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by CTuttle

Bibi as Wile E. Coyote and Obama at the UN

6:34 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Richard Silverstein wrote today about Bibi’s buffoonery at the UN…

Bibi as Wile E. Coyote

You didn’t think you were gonna get away without seeing Bibi Netanyahu’s Wile E. Coyote moment during his UN speech today, did you? Look at the picture, Bibi’s even glaring a bit like the coyote after he’s been outsmarted by his cartoon nemesis. Someone (Bibi himself?) in the day and age of Powerpoint presentations, thought of the great idea of sending their boss up to the lectern of the world’s most respected international body with a sharpie and a cartoon version of a nuclear bomb. I suppose they thought the simplicity of the gesture might impress. Instead it’s backfired as any simpleton could’ve told them it would.

Further, Bibi made a critical error in drawing his “red line” at the 90% enrichment level. He meant to draw it BELOW that line since presumably Israel would want to attack Iran BEFORE it achieved weapons grade uranium fuel. If Israel attacked Iran AFTER it secured enough fuel to make a bomb it would defeat the purpose, no?

Even the Huffpoo mocked Bibi… Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu Draws Cartoon Bomb At UN General Assembly To Illustrate Iran Nuclear Threat

Now, If it Quacks like a Duck

Yesterday, Obama delivered his remarks to the UN…

You can read the text of his speech here or watch the full half hour speech here…!

Here’s the UN’s official Press Release about Oily Bomber’s appearance at the 67th General Assembly…

At UN debate, US President urges dealing honestly with tensions between Arabs and West

Warning that the world faces “a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common,” United States President Barack Obama said today the deadly violence sparked by an anti-Islam video is an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded.

“The events of the last two weeks speak to the need for all of us to address honestly the tensions between the West and an Arab World moving to democracy,” he told scores of heads of State and Government attending the 67th General Assembly’s General Debate on its opening day, calling on world leaders to espouse the peaceful settlement of disputes.

However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.

Cities in North Africa and the Middle East recently experienced violent protests in response to an anti-Islamic video produced in the state of California by a US citizen. In the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the US ambassador to the country, Christopher Stevens, and three other diplomats were killed, and others injured or killed, when suspected Libyan religious extremists stormed the US Consulate there.

The film has drawn widespread condemnation around the world, including from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“On this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence,” President Obama said, calling the video “crude and disgusting,” but explaining how such hateful comment is allowed by the freedom of speech clause in the US constitution.

“There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan,” he added, referring to the attacks that killed Ambassador Stevens and caused deaths elsewhere.

“Burning an American flag will do nothing to educate a child. Smashing apart a restaurant will not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an Embassy won’t create a single job,” he noted.

President Obama said the US has supported the forces of change that have toppled dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and he called for an end to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, where more than 18,000 people have been killed in an uprising against his rule over the past 18 months.

“However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism,” he declared, stressing that the recent violence or hateful speech by some individuals does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims any more than the views of the video producers behind the anti-Islam film represent those of Americans.

“It is time to marginalize those who, even when not resorting to violence, use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel as a central principle of politics,” the US President said. “For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes excuses, for those who resort to violence.”

President Obama pledged that the US will never retreat from the world and will bring to justice those who harm its citizens and friends, while standing with its allies and partnering with countries to deepen ties of trade and investment, science and technology, energy and development.

“It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past,” he declared.

“The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt – it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.’ The future must not belong to those who bully women – it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons…

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims.”

Turning to specific crises, President Obama said the future for Israelis and Palestinians must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace and thrive on conflict, and those who reject Israel’s right to exist, but to those who pursue the hard but clear goal of a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine.

On Iran, he said the US wants to resolve nuclear issue through diplomacy and believes there is still time and space to do so.

“But that time is not unlimited,” he warned. “We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.

“It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unravelling of the non-proliferation treaty. That is why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that is why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Scores of the world’s heads of State and government and other high-level officials are expected to present their views and comment on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.

