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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Clueless In Syria and Faust Wants His Soul Back

4:04 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Pepe is right (again) when he concludes that the Partitioning of Syria has been the Neo/Ziocon’s main objective all along…! Divide et Impera…!

Since my last posting, a ton of sh*t has occurred in the MENA, with global ramifications…!

Let’s dive right into that sh*t pile… UN:Call for Calm after Reported Israeli Air Strikes in Syria

“The Secretary-General calls on all sides to exercise maximum calm and restraint, and to act with a sense of responsibility to prevent an escalation of what is already a devastating and highly dangerous conflict,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in the statement.

“The Secretary-General urges respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region, and adherence to all relevant Security Council resolutions,” he continued…

…Top UN officials, including Mr. Ban and his political chief, Jeffrey Feltman, have said on numerous occasions that a political solution is the only answer for long-term in the country and the region…

Even China is calling for political dialogue in Syria…

China calls for all relevant parties in Syria to launch political dialogue and carry out political transition as soon as possible, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.

In response to a media request for China’s take on the current situation in Syria at a regular press briefing, Hua said that China pays close attention to the development of the situation and believes a political solution is the only correct way for solving Syrian crisis.

She said China also calls for all relevant sides to earnestly respect Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, remain restrained, avoid any actions that might escalate the tension and play a responsible and constructive role in solving Syrian issue through political means.

It seems the EU is “satisfied” with the recent U.S.-Russia deal on Syria…

…An EU spokesman said on Wednesday that the bloc was “very satisfied” with the joint call by the United States and Russia for an international conference on Syria to end the country’s escalating crisis.

“The EU would welcome any dialogue that would bring two sides to the negotiating table. The EU has repeated on many occasions that the solution of the conflict lies in a comprehensive political settlement,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The EU “stands ready to assist in any way possible and hopes that the conference will be a beginning of a peace process,” he said in an email to Xinhua.

Following hours of talks with Russian officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the two had agreed to convene an international conference on Syria that would be attended by representatives of the Syrian regime and the opposition

More on that meeting between Kerry and Putin…

Seeking Syria accord, Kerry tells Putin of common ground

…The U.S. secretary of state sought Russian help in ending Syria’s civil war on Tuesday, telling President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that common interest in a stable Middle East could bridge divisions among the big powers.

Putin, however, kept John Kerry waiting three hours before their meeting at the Kremlin, fiddled with a pen while his guest spoke and made no mention in his own public remarks of the conflict in Syria, which has generated some of the frostiest exchanges between Washington and Moscow since the Cold War…

Funny, how true to form, the Rebels are once again rejecting all that ‘talk’… Syrian rebels to reject U.S./Russia-sponsored peace talks? (H/T Fairleft)

Anyways, today, Obama had a little chit-chat with Bibi…

…The White House said in a short statement that Obama and Netanyahu, who is visiting China, spoke by telephone, and discussed “regional security issues and Middle East peace.”

U.S. officials have declined to comment in detail on air strikes by Israel on targets near Damascus on Friday and Sunday which Israeli sources said destroyed Iranian missiles apparently destined for the Hezbollah militia.

But Obama said on Saturday after the first set of Israeli raids that the Jewish state was justified in seeking to “guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.”

The blowback to Bibi’s buffoonery was swift…Saudi Arabia urges UN action against Israel

…Saudi Arabia on Monday called for UN action to end Israeli strikes on Syria, describing the raids as a “dangerous violation” of the sovereignty of an Arab state, the official SPA news agency reported.

The Saudi cabinet voiced “deep concern from the worsening situation in Syria” and urged “swift action by the UN Security Council to stop these Israeli attacks on Syrian territories and ensure they are not repeated,” said SPA.
…its government on Monday described Israel’s raids as “flagrant attacks and a dangerous violation of the sovereignty of an Arab state, warning of its dangerous effects in the region’s security and stability.”

Egypt condemned the raids as a “violation” of international law, Britain warned of “increasing danger” to the Middle East, while the Syrian regime’s main regional ally Iran said it would shorten the existence of the Jewish state.

The National Coalition, the war-torn country’s umbrella opposition group, also condemned the attack while accusing Assad’s regime of complicity by weakening the army in its battle with Syria’s people.

Russia said the raids threatened to escalate tensions in neighbouring countries.

“We are looking into and analysing all the circumstances surrounding the especially concerning reports of the May 3 and May 5 Israeli air strikes,” the foreign ministry said in a statement…

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Monday for “a political solution” to the conflict in Syria.

“The situation in Syria is a real tragedy,” Fabius told a press conference in Hong Kong, adding that if it continued, it could be a “human and political disaster.” …“Obviously it’s something that one can understand, but at the same time, it’s a risk,” he said of the raids.

As a side note, Israel Has the Gall to Actually Complain to the UN About Stray Syrian Mortar Shells…

Now, here’s a very interesting wrinkle… US to arm Syrian rebels: Putin’s rebuke, Chinese “peace plan” mar Netanyahu’s Chinese trip…

…Negative diplomatic ricochets are pursuing Israel in the aftermath of its air force attacks on Syria. In the first place, they are seen to have had no effect on Hizballah’s successful military intervention on the side of the Assad regime or the Syrian war at large. In the second, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by President Vladimir Putin Monday, May 6, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.…

…Intelligence agencies in Moscow and the Middle East take it for granted that by the time Washington goes public on this decision, some of the Syrian rebel factions will already be armed with American weapons.

…US military instructors have been working with Syrian rebels at training camps in Jordan and Turkey for some months. So putting the arms in their hands only awaited a decision in Washington.

…Putin’s message to Netanyahu was intended to reach a wider audience than Jerusalem, such as Barack Obama in Washington and President Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of Netanyahu’s talks there Tuesday… …when US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Moscow that day, in an attempt “bridge the divide” between their governments on the Syria conflict, he was preceded by a barrage of Russian condemnation of the Israeli air strikes in Damascus “as a threat to regional stability,” a stiff warning from the Russian foreign ministry to the “West” to stop “politicizing the issue of chemical weapons in Syria,” and Moscow’s “concern that world public opinion was being prepared for possible foreign military intervention.”

…The Chinese government’s cold shoulder to Israel was exhibited less directly than Moscow’s but no less firmly. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was invited to visit Beijing and meet President Xi two days before the prime minister arrived in the Chinese capital Tuesday to begin the official part of his visit. The Chinese president unveiled his peace plan before meeting the Israeli prime minister…

Let’s not forget that Mossad has already been very active in Syria…Israel spy agency has presence in Syria, says senior rebel general

Here’s a fascinating read on our failed policy…

America’s hidden agenda in Syria’s war

…The commander – a moderate Sunni and an influential rebel leader from Damascus who said he has met intelligence operatives from Western and Arab states – said the US officials were especially keen to obtain information about the identities of Al Nusra insurgents and the locations of their bases.

