You are browsing the archive for Chuck Hagel.

by CTuttle

Sly Sey and the Syrian Clusterf*ck

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From the WSJ

John Kerry, U.S. Military Clash on Approach to Syria’s Rebels

Pentagon Opposes Direct Military Intervention Again

Frustrated by the stalemate in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing for the U.S. military to be more aggressive in supporting the country’s rebel forces. Opposition has come from the institution that would spearhead any such effort: the Pentagon.

Mr. Kerry and United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power have advocated options that range from an American military intervention to weaken the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to using U.S. special operations forces to train and equip a large number of rebel fighters. Such moves would go far beyond the U.S.’s current engagement.

In recent White House meetings, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have pushed back against military intervention, said senior officials.

They say the risk is high of being dragged into an open-ended foreign entanglement.

Both sides have agreed on the need to create an expanded program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels. But the Pentagon worries the Assad regime would halt cooperation on the removal of chemical weapons if the military training starts now. Officials said Mr. Kerry has now agreed to a delay.

The disagreement between a hawkish State Department and a dovish Pentagon, the officials from both sides said, is the latest chapter in an agonizing three-year administration debate over Syria.

But of course, it’s still ‘Damn the Torpedoes, Full-Speed Ahead…’

‘http://youtu.be/W-WSdGasWpg

As I’d pointed out, very early on during this entire, sordid Syrian False Flag op … See: Chemical Attacks In Syria – Cui Bono? And, More Evidence Points To The Syrian Rebels

So, it’s always nice to see more significant proof emerge confirming early hunches, from ‘credible’ sources like Seymour! However belated it may be!

Anyways, as Sey had asked…

Whose Sarin?

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

Now, it’s been fascinating in reading and watching, the varying reactions to Sey’s recent ‘revelations,’ from both the Left and the Right!

Seymour Hersh: the backlash…

Syria Special: There is No Chemical Weapons Conspiracy — Dissecting Hersh’s “Exclusive” on Insurgents Once More

Now, Col. Lang had a great response to Sey’s post, and, to neocon Michael Rubin’s ridiculous hatchet-job directed at the Col and Sey…Seymour Hersh’s Latest Conspiracy Theory Here is the Col’s response on the John Batchelor Show (19:20-30:30)

I liked how b at MOA, and the barflies, had cast some aspersions upon Sey’s repute…!

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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: UnHoly Alliances, Moving The Goalposts, and MI-5 Malarkey

8:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So it seems the House of Saud and the rabid Likudniks see eye-to-eye on Iran…!

Saudis brace for ‘nightmare’ of U.S.-Iran thaw

When Saudi Arabia’s veteran foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, made no annual address to the U.N. General Assembly last week for the first time ever, his unspoken message could hardly have been louder.

For most countries, refusing to give a scheduled speech would count as little more than a diplomatic slap on the wrist, but for staid Saudi Arabia, which prefers back-room politicking to the public arena, it was uncharacteristically forthright.

Engaged in what they see as a life-and-death struggle for the future of the Middle East with archrival Iran, Saudi rulers are furious the international body has taken no action over Syria, where they and Tehran back opposing sides.

Unlike in years past, they are not only angry with permanent Security Council members China and Russia, however, but with the United States, which they believe has repeatedly let down its Arab friends with policies they see as both weak and naive.

Like Washington’s other main Middle Eastern ally, Israel, the Saudis fear that President Barack Obama has in the process allowed mutual enemies to gain an upper hand. {…}

Already aghast at U.S. reluctance to back rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, Tehran’s strongest Arab friend, Saudi princes were horrified to see Washington last month reaching out to Hassan Rouhani, the new Iranian president.

The Saudis’ worst nightmare would be the administration striking a grand bargain with Iran,” said former diplomat Robert Jordan, U.S. ambassador to Riyadh from 2001 to 2003.

Col. Lang posted this great diatribe recently…

Don’t Move the Strategic Goal Posts for U.S. Policy on Iran

Diplomacy is the most realistic strategic option for achieving President Obama’s stated goal of prevention. As the case of North Korea demonstrates, economic sanctions and international political isolation will not prevent a determined country from developing nuclear weapons. Moreover, the history of sanctions suggests that the international political will to enforce serious sanctions will erode over time. {…}

Meanwhile, military strikes conducted by either the United States or Israel are not likely to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear weapons club. Iran’s civilian nuclear expertise and knowledge is substantial and can’t simply be bombed or assassinated out of existence… …Additionally, military action will also likely strengthen recruitment of radicals to the ranks of Al-Qa’ida by playing into its strategic narrative that the United States is at war with Islam. Furthermore, these attacks would only solidify the position of hardliners in Tehran as they exploit intense feelings of Iranian nationalism during a time of crisis while bolstering their argument that Iran needs a nuclear weapon to deter further attacks.

