You are browsing the archive for Erdogan.

by CTuttle

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

8:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

IDF marksman caught on tape in teenagers deaths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel-Palestine: Europe should atone for its sins

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

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Abunimah, Al-Sisi, and Erdoğan

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’m certainly looking forward to Ali Abunimah’s FDL Book Salon…!

Now, delving into the muck and mire of the MENA, from Al Jazeera, talk about real Benghazi redux…

Libya army imposes no fly zone over Benghazi

Army issues direct challenge to retired general who has mounted unauthorised campaign against Islamists.

The Libyan army has imposed a no fly zone over Benghazi in a direct challenge to a retired general who has been using government aircraft and troops in an unauthorised campaign against Islamist groups.

Major General Khalifa Haftar, who lived in exile in the United States before returning home to lead ground forces in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, heads what he calls a “National Army”.

On Friday his paramilitary force, backed by warplanes and helicopters, pounded Islamist fighters in Libya’s second biggest city, in clashes that killed at least 36 people and injured another 138.

Interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni denounced Haftar’s forces as “outlaws” and called on all parties to observe restraint.

But earlier on Saturday, Haftar said he would continue his campaign to free Benghazi of “terrorist groups”.

“The operation will continue until Benghazi is purged of terrorists,” Haftar told Libya Awalan television.

Evacuation call

Armed forces chief of staff Abdessalam Hadallah al-Salihin denied any army involvement in the Benghazi clashes, although he admitted that some officers and army units had defected to join Haftar.

Later, Haftar spokesman Colonel Mohammad al-Hegazi called on people living in the western Benghazi district of Guwersha and the south’s Sidi Fradj to evacuate their homes.

He did not say if this was a prelude to attacks on those neighbourhoods, which are known to be bastions of the Islamists.

The army’s high command then upped the ante by declaring all of Benghazi and its suburbs a “no fly zone until further notice,” the state-run LANA news agency said.

“All military planes flying over the city will be shot down by army units… and units of the revolutionaries (ex-rebels),” it said.

Now, if that isn’t f*cked up enough, lo and behold, this foul f*ckery…

Will Al Sisi repeat Saddam’s mistake and attack eastern Libya for oil?

A breaking news item reported by Al-Jazeera Channel earlier today, 16 May, confirmed that aircrafts were bombing locations belonging to Ansar Al-Shar’ah (Supporters of Shari’ah) and the 17 February Battalions in Benghazi.

Previously, the Algerian Al-Khabar newspaper reported on 12 May that an Israeli website close to the security circles in Tel Aviv said that an American report had warned that Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi might use the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans.

These developments come amid widespread and continuous reports in the Egyptian mass media claiming that a so-called “Egyptian Free Army” was present in eastern Libya.

Al-Khabar noted that the Israeli website Debka said that Field Marshal Al-Sisi, the presidential candidate, plans to resolve Egypt’s economic crisis at the expense of Libyan oil resources. The website explained that Al-Sisi is using the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans that will result in the theft of large quantities of oil in Libya’s eastern region.

The report highlighted the anxiety of the United States, which supply Field Marshal Al-Sisi with Apache fighter aircraft. The former army chief, it is believed, now has his sight set on the oil in eastern Libya and that the arms he seeks to obtain from the US will be used to wage war on that country.

According to the Israeli report, Egypt’s Head of Intelligence Muhammad Farid Al-Tuhamy, visited Washington recently and submitted to the U.S. administration a detailed explanation of the threats posed by Al-Qaeda in the Suez region and the area along the borders with Libya. He said to the Americans that fighters from The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) come to Egypt via Jordan and that the regime in Egypt is fighting them. The report also hinted that Al-Sisi may use the American weapons, including the Apache combat aircraft, which were delivered to him by Washington recently, to carry out an offensive in eastern Libya.

Meanwhile, American sources quoted by the World Tribune, claim that the Egyptian army have secured U.S. endorsement and confidence to fight terrorism in the region. According to these sources, the US gave the Egyptian army the green light to launch a military operation in Libya to eradicate the Islamic groups and bomb some of the locations whose specific details were provided by Washington.

