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by CTuttle

More Evidence Points To The Syrian Rebels

3:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As U.S. Forces Prepare to Act on Syria as Chemicals Alleged. A lot of new developments have since arisen that points the finger squarely at the Syrian Rebels and not the Syrian Regime. First off, it is almost certain that military grade Chemical Weapons were not used, instead, it is likely that it was some combination of Toxic Industrial Chemicals! (PDF6pgs)

From the Huffington Post…

…Jean Pascal Zanders, an independent researcher who specializes in CBW and disarmament, said that in videos of the aftermath of the attacks, the hue of the victims’ faces appeared to show many suffered from asphyxiation. However, he said the symptoms they exhibited were not consistent with mustard gas or the nerve agents VX or sarin. Mustard gas would cause blistering of the skin and discoloration, while the nerve agents would produce severe convulsions in the victims and also affect the paramedics treating them, neither of which was evident from the videos or reports. “I’m deliberately not using the term chemical weapons here,” he said. “There’s plenty of other nasty stuff that was used in the past as a chemical warfare agent, so many industrial toxicants could be used too.”

Now, as I’ve noted before, prior to the new findings in those Rebel-held tunnels…

Syrian rebels’ Damascus chemical cache found by Syrian Army

The Syrian army has discovered a storehouse belonging to rebels in the Damascus area of Jobar, where toxic chemical substances – including chlorine – have been produced and kept, State TV reported.

Military sources reported that the militants “were preparing to fire mortars in the suburbs of the capital and were going to pack missiles with chemical warheads.”

A video shot by RT’s sister channel Russia Al Youm shows an old, partly ruined building which was set up as a laboratory. After entering the building, Syrian Army officers found scores of canisters and bags laid on the floor and tables. According to a warning sign on the bags, the “corrosive” substance was made in Saudi Arabia.

Now, while I suspect the Saudis, British MP Galloway thinks it’s the Israelis…

“If there’s been any use of nerve gas, it’s the rebels that used it…If there has been use of chemical weapons, it was Al Qaeda who used the chemical weapons,” claims Galloway in a video distributed on the internet.

“Who gave Al Qaeda the chemical weapons? Here’s my theory: Israel gave them the chemical weapons.”

Btw, whatever happened to the initial 1,300 dead that was(is) wildly hyped about in our MSM…?

Now, contrary to PM Cameron’s assertion that Assad refuses to allow the UN inspectors access…

Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the situation in Syria with President Obama and Prime Minister Harper.

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister and President Obama discussed the situation in Syria this afternoon.‬

They are both gravely concerned by the attack that took place in Damascus on Wednesday and the increasing signs that this was a significant chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime against its own people. The UN Security Council has called for immediate access for UN investigators on the ground in Damascus. The fact that President Assad has failed to co-operate with the UN suggests that the regime has something to hide.

They reiterated that significant use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community and both have tasked officials to examine all the options. They agreed that it is vital that the world upholds the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and deters further outrages. They agreed to keep in close contact on the issue.

The Prime Minister also spoke to Prime Minister Harper who agreed that the situation was extremely troubling and that the international community must respond appropriately.‬

Well, lah di da…

Syria will let UN inspectors probe chemical attack: FM

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says Damascus will provide the UN team with access to the site of the recent alleged chemical attack in the country.

In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Saturday, al-Muallem added that his respective country has cooperated with the UN team of chemical experts present in the country.

He added that Damascus is now holding talks with the UN inspectors on the access to the site of the alleged chemical attack.

Now, as Obama adds another Ballistic Missile Cruiser to the Eastern Mediterranean… Putin Responds To Syria Escalation: May “Reinforce Naval Grouping In Mediterranean” Following US Buildup

Speaking of Russia, Putin’s been keeping a very close eye on Syria, as As-safir reported that Russian satellites had tracked the origin of the attack to a rebel held area…

“The Russian said that the rockets, two of the manufacture of domestic and carrying chemicals, set off from the area controlled by «the banner of Islam», led by Zahran Alwash, the most prominent forces of the armed opposition in Gota.” [Google translate]

And, if there was any doubt about the Syrian Rebels possibly using chemical weapons…

Syria Rebels: We’ll Use Chemical Weapons, Too

Rebel forces say they will retaliate for regime’s chemical attack with all the means they possess, no compunctions.

