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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: False Flags and False Narratives

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From b at Moon of Alabama: Media Neglect Turkish False Flag Attack Leak And Its Implications

And, This is Why Turkey Blocked Youtube – Leaked Audio With Full Transcript

A brief snippet:

Ahmet Davutoğlu:
“Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

Hakan Fidan:
“I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirlioğlu:
“Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”

Yaşar Güler:
“It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”

Ankara on alert after spying on security meeting leaked

Israel said to warn Turkey: Don’t attack Assad

Moving along…

From Robert Parry at Consortium News…The Danger of False Narrative

Today, Official Washington is marching in lockstep just as it did in 2002-03 when it enforced the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD. The latest case is Ukraine where Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of committing “aggression” to expand Russian territory at the expense of noble ”democratic” reformers in Kiev.

Not only is this the dominant storyline in the U.S. media; it is virtually the only narrative permitted in the mainstream press. But the real narrative is that the United States and the European Union provoked this crisis by trying to take Ukraine out of its traditional sphere of influence, Russia, and put it in to a new association with the EU.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Ukraine joining with the EU or staying with Russia (or a combination of the two) – depending on the will of the people and their elected representatives – this latest U.S./EU plan was motivated, at least in part, by hostility toward Russia…

As Col. Lang quipped recently… Bear baiting is a sport that should not be indulged in.

From the Grey Lady… Putin Calls Obama to Discuss Ukraine, White House Says

Meanwhile…

Obama seeks to assure King Abdullah in a time of regional unrest

In an exclusive interview with The National, the top White House Middle East policy adviser, Philip Gordon, said that while the US and Saudi and other Arabian Gulf countries may prefer different tactics when it comes to regional challenges, the allies still share fundamental interests and a strong alliance.

“It is perfectly reasonable…for good friends to sometimes have differences over approaches on issues, but the president will stress this with the king: we have much more in common when it comes to our interests than to differences,” Mr Gordon said.

“Defending allies from external aggression, ensuring the free flow of energy supplies, and confronting extremism and dealing with non proliferation – those are our core interests and we believe they are Saudi Arabia’s and our other friends’ in the Gulf core interests as well.”

More on those Gulf ‘core interests’…

Saudi king and Obama discuss Iran’s ‘behaviour’ and arming Syrian rebels

…Before Mr Obama met the king, US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes confirmed that the war in Syria and Iran’s disputed nuclear programme were on the agenda.

“One of the main topics of conversation is how do we best empower the moderate opposition inside of Syria politically, militarily as a counterweight to President Bashar Al Assad,” Mr Rhodes said.

Jim White wrote a great piece Wednesday… After US Adventure in Death Squad Training for Syria, Brennan Now Complains About al Qaeda Training There

An interesting peek behind the robes… Saudi’s next heir is a close confidant of the king

In I/P news… Kerry not ready to announce failure of peace talks

During his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed to find an “agreement formula” for negotiations with Israel instead of announcing failure of his efforts, a senior Palestinian Authority aide said today.

Kerry met the Abbas in Amman to discuss the peace talks which are wavering and the situation of the release of the fourth batch of the veteran Palestinian prisoners.

Speaking to the local Palestinian news agency Quds Net, Abbas’ aide Mimer Hammad said: “The agreement on the release of the Palestinian prisoners was conducted with the US administration.”

Hammad expects Kerry to phone the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ask him to go release the prisoners. “Extending negotiations beyond the approaching deadline is linked to the release of the prisoners,” Hammad said.

He also said that Israel has to pledge to freeze settlement construction and setting a certain timetable, with international guardianship, to carry out its obligations, including implementing the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

“The US Administration has not given us any agreement formula so far,” Hammad said. “Kerry is trying to find an agreement formula instead of announcing the failure of his efforts,” he added, “but Netanyahu said he would not stop settlements and we will see what Kerry will do.”

In wrapping up…

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, Russia, Syria, and, a Valentine’s Fray

12:15 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

A most interesting interview…! Here’s a short snippet:Islam v West? ‘Major civilizations on collision course’

Now, delving into current MENA affairs, in the recent ‘State’ visit of al-Sisi to Moscow…

Egypt, Russia pledge close bilateral relations

In a 2+2 meeting in Moscow, Egypt’s defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and foreign minister Nabil Fahmy discuss arms deal, stress closer relations.

In his first trip outside the country since ousting former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with his Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss a planned $2 billion arms deal.