Meanwhile, Al Sisi needs to check his own six…

Anan to Sisi: You will be sentenced to death soon

A group of officers supporting Egyptian former chief of staff Sami Anan said that the latter is compiling evidence that would implicate presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in crimes punishable by death.

The “Officers of Egypt Front” said on its Facebook page Friday that Anan is “promising to expose secrets” that would lead to a death sentence against Sisi.

According to the page, known for its backing of Anan as a presidential candidate before he quit the race, said: “Anan decided to leave Sisi for Egyptians to judge him by themselves. He will then return powerfully after Sisi’s arrest, soon.”

In wrapping up…

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al-Assad, Al-Sisi, Bibi, Erdogan, and House of Saud

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Al-Sisi is stepping down to run for the Presidency, this little bombshell fell…

Egyptian army funds parties to stand against Muslim Brotherhood

The Egyptian army funded many Egyptian political parties and youth coalition groups in order to stand against the Muslim Brotherhood in the elections, Egyptian security expert and researcher Sameh Al-Yazel revealed.

Speaking to the Egyptian TV channel CBC, Al-Yazel said the army paid millions of Egyptian pounds for these parties and youth coalition groups in order to be able to affect the public opinion. He said many of these bodies are active until today, but refused to mention names.

Al-Yazel also said that the army supported these bodies, which called for the expansion of the transitional period in order to take their time to ‘organise or reorganise’ themselves.

He said: ‘They [the army] said they [Muslim Brotherhood] are the only well-organised party; therefore they will sweep the elections.’ Al-Yazel explained this is what caused the army to take these measures.

Meanwhile, Al-Sisi is headed to Moscow…

Egypt’s top military commander and expected presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is on his way to Moscow, marking the first time senior Egyptian officials have visited Russia since the overthrow of the country’s president, Mohamed Morsi, in June.

El-Sissi is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin and speak at a joint press conference, The Associated Press reported, citing Egyptian media.

State-owned Egyptian news outlets have also reported that the purpose of the visit was the conclusion of a $2 billion arms deal funded largely by the Gulf States Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Another interesting development… Egypt Detains a U.S. Embassy Employee

Moving along to Syria…

Here’s the ludicrous, 22-point plan offered up by the Syrian Opposition… Opposition plan for post-war Syria ignores Assad

Naturally…Russia and China want no part of it…!

In fact, Russia says Syria aid draft groundwork for military action

So, yesterday, Clapper called Syria an ‘Apocalyptic Disaster’ during congressional testimony…

US intelligence concerned by Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria

The director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper, testified in Washington on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee that there are at least 7,500 fighters from 50 different countries who have been trained by Al-Qaeda fighters inside Syria.

Defence Intelligence Agency Chairman Michael Flynn warned that: ‘There is also the very real possibility that extremists in the Syrian opposition could overrun and exploit chemical and biological weapons storage facilities before all the materials are removed.’

‘The current instability in Syria presents a perfect opportunity for Al-Qaeda and associated groups to acquire these weapons or their components,’ added Flynn.

When asked if Al-Qaeda is ‘on the run’ or ‘on the path to defeat,’ Clapper replied no, saying that: ‘It is morphing and franchising itself, not only [in North Africa] but other parts of the world.’

Flynn also responded that Al-Qaeda is not on the path to defeat.

Clapper noted that at least 7,500 foreign fighters from 50 countries have gravitated to Syria, including a small group of Afghani and Pakistani supporters of Al-Qaeda ‘who have aspirations for external attack in Europe if not the homeland itself.’

‘Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence,’ Clapper added, ;I’ve not experienced a time when we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.’

I thought Col. Lang did a great job on cutting through that claptrap…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Erdoğan, Kerry, and Sisi

6:17 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Last time I’d checked, Erdoğan, was sputtering about how it was foreign powers that were propagating “dissemination propaganda”…!

