You are browsing the archive for AP.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: The I/P Peace Farce, Iran, and Libya

5:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let the gnashing and rending of garments start in earnest…

UN accepts Palestinian treaty applications

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says Palestinian applications to join 13 international conventions have been accepted.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has verified that the Palestinian applications to join 13 international conventions were ‘in due and proper form’ and have been accepted.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday that Ban informed all 193 UN member states of his acceptance.

After Israel failed to carry out a planned prisoner release a few days after the end of a March deadline, the Palestinians retaliated by signing letters of accession to 15 international conventions. Thirteen were deposited at the UN, one in Geneva, and one in the Netherlands.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, said on Tuesday that Palestine will officially become a state party to 13 of the 15 conventions on May 2 – and is ready with more applications to join UN agencies, conventions and treaties depending on Israel’s actions.

Col. Lang sums it up best…

Israel offers deal to rescue peace talks’ The Telegraph

And BTW, part of the deal has to be that we release Pollard.

This is all very interesting,. The Lilliputian state of Israel, armed to the teeth and dependent on the United States seeks to dictate terms to the US for a renewal of ‘negotiations’ over a possible peace between said Lilliput and the Palestinian community. The US is not really an interested party. The US is seeking to broker someone else’s deal. So, why are we willing to bargain with Israel over this?

We deserve to be treated this way. Our situation is somewhat analogous to that of parents who are dominated and bullied by children who have learned that they have nothing to fear from such parents. pl

To be sure…The Folly of the Pollard Ploy

Interestingly, even the ‘Old Guard’ FP Neolib/Ziocons, like Zbig, Lee Hamilton, Frank Carlucci, Thomas Pickering and others, are saying… Halt Peace Talks Until Israel Complies With International Law It’s time for the secretary of state to insist on America’s position on Middle East peace. *ouch*

And, speaking of our Major League Losers Players…

Now, here’s Betrayus and Dagan, recently dispensing nonsense at Harvard… Former CIA and Mossad Directors Discuss Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East Situation

Looking at recent actions in the I/P…

Israel sanctions Palestinians in new blow to peace

Israeli and Palestinian officials held fresh US-mediated talks Thursday, but the crisis-hit peace process was dealt a new blow as Israel unveiled sanctions against the Palestinians.

Israel, which collects about 80 million euros ($111 million) in taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority — two-thirds of its revenues — has decided to freeze the transfer of that money, an official said.

Israel was also suspending its participation with the Palestinians in developing a gas field off the Gaza Strip and putting a cap on Palestinian deposits in its banks, the Israeli official said, asking not to be named.

However, the official said ‘discussions under the aegis of the United States to overcome the talks crisis will continue.’

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat lashed out at the move, calling it an act of ‘Israeli hijacking and the theft of the Palestinian people’s money.’

The decision is a ‘violation of international law and norms by Israel’ in revenge for the Palestinians’ move to join a raft of international treaties as a state, Erakat told AFP

Naturally, that is a bad move on Israel’s part… Fatah leader: Israeli sanctions will lead to collapse of PA

In which, I’m sure Hamas wouldn’t mind the favor… Hamas to PA: End cooperation with Israel

Btw, Bibi has yet another huge migraine… Bennett: Bayit Yehudi will leave government if prisoners freed And, ever more grotesque Bennett… Israeli minister calls for annexing West Bank

Now, let’s remember that it is the rabid Settlers, that are the root problem… Rioting settlers, Israeli security forces clash in West Bank

Meanwhile… Bedouin homes in the Negev demolished for the 68th time

Israel to confiscate Palestinian land to build sewage plant

Moving along to Iran…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Syria

7:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Delving further…

Israeli troops kill Jordan judge

Israeli troops at a border crossing yesterday shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge who allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon, prompting Amman and the Palestinian Authority to demand an investigation.

The shooting took place at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, with the Israeli military saying troops had opened fire after a man tried to snatch a weapon from one of its soldiers.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority sharply condemned the incident and Amman summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest, demanding an “immediate investigation.”

Palestinian security officials identified the man as 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, and Amman confirmed he also held Jordanian nationality. A Jordanian security official said that Zeiter worked as a judge in Amman and had left for the West Bank early yesterday. Jordan’s justice ministry said he worked at a magistrates court in the capital.

Nazmi Muhanna, the Palestinian official responsible for border crossings, said investigators were questioning around 50 people who had been with Zeiter on the bus carrying travellers from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side of the crossing.

“We are investigating with all the witnesses who were on the same bus. We will verify everything,” he said. “There are no surveillance cameras there so we cannot get to the truth without the witnesses who were on that bus.”

Jordan’s foreign minister summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to “strongly condemn” the shooting at the border crossing and demand an immediate probe, a statement said.

“The Jordanian government is expecting a comprehensive report on the incident from the Israeli government. Jordan wants an immediate investigation without any delay,” a statement quoted Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh as saying.