The deal includes a Russian air defence system and, if signed as expected, will be the biggest military purchase from Russia since the Soviet era, marking a possible rekindling of a historic alliance that ended in the 1970s when former president Anwar Sadat reoriented Egypt’s position in favour of the US.

El-Sisi insisted in an interview earlier this week that closer relations with Russia are no replacement for existing relations with other countries.

His high-profile visit to Russia, in the company of Egypt’s foreign minister Nabil Fahmy, featured a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed his firm support for El-Sisi’s presidential bid, not yet announced from the field marshal but widely anticipated.

El-Sisi stressed that the meeting represents “a new departure” for Egyptian-Russian military and technological cooperation, reported Egypt’s state news agency MENA.

Aside from Putin, the two-day talks were headed by Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Now, what is not reported by most…

Russian television reveals what Russia wants from Egypt

The goal behind the Russian-Egyptian cooperation and arming Egypt is Russia’s need for another base and focus point in the Mediterranean Sea, other than Syria, as it is unstable and its fate is unknown, Konstantin Sivkov, First Vice President at the Academy for Geopolitical Issue said.

Speaking during the Russia Today programme which was aired on Russian TV on November 13, 2013, Sivkov said Russia’s need for this base are many, the least of which is the water, fuel and food supply, as well as a place for sailors to rest.

During the programme Dimitri Jantiv, Middle Eastern Studies expert at the Institute of Asian and African Countries, noted that the American’s anger over this will be limited since the Egyptian army is in control of a number of things, including “the aircraft that freely flies over Egypt’s airspace, the warships that sail through the Suez Canal, the joint manoeuvres and the intelligence information.”

The interviews revealed the expected outcomes of Egyptian Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia and the reason behind Russia’s support for him.

A Russian naval base was established, just as Russia wanted, and, as mentioned in the video, it was established to coincide with Al-Sisi’s last visit to Russia.

Now, I question whether a naval base has been set in concrete, but, I’m positive that Israel, muchless the US, must be none-to-thrilled with that agreed-upon Russian Air Defense battalion in Egypt…!

Most especially, considering the fact the Israelis don’t have the same back-door accessibility to the Russian ADA systems, like they do with all the US/Nato ADA systems…!

Russia’s Putin supports Egypt’s General Sisi for president Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

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

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

Egyptian army funds parties to stand against Muslim Brotherhood

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, Al-Sisi is headed to Moscow…

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

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

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

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

Moving along to Syria…

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

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

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

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

US intelligence concerned by Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, Iran, Israel, and Turkey

9:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Upon the third anniversary of the Tahrir Square revolution…

What a President Sisi must clarify

…The troubling thing for Egyptians is not that they are about to elect a new soldier-president, but that they are about to elect a new soldier-president about whose policies, capabilities, democratic values, governance style and national plans they know virtually nothing.

Sisi should be aware of the fact that he is preparing to assume the presidency on the strength of the two greatest but most fickle passions that any political leader can count on to shape his or her incumbency – blind love and fierce fear – because the mass adoration he enjoys on the basis of these frenzies can disappear as quickly as it appeared. The combination of intense love for Sisi as the national savior and deep fear of the hapless Muslim Brotherhood due to its miserable and greedy yearlong performance in office means that Sisi’s strong mandate can last as long as any fleeting emotion lasts with a human being – perhaps months at best.

By summer, the three big problems that plague modern Egypt and the entire Arab region – chronic military governance, domestic secular-religious schisms and socioeconomic distress – will remain unresolved and likely could worsen. They will resurface and could damage and threaten Sisi, as they have all other Arab leaders since the 1970s, depending on how he uses the power at his disposal. {…}

This soldier-president will be unlike any other in Egypt, because of the manner in which he assumes office and the continuing desire by Egyptians for a credible democratic transition from the old ways of security-state governing. Sisi will need to reveal in the coming weeks and months if he has the character, wisdom, courage and honesty to address Egypt’s enormous political problems and socioeconomic stresses. And he has to wind down the two important stressors that he himself has been contributed to – military rule of governance and the violent antagonism toward Islamist politics in society.

Now, which Master shall Sisi serve, the Egyptians, or, the MOTU’s…?

