You are browsing the archive for Putin.

by CTuttle

More Evidence Points To The Syrian Rebels

3:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

From the Huffington Post…

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

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

Syrian rebels’ Damascus chemical cache found by Syrian Army

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

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

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

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

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

Well, lah di da…

Syria will let UN inspectors probe chemical attack: FM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria Rebels: We’ll Use Chemical Weapons, Too

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

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

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

God Help the Syrians…! *gah*

by CTuttle

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

4:55 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

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

Obama’s weapons-for-peace program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Putin, Rohani, Syria, and Turkey

5:20 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(Full Transcript)

Well, it’s all over in Iran…

Rohani becomes Iran’s new president

Hassan Rohani has won Iran’s 11th presidential election following a vote that saw a massive popular turnout on June 14.

…Rohani won 50.70 percent of the ballots with 18,613,329 votes… …(of)Nearly 50.5 million Iranians, including more than 1.6 million first-time voters, were eligible to participate in the June 14 elections. The Interior Ministry put voter turnout at 72.7 percent

I always hate to see a good man forced to eat crow…

“Ahmadi Bye Bye, Rowhani Hi Hi”

So I just ordered crow for dinner. I was wrong with my Iran election prediction. While I expected that Hassan Rowhani would get the highest vote count in the first round of the election, I did not expect him to get over 50 % and thereby win outright. I had expected 35+% for Rowhani and 25%+ for Ghalibaf. Rowhani won with 50.76% and Ghalibaf conceded after having reached only some 16.56% of the votes. The total voter turnout was 72.7%. Rowhani will be inaugurated as president on August 3 2013.

I take some consolation in that fact that I was not as wrong as the Washington Post editors:

Mr. Rouhani, who has emerged as the default candidate of Iran’s reformists, will not be allowed to win.

Or as wrong as the Israeli-Iranian expert Meir Javedanfar:

[I]t is safe to say that moderate candidate Hassan Rowhani has no chance of success. There is little doubt that Mr Rowhani and the Stanford educated reformist Mohammad Reza Aref are far more popular than the conservative candidates. However, the supreme leader would not allow votes in their favour to be counted.

As I have maintained all long: Iran is a democracy, the Supreme Leader is not a dictator and in Iran the votes do count…

Now, moving along to the Syrian Fiasco… From McClatchy…

Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin

Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny.“It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark,” said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies. “It’s not just that we can’t prove a sarin attack, it’s that we’re not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack.”

Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cellphone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath…

Let’s clarify further…

UN, Russia criticise US military aid to Syria…

A US pledge to step up military aid to Syrian rebels because of alleged use of chemical arms by the regime has provoked strong reaction from around the world.

…The UN secretary general said arming either side in the 27-month war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives, “would not be helpful”.

Ban said he has been “consistently clear that providing arms to either side would not address this current situation. There is no such military solution.”

The harder US line also dismayed Moscow, which had been working with Washington to organise a peace conference.

US data on chemical weapons was “unconvincing”, it said, warning the Washington against repeating the mistake it made when invading Iraq after falsely accusing Saddam Hussein of stocking weapons of mass destruction.

Top Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov also said the US decision to provide military aid to Syrian rebels would damage international efforts to end the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama are to meet at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland on Monday…

Speaking of the G-8 confab, from the Host… G8 Summit: David Cameron pushes for no-fly zone over Syria…

…The Prime Minister will use this week’s G8 summit to convince world leaders to step up action.

David Cameron will support US plans to impose a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, as he attempts to convince world leaders to act against the “dictatorial and brutal leader” President Bashar al-Assad during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland this week.

The Prime Minister is expected to discuss the dramatic escalation of international involvement in the Syrian civil war at a meeting with Mr Assad’s ally, Vladimir Putin, in Downing Street on Sunday.

He will press the Russian President to sanction a catalogue of further measures against the Syrian regime, leading up to a possible no-fly zone, marshalled by US and allied jets and Patriot missiles operating from across the border in Jordan.

The push for action comes after Barack Obama said he would give “direct military aid” to Syrian rebels, citing evidence that Mr Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons…

Not, bloody likely, bloke…

Lavrov: No-fly zone in Syria would be illegal…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying he doubts Syria has used chemical weapons, warned Saturday that a no-fly zone would violate international law…

You don’t have to be a great expert to realize that this will be a violation of international law. We hope our American colleagues will direct all their practical activity into implementing a joint U.S.-Russian initiative to convene a conference devoted to improving the situation in Syria,” Lavrov said.

In a statement Friday, Lavrov suggested that U.S. military aid to the rebels would simply increase the level of violence in Syria. On Saturday, he said the government of President Bashar Assad might actually use chemical weapons.

“Right now the regime is not against the wall; the regime, as the opposition itself is saying, is seeing military success on the ground,” he said. “Why would the regime use chemical weapons, especially in such small quantities? Just to expose itself? From a military point of view, it makes no sense.”

Rather Cheeky from McJowls, eh…? President McCain declares war!

Btw, I do feel sorry for a lot of those Eager Lion participants, since they’ve just had their tours extended…

Anyways, in summing up, Gezi Park has been cleared out…

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*