Well, Voilà…

Erdogan’s corruption defense falls flat

Denying the corruption accusations that brought his party under a disconcerting spotlight, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been lamenting press attempts to “throw the mud and see if it sticks.” He indirectly accused the judiciary of being taken over by the Fethullah Gulen religious movement, as well as acting as a subcontractor to foreign powers who, out of envy for Turkey’s political and economic success, manufactured this corruption plot to finish him off just as they tried to do at the Gezi Park protests in June.

Erdogan’s approach to this scandal, however, is best challenged — surprisingly — by his very own party members. Justice and Development Party (AKP) Burdur Deputy Hasan Hami Yildirim resigned on the last day of 2013, bringing the total resigned deputies from the ruling party to seven.

“It’s necessary to correctly identify the problem and the request,” he said Dec. 31. “The issue is not to cut short Turkey’s growing success story. The issue does not embed a conspiracy, foreign powers’ intervention, a mob or a gang. And it certainly is not a coup attempt against the government. In simple terms, the problem and the request is a call for democracy. The people demand that the ruling party not cover up these corruption allegations, but faces them, to come clean.”

Moving along to Kerry’s recent activities…

Naturally, it was well received…

US Secretary of State John Kerry held fresh talks yesterday with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas seeking to brush aside bitter Israeli-Palestinian recriminations and advance difficult peace negotiations.

After five months of mostly sticking to pledges not to air their grievances in public, the mutual distrust between the two sides has burst into the open with each accusing the other of trying to scupper the talks.

US officials have acknowledged a sought-after agreement on a framework to guide the negotiations forward would not be reached on this trip, signaling Kerry may return to Israel soon.

Kerry, who has made it a personal quest to reach a peace deal, is on his 10th trip to the region since becoming secretary of state in March.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accused Abbas of not being committed to peace.

Moving on to the Egyptian ‘Coup’…

With Sisi cracking skulls, Mubarak-style, he actually has the audacity to announce his run for the
Presidency…

Al-Wafd newspaper reported that Egypt’s Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi will soon step down from his position in preparation of his possible candidacy in Egypt’s next elections.

It was further reported that the Supreme Council of the Egyptian army decided in a meeting held last Tuesday that Egypt’s army chief of staff Sedki Sobhi will take on el-Sissi’s position. The reason for the replacement is to give el-Sissi a buffer period before the elections take place.

Can you say stuffed ballot-boxes…?

Anyways, in wrapping up, some more newsworthy links…

His Highness the Amir expressed condolences for Saudi King for death of Prince Bandar

Finally, perchance…?

Western Intelligence Agencies: Saudi Regime to Collapse This Year

And, here’s a new acronymn to learn… From BRIC to MINT

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

Getting Syria-ous…

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I truly despise sounding like a broken record, but if I must, I must…!

Today, two of my favorite blogs, outside of the Lake, featured the dire Syria-ousness of the situation…

First, the esteemed Col. Lang featured this excellent Guest Post at SST…

The Assad government is defending the minorities. – Clifford Kirakofe

…The mother superior of a 1500-year-old monastery in Syria warned yesterday during a visit to Australia that the uprising against Bashar al-Assad has been hijacked by foreign Islamist mercenaries, with strong support from Western countries. Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix was forced to flee to neighbouring Lebanon in June when she was warned of a plot to abduct her, after she revealed that about 80,000 Christians had been “cleared” by rebel forces from their homes in Homs province. She described on the website of the Greek-Melkite Catholic monastery of St James, the church she rebuilt 18 years ago after discovering it in ruins, how Islamist rebels had gathered Christian and Alawi hostages in a building in Khalidiya in Homs. Then they blew it up with dynamite and attributed the act to the regular army. …. Slowly these groups became identified: some are recruited by and affiliated with al-Qa’ida, some have a Muslim Brotherhood background, some are attached to other Islamist factions. Only about one in 20 of these fighters is Syrian, she said. The rest come from places ranging from Britain to Pakistan, from Chechnya to North Africa. “Many have fought in Iraq, some also in Afghanistan,” Mother Agnes-Mariam said. “Now their cause is being recycled to kill Syrians.” The two million Christians in Syria – which contains the world’s first church – “are sharing Syria’s fate”, she said. “But as a minority, they are more vulnerable. They have no army. They are caught, like the filling in a sandwich.” Her own community of nuns at St James has been mostly trapped in the monastery for 18 months. In the beginning, she said, the uprising embraced values including freedom and democracy. “But it steadily became a violent Islamist expression against a liberal secular society.” She described “a hidden will to empty the Middle East of its Christian presence. We don’t know why. We have always been the peaceful catalyst bringing diverse communities together.” …