The US President also met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today. In their meeting, the two men discussed the importance of combating hate speech and incitement to violence while protecting free speech, and agreed on the importance of the UN’s work to promote tolerance.

Other topics they discussed included the situation in Syria and its impact on the region, the needs of the Palestinian people and the growing challenges in West Africa’s Sahel region, in addition to the global challenges on food and nutrition, women’s and children’s health, and education, and the need for UN reform.

I thought Steve Hynd best summed it with his quip; “do as I say, not as I do, or I’ll bomb you”

…Much of it is an interesting exhortation to Muslims across the globe who are currently involved in protesting a certain movie trailer to put away violence as a tactic. The bulk of the rest is the usual copperplate about America loving democracy so much that it sends its citizens to impose freedom at gunpoint in other countries, and promising to always be there to bomb dictators (and any male of military age who happens to be nearby and can therefore be labelled a “militant” once he is too dead to protest that label). Obama reels of US aide for the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya but the word “Bahrain” does not pass his lips, nor does any indication that the regime being propped up in Yemen is just as oppressive as any Islamist current seeking to replace it. iraq and Afghanistan are places the US is leaving – not places the US invaded, nosir. You won’t find a reference to the chain of sub-Saharan nations where the US is currently offering “military assistance” (training, special forces, arms, drone strikes) to often corrupt regimes either.

And then there’s Iran. {…}

Obama and his speechwriters must know that his UN listeners are spotting all the things unsaid and writing their own subtexts in their heads. They know there’s a healthy helping of hypocrisy, of “do as I say, not as I do, or I’ll bomb you” going on. Yet this is the stageshow that must be gone through every time a US President speaks at the UN. While Obama’s talking about changes in the way people resolve their problems internationally, perhaps he’d do well to contemplate the beam in his own nation’s eye.

Meanwhile, a lot of noteworthy speeches have been given from the UN Podium in the past several days…

From Egyptian President Morsi’s declaration… ‘Israel refusal to join NPT, inexcusable’…

Continuing with some newly minted Mossad/CIA Tools MENA leaders… Libya’s new leader apologizes at U.N. for Gaddafi crimes…

And, Speaking of tools, Abu Mazen… ‘Pares His Statehood Aspirations at UN’…

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for real humanitarian assistance and saner minds to prevail…

From General Assembly podium, Lebanon calls for international help for Syrian refugees

… “The security consequences of the Syrian crisis threaten peace and stability in the Middle East and specifically in Lebanon,” Prime Minister Mikati said. “The international community must exert more efforts in order to assure political consensus among Syrian parties to end violence that is claiming hundreds of innocent lives each day.”

The ongoing violence in neighbouring Syria has fuelled sectarian tensions across Lebanon and raised concerns that the country could plunge back into the internecine violence it endured during its 15 year civil war, which ended in 1990.

In his statement to the Assembly, the Lebanese leader urged the United Nations to further the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland and achieve an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. He also denounced Israel for violations of the accord that ended its month-long war with Hizbollah in 2006, calling on it to end its continued occupation of land in southern Lebanon.

“Our region is still striving to cope with the dramatic consequences that followed the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and its on-going occupation of Arab territories and its continued violations of International Law and United Nations resolutions,” Prime Minister Mikati said.

He added, “Peace along with freedom and justice are the pillars for attaining both security and stability and will pave the way towards the eradication of oppression, extremism, and terrorism in our world. Stability cannot occur without a Palestinian spring through the full implementation of the Palestinians right to self-determination on their land.”

In summing up some of the other excellent debates at the UN, wendydavis, wrote a great post… Julian Assange to UN: “End Obama’s Regime of Secrecy”…

Along with Kevin’s excellent reporting… Assange Addresses UN Members, Lambasts Obama’s UN Address for Rewriting History…

I also totally agree with The CallUp’s… After The Iraq Debacle, It Would Be Negligent For Americans Not To Watch Ahmadinejad’s U.N. Speech, particularly since it was Ahmadinejad’s last appearance at the UN…!

