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by CTuttle

More Evidence Points To The Syrian Rebels

3:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

From the Huffington Post…

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

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

Syrian rebels’ Damascus chemical cache found by Syrian Army

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

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

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

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

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

Well, lah di da…

Syria will let UN inspectors probe chemical attack: FM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria Rebels: We’ll Use Chemical Weapons, Too

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

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

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

God Help the Syrians…! *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: G-8, Weapons for Peace, Iran, and Turkey

4:55 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here’s the official G-8 Communique (PDF! 33pgs)

The ever-intrepid, Pepe Escobar, had penned another excellent read…

Obama’s weapons-for-peace program

They looked like two dejected schoolboys in front of the headmaster by the end of the two-hour Putin-Obama summit at the sidelines of the Group of Eight meeting in Northern Ireland. But as astonishing as the sound of silence was the fact that, on Syria, the former KGB guy was trying to save the “leading from behind” dude from himself.

President Barack Obama coined the monster euphemism that they had “different perspectives” on Syria. He said, deceptively, “We want to try to resolve the issue through political means if possible, so we will instruct our teams to continue to work on the potential of a Geneva follow-up.”

If Obama was really trying to solve Syria “through political means” he would not have pre-emptively bombed the Geneva II talks with his “weapons-for-peace” program, as in weaponizing only the “good” Syrian “rebels” and only with a few “non-lethal” toys (that’s the bottom line of Washington’s spin). “If possible” in this case does translate into “impossible”. As for the Geneva II talks, they don’t rate anything better than “potential” because Obama knows the myriad, squabbling factions of the Syrian opposition will boycott it. {snip}

…Putin knows Obama would even give up playing basketball if he could find a way to sneak out of getting bogged in Syria’s civil war. Putin knows Obama simply cannot order a no-fly zone over Syria by decree – as much as he may be under pressure by the usual warmonger senators, armchair warrior think tankers, corporate media and weapons manufacturers.

…Yet Putin is certainly aware of Washington’s Plan C or D for Syria; what is being sold as a “humanitarian assistance”, limited, no-fly zone – along parts of the Jordanian and Turkish borders into Syrian territory. This is in fact Libya 2.0; a “limited” no-fly zone in a flash will apply to all Syria. “Limited no-fly zones” only exist in Spinland; this is a declaration of war. So let’s see how Damascus plays it with the S-300 missile batteries it will receive from Russia…

Now, Col. Lang, in several great posts, the first… Obama’s approaching humiliation over Syria, and then… “Assad foes cannot set conditions for Syria talks: Russia” Reuters

…Morning Joe Scarborough, the dumbest man in morning television, said today that the Syrian government is “one of the two worst enemies of the United States in the Middle East.”

Say what?

Joe has been living in New York City for a long time now. I guess there is something in the water… No, Joe, Syria is viewed by ISRAEL as one of its two greatest enemies in the Middle East. Israel and the US are two different countries, Joe. Separate sovereign countries usually have at least some differing interests. Tell me. Joe, how is Syria a major threat to the US? Terrorism? When was that? Where was that? Remind me.

In any event, Russia has made it clear now that it will not accept a phony conference in which the Syrian government show up to surrender Sounds like “check” to me. “Mate” is coming…

Interestingly, The Hill reported this bovine manure from the Senate, yesterday…

Senators pledge ‘full support’ for ‘decisive’ military action in Syria

Senators from both parties on Tuesday urged President Obama to immediately send weapons to the Syrian opposition and take out President Bashar Assad’s air forces.
Syria is at a “critical juncture” and the United States must do what it can to reverse Assad’s recent gains on the ground, the chairmen of the Foreign Relations and Armed Forces panels, Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), wrote in a letter to Obama along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The senators pledged their “full support” if Obama takes “decisive military actions in Syria.”

The lawmakers called on the president to send arms to vetted rebel groups, but said such a move would likely be insufficient because the situation is “deteriorating so dramatically.”

Ironically, on the floor of the House, yesterday, the vile Louis Gohmert had this to say…

‘Entangling Alliances’ ya don’t say…? Speaking of which…

8,000 troops from 19 countries join Jordan ‘war games’ in readiness for spreading Syria conflict

…Despite many of the nations involved in the exercises explicitly calling for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad departure, there are concerns that should he be forced from power, Damascus’s stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups. Several Western countries allege that Assad has already used chemical weapons, a fact that US President Barack Obama describes as crossing a “red line”. At the same time, conventional weapons in civil war have already killed at least 93,000 people.

