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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

Who Assassinated The 3 Women PKK Activists in Paris?

8:16 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Early today, three Kurdish activists; Fidan Dogan, Sakine Cansiz and Leyla Soeylemez, were found shot to death in Paris…

… Three Kurdish activists were shot dead in what authorities called an “execution” in central Paris, prompting speculation that the long-running conflict between insurgents from the minority group and Turkey was playing out on French shores.

The slayings came as Turkey was holding peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party, which seeks self-rule for Kurds in the country’s southeast, to try to persuade it to disarm.

The conflict between the group, known as the PKK, and the Turkish government has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference in Senegal on Thursday that his country was determined to press ahead with the talks despite the events in Paris, which he suggested could be the result of internal strife or an act to sabotage the talks.

The PKK does have a history of internal killings. But many Kurdish activists and militants were also victims of extra-judicial killings blamed on Turkish government forces in the 1990s.

Initial reports were contradictory but pointed to a grisly crime scene. One Kurdish organisation said the door of the building where the women were found just after midnight was smeared with blood, that two of the women were shot in the neck and one in the stomach and that the killer used a silencer. French radio reported that all three were shot in the head.

The killings set off a round of accusations, with each side accusing the other of being behind the deaths. Police tried to contain hundreds of Kurds who flocked to the building in eastern Paris where the bodies were found Thursday, many blaming Turkey and calling the deaths a “political assassination.”

Now, who really is the culprit…? From the Voice of Russia…

Who was behind PKK assassination in Paris?

…Recently the Turkish Government began peace talks with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is being held by the Turkish authorities on the prison island of Imrali located off the coast from Istanbul.

On Wednesday there were reports in the Turkish media that an agreement had been reached on a plan to end the conflict which has raged on since 1984 and has claimed over 40,000 lives.

There are many on all sides to the conflict that are against any kind of a peace settlement. These include Turkish elements who do not want to see the Kurds receive any kind of recognition or autonomy and among radical elements of the PKK itself who do not want to see any concessions made to Ankara and who believe that any kind of a peace plan will include giving up certain demands…

…It is important to recall that Turkey recently authorized military incursions into Iran, supposedly for operations where the Turkish Regular Army is in hot pursuit of PKK militants.

With military build ups by NATO and the US in the region and the constant search for a pretext to invade Iran and Syria, there are many of those actors who would also see any kind of peace as detrimental to planned provocations and optional scenarios which will allow for an invasion of either Iran or Syria.

According to Reuters Remzi Kartal, a Kurdistan National Congress leader, said: “This is a political crime, there is no doubt about it. Ocalan and the Turkish government have started a peace process, they want to engage in dialogue, but there are parties that are against resolving the Kurdish question and want to sabotage the peace process.”

Here’s a great question asked by Hurriyet’s Yusuf Kanli…

A Kurdish state?

Irrespective of who says what, the creation of a Kurdish state – unless established by Turkey – will lead to a regional fire, the consequences of which cannot be fathomed. The creation of a Kurdish state will pose a serious threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity sooner or later. Thus, like other countries with an ethnic Kurdish population, it is not in the best interest of Turkey to support Kurdish statehood aspirations. This being said, I must underline as well that history evolves without obtaining the consent of countries or leaders.

As David Hirst wrote for the headline in a Jan. 9 story in The Guardian, “This could be the birth of an independent Kurdish state.” Later, he wrote: “The great losers in the breakup of the Ottoman empire could be winners in the wake of Syria’s civil war and the Arab spring.” It was indeed a very interesting article which was built on an article written by the editor of Iraq’s al-Sabah newspaper suggesting that it was time to settle the “age-old problem” between Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds by establishing a “Kurdish state.”…

…Would Kurds then, depending on developments in Syria, emerge as the real victors of the “Arab Spring” and crown their victory with an independent state? Could the losers of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire now emerge as the winners in the wake of Syrian dissolution? Would Turkey prefer the emergence of an oil-rich neighbor dependent on Ankara as regards its security to the continuation of shaky and troublesome ties with al-Maliki’s Iraq?

Indeed, according to rumors abundant in the Turkish capital, Turkey has already provided assurances to Barzani that should northern Iraq come under the aggression of Baghdad, he may be rest assured that Turkey would be there to protect their “Kurdish brothers.” With Turkey’s initiative to solve its Kurdish problem sailing in very difficult waters (Three Kurdish women “shot dead” in Paris, one reportedly a founding member of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang, as well as the latest PKK attack on a military outpost in the southeast), it might be problematic to defend “Kurdish brothers,” but still…

Would Turkey really support the creation of an independent Kurdish state? Why should it if a huge portion of Turkey’s territory and people would aspire to join in that new state? Or, are the game-makers planning to enhance Turkey with the addition of the Ottoman Mosul province?

Here’s another excellent question…

Why Is Israel Watching the PKK?

No country in the world watches the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as closely as Israel. Its electronic eyes monitor terrorist camps around the clock; it listens to and records their communications. Israeli satellites are constantly overhead, and there are unidentified unmanned aerial vehicles that occasionally appear and disappear.

Israel has turned the PKK camps into reality TV shows. Not just for important exercises: Israel watches everything live, from their folk dances to the food they eat and of course their moves toward Turkey — not to mention the human intelligence coming from inside sources.

Why do you think Israel is so interested in the PKK? Why is this organization so important to Israel?

After Israel, the country that shows the second most interest in the PKK is the US. The capacity of the US to monitor the PKK is much higher than Israel, but these days their interest is not as intense. But whenever the Americans want, they can cut into PKK lines and watch who is doing what. Moreover, the US has weapons that could penetrate the PKK’s caves and destroy them, but they don’t want to give them to Turkey.

The Arab Spring brought more local actors to the Kurdish issue. A new, anti-Turkish bloc centered around Iran has emerged because of Ankara’s position on Syria. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon are founding members of this bloc. On a global level, their partners are Russia and China.