The Palestinian Authority also strongly condemned the incident and demanded an “international investigation” into the circumstances of Zeiter’s death.

Palestinian security officials said Zeiter was originally from the city of Nablus in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but had left the territories in 2011 and not returned.

Zeiter, who leaves behind a wife and two young children — one of whom is in a coma in hospital — was to be buried in Nablus today morning, his family said.

Not a very swift move by the IDF… Tensions high in Amman as protesters gather at Israeli embassy after IDF shooting

Hmmm… Should NATO troops help enforce an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement?

Or better yet… Israel open to joint missile defence with Jordan, Egypt

It’s Non-Stop Terra, Terra, Terra, 24/7… Israel fears future drone attacks

To be sure…

From Haaretz even…

Netanyahu’s display of seized ship: Meaningless Hollywood-style propaganda

Here and there during the live broadcast of the government propaganda event staged at the Israel Navy base in Eilat, the camera lingered on the face of Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz understood that the media circus surrounding the seizure of the ship carrying Iranian weapons had run its course over the weekend, which is why he took off Saturday night to make a previously scheduled visit to the United States. Eizenkot, a disciplined soldier, was required to take his place on the dock in Eilat, alongside the prime minister and defense minister. For a time it looked as if the deputy chief of staff would have preferred to be elsewhere, though perhaps it just seemed that way to this observer. {…}

So there is nothing original about the show Netanyahu put on today, when he publicly displayed the weapons discovered after the Israel Navy raided the Klos C last week. Perhaps the most noteworthy element of Monday’s event is the opportunity it has given to Eizenkot, the deputy chief of staff, and Zamir, the prime minister’s military secretary, to visit the city where they were born.

The order he gave to the officers — to take part in Netanyahu’s show — was not completely illegal, nor was there any reason to disobey it. Still, it gives off a bad odor. The relief over the successful interception of the rocket-laden Klos C was genuine. That was enough. Heating up the cold noodles five days later just because Netanyahu had been out of the country when the Iranian shipment was seized on its way to the Gaza Strip, and therefore absent from the photographs of the generals at the naval outpost, crosses the line of bad taste.

The wisdom of Netanyahu’s press conference at Eilat Port, where the ship was escorted, is dubious as well. Everybody knows that Iran supplies arms to groups working against Israel from Gaza and Lebanon. The documentation of the captured weapons does not change people’s awareness. As a backdrop for Netanyahu’s propaganda, the Klos C is problematic. Iran does not deny its support for groups that take hostile action against Israel; it takes pride in it. What does that have to do with the fight of the superpowers against Iranian military nukes?

Now, I know I have questioned the sudden providence of that said ‘Iranian Arms Ship’…!

Moving along to Syria…

b at MOA took a dim view of the spectacle… Syrian Nuns Freed – Media Is Concealing the Villains

In wrapping up, some other noteworthy reads…Assad military advance in western Syria pushed deal that led to nuns’ release, official says

EU: No guarantee of success in negotiations with Iran

U.S. DEPT. OF THE TREASURY press release: “Our allies” openly funding Al-Qaeda in Syria, yet they will stay U.S. partners

Saudi Arabia turns away from the jihadis in Syria.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, Iran, Israel, and House of Saud

5:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

To punctuate Phyllis’ point on the Peace Farce between Bibi and Abbas…

Abbas: There’s ‘No Way’ We’ll Recognize Israel

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stood his ground on Friday and reiterated that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Speaking to youth activists of his Fatah party and quoted by The Associated Press (AP), Abbas unequivocally declared that there is “no way” he will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and accept a Palestinian capital in just a portion of eastern Jerusalem.

Abbas further stated that he withstood international pressure in the past, when he sought UN recognition of a state of Palestine despite the United States’ objections.

“They are pressing and saying, ‘No peace without the Jewish state,”‘ he said, though not spelling out who is applying the pressure. “There is no way. We will not accept.”

Now, I do wonder about her basic premise that AIPAC is in fact weakened…! From Alex Kane in Mondoweiss…

House delivers for AIPAC, 410-1, passing Israel as ‘strategic partner’ bill

…Today, the House of Representatives passed the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act by a 410-1 vote. The lone dissenting voice was Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), a libertarian aligned with Senator Rand Paul. The Senate has not voted on their version of the bill yet, though it has strong support there, with 55 co-sponsors from both parties.

In addition to the “major strategic partner” designation, the bill allows for Israelis to travel to the U.S. without visas, though the State Department has to certify that Israel meets the requirements for the visa-waiver program. The legislation also calls for giving Israel advanced combat aircraft and military tanker transports. It was authored by the hawkish Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. {…}

The liberal Zionist lobby group J Street applauded the bill’s passage.

The legislation had languished in Congress for a year. While it was a priority for AIPAC at last year’s conference, it was held up because of concerns that it would codify Israel’s discrimination against activists and Arab- and Palestinian-American travelers. Those concerns, pushed to the forefront by a coalition of groups, led to the stripping out of language that gave Israel a right to deny entry to travelers if they threatened the state’s security. The security pretext is a favored tool used by Israeli authorities to deny people entry.