Well, I suppose, this speaks volumes…Wall Street figure to advise Al Sisi

To be sure, the bloody Poodle even parachuted into Cairo, recently…Tony Blair Backs Egypt’s Military Government Despite Human Rights Crackdown

Interestingly… Senior Muslim scholar calls on Saudi to stop supporting coup in Egypt

Another worthy read… The hidden history of the Egyptian revolution

Moving along…

Talk about your ‘Cognitive Dissonance’…

Netanyahu: Israel not obliged to agree to U.S. peace plan framework

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday night that Israel would not be obliged to agree to all the terms of the framework document that was being proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Haaretz reported.

Netanyahu’s statements were made in a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. He told the conference that Washington is putting pressure on Israel to withdraw from the Jordan Valley in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, a thing the Israelis refuse because it threatens the Israel’s security.

He added that there are two main issues that are considered as the key to reaching a peace agreement: the Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state and robust security arrangements.

Regarding Iran, Netanyahu said that Iran won’t be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, nor would Israel allow Iran to create another state alongside Israel, as it has done with Lebanon and Gaza.

God forbid that saner minds should prevail…! Israel finance minister: Peace talk failure costly

And, Palestinians: Yes to Jews, no to settlers in our state

Looking at the bigger picture… Israel Welcomes Sunni-Shia Conflict

So, what’s the definition of Insanity, again…? From the Grey Lady…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and Tunisia

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Kerry hadn’t even cleared Israeli airspace when Bibi announced those new ‘settlements’…!

One of Kerry’s (misguided) demands on Abbas was to concede on Likud’s Jewish State stance, Juan Cole served up an excellent diatribe…

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is adding a fifth demand to his negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas: That the Palestinians recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish state.

For Netanyahu’s demand to make any sense, he first has to define ‘Jewish.’ ‘Jewish’ has a number of possible meanings. It can mean ‘those recognized by Talmudic law as members of the Jewish “race” via maternal descent.’ The latter is the legal definition of Jewishness in Israeli law itself, and for this reason we must presume that it is what Netanyahu has in mind. It can also mean ‘adherents of the Judaic religion,’ and we can explore those implications, as well.

Needless to say no real ‘Framework’ was realized, except to agree to talk some more…

Kerry on Sunday wrapped up a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Before leaving for Jordan, Kerry was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that the United States and President Barack Obama are committed to presenting a ‘fair and balanced’ peace plan for the Middle East and improving security for all nations in the region.

During the press conference after his meeting with Abbas on Saturday, Kerry also said some progress were made in the peace talks, without mentioning any details.

However, the Palestinian source said on condition of anonymity that Kerry hasn’t officially presented to the Palestinian side any written document or a plan for a framework agreement, except for discussing issues such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Nabil Abu Rdineh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a press statement that ‘President Abbas rejects all transitional, partial and temporary solutions.’

He added that Abbas and Kerry agreed to continue their meetings in the coming weeks.

To be sure… Like lambs to the slaughter, the Palestinians are sleep-walking to disaster, again…!

And, US-Israeli agenda is to fragment Mideast.

Stay tuned… Snowden has more US-Israel secrets to expose…!

Moving along…

From the Grey Lady, recently… Saudis’ Grant to Lebanon Is Seen as Message to U.S.

Experts: Lebanese army “likely” to be attacked by Al Qaeda-linked brigade in coming days…!

Interestingly, it’s not just the Saudis’ fault… Lebanon complains to UN on Israel border espionage

So with all the Saudi perfidy in Anbar province and Syria, et al… Jordan on “alert” as tension rises on borders with Iraq, Syria

Meanwhile, Abbas met with King Playstation today… Abbas discusses peace process with Jordanian king While they both categorically rejected Israel’s demands on the Jordan Valley, they did craft a unified response to Kerry Israel, flatly, repudiated Kerry’s pathetic proposals… Israel rejects US proposals on Jordan Valley

Looking at our Libyan Fiasco…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bibi’s Bullsh*t, Iranian Intentions, and a Syrian Solution?

8:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

My apologies for being subsumed with my lln duties, lately!

Much has transpired since my last Mashup! Contrary to popular belief, the Iranian Sanctions are not the cause célèbre for Iran’s determined détente efforts!

Let’s reflect back a few months ago…

U.S. commander says Iran sanctions not working

Severe sanctions against Iran are not working, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East says.

Gen. James Mattis of Central Command made the statement at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.

‘In your professional opinion, are the current diplomatic and economic efforts to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability — are they working’ Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, asked.

