You are browsing the archive for Philip Giraldi.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi

9:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”- Cpt. Renault

Several recent articles had caught my eye, and prodded me to look back on the real Benghazi clusterf*ck…! Here’s the first, from last week…

‘Arms smuggling to Syria’ From Benghazi When US Ambassador Was Killed

America has done its best to keep secret its role in supplying the Syrian rebels (terrorists of al-Qaeda), operating through proxies and front companies. It is this which makes Seymour Hersh’s article “The Red Line and The Rat Line: Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels” published last week in the London Review of Books, so interesting, The Independent reported on Sunday April 13.

A little-regarded theme of Hersh’s article is what the CIA called the rat line, the supply chain for the Syrian militants overseen by the US in covert cooperation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The information about this comes from a highly classified and hitherto secret annex to the report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee on the attack by Libyan militiamen on the US consulate in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.

The CIA has been subjecting operatives to monthly polygraph tests in an attempt to suppress details of a reported US arms smuggling operation in Benghazi that was in progress when American ambassador was killed by a mob in the city 2 year ago, according to reports.

Up to 35 CIA operatives were working in the city of Benghazi during the attack in September 2012 on the US consulate that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, according to CNN. {…}

Furthermore, the US’s Secretary of State John Kerry and its UN ambassador, Samantha Power had been pushing for more assistance to be given to the Syrian militants. This is despite strong evidence that the so called “Syrian rebels” or “Syrian opposition” are, more than ever, dominated by extremists similar in their beliefs and methods to al-Qaeda. The recent attack by militant forces on Armenian and Alawites villages in Lattakia, northern Syria, which initially had a measure of success, was led by Chechen and Moroccan extremist groups.

Here’s another one from yesterday…

Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier…

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’ {…}

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’
the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’

‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.

‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.

Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.

‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’

And then today, Philip Giraldi wrote this excellent exposé…

Turkey Cooks the Books in Syria

The reality is that numerous former intelligence officials, like myself, have long known most of the story surrounding the on-again off-again intervention by the United States and others in Syria, but what was needed was a Sy Hersh, with his unmatched range of contacts deep in both the Pentagon as well as at CIA and State Department, to stitch it all together with corroboration from multiple sources. In a sense it was a secret that wasn’t really very well hidden but which the mainstream media wouldn’t touch with a barge pole because it revealed that the Obama Administration, just like the Bushies who preceded it, has been actively though clandestinely conspiring to overthrow yet another government in the Middle East. One might well conclude that the White House is like the Bourbon Kings of France in that it never forgets anything but never learns anything either…

Critics of Hersh claim that the Turks would be incapable of carrying out such a grand subterfuge, but I would argue that putting together some technicians, chemicals, and a couple of trucks to carry the load are well within the capability of MIT, an organization that I have worked with and whose abilities I respect. And one must regard with dismay the “tangled webs we weave,” with due credit to Bobby Burns, for what has subsequently evolved in Syria. Allies like Turkey that are willing to cook the books to bring about military action are exploiting the uncertainty of a White House that continues to search for foreign policy successes while simultaneously being unable to define any genuine American interests. Syria is far from an innocent in the ensuing mayhem, but it has become the fall guy for a whole series of failed policies. Turkey meanwhile has exploited the confusion to clamp down on dissent and to institutionalize Erdogan’s authoritarian inclinations. Ten years of American-licensed meddling combined with obliviousness to possible consequences has led to in excess of 100,000 dead Syrians and the introduction of large terrorist infrastructures into the Arab heartland, yet another foreign policy disaster in the making with no clear way out.

Now, in looking back upon some of my old stuff, I found this excellent comment from an old friend in a comment on my A Fact Check on our Failed Foreign Policy

And, why is it that when you search the DoS website to locate the Benghazi ‘diplomatic mission’, you won’t find it…?

Because it wasn’t a diplomatic outpost, it wasn’t a consular facility or office, nor did it come under the commercial attaché it was a CIA station. Which is why it was attacked.

I don’t agree with your title. There’s nothing even slightly failed about American foreign policy. They’re managing to start all the wars they and their Zionist front-men in Israel want to start.

mfi

In wrapping up, I still stand solidly behind what I’d reported way back when… ‘Intervention – Disaster For Libyans’

What a wicked web…! *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Folie à deux!

4:00 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Isn’t it strange that Al Qaeda has never struck inside of Israel, nor the House of Saud for that matter…

Folie à deux! – Madness shared by two

Pardon my French, but it is sometimes the right language in which to express things. Folie à deux!

Yes, folie à deux which is a madness or psychosis shared by two people. Think of two people believing themselves to be omnipotent (perhaps as a King and Queen who act capriciously and despise their subjects) and you will have some understanding of the madness. Needless to say, the madness invariably ends in some form of destruction.

In this case, however, the folie is not that shared by two individuals but by two regimes. Or rather, two entities both of which have no true legitimacy, but only an existence which comes from force instead of widespread consent. In both cases, the crux of the matter is the lack of legitimacy.

One of them is Israel, a racist, arrogant entity, embarked on a creeping genocide of the Palestinians, intent on expansion into the lands of others and which wants to attack Iran.

The other is Saudi Arabia, a gruesome, totalitarian, sectarian entity which thinks that it has something (Takfiri Wahhabism) that is welcomed in the lands of others (which, in reality, is nothing but a foul smell) and which also wants to attack Iran.

