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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Prism of Pain, GWOT, and, the US-Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act

10:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

C’mon, pups, we’re clearly losing the R2P ‘Hearts and Mind’ campaign in the MENA…!

The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East

… His findings sometimes reflect significant differences in the opinions in these countries but more often demonstrate basic commonalities. At a time when some pundits see crises in Syria and elsewhere leading to the marginalization of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the region’s politics, Telhami forcefully pulls readers back to it, labeling it a “prism of pain” through which Arab publics view the region — even if their leaders do not. Arabs overwhelmingly view Israel and the United States as the greatest threats they face. This produces inconsistent preferences: manifested, for example, in their pushing for the establishment of democratic institutions in their own countries while admiring antidemocratic leaders who defy the United States, such as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Telhami argues that that no U.S. president will make a dent in Arab anti-Americanism so long as Washington maintains its uncritical support for Israel and continues to deploy significant U.S. military forces in the region.

On the other side of the global ledger…

Why Vladimir rules and Obama bombs

On both the NSA saga and the Syrian crisis, Putin played chess while Obama played checkers with himself – and lost.

Every year, Forbes magazine publishes its list of the heads of state, financial titans and business moguls who “truly rule the world.” Predictably, a sitting US president – the commander-in-chief of the most lethal armada in the history of the world – usually gets the top spot.

Not in 2010 though, when Barack Obama was overtaken by then Chinese President Hu Jintao in the aftermath of the Wall Street-provoked financial crisis. And not in 2013, when the winner is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Not by accident, China and Russia are the most influential among the BRICS group of emerging powers. The US corporate media’s rankings such as Time’s Person of The Year may be irrelevant, and usually extremely provincial. But as a PR coup, American recognition of Putin’s soft power is priceless, even coming after de facto recognition by the overwhelming majority of the real ‘international community’: the developing world.

To its credit, Forbes stresses how “anyone watching this year’s chess match over Syria and the National Security Agency leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics.” {…}

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing, National Intelligence Director James Clapper was adamant that the NSA and the CIA cannot spy on any political leader via his/her private mobile phones without permission from the White House. So no matter the spin, Obama knew, among others, about the spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and German Chancellor Angel Merkel.

You don’t need to have read Orwell to note this is yet another instance of the imperial Masters of the Universe worldview. It’s ‘legitimate’ to spy on Americans. It’s ‘legitimate’ to spy all over the global South – including the more influential BRICS. {…}

The proverbial US Think Tankland Cassandras will be left endlessly carping about the ‘stagnating’ Russian economy, ethnic and religious ‘tension’, ‘political atrophy’ because of Putin’s ‘authoritarianism’, and assorted ills. Nonsense.

This essay by top blogger The Saker meticulously outlines the key plot twists and undercurrents of the past 20 years of US-Russia relations – including the now-proverbial Putin demonization.

Back to the facts on the geopolitical ground. Putin has seized the moment and now is arguably the key actor trying to build an emerging, alternative multilateral order. As for imperial lame duck Obama, he seems destined to keep bombing in more ways than one.

Now, in my last Mashup, I’d pointed out the serious BS emanating from our AIPAC, bought-and-paid-for, Critters on Iran, well they doubled down on the buffoonery…

Forget Sanctions: House Hawks Pushing for Iran War

Bill Would Green-Light Attack on Iran

While most of the effort of the Obama Administration has been trying to convince an unwilling Congress to “delay” any new sanctions as Iran negotiations move forward, a collection of hawks in the House of Representatives are looking to move beyond that dispute and just flat out start a war.

The ironically named “United States-Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act,” would condemn Iran for “deception” dating back to the 1980s, and would authorize President Obama to attack Iran whenever he decides talks have “failed.”

Let’s get real here, pups…

Propaganda & Ignorance in Reporting on Iran

Whenever tensions over Iran’s nuclear energy program appear to dissipate and rational, fact-based reporting begins to replace agenda-driven rhetoric in the press, the folks over at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington D.C. think tank that specializes in producing highly speculative assessments of the nuclear capabilities of countries loathed by the U.S. government, release a new study full of hypotheticals, allegations, and innuendo intended to restore alarmism to front pages and TelePrompTers.