Then, by to the rebel commander’s account, the discussion took an unexpected turn.

The Americans began discussing the possibility of drone strikes on Al Nusra camps inside Syria and tried to enlist the rebels to fight their fellow insurgents.

“The US intelligence officer said, ‘We can train 30 of your fighters a month, and we want you to fight Al Nusra’,” the rebel commander recalled.

Opposition forces should be uniting against Mr Al Assad’s more powerful and better-equipped army, not waging war among themselves, the rebel commander replied. The response from a senior US intelligence officer was blunt.

“I’m not going to lie to you. We’d prefer you fight Al Nusra now, and then fight Assad’s army. You should kill these Nusra people. We’ll do it if you don’t,” the rebel leader quoted the officer as saying.

What the commander says transpired in Jordan illustrates a dilemma that has preoccupied, even paralysed, Syria’s opposition and their international supporters – how to deal with the expanding role of Islamic extremists in the anti-Assad insurgency.

Other meetings with Western and Arab intelligence services have shown a similar obsession with Al Nusra, the commander said.

“All anyone wants is hard information about Al Nusra, it seems to be all they are really interested in. It’s the most valuable commodity you can have when dealing with these intelligence agencies,” he said…

Funny thing tho… Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra…

Yet, here’s a perspective, from within Syria…

Syrians deserting the FSA: Faust wants his soul back

The reality is that opposition militias and the official army have reached a military stalemate – one step forward and one step back as progress on one front is checked by loss and retreat on another…

…In the midst of this harsh war, Syrians have found themselves at a crossroads: obliged to choose between either their personal interest and life or the country’s freedom. A question occurs to me here – Is it possible for fighters who quit the FSA to go back to their old lives? It seems highly improbable, given that Syria has been ripped into so many different pieces with different authorities holding sway over particular areas – here the regime, there such and such battalion.

The country is now a hotch-potch of hot and cool areas. Families have been displaced across the country in their millions. Most fighters are wanted by intelligence forces and they can’t go back to their original villages and towns, nor can they meet their families who were forced to flee. This is how our lives – and not just that of FSA fighters – have been trapped, in the eye of a tornado that is hurtling at breakneck speed. Where and how we get off is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure – it won’t be an emerald city.

In wrapping up… Take a gander at this load of crap from Carnegie…Building a Syrian State in a Time of Civil War…

God help the Syrians…! *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, BRICs, Syria, And The Third Intifada?

5:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Speaking of War Clubs, on the eve of AIPAC’s annual Confab in DC, ex-AIPAC’er, MJ Rosenberg goes off…

…At one time I wouldn’t have believed AIPAC would dare try something this nervy.That is it because traditionally AIPAC has been very cautious about not taking actions that suggested putting Israel’s interests over America’s. Demanding that Israel be exempt from cuts that virtually every American will feel seems so counterproductive as to almost be suicidal for the lobbying powerhouse.

Nonetheless, everything I hear indicates that Bloomfield is right although I doubt AIPAC will have the gall to insist on insulating AIPAC from the cuts that will occur in this year’s budget. More likely, it will wait until Congress is putting the 2014 cuts in place (there is more Congressional discretion in allotting the pain after 2013) before demanding not just that Israel go to the head of the line but that it not be forced to stand in the line at all.

No matter when Israel is exempted, and by how much, it is wrong and would represent nothing more than another power play by the lobby. After all, a cut of $175 million out of a $3 billion U.S. grant is nothing that Israel can’t handle. Besides, since when is any foreign aid gift automatic, so automatic that it is provided whether the donor can afford it or not. Even teenagers don’t demand a car when his parents are filing for bankruptcy. Additionally, if aid to Israel (the largest chunk of the foreign aid budget) is protected, mandated sequestration cuts will have to be proportionately increased on other recipients, primarily African countries which receive much needed development assistance (hunger, poverty, disease prevention) .

But that’s AIPAC or, to use the more encompassing term, the Israel lobby…

Now, ex-CIA Philip Giraldi, asks the burning question on Syria…

Who’s Turning Syria’s Civil War Into a Jihad?

The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict—but Salafism and anarchy may be the big winners…

…Perhaps even more important, people in Washington should have also been asking why Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted to overthrow al-Assad and what kind of government they had in mind to replace him. Saudi Arabia’s rival as regional hegemon, Iran, is viewed in Riyadh as ascendant due to the rise to power of a friendly Shia regime in Iraq as a result of the American invasion and regime change. This has permitted the development of a geographically contiguous Arab bloc closely tied to Tehran and its regional interests, running through Iraq, across Syria, and connecting with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. To break up that de facto coalition, the Saudis, who see Syria as the weak link in the chain, have sought to replace Assad’s Alawite-led government with a Sunni regime. But there is also a second agenda. Because the ruling minority Alawites are considered to be heretics similar to Shi’ites, a change in religious orientation would be necessary, with the Saudis serving as protectors of the Sunni majority. The Riyadh-backed Sunni regime would of course be expected to conform with the particularly Saudi view of proper religious deportment—the extremely conservative Wahhabism that prevails in the Kingdom, which is closer to the views of the more radical insurgents while hostile to the secularists. It would also make the country’s significant numbers of Christians, Alawites, Shi’ites, and Kurds potential victims of the arrangement.

All of which means that the Saudis and their allies Qatar believe in change in Syria, but on their own terms, and they actually oppose enabling a populist or democratic evolution. In fact, Riyadh has been actively engaged regionally in doing what it can to contain the unrest resulting from the Arab Spring so that the populism does not become untidy and spill over into Saudi Arabia itself. This has meant that from the beginning Saudi and Qatari objectives in Syria have differed from the goals of either Turkey or the Western powers, which should have been seen as a recipe for disaster…

Btw, Syria’s Assad ‘will take part’ in 2014 presidential poll…

Talking about real War Criminals, isn’t this rather rich…? Somalia Asks Kerry for Immunity for Alleged War Criminal in U.S…

