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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…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Syria

7:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Delving further…

Israeli troops kill Jordan judge

Israeli troops at a border crossing yesterday shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge who allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon, prompting Amman and the Palestinian Authority to demand an investigation.

The shooting took place at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, with the Israeli military saying troops had opened fire after a man tried to snatch a weapon from one of its soldiers.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority sharply condemned the incident and Amman summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest, demanding an “immediate investigation.”

Palestinian security officials identified the man as 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, and Amman confirmed he also held Jordanian nationality. A Jordanian security official said that Zeiter worked as a judge in Amman and had left for the West Bank early yesterday. Jordan’s justice ministry said he worked at a magistrates court in the capital.

Nazmi Muhanna, the Palestinian official responsible for border crossings, said investigators were questioning around 50 people who had been with Zeiter on the bus carrying travellers from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side of the crossing.

“We are investigating with all the witnesses who were on the same bus. We will verify everything,” he said. “There are no surveillance cameras there so we cannot get to the truth without the witnesses who were on that bus.”

Jordan’s foreign minister summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to “strongly condemn” the shooting at the border crossing and demand an immediate probe, a statement said.

“The Jordanian government is expecting a comprehensive report on the incident from the Israeli government. Jordan wants an immediate investigation without any delay,” a statement quoted Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh as saying.

The Palestinian Authority also strongly condemned the incident and demanded an “international investigation” into the circumstances of Zeiter’s death.

Palestinian security officials said Zeiter was originally from the city of Nablus in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but had left the territories in 2011 and not returned.

Zeiter, who leaves behind a wife and two young children — one of whom is in a coma in hospital — was to be buried in Nablus today morning, his family said.

Not a very swift move by the IDF… Tensions high in Amman as protesters gather at Israeli embassy after IDF shooting

Hmmm… Should NATO troops help enforce an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement?

Or better yet… Israel open to joint missile defence with Jordan, Egypt

It’s Non-Stop Terra, Terra, Terra, 24/7… Israel fears future drone attacks

To be sure…

From Haaretz even…

Netanyahu’s display of seized ship: Meaningless Hollywood-style propaganda

Here and there during the live broadcast of the government propaganda event staged at the Israel Navy base in Eilat, the camera lingered on the face of Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz understood that the media circus surrounding the seizure of the ship carrying Iranian weapons had run its course over the weekend, which is why he took off Saturday night to make a previously scheduled visit to the United States. Eizenkot, a disciplined soldier, was required to take his place on the dock in Eilat, alongside the prime minister and defense minister. For a time it looked as if the deputy chief of staff would have preferred to be elsewhere, though perhaps it just seemed that way to this observer. {…}

So there is nothing original about the show Netanyahu put on today, when he publicly displayed the weapons discovered after the Israel Navy raided the Klos C last week. Perhaps the most noteworthy element of Monday’s event is the opportunity it has given to Eizenkot, the deputy chief of staff, and Zamir, the prime minister’s military secretary, to visit the city where they were born.

The order he gave to the officers — to take part in Netanyahu’s show — was not completely illegal, nor was there any reason to disobey it. Still, it gives off a bad odor. The relief over the successful interception of the rocket-laden Klos C was genuine. That was enough. Heating up the cold noodles five days later just because Netanyahu had been out of the country when the Iranian shipment was seized on its way to the Gaza Strip, and therefore absent from the photographs of the generals at the naval outpost, crosses the line of bad taste.

The wisdom of Netanyahu’s press conference at Eilat Port, where the ship was escorted, is dubious as well. Everybody knows that Iran supplies arms to groups working against Israel from Gaza and Lebanon. The documentation of the captured weapons does not change people’s awareness. As a backdrop for Netanyahu’s propaganda, the Klos C is problematic. Iran does not deny its support for groups that take hostile action against Israel; it takes pride in it. What does that have to do with the fight of the superpowers against Iranian military nukes?

Now, I know I have questioned the sudden providence of that said ‘Iranian Arms Ship’…!