The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act was one of the initiatives AIPAC members pushed for when lobbying Congress on Tuesday. AIPAC activists also asked elected officials to sign onto a pair of letters stressing that Congress should be informed of the nuclear negotiations with Iran. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency‘s Ron Kampeas reported, the letter for the House of Representatives, which J Street also backed, “does not include AIPAC’s previous calls for new and enhanced sanctions” and “does not include prescriptions for what the outcome of an agreement should look like.” The Senate letter, on the other hand, does include prescriptions for a deal with Iran, like the dismantling of enrichment capacity–a demand Iran has categorically rejected.

Now, Jim Lobe is reporting that AIPAC has been blunted… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: IAEA, Iran, and Israel

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Gareth Porter tweeted recently…

To be sure…

Kerry: U.S. must pursue Iran talks before considering going to war

The United States has an obligation to pursue nuclear negotiations with Iran before it considers going to war with Tehran to force it to give up its nuclear activities, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

“We took the initiative and led the effort to try to figure out if before we go to war there actually might be a peaceful solution,” Kerry told a group of reporters.

Iran reached a landmark preliminary agreement with six world powers, including the United States, in November to halt its most sensitive nuclear operations, winning some relief from economic sanctions in return.

U.S. President Barack Obama, like his predecessors, has said that all options are on the table with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, using diplomatic code for the possibility of military action. While U.S. officials have long held out that threat, Kerry’s comments appeared to indicate that the Obama administration would seriously consider a strike on Iran if the diplomatic talks fail.

Apparently Israel is still up to no good with the IAEA…

IAEA ‘opted against’ sensitive Iran report

The UN nuclear watchdog planned a major report on Iran that might have revealed more of its suspected atomic bomb research, but held off as Tehran’s relations with the outside world thawed, sources familiar with the matter said.

Such a report — to have been prepared last year — would almost certainly have angered Iran and complicated efforts to settle a decade-old dispute over its atomic aspirations, moves which accelerated after pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani took office in August.

According to the sources, the International Atomic Energy Agency has apparently dropped the idea of a new report, at least for the time being. There was no immediate comment from the IAEA. The sources said there was no way of knowing what information collected by the agency since it issued a landmark report on Iran in 2011 might have been incorporated in the new document, although one said it could have added to worries about Tehran’s activities. As relations rapidly improved, Iran struck an interim nuclear deal with six world powers in November which Israel denounced as a ‘historic mistake’ as it did not require Tehran to dismantle its uranium enrichment sites.

One source said probably only Israel, which is believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed state, would criticise the IAEA for not issuing a new report in the present circumstances. Iran and the world powers hope to reach a final settlement by July, when the interim accord expires, although they acknowledge this will be an uphill task. A decision not to go ahead with the new document may raise questions about information that the United Nations agency has gathered in the last two years on what it calls the ‘possible military dimensions’ to Iran’s nuclear programme. Tehran says the programme is peaceful and denies Western allegations that it is seeking to develop the capability to make bombs.

The sources, refusing to be identified, suggested the more recent material concerned extra detail about alleged research and experiments that were covered in the November 2011 report.

Jim White promptly swatted that bunk down… Dahl, Reuters Grant Anonymity to “Sources” Peddling Iran Info Rejected by IAEA

Indeed… IAEA denies Israeli accusations of concealing report on Iran’s nuclear program

Moving along… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Syria: Chemical Hypocrisy, InterOccupy, and Zogby

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I must say that the Grey Lady really spelled it out…

Kerry Becomes Chief Advocate for U.S. Attack

Jabbing his finger at the lectern, his voice forceful, his words brimming with indignation, John Kerry laid out the case like the prosecutor he once was, making a closing argument to a skeptical jury.

Again and again, some 24 times in all, he used the phrase “we know” as he described the intelligence that Syria’s government massacred more than 1,400 people with chemical weapons. And then, while saying no decision had been made, he left no doubt that the United States would respond with military power.

“We know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war — believe me, I am, too,” said Mr. Kerry, who opposed the Iraq war in his failed presidential bid in 2004. “But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency.”

Let’s be clear here… Chemical Hypocrisy: Lies and Disinformation on the Road to War!

Seriously, pups, the Intel is mighty shoddy, as Col. Lang, amongst numerous other IC critters, enumerate…

US government claim as to what happened

Well, the USIC should be considered a bordello with Clapper as madam.

This is entirely a reiteration of the assertions made by the BHO government concerning what happened on the 21st. The social media are believed? The claim that SIGINT concerning Syrian government culpability is too sensitive to be disclosed is absurd. This was likely an intercept of plain voice, unencrypted Arabic conversation. A short wave radio tuned to the right frequency would have collected this text. If the Israelis were the source they should publish the text to avoid condemnation when the truth of this matter becomes clear. History will judge GW Obama. pl

Quelle surprise…?