US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Duke Shienle told the Associated Press that Syria “is a concern that all our regional partners share”.

The Syrian crisis is “causing all military in the region to increase intensity,” he said. The training has been concentrated on security, irregular warfare, terrorism and counterinsurgency.

“These exercises bolster our defence capabilities,” said Jordanian army Maj. Gen. Awni Edwan, adding that similar exercises are routine, having being held twice before at the same time. “We don’t intend to attack anybody,” he said.

Now, here’s an excellent insight into recent WH happenings…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel ‘Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’, ‘Institute for Scary Iran Stories’, And, Mali

6:35 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

 

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

In all my years of blogging, my sole regret is my inability to piece together more than two paragraphs, in any literary fashion, like most are able to…!

So, please allow me the luxury to blend together some of my old scribblings with some of the latest ‘News’ out of the MENA

Obama Privately Says Israel ‘Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’

“When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn’t even bother getting angry,” Goldberg writes. “He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.”

As I wrote way back when…‘Israel’s mentality is a barrier to Mideast peace’

Btw, don’t you find this mighty hypocritical of Bibi…? Obama Comments ‘Gross Interference’ in Elections…

Moving along, FDL Alum Jim White penned another awesome post today, and spelt it all out…

Albright Follows Warrick Into Full Neocon Mode, Presents Iran Sanction Manifesto

…It now is clear that the article from Warrick was meant to prepare the ground for the unveiling, one week later, of David Albright’s new working group developed precisely for the purpose of furthering the neocon position on Iran sanctions. By taking on additional policy members in this working group, Albright is now branching out from his usual area of commentary on technical issues (where Moon of Alabama has dubbed his Institute for Science and International Security the “Institute for Scary Iran Stories“) all the way into policy and now promotes the full neocon position that Iran is dangerously close to having a nuclear weapon and therefore sanctions must be ratcheted up further.

As Jim Lobe wrote today… New Push in U.S. for Tougher Sanctions, War Threats Against Iran…

As I had once opined…The Road to Tyranny And Real Men go to Tehran…

Even Jimmy Carter had sounded the alarm awhile back on our failed FP…Carter: ‘Oppose Unnecessary Wars, Preemptive Strikes, And, Embargoes’ And, Obama Imposes Another Round of Sanctions on Syria/Iran…

Moving along to Mali…

Read the rest of this entry →

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

‘CIA chief Petraeus’ resignation not just about affair’

9:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let’s delve into the weeds on what the f*ck just happened to Betrayus….! I think Emptywheel’s astute observation would be a great starting point…

Petraeus Knew of FBI Investigation During Benghazi Pushback

…To be clear, I’m not saying that means Petraeus’ resignation was about Benghazi. I think it’s possible, but some reporters I trust insist it’s not.

But consider how different this passage from the NYT reads when you understand that Petraeus had already learned the FBI had discovered his former mistress may have been snooping through his emails–not to mention months of his emailed pleas to her to get back together.

Mr. Petraeus’s future has inevitably been the subject of rumors: that he would be Mitt Romney’s running mate, or, more plausibly, that he was interested in the presidency of Princeton. In a statement in late September, he did not rule that out for the future, but said that for the time being he was “living the dream here at C.I.A.” That was before the recriminations this week over Benghazi.

In late September–after Benghazi, mind you, but before he realized this affair had been exposed–Petraeus was still thinking about leading Princeton. But then “recriminations” jeopardized that hope.

The CIA blitz was certainly an attempt to minimize Petraeus’ and CIA’s role in getting an Ambassador killed. But it also reads, now, like an effort to preempt the damage from this.