Meanwhile, I do pity all those New Yorkers… Get Your Gridlock On: It’s UN General Assembly Time…

Stay tuned…

by CTuttle

Embassy Attacks Should Be A Wake-Up Call

4:34 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The inflammatory film is merely the pretext, or rather a spark, that ignited the protests throughout the Muslim world… Here’s a MIT PoliSci Professor’s take…

Q. The proximate cause of many of the violent protests occurring right now is this video that was released online. But probably many of these demonstrators have not even seen the clip. To what extent should we think of these events as being caused by the video, and how much do they hinge on longer-term tensions?

A. I think the video is largely a trigger, as were the cartoons about Muhammad printed in Denmark some years back [in 2006]. The reality of the matter is that there are huge levels of latent anti-Americanism in the region, and despite the supportive role of the Obama administration in the Arab Spring [of 2011], the general population is largely anti-Western and anti-American. So these things can be very potent triggers, in getting people in the street. And, of course, some clerics readily use them as ways to mobilize people. We have had attacks in Tunis, in Yemen, in Khartoum against the Germans, so it is spreading.

It’s very disturbing, particularly in Egypt. … The Libyan government condemned the attacks, saying they wanted to bring the perpetrators to justice, while in Egypt the reaction of President Morsi was basically to say people should rally against the video. It was only later, after he got reprimanded by President Obama, that he basically accepted the fact that nobody should be getting attacked…

The ever intrepid Pepe Escobar further elaborates…

Brother Obama, where art thou?

MENA (Middle East/North Africa) is on fire. The diffuse rage – even if manifested by a tiny minority – is distinctly anti-American. Protests in Cairo have reached Sanaa in Yemen and even Bangladesh. The administration of US President Barack Obama is perplexed beyond belief. There will be revenge. What’s really going on? {…}

Another way to put it is that “liberated” Libya is now warlord country. Home of vendettas in the desert and tribal pogroms against other tribes – and even whole towns.

The Salafi-jihadis – with whom Washington, London and Paris were unashamedly in bed during their humanitarian bombing campaign – are based in Cyrenaica, eastern Libya. Some have come from Iraq. Some are shuttling back and forth to and from Syria, aiming to destroy yet one more secular Arab republic. {…}

The (disintegrated) police and army of “liberated” Libya could not possibly face them down. Local tribes don’t care. Salafi-jihadis have been attacking Sufi mosques and tombs; Sufi Islam is infinitely more moderate – and intellectually sophisticated – compared with medieval Wahhabism… {…}

Egypt is a much tougher, nuanced proposition – because it’s the model for the uneasy Washington-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) love affair, with the US betting on moderate Islamists as provisional substitutes of friendly dictators of the Hosni Mubarak kind. A complicating factor is that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is in direct competition with local Salafis – who got 25% in the congressional elections. So the MB won’t be very forceful in denouncing them – even though they are hated by the Salafis.
Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

The Fog of War…

7:37 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

We giving all gained all.
Neither lament us nor praise.
Only in all things recall,
It is fear, not death that slays.

From little towns in a far land we came,
To save our honour and a world aflame.
By little towns in a far land we sleep;
And trust that world we won for you to keep.

~ Rudyard Kipling

Ya’ll should of ascertained by now, my stance on this Syrian Fiasco, and the steady drumbeat of ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran’, by now…!

As the ever intrepid, Pepe Escobar opined recently…

Got war if you want it

…Nobel Prize winner and Drone Godfather Obama has been busy “justifying the ‘just war’ theories of Christian philosophers”, as Ray McGovern graphically put it – and as attested by the New York Times orgasmically promoting its piece “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will’…

Panetta regurgitated the same old fallacy perpetrated ad infinitum, since at least 2006, by the neo-cons, the Israel lobby and US corporate media, according to which Iran is about to build a nuclear bomb like … tomorrow. “We will do everything we can to prevent Iran from developing a weapon”, Panetta said. Once again, it doesn’t matter that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, plus 17 US intelligence agencies have stressed this is not the case…

By the way, Iran’s Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani said that Tehran has already activated an alternative payment clearing system to SWIFT – thus foiling another vector of Washington’s relentless economic war. What this means is that Iran, BRICS members Russia, India and China, plus Iran’s trading partners in the developing world are moving one step beyond in their flight from the US dollar as global reserve currency.