Senior commanders in the rebel forces in Syria published a videotaped announcement Thursday in which they expressed their intent to respond to the chemical gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces last week, by hitting back with all the means at their disposal and no “red lines.”

The rebel commanders announced that thus far, their forces had refrained from taking over the Syrian regime’s chemical wapons stores, but they will no longer set any limitations on themselves in the fight against the Assad regime.

God Help the Syrians…! *gah*

by CTuttle

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

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, lah-di-da… From the LA Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: 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

Al-Nusra Runs Rampant In Syria

9:16 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

C’mon, folks…! Was there ever any doubt as to the Saudi/Qatari, Petrobuck-fueled, Wahabbist influence…?


Islamist Factions Imposing Saudi-Style Religious Codes on Residents…

…The police are charged with enforcing an extremely harsh interpretation of Sunni Islam, and while the rebels insist they are aimed at “fighting crime,” the locals say that mostly they are forcing people to pray and stopping women from driving cars.

Women are expressing serious concern about the trend, saying that they were on board for a “revolution for freedom” but the rebels are determined to take away social and individual freedoms they enjoyed under the Assad regime.

Secular rebel factions insisted that the entire story was “made up” by the regime to discredit the rebellion, but Islamist factions seemed to endorse the move, saying that a virtue-and-vice squad is “part-and-parcel of the freedom revolution” and that since Sunnis are a majority in Syria they have a right to impose such rules on society.

So, now get a load of this Hof Guff…

Syria’s Time Is Running Out

…”…the United States and others should immediately establish security assistance relationships with this new government, providing arms and training…Although the administration has so far resisted arming the opposition, arms are now the coin of the realm for anyone wishing to influence the course of Syria’s future. The United States and its allies — most notably Turkey — must dominate the logistics of external arms transfers, ensuring that weapons go to those advocating a non-sectarian, decent political system for Syria and are denied to those seeking a sectarian outcome…The negative reaction of the mainstream Syrian opposition to the U.S. designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization is understandable. ….. the timing of the designation was amateurishly lamentable — unnecessarily neutralizing the impact of U.S. recognition of the Syrian Opposition Council…”

Huh…?

Anyways, some real insight…

Civil war at stalemate, says Russia

…Syria’s civil war has reached stalemate and international efforts to persuade President Bashar Al Assad to quit will fail, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday.

Mainly Sunni Muslim rebels seeking to overthrow Assad are fighting on the edge of the capital Damascus and expanding southwards from their northern strongholds in Aleppo and Idlib into the central province of Hama. {…}

… But Lavrov said the Syrian president was not about to bow to pressure from opponents or more sympathetic leaders in Moscow and Beijing.

“Listen, no one is going to win this war,” he told reporters aboard a government plane en route to Moscow from the Russia-EU summit in Brussels. “Assad is not going anywhere, no matter what anyone says, be it China or Russia.”

Lavrov said Russia had rejected requests from countries in the region to pressure Assad to go or offer him safe haven, and warned that his exit might lead to an upsurge in fighting.

He also said Syrian authorities were gathering the country’s chemical weapons in one or two areas and that they were “under control” for the time being. “Currently the (Syrian) government is doing all it can to secure (chemical weapons), according to intelligence data we have and the West has,” he said. {…}

In Aleppo, rebel leader Colonel Abdel-Jabbar Al Oqaidi said his fighters considered the skies above Aleppo to be a no-fly zone and repeated a warning that they would attack planes using the city’s airport.

Snipers fired at an airliner preparing to take off from Aleppo on Thursday, forcing it to abandon its departure.

“The airport was being used as a military airport to transport troops and (Iranian) Revolutionary Guards,” Oqaidi told Reuters. “We forbid planes from flying in Syrian air space. We will set up a no-fly zone.”

What a D*ckhead, no…?

And, if there’s any doubters left amongst ya… An insight into Syria’s frontline…

Btw…

…According to Lavrov, American partners recognise that the major threat will be posed if chemical weapons fall into the hands of terrorists.

“We tell them – you do back the opposition, including its armed struggle. Thus, it may happen what you fear. We determine the priorities. No clear answer is available yet,” Lavrov said.