Both entities think that they are God’s gift to the human race and are in the last stages of hubris…

‘The folie à deux is then compounded by their belief that the USA will come in on their side because, at the moment, there is no doubt that there is a partnership, indeed, an Axis of Evil, consisting of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USA.’

In the case of Israel, the Zionists have absolute control of the American political process with the politicians, even after the recent international agreement with Iran, determined to impose more and more sanctions. On top of that are the fifty to sixty million demented Christian Zionists who actually want a full-scale war in the Middle East – they want this because they think that such a war is the prelude to their being wafted up to Heaven.

Please ‘Rapture’ them already…!

Anyways… I must say that I was surprised by this completely empty gesture from Bibi…

Netanyahu puts settlement construction plans on hold until after Kerry visit

A senior official in Jerusalem says the prime minister asked the housing minister to delay publication of tenders for new West Bank homes; ‘nobody wants to stick a finger in Kerry’s eye,’ he says.

Kerry will arrive in Israel on Thursday for a series of meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to continue efforts at drafting the ‘framework agreement’ for peace talks, which the U.S. hopes to present by the end of the month.

The secretary of state will stay in the region until Sunday, at least, and is likely to extend his visit by a few extra days.

Netanyahu announced last week that he planned to publish the new tenders after the third stage of the Palestinian prisoner release, which was carried out on Monday night. Tenders for construction were published after each of the first two stages of the prisoner release.

Although the number of units and location of construction were leaked unofficially to the public, the actual contracting tenders have not yet been published on the Housing Ministry website or in the media.

A senior official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu and Ariel have an understanding that the tenders will be published after Kerry’s visit: ‘Nobody has an intention of sticking a finger in Kerry’s eye,’ said the official. ‘On this matter, there is full coordination between the prime minister and the housing minister.’

Hmm, it’s never seemed to bother Bibi before…!

Naturally… Israel lawmakers appeal to Obama for spy’s release.

So, let’s look at what else is on Bibi’s plate… Israel Ready to Invade Gaza. Planned Attack Would “Exact a Heavy Toll”

Could another Cast Lead be used as a distraction…?

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bibi, Karzai, and, the P5+1

1:45 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Mere hours after the ink dried on that Security Pact, in which Kerry assured… No combat role for US forces in Afghanistan, Karzai threw a hard fastball right under Kerry’s voluminous jowls…

United States gives Afghanistan year-end deadline for crucial security deal

Karzai’s surprise move, which came just a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the pact’s language had been agreed upon, suddenly threw its future into question and seemed certain to reignite tensions with Washington.

…In a statement certain to irritate the United States, which is eager to clinch the deal as soon as possible, Karzai told the assembly any agreement on the status of U.S. forces would have to wait until after a presidential election in April.

“This pact should be signed when the election has already taken place, properly and with dignity,” Karzai, who cannot run in the 2014 vote under the constitution, told the elders…

A senior Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Karzai intended to leave the pact unsigned until he is sure the international community will not interfere in the election. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, confirmed that, adding that the grand assembly and parliament also had to approve the pact.

“Once we are assured of peace and security, and transparent elections, then President Karzai will sign this pact after the election if this is approved by the Loya Jirga and passed by the parliament,” Faizi said.

He did not explain how Karzai intended to sign the document after a new president had been elected.

Karzai has appeared wary of being too closely associated with the security agreement, which would formally invite foreign forces to stay in Afghanistan.

“President Karzai just doesn’t want to own the agreement,” said Kate Clark of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network think tank. “He kept handing the responsibility for agreeing or not agreeing to the agreement to the people in the hall, to the delegates of the Loya Jirga.”

Once a weasel politician, always a politician…! Speaking of which…

Obama Promises To Respect ‘Dignity’ of Afghans If U.S. Troops Stay

President promises U.S. troops won’t enter Afghan homes except under ‘extraordinary circumstances’

President Barack Obama sent a letter to President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday, striking an empathetic and diplomatic note about how American troops will conduct themselves in Afghanistan, as the two countries near an agreement for a continuing U.S. presence there.

In the days before the U.S. and Afghanistan agreed on language for a bilateral agreement to keep U.S. troops in the country for at least another decade, there were reports that the Afghan government would demand an apology for the suffering of the Afghan people during military operations. Obama’s letter stopped short of that, but promised to treat Afghans with “dignity.”

“Over time, and especially in the recent past, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that Afghan homes are respected by our forces and that our operations are conducted consistent with your law,” Obama said in his letter(6pg PDF), which was posted on the Afghan government’s website. “We will continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and daily lives, just as we do for our own citizens.”

Obama promised that under the new agreement, U.S. forces would not enter Afghan homes for military operations, except under “extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of U.S. nationals.” One of the chief complaints among Afghans has been the practice of “night raids” where coalition troops enter homes in the middle of the night searching for suspected insurgents.

Now, if y’all believe that, I’ve got a slighty used bridge for sale, real cheap…!

Let’s look at what the WH had to say about it, Stateside…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Friday News Dump

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Shir Hever makes abundantly clear in that clip, the I/P Peace Farce is nothing but a charade…! Now, I swear it’s Déjà vu, all over again, as I wrote back when Hillary was the SoS… The Fork Is Stuck In The Peace Farce’s Dead Carcass In reflecting back on that golden oldie, and but for a few personnel changes, much of it reflects exactly what’s happening today…!