For several reasons, Iran finds it difficult to adopt a directly confrontational stance against Turkey. In indirect challenges, the cheapest method is to use terror. This is why Iran, Iraq and Syria have become a free zone for the PKK. The Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), as a part of the anti-Turkey bloc, is trying to put pressure on Ankara via Maliki and the PKK. Turkey’s moves with Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and Northern Iraq are a way of responding to the bloc…

Cui Bono…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Meet The MeK…

6:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I was disheartened to hear today that Madame Shrillary had decided to take the MeK off the State Terrorist List, but, I’m not surprised one iota…! As MoJo noted…

State Department Officially Removing MEK From US Terror List

After a few months of will-they-won’t-they tension, the US State Department decided on Friday to officially remove the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, which the Iranian exile group has been on for the past 15 years… {…}

…The Paris-based MEK—which enjoys a solidly low level of popular support among Iranians—is also called the The People’s Mujahideen of Iran, and was founded in Tehran in the mid-1960s as a synthesis of Islamic principle, left-wing populism, and violent resistance to the Shah. It has since been blasted by critics as a totalitarian, hero-worshipping cult with a history of engaging in indiscriminate mass murder (a particular sore spot is the allegation that MEK fighters acted as a death squad for Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Shiite and Kurdish uprisings in Iraq). Today, the group is reportedly on the frontlines of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, and has a long, bipartisan list of powerful friends in the US who pitch the group as the Western-friendly and pluralistic antidote to the Islamic republic.

The bizarro patchwork of high-profile advocates includes John Bolton, Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), at least two Romney campaign advisors, Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, and ex-FBI director Louis Freeh. Some of these top supporters received subpoenas from the Treasury department last March during an investigation of speaking fees for pro-MEK events—something that could potentially amount to providing material support to a designated terror organization…

As the CSM reported last year…

Iranian group’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: A roster of influential former US officials is speaking at rallies in support of removing the MEK, an Iranian opposition group with a violent anti-American history, from the US terrorist list. A decision is expected within weeks…

…Many of these former high-ranking US officials – who represent the full political spectrum – have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.

They rarely mention the MEK’s violent and anti-American past, and portray the group not as terrorists but as freedom fighters with “values just like us,” as democrats-in-waiting ready to serve as a vanguard of regime change in Iran. Some acknowledge that they knew little about the group before they were invited to speak and were coached by MEK supporters…

As Philip Giraldi had written earlier this year…

The MEK’s Useful Idiots

…One scholar who has studied them describes their beliefs as a “weird combination of Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.” Like many other terrorist groups, the MEK has a political wing that operates openly, the National Council of Resistance, which is based in Paris, and another front organization called Executive Action, which operates in Washington.

The U.S. military and the CIA have in the past recruited MEK agents to enter Iran and report on nuclear facilities. Other MEK agents, recruited and trained by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, have recently killed a number of Iranian nuclear scientists and officials. The group appears to have ample financial resources, and it is generally believed that at least some of the money comes from Mossad. The MEK is able to place full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers and is also known to pay hefty speaker’s fees to major political figures who are willing to speak publicly on its behalf. The group claims to want regime-change in Iran to restore democracy to the country, an odd assertion as it itself has no internal democracy.

Because the MEK is a resource being used by Israel in its clandestine war against Iran, it is perhaps inevitable that many friends of Israel in the United States are campaigning vigorously to have the group removed from the terrorism list. Indeed, neocons at their various think-tanks and publications as well as AIPAC all support delisting the group. At this moment, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, not surprisingly, appears to be inclined to give in to the pressure and delist the MEK once it completes its departure from Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where it has been based for the past 20 years. There might be some problem in arranging the move, as few countries want to take the MEK supporters, fearing that they would have to be deprogrammed from their brainwashing…

As NBC had reported shortly after the latest Iranian assassinations…

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI…

Now, one thing that I hadn’t seen mentioned in any of the reports today, was the MeK’s role in the infamous ‘Nuke Laptop’, something that I’d cited last year… IAEA Claims ‘New Info’ On Iranian Nukes

…German officials have identified the source of the laptop documents in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK), which along with its political arm, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organisation.

There are some indications, moreover, that the MEK obtained the documents not from an Iranian source but from Israel’s Mossad.

In its latest report on Iran, circulated Feb. 22, the IAEA, under strong pressure from the Bush administration, included descriptions of plans for a facility to produce “green salt”, technical specifications for high explosives testing and the schematic layout of a missile reentry vehicle that appears capable of holding a nuclear weapon. Iran has been asked to provide full explanations for these alleged activities.

Tehran has denounced the documents on which the charges are based as fabrications provided by the MEK, and has demanded copies of the documents to analyse, but the United States had refused to do so

And the US still hasn’t handed over the documents…!

In summing up, many in the Beltway can now rest easier knowing that they’re no longer providing material support to terrorists…!

Don’t ya’ll feel better too…? *gah*

by CTuttle

Israel or Iran, Cui Bono…?

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let me start off the discussion with something Trita Parsi had mentioned to Laura Rozen recently…

…The United States wants Iran to stop enrichment to 20 percent, to turn over its stockpile of low enriched uranium, and to halt plans to make Fordo operational. “But what can they and the Europeans” offer in return? asked Parsi, who is the author of a new book on U.S. diplomacy with Iran. A “mutual freeze on any mutual escalation” is one possible formulation, he said. But western powers are “asking Iran to give up things they already have.” It’s hard to imagine, he added, that the United States would be prepared to offer Iran a corresponding suspension of sanctions already in place–particularly while a presidential election is under way in the United States…

Iran Affair’s Cyrus Safdari expands on the fallacy…

…And it occurred to me that in reality no one in the US can offer anything that Iran would logically and presumably ask for. For example, on the question of removal of sanctions: Can Obama actually remove the sanctions? He has the legal authority to rescind some Executive Orders, of course, but that is only a small part of the web of sanctions imposed around Iran. He would have to go up against the US Congress, which as that Tom Friedman character recently said, is “bought and paid for” by Israel. So how would these sanctions be removed, exactly? How could the State Department actually get Adelson to stop funding think tanks that hire PhDs as advocates acting under a guise of scholarly objectivity to promote the idea that giving up on sanctions amounts to Chamberlain bowing to Hitler? How could Obama get editors to stop or start using keywords and phrases over and over again in their publications, “Nuclear Weapons Program”, “Terrorism”, etc.? How could he do any of this, even if he didn’t have to worry about getting re-elected, because after all he can’t do anything unless he’s re-elected… {snip}

…So, am I right? Assuming that Washington wants to resolve things with Iran peacefully and is willing to make the necessary compromises to do so, IS anyone in Washington really in a position to deliver on such promises and to implement such policies in the face of domestic opposition, where being ‘weak on Iran’ is blood in the water for the opposing campaign? To sell any sort of real change in Iran policy to the public, or at least those who pay for his election campaigning, the President would have to be willing to consume a great deal of political capital. Can he get the necessary laws passed, and other laws rescinding? How many votes in Congress would that require? How much fighting will be required for each vote? Its just not possible. No politician in the US can do this. Even assuming he could win some of the fights, it would consume far more resources than any politician can be willing to dedicate to a single cause…

MJ Rosenberg, in Al Jazeera, cited Jeffrey Goldberg a few times…

Assassination in Tehran: An act of war?

The murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran suggests that Israel and neoconservatives are pushing for war.

…Writing about a piece in the current edition of Foreign Affairs that endorses bombing Iran as a neat and cost-free way to address its nuclear programme, Goldberg explains why he thinks the author, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Matthew Kroenig, is wrong. Goldberg says he now believes:

…that advocates of an attack on Iran today would be exchanging a theoretical nightmare – an Iran with nukes – for an actual nightmare: A potentially out-of-control conventional war raging across the Middle East that could cost the lives of thousands Iranians, Israelis, Gulf Arabs and even American servicemen.

Think about that for a minute. Uber-hawk Jeffrey Goldberg is saying that the threat posed by Iran is a “theoretical nightmare” while a war ostensibly to neutralise that threat would present an “actual nightmare”.

{snip}

…Here is Jeff Goldberg again in a column subsequent to the one I already cited:

If I were a member of the Iranian regime (and I’m not), I would take this assassination program to mean that the West is entirely uninterested in any form of negotiation (not that I, the regime official, has ever been much interested in dialogue with the West) and that I should double-down and cross the nuclear threshold as fast as humanly possible. Once I do that, I’m North Korea, or Pakistan: An untouchable country.

In short, for those hell-bent on getting the US engaged in a war that even Jeff Goldberg views as a “nightmare” for both the US and Israel, this is a very good day indeed.

Congratulations. Or something like that.

Jim Lobe really hammers home the point…

Whoever Killed the Scientist Was Aiming at Much More

…My sense of the last week or so was that the mostly verbal confrontation between Iran and the U.S., particularly regarding the Strait of Hormuz, was spinning out of control much more rapidly than anyone had expected and that the possibility of a conflict had suddenly become very real in ways the Obama administration certainly never intended. (See Anne-Marie Slaughter’s CNN column, “Saving Face and Peace in the Gulf,” as an example of “this is getting really dangerous all of a sudden”. Until last fall, of course, she was Clinton’s director of policy planning and a very influential figure in the administration.) So there seemed to be a real effort to dial things back, expressed not only in repeated statements by senior administration officials, including Clinton, emphasizing Washington’s readiness to negotiate, but also, if the always well-informed Laura Rozen is to be believed, a lot of diplomatic — some of it, I’m sure, behind the scenes — manoeuvring to get the P5+1 process back into gear, with Turkey serving as the convenor/mediator.

Under these circumstances, the timing of today’s assassination was particularly remarkable. Among other things, it makes me believe that the U.S., which condemned the attack and categorically denied any role in it (See Clinton’s statement in her press conference with the Qatari Prime Minister here), was not in fact involved.* That leaves two obvious suspects: 1) Israel and 2) a faction within the Iranian regime. If there was indeed an Israeli hand behind it, the assassination was not just an effort to set back the Iran’s nuclear program and induce fear among other scientists working on it. I think it was also a provocation designed to 1) blow up prospects for progress in any p5+1 negotiations that might convene over the next month or so; 2) strengthen hard-line factions in Tehran that oppose negotiations; and 3) possibly provoke retaliation that will further escalate tensions, if not armed conflict. Of course, all three of these overlap and reinforce each other. If it was an internal Iranian faction, which, frankly, I find more difficult to believe, both 1) and 2) above also apply…

About the possible internal Iranian faction within the Iranian Regime, both Emptywheel and Jim White are pointing to JSOC ops, as opposed to CIA ops, and, even the possibility of Mossad posing as CIA agents…!

Alex Kane at Mondoweiss had this to add…The headline you aren’t seeing: Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war…

Foreign Policy has been abuzz with numerous posts…

Iran agreed to nuclear talks and an IAEA mission… And… Do Israelis really want to bomb Iran?

Now, as ex-CIA Middle East desk Chief, Philip Giraldi, updates his 2007 prognostication of What World War III May Look Like… He then paints a mighty bleak picture of What War With Iran Might Look Like…

God help us all…!

by CTuttle

Mossad Chief: Nuclear Iran not necessarily existential threat to Israel, IDF Chief: Nuclear Iran a threat to entire region, not just to Israel

7:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Honestly, I could not make this up, even if I’d tried…

Mossad chief: Nuclear Iran not necessarily existential threat to Israel

Tamir Pardo says Israel using various means to foil Iran’s nuclear program, but if Iran actually obtained nuclear weapons, it would not mean destruction of Israel.

Juxtaposed to this nonsense…

IDF Chief: Nuclear Iran a threat to entire region, not just to Israel

Benny Gantz says Israel, international community can meet challenge of nuclear Iran through ‘proper preparations.’

So which is it, Israel…?

Just to refresh one’s memory, earlier this month, the previous Mossad Chief made his opinion well known…

Former Mossad chief: Israeli attack on Iran must be stopped to avert catastrophe

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned Thursday against an Israeli attack on Iran, saying such a move would likely lead to a regional war involving Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria.

“I’m concerned about possible mistakes and I prefer to speak out before there is a catastrophe,” Dagan said in an interview on the Israeli television program “Uvda.”

“I think that engaging, with open eyes, in a regional war is warranted only when we are under attack or when the sword is already cutting against our live flesh. It is not an alternative that should be chosen lightly.”

Anyways, it’s always refreshing to hear sober minds speaking the truth…! Here’s Antiwar’s Scott Horton doing the yeoman’s work…

First, this excellent interview with Flynt Leverett…

Iran ‘Threatens’ Self-Defense

Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, as a response to sanctions that may eventually cut off Iran’s oil exports; why the US and Israel don’t really have a problem with Iranian nuclear weapons, just Iran’s refusal to submit to US regional hegemony; Israel’s “red line” on Iran’s uranium enrichment at Qom; why US foreign policy planners don’t learn from prior mistakes (because superpowers don’t have to); and why waging war with borrowed money is a sure sign of a declining empire.

