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by CTuttle

Pouring Gas On The Syrian Inferno

5:09 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From this past Sunday’s Bobblehead shows…

Lawmakers say Syrian chemical weapons could menace U.S.

…Lawmakers sought to remind viewers on Sunday news programs of Obama’s declaration while discouraging a U.S. foothold on the ground there.

“The president has laid down the line, and it can’t be a dotted line. It can’t be anything other than a red line,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican. “And more than just Syria, Iran is paying attention to this. North Korea is paying attention to this.” Added Sen. Saxby Chambliss, also a Republican: “For America to sit on the sidelines and do nothing is a huge mistake.”

…But Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, said Sunday the United States needs to consider those weapons. She said that when Assad leaves power, his opponents could have access to those weapons or they could fall into the hands of U.S. enemies.

“The day after Assad is the day that these chemical weapons could be at risk… [and] we could be in bigger, even bigger trouble,” she said…

…”The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground on Syria. That would turn the people against us,” said McCain, the Republican who lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama.

His friend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, also said the United States could safeguard the weapons without a ground force. But he cautioned the weapons must be protected for fear that Americans could be targeted. Raising the specter of the lethal bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Graham said the next attack on U.S. soil could employ weapons that were once part of Assad’s arsenal.

“Chemical weapons — enough to kill millions of people — are going to be compromised and fall into the wrong hands, and the next bomb that goes off in America may not have nails and glass in it,” he said…

US lacks evidence in accusing Syria of using chemical weapons

…The United Nations and the Secretary General have been notified about alleged chemical weapons use in Syria by American politicians. In response, a spokesman for the UN chief warned that “the United Nations is not in a position to comment on assessments based on national intelligence information.

But a team of UN advisers “have been in contact with the US authorities on the latest developments,” the spokesperson for the Secretary-General said in a statement.

The statement added that a “technical expert team to conduct a fact-finding mission” has been put together and is on standby, ready to begin work in “24-48 hours.”

So far the expert team is still awaiting its marching orders, after UN chief Ban Ki-moon promised the probe in late March, following an official request by the Syrian authorities to appoint an independent mission to investigate the alleged chemical attack that claimed lives of at least 25 people on March 19.

Although following the Syrian plea, the United Nations said the team would not include experts from Russia and China to ensure it wasn’t biased. Russian EU envoy Vitaly Churkin criticized “this kind of logic” saying in that case he “would recommend excluding all NATO countries too.”

Following this development, in early April, Syria refused to let the UN proposed team enter Syria as it – contrary to the Syrian request – was planning to deploy “throughout Syrian territory” and not at particular locations of alleged attacks. “Syria cannot accept such manoeuvres on the part of the UN secretariat general, bearing in mind the negative role that it played in Iraq and which cleared the way for the American invasion,” a Syrian foreign ministry official explained at the time.

The official stressed that Syria had specifically asked for “a neutral and honest technical team to visit the village of Khan al-Assal” in the province of Aleppo…

Opinion divided on investigation in Syria over chemical weapons

…Speculation on chemical weapons in Syria has flared up. The White House has stated that the government troops may have used them against the rebels. The international community is divided on whether to send an investigation panel to the country.
Amateur videos have sprung up online, showing various victims of chemical gas. This come after Washington’s accusation that Damascus has used chemical weapons.
One video shows people left unconscious and others reporting aches and dizziness after what they say was a Syrian government air raid in Aleppo on April the 13th.
And a picture purportedly showed a flock of sheep killed by chemical weapons.

…The Syrian government has denied accusations from western countries. It compares the US accusation to claims about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction to justify its 2003 invasion.
In the meantime, fears are growing in both government troops and rebel groups. Some are calling for a UN investigation, while others doubt UN neutrality.
Yahya Sulaiman, a retired soldier, said, “The UN is under control of the western countries. We don’t think it represents the justice. If the UN investigation doesn’t make clear the investigation period, their access to Syria may also bring foreign spies, who’s true purpose is to inspect Syrian military facilities.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says the investigation panel is ready to get access to Syria at any time. US President Barack Obama has expressed support for a UN mission.
Russia has warned not to use the allegations as an excuse for foreign military intervention. The final decision is still up in the air.