However, one of those characters I’d cited, Tzipi Livni, has certainly roiled the waters recently…

Tzipi Livni claims she had sex with two Palestinian figures, Erekat and Abed Rabbo and threatens them with video proof

The chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said this week that she has had sex with the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority in the peace negotiations with Israel, Saeb Erekat and the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation(PLO) Yasser Abed Rabbo.

Livni’s sexual misdemeanours have been the fodder of the political Arab rumour mill for years, but until now, what the foxy Israeli politician got up to behind closed doors was all guess work.

Lebanese newspaper Al Diyyar broke the story earlier this week that the Knesset Beauty had publicy stated that she and the chief Rabbi of Israel had decided that “It was ok for her to sleep and have sex with strangers, as long as it benefits Israel”.

According to Al Diyyar, Livni said :“The room where I had sex with Palestinian figures as Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo was equipped with cameras.”

She also confirmed that the videos show Palestinian officials, nude, having sex with her.

Livni is now threatening a number of Arab figures to post these shot videos on YouTube if they do not execute what she orders them.

That seemingly paints those Palestinian Negotiators into the same pathetic corner, as Abu Mazen’s complete cop-out throughout the Peace Farce, as the Palestine Papers have made so abundantly clear…!

So anyways, there’s a ton more of MENA news and views to cover…

An optimistic Arabic article…

‘A nuclear deal in sight for Iran at Geneva talks’

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi says an initial nuclear deal is likely to be reached on Iran’s nuclear program after a planned meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.

“I’m a bit optimistic,” Araqchi told reporters after the first day of talks between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany.

The hoped-for agreement — seen as a first step ahead of further talks on a final deal — could see Tehran to decide about changes on the dimension of its nuclear activities for as long as six months in exchange for some relief from the Western sanctions.

However the administration of US President Barack Obama says it is “premature” to criticize a deal being discussed in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

“There is not an agreement at this point,” John Kerry told reporters shortly after arriving in Geneva Friday to help seal what is hoped to be a landmark deal with Tehran.

Kerry, who broke off a Middle East tour to join the ongoing negotiations in the Swiss city, stressed that “there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved.”

In addition to Kerry, the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany also arrived Friday following last-minute announcements they would join the talks.

As Bloomberg wrote today…

Iran Accord Seen Near as Top Diplomats Flock to Geneva

World powers are sending their top diplomats to Geneva for an unscheduled third day of talks with Iran, signaling a possible agreement to break the decade-long stalemate over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers are due to join their French, German, U.K. and U.S. counterparts today in the Swiss city, where negotiators have been seeking for the past two days to complete an initial accord.

“Foreign ministers don’t show up to be embarrassed,” said Jim Walsh, a security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who has traveled to Iran for talks with nuclear officials. “They’re in town because they’re close enough to a deal to come.”

Naturally, the PePs, and Neo/Ziocons are completely freaking out, from today’s WSJ…

Emerging Iran Deal Brings Jitters to Washington

As Secretary of State John Kerry and European foreign ministers met Friday with Iranian officials to finalize a deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions, legislators back home weighed in on the possibility of a deal.

Several members of Congress blasted the administration for being too open to what they consider a substandard deal that doesn’t require Iran to fully suspend its uranium enrichment programs. {…}

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers were concerned about the deal emerging in Geneva, which would have Iran roll back its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. Negotiators emphasized Friday that important details remained unresolved.

“If Iran intends to show good faith during these talks, it must at a minimum abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for a halt to enrichment, and it is my hope that we achieve much more,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.) in a statement Friday. “I forcefully reject any notion that Iran has a ‘right’ to enrichment, a view which the administration has publicly articulated on numerous occasions.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) called the deal being pursued “terrible” and said it would endanger the country.

To put it all into it’s proper perspective, on why on earth, Rep. Engel and Sen. Cruz should happen to be on the same page, Philip Giraldi, penned another awesome essay, yesterday…

Israel and You and Me

What’s in it for us, Mr. President?

If the United States fails to take advantage of the opportunity to come to terms with Iran over its nuclear program it will be because of pressure from Israel. If the unthinkable happens and Washington actually attacks Iran, initiating another major war that will have far reaching and possibly disastrous consequences, it will likewise be because of Israel. Folks in the progressive media who find that fact unpalatable or, quite frankly scary, tend to attribute the White House’s inability to articulate a more benign and responsible foreign policy that would serve true national interests to other factors, including imperialism, capitalism, the military industrial state and misguided humanitarianism, but they are possibly deliberately missing the point. Imperialism and capitalism do not explain Syria, nor does the increasingly militarized American national security state, witness the fact that the Pentagon knows its limitations and is actually reluctant to get more involved anywhere in the Middle East. {…}

All of the above is intended to demonstrate that what passes for United States national interests have been manipulated and distorted, so much so that they have little or nothing to do with reality. Where is the “you” and “me” in what the White House is doing? We Americans have an interest in peace and prosperity but instead the president sits down with five heads of organizations who only want war on behalf of a foreign land, with more American soldiers likely dying for nothing as a result as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. And there is domestic blowback that comes part and parcel with the fractured foreign policy: homeland security in the United States is a response to the international terrorism that has plagued our country in large part because of Washington’s uncritical support of Israel. Our national security state not surprisingly incorporates many Israeli practices as America becomes more and more like Israel, not vice versa. And Washington pays for making us “safe” on a credit card, as the economy sinks and burns…

Now, moving along to other blockbuster news… Following hot on the heels of the recent Turkish, seismic shift… Turkey’s shift to China instead of NATO Egypt, seemingly, is working on a very similar Arms Deal with Russia…!