Let me reiterate a fundamental factoid… Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack…!

So, I really do applaud Putin for calling out Obama on his blatant bluff… Putin: US should present Syria evidence to Security Council…!

Now, I must say that Zogby was most generous with his grade on Obama’s misguided foreign follies…

Zogby’s Report Card: Abandoned by Britain, public, Obama loses Syria options

Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama, deserted by the public and Britain on Syria, has lost the kind of presidential power previous presidents had in international affairs.

“Do you remember a much simpler time not so long ago when the president of the United States was the ‘leader of the free world’ and the ‘most powerful man in the world’? That president could launch a war (by any other name) by declaring it a ‘police action’ or even fabricate evidence and present it to Congress (Gulf of Tonkin 1964, ‘weapons of mass destruction’ 2003).

“Not any more. We are in the middle of so many tectonic changes. President Obama promised that if the Syrian regime actually used chemical weapons, thus crossing a red line, there would be military reprisals. Earlier in the week, it looked like he would build a national and international consensus, get his way and launch a surgical action by the time of this writing.

“But something happened: the Arab League and Saudi Arabia refused to give him a green light, the British Parliament has rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s case to support action, and there is opposition by both leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress. And only 7 percent of the American public have a stomach for U.S. involvement in Syria.

“Watching the videos of Syrian victims is very difficult, but sometimes being president is not all it is cracked up to be. Air strikes will most likely still happen, but under much different circumstances than appeared likely at the beginning of the week.”

Grade: C-

Now, interestingly, even Hollande is succumbing to popular public pressure…

France to follow US lead before deciding on strike

President says he will wait for French parliament, US Congress, to approve move before weighing hitting Syria.

France will wait for its parliament and the US Congress to consider possible military action on Syria before making a decision about whether to launch strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime, President Francois Hollande’s office said Saturday. The comments from an official in the French president’s office came as the world reacted to word from President Barack Obama that he believes the United States should respond with force over an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime, but that he has decided to put the issue before the American legislature first.

France, under Hollande and his Socialist government, has been the most vocal and visible country to show willingness to join the United States in military action against Syria’s regime following the suspected chemical weapons attack in rebel-held or contested areas last week. The U.S. claims it killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children, marking a grave and intolerable escalation in Syria’s two-year civil war that has left 100,000 dead.

Before his speech about Syria outside the White House on Saturday, Obama explained his decision to Hollande in a phone call, the official in the French presidency said on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to be publicly named according to presidential policy. Hollande told Obama that he already had decided to convene France’s parliament on Wednesday to take up a debate about Syria.

The two presidents “reaffirmed their joint willingness to act,” and have an “absolute and shared conviction” that Assad’s regime was behind the chemical weapons attack, the official said.

To be sure…

Most French oppose attack on Syria and don’t trust Hollande to do it – poll

Most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria and most do not trust French President Francois Hollande to do so, a poll showed on Saturday.

The United States said on Friday it would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 people in Damascus last week, and Hollande said Britain’s parliamentary vote against military strikes would not affect France’s own actions.

The BVA poll released by Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui en France, showed 64 percent of respondents opposed military action, 58 percent did not trust Hollande to conduct it, and 35 percent feared it could “set the entire region (Middle East) ablaze”.

It will actually set the region ablaze, too…

Iran warns of spillover of possible war on Syria

– Chairman of the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said here Saturday that any war on Syria would have repercussions on the entire region.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, heading a delegation of Iranian parliamentarians on a visit to Syria, said in a short statement to reporters that the visit aims to emphasize his country’s support for Syria and Tehran’s rejection to any war or aggression against it.

He said any possible war on Syria would not stay limited inside Syria but stretch out of the Syrian borders.

In summing up, this looming Syrian clusterf*ck is exactly why I spent two hours protesting in Solidarity with the InterOccupy Global Push…! Some InterOccupy pics…!

Now, I was disappointed to see such a dismal turnout, according to the AP, at least…

Possible US-led attack on Syria sparks rallies

Protesters around the world took to the streets Saturday to protest for and against a possible U.S.-led attack on Syria, as President Barack Obama announced he would seek congressional approval for such a move.

Obama said the U.S. should take action against Syria to punish it for what the U.S. believes was a deadly chemical attack launched by Syrian President Bashar Assad this month that killed more than 1,400 people. But Obama said he wants Congress to debate and vote on whether to use force, and has said any possible strike would be limited.

In Houston, which has a large Syrian-American population, about 100 people lined up on opposite sides of a street in an upscale neighborhood to express opposing views on a possible U.S. attack. {…}

In Boston, more than 200 protesters demonstrated in the Boston Commons against the possible use of force against Syria by the U.S. They waved signs and chanted “Don’t Bomb Syria!” over and over again, and at least one speaker said congressional authorization wouldn’t make an attack acceptable.