One more note: the timing appears to be that the affair lasted for some of the period when Petraeus was in Afghanistan–so June 2010 to June 2011. It’s unclear whether the affair continued after Petraeus started at CIA in June 2011–though he did keep emailing Broadwell to try to get her to get back together. The NYT says the investigation started only several months ago…

Now, I don’t exactly see the same ‘rosy scenario’ that Robert Parry paints, in regards to Betrayus’ boot, but, he does raise some compelling points…

Behind Petraeus’s Resignation

The messy departure of CIA Director David Petraeus over an extramarital affair removes the last high-ranking neoconservative holdover from George W. Bush’s administration and gives the reelected President Barack Obama more maneuvering room to negotiate a settlement over Iran’s nuclear program. {…}

Suspect Loyalties

Petraeus’s ideological alignment with the neocons threatened to undercut the administration’s unity behind Obama’s peace initiative. Thus, according to the person familiar with the administration’s thinking, some key figures close to the President wanted Petraeus out and there was no sadness that his personal indiscretions contributed to his departure.

Regarding the facts behind Petraeus’s sudden resignation, the New York Times reported that the FBI had begun an investigation into a “potential criminal matter” several months ago that was not focused on Petraeus. It was in the course of an their inquiry into whether a computer used by Petraeus had been compromised that agents discovered evidence of the relationship as well as other security concerns. About two weeks ago, FBI agents met with Petraeus to discuss the investigation, the Times reported.

According to the Times, one congressional official who was briefed on the matter said Petraeus had been encouraged “to get out in front of the issue” and resign, and that he agreed. {…}

Obama’s decision to entrust a position as crucial as CIA director to Petraeus, an ambitious man with strong ties to the neocons, was always a risk. While Obama may have been thinking that he was keeping Petraeus out of a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, the President put Petraeus in a spot where he could manipulate the intelligence that drives government policies.

Finally, as Obama heads into a second term, he appears to be clearing the decks so he can move ahead more aggressively with his own foreign policy. Robert Gates departed in mid-2011; David Petraeus has now resigned in ignominy; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who often sided with Gates and Petraeus in taking neocon-style policy positions, is expected to step down soon…

One can only hope, but, I’m certainly not holding my breath that the neo/ziocons are indeed being purged…!

If Ray McGovern’s suggestions are heeded, I might see some light from Obama’s ‘Nobelist’ intentions…

Pundit Tears for Petraeus’s Fall

Good Riddance

If, by now, you get the idea that I think David Petraeus is a charlatan (and I am not referring to sexual escapades), you would be correct. The next question, however, is his replacement and whether the policies will change.

Mr. President, with the mandate you have just won, you have a golden chance to reverse the March of Folly in Afghanistan. You can select a person with a proven record of integrity and courage to speak truth, without fear or favor, and with savvy and experience in matters of State and Defense.

There are still some very good people with integrity and courage around – former Ambassador Chas Freeman would be an excellent candidate. Go ahead, Mr. President. Show that you can stand up to the Israel lobby that succeeded in getting Freeman ousted on March 10, 2009, after just six hours on the job as Director of the National Intelligence Council.

And there are still some genuine experts around to help you enlist Afghanistan’s neighbors in an effort to ease U.S. troop withdrawal well before the 2014 deadline. The faux experts – the neocon specialists at Brookings, AEI and elsewhere – have had their chance. For God’s sake, take away their White House visiting badges at once.

Create White House badges for genuine experts like former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East Paul Pillar, former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, and military historian and practitioner Andrew Bacevich (Lt. Col., USA, ret.). These are straight-shooters; they have no interest in “long wars”; they will tell you the truth; all you need do is listen.

Do NOT listen this time to the likes of your counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, a former CIA functionary who was staff director for CIA Director George “slam-dunk” Tenet. Brennan will probably push for you to nominate Petraeus’s deputy and now Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who did the same dirty work for Tenet that Brennan did.

Morell is even more likely to take his cues from Brennan and tell you what he and Brennan want you to hear. At best, Morell is likely to let things drift until you move on Petraeus’s replacement. And this is no time for drift.

There is absolutely no reason to prolong the agony in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. Doubling down on Afghanistan might have seemed a smart political move at the time, but you now should face the fact that it was a major blunder. Troops out now!

Politico posted their list of likely candidates…Possible post-David Petraeus CIA picks…!

Now, let’s parse some of the latest spin… FBI probe of Petraeus triggered by e-mail threats from biographer, officials say… And ABC news is pushing this… David Petraeus Affair: FBI Probe Into Inbox of Paula Broadwell Uncovers ‘Human Drama’…

I’m more inclined to think that either the CIA or the FBI stumbled upon it when they followed up when Broadwell’s personal email appears on a list of compromised accounts of the commercial intelligence firm Stratfor. But, that would presume some real actionable intelligence to follow through on…!