Egypt Eyes $4Bln Arms Deal With Russia

Egypt is considering spending up to $4 billion on advanced weaponry from Russia following the partial suspension of military aid and equipment deliveries from the United States, a Palestinian online newspaper said Thursday.

According to Donia Al-Watan, Moscow has offered Cairo “a historic deal giving Egypt an option to buy the most advanced weaponry without any restrictions.”

To be sure… Russian Defense, Foreign Ministers to Visit Egypt

In more news, the constant rants from the infamous Moustache of Fury, amongst numerous others, in Geneva today… US loses Unesco voting rights after stopping funds over Palestine decision along with Israel…!

Ironically, on Twitter’s big IPO, Bibi, had declared… Netanyahu launches ‘Real face of Iran’ Twitter campaign against Khamenei

Funny thing tho, today… Our negotiators are not ‘compromisers,’ Khamenei tweets Oh Snap…!

Meanwhile, Obama calls Netanyahu amid Israel fury at proposed Iran deal…!

Stay tuned…! *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Rand Paul, the Peace Farce, and, Egypt

4:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Well, that was certainly quick…

Christie slams Paul as “dangerous”

Paul’s war with the neoconservative wing of the GOP explodes in the first volley of the 2016 campaign

…Speaking at a panel of GOP governors in Aspen, Colorado, Christie said the “strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought.

Asked if he was specifically alluding to Paul, Christie responded, “You can name any number of people and he’s one of them.” He continued: “These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans [of the 9/11 attacks] and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.”

Team Paul heard fighting words, and Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s closest advisers, told the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin, “If Governor Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is ‘esoteric,’ he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years.” Stafford even invoked the lyrics of Christie’s beloved Bruce Springsteen in firing back.

It’s one of the first volleys of the 2016 GOP primary from two candidates who are widely expected to lead the pack, but it also underscores an apparent effort by some Republicans and conservatives with more muscular foreign policy views to disqualify Paul from the race before he even enters…

It is that singular ‘strain of Libertarianism’ that I subscribe to within either party…! However, on the Libertarian domestic policies, outside of the National Security apparatchik, I flatly reject their basic tenets…!

Now, ironically, at that very same Aspen confab that Christie had lashed out at Rand Paul…

Ex-US general: We pay a price for backing Israel

Slamming settlements, James Mattis, former commander of CentCom, tells crowd in Aspen that moderate Arabs are forced to hide support for America…

“I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians,” he said Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in response to a question about the peace process. {…}

He called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” and blamed the settlements for harming prospects for peace. The chances for an accord between Israel and the Palestinians, said Mattis, “are starting to ebb because the settlements and where they’re at are going to make it impossible to maintain the two state solution.”

Mattis then described a hypothetical in which 500 Jewish settlers live among 10,000 Arabs, and the implications of where Israel draws the border. He called it a choice between giving up the idea of a Jewish state or becoming an apartheid state.

He then returned to the idea of the cost of lack of progress in peace talks, arguing that it “shortstops a lot of support for us because all politics are local… And I would just tell you that they can’t come out in support of us if we don’t see some progress where Secretary [of State John] Kerry is wisely focused like a laser beam right now.”

As the former CIA MENA bureau chief, Philip Giraldi wrote recently… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bye-Bye Sykes-Picot, Game-Changers, and, Tiddlywinks

5:05 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had recently raised the topic of redrawing the borders of Syria and/or the Middle East…

An opening emerges for Syria talks

…Here, American diplomatic pressure will be crucial. To empower Idriss, the United States may expand its current training and nonlethal assistance to include supplying weapons — even as its real hopes remain with a negotiated peace deal backed by Russia.

For Russia, the Syrian endgame offers a test of President Vladimir Putin’s sincerity and his clout. He regally left the details to Lavrov Tuesday, after keeping Kerry waiting three hours.

This lèse-majesté may impress Russians, but it won’t get the job done on Syria. If Putin has finally come to understand that Russia would potentially suffer most from the dissolution of the 1916 Sykes-Picot boundaries in the Middle East, then he will have to put his personal political energy behind the deal, rather than making a handoff to Lavrov.

The extremists also get a vote in this process, unfortunately. Hard-liners within Assad’s camp could step up their use of chemical weapons, hoping to set off a regional bonfire. Sunni jihadists could slaughter Alawites, in revenge for past attacks but also to torpedo a peace deal. Hezbollah and Iran could decide that their interests would be so harmed by Assad’s removal that they would rather torch Syria and take their chances. And Israel could continue its recent attacks, drawing Arab reprisals.

There are many ways this peace initiative could fail, but at least it has begun.

Honestly, do take a gander at what the Sykes–Picot Agreement is all about…!

Now, let’s look at recent developments from ‘on the ground’… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Jabhat al-Nusra, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Our Failed FP

3:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Somehow, I’d missed this earlier, most excellent post from Emptywheel… The Perils of “Strategic Messaging” And even ex-CIA Philip Giraldi had piled on yesterday… Failed by the Fourth Estate

Honestly, I think it’s far past time for some real Humility Now!