Now, here’s an interesting take on the MENA miasma…

…US policy in the Middle East is undergoing a double change. Toward Syria, the posture is becoming noticeable harder. While senior analysts in the intelligence community continue to warn of potential chaos and bloodletting on a large scale in the event of a sudden collapse of the Assad regime, the deepening of the humanitarian crisis is moving the Administration toward more active support of the opposition. The supply of non-lethal aid that will allow the opposition to consolidate their positions in territory they hold is already underway. No decision is yet in place on whether this assistance will escalate to arms, but US officials tell us privately that this is the “logic of the situation.” Regarding Iran by contrast the Administration is adopting a softer approach. The package offered to Tehran at the 26th/27th P5+1 meeting in Almaty had less of the “take-it-or-leave” tone of previous offers. As an NSC official commented to us: “We are deliberately embarking on a process in which there is a prospect of genuine give and take.” This approach does not lack for critics either inside the national security community nor on Capitol Hill where Senators are pressing for a resolution that would bind the US to support Israel in the event of an attack on Iran by the latter. At the very least, President Obama is preparing for an “earful of criticism” when he visits Israel later this month. One argument he will employ is that by being tougher on Syria, he is also weakening Iran. However, with an important element of US naval forces delaying its deployment to the region for budgetary reasons, Obama is not looking for a pretext for war. With regard to China, the chronically unresolved dilemma in US policy between regarding China as a necessary partner on trade, finance and issues like North Korea or seeing it as a military competitor and threat to US allies is trending in the adversarial direction. Intelligence analysts see increased and more hostile patrolling by the Chinese navy in disputed waters of the South and East China Seas. The consensus is that tensions are on the rise for 2013, including over Tibet.

Ironically, it would seem that China is actively pursuing alternate Global trade and financial routes, apart from the Western MOTU’s, and denominated in Yuan…! China key to BRICS bank…!

Indeed, ‘May you live in interesting times’…

In summing up… The Third Intifada?

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Code Pink, Davos, Kerry, and, ‘Reaping The Whirlwind’

11:28 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Code Pink totally Rawks…!

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi

Fresh from Davos …

The Vulnerabilties of The Elite: Geopolitical Risk in 2013

The Challenge

…The vulnerability of elites cuts across emerging markets and advanced economies, democracies and authoritarian states, public and private institutions, and a wide array of issues. This is the challenge: as their legitimacy gets called into question, political actors struggle to react to instability, crises and opportunities in the most effective manner. Whether it is the growing disparity of wealth, or the evolving flow of information, several factors are facilitating pushback against existing policies and institutions and making both governments and some private actors across the globe look increasingly fragile.

First, the ‘Occupy’ movement may have run out of steam, but the slogan “we are the 99%” has put an end to the people’s “peaceful coexistence with inequality.” While the richest have come out on top from the economic crisis, middle classes are experiencing reversals in their standards of living even in the developed world. In many developed and emerging countries, youth unemployment rates are
scandalously high. A ‘lost’ generation of young people feel they have no stake in the existing system. And this development is occurring in a world where inequality is visible on a daily basis, both within and between societies.

The lack of economic prospects has eroded people’s trust in, and
support for, their political leaders, whose actions are rarely understood, let alone approved. The result is a “legitimacy deficit” and a sense that we might nearly be better off without rulers. Leaders no longer have a story to rally their followers around. The few who do fare better than others. We’re seeing this trend across countries of vastly different stages of development.

Second, people are less willing to tolerate corruption, crime, cronyism and other forms of inappropriate behaviourby leaders. Most societies lack a clear moral compass in the form of religion, ideology or established values. The media are quick to fill this vacuum with instant moral outrage about the latest scandal—and the news cycle is short-sighted at the expense of longer-term problems that are more pressing…

Wtf…? Are the Elite finally getting a clue…?

Apparently not…!

From our newest Bilderberger Sec. of State…

‘Reap the Whirlwind’

Kerry had met in the past with Syrian President Bashar al- Assad in an effort to encourage an opening by the Syrian regime toward the West. Now, Kerry said, Assad has made “reprehensible” decisions and he predicted Assad is “not long for remaining” as Syria’s leader.

…“We are sowing the wind in Syria and we’re going to reap the whirlwind,” he said, referring to Islamic radical groups involved in the fighting there.

Kerry said relations with Russia have “slid backward a little bit in the last couple of years,” citing Russia’s halt to U.S. adoptions as one example. Still, he said Russia is cooperating on a number of issues such as Iran and nuclear arms reductions.

On China, Kerry highlighted the competition for resources. “China is all over Africa — I mean, all over Africa — and they’re buying up long-term contracts on minerals,” he said. “And there’re some places where we’re not in the game, folks.”

‘Economic Statecraft’

…In his opening remarks, Kerry urged lawmakers to address domestic economic issues such as the deficit, saying a strong economy undergirds strength overseas. Kerry said the U.S. is seeking, as President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address, to move beyond the decade of war.

“President Obama and every one of us here knows that American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone,” Kerry said. “We cannot allow the extraordinary good we do to save and change lives to be eclipsed entirely by the role we have had to play since September 11th, a role that was thrust upon us.”

American foreign policy is also defined by food security and energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development “as much as it is by any single counterterrorism initiative,” he said.

Meanwhile, back at Davos…

…Israeli officials said Thursday that military action against Iran needed to stay on the table, as former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger warned of a crisis over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in the “very foreseeable future”.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the threat of military action was vital to efforts against Iran’s nuclear programme.

“There will be more attempts to try and negotiate, but there will always be in the horizon a military option, because if the Iranians think it’s only economic and political, they won’t pay attention,” Peres told global political and business leaders at the annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort.

Israel and Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to acquire a weapons capability under the guise of its nuclear energy programme but Iran denies the charge, saying its work is for peaceful purposes only…

…In a wide-ranging talk on foreign affairs, Kissinger said he expected the Iranian nuclear issue to soon come to a head.

“For 15 years, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have declared that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable, but it has been approaching,” he said.

“People who have advanced their view will have to come to a determination about how to react or about the consequences of non-reaction,” he said.

“I believe this point will be reached within a very foreseeable future.”

Kissinger said negotiations with Iran needed to be given “a real chance” and that “unilateral action by Israel would be a desperate last resort.”

He said he expected “Iran to be high on the agenda” of US President Barack Obama’s new administration, and said failure to deal with the question could lead to a spread of nuclear weapons in the region.

“That would be a turning point in human history,” Kissinger warned…

Honestly, folks, here’s some truly sober analysis of our failed FP…

Obama and the (Mis)management of Imperial Decline

…In his second inaugural, President Obama recalled this vision, reminding Americans that they are “heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends…We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully—not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.”

But now his words fall flat in much of the world. For his administration never understood that, to be effective, “engagement” had to mean more than simply reiterating longstanding U.S. demands while not just continuing to reject other parties’ interests and concerns, but acting even more assertively against them…

…The world is increasingly giving up on the proposition that the United States can act in any manner other than that of an imperial power—even as more and more important players in global affairs are coming to see it as an imperial power in decline. Obama’s second inaugural displayed no appreciation for this reality. And that does not augur well for any meaningful recovery of America’s international standing during Obama’s second term…

Btw, It’s not Iran’s purported pursuit of a Nuke despite everybody’s best effort to make it so… …The viral campaign to set a “red line”

It’s all about the Oil… To be sure…US weaves nuclear fairy tale on Iran…!