Nonetheless, not everyone is content with President Obama’s strategic objective of prevention. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, for instance, has advocated the more expansive strategic objective of denying Iran any domestic capability to enrich uranium. A recent letter from 76 U.S. senators urges the President to prevent Iran from achieving an amorphous and ultimately unverifiable “nuclear weapons capability”. Still others have insisted that issues with Iran will only be resolved through whole-sale regime change in Iran.

By changing the aim of US policy, however, any one of these alternative strategic goals would require a comprehensive change to the current American strategic approach emphasizing diplomacy. More dangerously, moving the strategic goal posts on Iran now would almost certainly doom a diplomatic approach to failure before it has been genuinely tested. This will leave US policymakers with ever less attractive strategic options for resolving suspicions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.

Funny how the Israeli Defense Minister just paid another visit to Hagel, eh…?

Pentagon chief reassures Israel over Iran nuke issue

Defense Department officials said Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon met at the Pentagon Tuesday, sharing their views on the latest development regarding the Iran nuclear issue and the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, the American Forces Press Service, the U.S. Defense Department’s news service, reported.

Hagel told Yaalon that while U.S. officials intend to test the prospect for a diplomatic solution with Iran, they “remain clear- eyed about the challenges ahead and will not waver from a firm policy of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

This was the third face-to-face meeting between the two defense officials in the past six months. The meeting came amid Israel’s rising concerns over Washington’s recent diplomatic engagement with Tehran on its disputed nuclear program.

So which is it…?

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by CTuttle

Wilkerson: Chemical weapon use in Syria ‘could have been an Israeli false flag operation’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(H/T wigwam)

Here’s the extended Cenk interview… Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: Chemical weapon use in Syria ‘could have been an Israeli false flag operation’

…“I think the president’s statement was very circumspect, very prudent,” Wilkerson says. “We don’t know what the chain of custody is. This could’ve been an Israeli false flag operation, it could’ve been an opposition in Syria, … or it could’ve been an actual use by [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad. But we certainly don’t know with the evidence we’ve been given. And what I’m hearing from the intelligence community is that that evidence is really flakey…. “This could have been an Israeli false flag operation,” he said. “You’ve got basically a geo-strategically, geo-political — if you will — inept regime in Tel Aviv right now.”

Now, to add fuel to that wild conspiracy theory, why would the AIPAC funded and staffed, WINEP, at their upcoming 2013 Soref Symposium, scheduled for May 9, host members of the Free Syrian Army…?

Schedule:

— Noon: Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni delivers remarks on “Israel’s New Government and the Challenge of Peacemaking with the Palestinians”

— 2:30 p.m.: Anwar Esmat El Sadat, founder and chairman of the El Sadat Association for Social Development and Welfare; and Dennis Ross, former senior Middle East adviser to four presidents and counselor at WINEP, participate in a discussion on “Egypt’s Revolution, Two Years On: Transition in Distress?”

— 4 p.m.: Col. Abdul Hamid Zakaria, commander and spokesman for the Free Syrian Army; and Col. Abdul Jabbar Akidi, Free Syrian Army commander and head of the Revolutionary Military Council in Aleppo, participate in a breakout discussion on “Inside Syria: The Battle Against Assad’s Regime.” (The session is off the record)

— 7 p.m.: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel deliver remarks on “U.S. Defense Policy in the Middle East”

LOCATION: Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd Street NW, Washington, D.C.CONTACT: Brittany Parker, 202-452-0650 ext. 244; press@washingtoninstitute.org [Note: Speeches by Tzipi Livni, Anwwar El Sadat and Chuck Hagel will be available via live-stream at https://www.washingtoninstitute.org. RSVP to Brittany Parker at press@washingtoninstitute.org for media credentials]

Btw, ya just gotta love Chuck’s recent remarks… Hagel to Israel: Attacking Iran Will Be Considered After June Vote – Nations Will Conduct ‘Joint Assessment’ After Iran’s ElectionWtf…?

What’s fascinating to me is that hot on the heels of yesterday’s Israeli air strike in Syria…

…Israeli aircraft bombed a warehouse in Syria Friday that reportedly held Iran-made Fateh-110 missiles bound for Hezbollah. It’s the second time in four months that Israeli aircraft have hit targets in Syria.