In summing up, Col. Lang, did an excellent job…

Don’t cry over this guy. He has had a hell of a run. IMO someone “dropped a dime” on him with the FBI. Once that happened an investigation into the limits of his lover’s access to classified information through her relationship with him was inevitable. The FBI has the power to investigate anyone in the US Government, including the director of the CIA, and they relish the responsibility. {…}

He was never much liked in the Army. “Clever” is a term of art in the Army for someone “foxy,” slippery and politically adroit. He was always clever…

He has a terrible reputation in the Army for egomania smoothly concealed beneath the appearance of the warrior scholar. He can and has charmed all, or almost all. His fluency in the English language and his ability to interact with congressmen and the press are superb…

His success” in Iraq led to sending him to Afghanistan to apply the supposedly victorious doctrine of COIN there as well. We see the reult.

As I said, don’t grieve for him. He had a long run and will now make a lot of money somehow. He is clever. pl

Too clever by half…!

Now, will he run in ’16…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Bibi, He’s The Bomb

5:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Shortly before delivering that dud of a speech at the UN podium, Bibi met with Mayor Bloomberg…

Mayor Bloomberg meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Gracie Mansion; both hail President Obama’s tough talk on Iran

…Both Bloomberg and Netanyahu heaped praise on Obama for his hard-line speech before the United Nations Tuesday against a potentially nuclear Iran.

“I thought President Obama gave an excellent speech in the UN, and he was absolutely right to say that Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons,” Bloomberg said before meeting with Netanyahu at Gracie Mansion.

The Israeli prime minister said Obama was on the right track.

“We’re in close consultations with the United States about this issue, about how to practically prevent Iran from moving ahead, how to make them abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister had hoped to meet with Obama during the United Nations gathering this week, but the President, citing campaign commitments, did not hold any one-on-one sitdowns with foreign leaders.

Instead, Secretary of State Clinton planned to meet with Netanyahu, with Obama planning to follow up by phone.

The Gracie Mansion meeting was a win for both leaders, pundits said…

Mere moments after Bibi had finished delivering his UN address,Israel’s Lawyer and our newly appointed, Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, just had to shoot off his mouth in Tel Aviv…

‘Necessary preparations’ made for use of force if needed against Iran, US ambassador says

…Shapiro also said the US had made “the necessary preparations” for a resort to force against Iran if that were to prove necessary.

“We’re totally focused on the same goal, which is preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We’re in the closest possible consultations at the highest levels of our government,” Shapiro said in the brief interview, at the United Nations, minutes after Netanyahu concluded his address. “We’re absolutely focused on achieving that goal together. And we’ve been very well coordinated until now and I think we will remain very well coordinated.” {…}

…Shapiro said there were no tangible differences between Jerusalem and the White House.

“What both speeches and the constant dialogue of the two governments demonstrate is that we’re absolutely committed to the same goal: We recognize the threat that’s posed by an Iran with nuclear weapons — to Israel and its existence, to US interests and security and stability throughout the Middle East and that’s why we’re determined to prevent it,” he said. He also said there was an “overlap” in the two speeches, which showed that it was possible to work together to reach the goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran…

Now, the very next morning, Oily Bomber, came a-calling…

Readout of the President’s Call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today as part of their regular consultations, and to follow up on Secretary Clinton’s meeting with the Prime Minister. The two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the President reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Prime Minister welcomed President Obama’s commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal. The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the Governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran – its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism – and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward.

Not to be outdone, the Rmoney jumped in…

Obama, Romney place dueling calls to Israel’s Netanyahu

…A few hours later, Republican nominee Mitt Romney spoke by phone with Netanyahu, his one-time consulting colleague and a friend since the 1970s. After the call, Romney said that he does not believe military force will have to be used to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment program. {…}

Asked Friday whether he endorsed the timeline Netanyahu spelled out at the United Nations, Romney said, “We did not go into enough, into the kind of detail, that would define precisely where that red line would be.” He described the phone call as largely personal in nature rather than a detailed policy discussion.

Romney did describe Iran’s nuclear program as the “greatest national security threat that we face” and said he would explore military options “in the event they were necessary.”