‘No, sir,’ Mattis replied.

So what we see is Netanyahu urges Obama to keep Iran sanctions in place… And our Veep totally agreeing…

Biden says Iran sanctions are most effective in history, that deeper sanctions are an option

Vice President Joe Biden says U.S.-led sanctions against Iran have been the most effective sanctions regime ever.

Biden says Iran has a choice. He says Iran can suffer deepening economic sanctions or negotiate its way back into the global community and economy.

He says the U.S. doesn’t know whether Iran is willing to do what’s necessary to resolve concerns about its nuclear program.

Because, you know Iran hasn’t shown any desire to remedy their plight, right…?

What is Kerry actually negotiating with Iran?

…While there is a lot of optimism, there’s room for quite a bit of pessimism too though just based on reading tea-leaves. For example, Kerry’s reply to the question below is not very comforting:

‘Asked what steps Iran could take to prove its seriousness, Kerry replied: “They could immediately open for inspection the Fordo facility, they could immediately sign the protocol of the international community regarding inspections, they could offer to cease voluntarily to take enrichment above a certain level.”‘

Except that Fordo has been open to inspections for years, since the Iranians (and not US intelligence agencies, as the NY Times claims) first disclosed the location of the site to the IAEA. In fact Mohammad ElBaradei himself visited Fordo, and famously said it was nothing more than a hole in the mountain and nothing to be worried about. You could not possibly be even slightly aware of the Iranian nuclear issue, without knowing the Fordo is already open to inspections.

Secondly, Iran has signed the Additional Protocol already, and offered to ratify it if its rights are also recognized, though Iran is absolutely under no legal obligation whatsoever to sign the AP, just as neither Egypt nor Argentina nor Brazil nor lots of other countries have signed.

Third, Iran has consistently stated that it is willing to limit enrichment to 3.5%. In fact Iran was forced to enrich to 20% due to US sanctions that prevented Iran from simply buying the fuel for a medical reactor (which the US gave Iran in the first place) that uses fuel rods made with 20% enriched uranium. So it was the US policies in the first place that caused Iran to increase its enrichment levels, even though the reactor in question posed no credible nuclear weapons proliferation threat and so the US sanctions on the sale of fuel for that reactor did not actually promote or protect any legitimate non-proliferation goals. The media have been very insistent on ignoring this fact even though they will gladly engage in all sorts of totally biased speculation about ‘how close to a bomb’ Iran’s 20% enrichment gets it, and other reporters have completely gone overboard and have made up their own terminology by referring to this as Iran’s stockpile of ‘medium enriched’ uranium too, though no such term appears in the IAEA Glossary. That’s how the media not only follow the dominant narrative promoted by the govt but further embellish it before they pass it on.

To be sure, both Glennzilla and Cyrus Safdari, pointed out the obvious ‘Sudden’ strawman argument…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Syria: Chemical Hypocrisy, InterOccupy, and Zogby

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I must say that the Grey Lady really spelled it out…

Kerry Becomes Chief Advocate for U.S. Attack

Jabbing his finger at the lectern, his voice forceful, his words brimming with indignation, John Kerry laid out the case like the prosecutor he once was, making a closing argument to a skeptical jury.

Again and again, some 24 times in all, he used the phrase “we know” as he described the intelligence that Syria’s government massacred more than 1,400 people with chemical weapons. And then, while saying no decision had been made, he left no doubt that the United States would respond with military power.

“We know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war — believe me, I am, too,” said Mr. Kerry, who opposed the Iraq war in his failed presidential bid in 2004. “But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency.”

Let’s be clear here… Chemical Hypocrisy: Lies and Disinformation on the Road to War!

Seriously, pups, the Intel is mighty shoddy, as Col. Lang, amongst numerous other IC critters, enumerate…

US government claim as to what happened

Well, the USIC should be considered a bordello with Clapper as madam.

This is entirely a reiteration of the assertions made by the BHO government concerning what happened on the 21st. The social media are believed? The claim that SIGINT concerning Syrian government culpability is too sensitive to be disclosed is absurd. This was likely an intercept of plain voice, unencrypted Arabic conversation. A short wave radio tuned to the right frequency would have collected this text. If the Israelis were the source they should publish the text to avoid condemnation when the truth of this matter becomes clear. History will judge GW Obama. pl

Quelle surprise…?

Let me reiterate a fundamental factoid… Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack…!