…Look, I was on the team after 9/11 that analyzed whether there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and I was the chief targeting officer charged with following Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The war in Iraq provided al Qaeda with a new front for its struggle with the West. After the invasion, Zarqawi — the man who would lead al Qaeda in Iraq — pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and, consequently, money and weapons flowed into the country. The United States didn’t “face down” al Qaeda in Iraq; it inadvertently helped Zarqawi evolve from a lone extremist with a loose network to a charismatic leader of al Qaeda. By extension, it would be safe to say that the al Qaeda in Iraq affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, exists because of the Iraq invasion, and likely would find new authority and power if the United States made Syria the next front for the global jihadist movement.

Finally, Diehl misinterprets the outcome of the Iraq War by arguing that “U.S. influence in the Middle East remained strong.” A year after the Iraq War, Pew conducted a survey that revealed the “vast majorities in predominantly Muslim countries continue to hold unfavorable opinions of the U.S.” Our influence has been further undercut by the fact that we are broke and our political system is dysfunctional. The U.S. government is currently operating under sequestration, struggling to fund some of the basic needs for places like Syria. It could still employ superior military power in Syria, but 10 years of war have taken a toll on its troops and materiel… And the Iraq War also left the American people wary of military engagements — and they are the ones who will pay the bills in money and in lives.

The argument that unleashing the U.S. military industrial complex can bring about desired results during a conflict should have been deflated, beaten, and buried by now. The winner of the Iraq War was humility, and it is a prerequisite for a wiser foreign policy. That’s the only lesson that matters.

Iraqi intelligence says Syrian and Iraqi Islamic extremist groups ramping up cooperation…

Funny how even ‘Benghazi, Benghazi’ Faux Spew gets it…

Video appears to show world’s most powerful rifle in hands of Syrian rebels

…“The video, showing jihadist rebels of the ‘Descendents of the Prophet Brigade’ firing one of the world’s most effective sniper rifles, should be cause for alarm,” said David Reaboi, of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy. “We don’t know who has been supplying this group (or the myriad others) with these weapons but, given the jihadist ideology of these groups, it’s only a matter of time until they’re turned on Americans or our allies and interests.”

“We’re unsure of how many they have,” Reaboi said. “Equally troubling, of course, is the training ground of the Syrian civil war itself; like the conflict in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we will be facing tested veteran jihadist fighters who don’t just leave the war when the one battle is over. I’m afraid we or our allies will have to face them shortly, and with exceedingly lethal weapons.”

Speaking of Benghazi… A Libyan Report Card…

…By these standards, many states in the world are weak. And Libya has gone from being a tyrannical state to being barely a state at all.

Given the calls for intervention in Syria, let’s consider Libya, where a modest intervention was tried… …Toppling an evil regime or stopping a war is a profoundly moral act. But taking moral responsibility for what happens next in a country is the hard part. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 18 years after the U.S.-led intervention and the Dayton Peace Accords, is a nasty, dysfunctional state. And Bosnia-Herzegovina has advantages that Libya and Syria simply do not have. It is next-door to the European Union and has a modern history of relatively strong institutional structures compared to much of the Middle East. Bosnia was in a relatively developed part of the Ottoman Empire; Libya and Syria were in much less developed parts. But because Washington tends to overestimate its own significance in terms of its ability to alter distant societies, the following pattern will continue to emerge: a terrible war resulting in calls for humanitarian intervention, an intervention in some cases, always followed by a blame game inside the Washington Beltway after the country has slipped back into tyranny or anarchy.

Meanwhile, here is a probability: Libya’s relatively short history as a strong state is over. It will go on and on as a dangerous and weakly governed area between Tunisia and Egypt. Its considerable oil resources can internally generate revenue for armed groups and politicians both…

Oh Joy… Obama to Host Leaders from Turkey, Jordan, Gulf States…

…President Barack Obama plans some intense Mideast diplomacy this month and next, welcoming leaders of Turkey, Jordan and two Gulf states for Oval Office talks on Syria and broader developments in the Mideast…

…The White House said talks will include Syria and counterterrorism cooperation, and underscore the strategic relationship between the U.S. and Turkey as NATO allies…

Asked if the visits are part of efforts to coordinate assistance to Syrian opposition forces, White House press secretary Jay Carney avoided an answer, keeping to the general description provided of the purpose of the visits.

“There are obviously a number of issues for these leaders and the president to discuss, including Syria, including his recent visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, including the broader developments in the Arab Spring so he looks forward to these visits and they reflect his commitment and interest in the region and in our policies toward the region,” Carney said…

Meanwhile… Assad to world: Be careful what you wish for…

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned in comments broadcast on Friday that the fall of his regime would produce a “domino effect” that would destabilise the region “for many years”

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, BRICs, Syria, And The Third Intifada?

5:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Speaking of War Clubs, on the eve of AIPAC’s annual Confab in DC, ex-AIPAC’er, MJ Rosenberg goes off…

…At one time I wouldn’t have believed AIPAC would dare try something this nervy.That is it because traditionally AIPAC has been very cautious about not taking actions that suggested putting Israel’s interests over America’s. Demanding that Israel be exempt from cuts that virtually every American will feel seems so counterproductive as to almost be suicidal for the lobbying powerhouse.