“I do not believe that in the final analysis we will have to use military action,” Romney told reporters traveling with him. “I certainly hope we don’t have to. I can’t take that option off the table. It must be something which is known by the Iranians as a possible tool to be employed to prevent them from becoming nuclear. But I certainly hope that we can prevent any military action from having to be taken.”

Ironically…Romney jokes about Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb diagram…

“I complimented him on his address,” the Republican presidential nominee told reporters. “I suggested that his graphic was not up to the usual Boston Consulting Group standards.” (Both men previously worked for the management consulting firm.) Romney paused, then added, “No, I didn’t actually do that.” He just thought about doing it, he said…

Well, the Real Experts weren’t amused at all by Bibi’s cartoonish antics, from The Arms Control Association…

Netanyahu’s Iran Nuclear Timeline: Off Point and Off Base

…Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposed “redline” for military action against Iran is overly alarmist. It makes a number of worst-case assumptions, ignores other relevant considerations, and would serve as a tripwire for a war that would likely prompt Iran to openly pursue the bomb.

-It assumes no further conversion of 20 percent enriched uranium into metallic fuel plates, something which has already reduced a significant share of the stockpile to date that could be easily enriched further to weapons grade.

-Netanyahu’s timeline would require Iran to expel inspectors well before it could convert the material to weapons grade and field a useable nuclear weapon.

-It assumes Iran would take this provocative action at the point when it could provide only enough nuclear material for one bomb. Yet one weapon does not constitute an effective and deliverable nuclear arsenal.

-Iran would need more time, to amass the material for several bombs, weaponize it, and probably test the design– a process that would take years, not months.

-Netanyahu’s approach is out of step with the United States and the other five powers negotiating with Iran who agree that Iran has not made a strategic decision to build nuclear weapons, does not yet have the necessary ingredients for an effective nuclear arsenal, and who believe correctly that there is time to use diplomacy to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

-Resort to a preventive military attack would, as the new Iran Project Report of 33 former senior national security officials and diplomats assessed, only temporarily set back Iran’s nuclear program and prompt Tehran to openly pursue the bomb.

There is time for diplomacy, but the time available must not be wasted.

The goal for U.S. negotiators must be to restrict Iran’s enrichment to normal reactor-grade levels and limit its stockpiles to actual nuclear power needs, while allowing more intrusive IAEA inspections to ensure that Iran has halted all weapons-related work.

A revised proposal calling for a halt to Iran’s accumulation of 20 percent-enriched uranium, which is closer to weapons grade, in exchange for relaxing some of the international oil and financial sanctions imposed on Iran, could buy time and build momentum.

With more creative, U.S.-led diplomacy, and co-operation from Tehran, a deal that guards against a nuclear-armed Iran is still within reach.

At least, the Ridicule of Netanyahu at UNGA won’t quit, and, Bibi and his Magical Bomb Chart…

Bibi Netanyahu’s Warning Reveals His Moments of Memory Loss…!

Will saner minds truly prevail…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

IAEA Pushes Toothless Resolution, US Crows, And, Other ME Tomfoolery

7:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I would like to apologize for my sparse reporting on the Middle East and the I/P of late, but, my local Occupy is extremely addictive…!

Anyways, I had already typed out my title when I found this Christian Science Monitor report…

Resolution on Iran nuclear program hailed by US, but lacks teeth

The US lauds the ‘unified message‘ sent by the UN’s nuclear watchdog expressing ‘deep and increasing concern‘ over the Iran nuclear program. But the resolution lays no groundwork for action…

…In comments following adoption of the resolution, Clinton suggested the international community is now expressing unprecedented concern about Iran’s activities. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job bringing the international community to a place that it had never come to before,” she told NBC in an interview.

But she also suggested the reality that any action based on the resolution might be limited to the US and the European Union. “When it comes to sanctions,” she told NBC, “there are more steps that the United States and Europe are probably willing to take than others at this time.”

Now, as the AFP reported…

UN atomic watchdog condemns Iran

…The resolution said it was “essential for Iran and the Agency to intensify their dialogue” and calls on Tehran “to comply fully and without delay with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.”

A total of 32 countries on the 35-nation IAEA board of governors voted in favour, with Indonesia abstaining and Cuba and Ecuador voting against, diplomats said.