So, I really do applaud Putin for calling out Obama on his blatant bluff… Putin: US should present Syria evidence to Security Council…!

Now, I must say that Zogby was most generous with his grade on Obama’s misguided foreign follies…

Zogby’s Report Card: Abandoned by Britain, public, Obama loses Syria options

Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama, deserted by the public and Britain on Syria, has lost the kind of presidential power previous presidents had in international affairs.

“Do you remember a much simpler time not so long ago when the president of the United States was the ‘leader of the free world’ and the ‘most powerful man in the world’? That president could launch a war (by any other name) by declaring it a ‘police action’ or even fabricate evidence and present it to Congress (Gulf of Tonkin 1964, ‘weapons of mass destruction’ 2003).

“Not any more. We are in the middle of so many tectonic changes. President Obama promised that if the Syrian regime actually used chemical weapons, thus crossing a red line, there would be military reprisals. Earlier in the week, it looked like he would build a national and international consensus, get his way and launch a surgical action by the time of this writing.

“But something happened: the Arab League and Saudi Arabia refused to give him a green light, the British Parliament has rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s case to support action, and there is opposition by both leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress. And only 7 percent of the American public have a stomach for U.S. involvement in Syria.

“Watching the videos of Syrian victims is very difficult, but sometimes being president is not all it is cracked up to be. Air strikes will most likely still happen, but under much different circumstances than appeared likely at the beginning of the week.”

Grade: C-

Now, interestingly, even Hollande is succumbing to popular public pressure…

France to follow US lead before deciding on strike

President says he will wait for French parliament, US Congress, to approve move before weighing hitting Syria.

France will wait for its parliament and the US Congress to consider possible military action on Syria before making a decision about whether to launch strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime, President Francois Hollande’s office said Saturday. The comments from an official in the French president’s office came as the world reacted to word from President Barack Obama that he believes the United States should respond with force over an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime, but that he has decided to put the issue before the American legislature first.

France, under Hollande and his Socialist government, has been the most vocal and visible country to show willingness to join the United States in military action against Syria’s regime following the suspected chemical weapons attack in rebel-held or contested areas last week. The U.S. claims it killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children, marking a grave and intolerable escalation in Syria’s two-year civil war that has left 100,000 dead.

Before his speech about Syria outside the White House on Saturday, Obama explained his decision to Hollande in a phone call, the official in the French presidency said on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to be publicly named according to presidential policy. Hollande told Obama that he already had decided to convene France’s parliament on Wednesday to take up a debate about Syria.

The two presidents “reaffirmed their joint willingness to act,” and have an “absolute and shared conviction” that Assad’s regime was behind the chemical weapons attack, the official said.

To be sure…

Most French oppose attack on Syria and don’t trust Hollande to do it – poll

Most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria and most do not trust French President Francois Hollande to do so, a poll showed on Saturday.

The United States said on Friday it would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 people in Damascus last week, and Hollande said Britain’s parliamentary vote against military strikes would not affect France’s own actions.

The BVA poll released by Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui en France, showed 64 percent of respondents opposed military action, 58 percent did not trust Hollande to conduct it, and 35 percent feared it could “set the entire region (Middle East) ablaze”.

It will actually set the region ablaze, too…

Iran warns of spillover of possible war on Syria

– Chairman of the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said here Saturday that any war on Syria would have repercussions on the entire region.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, heading a delegation of Iranian parliamentarians on a visit to Syria, said in a short statement to reporters that the visit aims to emphasize his country’s support for Syria and Tehran’s rejection to any war or aggression against it.

He said any possible war on Syria would not stay limited inside Syria but stretch out of the Syrian borders.

In summing up, this looming Syrian clusterf*ck is exactly why I spent two hours protesting in Solidarity with the InterOccupy Global Push…! Some InterOccupy pics…!

Now, I was disappointed to see such a dismal turnout, according to the AP, at least…

Possible US-led attack on Syria sparks rallies

Protesters around the world took to the streets Saturday to protest for and against a possible U.S.-led attack on Syria, as President Barack Obama announced he would seek congressional approval for such a move.

Obama said the U.S. should take action against Syria to punish it for what the U.S. believes was a deadly chemical attack launched by Syrian President Bashar Assad this month that killed more than 1,400 people. But Obama said he wants Congress to debate and vote on whether to use force, and has said any possible strike would be limited.