Then his awesome interview with the intrepid Gareth Porter…

No, Iran Did Not Do 9/11

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses his article “Crackpot Anti-Islam Activists, ‘Serial Fabricators’ and the Tale of Iran and 9/11;” the US court judgement finding Iran liable for the 9/11 attacks in a civil lawsuit brought by victims’ families; the testimony of an Iranian defector, previously discredited as a “serial fabricator;” the alleged secret meeting between Iran’s leadership and OBL’s son, complete with miniaturized models of 9/11 targets and an ominously dangling toy missile; the anti-Islam groups peddling a grossly exaggerated, conspiratorial narrative in “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” style; and how Iran’s passport-stamping practices have become the basis of “material support” of al-Qaeda charges.

Btw, Benny Gantz being the misogynist beneficent chap that he is, further quipped…

“I would be happy if this phenomenon (Arab Spring) leads to democratic neighboring countries, but in case of negative developments there is room for concern,” he said. According to Gantz, poverty and economic hardship may strengthen radical and Islamists elements, “and that possibility seems more likely.”

Gantz also referred to segregation of women in the IDF, and said “there is no place for it.” Women “can take pride in their service and in their singing,” he said.

Charming lad, eh…?

Gotta love that religious fervor of the Haredi…!

Finally, it would appear that Iran has blinked…

Salehi: Iran ready to renew nuclear talks with world powers

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the Islamic Republic is prepared to renew talks with the p5+1 group of world powers over its controversial nuclear program, the Tehran Times reported on Friday.

Speaking with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun in Tehran, Salehi said that Iran was prepared to reenter negotiations with the group made up of the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany based on the “step by step” plan proposed by Moscow in July. The plan calls for a gradual easing of sanctions against Iran in exchange for the Islamic Republic disclosing details about its nuclear program.

Trita Parsi is right… Without renewed diplomacy, war with Iran lies around the corner…

Will saner minds finally prevail in the New Year…?

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to all…! *g*

by CTuttle

The Road to Tyranny And Real Men go to Tehran…

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. – George Washington

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

“The modern liberal state … often uses deception to gain its ends — not so much deception of the foreign enemy, but of its own citizens,who have been taught to trust their leaders.” – Howard Zinn

It should be noted that our recent rapid descent into Tyranny is truly predicated on our vast ‘foreign entanglements’ that George Washington famously warned us about…

…Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it 7 It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests…

Now, let’s put some modern names to those nations and/or undue foreign influences, he had so clamored about, namely: our misbegotten GWOT, AIPAC, Israel, and Iran…!

Let’s first look to the homefront… America the Battlefield: The End of the Rule of Law…

America’s so-called war on terror, which it has relentlessly pursued for the past ten years, has forever altered the political and legal landscape of our country. It has chipped away at our freedoms and is unraveling our Constitution. Even now, with Osama bin Laden having been killed and al-Qaeda dismantled by a series of high-profile assassinations, the war hawks continue to rattle their sabers. Yet while more and more Americans join the call for a de-escalation of military actions abroad, those clamoring for war have turned their focus inwards. As Senator Lindsay Graham recently remarked as an explanation for his support of legislation allowing for the indefinite detention of Americans, “Is the homeland the battlefield? You better believe it is the battlefield.”…

…Taken collectively, these provisions re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the rule of law — our U.S. Constitution, becomes the map by which we navigate life in the United States. In short, this defense bill not only decimates the due process of law and habeas corpus for anyone perceived to be an enemy of the United States, but it radically expands the definition of who may be considered the legitimate target of military action…

…Of all of the egregious actions of the United States government in the past decade, this may be the most outrageous. That our lawmakers, sworn to uphold the Constitution, would even consider voting on a provision that completely eviscerates the rule of law is appalling. Unfortunately, this is the state of our government, a government that has been allowed to run wild since 9/11.

As we ratchet down the wars abroad, we must call upon our leaders to shore up the rule of law and civil liberties at home. There is absolutely no excuse for the continued abuse of power that we as a nation have endured for so long.

As Col. Wilkerson notes in that clip above, DoD is responsible for about 2/3rds of our entire Intel Apparatchik, what he left out was the fact that DoD has already out-sourced much of that mission to Private Contractors, invariably, to the largest War Mongers/Arms Exporters/MultiNational Corporations, ad nauseum, in the World…!

How readily could the impetus shift from the pursuit of Al Qaeda and radical Muslims(here and abroad), to say, Palestinian activists, anti-war and international solidarity activists, and/or even OWS participants…?

As Kevin Gosztola noted back in August, Obummer has already laid out the basic framework…

Decoding the White House Strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism

…The White House has released its strategy for “countering violent extremism in the United States.” The strategy seeks to encourage the development and use of community approaches to addressing “all types of extremism that lead to violence, regardless of who inspires it.” It immediately makes clear that Muslim Americans have “categorically condemned terrorism” and have worked “with law enforcement to help prevent terrorists attacks” and even gone so far as to help with “programs to protect their sons and daughters from al Qaeda’s murderous ideology.”

Unequivocally made clear is the fact that the White House rejects a framework that specifically sets out a strategy, which focuses efforts and resources on Islamic extremism. It promotes the idea that all groups and individuals are susceptible to violent extremism and not all violent extremists are or have been Muslims. It concludes, “Any solution that focuses on a single, current form of violent extremism, without regard to other threats, will fail to secure” America and America’s communities. It finds government officials and the American public should not “stigmatize or blame communities because of the actions of a handful of individuals.”…

No Definition of “Extremism” or “Extremist”

The framework seems to be a reasonable and well-rounded approach to any current or future threat of violent extremism. However, the strategy does not define “extremism.” It doesn’t define what the White House considers to be an “extremist.” The strategy makes numerous statements that would essentially exclude certain individuals. It notes, “A particular ethnic, religious or national background does not necessarily equate to special knowledge of violent extremism.” It finds strong religious beliefs do not equal violent extremism. And, it makes clear “opposition to government policy is neither illegal nor unpatriotic and does not make someone a violent extremist.”