All Syria options ‘fraught with risk for US’

As the UK’s former Ambassador to Syria wrote recently…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Reading The Tea Leaves…

6:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

… As we write,

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

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

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

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

From the NY Fed in ’06…

Recycling Petrodollars

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

Some more PetroDollar background…!

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

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

Moving along to Syria…

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

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

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

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

*gah*

by CTuttle

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

Syrian Hysteria – Déjà Vu All Over Again?

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Then He smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

-Little Drummer Boy

This is just getting outright ridiculous, folks…!

Intel chair warns U.S. must act if Syria moves to use chemical weapon

…The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday warned the Obama administration it must act more urgently to prevent Syria’s government from using chemical weapons.

Rep. Mike Rogers told attendees at the IISS Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrian that the United States has a moral obligation to act immediately if there is concrete proof chemical weapons are loaded and being readied for launch.

Recent U.S. intelligence suggests the Syrian government has started mixing chemical weapons compounds and loading them into bombs, though the bombs are not being moved to any delivery devices, CNN’s Barbara Starr reported.

Visibly frustrated, Rogers argued the United States and the international community were way behind in acting to prevent use of chemical weapons, saying there was a robust debate in Washington on what constitutes a red line for military action – before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad moves to use weapons or after the weapons are launched…

Some more…

…About 400 U.S. and Dutch NATO troops were massed on Turkey’s Syrian border amid fears besieged President Bashar Assad was poised to use chemical weapons.

The soldiers were readying Patriot missiles three days after NATO agreed to deploy the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system in Turkey. Ankara had requested the installations as a defense against a Syrian missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons.

“Nobody knows what such a regime is capable of and that is why we are acting protectively here,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said of NATO’s move.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday the latest intelligence reports heightened fears Assad would use chemical weapons on the rebels trying to oust him.

“The intelligence that we have raises serious concerns that this is being considered,” he said…

…Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad told pro-Assad Lebanese satellite TV station al-Manar, affiliated with the Shiite militant group Hezbollah: “Syria stresses again, for the 10th, the 100th time, that if we had such [chemical] weapons, they would not be used against its people. We would not commit suicide.”

Miqdad accused the United States and pro-opposition European countries of “conspiring” to create the impression the Assad regime would use chemical weapons to justify an intervention…

Now, to be sure folks, it’s not just my starry-eyed, naïveté…

Has Obama decided on war in Syria?

1 – The same two propagandists from WINEP and ISW are quoted as the main sources of this article as in so many other propaganda pieces on this theme and subject. These two fellows have no sources of information that they will admit to other than rebel “news” releases. The level of enthusiasm for this information campaign is so high in the idiot media that these two “experts’” opinions are now quoted as evidence.

2 – Both the president of the United States and the Secretary of State have taken to making speeches threatening Syria with unspecified “consequences” if chemical weapons are employed in the civil war. Syria states that it will not do so.

3- It seems that the United States will soon recognize a coalition of rebel groups as the government of Syria in spite of the presence in that coalition of AQ related groups who are self-declared enemies of the United States.

4- It is the policy of the United States to bring about complete governmental change in Syria. There is no UN sanction for such a policy.

It appears that the Obama Administration has taken upon itself the right to determine the outcome of the civil war in Syria. The ongoing and emerging disaster in Egypt is evidently not a deterrant to “king making” in Syria. pl

Col. Lang’s initial post then sparked this guest post at SST…

HARPER: SYRIA IS DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN

…Both the German BND and the Russian government have issued strong statements in the past 24 hours, indicating that they have carefully looked into the chemical weapons claims and find absolutely no evidence to confirm them.