In Houston, which has a large Syrian-American population, about 100 people lined up on opposite sides of a street in an upscale neighborhood to express opposing views on a possible U.S. attack. {…}

In Boston, more than 200 protesters demonstrated in the Boston Commons against the possible use of force against Syria by the U.S. They waved signs and chanted “Don’t Bomb Syria!” over and over again, and at least one speaker said congressional authorization wouldn’t make an attack acceptable.

More than two dozen protesters gathered at the Arkansas Capitol to oppose a possible U.S. attack. Some wore T-shirts proclaiming “NO U.S. INTERVENTION IN SYRIA.”

“I had friends that died in Iraq, and I don’t want more people to die for nothing,” said Dominic Box, 23, expressing some of the fears of a war-weary public.

In downtown Chicago, about 40 people walked quietly in the rain, circling a sculpture in Daley Plaza. Some carried signs that read “No War In Syria” and “Shut It Down.”

“I don’t believe in spreading democracy the way they’re doing it,” said Tyke Conrady, 44, who attended the protest with three friends.

In London, more than 1,000 protesters carrying Syrian flags and placards marched to Downing Street and rallied in Trafalgar Square. Some hailed the parliament’s vote Thursday against British participation as a victory.

And about 700 people turned out for an anti-war demonstration in Frankfurt, Germany, police said. Organizers said only a “sovereign, independent Syria free of foreign interference” would make it possible for the Syrian people to shape the country’s future.

Damn, Chi-town, even sleepy old Hilo town could muster up 40 peeps today on short notice(48 hrs)…!

*gah*

Update: We do Occupy with Aloha..! ;-)

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Jubhat al-Nusra, McInsane, Morsi, and Qatar

11:20 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From the RT blurbThe US claims it has found a way to make sure the arms it sends to the rebels in Syria won’t fall into the wrong hands. This comes after leaked reports from the CIA that it’s about to start funneling heavy weapons to rebel fighters.

From the Grey Lady… Taking Outsize Role in Syria, Qatar Funnels Arms to Rebels

…“They like to back winners,” one Middle Eastern official said.

In meetings with Mr. Obama, the leaders of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have expressed a host of grievances about the Qatari shipments and have complained that Qatar is pursuing a reckless strategy.

In Mr. Obama’s meeting with Sheik Hamad at the White House on April 23, American officials said, he had warned that the weapons were making their way to radical groups like Jabhet al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, a Qaeda-affiliated group that the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.

“It was very important for the Qataris to understand that Nusra is not only an organization that destabilizes the situation in Syria,” said one senior Obama administration official. “It’s a national security interest of ours that they not have weapons.”

But Charles Lister, an analyst with the IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center in London who follows the Syria opposition groups, said that there was evidence in recent weeks that Qatar had increased its backing of hard-line Islamic militant groups active in northern Syria.

Mr. Lister said there was no hard evidence that Qatar was arming the Nusra Front, but he said that because of existing militant dynamics, the transfer of Qatari-provided arms to certain targeted groups would result in the same practical effect.

It’s inevitable that any weapons supplied by a regional state like Qatar,” he said via e-mail, “will be used at least in joint operations with Jabhet al-Nusra — if not shared with the group.

To be sure, folks, about those ‘Islamists’… Syrian rebels threaten to target Shi’ite villages in Aleppo and Sharia ‘spreading’ in Syria’s rebel held areas

Now, talk about your warmongering tomfoolery…

McCain: Arm Syria’s Rebels to End Iran’s Nuclear Program

Visiting Israel and addressing the nation’s Army Radio today, Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) insisted it was vital for the US to arm Syria’s rebels to “deter” Iran from continuing with its civilian nuclear program.

Calls to impose regime change on Syria for no other reason than to spite Iran seem to have some resonance in Israel, since a top figure in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs made similar comments last week.

McCain took the concept a step farther however by explicitly addressing concerns that US arms would end up in the hands of al-Qaeda’s allies in Syria, asking “would you rather have these weapons – perhaps some of them – in the hands of the wrong people, or would you rather have Bashar Assad prevail and then encourage Iran to further their ambitions on nuclear weapons.”