It may be encouraging that “extremism” or “extremist” is not defined. Defining extremism might portend curbs on individual’s free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and even rights to freedom of the press. However, “extremism” is relative. Not defining the terms gives just as much if not more leeway for law enforcement abuse…

So whom would the individual ‘communities’ label as potential ‘extremists’ and/or ‘terrorists’…? How ‘local’ would that actual decision be made to label someone, and/or any entity as ‘extremist’…?

Far and away, we need to be very wary of AIPAC’s insidious influence over our own elected Congress, and, it’s ungodly devotion to Israel’s every little obsession…! A true case in point…

AIPAC posterizes Obama in Senate, 100-0

If you want to understand the pressure that Obama is under from the Israel lobby, consider this greasy story: Last week three high Obama officials urged Senators not to pass an amendment to the huge Defense Authorization Act that would apply far stiffer sanctions to Iran’s central bank than the Obama administration wanted. Two of the officials went to the Hill, and said the amendment would send oil prices higher, among other damaging effects.

But the Senate rebuffed the administration and voted unanimously, 100-0, for the sanctions.

Why did the Senate put aside appeals from Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, under secretary of the Treasury David Cohen, and Wendy Sherman, #3 at the State Department, all saying that the bill would be bad for business and bad for the U.S.’s efforts to build a coalition on Iran? Why did John Kerry, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations, acknowledge Tim Geithner’s letter against the legislation, and then vote against his president?

…And AIPAC took its scalp: It promptly organized a campaign to thank the Senators for voting for the sanctions.

Then after the Senate version passed, Adam Kredo reported that Howard Berman in the House was going to “fall on his sword” for the Obama administration and “water down” the legislation in the House. Stop the presses– Berman then sent Kredo a long email saying I will do nothing of the sort. And why? Because Berman’s district is being redrawn, and he’s in competition with liberal Democrat Brad Sherman, who is even more supportive of sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.

Jeffrey Goldberg anchors the lobby relay team with this post calling for military strikes on Iran and saying Obama fails to understand the seriousness of the Iranian threat…

AIPAC famously can get 70 Senators’ signatures on a napkin inside of a day, as Goldberg himself reported. AIPAC got 76 Senate signatures on this letter to Obama rebuking his stance on Israel back in the spring of last year. There were 87 Senate signatures on this Senate letter of June 2010 telling Obama to back Israel’s murderous response to the flotilla. When Gerald Ford thought to “reassess” Israel policy, he got a letter with 71 Senate signatures.

This time AIPAC got 100 against Obama!

I’m truly aghast…!

To put Israel’s hasbara apparatchik into it’s proper perspective…

US college kids against Iran regime, but vague on details

…The survey of over 500 college students across the United States was conducted by a research firm in conjunction with December 10’s international Human Rights Day to gauge American undergraduates’ perception of human rights issues.

“The results clearly indicate that human rights are a priority for American young people and that they consider Iran to be a serious human rights violator, but they’re not informed about the specifics of those violations,” Iran 180 director of outreach Chris DeVito said. Iran 180 is a coalition of NGOs demanding Iran reverse its human rights practices.

According to the survey, 91 percent of college students think Iran either has problems with human rights or is one of the worst violators of human rights in the world, with 34% selecting Iran as the worst offender – more than any other country…

As a Baha’i, I’m well aware of Iran’s human rights issues, but, does that validate our need to bomb them into the stone age…? Note that there’s no mention of any sort of Mushroom Cloud…!

Anyways, besides our own stellar record on ‘human rights’, what about Israel’s treatment of their own women, much less, the plight of the Palestinians…?

Now, as those War drums beat ever louder, why are we ignoring the overt warnings…

Former Mossad chief: Israeli attack on Iran must be stopped to avert catastrophe

Meir Dagan speaks out against military offensive on Iran, expresses concern that Defense Minister Barak believes Israel only has less than a year to carry out an attack.

Dagan even went so far as to say it would be ‘disastrous’ and was the ‘stupidest idea’ he’s ever heard…!

Israel, America and Britain Soon to Launch WW3 ?

Will sanity ever prevail…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Wikileaks: Hamas Needs to be ‘Strong Enough to Enforce a Ceasefire’, Settlers Will Leave if Price is Right, And, Bahrain Has ‘Friendly Ties’ With Mossad

7:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Personally, I think Assange should just release the ‘key’ for the BoA files already…

Now, from today’s Forward…Julian Assange: New Revelations Will Rock Israel…

After keeping a relatively low profile in recent months, Julian Assange has re-emerged with a lengthy interview in this weekend’s edition of Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. Speaking from the English estate where he’s under house arrest, the Wikileaks founder denied recent accusations of anti-Semitism, and promised more embarrassing revelations on his controversial Web site — which this time will focus on Israel.

As the the Guardian reported…

Latest WikiLeaks cables reveal Israel’s fears and alliances

Julian Assange hands over tranche of secret files to newspapers in Israel on its co-operation with US and view of neighbours

…The revelations come in a tranche of the most militarily sensitive cables from the US embassy in Tel Aviv. They have been handed over to Israeli newspapers by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Hebrew-language paper Yediot this week announced a deal under which it will print an interview with Assange, who has recently had to defend WikiLeaks from accusations of antisemitism.

The cables show intimate co-operation between US and Israeli intelligence organisations. Israel’s preoccupation with Iranian nuclear ambitions is well known and the US cables detail the battering on the subject that diplomats repeatedly receive from Tel Aviv.

They also shed detailed and sometimes unexpected light on Israel’s military analyses of its other enemies and friends in the region.