Sanction me baby one more time

Even in the – unlikely – possibility that the leadership in Tehran suddenly decided to stop all uranium enrichment, and kill the whole nuclear program on the spot, Iran would still be under US sanctions. The sanctions have practically nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program. It’s all about regime change…

…Into this mire of wishful thinking steps Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. He told CNN on Monday, “the military option should be considered”. Oops, but that refers to that other war in the making – in Syria. General Dempsey said he would prefer for the “international community” to effect regime change in Syria, but – just in case – the Pentagon is ready to pounce (“Of course, we always have to provide military options.”) The NATO/GCC compound is barely containing its shrieks of joy.

So what’s it all about, Barack? So many wars to choose, so little time till Re-election Day.

Emptywheel expanded on the great ‘Deciderer’, today…

…I suppose I’ll eventually get around to discussing how the series of condoned leaks portraying President Obama as the Deciderer all rest on the pathetic but true fact that he is only borrowing George Bush’s claim to that title.

…With cyberwar, with drones, and (to a lesser extent) with the embrace of the terrorists’ transnational methods to fight terrorists, Obama has crossed into uncharted territory of the sort Wills explored in his book, Bomb Power. These changes are likely a step beyond the Bomb Power paradigm, whatever that entails.

Yet Obama has only barely begun to think through the ramifications of these tools. He has, instead, focused on the near and overblown threats of Iran and AQAP, not seeing both the strategic implications of even those choices, much less the implications of the sort Wills describes arose in the wake of our use of a nuclear bomb.

The President has embraced waging extralegal war using drones from the Oval Office. The President has embraced using easily manipulable code to wage physical war. What are the implications of these decisions? {snip}

…At this level, then, this story displays the height of the Bomb Power President’s abuse of information asymmetry, permitting selected people to spread the same secrets that are criminalized from others.

But the larger tale–particularly the escape of StuxNet and its subsequent exposure–shows the lie of this arrogance. The Chinese, certainly, can take what they want. Bradley Manning allegedly can take what he wants too. And unless the code is perfect, and unless the Israelis refrain from toying with the code, eventually the code, the Bomb Power itself, will become available.

Obama’s foolish embrace of these new technologies without considering the larger impact may lead to the decline of the Bomb Power President–of Presidents, generally. It may lead to something far more fearful.

But one thing is clear: he didn’t really stop to think about all that before he set free his zoo animal.

Even b at MOA expanded on the grand ‘Decider’ thesis…

Obama – The Detail Decider Lacks Strategic Foresight

…Like the shiny object of kill lists today’s revelations about Stuxnet are likely only a diversion from much bigger rogue cyberwar activities, like that huge Flame virus, various U.S. services are running. But unlike global drone killer capabilities, which do need lots of physical resources, cyber capabilities are available to all actors and the cyber realm is a much more leveled playing field.

But back to the Obama campaign. I do not believe that Obama is personally involved in various program details, authorizing every next step, as much as portrait in the NYT piece. After such a program is once launched there is no need for him of being involved at all and playing golf is much more fun than sitting in conferences. The campaign may well be effective in portraying Obama as The Decider daily involved in keeping U.S. safe. But what it really portraits is an Obama who is fixated on tactical level operations which at the same time generate serious strategic set backs.

What is the use of a Decider when he lacks strategic foresight?