Nonetheless, everything I hear indicates that Bloomfield is right although I doubt AIPAC will have the gall to insist on insulating AIPAC from the cuts that will occur in this year’s budget. More likely, it will wait until Congress is putting the 2014 cuts in place (there is more Congressional discretion in allotting the pain after 2013) before demanding not just that Israel go to the head of the line but that it not be forced to stand in the line at all.

No matter when Israel is exempted, and by how much, it is wrong and would represent nothing more than another power play by the lobby. After all, a cut of $175 million out of a $3 billion U.S. grant is nothing that Israel can’t handle. Besides, since when is any foreign aid gift automatic, so automatic that it is provided whether the donor can afford it or not. Even teenagers don’t demand a car when his parents are filing for bankruptcy. Additionally, if aid to Israel (the largest chunk of the foreign aid budget) is protected, mandated sequestration cuts will have to be proportionately increased on other recipients, primarily African countries which receive much needed development assistance (hunger, poverty, disease prevention) .

But that’s AIPAC or, to use the more encompassing term, the Israel lobby…

Now, ex-CIA Philip Giraldi, asks the burning question on Syria…

Who’s Turning Syria’s Civil War Into a Jihad?

The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict—but Salafism and anarchy may be the big winners…

…Perhaps even more important, people in Washington should have also been asking why Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted to overthrow al-Assad and what kind of government they had in mind to replace him. Saudi Arabia’s rival as regional hegemon, Iran, is viewed in Riyadh as ascendant due to the rise to power of a friendly Shia regime in Iraq as a result of the American invasion and regime change. This has permitted the development of a geographically contiguous Arab bloc closely tied to Tehran and its regional interests, running through Iraq, across Syria, and connecting with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. To break up that de facto coalition, the Saudis, who see Syria as the weak link in the chain, have sought to replace Assad’s Alawite-led government with a Sunni regime. But there is also a second agenda. Because the ruling minority Alawites are considered to be heretics similar to Shi’ites, a change in religious orientation would be necessary, with the Saudis serving as protectors of the Sunni majority. The Riyadh-backed Sunni regime would of course be expected to conform with the particularly Saudi view of proper religious deportment—the extremely conservative Wahhabism that prevails in the Kingdom, which is closer to the views of the more radical insurgents while hostile to the secularists. It would also make the country’s significant numbers of Christians, Alawites, Shi’ites, and Kurds potential victims of the arrangement.

All of which means that the Saudis and their allies Qatar believe in change in Syria, but on their own terms, and they actually oppose enabling a populist or democratic evolution. In fact, Riyadh has been actively engaged regionally in doing what it can to contain the unrest resulting from the Arab Spring so that the populism does not become untidy and spill over into Saudi Arabia itself. This has meant that from the beginning Saudi and Qatari objectives in Syria have differed from the goals of either Turkey or the Western powers, which should have been seen as a recipe for disaster…

Btw, Syria’s Assad ‘will take part’ in 2014 presidential poll…

Talking about real War Criminals, isn’t this rather rich…? Somalia Asks Kerry for Immunity for Alleged War Criminal in U.S…

Now, here’s an interesting take on the MENA miasma…

…US policy in the Middle East is undergoing a double change. Toward Syria, the posture is becoming noticeable harder. While senior analysts in the intelligence community continue to warn of potential chaos and bloodletting on a large scale in the event of a sudden collapse of the Assad regime, the deepening of the humanitarian crisis is moving the Administration toward more active support of the opposition. The supply of non-lethal aid that will allow the opposition to consolidate their positions in territory they hold is already underway. No decision is yet in place on whether this assistance will escalate to arms, but US officials tell us privately that this is the “logic of the situation.” Regarding Iran by contrast the Administration is adopting a softer approach. The package offered to Tehran at the 26th/27th P5+1 meeting in Almaty had less of the “take-it-or-leave” tone of previous offers. As an NSC official commented to us: “We are deliberately embarking on a process in which there is a prospect of genuine give and take.” This approach does not lack for critics either inside the national security community nor on Capitol Hill where Senators are pressing for a resolution that would bind the US to support Israel in the event of an attack on Iran by the latter. At the very least, President Obama is preparing for an “earful of criticism” when he visits Israel later this month. One argument he will employ is that by being tougher on Syria, he is also weakening Iran. However, with an important element of US naval forces delaying its deployment to the region for budgetary reasons, Obama is not looking for a pretext for war. With regard to China, the chronically unresolved dilemma in US policy between regarding China as a necessary partner on trade, finance and issues like North Korea or seeing it as a military competitor and threat to US allies is trending in the adversarial direction. Intelligence analysts see increased and more hostile patrolling by the Chinese navy in disputed waters of the South and East China Seas. The consensus is that tensions are on the rise for 2013, including over Tibet.

Ironically, it would seem that China is actively pursuing alternate Global trade and financial routes, apart from the Western MOTU’s, and denominated in Yuan…! China key to BRICS bank…!

Indeed, ‘May you live in interesting times’…

In summing up… The Third Intifada?