Now, diving into the weeds…

First in a ‘Scenesetter for the visit of Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg‘, dated from Nov. 12, 2009…

Israel – calm before the storm?
Gaza Dilemmas
————-

¶5. (S) Gaza poses its own set of dilemmas. The IDF general
responsible for Gaza and southern Israel, Major General Yoav
Galant, recently commented to us that Israel’s political
leadership has not yet made the necessary policy choices
among competing priorities: a short-term priority of wanting
Hamas to be strong enough to enforce the de facto ceasefire
and prevent the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel; a
medium-priority of preventing Hamas from consolidating its
hold on Gaza; and a longer-term priority of avoiding a return
of Israeli control of Gaza and full responsibility for the
well-being of Gaza’s civilian population.
Israel appears
determined to maintain its current policy of allowing only
humanitarian supplies and limited commercial goods into Gaza,
while sealing the borders into Israel. There are indications
of progress in the indirect negotiations with Hamas over the
release of Gilad Shalit in return for the release of hundreds
of Palestinian prisoners, many of them hardened
terrorists,but it is difficult to predict the timing of such
a deal. Shalit’s release would likely result in a more
lenient Israeli policy toward the Gaza crossings, but a large
prisoner exchange would be played by Hamas as a major
political achievement and thus further damage the standing of
Abu Mazen among Palestinians. [...]

Impasse with the Palestinians
—————————–

¶9. (C) Polls show that close to seventy percent of Israeli
Jews support a two-state solution, but a similar percentage
do not believe that a final status agreement can be reached
with the Palestinian leadership. Expressed another way,
Israelis of varying political views tell us that after Abu
Mazen spurned Ehud Olmert’s peace offer one year ago, it
became clearer than ever that there is too wide a gap between
the maximum offer any Israeli prime minister could make and
the minimum terms any Palestinian leader could accept and
survive.
Sixteen years after Oslo and the Declaration of
Principles, there is a widespread conviction here that
neither final status negotiations nor unilateral
disengagements have worked. While some on the left conclude
that the only hope is a U.S.-imposed settlement, a more
widely held narrative holds that the Oslo arrangements
collapsed in the violence of the Second Intifada after Arafat
rejected Barak’s offer at Camp David, while Sharon’s
unilateral disengagement from Gaza resulted in the Hamas
takeover and a rain of rockets on southern Israel. Netanyahu
effectively captured the public mood with his Bar Ilan
University speech last June, in which he expressed support
for a two-state solution, but only if the Plestinian
leadership would accept Israel as the ation-state of the
Jewish people and the Palestiian state would be
demilitarized (and subject toa number of other
security-related restrictions o its sovereignty that he did
not spell out in deail in the speech but which are well
known in Wahington). Palestinian PM Fayyad has recently
temed Netanyahu’s goal a “Mickey Mouse state” due to all the
limitations on Palestinian sovereignty that it would appear
to entail.

¶10. (S) Abu Mazen’s stated intent not to seek another term is
widely seen here as an effort to put pressure on Washington
to put pressure on Israel to meet Palestinian terms for
starting negotiations. Abu Mazen’s statements have likely
reinforced his image among Israelis as a decent man, and
certainly a different breed from Arafat, but a weak and
unreliable leader. Yet even some of the Israeli officials,
including Avigdor Lieberman and Sylvan Shalom, who have been
most skeptical about the prospects for a final status
agreement in the near term, are now expressing concern at the
lack of engagement with the PA and the prospects of the PA
collapsing. Advocates of a bottom-up approach are finally
realizing that without a political process, the security
cooperation and economic development approach will become
unsustainable. Netanyahu has told us that he considers Abu
Mazen to be his negotiating partner, and in his latest public
statements has stressed that he is not interested in
negotiations for their own sake, but rather seeks a
far-reaching agreement with the Palestinians, but it remains
unclear to us how far Netanyahu is prepared to go.
Netanyahu
is interested in taking steps to strengthen Abu Mazen, but he
will not agree to the total freeze on Israeli construction in
the West Bank and East Jerusalem that Abu Mazen insists is a
requirement for engaging with Netanyahu.

Israeli Choices
—————

¶11. (C) Former Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff
Shaul Mofaz generated a lot of media attention this week when
he announced a peace plan that calls for establishing a
Palestinian state with temporary borders on sixty percent of
the West Bank
, then entering final status negotiations.
Mofaz’ approach is similar to ideas that have been floated
quietly over the past few months by Defense Minister Barak
and President Peres, and Mofaz claims that both Barak and
Peres support his plan. Mofaz’ plan is in part an effort to
undermine the political position of his rival for Kadima
party leadership, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Livni, presumably drawing on her experience negotiating with
the Palestinians during the Olmert government, says she
opposes the idea of an interim solution, but instead supports
intensive final status negotiations, perhaps this time with
direct U.S. involvement. Livni and Mofaz both stress that
they are motivated by a sense of urgency and that time is not
on Israel’s side.

¶12. (C) Netanyahu still holds the political cards here,
however, and we see no scenarios in which Livni or Mofaz
become prime minister in the near future. As Mofaz told the
Ambassador earlier this week, Netanyahu may wait until the
Palestinian elections, if they are in fact held in January,
but the initiative is in his hands. If the Palestinians
continue to refuse to engage on terms that Netanyahu can
accept, it is possible that Netanyahu could turn his
attention to Syria. Media reports that Netanyahu asked
President Sarkozy to deliver a message to Asad may turn out
to be accurate, but as with the Palestinians, Netanyahu will
not resume talks with Syria where they left off under Olmert,
but will insist on negotiations without preconditions.

*heh* I did enjoy this little tract: “Palestinian PM Fayyad has recently termed Netanyahu’s goal a “Mickey Mouse state” due to all the limitations on Palestinian sovereignty that it would appear to entail.”

Ironically, in this 2007 cable, then Israeli Military Intel Chief Yadlin had said…

Summary. During a June 12 meeting with the
Ambassador, IDI Director MG Amos Yadlin said that Gaza was
“number four” on his list of threats
, preceded by Iran,
Syria, and Hizballah in that order. Yadlin said the IDI has
been predicting armed confrontation in Gaza between Hamas and
Fatah since Hamas won the January 2006 legislative council
elections. Yadlin felt that the Hamas military wing had
initiated the current escalation with the tacit consent of
external Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, adding that he did not
believe there had been a premeditated political-level
decision by Hamas to wipe out Fatah in Gaza. Yadlin
dismissed Fatah’s capabilities in Gaza, saying Hamas could
have taken over there any time it wanted for the past year,
but he agreed that Fatah remained strong in the West Bank.
Although not necessarily reflecting a GOI consensus view,
Yadlin said Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza
because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a hostile state.

He dismissed the significance of an Iranian role in a
Hamas-controlled Gaza “as long as they don’t have a port.”