Again today in Damascus…

That awkward moment when Israel launches Air Strikes in Syria…! Ya think…?

Hmmm, a very interesting wrinkle… Israeli jet shot down over Damascus: Hezbollah TV…

Anyways, in other news and views, Marc Lynch, also at FP, wrote a great article…

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring

Hopes for peaceful change have been replaced by sectarian animosity and unending bloodshed.

… Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey had a variety of motives for supporting the opposition, and worked through different networks to accomplish their goals. They have often worked at cross-purposes, funneling weapons and cash to competing local forces in ways that undermined hopes for opposition unity and disproportionately empowered not only Islamists, but armed groups over peaceful ones.

Syria also radically changed the media narrative in both the Arab world and the West. During the early days of the so-called Arab Spring, the international media rushed to cover half a dozen rapidly moving storylines — Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen — while anxiously checking in on almost every other Arab country to see if it might be joining the wave. These days, the international media’s coverage of the region is almost completely dominated by Syria, broken only by episodic coverage of Egypt during moments of crisis.

Coverage from inside Syria is dominated by war correspondents, for obvious reasons, while much of the outside coverage relies dangerously on video footage and information found on the Internet provided by activist networks. In Egypt, an army of freelance journalists could rush to check claims about clashes or protests, but that luxury isn’t available to the media covering Syria’s endless claims and counter-claims…

Al Jazeera’s one-sided coverage of Syria and perceived support of Qatari foreign policy has cost it that central position. It is increasingly seen as just another partisan media outlet — and nothing has replaced it. As a result, the Arab media is increasingly fragmented, with regional and national media alike divided along sectarian and political lines and much less of a unifying, common media space. Social media doesn’t really replace that shared broadcast public sphere — instead, it encourages the formation of polarized bubbles as the like-minded seek each other out and reinforce their prejudices…

Ex-CIA Desk Chief, Philip Giraldi, wrote recently…

Drones for “Regime Protection”

The CIA’s insurance plan for Karzai and Maliki—and what it means for Syria

Media reports of CIA preparations to use drones to target al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria, should the post-Assad situation warrant such an intervention, are only partly correct. The plan to use drones under certain circumstances is in reality part of the much larger CIA program in Iraq that parallels the program being set up in Afghanistan. CIA initiatives in both countries are related to what is being mandated by the National Security Council as a policy of “regime survival” to help keep in place governments that are at least nominally friendly to Washington and that will be dependent on American technology and intelligence resources for the foreseeable future to maintain their own security. The CIA will bear the brunt of the two operations, as it can do so without a highly visible military footprint. In Iraq it includes, among other elements, the continued training of something akin to an elite counter-terrorism Praetorian Guard to protect senior officials while also advancing efforts against a growing Salafist presence in the country, linked to resurgent Sunni terrorism that is attempting to weaken the government of Nouri al-Maliki. The Obama administration is hoping to develop a level of cooperation with the Iraqi government that will enable the identification of extremist elements, some of which are taking the opportunity to transit into Syria. They are a threat to what are perceived to be the long-term interests of America and Iraq’s Shia government. Those who are identified as al-Qaeda-linked militants could become drone targets in Syria, if the situation in that country deteriorates

Dronez away, Bitchez…! *gah*

by CTuttle

AIPAC, Barak, Hagel, Kerry, and Mattis

4:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Mahalo to Medea Benjamin, for that RT interview and all of Code Pink’s efforts, along with these brave souls…!

Americans protest against AIPAC

Now, lest you thought the US Military was averse to starting a war with Iran…

Top US commander: Iran sanctions not working

Head of US Central Command says diplomatic efforts against Islamic Republic are useless, but it’s not too late to bring Iran ‘to its senses’

Top US commander in the Middle East, General James Mattis, said the current sanctions and diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities are not working. He said Tehran has a history of denial and deceit and is enriching uranium beyond any plausible peaceful purpose…

That’s absolute Bullsh*t…! But wait, there’s more BS Mattis…

U.S. efforts on Iran not working, Syria planning underway: Mattis

…A top U.S. general said on Tuesday that American efforts aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon were not working, even as he voiced support for crippling sanctions and diplomatic efforts aimed at isolating the Islamic state.

“I still support the direction we’re taking. I’m just paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly,” General James Mattis, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, told a Senate hearing…

A Freudian slip, perhaps…? To be sure… “Iran remains the single-most significant regional threat to stability and prosperity.”