Iran all set to finance IP gas pipeline project: envoy…!

Jews DO control the media… Maybe…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Reading The Tea Leaves…

6:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Can the United States Think Strategically About Iran, China, and the Deepening Ties Between the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia?

… As we write,

While no single factor explains the relative decline of American standing and influence in world affairs, one of the most important is the failure of American political and policy elites to define clear, reality-based goals and to relate the diplomatic, economic, and military means at Washington’s disposal to realizing them soberly and efficaciously. Defining such ends and relating the full range of foreign policy tools to their achievement is the essence of what is known among students of international relations and national security practitioners as ‘grand strategy.’ Questions of grand strategy are becoming an increasingly important element in America’s emerging national security narrative—because of accumulating policy failures, relative economic decline, and the rise of new power centers in various regional and international arenas.

To explore what is wrong with contemporary American grand strategy and what it would take to put that strategy on a sounder course, our article evaluates “Washington’s posture toward two regions where the effectiveness of American policy will largely determine the United States’ standing as a great power in the 21st century: the Middle East (with a focus on the Persian Gulf) and rising Asia (with a focus on China).” As we explain,

Fundamental flaws in America’s stance vis-à-vis these critical areas have contributed much to the erosion of the United States’ strategic standing. Over time, deficiencies in policy toward each of them have become synergistic with deficiencies in policy toward the other. Recovering a capacity for sound grand strategy will require a thoroughgoing recasting of American policy toward both—and a more nuanced appreciation of the interrelationship between these vital parts of the world for U.S. interests.

We have come more and more to appreciate that recasting American policy in this way must necessarily be preceded by a kind of “cultural revolution” in the United States. Since the end of the Cold War, American foreign policy has been increasingly driven by a grand strategic model—we call it the “transformation model” in our article—in which “the United States seeks not to manage distributions of power but to transcend them by becoming a hegemon, in key regions of the world and globally.” Such a commitment to hegemony—an assertion of military, economic, and ideological dominance that aims to micromanage political outcomes in far-flung parts of the world and to remake, or at least to subordinate, vital regions in accordance with American preferences—is deeply problematic, strategically as well as morally

From the NY Fed in ’06…

Recycling Petrodollars

In recent years, oil-exporting countries have experienced windfall gains with the rise in the price of oil. A look at how oil exporters “recycle” their revenues reveals that roughly half of the petrodollar windfall has gone to purchase foreign goods, especially from Europe and China, while the remainder has been invested in foreign assets. Although it is difficult to determine where the funds are first invested, the evidence suggests that the bulk are ending up, directly or indirectly, in the United States

Some more PetroDollar background…!

Now, Isn’t it fascinating that our own Allies are beginning to ignore our ridiculous Iran Sanctions…?

As I wrote last January…Screwing the Petro-Pooch…!

Moving along to Syria…

There is no ‘noble war’ that will justify this bloodshed

“…The rebels, with the concurrence of their outside backers in Riyadh, Doha, Ankara and Washington, have steadfastly rejected jaw-jaw in favour of war-war. The leader of the newly created Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Al Khatib, rejected the latest call by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Sergei Lavrov to attend talks with the Syrian government. Mr Al Khatib insists that Bashar Al Assad step down as a precondition to talks, but surely Mr Al Assad’s future is one of the main points for discussion.The rebels, over whom Mr Al Khatib has no control, have not been able to defeat Mr Al Assad in almost two years of battle. Stalemate on the battlefield argues for negotiation to break the impasse through acceptance of a transition to something new….”

Some more thought-provoking treatises to mull over…Regimen of Permanent WarsThe US War Machine…!

And, finally, as I once wrote, What a Wicked Web We Weave…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Bibi, Egypt, Iran, And, Syria

8:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

That 5 minute clip is dated from 2010, which I’d featured on this old post of mine… Bribing Israel will not help…! So that data is rather dated, with many more; checkpoints, ‘home’ demolitions, and, subsequent settlement expansions, to add to that map…! Now, just try to visualize Bibi’s proposed,‘expedited’ +3K E-1 settlement expansion plans…! Along with an additional… 4,200 apartments in Ramat Shlomo and Givat Hamatos…! Please, allow me to descend into prior, ‘flights of fantasy’, of which, I’d succumbed to back during those heady days of the ‘Direct Peace’ talks farce…! Obama’s Pathetic Pursuit Of Peace…! And, The Freeze Farce is over…! Funny, how that worked out, eh…?

Remember folks, as a History Major, I’ve always strived to cite the ‘first person’, directly…!

Well, folks, it seems that Bibi has truly ‘lost it’… Seriously…!

Netanyahu: The entire conflict between Israel and the Arabs is over their denial of Israel’s right to exist.

…“This forum and its coordinated work of which during Operation Pillar of Defense are an important component in our national resilience. I think that this operation proved the importance of public diplomacy,” Netanyahu said.

“What was the war about? The war was about our very existence. We left areas that we captured in the Six Day War, like the Gaza Strip, and they fire missiles at us.

“Therefore, our top public diplomacy mission is to explain that the root of this conflict is not territorial,” said Netanyahu. “It is over our very existence in any borders whatsoever.

“From 1967 until today, for 45 years, day in, day out, and hour by hour, they have been preaching the complete opposite. So certainly the lie has taken root, and there is no way to fight a lie except with the truth. We must tell the truth; it is the only thing that we can do and we must certainly do so.

“We must constantly repeat that the root of the conflict is the very existence of the State of Israel, the refusal to recognize the State of Israel in any borders whatsoever.

“The second thing is their methods, mainly their desire to intentionally attack civilians.

“There is a link between the first and second points. Whoever uses such methods is beyond the pale internationally, morally and legally. He does not want peace.

“The root of the conflict is not the settlements; it is the very existence of the State of Israel and the desire to wipe it off the face of the earth. We can anticipate many developments and changes in this evolving Middle East that we face, and some of them are very, very disturbing.”…

And, if there were any doubts, whatsoever, as to Bibi’s deluded depths of desperation… Israeli Source Claims US is Behind European Protests of E1 Settlement…

…“The European move is essentially an American move,” one official said, according to Ynet News. “The Brits asked the Americans how to act.” {…}

…“The Europeans got the green light to respond with extreme measures and the US in the meantime decided not to impose economic sanctions on the Palestinians in response to their UN bid,” the anonymous official claims. “The Americans decided to bolster Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and push for a resumption of peace talks.”

The White House has denied these accusations, however, with National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor telling POLITICO it “isn’t accurate.”