Regarding predictions of war with Syria this summer, Yadlin
recalled the lead-up to the 1967 war, which he said was
provoked by the Soviet Ambassador in Israel. Both Israel and
Syria are in a state of high alert, so war could happen
easily even though neither side is seeking it. Yadlin
suggested that the Asad regime would probably not survive a
war, but added that Israel was no longer concerned with
maintaining that “evil” regime. On Lebanon, Yadlin felt that
the fighting in the Nahr Al-Barid camp was a positive
development for Israel since it had “embarrassed” Hizballah,
adding that IDI had information that the Fatah Al-Islam
terrorist group was planning to attack UNIFIL before it
blundered into its confrontation with the LAF. End Summary

Anyways, moving along…

Now, in another cable, which I’ve not been able to identify yet, has already sparked an immediate response…

From the Wapoo…

WikiLeaks: Jewish settler leader says some would be ready to leave West Bank for a price

…Publicly, Dani Dayan, leader of the Yesha settler council, has made forceful declarations that settlers will not leave their homes under any circumstances.

Palestinians seek the West Bank for part of a future state and want the 300,000 Jewish settlers there to leave as part of a peace deal with Israel.

Haaretz published the WikiLeaks finding from among 250,000 leaked U.S. State Department memos provided by the secret-spilling website. It said some 10,000 related to Israel.

In one of the documents, written by U.S. diplomats in Israel, Dayan is quoted as saying that some settlers will move in return for proper compensation.

“I’m an economist, and I know that some people will take it if the price is right,” he is quoted as saying.

The report also said that Dayan expressed embarrassment over settler violence and that he “understood” the Palestinian connection to West Bank lands.

Dayan played down the WikiLeaks comments attributed to him, saying they were taken out of context. He added that he thought very few settlers would agree to leave but that “the larger the bribe, the more settlers would agree to evacuate.”

I could support having our annual $3 Billion+ in US military aid to Israel diverted into ‘bribes’…

Moving along… Ha’aretz has just started their very own Wikileaks section…

Bahrain King boasted of intelligence ties with Israel

According to latest trove of documents revealed by WikiLeaks, the Bahraini King instructed that official statements stop referring to Israel as the ‘Zionist entity’ or ‘enemy.’

The Bahraini King bragged about intelligence contacts with Israel, and instructed that official statements stop referring to Israel as the “Zionist entity,” according to the latest trove of documents revealed by WikiLeaks.

On February 15, 2005, U.S. ambassador to Bahrain William Monroe met with the leader of the small kingdom, Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa – the same king whose position is now threatened by popular protests.

After that meeting, Monroe wrote to Washington that “He [the king] revealed that Bahrain already has contacts with Israel at the intelligence/security level (ie with Mossad) and indicated that Bahrain will be willing to move forward in other areas.”

In summation, I think Ha’aretz best summed up the Israeli handling of Hamas and/or Gaza…

Israel has no clear or consistent policy on Gaza Strip or Hamas…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Obama Fiddles, Bibi Bombs, and, Libya Kicks SAS’ Buttocks

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As the BBC reported today…

Libya unrest: UK diplomatic team released by rebels

A British diplomatic team, including six soldiers believed to be SAS, have been freed two days after being detained in eastern Libya.

…it is thought the special forces soldiers were with a diplomat who was making contact with opposition leaders.

Witnesses said the men were detained by rebels after arriving near Benghazi in a helicopter early on Friday morning.

They were held after going to an agricultural compound when Libyan security guards found they were carrying arms, ammunition, explosives, maps and passports from at least four different nationalities, witnesses told the BBC.

The witnesses said the men had denied they were carrying weapons.

Most ‘Embarrassing’ indeed, Mr Foreign Secretary Hague…!

In other Libyan developments today… Egypt Quietly Invades Libya

The rebellion against the Kadaffi dictatorship in Libya has not produced any official outside help, but Egypt has apparently sent some of its commandos in to help out the largely amateur rebel force. Wearing civilian clothes, the hundred or so Egyptian commandos are officially not there, but are providing crucial skills and experience to help the rebels cope with the largely irregular, and mercenary, force still controlled by the Kadaffi clan. There are also some commandos from Britain (SAS) and American (Special Forces) operators are also believed wandering around, mainly to escort diplomats or perform reconnaissance (and find out who is in charge among the rebels).

The Egyptian commandos come from Unit 777, a force that was established in the late 1970s, but underwent some ups and downs in the next two decades before achieving its current form. Today, the 250-300 -man Unit 777 is a significantly improved force. They fall under the command of the Army Commando Command, both of whom are based in Cairo. Unit 777 trains with the help of the German GSG-9, French GIGN, and American Delta Force commandos. All Unit 777 members are qualified in static-line (low altitude) airborne operations, and possibly with HALO (high altitude jumps) as well. The primary operations of Unit 777 involve the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic radical groups. There have been rumors that Unit 777 has conducted cross-border operations, although this cannot be confirmed. If not, this foray into Libya would be the first one. The foreign commandos who have worked with Unit 777 all agree that the Egyptians have become quite competent, especially when it comes to counter-terror operations.

Of course, you know Mossad must be busy these days in Libya…!

Today’s Jpost had this lovely report of past collusion…!

Islamic Jihad: Gaddafi, Mossad teamed up to kill Shikaki

The Islamic Jihad on Sunday accused Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi of collaborating with the Mossad in 1995 to help eliminate the group’s founder and leader, Dr. Fathi Shikaki, in Malta.

Arab news source Quds Press quoted an Islamic Jihad official as saying that Shikaki’s visit to Malta was top-secret and one of the only people who knew about it was Gaddafi.

A Fistful of Euros is a great source on more NATO/EU actions…

Now, I guess one should categorize this as a bit of ‘Sunday Humor’…

Gaddafi seeks UN probe into unrest in Libya

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has said that the United Nations (UN) or the African Union should probe into the unrest rocking Libya, and promised investigators free access.

Gaddafi, who made his first such demand since the outbreak of violent protests in Libya, has also warned that the unrest would spell disaster for Europe, news.com.au reports.

“First of all I would like that an investigatory commission of the United Nations or the African Union comes here to Libya. We will let this panel work unhampered,” the Libyan leader said.

