into a full sectarian conflict.

While some intelligence analysts worry that there may be no suitable recipients of lethal aid in the Syria conflict, the vetting plan has arisen as the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation…

As Steve Hynd wrote… US To Vet Syrian Rebel Arms Recipients – Really?

So if this vetting will prevent Saudis funding arms for Al Qaeda (yeah, right) how far beyond that will it go? The chances of arming some pretty nasty people that have the only virtue of being not-AQ are pretty high.

A United Nations investigation said Syrian government forces and rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad had both committed serious human rights abuses despite an attempted ceasefire in the conflict and opposition activists reported fighting in several regions on Thursday.

…The rebels, who are increasingly armed and well-organized, have executed or tortured captured soldiers and government supporters, it said. They have also abducted civilians in an apparent bid to secure prison exchanges or ransoms.

It doesn’t matter how many bad ideas you pile on top of other bad ideas, the result will never be a good idea.

Remember, it’s not just our grubby fingers at work, but, the House of Saud/GCC’s too… Syrian rebels get influx of arms with gulf neighbors’ money, U.S. coordination…

Meanwhile, the UN’s Ban Ki Moon spewed this nonsense today on CNN…

‘We have no Plan B’ to stop the violence

…With the carnage in Syria that has left thousands dead now entering its fifteenth month, the United Nations Secretary General says there is no clear path beyond the current mission being led by Kofi Annan.

“At this time, we don’t have any plan B,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview for ‘Amanpour’ on CNN International. “The joint special envoy Kofi Annan has proposed six peace proposals, among which the complete cessation of violence is number one. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented while with the deployment of monitoring missions, we have seen some dampening effect.”

Many regard the Annan mission in Syria to be a failure already.

There will be discussions in the Security Council next week about the situation in Syria Mr. Ban said, and he will make a report about the situation. But the lack of cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is making the situation very difficult…

God Bless the Syrian People, from all our misguided ministrations…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Cry “Havoc!”

8:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

~ Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, 270–275

More about that Aleppo car bombing… U.S. officials: Al Qaida behind Syria bombings…

…The Iraqi branch of al Qaida, seeking to exploit the bloody turmoil in Syria to reassert its potency, carried out two recent bombings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and likely was behind suicide bombings Friday that killed at least 28 people in the largest city, Aleppo, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

The officials cited U.S. intelligence reports on the incidents, which appear to verify Syrian President Bashar Assad’s charges of al Qaida involvement in the 11-month uprising against his rule. The Syrian opposition has claimed that Assad’s regime… …staged the bombings to discredit the pro-democracy movement calling for his ouster…

I wonder if our Lamestream Media and the Syrian Opposition will try to blame Assad for this targeted assassination… Top general killed in Damascus ambush…

…Three gunmen ambushed a military general on a residential street in Damascus today, the Syrian government reported, in an assassination of a government stalwart that was the first of its kind in the Syrian capital and another step away from the non-violent roots of the anti-government protests.

The general, Dr Issa al-Khouli, a middle-aged physician and brigadier general who ran the Hameish military hospital, was shot dead as he stepped from his house in the morning, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

As Pepe Escobar wrote today…

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Return of the Keyboard Warriors – a prized Return of the Living Dead spin-off – is at hand. From Republican chicken hawks to public intellectuals, right-wing America is erupting in renewed neo-conservative revolt. The year 2012 is the new 2002; Iran is the new Iraq. Whatever the highway – real men go to Tehran via Damascus, or real men go to Tehran non-stop – they want a war, and they want it now… {snip}

…If this is what passes for intellectual analysis in the upper strata of the Anglo-American axis, no wonder the whole business of Empire is doomed.

Far more insidious than The Invasion of the Keyboard Warriors is its effect on the warrior-in-chief, US President Barack Obama. Recently, Obama has been conducting product placement for Robert Kagan’s new book, The World America Made. Kagan, a neo-con stalwart, advises Mitt Romney – who may, or may not, become the Republican presidential nominee, assuming he wins over the visceral repulsion he provokes in extreme right-wing circles.