The propaganda campaign is a carbon copy of the now totally discredited “weapons of mass destruction” claims that were used in 2002-2003 to justify the U.S. led invasion of Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein government. In the words of the immortal American philosopher and linguist Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Not only is the U.S. and NATO showing reckless disregard for the consequences of that Iraq fiasco. There is an even more stubborn refusal to learn some of the most painful lessons of the more recent regime change adventure in Libya. The overthrow and execution of Qaddafi has turned Libya into a hotbed of al-Qaeda insurgency…

…I have no doubt that this Syria fiasco is headed towards a rapid conclusion. The depth of wartime propaganda centered on the chemical weapons scare indicates that the Western powers are committed to bringing down the Assad government as rapidly as possible…

This is all going to end very badly. Harper

Now, b of MOA, responded to Harper’s post at SST, in the comments, and even wrote his own post…

German Paper: U.S. Pressing For NATO War On Syria

…It seems like the U.S. and its tool Rassmussen want, like in Libya, contract NATO for their dirty fights. Judging from user comments in German online media there is, despite an avalanche of anti-Syrian propaganda, a strong opposition against any intervention in Syria. Should Westerwelle (or chancellor Merkel) support a NATO mission their advantage in next years federal elections would be at risk. I therefore expect that the German government will continue to reject any NATO intervention in Syria as well as in Iran. Today’s report on how the U.S. failed to control the weapon flow from Qatar to Libya will only bolster their arguments.

Here is that ‘German report,’ which b roughly translated… Exclusive: NATO Chief Urges Readiness For Military Intervention In Syria…!

Meanwhile, the drumbeats grow ever louder… Unleashing chemical weapons: Syrian risks include deliberate attack, loss of control to rebels…!

Pa rum pum pum pum…! *gah*

by CTuttle

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

8:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheesh, with friends like that…!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving along to Syria and Iran…

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, the Syrian WMD hysteria still runs amok…!

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

*heh* Ain’t Kharma a B*tch…? *g*

by CTuttle

A Fact Check on our Failed Foreign Policy

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Why is it that most of our Western MSM aren’t teeing off on that Grey Lady bombshell by David Sanger…? Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria, I mean seriously…?

Is it because we’re using the very same, Libyan template, or more specifically, what we really were doing in Benghazi…?

To start off, please read our official ‘Fact Sheet’ that Foggy Bottom touts…U.S. Government Assistance to Libya… Do take note of this…[Editor's Note: Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died from injuries he sustained in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. Secretary Clinton's Remarks; Statement] And, why is it that when you search the DoS website to locate the Benghazi ‘diplomatic mission’, you won’t find it…?

Could it be that it never existed until ‘Ambassador’, err.. ‘Envoy’ Stevens first stepped ashore, of a freighter ship… U.S. envoy Chris Stevens arrives in Libya to help opposition fighters…

Chris Stevens, a former U.S. Embassy official in Tripoli and the highest-ranking U.S. representative to travel to Libya since the uprising began, will explore ways to open the funding spigots for an opposition movement that is desperately short of cash and supplies, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.

“We’re well aware that there’s an urgency,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “The Transitional National Council does need funding if it’s to survive, and we’re looking for ways to assist them.”

But Stevens, who was expected to remain in Benghazi for several days, brought no fresh promises of political or military support from Washington, which has declined so far to either arm the rebels or grant symbolically important diplomatic recognition. Italy joined France and Qatar on Monday as the first states to formally recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya, with Kuwait and several other countries considering similar moves.

From Wiki on Benghazi…

…On 15 February 2011,[13] an uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi occurred in the city.[14] On 21 February, the city was taken by Gaddafi opponents, who founded the National Transitional Council days later.[15] On the 19th of March it was the site of the turning point of the 2011 Libyan civil war, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by locals resistance and intervention from French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue…

Now, if I haven’t been clear enough… Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts Benghazi was the Salafist heart and soul of the NTC, and, it was NATO bombs(and Israeli) that toppled Gaddafi…!

Btw, as Libya’s National Congress just ‘elected’ it’s third Prime Minister, in nine months, another Nato stoolie…!

Anyways, so how’s that Democracy working…?

Ali Zidan elected Libya’s new prime minister

…Local observers see him as a liberal with a strong personality, says the BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli.

He served the former transitional government as its Europe envoy, and was seen as a key player in convincing the ex-French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to support the uprising against Colonel Gaddafi.