Then, b at MOA, put up this excellent post, citing the Col. as well…

An October Surprise That Leads To The Guns Of August

…I can think of some blowhart in Tel Aviv who would like to have Obama defeated and who might have the capabilities to order up some event, a certain “Syrian provocation” that kills many Turks but which’s origin would be rather mysterious, that would allow the Turkish pro-war lobby to achieve its “fait accompli”.

But, The pro-war lobby rallies in Turkey, as Bozkurt writes, a war over Syria would not be confined to Syria. It would have disastrous consequences. As the military Middle East expert Pat Lang remarked:

A “Guns of August’ scenario is quite possible in which Syria, Hizbullah Russia and Iran line up against NATO, Israel and the US. The catastrophic implications of such an evolution are obvious.

Any serious event on the Turkish Syrian border could now be an October surprise to unleash a Guns of August like situation. It is not something anyone in this world should wish for.

Now, I’ve frequently commented that we are indeed facing the same tinderbox that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s untimely demise had sparked…! So, I did find it rather ironic that Erdogan should happen to mention Srebrenica, today

…Erdogan said a system which allowed one or two nations to block intervention in such a grave humanitarian crisis was inherently unjust, and that Syria would go down in history as a U.N. failure much like Bosnia in the 1990s.

“How sad is that the United Nations is as helpless today as it was 20 years ago when it watched the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans, Bosnia and Srebrenica,” Erdogan told the Istanbul conference.

The July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica was the worst on European soil since World War Two, in which Dutch U.N. peacekeepers abandoned what had been designated a U.N. safe haven to advancing Bosnian Serb forces, who then killed 8,000 Muslim men and boys and bulldozed their corpses into pits.

Turkish officials had expressed hope they might be able to persuade Moscow, which sold Syria $1 billion of arms last year, to soften its opposition at the Security Council and that if it succeeded, China would follow suit…

Don’t ya’ll just love that wicked Web of Alliances we’d woven…? I mean seriously, isn’t it just as vile today…? But, I digress…!

Now, lest you were deceived by the monotonous intonation from all the Western PTB’s and Turkish officials, that it’s all kosher, Deustche Welle, exposed that fallacy…

Western spies get discreetly involved in Syria

…Reports of “discreet” action by Western intelligence agencies are not surprising, according to Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, head of the Peace Policy Research Institute.

“The US intelligence agency CIA has been active for months, mainly in Turkey,” he told DW. “The intelligence agencies that brought about the fall of the Gadhafi regime in Libya are now at work in Syria,” Schmidt-Eenboom added.

David Pollock, head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he shared that general view, but added that CIA activity there was very limited. American media reported that the CIA has limited itself to observing arms transfers and watching that religious extremists don’t get their hands on missiles and explosives. Arms are mainly being financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“The West supports moderate powers in Syria,” Schmidt-Eenboom said. “Qatar, on the other hand, supports fundamentalist groups.”

The US government has considered providing rebels in Syria with satellite images of Syrian troop movements and supporting them in creating an intelligence agency of their own.

However, it’s unclear whether a decision has been made on either of these possibilities. US President Barack Obama has ordered the CIA to give rebels logistical assistance, and the US has made public its support of $15 million for communications equipment.

The financial support from the United States is in no way tied to weapons,” Bollock said. “The money is intended exclusively for communications and medical equipment.

Riiight, and I have a bridge for sale, real cheap even…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

‘Syrian Rebel: Uprising Hijacked by Extremists’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

CBS’s Holly Williams filed this report today…

…In a new video, men crouching against a wall are about to be killed by an angry mob. Syrian opposition groups said the men who died were members of a family with links to the Assad regime.

The killers were rebels fighting in an increasingly chaotic conflict.