As Andrew Levine from the Institute for Policy Studies has shrewdly observed, [4] Obama the neo-con may be a very clever move to pre-empt Mitt and win even more votes. But it may be an exercise in transparency, as Obama, even before his State of the Union address, has been reciting Kagan to the letter, as in forget Asia, this will be another American century, and I will be at the helm; thus remember, it is I that coined the only change you can believe in.

And that’s when this really becomes a scary movie; if Obama the neo-con concludes that to get to his new, dominant American century first he needs to do some vacuum-cleaning in Southwest Asia, blowback or not, he’ll do it – to the delight of the Keyboard Warrior brigade.

Ever more Pepe…

…Here’s a crash course on the “democratic” machinations of the Arab League – rather the GCC League, as real power in this pan-Arab organization is wielded by two of the six Persian Gulf monarchies composing the Gulf Cooperation Council, also known as Gulf Counter-revolution Club; Qatar and the House of Saud… {snip}

The report is adamant. There was no organized, lethal repression by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters. Instead, the report points to shady armed gangs as responsible for hundreds of deaths among Syrian civilians, and over one thousand among the Syrian army, using lethal tactics such as bombing of civilian buses, bombing of trains carrying diesel oil, bombing of police buses and bombing of bridges and pipelines.

Once again, the official NATOGCC version of Syria is of a popular uprising smashed by bullets and tanks. Instead, BRICS members Russia and China, and large swathes of the developing world see it as the Syrian government fighting heavily armed foreign mercenaries. The report largely confirms these suspicions.

The Syrian National Council is essentially a Muslim Brotherhood outfit affiliated with both the House of Saud and Qatar – with an uneasy Israel quietly supporting it in the background. Legitimacy is not exactly its cup of green tea. As for the Free Syrian Army, it does have its defectors, and well-meaning opponents of the Assad regime, but most of all is infested with these foreign mercenaries weaponized by the GCC, especially Salafist gangs…

Now, there’s truly much f*ckery afoot, as the dogs of war are unleashed…

Russia accuses West of arming Syrian rebels…

…Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Western states were stirring up trouble in Syria, where Assad has pursued a violent crackdown since March on protests against his 11-year rule.

“Western states inciting Syrian opposition to uncompromising actions, as well as those sending arms to them, giving them advice and direction, are participating in the process of fomenting the crisis,” Itar-Tass news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

He did not specify which nations were arming Syrian rebels. {snip}

…Ryabkov, speaking on a visit to Colombia, said Russia would take “drastic measures” if the West kept trying to intervene in Syria’s internal affairs through the Security Council.

“The U.N. council is not a tool for intervention in internal affairs and is not the agency to decide which government is to be next in one country or another,” Ryabkov said. “If our foreign partners don’t understand that, we will have to use drastic measures to return them to real grounds.” {snip}

…Russia’s lower house of parliament adopted a statement on Friday condemning the West for “intervening in other states’ affairs and imposing outside decisions on them”.

Some lawmakers in the assembly, which is controlled by Putin’s ruling party, called for firmer resistance to the West.

“There is criticism in the Duma that Russia’s position on Syria is not strong enough. They say Russia should press its point harder,” Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs, told Reuters…

The Russian Duma response is on a par with our own fetid, AIPAC-led Congress Critters’ rabid response…! Here’s a poignant example…

…Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, who chairs the Middle East subcommittee on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told FoxNews.com the U.S. should consider arming the opposition.

“They are essentially completely defenseless right now, and I think that’s inhumane,” Chabot said.

As MJ Rosenberg bluntly pointed out… Iran War: What Is AIPAC Planning?

Now, I don’t blame the Russians for their concern(s)… Billions at stake as Russia backs Syria… And, the fate of Russia’s only military base outside the former Soviet Union, a naval facility in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, Syria…! Of which the Russians have recently dispatched one of their aircraft carriers to…!

But I digress… Now, it seems that the War Propaganda machine is working some serious overtime… 15,000 elite Iranian special-ops ‘head’ to Syria… I remain dubious about that claim…! And it would seem that I’m not alone…

Chemical Weapons and Iranian Invasions: Syria Hysteria Turns to Wild Rumors

State Dept Claims Assad Allies Planning ‘Exit Strategy’…

As Pogo famously said, We have met the enemy and He is us…!

*gah*