His election comes at a critical time, with security still not established across the country and western Libya seeing outbreaks of renewed violence, our correspondent adds…

Now, let’s truly follow the Money…

…In the years since the first post-9/11 invasion, “real” reasons have abounded regarding the various countries provided with “democracy” by the United States.

These reasons include vast oil reserves, oil pipelines,[1] opium fields, strategic positioning, no-bid contracts for the defense industry and military-industrial complex, and mineral deposits.

All of these suggestions are both completely valid and accurate.

Yet, as mentioned above, there is rarely only one reason for such an undertaking of military force.

However, there is one reason for military intervention that is rarely discussed, even in the alternative media, in this context – the goal of total domination by the private central banking system. {…}

Libya

Yet, if developing an Iraqi central bank before the bombs finished dropping seems a bit premature, consider the case of Libya and the NATO-backed Libyan terrorists who announced the creation of a new central bank of Libya before foreign forces ever became involved.

Libya, of course, is an example of a much more successful model of government-run central banking. Regardless of Ghaddaffi’s individual and personal crimes or his iron-fisted nature, it cannot be denied that the living standards of the Libyan people were far above that of any nation in Africa.

Even the regime’s penchant for cruelty seems to have shown signs of fading in recent years. After all, even as the assault on Libya began taking form, the UN Human Rights Council was set to praise Ghadaffi on the improvement made to the legal protections afforded its citizens such as “bettering its ‘constitutional’ framework” and “making human rights a ‘priority.’”

Left to its own devices the Libyan regime had managed to take a country mainly made up of desert and warring tribal factions and form a cohesive nation-state which afforded its people with comforts not seen inside the borders of “world leaders” like the United States and Britain. {…}

…Prior to the success of the “peaceful Libyan protesters” (some proved to be al-Qaeda extremists) with the help of the United States, France, and the rest of NATO, Libya created its own money, the Dinar, through its central bank. Unlike “free” nations such as the United States, which has farmed out its Constitutional responsibility to private banks, the Libyan issuance of currency was an entirely government-based affair.

In addition, according to Patrick Henningsen of Market Oracle on March 28, 2011, “Libya also holds more bullion as a proportion of gross domestic product than any country except Lebanon, according to the London-based World Gold Council using January data from the International Monetary Fund.”

In fact, Ghaddafi was working toward backing the Dinar with the country’s vast gold reserves, thus posing a big threat to the world of fractional reserve fiat bankers.

All of these advancements were thrown away and destroyed with the NATO-backed assault on Libya and the subsequent murder of Ghaddaffi. What did emerge, however, was the new Libyan central bank.

Announced relatively early on in the destabilization campaign, the Transitional National Council declared the “Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.” It is also noteworthy to mention that immediately after the official creation of the new bank, the newborn institution actually signed an oil deal with Qatar, an Anglo-American client state and brother-in-arms of brutality.

Geopolitics aside, the very description of the new Libyan Central bank, the Central Bank of Benghazi, leans toward the fact that the new bank is the opposite of the old one – meaning, the new bank is private. Furthermore, the new bank is not beholden to the Libyan government (where one exists or may exist in the future) but operates independently “as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya.”…

Wtf, Over…? *gah*

by CTuttle

Getting Syria-ous…

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

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

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

The Assad government is defending the minorities. – Clifford Kirakofe

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

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

An October Surprise That Leads To The Guns Of August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western spies get discreetly involved in Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*gah*

by CTuttle

NATO To Bypass UN Security Council On Syria

4:32 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let’s look at how the F/UK/US-GCC prepares to f*ck us and the Syrians, as Russian FM Lavrov had warned on Tuesday…

“Intervention in Syria is a catastrophe,” says Lavrov

…After a meeting in Geneva between representatives of the five member countries of the UN (United Nations) and others bordering Syria, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Patrick Ventrell, said the absence of a resolution does not impede the actions of the United States.

“Three times Russia and China blocked the resolutions on Syria in the UN. We tried to convince them to change their position, but could not,” Ventrell said last June. “We have to continue working under the aegis of the United Nations, but we also have a broader strategy that should be respected. We do not intend to stop doing our job just because there is no resolution,” added Ventrell.