Critical to the success of ISIS’s efforts and the endless self-promotion of its president, David Albright, are the dutiful stenographers in the media who eagerly promote to large audiences their claims as unchallenged fact, without even a shred of skepticism or hint of journalistic integrity…

The Institute for Speculation and Iran Scaremongering

Under a hysterical headline – “Iran may be a month from a bomb” – Dorell posted what is effectively a press release for a new ISIS report. In his article, Dorell not only presents ISIS head David Albright, a former IAEA inspector, as an unimpeachable expert source and uncritically regurgitates his claims about the potential timeline for Iran achieving nuclear breakout capacity, but also deliberately omits vitally important information which might undermine the ultimate goal of fear-mongering about Iran…

U.S. Director of National Intelligence has repeatedly noted that, even were this decision to be made sometime in the future, “Iran could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of WGU [weapons-grade uranium] before this activity is discovered.”

Honestly pups, this is what we’re reduced to…

I want American foreign policy to fail

Drones, wiretapping foreign leaders, NSA out of control: Change will only come when our foreign policy truly fails

It is difficult, and it will never be any other, to be an American and write in an American publication that the best thing to befall our great country would be a series of resounding defeats. It is upside down. It is bitter. And it is time.

Failure will make Americans a better people, their country a more humane country, and the world a more habitable world. This the only honest conclusion to draw as the outlines of official American thinking in the 21st century emerge from the mists of endemic misinformation.

Let us ask ourselves: What do the following developments, all now in the news, commonly reflect? Why is it better to view them all at once, parts of a single phenomenon, rather than separately (as our media incessantly encourage us to do)? {…}

Untamed spookery, diabolic weapons and prosecutorial trade arrangements to be forced down others’ gullets as if they were geese tell us all about ourselves and our plans. In any choice between primacy or world order — the prescient coinage of Stanley Hoffmann, a Harvard historian of the Cold War — Washington insists on the former. It continues to choose the unilateralism of the last century over the multilateralism that is the unmistakable sine qua non of our time. Military hardware and territorial dominion — 20th century technologies — trump coexistence and the mahogany tables of diplomacy, which are the technologies of our time.

And if you didn’t get the original terra, terra, terra, memo, the ADL’s Abe Foxman spelled it all out for ya…

The Jewish Condition: Then, Now, and in the Future

…It seems that people such as this hack — people who think wars of mission, armed interventions galore, and all associated strategies and tactics are yesteryear’s thinking and played poorly even yesteryear — these people are isolationists.

They are weak. The president was weak on Syria. A strong America is an America that remains engaged. Remaining engaged means intervening when American values and interests are at stake. Intervening means the deployment of might. {…}

And then on top of that comes this drive to find agreements with Iran on the nuclear issue. Now let me be clear: if we can reach a satisfactory deal with Iran that ensures that if Iran is deceptive or abnegates that agreement, it couldn’t in a short time break out and speedily move to a bomb, I’d be all for it. The concern is the context: America seems desperate to avoid a confrontation with Iran; the Iranians, aware of that, are playing it to a fare-thee-well.

Not only are they talking the language of moderation, but they are already offering substantive proposals that may appear more giving than they really are. Again, it’s not impossible that things can work out well, but when it appears to come from a perception of American weakness, it doesn’t bode well. {…}

I hope that we get our act together. I hope Congress starts to think of the bigger picture. I hope we are truly able to keep all options on the table, whether vis-à-vis Iran or Syria, without rushing to military action.

Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy it will be bad for the Jews.

Don’t believe for a second that there is an alternative to American leadership when it comes to Israel’s security, peace in the Middle East, safety and security for Jews in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Still, all in all, as I look to the Jewish future and the role of ADL on the occasion of our centennial, I am an optimist. Again, I am an optimist on Israel. I am an optimist on American Jews. And, despite the concerns I have expressed here, I remain an optimist about America, about the good sense of the American people, the track record over the last 70 years about its ability to overcome the obstacles to governance and to recognize that American leadership in the world is good for America, good for the world and good for the Jewish people.