Speaking of CNN, it’s interesting to see how Panetta’s words were spun today… Panetta: No unilateral U.S. military action likely in Syria…

Now, let’s look at what’s really transpiring abroad… Talks only way out in Syria: Merkel, Putin, and, then later today; Putin, Hollande See Differences on Syria Sanction…

Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Friday stressed the necessity of full implementation of UN resolution and Kofi Annan’s plan, but saw sanctions against Syria in different ways.

“Mr. Annan is a man of great experience and an honest man, and we must do everything we can to make sure his mission is successful. I believe it is counterproductive to say his mission is a failure in advance,” Putin told reporters at a joint press conference with Hollande after the two leader met on Friday night to find solution for Syia crisis.

However, the Russian president said imposing sanctions on the Syrian regime must be debated within the United Nations Security Council.

Putin admitted the possibility of the breakout of a civil war in the Middle-East country.

“The most important thing we need to do is to prevent the situation from developing under the worst scenario and not let a civil war take place,” he said, noting that consultation and more efforts are needed “to solve, via political means, the problems we faced.”

“We propose to act in an accurate, balanced manner… in Syria,” he suggested.

Hollande, on his part, refused to rule out military intervention in solving crisis in Syria.

Recognizing “the risk of destabilization, the risks of civil war” in Syria, the French President insisted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure was a “prerequisite for a political transition” in Syria

C’mon now, let’s get real…

Iran/P5+1 talks could ‘end in tears’ – Bluster, propaganda, media leaks on the rise

Faltering nuclear talks between Iran and world powers could hit a make-or-break point in their next round in Moscow, with both sides digging in and maneuvering for elusive advantage, analysts and diplomats say. Bluster, propaganda, media leaks and official declarations have all noticeably sharpened in the past week by both sides. The rhetorical duel has become so serious that some fear the showdown has the potential to tip from diplomacy to military action.

“As both sides escalate for leverage, the reality is that neither side has gained an upper hand,” an Iran specialist at the National Iranian American Council, Reza Marashi, wrote in a piece published by a website, The National Interest. “Both sides are nearing a critical point at which delaying the inevitable choice between military action and compromise is no longer tenable,” Marashi wrote. One Western diplomat in the P5+1 group of world powers engaging Iran confessed to AFP, on condition of anonymity: “I increasingly struggle to see a way where this doesn’t end in tears.”

Both the United States and its ally Israel-Iran’s arch-foe, and the Middle East’s sole, if undeclared, nuclear weapons state-have warned they are keeping the option of air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. The June 18-19 talks due to be held in Moscow, then, are seen as crucial. “We don’t intend on continuing talks for talks’ sake. The window (for diplomacy) is closing,” the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told a Tel Aviv security conference on Wednesday. The last negotiations, held in Baghdad on May 23-24, exposed a gulf between the two sides’ positions that looked almost unbridgeable, and nearly caused the talks to collapse…

About those illegal sanctions on Iran… ‘Crowing’ About Iran Sanctions Should Stop…

I’m surprised that the Grey Lady had actually published the official Iranian response to the noise, today…

Re “Negotiations With Iran Conclude Fruitlessly” (news article, May 25):

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has unambiguously recognized “the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,” which covers all areas of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including the inalienable right to develop a full national fuel cycle.

Each party has the sovereign right to define its national energy policies in accordance with its national requirements. Iran is fully committed to its obligations under the treaty and is firmly determined to exercise its rights. In future talks, Iran will continue to insist on all its rights for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including a full national fuel cycle. As pressure exerted by some Western countries against Iran has failed to bear results, we expect a positive and constructive approach regarding Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities.

Ha Ha, indeedy…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Whitewashing NATO on Libya, Next Stop Syria/Iran

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

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

Nato urged to investigate civilian deaths in Libya

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

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

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

Nato insists it took unprecedented care to minimise civilian casualties.

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

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

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

Disaster in Syria

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

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

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

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

Kosovo voices strong support for Syria opposition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alawite-Sunni fighting erupts in Lebanon port city

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran Exile Group Nears U.S. Rebirth

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

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

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

*gah*