Sheesh, with friends like that…!

More Voices Urge Obama to Rein In Netanyahu…! And to be sure… Israel shoots itself in the foot with decision to approve more colonist homes…!

By the by, ain’t this totally kewl…? Israel had asked for Jordan’s approval to bomb Syria, say sources…

Anyways, moving along to Egypt… Morsi was forced to flee from the Presidential Palace… 3 dead in violence around Egypt’s presidential palace…

Three demonstrators died in clashes between opponents and supporters of Egyptian head of state Mohamed Morsi around the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt’s top rescue official said early Thursday.

Mohamed Soltan told journalists that the three were shot dead, while nearly 350 others were wounded.

It was the worst violence in Egypt since Morsi became the country’s first Islamist president in June.

He drew the wrath of the opposition and many in the magistrature by assuming exceptional powers under a November 22 decree.

Allies and foes of Morsi lobbed fire bombs and rocks at each other in the plush Heliopolis neighbourhood in a Cairo suburb as shots rang out early Thursday…

And, the Cairo branch of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ was reportedly hit today, too… so stay tuned…

Moving along to Syria and Iran…

The hidden secret behind the Patriot ‘ADA’ system is it’s ‘surface-to-surface’ capabilities…!

Now, besides Russia’s harsh words, to NATO’s ill-advised decision to send Patriot Batteries to Turkey, The Chinese were none-too-thrilled, either…

…NATO’s decision to deploy Patriot missile batteries in Turkey is “inconducive to peace, security and stability” in the region, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

“Highlighting military factors and strengthening military existence are inconducive to the resolution of contradictions and disputes, and inconducive to the peace, security and stability in the whole region,” spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular press conference, when asked to comment on the NATO decision…

So, on the ground…
Syria says 10 dead mortar attack on school…!
That would be Rebel mortar fire…!

Meanwhile, the Syrian WMD hysteria still runs amok…!

Btw, Bibi, must be shitting bricks… UN calls on Israel to open nuclear program for inspection, backs talks on nuke-free Mideast… And, Report: Europe might remove Hamas from terror list…!

*heh* Ain’t Kharma a B*tch…? *g*

by CTuttle

‘In the Land of the Blind’

6:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Dr. Phil delivered a most righteous rant today…

In the Land of the Blind

…If there was ever a blatant example of U.S. government hypocrisy, this was it: a mass murderer presenting a medal to another mass murderer. Wage war for humanitarian reasons but kill the children. Promote the freedom of the Internet but secretly make it a weapon of war and figure out how to shut it down. All in a day’s work in the Imperial City.

The American exceptionalism being boasted about by Republicans and Democrats alike is at the root of aberrant political class behavior, visible to anyone who cares to look. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, but in today’s America even the man with one eye is lacking. It is clear to the world that there is no limit to Washington’s hypocrisy, but the media and Congress march briskly forward with the White House promoting a policy of war by other means all the time and everywhere. It is a recipe for disaster, which has already borne fruit in terms of lost liberties, a shattered economy, and a sharp decline in most countries’ respect for the American government and people. That a president can declare secret war on a country that does not threaten it, that the federal government can create mechanisms to attack the entire world electronically while at the same time making plans for depriving its own people of the ability to share ideas and thoughts freely is disgraceful. And awarding the highest civilian medal to a self-proclaimed baby killer who epitomizes the decay of our republic should be a moment of shame rather than celebration.

Emptywheel expanded further on what truly ails us… Gang Warfare to Protect Israel’s Secrets…

Now, Syria is a tougher nut to crack, from Asia Times…

Syria: America versus Israel

…Instead of heeding the advice of these two hawkish senators, the Obama administration should pursue a more realist foreign policy vis-a-vis Syria that prioritizes stability. Unquestionably, the headaches that this regime has caused many US administrations explain the political motivations behind Obama’s direct and indirect support for Syria’s Islamist opposition. However, the lessons of blowback should be remembered, for the United States armed radical forces on many occasions to advance larger geopolitical interests only to regret such alliances later.

Preventing the Syrian state from collapsing and protecting the region from the chaos that could result should be Washington’s top priority. This does not mean ignoring the human rights abuses of the Assad regime or the armed Syrian opposition. Rather, Washington should continue to work with regional actors such as Turkey and Iran along with Russia and China to find a political solution that holds all actors responsible for the lives lost and identifies a political solution that brings about peace, stability, and justice. The Middle East doesn’t need another Iraq War or post-war crisis.

Just to be sure, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said today…

SCO opposes intervention in Syria, Iran

…China, Russia and four former Soviet republics in central Asia said Thursday they oppose military intervention in Syria and Iran, and regime change in Syria.

The opposition came in a statement released by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the final day of its summit in Beijing, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

In the statement, the countries called for “dialogues that respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” CNN reported.

The statement came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday in Istanbul, Turkey — where she was attending a counterterrorism conference — that “Syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable or certainly democratic until Assad goes.”…

…The four former Soviet republics — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — joined Russia and China in opposing military intervention or forced regime change in Syria.

The leaders of the six SCO countries said they oppose military intervention in response to Iran’s nuclear program.

“We believe any attempts to resolve the Iranian issue by force are unacceptable,” the SCO statement said. “Such attempts could lead to unpredictably serious consequences, which would threaten stability and security in the region and the entire world.”…

Now, don’t ya suppose all those ‘Stans and/or Russia could strand, all our Boyz in Afghanistan, just as easily as Pakistan has… (Gee, and I wonder why they’re so pissed…?)!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Hurling BRICs, And, ‘Israel Bought an Airfield Called Azerbaijan’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today, in the US House of Representatives…

Lawmakers Target Iran’s Energy Sector for Expanded Sanctions

U.S. lawmakers are seeking to expand sanctions on Iran’s energy sector by banning the purchase of its natural gas and prohibiting investment in oil and gas services, exploration and new pipelines.

Representatives Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat, and Robert Dold, an Illinois Republican, introduced the Iran Energy Sector and Proliferation Sanctions Act in Congress today. The measure is the latest in a stepped-up campaign to tighten sanctions aimed at depriving Iran’s government of revenue that may be used for its nuclear and missile programs.

Iran is the second-largest crude producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It also has the world’s second-largest natural-gas reserves, which are largely undeveloped.

“We must not allow the Iranian regime to use the nation’s vast energy resource as a financial pipeline for its nuclear ambitions,” Deutch said in an interview. The legislation is intended to “put the world on notice that the entire Iranian energy sector is off limits so long as Iran continues to defy the international coalition.”

Just yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul, put a block on it’s companion bill in the Senate, however tenuous a block…!

Now, to refresh your memory, as I’d noted before…

Iran’s Oil Bourse: A Threat to the U.S. Economy?