The minister stressed that Russia re-checked all rumours related to chemical weapons. “Till now, according to our data, which is correlated with the West, chemical weapons are under control. The Syrian authorities concentrated their arsenals in one or two centres. Earlier, all was strewn across the country.” “This is the important problem. Everyone should realise that ‘the hands’ should not provided aid that continues to be rendered,” the minister added.

According to Russian and American special services, the Syrian government does everything possible to safeguard chemical weapons, Lavrov pointed out.

Fancy that…! So we have purported Scud-Style missiles being lobbed, but, no real proof, and, we’re all supposed to Arm Cheer the USA FSA on…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Barrel Bombs, Bunker Busters And Scud Busters

7:42 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

You know what’s lost amongst all this mass hysteria over Assad’s Scuds and WMDs, is the rank hypocrisy of our own misguided bombings…! Does anybody realize the sheer depths of depravity we’d sunk to, in Fallujah, as one sordid example of our ‘Shock and Awe’ in Irak…? Truly… Why Remember Iraq?

Now, to add insult to injury… After Deadly Siege in Gaza, US to Restock Israeli Munitions

… The DoD notified Congress on Monday of the $647 million deal with Israel to restock the Israel Air Force (IAF) with munitions used in the over one thousand bombings conducted during the “Operation Pillar of Defense” on Gaza last month. Congress is expected to approve the deal this week.

The DoD said the deal includes roughly 7,000 Joint Attack Munitions kits, and 10,000 bombs of various kinds, mostly bunker-buster bombs, including 1,725 BLU-109 bunker-buster bombs, and 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs.

In addition to the large amount of civilian casualties, the assault on Gaza also destroyed roughly 8,000 buildings and roughly $1.2 billion in infrastructural damage, according to Palestinian officials.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials announced Wednesday that it will now withhold needed tax revenues from the Palestinian administration in the West Bank for at least four months in retaliation for the Palestinians’ bid for observer status at the UN this month. The December funds transfer was already withheld…

To be sure… Palestine calls for end to Israeli blockade of Gaza…

…The international community needs to take “action to remove the tremendous obstacles the occupying power is placing on the ground, ” with lives of more than 1.6 million Palestinians being affected, according to Mansour.

The Israeli government “regrettably continues to impose trade restrictions making the Palestinian economy dependent on the Israeli economy,” said the Palestinian ambassador.

At this time, according to him, Palestine is “unable to access the international marketplace, Palestinians are forced to trade with Israel, the occupying power, which makes the State of Palestine the number one importer of Israeli products.”

Consequently, “this high dependence deprives the Palestinian economy of more competitive sources of imports and markets for exports, and heightens its vulnerability to the Israeli business cycle,” said Mansour.

Mansour noted that the limited economic freedom has posed ” another immense impediment to achieving sustainable Palestinian economic growth” because Palestinian entrepreneurs have limited access to competitive international markets, especially for exporting agricultural goods.

According to the envoy, these circumstances have created a desperate need for “economic and humanitarian assistance by the international community” which is “crucial, but not enough.”

“If the international community truly aspires to witness the two-State solution materialize and observe a sustained economic growth trajectory and development for the Palestinian people, it must compel the occupying power to end all of its illegal measures and actions and finally terminate its military occupation,” said Mansour. “The international community must step up its responsibility and put pressure on Israel to abide by its legal obligations under international law, humanitarian law and human rights law.”

C’mon now, seriously…? 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs…? Wtf, over…?

Incidently… Israel special forces conducting cross-border operations in Syria…!

Moving on… US Providing Training to Syrian Rebels in Jordan…!

Apparently, the Syrian ‘doom and gloom’ is settling in all over, even in Moscow…

Syrian opposition victory possible, but at an absolutely unacceptable price – Moscow

…”One must look the facts in the face … the regime and government in Syria is losing control of more and more territory,” state-run RIA quoted the envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, as saying. “Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.” {…}

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov warned Thursday of emerging terrorist hotbeds that had been sprouting throughout Syria and the Sinai Peninsula.

“Al-Qaeda extremists constitute a large part of the armed opposition forces,” he said, adding Syrian militants could and actually had already been seizing arms stockpiles…

Seriously, Beware the Ides of March…!

…The propaganda preparation of the American people for another military adventure is now approaching a climax. US recognition of the rebel coalition sets the stage for legal intervention.

Shall we start a war “pool” as to the date? pl

*gah*