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: It Is All About Israel, The Grand Waffle, Pepe Escobar, And, Mali

7:21 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Philip Giraldi wrote recently…

It Is All About Israel

…While applauding the efforts of many Americans to pull out the stops in support the Hagel nomination, I would nevertheless argue that the attempt to identify some kind of rainbow coalition in the opposition to Hagel is pretty much a canard. It really is all about Israel, at least in the minds of most of those who seriously are seeking to block the nomination. Consider for a second whether Hagel would be facing any serious opposition at all if it were not for the claim that he is anti-Israel and not predisposed to use force against Iran. And bear in mind that Iran is really a subset of the Israel issue since it is Benjamin Netanyahu who is driving the belligerency even though the Iranians do not actually threaten the United States in any serious way…

…And for those who still doubt that it is all about Israel, I would suggest a little history lesson. In 2004 Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission, admitted that the Iraq war was fought to protect Israel, which he described as “the threat that dare not speak its name.” He meant that if there had not been the connivance of the Pentagon’s friends of Israel in creating a false weapons of mass destruction narrative coupled with the fulsome support of the Lobby a war on behalf of Israel would never have been endorsed by the American people. And it is also useful to review what happened to the last brave soul who dared to put American interests ahead of those of Israel. That was Chas Freeman who was proposed as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council during President Obama’s first term in 2009. Freeman had an exemplary record as a public servant and was known to be an independent thinker willing to reconsider and challenge orthodox policies. Freeman had served as Ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia and was regarded as something of an Arabist, which immediately made him suspect to the usual crowd in congress and the media. For that he was immediately attacked by Israel’s friends, in what was described as a “thunderous, coordinated assault.” The critics frequently pretended that they were actually opposing Freeman’s views on China and his close personal ties to the Saudis, just as Hagel is now being falsely pilloried because he lacks management experience and because his wartime service in Vietnam will color his judgments. But no one was really fooled regarding Chas Freeman – it was all about Israel. Freeman, realizing that the debate over his views would become a distraction, asked that his name be withdrawn…

Speaking of Chas Freeman, as Jim Lobe reported…


“Grand Waffle” in the Middle East

…The definitive failure of the decades-long American-sponsored “peace process” between Israelis, Palestinians, and other Arabs adds greatly to the uncertainty. Whether it yielded peace or not, the “peace process” made the United States the apparently indispensable partner for both Israel and the Arabs. It served dual political purposes. It enabled Arab governments to persuade their publics that maintaining good relations with the United States did not imply selling out Arab or Islamic interests in Palestine, and it supported the U.S. strategic objective of achieving acceptance for a Jewish state by the other states and peoples of the Middle East. Washington’s abandonment of this diplomacy was a boon to Israeli territorial expansion but a disaster for American influence in the region, including in Israel.

Over the years, America protected Israel from international rebuke and punishment. Its stated purpose was the preservation of prospects for a negotiated “two-state solution” that could bring security and peace to Israelis and Palestinians alike. A decade ago, every member of both the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation endorsed this objective and pledged normalization with Israel if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations succeeded. In response, Israel spun out its talks with the Palestinians while working hard to preclude their self-determination. It has now succeeded in doing so.

There has been no American-led peace process worthy of the name for nearly two decades. There is no prospect of such a process resuming. No one in the international community now accepts the pretense of a “peace process” as an excuse for American protection of Israel. Eleven years on, the Arab and Islamic peace offer has exceeded its shelf life. On the Israel-Palestine issue, American diplomacy has been running on fumes for some time. It is now totally out of gas and universally perceived to be going nowhere…

Of course, I had stuck a fork in the Peace Farce’s carcass a looong time ago…!

Now, I’ve been a long-time fan of Pepe’s and often cited his articles at the AsiaTimes, and/or, posted many of his interviews on Press TV, Real News, RT, etc…! So, I was pleasantly surprised to see another of my ‘Heroes’ citing Pepe…

Escobar on the Mali War

“The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States). Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.” Pepe Escobar

—————————

An excellent and informative article. I do not subscribe to the “knee jerk” Chomskyite economic determiist motivation that Escobar ascribes to the US and France, but, other than that, this is really “good stuff.” He also raises the question of why these particular Islamist revolutionaries are treated to a taste of the club while those in Syria are the heroes of Western elites. The answer is simple. Mali is far from Israel and the Israeli government foolishly wants Assad gone. pl

Now, I happen to disagree with the good Col’s dismissal of Pepe’s Chomskyite Economic Determinist motivation, simply because he’s been dead right…! You be the judge from this recent lengthy interview…

Btw, what’s up with all these Mystery flights of late…?

On a final note, The Wapoo is finally catching up on Libya…

Algerian hostage crisis throws spotlight on spillover of Libyan war

The hostage standoff at an Algerian gas field has thrown a fresh spotlight on the spillover unleashed by the 2011 war that toppled Moammar Gaddafi in Libya.

Experts say the vast quantities of weapons and fighters that streamed out of Gaddafi’s arsenals may have served as a catalyst for the region’s expanding crisis.

But the bold move on the gas complex near the Libyan border this week, coupled with the swift military successes of militants in Mali, have also raised questions about NATO’s handling of Libyan arsenals, as well as the country’s borders, during the eight-month revolution, in which the alliance assisted Libya’s rebel forces.

Some experts say that NATO forces and the U.S. government were so consumed by the threat of surface-to-air missiles in the wake of Gaddafi’s fall that they failed to halt the proliferation of the ordinary high-caliber weapons that may now be fueling Mali’s Islamist insurgency and could carry drastic implications for a region already reeling from lawlessness and a growing al-Qaeda threat. Some of those weapons have already reached Syria and the Gaza Strip…

What brilliant, f*cking Geniuses, eh…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

False Flags and Persian Fantasies

8:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Why does the Grey Lady continue to employ David Sanger, didn’t they learn anything from the sordid Judith Affair…? Of course, AIPAC stoolie, Ethan Bronner is just as bad…! Anyways, let the hatchet’s blade fall where it may…

Iran Offers Plan, Dismissed by U.S., on Nuclear Crisis

With harsh economic sanctions contributing to the first major protests in Iran in three years, Iranian officials have begun to describe what they call a “nine-step plan” to defuse the nuclear crisis with the West by gradually suspending the production of the uranium that would be easiest for them to convert into a nuclear weapon.