…While Iran’s nuclear program has become a major focus of the international media, there are many who strongly believe that the program is only a cover for the U.S. government’s true motive in a possible attack against Iran.

What some analysts posit is the real concern for the United States is Iran’s plan to open its own oil exchange — the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) — with the alleged goal of becoming the dominant center of the Middle East’s oil trade.

What makes the IOB the subject of such interest by the American government? According to rumors, which first vaulted the issue into the spotlight, the financial exchange in the aforementioned bourse will trade for oil in euros instead of the U.S. dollar. The dollar has long been the dominant currency for international oil trade. {snip}

Of course, the effectiveness of the IOB will depend on whether the big international oil trading companies decide to accept deals in euros or not. However, the potential financial impact on the U.S. economy remains more than just idle speculation.

“The weapon of oil in the hands of Iran’s regime is more dangerous than any other weapon,” said a recently published article in Italy’s Panorama newsmagazine. {snip}

There is speculation that the IOB represents Iran’s plan to escape any possible future economic sanctions spearheaded by the U.S. However, some postulate that the plan could also endanger the continued existence of Iran’s regime. William Clark, an American security expert, predicted that if Iran threatened the hegemony of the U.S. dollar in the international oil market, the White House would immediately order a military attack against it…

Then, I’d mentioned, more recently that we are indeed Screwing the Petro-Pooch…

…take a gander at this new [Jan 24, 2012] Asia Times article…

…Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who visited Doha last week, disclosed at a press conference on Friday: a) China proposes to invest in the manufacturing of ”downstream oil products, which are most urgently needed by Qatar”; b) China and Qatar signed an agreement to jointly build a refinery in Taizhou, Zheijiang, in China; c) Chinese companies propose to participate in infrastructure projects in Qatar; and d) China and Qatar are discussing a “long-term, stable and comprehensive cooperative partnership” in natural gas.

Then, Wen quietly dropped a bombshell. He revealed “one more important point” as if it were an afterthought. He said:

In order to address investment issues, we [China and Qatar] need financial support. Therefore, we reached another agreement, a cooperation agreement linking finance with investment. Qatar also proposed the use of local currency in trade settlement and even a specific ratio. I think this proposal can be studied.

The short point is, the renminbi, the “people’s currency” also known as the yuan, is appearing in Doha. The China-United Arab Emirates (UAE) currency swap deal which was signed during Wen’s visit to Abu Dhabi last week already brings the yuan to the Emirates. The deal with the UAE is worth US$5.5 billion and the Chinese central bank statement said that it aims at “strengthening bilateral financial cooperation, promoting trade and investments and jointly safeguarding regional financial stability”. {snip}

…Iran and Russia have already switched to their national currencies for conducting bilateral trade. Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow Seyed Reza Sajjadi said on Friday, “[Trade] with Russia is based on our national currencies. We started this work long ago. Iranian businessmen are buying products in Russia and are using the rouble as [payment] currency] … The US dollar has no [economic] support base … There is a similar interest on the Russian side.”

Last week, it also came to be known that India proposes to allow Iran’s central bank to open rupee accounts with two Indian banks as a long-term solution to the countries’ payment problems instigated by the US (which pressured New Delhi to terminate the traditional payment mechanism for Iran within the Asian Clearing Union.) An Indian delegation visited Tehran last week to finalize details…

On a side note, Chinese firm surpasses Exxon in oil production…

Well, our chickens are indeed coming home to roost… BRICS not ‘obliged’ to follow US sanctions on Iran

...India, China and other BRICS countries today said they will not severe their trade ties with oil-rich Iran, which is facing US sanctions against its nuclear programme.

The issue came up for discussion at the meeting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) trade ministers, a day ahead of the BRICS summit here.

“Yes, this was discussed. All BRICS members are members of the UNSC. We respect UN resolutions…at the same time the resolution does not forbid countries to engage in trade in essential commodities and what is required for human good,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, addressing a joint a press conference with other BRICS trade ministers.

Commerce Minister from China, Chen Deming said his country is not ‘not obliged to follow any domestic laws and rules of any particular country’.

Sharma said Iran is an important source of energy. Spiralling oil prices have put stress on India’s finances. “Therefore, we look at things…in very pragmatic manner and remaining within the ambit of the UN resolution”

The BRICs are truly decoupling from our Western Imperialism…


BRICS Tighten United Front

- At their summit in the Indian capital on Thursday, leaders of the coalition known as BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – made several poignant decisions that experts say hint at the converging of economic and political interests of a disparate regional bloc.

Though the leaders chose to defer the long-awaited announcement of a ‘South-South Bank’ to next year’s meet, or beyond, the ‘Delhi Declaration’ produced at the end of the summit said BRICS finance ministers have been directed to “examine the feasibility and viability of such an initiative, set up a joint working group for further study, and report back to us (heads of state) by the next Summit (in South Africa).”

“Creating such a ‘BRICS Bank’ involves complex issues, such as the medium of transfer of credit,” said Vivan Sharan, associate fellow at the prestigious Observer Research Foundation (ORF), which hosted a BRICS academic forum of experts and scholars from member countries in New Delhi from Mar. 4 – 6.

“But there are no roadblocks ahead and it is an idea whose time has come,” Sharan told IPS. “While the plan now is to supplement rather than supplant the existing global financial structure, there is clearly the ambition to go ahead.”

For now though, according to Sharan, citizens of the bloc, who account for nearly half the world’s population, can be content with the knowledge that by June there will be a BRICS Exchange Alliance in place, allowing trading options using local currency.

Investors will soon be able to invest in each other’s progress and there will be greater liquidity, better market-determined integration and the possibility of extending credit in local (currencies),” Sharan said. “Two BRICS countries are among the top five in purchasing power parity terms and four are in the top 10.