“The United States has expressed its intention to intervene, ignoring the UN Security Council,” countered the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov…

“I believe that the statements from Washington and other capitals that the declaration of Geneva is a dead letter are completely irresponsible. This document represents the most important consensus reached in cooperation with western countries, Russia, China, Turkey and the main Arab countries,” said the Russian minister.

Lavrov added that there is an extremely complex ethnic and religious mix in Syria. “Minorities who gather around Assad expecting help in protecting their rights, are also part of the Syrian people,” he said…

Here’s some of the ‘plans’ that are being bandied about…

First, from the misnomer, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)(PDF!)…

The Day After Project

…The Day After project brought together a group of Syrians representing a large spectrum of the Syrian opposition—including senior representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC), members of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC), and unaffiliated opposition figures from inside Syria and the Diaspora representing all major political trends and components of Syrian society—to participate in an independent transition planning process.

During the period from January to June 2012, this group of approximately 45 Syrian participants, supported by leading international experts in transition planning, convened six times to develop a shared vision of Syria’s democratic future, define goals and principles of a transition, and to prepare a detailed yet flexible transition planning document. Participants met in plenary as well as intensive working group sessions. While each of the six working groups focused on the specific challenges in the respective policy field, all of the groups were guided by a shared commitment to clearly defined goals and principles…

Good luck with that USIP, this kinda puts the kibosh on that little charade… Syria opposition group not up to challenge, says ex-member…

“The groups inside the council did not all behave as one in promoting one national project,” Kodmani said. “Some have given too much attention to their own partisan agendas, some to their personal agendas sometimes. That resulted in a major weakness in connecting closely with the groups on the ground and providing the needed support in all forms.”

Anyways, it seems the Rand Corporation has long since dispensed with the farcical notion of it being any sort of a ‘humanitarian intervention’…

Taking Syria Seriously

…Assad’s overthrow would be a major strategic defeat for Iran, weakening the country’s international standing and dealing a heavy blow to the so-called “axis of resistance” — Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. Conversely, Assad’s survival — or even a protracted civil war — would be seen as a US defeat, which could have serious regional consequences, including increased Iranian intransigence.

In this environment, the US needs a more activist, assertive policy toward Syria aimed at ending the conflict in such a way that bolsters regional stability and facilitates a peaceful democratic transition. This policy should include three crucial elements.

-The US should provide opposition forces with increased intelligence and communication equipment, thereby enabling them to coordinate their attacks more effectively.

-The US should supply arms, ammunition, and logistical support to the opposition, beyond what Saudi Arabia and Qatar currently are providing. Additional weapons — including anti-tank guided missiles, mortars, and sniper rifles — would enable the opposition to launch effective attacks from a distance, and challenge the pro-Assad forces’ air supremacy.

-America and its key allies should help to train the opposition forces to operate these weapons. The training provided by France, Britain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates played a critical role last year in shifting the balance in favor of Libyan opposition forces, and it could have a similar impact in Syria.

To be sure, the US would have to monitor carefully the flow of arms in order to ensure that they end up in the right hands. It should also coordinate its scions with key regional allies, especially Turkey.

Funny how the Grey Lady deemed it necessary to report on this little outfit yesterday, eh…?

Syrian Émigrés Seek Aid in U.S. to Arm Rebels

From a one-room office in an unfinished glass tower three blocks from the White House, an amorphous network of activists is doing what the Obama administration will not: attempting to arm the rebels trying to overthrow Syria’s government…

From the UK’s Telegraph…

Britain and US plan a Syrian revolution from an innocuous office block in Istanbul

An underground network of Syrian opposition activists is receiving training and supplies of vital equipment from a combined American and British effort to forge an effective alternative to the Damascus regime.