More than two dozen protesters gathered at the Arkansas Capitol to oppose a possible U.S. attack. Some wore T-shirts proclaiming “NO U.S. INTERVENTION IN SYRIA.”

“I had friends that died in Iraq, and I don’t want more people to die for nothing,” said Dominic Box, 23, expressing some of the fears of a war-weary public.

In downtown Chicago, about 40 people walked quietly in the rain, circling a sculpture in Daley Plaza. Some carried signs that read “No War In Syria” and “Shut It Down.”

“I don’t believe in spreading democracy the way they’re doing it,” said Tyke Conrady, 44, who attended the protest with three friends.

In London, more than 1,000 protesters carrying Syrian flags and placards marched to Downing Street and rallied in Trafalgar Square. Some hailed the parliament’s vote Thursday against British participation as a victory.

And about 700 people turned out for an anti-war demonstration in Frankfurt, Germany, police said. Organizers said only a “sovereign, independent Syria free of foreign interference” would make it possible for the Syrian people to shape the country’s future.

Damn, Chi-town, even sleepy old Hilo town could muster up 40 peeps today on short notice(48 hrs)…!

*gah*

Update: We do Occupy with Aloha..! ;-)

by CTuttle

Syria: Game Changers, Rebel Rivalry, and UN War Crimes

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Before I dive into all the breaking news on our miserable Syrian foreign policy, let’s look at what Russian FM Lavrov had to say today…

Lavrov slams US, UN for undermining Geneva peace talks on Syria

…Lavrov told Bloomberg that Russia wants to understand if their partners in America and the United Nations are really consistent with the idea of the Geneva 2 conference on Syria as their actions keep sending the wrong message to the country’s opposition…

“The message the opposition is getting: ‘Guys, don’t go to Geneva. Don’t say that you are going to negotiate with the regime. Soon things will change in your favor.’ So, that’s what we want to clarify. It’s either the conference or the instigation of the opposition not to be flexible. I don’t think it’s possible to do both at the same time”

The Foreign Minister reminded that Russia has been pushing for the peace solution “irrespective of the situation on the ground,” while the West started speaking of a conference only after Assad’s forces began advancing on the rebels.

“They weren’t ready to discuss it when many people believed that the opposition would take Damascus in recent weeks. If now they’ll be moving in the direction of what some opposition leaders are saying – namely, let’s first restore military balance on the ground and then we’ll go the conference. This’ll be a disaster for all diplomatic efforts because this would never end.”

The first problem is the representation of the rebels at the talks as “not each and every important opposition group wants to go under the umbrella of the [Syrian National] Coalition because” because it’s “taking quite radical positions” and doesn’t have any vision for the country’s future.

The FM also said that “the most effective military group fighting the regime in Syria”, the Jabhat al-Nusra, isn’t going to be invited to the talks at all.

“It’s not for them to decide whether they’ll come to the conference or not. They can’t be even considered. They are terrorists and they must be treated as terrorists.”

The second problem with the invitees’ list is the participation of foreign states in the Geneva 2 conference.

“We’re absolutely convinced that all Arab neighbors of Syria must be invited. And Iran must be there that’s something, which I believe is absolutely unavoidable if we want the process, which is inclusive, and if we want all important outside players to be there to push the Syrians to an agreement. And so far there are doubts on the part of the US regarding the invitation of Iran and, I believe, this is delaying.”

The Russian FM once again warned the US against arming the rebels, but said that weapons are “anyway” coming to Syria

Well, lah-di-da… From the LA Times

U.S. training Syrian rebels; White House ‘stepped up assistance’

White House officials refused to comment Friday on a Los Angeles Times report that CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since late last year, saying only that the U.S. had increased its assistance to the rebellion.

The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey began months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming the opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.

“We have stepped up our assistance, but I cannot inventory for you all the elements of that assistance,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “We have provided and will continue to provide substantial assistance to the Syrian opposition, as well as the Supreme Military Council.”

The Supreme Military Council is the military arm of an umbrella group that represents more moderate rebel factions, including the Free Syrian Army.

The training and Obama’s decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels have raised hope among the beleaguered opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well. So far, the rebels say they lack the weapons they need to regain the offensive in Syria’s bitter civil war…

Do you want an inventory, Jay…? Anyways…Rebels claim ‘game-changing’ weapons…

…The “Friends of Syria” group of countries that support the rebels was expected to announce in Doha on Saturday that it would arm the opposition, FSA media and political co-ordinator spokesman Louay Muqdad said.

“We’ve received quantities of new types of weapons, including some that we asked for and that we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground.

“We have begun distributing them on the front lines, they will be in the hands of professional officers and FSA fighters,” he said.

He did not specify what weapons had been received or when they had arrived, but added that a new shipment was expected in the coming days and recalled that the rebels had asked for “deterrent weapons.”

“That means anti-aircraft weapons, anti-tank weapons, as well as ammunition,” he said.