Human rights groups — as well as the rebels’ own leadership — condemned the deaths as summary executions.

However, in a sprawling refugee camp on the Syria-Turkey border, Syrian refugees defended the killings. Many of the men there are rebel fighters.

“If we had a state, we could have taken those men to court,” said Mohammad Hajhasan through a translator. “But we’re in the middle of a revolution, and they were war criminals.” {…}

We want a democracy in Syria,” Mohammad said. “But only if it’s within an Islamic state.

Others disagree. Jamil Saeb, who led protests in Syria in the early days, said he wants a Western-style democracy, and claimed the uprising is being hijacked by Islamic extremists.

“The West isn’t doing enough, and other countries like Saudi Arabia are pushing their Islamic agenda by giving the rebels financial support,” Saeb said.

The Syrian opposition is divided, and there are fears that if and when the Assad regime falls there’ll be continued violence between rival factions…

I really do have to hand it to Faux Spew to actually post the most honest headline I’ve seen today…

With diplomacy dead, US banks on Syrian rebel win

…With Syrian diplomacy all but dead, the Obama administration is shifting its focus on the civil war away from political transition and toward helping the rebels defeat the Syrian regime on the battlefield…

…It’s a scenario analysts see as unlikely, even as the opposition gains ground in Aleppo, Damascus and elsewhere, and as the cadre of high-level defections from Assad’s government grows. Prime Minister Riad Hijab and two other ministers became the latest to abandon Assad on Monday, rebels said.

The defections are “the latest indication that Assad has lost control of Syria and that the momentum is with the opposition forces and the Syrian people,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

“The regime is crumbling,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. {…}

…Ventrell said the goal of much of the recent diplomacy was to help the opposition come up with a post-Assad plan that would be as cohesive as possible…

…The approach is one that American officials liken to a “soft landing.” The goal would be to avoid the power vacuum of post-Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by salvaging as many elements of the state as possible, and avoiding new insurgencies from emerging.

“We want to get there in a way that’s a softer landing,” a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We don’t want to see the institutions just melt away.”

Btw, folks, lets remember the long standing fact that Oily Bomber, nor even Shrillary, at Foggy Bottom nor any other foreign locales, have not once sat in the same room, much less, talk to anybody even remotely related to the Assad regime…! Just like the failed single roll of the dice that Oily Bomber had gambled on with the Iranians…!

What seems to be the problem with even talking to our supposed Adversaries…? I do seem to recall a ‘hotline’ that we’d set up between the Kremlin and the White House, and was manned 24/7…! What ever happened to even that semblance of old-fashioned Diplomacy…?

Here’s some other analysis from the disaffected ‘populations’ I’d seen today…

Obama brings Erdogan in to bat..

Here’s an excellent synopsis of the ever enigmatic Kurdish Question…!

And, it should be noted that Pepe Escobar, once again, cuts to the quick…

Syria’s Pipelineistan war

This is a war of deals, not bullets

Deep beneath “Damascus volcano” and “the battle of Aleppo,” the tectonic plates of the global energy chessboard keep on rumbling. Beyond the tragedy and grief of civil war, Syria is also a Pipelineistan power play.

More than a year ago, a $10 billion Pipelineistan deal was clinched between Iran, Iraq and Syria for a natural gas pipeline to be built by 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field, traversing Iraq and Syria, with a possible extension to Lebanon. Key export target market: Europe.

During the past 12 months, with Syria plunged into civil war, there was no pipeline talk. Up until now. The European Union’s supreme paranoia is to become a hostage of Russia’s Gazprom. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversify Europe’s energy supplies away from Russia.

It gets more complicated. Turkey happens to be Gazprom’s second-largest customer. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia — and Iran. Turkey dreams of becoming the new China, configuring Anatolia as the ultimate Pipelineistan strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and gas to Europe.

Try to bypass Ankara in this game, and you’re in trouble. Until virtually yesterday, Ankara was advising Damascus to reform — and fast. Turkey did not want chaos in Syria. Now Turkey is feeding chaos in Syria…

Seriously, Wtf, over…? *gah*