To assuage Chinese and Russian misgivings, the resolution has no timeframe for Iran to comply, calling instead for IAEA head Yukiya Amano to report to the board in March on Tehran’s “implementation of this resolution.”

It should be a real wake up call to Western leaders, especially when the Wall Street Journal, and, Haaretz point out how far the MOTUs have truly fallen…

UN nuclear watchdog to soften Iran resolution, as gesture to China and Russia

IAEA to issue more moderate condemnation, despite recent report revealing that Iran is working toward developing nuclear weapons…

Basically, Russia and China aren’t buying the recycled tripe…!

But, never fear our AIPAC, bought and paid for, Wingnuts will gladly step up to bat… Republicans Tell Israel: U.S. Will Back Strike Against Iran…!

Now, while SecDef Panetta was warning about the possible ramifications of an attack on Iran… US defence secretary says military action against Iranian nuclear sites could have unintended consequences for the region…! It would appear that the real ‘crisis’ is being confronted head on…

From the Grey Lady…

U.S. Plans New Sanctions Against Iran’s Oil Industry

The Obama administration plans to impose a new round of sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry, a Western official briefed on the plans said Friday, less than two weeks after a United Nations report published evidence that the Iranian government was working on a nuclear weapon.

The sanctions, expected to be announced on Monday, build on existing measures against Iran’s oil and gas industry, which aim to curb foreign investment in refineries or other facilities. European nations are expected to announce similar measures when their leaders meet later in the week, the official said…

Well, No D’uh…! Here’s another Grey Lady op-ed penned by a PNAC Reichwinger, Reuel Marc Gerecht… Don’t Give Up on Sanctions…!

It should also be noted that it’s truly a Bipartisan push to punish Iran…

Senator Proposes New Sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank

Proponents of additional sanctions recognize the sever humanitarian costs, but argue human suffering in Iran is necessary

…One of the bill’s top supporters, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), said, “Critics [of the sanctions] argued that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.”

The renewed push for additional sanctions against Iran comes after excessive government and media hype over the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report inflating concerns about a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program, although little evidence was put forth…

It’s always been about the Oil, the Iranian Oil Bourse, and, ultimately, Regime Change…! Not the Nuclear asperations of the Iranians, that the West and Israel are so concerned about…!

Case in point…

Israeli Attack on Iran Would Include Targeting Civilian Infrastructure

…Anonymous U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that and Israeli attack “would go far beyond airstrikes from F-15 and F-16 fighter planes and likely include electronic warfare against Iran’s electric grid, Internet, cellphone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.”

Such an attack could cause serious human suffering and might constitute a deliberate violation of international law, which prohibits targeting civilian infrastructure for attack…

I will guarantee ya that the small island of Kish in the Straits of Hormuz will be the very first target and not Natanz or Bushehr…! Any takers…?

Meanwhile, in other tomfoolery…

Mitchell says Palestinians must show flexibility

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah showed inflexibility over Israel’s settlement program and will have to make compromises for the sake of peace, the Obama administration’s former Mideast envoy has said.

George Mitchell, who resigned in May as US President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, said Tuesday at the University of Maine that the Palestinian side placed too much emphasis on settlements.

“I personally went to 13 countries and in almost every single one I was told that Palestinians … should not enter into negotiations unless there was full freeze on Israeli settlement activity,” Mitchell said, according to US news reports.

We negotiated that and the Israeli leaders agreed to halt new housing in the West Bank for 10 months. It was much less than what we asked for but more than anyone else had done,” the Freepress Online quoted him as saying.

The Palestinians rejected it as worse than useless. They were strongly opposed to it.

Can anyone be more oblivious than George Mitchell, besides Tony Blair…?

The Settlements are the problem, Period…! Well, the illegal Occupation too…

Unfortunately, Foggy Bottom just doesn’t get it either…

Report: US warns Palestinians on unity deal

The US may sanction the Palestinian Authority if Fatah and Hamas implement a reconciliation deal signed in May, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Israel HaYom reported that US deputy secretary of state Bill Burns was in the region to relay a sharp message from the US president, Barak Obama, warning of serious consequences for the Palestinians.

Burns will tell President Mahmoud Abbas that if he intends to form a unity government, Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and agree to abide by previous agreements, the daily reported…

What is wrong with our Ship of State…? Does it really want to founder on those perilous shoals…?