Warning that the protests would have serious repercussions for Europe, Gaddafi said: “Thousands of people from Libya will invade Europe, and there will be no-one to stop them.”

Gaddafi has a point on that last little bit…!

Moving along to Bibi’s latest BS…

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza

Israeli warplanes targeted three areas in the central and northern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, causing damage but no injuries.

Witnesses said their homes shook when F16 fighter jets dropped missiles on an open area near a mosque in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. They said some homes and shops near the mosque sustained material damage, but there were no injuries.

South of Gaza City, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at an under construction belonging to the Islamic University.

In the central Gaza Strip, planes fired an open space near the Zawayda Sports Club.

The Israeli military said the strikes targeted “a terror tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip and two terror activity sites in the central Gaza Strip,” in a statement.

The army said “direct hits” were confirmed and that the “terror tunnel” was used by fighters to infiltrate Israel.

The raids were in response to Palestinian projectile fire aimed toward Israel on Saturday, the statement added.

A military spokeswoman said a projectile was fired into the Negev desert in southern Israel on Saturday, causing no damage or injuries.

The raids did not inflict any human casualties this time, but in February alone they’d killed seven and wounded 46 others, including children…

In other news, I think the title says it all…

Obama steers clear of ‘doctrine’ as Arab tumult rages

As a wildfire of revolt whips through the Middle East and North Africa, the White House is embracing pragmatism and shying away from embroidering a grand “Obama doctrine” for a region in turmoil.

For a politician as fond of the grand gesture as President Barack Obama, the idea of an eponymous school of foreign policy thought might seem tempting. [...]

But analysts and officials say that while Obama has laid out general principles to deal with the “Arab spring,” he is eschewing a rigid US philosophy for a region in tumult.

His actions towards each turmoil-wracked nation are different and do not adhere to a laid-down system of rules.

The closest we have to a policy is to allow the different revolutions to take place at their own pace, based on the timing of the people involved and intervening only through general statements of support,” said Julian Zelizer of Princeton University.

Other than that I don’t think there is any consistent principle.

Asked for his Middle East “doctrine,” Obama replied on Thursday: “number one, no violence against citizens; number two, that we stand for freedom and democracy.” [...]

“One of the extraordinary successes of Egypt was the full ownership that the Egyptian people felt for that transformation,” Obama said.

“We did not see anti-American sentiment arising out of that movement in Egypt precisely because they felt that we hadn’t tried to engineer or impose a particular outcome.”

The administration has often seemed to be making policy on the hoof during the Arab revolts, a factor reflected in its difficulty in framing a consistent message.

Number one, no violence against citizens…” I’m sure the Afghani/Pakistani/Yemeni citizens appreciate that sentiment, Mr. POTUS…!

I’ve got a way for O’bummer to resolve his inconsistent Foreign Policy dilemma, he could return his Nobel Peace Prize to Oslo…!

I know it’d clear my conscience a tad…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Pick A Conspiracy Theory, Any Conspiracy Theory

8:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Noam Chomsky…

…"They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran," according to Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London. "US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours," he said. "The firepower of US forces has quadrupled since 2003," accelerating under Obama. [...]

Obama’s rhetorical commitment to non-proliferation has received much praise, even a Nobel peace prize. One practical step in this direction is establishment of NWFZs. Another is to withdraw support for the nuclear programs of the three non-signers of the NPT. As often, rhetoric and actions are hardly aligned, in fact are in direct contradiction in this case, facts that pass with as little attention as most of what has just been briefly reviewed.

Instead of taking practical steps towards reducing the truly dire threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, the U.S. is taking major steps towards reinforcing U.S. control of the vital Middle East oil-producing regions, by violence if other means do not suffice. That is understandable and even reasonable, under prevailing imperial doctrine, however grim the consequences, yet another illustration of "the savage injustice of the Europeans" that Adam Smith deplored in 1776, with the command center since shifted to their imperial settlement across the seas.

Pat Lang…

…The Ziocons are going after him with big money and a media blitz while the MSM types like Joe Scarborough and the lovely Mika look on wondering how far to go in submitting and how quickly.

Why is this new outfit not a candidate for registration under FARA? It advocates partucular American foreign policy positions on behalf of foreign country and seeks to directly pressure legislators to adopt positions favorable to that foreign power. Ah, I know the answer… The Ziocons have the muscle in the Obama Administration to block that at Justice. In any event the Justice Department is too busy suing Arizona to focus on that. [...]

The level of fury and angst in "defense" of Israel is rising steadily in the media. The clock is ticking. In November 2002 I told an audience in Lexington, Virginia that the train had already left the station headed for Iraq. This train is waiting for the conductor to board the passengers.

Joshua Pollack…

On Bombing the Bomb

…Call it the “Say it with JDAMs“ school of nonproliferation diplomacy. Unfortunately, it overlooks a couple of the key puzzle pieces needed to understand the situation.

**

First and most importantly, you can bomb an enrichment facility, but you can’t bomb an enrichment program. (Or not one as well-developed as Iran’s.) It’s not like a reactor, with billions of dollars’ worth of hard-to-replace capital piled up in one spot over the course of several years. Instead, it’s thousands of interchangeable pieces that can be brought together and operated more or less anywhere.

The UK Telegraph: Israel launches covert war against Iran…

[Edited for length - must stay within fair use and copyright guidelines according to rules for Seminal diaries.]

It is using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt the regime’s illicit weapons project, the experts say.

The most dramatic element of the "decapitation" programme is the planned assassination of top figures involved in Iran’s atomic operations. [...]

The aim is to slow down or interrupt Iran’s research programme, without the gamble of a direct confrontation that could lead to a wider war.

Gareth Porter…

Heinonen Pushed Dubious Iran Nuclear Weapons Intel

Olli Heinonen, the Finnish nuclear engineer who resigned Thursday after five years as deputy director for safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was the driving force in turning that agency into a mechanism to support U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran.

Heinonen was instrumental in making a collection of intelligence documents showing a purported Iranian nuclear weapons research programme the central focus of the IAEA’s work on Iran. The result was to shift opinion among Western publics to the view that Iran had been pursuing a covert nuclear weapons programme.

But his embrace of the intelligence documents provoked a fierce political struggle within the Secretariat of the IAEA, because other officials believed the documents were fraudulent.

Just imagine the possibilities…!