But the plan requires so many concessions by the West, starting with the dismantling of all the sanctions that are blocking oil sales and setting off the collapse of the Iranian currency, that American officials have dismissed it as unworkable. Nonetheless, Iranian officials used their visit to the United Nations last week to attempt to drum up support, indicating that the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is finally feeling the pressure.

“Within the intelligence community, I think it’s fair to say that there is split opinion about whether the upper level of the regime is getting seriously worried,” one senior intelligence official said when asked why the Iranians appeared to be backing away from their earlier stand that nothing would stop them from producing more medium-enriched uranium, which can be turned into bomb fuel in a matter of months.

“He’s erratic, and we’ve seen him walk up to the edge of deals before and walk away,” the official said, referring to Ayatollah Khamenei.” {…}

Obama administration officials say the deal is intended to generate headlines, but would not guarantee that Iran cannot produce a weapon. “The way they have structured it, you can move the fuel around, and it stays inside the country,” a senior Obama administration official said. “They could restart the program in a nanosecond. They don’t have to answer any questions from the inspectors” about evidence that they conducted research on nuclear weapons technology, but nonetheless would insist on a statement from the agency that all issues have been resolved.

Yet we’re supposed to lift sanctions that would take years to reimpose, if we could get countries to agree,” the administration official said.

‘twould be a pity if the 120 nations of the NAM caught wind of our IAEA shenanigans, eh…?

And look. it’s the old ‘Mad Mullah’ dodge, too…! Despite the fact that everybody, that has any inkling of a clue of Islamic law and/or their traditions, would’ve soon realized that Iran is indeed Not pursuing a Nuke…! Nuclear weapons are forbidden in Islam, says Ayatollah Khamenei…! Something that 16 of our 17, US Intel/MIC bureaus agree with, alongside, the entire Israeli Intel/IDF apparatchik…!

To be sure…Robert Gates: War on Iran Would Be ‘Catastrophic,’ Make Tehran Nukes ‘Inevitable’ Which is the exact same sh*t every, sane, sober, ‘Iran Expert’, has been saying, for years and years…!

Yes, we must indeed resist thy temptations of total war or rather Complete Spectrum Dominance

The Temptation of Regime Change…

…Holding out hope that sustained pressure will hasten regime change in this case represents a bad bet. It means placing trust in a very uncertain process—notwithstanding the tear gas in Tehran streets—while jettisoning an important tool that if properly used would help lead to an agreement that would satisfy all legitimate concerns about nuclear proliferation as it pertains to Iran.

Even if regime-change-wishers had a better bet to make, they need to think hard about what they are wishing for. Much of what they don’t like about Iran is not unique to the Islamic Republic and would continue under any imaginable successor regime. That includes the current nuclear program, which began under the shah and has broad public support. It also includes many other things, including opposition to Israeli policies in the region.

We should have learned some things in this regard from our regime-changing experience in Iraq, where the regime we have been left with is narrowly sectarian, increasingly authoritarian, and pro-Iran.

And, lest you forget that Economic Sanctions are indeed illegalUN chief: sanctions harm Iranians…

Speaking of Iraq… Russia to sign $5-billion defense contract with Iraq…! Fancy that…?

So, once again, WTF, over…?

Now, somebody that was several pay-grades above me in the Army had smelt the very same rat I had(amongst others)… Martyrs Brigade in Syria has 120 mm. mortars…!

The purported ‘mortar’ fire is not the same as the Nato/Turkish Field Artillery(either 105mm or 155mm) that had pounded Syria for two days, in spite of, Assad apologizing and promising to investigate the incident…!

The ever intrepid, b @ MOA, has been all over it… Erdogan Made To Step Back From The Brink

…If this incident was a false flag operation, which seems more and more likely, it only achieved a part of what it was supposed to achieve. Erdogan did get the Turkish parliament to give him war powers. But the more important backing from NATO did not come through…

Thank Dawg, for small favors…!

Anyways, the natives are getting mighty restless all over the MENA…! So, where shall I start…?

I suppose I should start with the very spot that sparked it all… Protesters in Tunisia storm city hall in town where revolution began…!

King ‘Playstation’ in Jordan, has just dissolved Parliament in a bid to fend off a open populist revolt…

Also, something that most sober observers on the Syrian fiasco have long predicted is coming to fruition… Syria unrest sparks rifts among Lebanon’s Palestinian factions…!

And if that wasn’t enough, Bahrain continues it’s jackbooted crackdown on the Shi’a…

Shias clash with police in Bahrain

…Riot police in Bahrain used water cannons and tear gas yesterday to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters trying to reach a heavily guarded site that was once the hub of their uprising.

The demonstrators marched toward Pearl Square in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, after a funeral procession for a protester who died in custody. The government said the man died of a blood disease…

In summing up all this f*ckery afoot… Don’t drone me, Bro…!

And, last but not least…. Why I Dislike Israel…!

And how…! *gah*