Senior opposition figure Burhan Ghalioun confirmed that the FSA had recently received “sophisticated weapons” including “an anti-aircraft defence system.”

Another opposition source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the system was “Russian-made” but declined to say which country had supplied it.

The apparent influx of arms comes after the United States said it would provide rebel forces with “military support,” although it has declined to outline what that might entail.

“The weapons will be used for one objective, which is to fight the regime of (President) Bashar Al Assad,” Muqdad insisted.

“They will be collected after the fall of the regime, we have made this committment to the friends and brotherly countries” that supplied the arms,” he said…

*snort* Are you kidding…? When they can’t even dole out the ‘humanitarian aid‘ in a timely fashion…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: G-8, Weapons for Peace, Iran, and Turkey

4:55 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here’s the official G-8 Communique (PDF! 33pgs)

The ever-intrepid, Pepe Escobar, had penned another excellent read…

Obama’s weapons-for-peace program

They looked like two dejected schoolboys in front of the headmaster by the end of the two-hour Putin-Obama summit at the sidelines of the Group of Eight meeting in Northern Ireland. But as astonishing as the sound of silence was the fact that, on Syria, the former KGB guy was trying to save the “leading from behind” dude from himself.

President Barack Obama coined the monster euphemism that they had “different perspectives” on Syria. He said, deceptively, “We want to try to resolve the issue through political means if possible, so we will instruct our teams to continue to work on the potential of a Geneva follow-up.”

If Obama was really trying to solve Syria “through political means” he would not have pre-emptively bombed the Geneva II talks with his “weapons-for-peace” program, as in weaponizing only the “good” Syrian “rebels” and only with a few “non-lethal” toys (that’s the bottom line of Washington’s spin). “If possible” in this case does translate into “impossible”. As for the Geneva II talks, they don’t rate anything better than “potential” because Obama knows the myriad, squabbling factions of the Syrian opposition will boycott it. {snip}

…Putin knows Obama would even give up playing basketball if he could find a way to sneak out of getting bogged in Syria’s civil war. Putin knows Obama simply cannot order a no-fly zone over Syria by decree – as much as he may be under pressure by the usual warmonger senators, armchair warrior think tankers, corporate media and weapons manufacturers.

…Yet Putin is certainly aware of Washington’s Plan C or D for Syria; what is being sold as a “humanitarian assistance”, limited, no-fly zone – along parts of the Jordanian and Turkish borders into Syrian territory. This is in fact Libya 2.0; a “limited” no-fly zone in a flash will apply to all Syria. “Limited no-fly zones” only exist in Spinland; this is a declaration of war. So let’s see how Damascus plays it with the S-300 missile batteries it will receive from Russia…

Now, Col. Lang, in several great posts, the first… Obama’s approaching humiliation over Syria, and then… “Assad foes cannot set conditions for Syria talks: Russia” Reuters

…Morning Joe Scarborough, the dumbest man in morning television, said today that the Syrian government is “one of the two worst enemies of the United States in the Middle East.”

Say what?

Joe has been living in New York City for a long time now. I guess there is something in the water… No, Joe, Syria is viewed by ISRAEL as one of its two greatest enemies in the Middle East. Israel and the US are two different countries, Joe. Separate sovereign countries usually have at least some differing interests. Tell me. Joe, how is Syria a major threat to the US? Terrorism? When was that? Where was that? Remind me.

In any event, Russia has made it clear now that it will not accept a phony conference in which the Syrian government show up to surrender Sounds like “check” to me. “Mate” is coming…

Interestingly, The Hill reported this bovine manure from the Senate, yesterday…

Senators pledge ‘full support’ for ‘decisive’ military action in Syria

Senators from both parties on Tuesday urged President Obama to immediately send weapons to the Syrian opposition and take out President Bashar Assad’s air forces.
Syria is at a “critical juncture” and the United States must do what it can to reverse Assad’s recent gains on the ground, the chairmen of the Foreign Relations and Armed Forces panels, Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), wrote in a letter to Obama along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The senators pledged their “full support” if Obama takes “decisive military actions in Syria.”

The lawmakers called on the president to send arms to vetted rebel groups, but said such a move would likely be insufficient because the situation is “deteriorating so dramatically.”

Ironically, on the floor of the House, yesterday, the vile Louis Gohmert had this to say…

‘Entangling Alliances’ ya don’t say…? Speaking of which…

8,000 troops from 19 countries join Jordan ‘war games’ in readiness for spreading Syria conflict

…Despite many of the nations involved in the exercises explicitly calling for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad departure, there are concerns that should he be forced from power, Damascus’s stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups. Several Western countries allege that Assad has already used chemical weapons, a fact that US President Barack Obama describes as crossing a “red line”. At the same time, conventional weapons in civil war have already killed at least 93,000 people.

US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Duke Shienle told the Associated Press that Syria “is a concern that all our regional partners share”.