Let’s not forget about the French…

UK, France not ruling out military option for Syria
Though UN resolution allowing military no-fly zone unlikely ‘at this time,’ two nations said to be in ‘unity’ on options, including NATO military enforcement…

In a honest analysis, Brandeis Professors Eva Bellin and Peter Krause, lay out what is truly needed if we are indeed acting in a moral Humanitarian fashion…

…The first impulse among many leading activists and scholars was to call
for intervention with force. As some opinion makers in the U.S. argued: What
is the point of having great power if that power is not used to great ends?3 A
consortium of forces in the international community, it is argued, could easily
demolish Assad’s third-rate army, so why not step in and be done with it? But
careful assessments of conditions on the ground have forced most sober analysts
to retreat from this position. The Syrian military, while no match for the full
firepower of the U.S. or NATO, is nevertheless not an insignificant force—and,
more critically, it is enmeshed in densely populated civilian centers. To disarm
it without inflicting huge human casualties would require not simply an air
campaign, as was the case in Libya, but rather, by some estimates, two to three
hundred thousand boots on the ground.4 Such force would be crucial to fully
defeat the regime’s security forces, enforce civil peace, and prevent the subsequent
unleashing of retaliatory massacres by opposition groups. Furthermore, to have
lasting impact, such an intervention would have to be prolonged and would
require extensive investment in state-building, at great cost…

What a clusterf*ck…!

God help the Syrians and us…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Whitewashing NATO on Libya, Next Stop Syria/Iran

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

While NATO gathers in Chicago for their ‘peaceful’ million-dollar soirée, I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of this right away…

Nato urged to investigate civilian deaths in Libya

A leading human rights organisation has urged Nato to investigate fully the deaths of civilians in air strikes in Libya last year.

Human Rights Watch believes Nato air strikes killed at least 72 civilians and says the organisation needs to bear responsibility where appropriate.

“We’re calling for prompt, credible and thorough investigations,” HRW’s Fred Abrahams told BBC News.

Nato insists it took unprecedented care to minimise civilian casualties.

It argues that it cannot take responsibility because it has had no presence on the ground to confirm the deaths

I’m positive somebody has already ‘inadvertently’ deleted all the Drone and/or other aerial footage of the BDA results…!

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Khaleej Times really spelled out the horrendous situation in Syria, today…

Disaster in Syria

Deadly clashes have been reported from Syria. The new flare in fighting has come at a time when efforts to restore normalcy have literally flared.

The rebels and the security forces are in action and don’t seem to be aware of consequences, as the society is slipping deep into the abyss of lawlessness and chaos. Reports say that more than 30 soldiers were killed in an eyeball-to-eyeball interruption with the gunmen on streets, which sounds quite alarming taking into account the perfection with which the siege has been laid. Three troop carriers were also destroyed in the fighting, posting the casualties figures up to 12,000 in the 14-month long uprising.

In a kneejerk reaction, apparently, the European Union has slapped a new phase of sanctions on Syria, hoping that it would compel the iron-man, President Bashar Al Assad, to step down. The sanctions, the 15th of their kind, to make a point against the ongoing relentless repression are unlikely to even raise an eyebrow in the corridors of power in Damascus, as the regime sits pretty cool — unconcerned for what makes the Arab country go down the drain. Yet, the international community and especially the EU, which holds the purse as far as developmental and trade activities are concerned for many of the developing countries in Asia and Africa, is clueless as to what would make Damascus oblige to the demands of its own people and the world at large. This is certainly not working. The option of sanctions, as a case in history, has always resulted in emboldening the dictatorial regimes and exhausting the efforts of peace brokers. The people who have been the real victims have had to face the onslaught not only from socio-economic perspective but also in terms of horrendous nightmare in their lives

Now, to update my prior post…Why Is The Terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army Training The Syrian Opposition On Our Dime?

Kosovo voices strong support for Syria opposition

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj voiced strong support on Monday for Syria’s opposition, saying his government had already established diplomatic contacts with Syrians fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

Hoxhaj was responding to comments by Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who warned the U.N. Security Council that Kosovo should not be allowed to become a training center for rebels.

Speaking after a regular council meeting on Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, Hoxhaj made clear that Pristina was offering political support to the Syrian opposition, which is locked in a 14-month-old battle with forces loyal to Assad.

“We were among the first governments in Europe who was supporting the opposition in Libya and in other Arab countries last year, because we were fighting for the same aspirations, for the same values,” he said.