Apparently, McInsane and most of the DC Critters are indeed aware of the problem…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Rand Paul, al Qaeda, Iran, and Syria

9:17 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Well, it’s official folks…

Rand Paul: My colleagues just voted to arm the allies of al Qaeda

… Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday, which voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition in a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). “This is an important moment,” Paul said, addressing his Senate colleagues. “You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”

The legislation, which would authorize the shipment of arms and military training to rebels “that have gone through a thorough vetting process,” passed in a bipartisan 15-3 vote. Paul offered an amendment that would strike the bill’s weapons provision, but it was rejected along with another Paul amendment ruling out the authorization of the use of military force in Syria. (Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy was the only senator to join Paul in support of the weapons amendment.)

The dispute centers on the issue of whether the United States could properly vet Syrian rebels so that weapons and body armor would not fall into the hands of extremist groups, such as the al Qaeda-aligned al-Nusra Front. The Pentagon’s top brass has vacillated about whether it’s logistically possible to keep track of weapons as they enter a conflict involving a complex mix of opposition groups, as the new bill would require…

As Antiwar’s John Glaser noted…

For more than a year, the CIA has been facilitating the delivery of arms from countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to Syrian rebel groups, although the Obama administration has stopped short of a decision to directly arm the rebels. This bill is aimed at pushing the president in that direction.

“The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda,” The New York Times almost a year ago. And in the past year, that reality has metastasized, with Jabhat al-Nusra – categorized by the State Department as an official terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda – developing into the rebels’ main fighting force.

Rand Paul was evidently skeptical of claims that rebels receiving arms will be vetted to ensure extremists don’t receive them. And with good reason: the process is made up of untrustworthy, third-party sources and intelligence officials told the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as far back as a year ago that the truth is that the U.S. doesn’t know who is getting the money and weapons

Now, about those possible Peace Talks, in Geneva, once again…

Meanwhile, Syria submits five names for possible peace talks…

However, that was not the end of the Senate’s foreign f*ckery today…

US: We’ll back Israel if it defends itself against Iranian nuke threat

The US Senate decided unanimously to support Israel should it pursue military actions to defend itself against the Iranian nuclear threat. The decision’s sponsors are the Foreign Affair Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D) and senior Senator Lindsay Graham (R).

According to the resolution, the US will furnish Israel with diplomatic, military and economic support to defend its territory, citizens and existence. The resolution also determines that the US policy is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and take the necessary steps to pursue this policy.

Who’s defending against whom…?

*gah*

Here’s a bonus clip with RT’s Abby Martin interviewing Dr. Noam Chomsky that was published yesterday…

by CTuttle

‘Govts taking our rights away, not Al-Qaeda’

12:50 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let’s cut to the chase, folks…

DOJ Snooping on Journalists: A Witch Hunt to Enforce Obama Demand for Total Secrecy

…According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, President Obama didn’t know anything about the Justice Department’s nefarious snooping on Associated Press journalists. I find that extremely hard to believe…

…“This investigation is broader and less focused on an individual source or reporter than any of the others we’ve seen,” said Steven Aftergood, of the Federation of American Scientists told The Washington Post. “They have swept up an entire collection of press communications. It’s an astonishing assault on core values of our society.

Jacob Heilbrunn at The National Interest writes that “leaks have always plagued presidents” and that “they are a function of a national security state that has always aspired to total control in the post-World War II-era.”

“It is no small irony that Obama, who declared that he would halt the George W. Bush administration’s violations of personal freedoms, has exceeded the mendacity of his predecessors in creating a new star chamber to hunt down his detractors and enemies,” Heilbrunn adds…

“We’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of claims to protect secret law, the government’s interpretations of laws or its understanding of its own authority,” Alexander Abdo of the ACLU told the AP. “In some ways, the Obama administration is actually even more aggressive on secrecy than the Bush administration.”

Ya think…?

From Glennzilla… Justice Department’s pursuit of AP’s phone records is both extreme and dangerous

The claimed legal basis for these actions is unknown, but the threats they pose to a free press and the newsgathering process are clear…

The ACLU last night condemned the DOJ’s acts as “press intimidation” and said it constitutes “an unacceptable abuse of power”. The Electronic Frontier Foundation denounced it as “a terrible blow against the freedom of the press and the ability of reporters to investigate and report the news”. The New York Times’ Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal called the DOJ’s actions “outrageous” while Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said they were “shocking” and “disturbing”. Even Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government’s explanation.”

Funny how IOKIYAR just seems to fizzle out for the Obummer…! So much for that whole, eleventy-dimensional chess match of ‘Looking Forward’, eh…?

*gah*