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

APEC, Obama, and, the TPPA

5:49 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

*snort* Obama’s native home eh, AP…? Are you sure about that…?

Anyways, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Obama hopped on Air Force One and is headed to the APEC conference, here in the Isles…! Believe it or not, it really is huge deal… Consider the fact that Hillary is already here, and, Obama is also meeting individually with the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, and, Chinese President Hu Jintao… ! Quite the Luau, eh…?

Global Post adds some more background…

…Media reports describe the trip as symbolic of today’s outlook on the global economy.

The AFP: “A two-week interlude of foreign policy in Obama’s increasingly domestically focused administration offers a symbolic contrast between struggling Europe, where America has its historic roots, and Asia which may define its future.”

Additionally, the tour is intended to assert that the US is a “Pacific power” that wants to help build economic success in the developing regions – and China in particular – amid recent aggressive diplomatic and military moves by the country that has worried its Asian neighbors, the Washington Post reported.

“This isn’t a trip to the far-flung corners of Asia,” Daniel Russel, Obama’s senior director for Asian affairs, told the Associated Press. “This is a trip to the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. is very much an Asia-Pacific nation. We’re a resident power.”

Some more WH spin info…

“The U.S. exports to this region are essential to the president’s goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next several years,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters in a briefing Wednesday. “In fact, nearly all of the efforts that we’re going to be making towards that export goal take place in this part of the world.”

The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum account for 55% of the world’s gross domestic product, 43% of world trade and 58% of U.S. exports, according to the group.

“So I think when the American people see the president traveling in the Asia-Pacific, they will see him advocating for U.S. jobs and U.S. businesses,” Rhodes said. “He will be trying to open new markets, and he will be trying to achieve new export initiatives, and he will be trying to foster a trade agreement through the, for instance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that takes us beyond the Korea Free Trade Agreement towards a multilateral agreement that, again, has very high standards to ensure that our interests are being protected.”

The Obama administration is pushing for the expanded trade agreement to help boost reduce barriers to U.S. exports, boost trade and create jobs…

Oh goody, it’ll be KFTA on steroids…!

Here’s a practical primer on the TPPA…

What is TPPA?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a “free trade” currently under negotiation between NZ and 8 other countries, including the U.S. The countries want to complete negotiation by the end of 2011.

Trade is only a minor part of the agreement. That’s just a clever branding exercise. A TPPA would be an agreement that guarantees special rights to foreign investors. If these negotiations succeed they will create a mega-treaty across 9 countries that will put a straight jacket around what policies and laws our governments can adopt for the next century – think GM labelling, foreign investment laws, price of medicines, regulating dodgy finance firms, NZ content on TV …

It seems that the TPPA may have been ‘delayed’ by some of the APEC signatories themselves…

Pacific Trade Pact misses APEC deadline as community groups slam US proposals on medicines and corporate rights

“The APEC meeting in Hawaii was meant to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a new free trade deal between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. But the deal has been delayed because of controversial proposals tabled by the US, and negotiations will continue into 2012,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of 60 community groups (AFTINET), said today…

Tabled by the US because nobody else in the Pacific Basin wanted to see higher Drug Prices…! Fancy that…!

Leaked Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement Texts Reveal U.S. Pushing Extreme Pharmaceutical Corporation Demands that Would Undermine Consumers’ Access to Affordable Medicine

Leaks of U.S. proposals for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reveal that the Obama administration has reversed reforms designed to enhance access to affordable medicines made during the George W. Bush administration and is instead demanding new rights for pharmaceutical firms to challenge pricing and other drug formulary policies used by many developed countries to keep down prices. The leaked draft text raises multiple concerns…

I don’t know about you, but, I’m mighty sick and tired about ‘Free Trade’, how’s about some ‘Fair Trade’ for a change…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Oily Bomber Redux And Iran’s Oil Bourse

3:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

“The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?”–Hillary Clinton

I’ve been looking around the toobz to determine why the Oily Bomber is trying to ‘wag the dog’ on Iran…! The usual suspects like Israel and the House of Saud came to mind, but, it didn’t seem quite right…

Then I stumbled upon this…

1st Oil Shipment Sold on Iran Oil Bourse

The first shipment of Iranian crude oil has been sold on Iran’s international oil bourse on the Persian Gulf island of Kish, an Iranian official says…

…Mohammad Reza Khajenasiri, the chief supervisor of bourses and markets in Iran’s Bourse Organization, said that a shipment of 500,000 barrels of heavy crude oil were offered at the Kish Commodity Exchange on Thursday (Aug. 18) and were traded at USD 105.49 per barrel, Mehr News Agency reported.