We have the same approach to Syria and have some diplomatic contacts between my government and (the) Syrian opposition,” Hoxhaj said. “We are supporting very much their cause.

Asked if Kosovo had established training centers for Syrian rebels, Hoxhaj said: “Not at all.”

Not at all, indeedy…! Anyways, in dispelling any notions that the Syrian crisis could be ‘contained’…

Alawite-Sunni fighting erupts in Lebanon port city

Three people were killed when fighting erupted overnight in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between members of the Alawite minority loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and members of the Sunni majority, witnesses and security officials said on Sunday.

Rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles were used in the fighting in an Alawite enclave and surrounding Sunni neighbourhoods in the port city, 70 km (44 miles) north of Beirut.

“The clashes peaked at dawn. The sound of gunfire is still echoing in the city,” a Lebanese security official said.

The official Lebanese state news agency said a soldier hit by sniper fire was among those killed.

A statement from the army said reinforcements were being sent to the city and that troops were “pursuing armed men to return the situation to normality.”

A Reuters correspondent in the city said most of Tripoli’s main intersections were blocked by burnt tires and that the Lebanese army had deployed in an area separating the Alawite enclave from the rest of the city.

The fighting underlines how sectarian tensions in Syria can spill over into neighbouring Lebanon

Now, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett are right on the money, again…

…The real tragedy is that, if Rice becomes Romney’s running mate, the only voices that will criticize her tenure in government will come from neoconservative quarters. The Obama administration will treat her public record with kid gloves—notwithstanding candidate Obama’s 2008 pledge not just to end the war in Iraq but to end the “mindset” that produced such a colossally bad choice in the first place. Far from changing this mindset, Obama and his team have internalized it as their own.

If anyone harbors any doubts about Oily Bomber’s complete abdication to the Neo/Ziocon ‘mindset’…

Iran Exile Group Nears U.S. Rebirth

State Department Is Moving to Take MeK Off Banned List at Risk of Angering Iran

The Obama administration is moving to remove an Iranian opposition group from the State Department’s terrorism list, say officials briefed on the talks, in an action that could further poison Washington’s relations with Tehran at a time of renewed diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

The exile organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, was originally named as a terrorist entity 15 years ago for its alleged role in assassinating U.S. citizens in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and for allying with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein against Tehran.

*gah*

by CTuttle

Let Us Call Terror, Terror…

5:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle


Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!

I’ve been screaming ‘bloody murder’ about this Syrian miasma for sometime, I would peg the starting point from early January, when the EU/GCC/US/Nato first started to pivot from Libya to Syria. As Col. Lang wrote today; Terrorism in Syria…

The Obama administration, pre-occupied with its re-election and the need to sooth its financial backers, continues to support the neocon policy position that all anti-establishment revolution is good in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The simple truth that there are not and will not be governments in the ME made up of “good guys” seems beyond the reach of “scholars” at AEI and WINEP as well as members of the Foreign Service.

What we have in Syria is revolutionary civil war waged by the forces of salafist Sunni Islam against the forces of the Alawis, the Druze and the Christians. In this civil war the Sunni salafists are backed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, US media and I suppose Israel in some underhanded way. Iran backs the Assad government, and Iraq is edging its way closer toward the position of the Mullocracy in Teheran.

The war has not been going well for the Sunni insurgents. Assad and company are not willing to surrender to the UN or anyone else since they know that they will be put down like the proverbial dogs if they do.

Logically, the Sunni salafists have now resorted to the kind of large scale terror that has characterized the last ten years in the greater ME.

Let us call terror, terror…

Yes, let’s call it for what it really is! Now, let’s look at some of the ‘sources’ of that specific terror threat, Syria says attackers came from “well known” countries, and, Syria envoy says British, French, Belgian fighters killed…

Syria’s UN envoy said Thursday that British, French and Belgian nationals were among foreign fighters killed in the country’s mounting conflict and that there was Al-Qaeda involvement.

The ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told the UN Security Council that 12 foreign fighters had been killed and 26 detained in recent clashes with Syrian forces.