Anyways, if you’re not pissed off enough… In Qatar today, SoS Kerry confirmed the blatantly obvious… ‘US now openly supports Syria militants’

Now, getting back to the Pentagon, I was truly flabbergasted by this Lovefest…

Chuck Hagel meets Ehud Barak (and wants to make sure the Israel lobby knows it)

New U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon on Tuesday, making a special effort to express warmth and friendliness toward his Israeli counterpart during their first meeting together since the prior assumed office.

Hagel assured Barak during their meeting that he was committed to the security of Israel and of preserving the Israel Defense Forces’ qualitative advantage over the armies of the Arab world. He also said that he would work to ensure that U.S. funding toward Israel, particularly with regard to its defense systems, would continue “despite fiscal uncertainty.”

Where’s all that “I’m not Israel’s Tool Senator” rhetoric now…? *sigh*

Now, in closing on a humorous note, Phil and Annie, at Mondoweiss, wrote a great post on Stephen Colbert and the real Israeli tool, Michael Oren… Did Oren’s iron dome of affability stop Colbert’s brilliant strikes?

by CTuttle

Brennan, Hagel, and Kerry: More Of The Same Failed Obama FP

8:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As the Editors of the IntelNews wrote recently…

Obama’s National Security Nominations: Nothing to See Here

…Yet much of the commentary on the nominations of John Kerry for State, Chuck Hagel for the Pentagon, and John Brennan for the CIA, is unduly over-dramatizing what is essentially a routine story. To begin with, it is clear that, in selecting Kerry, Hagel and Brennan for the nominations, the President’s priority was to surround himself with people he knows and trusts. Knowledgeable observers point out that all three nominees come from Obama’s most trusted circle of friends and —if appointed— will allow the President to stay well “within his comfort zone” as he begins his second term in office. In this sense, Obama selected the three candidates, not with some major policy shift in mind, but in order to ensure continuity and permanence in his foreign policy

…Even if we were to accept that Hagel is somehow “anti-Israel”, anyone who thinks that nearly seven decades of American policy on Israel are about to change because Hagel is suspicious of the Israeli lobby in the US, grossly misunderstands the institutional character of American foreign policy. The latter does not change in radical shifts; it evolves over long periods as a result of varying national or economic interests, changing conditions or the ground, or popular pressure. There is no question that Hagel, like Obama himself, is skeptical about military intervention abroad; but this fact points to continuity, not a radical shift in the administration’s policy. If Hagel’s nomination is approved by Congress, his views on Israel, or for that matter any other country or group of countries, will form but one element in a multitude of competing interests that help shape American foreign policy.

President Obama’s national security nominations are certainly noteworthy. But there is little here that is earth shattering. For the most part, the President sought individuals who will help him sustain the foreign policy of his first term in office, not radically alter it. Anyone looking for drama in these nominations will sooner or later be thoroughly disappointed.

Moar DroneZ, Bay-bee…!

Some more, McGovern… The Grilling that Brennan Deserves…

Apparently, it was a slim bench for CIA Director… Jane Harman for CIA Director? Really?

Some more on Hagel…

…Hagel will be in the wrong job to drive a fundamental recasting of the Obama administration’s Iran policy:

“I would take the president’s word that he likes and trusts former Senator Hagel, got to know him in the Senate, likes and trusts his positions and his candor on a range of issues. But I think the calculus to go ahead, and in the way that they are going ahead is that Senator Hagel, for all of the courageous positions he’s taken—on Iran, on Israel, HAMAS, lots of issues—that he will assure his fellow senators that those are positions that he held as a senator and they really will not have very much to do with his position as Secretary of Defense. Those are quintessential foreign policy issues that will be carried out by the Secretary of State and the national security adviser…

Obama now has an all-white-male [national security] cabinet. The question is how long will his national security adviser stay, Tom Donilon. And there I would put a question whether Susan Rice will be back on the scene. And she will certainly constrain Hagel’s attempts—if he has any desire to make these attempts—to change policies…[The White House]thinks that Hagel is going to a good Secretary of Defense, and do quintessentially Secretary of Defense things—not foreign policy.”

In wrapping up, Paul Pillar is right….

Declaring Victory on Iran

…So one side feels a need to crow about a victory, while the other side needs to feel that it has not been kicked in the face. To square that emotional circle, American politicians will have to get most of their triumphalist fix from what has happened already—from getting a negotiation with Iran about curtailing its nuclear program under way at all. Members of Congress can proclaim today (and when they next run for re-election) that all those votes they cast in favor of all of those sanctions were an important part of getting Iran to the negotiating table. After saying that, they should pipe down, get out of the way, and let the negotiators strike a deal.

Amen…!

*gah*