God Help Us All…! *gah*

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

Syria: ‘We need to bomb it to save it’ (Updated)

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

RT’s Nile Bowie wrote this excellent article…

Western logic on Syria: ‘We need to bomb it to save it’

… Despite Obama’s cautious tone in recent interviews, all indications point to military intervention already being decided. Carla Del Ponte’s assessment was whitewashed, and any other evidence provided by the UN that does not fit conveniently into the Western narrative will be suppressed – the US position is that it is already “too late” for any evidence to be credible.

The huge military buildup of US and British ships and warplanes in the Mediterranean comes while the Pentagon is reportedly making the initial preparations for a cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces.

The intransigence and cynical duplicity of Assad’s opponents is unparalleled, and their media outlets are complicit in pulling the heart strings of their audiences while offering a totally one-sided perspective in support of R2P, the ‘right to protect.’

The US, Britain, and France see themselves as righteous protectors, and rationality and evidence will not be enough to break their dangerous and ridiculous delusions; these states are the vanguards of militant corporatism and have demonstrated that they seek only their private economic and geopolitical objectives in the region.

Those countries that represent a balanced approach to this crisis should not stand idly by while the West ‘comes to the aid’ of the Syrian people with cruise missiles and airstrikes – they should not allow intervention under ‘humanitarian’ auspices to harm civilians and topple the legal authorities in Damascus.

The intrepid Gareth Porter exposed some of the recent lies…

In Rush to Strike Syria, U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe

After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.

The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day.

In his press appearance Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who intervened with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to call off the investigation, dismissed the U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that Syrian opposition sources claimed killed as many 1,300 people.

The sudden reversal and overt hostility toward the U.N. investigation, which coincides with indications that the administration is planning a major military strike against Syria in the coming days, suggests that the administration sees the U.N. as hindering its plans for an attack. {…}

Despite the U.S. effort to portray the Syrian government policy as one of “delay”, the formal request from the United Nations for access to the site did not go to the Syrian government until Angela Kane, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, arrived in Damascus on Saturday, as Ban’s spokesman, Farhan Haq, conceded in a briefing in New York Tuesday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in a press conference Tuesday that Syria had not been asked by the United Nations for access to the East Ghouta area until Kane presented it on Saturday. Syria agreed to provide access and to a ceasefire the following day.

Haq sharply disagreed with the argument made by Kerry and the State Department that it was too late to obtain evidence of the nature of the Aug. 21 incident.

“Sarin can be detected for up to months after its use,” he said.

Now, let’s be clear here that Al Qaeda does in fact possess the know-how to produce Chemical Weapons, from the CIA…

Terrorist CBRN: Materials and Effects

Al-Qa’ida and associated extremist groups have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attacks. Al-Qa’ida’s end goal is the use of CBRN to cause mass casualties; however, most attacks by the group—and especially by associated extremists—probably will be small scale, incorporating relatively crude delivery means and easily produced or obtained chemicals, toxins, or radiological substances. The success of any al-Qa’ida attack and the number of ensuing casualties would depend on many factors, including the technical expertise of those involved, but most scenarios could cause panic and disruption.

- Several groups of mujahidin associated with al-Qa’ida have attempted to carry out “poison plot” attacks in Europe with easily produced chemicals and toxins best suited to assassination and small-scale scenarios. These agents could cause hundreds of casualties and widespread panic if used in multiple simultaneous attacks.

- Al-Qa’ida is interested in radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) or “dirty bombs.” Construction of an RDD is well within its capabilities as radiological materials are relatively easy to acquire from industrial or medical sources. Usama Bin Ladin’s operatives may try to launch conventional attacks against the nuclear industrial infrastructure of the United States in a bid to cause contamination, disruption, and terror.

- A document recovered from an al-Qa’ida facility in Afghanistan contained a sketch of a crude nuclear device.