The crude consignment was traded ‘without any discount or additional premium,’ he stressed. [...]

Iran is the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s second-largest oil producer.

The Iranian oil bourse is intended as an oil exchange for petroleum, petrochemicals and gas in various currencies other than the U.S. dollar, primarily the euro and Iranian rial and a basket of other major (non-U.S.) currencies.

Western analysts said that at a time when the U.S. dollar is as vulnerable as it has ever been, Iran is piling on the pressure with their oil exchange. The thing that will kill the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency faster than the U.S. debt default is if oil producers and consumers trade oil in other currencies.

They said, if the main oil consuming and producing nations in the world unite to trade oil over an open exchange, similar to Iran’s oil bourse, and price the oil in currencies other than or as well as the U.S. dollar, then the world is likely to be economically more stable.

Well, Lah di dah…!

While the Iranian oil bourse has been in operation for several years now, they had never been able to sell any of Iran’s Crude Oil in bulk, it’s always been the distillates and other petroleum products that they’ve exchanged, until now…!

Now, here’s some great background analysis…

Iran’s Oil Bourse: A Threat to the U.S. Economy?

While Iran’s nuclear program has become a major focus of the international media, there are many who strongly believe that the program is only a cover for the U.S. government’s true motive in a possible attack against Iran.

What some analysts posit is the real concern for the United States is Iran’s plan to open its own oil exchange — the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) — with the alleged goal of becoming the dominant center of the Middle East’s oil trade.

What makes the IOB the subject of such interest by the American government? According to rumors, which first vaulted the issue into the spotlight, the financial exchange in the aforementioned bourse will trade for oil in euros instead of the U.S. dollar. The dollar has long been the dominant currency for international oil trade. [...]

Of course, the effectiveness of the IOB will depend on whether the big international oil trading companies decide to accept deals in euros or not. However, the potential financial impact on the U.S. economy remains more than just idle speculation.

“The weapon of oil in the hands of Iran’s regime is more dangerous than any other weapon,” said a recently published article in Italy’s Panorama newsmagazine. [...]

There is speculation that the IOB represents Iran’s plan to escape any possible future economic sanctions spearheaded by the U.S. However, some postulate that the plan could also endanger the continued existence of Iran’s regime. William Clark, an American security expert, predicted that if Iran threatened the hegemony of the U.S. dollar in the international oil market, the White House would immediately order a military attack against it…

Woof, woof…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Zogby: US Now More Unpopular in Middle East Than Under Bush

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Isn’t it amazing how far one can fall? In a new poll conducted by IBOPE Zogby International for the Arab American Institute Foundation.

Executive Summary

• After improving with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, U.S. favorable ratings across the Arab world have plummeted. In most countries they are lower than at the end of the Bush Administration, and lower than Iran’s favorable ratings (except in Saudi Arabia).

• The continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and U.S. interference in the Arab world are held to be the greatest obstacles to peace and stability in the Middle East.

• While many Arabs were hopeful that the election of Barack Obama would improve U.S.-Arab relations, that hope has evaporated. Today, President Obama’s favorable ratings across the Arab world are 10% or less.

• Obama’s performance ratings are lowest on the two issues to which he has devoted the most energy: Palestine and engagement with the Muslim world.

• The U.S. role in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya receives a positive rating only in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, but, as an issue, it is the lowest priority.

• The killing of bin Laden only worsened attitudes toward the U.S.

• A plurality says it is too early to tell whether the Arab Spring will have a positive impact on the region. In Egypt, the mood is mixed. Only in the Gulf States are optimism and satisfaction levels high.

Think about it, what O’bomber has devoted the most time and energy into: ‘Palestine’ and ‘engagement with the Muslim world,’ he received the lowest marks! That age-old axiom still holds true, talk is indeed cheap! One’s actions, and even inaction, speak far louder…!

*gah*