The Syrian crisis is “causing all military in the region to increase intensity,” he said. The training has been concentrated on security, irregular warfare, terrorism and counterinsurgency.

“These exercises bolster our defence capabilities,” said Jordanian army Maj. Gen. Awni Edwan, adding that similar exercises are routine, having being held twice before at the same time. “We don’t intend to attack anybody,” he said.

Now, here’s an excellent insight into recent WH happenings…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Global March Against Monsanto(#MAM) – Big Island Style

4:25 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(At the 1:55 mark you can see me flash my Occupy Monsanto sign)

Yesterday, in Kailua-Kona, over 500 people came together to support the Global March against Monsanto…! We had members of: Idle No More, GMO~Free Big Island, Occupy Hilo and Kona, Veterans For Peace, and, various other local community groups, all coming together…! We all enjoyed the live entertainment, free food(all organic and vegan), the excellent lecturers, the Seed Bank swaps(w/many starters), the Poi pounders, and, the Kava…!

As the AP reported, which also seems to be the only nation-wide MSM story written to date…

Millions march against Monsanto in over 400 cities

…Two million people marched in protest against seed giant Monsanto in hundreds of rallies across the U.S. and in over 50 other countries on Saturday.

“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they wanted to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Founder and organizer Tami Canal said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries…

“It was empowering and inspiring to see so many people, from different walks of life, put aside their differences and come together today,” she said. The group plans to harness the success of the event to continue its anti-GMO cause. “We will continue until Monsanto complies with consumer demand. They are poisoning our children, poisoning our planet,” she said. “If we don’t act, who’s going to?”

Occupy Everywhere…!

by CTuttle

‘Govts taking our rights away, not Al-Qaeda’

12:50 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let’s cut to the chase, folks…

DOJ Snooping on Journalists: A Witch Hunt to Enforce Obama Demand for Total Secrecy

…According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, President Obama didn’t know anything about the Justice Department’s nefarious snooping on Associated Press journalists. I find that extremely hard to believe…

…“This investigation is broader and less focused on an individual source or reporter than any of the others we’ve seen,” said Steven Aftergood, of the Federation of American Scientists told The Washington Post. “They have swept up an entire collection of press communications. It’s an astonishing assault on core values of our society.

Jacob Heilbrunn at The National Interest writes that “leaks have always plagued presidents” and that “they are a function of a national security state that has always aspired to total control in the post-World War II-era.”

“It is no small irony that Obama, who declared that he would halt the George W. Bush administration’s violations of personal freedoms, has exceeded the mendacity of his predecessors in creating a new star chamber to hunt down his detractors and enemies,” Heilbrunn adds…

“We’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of claims to protect secret law, the government’s interpretations of laws or its understanding of its own authority,” Alexander Abdo of the ACLU told the AP. “In some ways, the Obama administration is actually even more aggressive on secrecy than the Bush administration.”

Ya think…?

From Glennzilla… Justice Department’s pursuit of AP’s phone records is both extreme and dangerous

The claimed legal basis for these actions is unknown, but the threats they pose to a free press and the newsgathering process are clear…

The ACLU last night condemned the DOJ’s acts as “press intimidation” and said it constitutes “an unacceptable abuse of power”. The Electronic Frontier Foundation denounced it as “a terrible blow against the freedom of the press and the ability of reporters to investigate and report the news”. The New York Times’ Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal called the DOJ’s actions “outrageous” while Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said they were “shocking” and “disturbing”. Even Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government’s explanation.”

Funny how IOKIYAR just seems to fizzle out for the Obummer…! So much for that whole, eleventy-dimensional chess match of ‘Looking Forward’, eh…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt 3.0, Israeli ‘Green Lights’, and, The House of Saud

7:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

That incident is sparking the Egyptian Revolution 3.0 version…

Egypt Opposition Urges Morsi to Step Down

…Egypt’s key opposition bloc has supported calls for President Mohamed Morsi to resign amid continuing protests across the country a day after clashes in the capital Cairo left one person dead and dozens injured, media reported.

According to Saturday’s statement from the National Salvation Front quoted by Al Jazeera, “the Salvation Front completely sides with the people and its active forces’ calls to topple the authoritarian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood’s control.”

The opposition bloc called on Egyptians to hold peaceful protests and demanded a trial for Morsi for “killings and torture,” ruling out dialogue with the presidency until bloodshed stops and “those responsible for it are held accountable,” the Qatar-based broadcaster reported.

At least one person was killed and over 50 injured, including five police officers, as police clashed with protesters outside the capital’s presidential palace on Friday evening. Police reportedly fired tear gas and protesters threw stones.

TV footage showed police beating a naked man. Egypt’s authorities said Saturday they regretted the beating, saying it was “an isolated act.”