BRICS’ frustration with the policies of the wealthy G7 countries – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, and Canada – was palpable at the meeting…

Now, about that ‘New Silk Road’… U.S.: We’re For The New Silk Road — If It Bypasses Iran…

Here’s a great visual update on PNAC’s designs on Pipelineistan…

Speaking of the Neo/ZioCons, they’re screeching at the top of their bloody lungs… Israeli-Azerbaijan Deal Leaked, Bolton Blames Obama… And then straight from Hasbara Apparatchik… Israelis Suspect Obama Media Leaks to Prevent Strike on Iran

I do think the ever intrepid, Richard Silverstein, provides the best analysis…

‘Israel Bought an Airfield Called Azerbaijan’

…Perry notes that Azerbaijan’s rampant corruption has allowed Israel to exploit the situation to its advantage. In return for military hardware and joint production deals, Israel gets these landing rights, the right to place sophisticated listening posts targeting Iran on Azeri soil, and maybe even the right for its assassins to use Azeri territory on their way to and from Iran to assassinate nuclear scientists. If this reminds you of a Graham Greene or John Le Carre novel, it should. The only difference is that the characters’ features are more Middle Eastern and the languages spoken are different… {snip}

All of this equals a major projection of Israeli power right into the heart of two of the region’s major Muslim powers, Turkey and Iran. Frankly, it reminds me of the history of U.S. interventionism around the world–in Central America (1950 and 70s), Latin America (1960s and 70s), Asia (1960s and 70s), and now the Middle East (1990s and 2000s). All of this aggressive projection of American power for objectives and values almost impossible to quantify, has led us to much grief. It can only lead Israel to a similar fate. What the Middle East does NOT need is Israeli air bases on Cyprus and Azerbaijan. It does not need Israel doing its level best to rile up regional powers like Turkey and Iran.

It is precisely belligerent acts like this which convince the nations of the area that they need nuclear weapons to defend themselves. Israel doesn’t mess around. If it wants something, it gets it. If it doesn’t want you to do or have something, it’ll do its damndest to stop you, or barring that to make you pay for your defiance. Israel makes the neighborhood even tougher than it is or has to be. Under such conditions, it’s no wonder Iran might feel the need to explore a nuclear option…

I’ll wrap it up with a Christian Science Monitor report today…

Attacking Iran: Did US just torpedo Israeli deal for a base in Azerbaijan?

Israel is developing a ‘secret staging ground’ in Azerbaijan for a possible attack on Iran, reports Foreign Policy magazine. US officials aren’t happy with that, and may have leaked the story.

More leaks please…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Déjà Vu Parte Douze…

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Honestly, read my post from last November entitled: Wag The Dog: Green Salt is The New Yellowcake, and tell me it’s not Déjà vu, all over again…?

To wit: New IAEA Report Hypes Fear on Iran’s Nuclear Program, IAEA: Iran rapidly increases controversial nuclear work, and then, Netanyahu: UN report proves Iran’s nuclear program advancing ‘uninterrupted’

Now, it’s certainly reassuring to finally see some serious pushback from the Intel Community, and, the fact it’s being covered at all, in our Lame Stream Media…

U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb

The latest U.S. intelligence report indicates Iran is pursuing research that could enable it to build a nuclear weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.

…Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.

But Israel appears to have a lower threshold for action than Washington. It regards Iran as a threat to its existence and says it will not allow Iran to become capable of building and delivering a nuclear weapon. Some Israeli officials have raised the prospect of a military strike to stop Iran before it’s too late…

Now, parsing through all the verbiage, I’ve ascertained that short of a ‘false flag’ operation, a very likely event, we’re not going to bomb Iran, either the US and/or Israel alone…! I should also add that all of Yukiyo Amano’s main ‘allegations’ still derive solely from the ‘Laptop of Death’…

What it boils down to is the fact that the Western Hegemonic structures are crumbling down, and, the MOTU’s sorely need to distract the ‘unwashed’ masses…! Since a ‘preemptive’ strike on Iran is ruled out, the Western/Israeli PTB’s seek to chip away at the Iranian periphery, such as Syria…! Btw, don’t you find it ironic that, not only are we on the same side of the Syrian Abyss as AQIM, but, Hamas too…! That’s gotta stick in Bibi’s craw, just a tad…!

Now, speaking of Bibi and Israel… My favoritest, long time virtual friends, outside of FDL, Annie Robbins wrote at Mondoweiss today, what truly underscores Bibi’s recent efforts…


Look over there! All eyes on Iran as Israel quietly devours Area C

…No East Jeruslaem, no Area C and what is our mainstream media, our politicians and our public focused on? Iran.

So, this is the ethnic cleansing scam of the century and were are being lulled into another horrid war. A war in which, in all likelihood, Israel would use the distraction to effect territorial expansion and expulsion of Palestinians….just as they did when we were told that the road to Jerusalem lay through Baghdad and we went into Iraq and Palestinians watched unprecedented illegal settlement growth, bringing tens of thousands of illegal settlers to the West Bank.

There is no conceivable way anyone can build a state with whatever piddly crumbs will be left over after Israel finishes eating this pie. And after that, will it still be hungry?

To expand on her point that Palestine will essentially be reduced to the de facto ‘Bantustans’…

Israel’s Left Annexation Plan of 60% of West Bank

…On Thursday, Ynet Israeli news website revealed Bennett’s annexation plan that the former Yesha Council director, Neftali Bennett, suggested to annex and impose full sovereignty over Area C, which is currently under full Israeli security control in the West Bank. Area C constitutes 62% of the land, unilaterally…

…According to the plan, the lands that would be annexed to Israel includes: the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Ariel and Ma’ali Adumim Settlements as well as the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, so the Jewish who live in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv would be protected from the threats that come from the East as Bennett said.

Bennett’s plan also calls on Israel to naturalize 50,000 Palestinians from the annexed lands and that will also cause the rest of the West Bank’s Palestinians to demand citizenship.

Peace Now director, Yariv Oppenheimer, said “Bennett’s plan is a failed attempt to cut corners and make the occupation more comfortable.” He also added “The initiative is detached from reality.”

“Bennett’s initiative is immoral and undemocratic. It will only aggravate Israel’s situation with regards to the Palestinian issue,” said Oppenheimer, “Bennett’s solution, which includes the unilateral annexation of settlements, would deepen the crisis between Israel and the international community and may bury the chance to separate from the Palestinians.”

Basically it boils down to a One State ‘Solution’ and all non-Jews will be eternally persecuted…!

But, I digress…

As I’d last warned about in my Wag the Dog post… ‘Do we really want to awaken the slumbering Dragon…?’

China: U.S., Europe have hegemonistic goals in Syria

The United States and Europe are “harboring hegemonistic ambitions” in Syria, China’s state news agency said Saturday, a day after Beijing was condemned at an international conference held to find a way to halt the Syrian regime’s nearly year-old suppression of an anti-government uprising.

At the Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blasted Russia and China as “despicable” for vetoing UN Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning the crackdown by President Bashar Assad’s government.

Well, Do we really want too…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

‘Real cowards go to Tehran’

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The ever intrepid Pepe Escobar penned another barn burner of a post at Asia Times…

Real cowards go to Tehran

…It’s like a pudgy armchair action man mesmerized by a nimble lap dancer. I’m gonna make you mine, honey. It’s regime change time, gotta snuff out the owner of this joint. Otherwise, people will start talking; what kind of chicken global hegemon is this? {snip}

Baby, sanction me one more time

Let’s review some of the latest evidence. Tehran has just sent two of its warships through the Suez Canal towards the Mediterranean; they docked at the Syrian port of Tartus – no less. Not so long ago, disgraced dictator and close House of Saud pal Hosni Mubarak would have probably bombed them… {snip}

Baby, I’m coming to get ya

…So it’s Ouroboros all over again – the serpent biting its own tail. We need to bomb to get regime change, so that oily dancer will dance on our wealthy lap.