- Spray devices disseminating biological warfare (BW) agents have the highest potential impact. Both 11 September attack leader Mohammad Atta and Zacharias Moussaoui expressed interest in crop dusters, raising our concern that al-Qa’ida has considered using aircraft to disseminate BW agents.

- Analysis of an al-Qa’ida document recovered in Afghanistan in summer 2002 indicates the group has crude procedures for making mustard agent, sarin, and VX.

Was it a ‘false flag’ or even a Syrian regime ‘Rogue Commander’…? As FDL Alum Marcy penned today…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

‘We Are Not Clairvoyant’

3:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today, our DNI James Clapper and CIA Director Leon Panetta, testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee about Egypt…

“We are not clairvoyant,” said the director, James R. Clapper Jr., at a hearing of the House intelligence committee.

The intelligence community has faced criticism for failing to provide a clearer warning, or more timely descriptions, of the fast-moving developments in Egypt. [...]

But Mr. Clapper, and also Leon E. Panetta, the director of central intelligence, suggested that it would always be difficult to know precisely when a potentially critical situation would turn explosive — to know, for example, when a frustrated merchant in Tunisia would set himself afire, an event that indirectly fed into the Egyptian crisis.

“Specific triggers for how and when instability would lead to the collapse of various regimes cannot always be known or predicted,” Mr. Clapper said, at a hearing on worldwide threats to the United States. “What intelligence can do in most cases is reduce the uncertainty for decision makers, but not necessarily eliminate it.”

Mr. Panetta, in turn, said that last year nearly 400 intelligence reports were produced on problems in the region: “the regressive regimes, the economic and political instability, a stagnation, the lack of freedoms, the need for political reforms.” But he, too, said that intelligence agencies needed to do better in identifying triggering events.

‘Triggering Events’…? By then the horses have already bolted…!

Why can’t they see the forest for the trees…? I mean really…?

Panetta states the obvious root causes… “the regressive regimes, the economic and political instability, a stagnation, the lack of freedoms, the need for political reforms.” Yet, our only answers to those fundamental problems has been to send more American-built tanks and tear gas canisters…!

Now, Al Jazeera has an excellent shot of the Tahrir Square’s immediate response to Mubarak’s tone deaf speech, waving their shoes…

In parsing all the reports I’ve seen today, Mubarak has turned over some powers to VP Suleiman, such as this Huffpo headline states; Mubarak Won’t Leave Egypt But Passes Powers To Vice President

As today’s events have unfolded, I’d posted some enlightening articles…

Mubarak transfers powers to Army

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and transferred his authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces, a senior Egyptian official confirmed Thursday.

This body is comprised of the minister of defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.

Egyptian Military Statement: “Declaration 1″

Statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:

“Based on the responsibility of the Armed Forces, and its commitment to protect the people, and to oversee their interests and security, and with a view to the safety of the nation and the citizenry, and of the achievements and properties of the great people of Egypt, and in affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date, and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.”

Another link: Mubarak “definitely not going to step down”-info min

The Egyptian Ambassador to the US had this to say today…

Suleiman is the “de facto” leader of Egypt, ambassador says…

Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak transferred ‘all of his power’ to Vice President Omar Suleiman, making him the ‘de facto’ leader of the country, the Egyptian ambassador in Washington said in an interview with CNN.

Mubarak ‘has transferred his authority to the vice president to undertake all presidential authority that is incorporated in the constitution,’ the ambassador, Sameh Shoukry, said Thursday.

‘The vice president is the de facto president,’ he said.

Shoukry said he had spoken with Suleiman and received clarification following Mubarak’s speech, in which he said power had been transferred to the vice president. But there was some confusion about how much authority Mubarak would retain.

When pressed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about whether Mubarak no longer had power, Shoukry replied: ‘That is certainly an interpretation you can make.’

Unfortunately, one does not need to be clairvoyant to agree with El Baradei’s tweet…Egypt is about to explode. The military must get involved and take immediate action to save the country.”

Btw, why are we only hearing *crickets* from the Obama Administration on the latest developments…? Update: A WH response finally…!

Oops, never mind… US Stocks:Mubarak speech sparks late gain…

*gah*