An interesting wrinkle on Israel’s recent illegal incursion(s)…

The Fallout from the Air Raid on Syria: Why Israel is Concerned

…So far only two airstrikes have been publicly reported, amid a flurry of conflicting initial reports. Syria officially complained of the destruction of the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya northwest of Damascus. And a variety of news organizations reported that Israeli jets hit a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft defense systems toward Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley, presumably for delivery to Hizballah, the militant Shi’ite group closely allied with the Assad regime. If they had been deployed, those SA-17 ground-to-air missiles would intimidated Israeli pilots who now operate over Lebanese airspace with impunity, forcing them to higher altitudes and other operational precautions.

A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes…

…In other words, it may be easier to attack the problem from the other side — simply destroy the weapons you’re afraid they’ll get their hands on. Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces…

…No specific armed force was identified as threatening the compound. Intelligence officials said the concern was unconventional weapons “dripping” into control of extremists in the relative chaos of the rebel side.

One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military was poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region

Some more… Israel targeted multiple targets in recent attack on Syria, U.S. intelligence official tells Time… And…

Israel May Feel Need To Strike Syria Again

An Israeli air attack staged in Syria this week may be a sign of things to come.

Israeli military officials appear to have concluded that the risks of attacking Syria are worth taking when compared to the dangers of allowing sophisticated weapons to reach Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon…

Now, here’s an interesting read on Turkey’s take…

Along with this broadside…Turkey’s Syrian Dilemma…!

I did find some humor, albeit gallows humor, when I saw this Grey Lady report today…

Syrian Opposition Leader Confers With U.S. and Russia

The leader of the Syrian opposition council, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met here on Saturday with representatives of the United States and Russia — who fundamentally disagree on how to resolve Syria’s civil war — but the meetings were separate and there was no indication, officials said, that any progress had been made toward a workable plan to bring the violence to an end.

Moscow has been encouraged by Sheik Khatib’s suggestion, which he repeated here, that he would be willing to talk to Syrian government representatives under certain conditions. But European and American officials expect that offer to go nowhere now that the sheik’s colleagues in the opposition have attacked it.

The side meetings at the annual Munich Security Conference seemed to confirm the fissures over Syria, including a new disagreement between the United States and some of its European allies over whether to provide rebel fighters with more powerful weapons.

As if…!

Russia Denies Plan to Talk to Syria Opposition

Russia has categorically rejected Western media reports claiming that Moscow is planning to hold talks with Syrian opposition on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference about “a political transition for Syria.”

And, if you had any doubts about Russia’s allegiances…

Russia opposes humanitarian corridor in Syria, citing int’l air intervention fears

Military intervention in Syria is unacceptable even if it aims to create an air-protected humanitarian corridor, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov has said. Syria is one of most hotly debated topics at an annual Security Conference taking place in Germany.

­”Russia does not support the idea of a humanitarian corridor in Syria. Any use of military power is unacceptable, and not just because we still remember what it lead to in Libya,” Lavrov said while addressing the Munich Security Conference. “We need to see the world the way it is. We need to recognize that military operations bring more chaos into the international matters and can send off waves of instability that will be impossible to hide from in any of what we may think as an island of security.”

Lavrov confirmed that the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal is under full control of the country’s government, and poses no danger as long as it does not fall into the hands of the rebels. Such an event would be a “red line” nobody wishes to see crossed, he said.

Despite the worsening situation in the region, peace is still within reach, Lavrov explained: “The war in Syria could be over if all sides stuck honestly and loyally to the principles of the June 30 Geneva conference.”

Now, take a gander at this recent Stratfor report…

The Consequences of Intervening in Syria

The Saudi Gambit

…Supporting the jihad in Syria as a weapon against Iranian influence also gives the Saudis a chance to burnish their Islamic credentials internally in an effort to help stave off criticism that they are too secular and Westernized. It allows the Saudi regime the opportunity to show that it is helping Muslims under assault by the vicious Syrian regime.

Supporting jihadists in Syria also gives the Saudis an opportunity to ship their own radicals to Syria, where they can fight and possibly die. With a large number of unemployed, underemployed and radicalized young men, the jihad in Syria provides a pressure valve similar to the past struggles in Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan. The Saudis are not only trying to winnow down their own troubled youth; we have received reports from a credible source that the Saudis are also facilitating the travel of Yemeni men to training camps in Turkey, where they are trained and equipped before being sent to Syria to fight. The reports also indicate that the young men are traveling for free and receiving a stipend for their service. These young radicals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen will even further strengthen the jihadist groups in Syria by providing them with fresh troops.

The Saudis are gaining temporary domestic benefits from supporting jihad in Syria, but the conflict will not last forever, nor will it result in the deaths of all the young men who go there to fight. This means that someday the men who survive will come back home, and through the process we refer to as “tactical Darwinism” the inept fighters will have been weeded out, leaving a core of competent militants that the Saudis will have to deal with…

Please read that entire Stratfor report, it confirms everything I’ve been saying for years, about all of our MENA craptastic endeavors…!

*gah*

On a final note… Pepe still rulz, all the rest droolz…