“We have a list that contains 12 names of foreign terrorists killed in Syria, including one French citizen, one British citizen, one Belgian citizen,” Jaafari told the 15-member council.

He said a list of the 26 foreigners detained had been sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the Security Council.

The 26 have “confessed they are terrorists and entered Syria to carry out terror operations,” he added. Some were “associated” with Al-Qaeda.

The ambassador later told reporters that those detained were mainly Tunisians and Libyans but there was one Palestinian and one Jordanian.

All of the “confessions” have been shown on Syrian television, Jaafari said.

The ambassador said that recent bomb attacks in Syria “carried the stamp of Al-Qaeda methods.”

Jaafari renewed condemnation of Gulf Arab states and Turkey who he accused of backing the foreign fighters and Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile, in Aleppo today, while Syrian forces stopped one car bomb, another one detonated…

An explosion hit Syria’s northern city of Aleppo Friday, just hours after state TV said the army had foiled a would-be suicide attack in the city, raising fears the country is drifting toward an Iraq-style insurgency.

Elsewhere across the country Friday, peaceful protesters defied Syrian army gunfire and took to the streets in the tens of thousands to protest the rule of President Bashar Assad.

The anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said no one had been killed by the Aleppo blast close to the ruling party headquarters, which came a day after twin bombings in Damascus left scores dead.

“Initial details indicate that the Aleppo blast was targeting the local branch of the ruling Baath party and there is no information until now on the number of victims that fell in the explosion,” the British-based group said in an email… {snip}

…Thursday’s bombings have raised fears that extremist elements could be taking advantage of the deadlock in Syria to stoke the unrest.

An Islamist group calling itself Al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility online for the Damascus attack, the SITE Monitoring Service said Thursday.

It said two bombs it had placed near a military headquarters on a central highway in the capital on May 5 had killed around 20 guards. For many, the Al-Qaeda-style tactics recall those once familiar in the country’s eastern neighbor, Iraq, raising fears that Syria’s conflict was drifting further away from the Arab Spring calls for political change and closer to a bloody insurgency.

“Syria is slowly but surely turning into another Iraq,” said Bilal Y. Saab, a Syria expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Even Hezbollah was saying today; Hezbollah chief says Syria may descend into Iraq-like abyss…

Now, lets look at a common thread that wends it’s insidious ways through the tapestry, that is the Middle East, and our GWOT, namely, the House of Saud…! From; 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11, to Iraq’s ‘awakening’, Libya, Bahrain, and, even Yemen, the Saudi-fueled Salafist/Wahabbi based Sunni Insurgency has led the way.

Emptywheel did an awesome job of connecting-the-dots in some of the House of Saud’s nefarious machinations, yesterday…

Cluster Bombs on the Head of a Saudi Pinpoint

Congratulations to the NYT, which offers the superlative version of a story everyone seems to be writing today. It describes a whole host of reasons why we should not trust the Saudis.

That collaboration appears to have intensified over the past two years, despite a long history of mistrust rooted in the role of Saudi hijackers in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The relationship was tested again last year when Saudi leaders responded furiously to American endorsement of the revolt that ousted a Saudi ally, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. American diplomats were surprised and angered in turn soon afterward when Saudi Arabia sent troops to help put down unrest in neighboring Bahrain.

[snip]

The counterterrorism cooperation has not been without bumps, officials from both countries acknowledge.

In 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation quietly sent a handful of agents to Saudi Arabia to work with officials there on a classified counterterrorism strategy, according to a senior American official who was briefed on the program. After several months, however, the two sides disagreed on a common strategy, and the F.B.I. agents went home.

Internal State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations revealed American frustration with Saudi Arabia in curtailing financial supporters of many extremist activities.

“It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” said a classified cable sent by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in December 2009, concluding that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

But ultimately concludes that in spite of all this evidence, our partnership with the Saudis is working just great…

Yes, indeedy, we do in fact have the AP, and our entire agitprop, Western Lamestream Media peddling that very same Neo/Ziocon Snake Oil… Saudis emerge as key US ally against terror…

*gah*