The problem is neither the Obama administration nor key Pentagon generals are convinced this is a good deal.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E Dempsey, thinks, “It would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us.”

And Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress last Thursday, “Iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict.” No wonder; Dempsey himself admitted that the leadership in Tehran – contrary to relentless neo-con media spin – “is a rational actor”.

Does this all matter for the neo-cons and their legion of media shills? Not really. Until they find a sucker to fight a war for them – as in a Republican US president – real cowards will keep going to Tehran, all day and all of the night, in their wettest of wet dreams.

I swear Pepe is on fire these days…!

Philip Giraldi also wrote a must read…

AIPAC Declares War

…The American people don’t particularly want a new war in the Middle East, but apparently Congress and Washington’s most powerful lobby do. Thirty-two senators have co-sponsored a resolution that will constrain the White House from adopting any policy vis-à-vis Iran’s “nuclear weapons capability” that amounts to “containment.” The senators include the familiar figures of Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both of whom have persistently called for military action. They and the other senators have presented their proposal in a particularly deceptive fashion, asserting that they are actually supporting the White House position, which they are not. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta repeated on Feb. 16 that Iran does not have and is not currently building a nuclear device. Before Christmas, he stated clearly that the “red line” for the United States is actual Iranian possession of a nuclear weapon. Even Israel’s intelligence services agree that Iran is not building a bomb. What we are seeing play out in Congress is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) position, which is that Iran has already crossed a “red line.” The AIPAC argument will no doubt be spelled out in more detail next month at the group’s annual convention in the nation’s capital, a meeting that will be addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will attract nearly all of Washington’s power brokers… {snip} [Ed:Obama to speak at AIPAC before Netanyahu meeting]

…You might well ask how the United States wound up in such a pickle. Many Americans are beginning to wake up to the fact that it is disgraceful that a small country like Israel should be able to dictate U.S. foreign policy in a key part of the world, but the current situation is actually far worse than that. This is the case of a foreign government’s lobby consisting largely of American citizens using its clout to avoid registering as a foreign agent while narrowing the policy options through its friends in Congress and the media in such a way as to make war inevitable. Some might call it treason. Such people should be denounced and marginalized before they send off another wave of young Americans to die on their behalf while beggaring the rest of us, but instead, senators and representatives will be lining up to cheer them in a month’s time. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison must be spinning in their graves.

Now, some more current news and views on Israel/Iran/Syria…

China warns of severe results for Middle East…

Russia: Israeli strike on Iran would be ‘catastrophic’

Deputy Russian FM warns Israel against striking Iranian nuclear sites, saying Israel must understand consequences of such an action.

FM Lieberman: U.S., Russian warnings against Iran strike will not affect Israel’s decision…

Peres to tell Obama: I oppose Israeli attack against Iran in the near future…

God Help Us All…!

by CTuttle

Wag The Dog: Green Salt is The New Yellowcake

4:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

“We will never enter any war against the U.S. or against any other country. This is our policy…We have never attacked anybody. Why should we do that? Why should we start a war?”Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Oct. 18, 2011)

Why indeed…?

Now, The IAEA, once again, defies one of the first principles of logic: Negative evidence – the absence of something – cannot be used to prove the existence of something…! Ironically, during the Iraqi fiasco, the IAEA was on the right side of the logical ledger, stating bluntly that they could not prove that Saddam had possessed any WMD’s, much less, a nuke program…!

Well, seemingly, they’re on the wrong side of the very same equation… To wit…

“While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Hmmm… I wonder what had changed at the IAEA…?

Today, the intrepid Pepe Escobar completely eviscerated all the latest Iranian hype…

Dodgy Intel

The IAEA insists is relying on “credible” intelligence – over 1,000 pages of documentation – from more than 10 countries, and has drawn on eight years of “evidence”.

Yet the IAEA has no independent means to confirm the enormous mass of information – and disinformation – it receives from mostly Western powers. Mohammad ElBaradei – who was the predecessor of the Japanese Yukya Amano as the head of the IAEA – said so, explicitly, many times. And he always disputed what passes for “Iran intelligence” – knowing it was politicized to the extreme, and trespassed by waves of rumor and speculation.

No wonder ultra-conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan had reason to ask whether that was a IAEA report or an American diktat to the meek, easily pressured Amano.

There’s nothing even remotely earth-shaking about the report – satellite images and speculation by “diplomats” being sold as irrefutable “intelligence”. If this looks like the build-up towards the war on Iraq, that’s because it does. Essentially, it’s regurgitation of a four-year-old farce, known as the “laptop of death”

Antiwar’s Justin Raimondo did a masterful job too…

…What jumps out at the careful reader of the IAEA report is that there is nothing concrete involved in this nefarious plot: only hearsay descriptions of blueprints and computer models, including various publicly available scientific studies authored by Iranian scientists. According to Khan, what was transferred to the Iranians was know-how: theoretical knowledge and contacts with suppliers. Yet throughout the IAEA report, although there are plenty of instances where Iran is alleged to have sought this or that dual use component, we are never told if they actually succeeded in procuring the item. While the report attributes its information to “Member States,” why will I not be surprised if this “intelligence” comes from the same folks who brought us the Niger uranium forgeries?

Although there is no smoking gun, the injection of the A.Q. Khan network into the propaganda mix at this level is a relatively new development, one that links the latest Enemy of the Moment (Pakistan) with longtime-favorite Iran. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Wiki has a great synopsis on the Laptop and the Green Salt Project

It should be noted that not only has Russia called bullsh*t, immediately, but, also the Chinese…

…”It is clear that contention between the various sides over the Iranian nuclear issue has reached white hot levels and could even be on the precipice of a showdown,” the overseas edition of the People’s Daily said in a front-page commentary…

China’s official Xinhua news agency also suggested that Beijing would respond warily to the report. The UN watchdog still “lacks a smoking gun”, Xinhua said in a commentary.

There are no witnesses or physical evidence to prove that Iran is making nuclear weapons,” it said.

“In dealing with the Iran nuclear issue, it is extremely dangerous to rely on suspicions, and the destructive consequences of any armed action would endure for a long time.”…

“If these sanctions harm China’s substantive interests, then China will have to respond in some way,“said Li Hong, the secretary general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, a government-controlled body.

Do we really want to awaken the slumbering Dragon…?

*gah*