Moving along to Syria…

b at MOA took a dim view of the spectacle… Syrian Nuns Freed – Media Is Concealing the Villains

In wrapping up, some other noteworthy reads…Assad military advance in western Syria pushed deal that led to nuns’ release, official says

EU: No guarantee of success in negotiations with Iran

U.S. DEPT. OF THE TREASURY press release: “Our allies” openly funding Al-Qaeda in Syria, yet they will stay U.S. partners

Saudi Arabia turns away from the jihadis in Syria.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Eternal War, Libya, Iran, And, Syria

2:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(Phyllis Bennis is a superstar…!)

Thursday, the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism released it’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, from Chapter 2 Country Reports: The Middle East and North Africa Overview…

The Near East region continued to experience significant levels of terrorist activity in 2012, further complicated by ongoing regional instability across portions of North Africa and the Levant. Al-Qa’ida was not a part of the popular uprisings that led to democratic transitions across the Middle East and North Africa, but violent extremists looked for opportunities to exploit the political transitions underway.

In Libya, the security vacuum in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution provided more opportunities for terrorists to operate. This vacuum, combined with the weakness of Libya’s nascent security institutions, allowed violent extremists to act, as we saw too clearly on September 11 in Benghazi, when J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and three staff members, died during attacks on U.S. facilities.

Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) – even with diminished leadership and capabilities – continued to conduct attacks across Iraq, while Shia militants largely ceased attacks but continued to threaten U.S. targets in Iraq. AQI also took advantage of a significantly depleted security situation in Syria. Operating under its alias, al-Nusrah Front, the group sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition and attempted to hijack Syria’s struggle for democracy. The United States designated al-Nusra as an alias of AQI in December 2012.

Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has also taken advantage of the instability in the region, particularly in Libya and Mali. Kidnapping for ransom operations continued to yield significant sums for AQIM, and it conducted attacks against members of state security services within the Trans-Sahara region.

In the spring of 2012, a Yemeni military offensive, with the help of armed residents, regained government control over territory in the south, which AQAP had seized and occupied in 2011. Although weakened, AQAP was not eliminated as a threat. AQAP increasingly turned to asymmetric tactics to target Yemeni government officials, pro-government tribal militias known as Popular Committees, and their leaders, soldiers, civilians, and U.S. embassy personnel.

In 2012, there was a clear resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah, who remained a significant threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region. Attacks in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Far East were linked to the IRGC-QF or Hizballah. In fact, Hizballah’s terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s with attacks plotted in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Despite these persistent threats, governments across the region improved their own counterterrorism capabilities, effectively disrupting the activities of a number of terrorists. The Iraqi government displayed increased capability and efficacy in pursuing multiple Sunni violent extremist groups. Though AQIM’s presence and activity in the Sahel and parts of the Maghreb remains worrisome, the group’s isolation in Algeria grew as Algeria increased its already substantial efforts to target it. And in 2012, Yemeni forces were successful in reducing the physical territory that AQAP had previously gained in Yemen as the result of political turmoil…

Notably absent from their MENA assessment for 2012, is Syria…! Fancy that…!

Now, let’s look more closely at our Libyan fiasco…

Libya: Overview: In 2012, Libya was marked by grave insecurity, most apparent in the September 11 terrorist attack that resulted in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three staff members. The prevalence of loose weapons, the continued ability of extra-governmental militias to act with impunity, the country’s porous borders, and the lack of government capacity to apply the rule of law outside of Tripoli contributed to this insecurity.

Despite these challenges, on July 7, the Transitional National Council peacefully transferred power to a new, democratically elected parliament, the General National Congress. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and his cabinet have prioritized efforts to strengthen and centralize national security institutions, integrate and disarm armed militias, and confront criminal and terrorist groups that have taken advantage of the security vacuum. This government has recognized that continued instability threatens Libya’s democratic transition and economic future.

The United States remains committed to Libya’s democratic transition and focused on Libya’s insecurity and the need to support Libya’s government in its efforts to address it. The State Department and USAID have provided funding to implementers who support Libya’s emerging civil society, advised Libya’s new political leaders, and empowered minority communities as they seek to understand and participate in the democratic transition, particularly the drafting of a constitution that denounces violence and ensures the rights of all Libyans.

Let’s not forget that this is a State Report, reporting only on the Snafu from last year, and not a compilation of this year’s foreign f*ckery in the MENA…!

So, let’s update it a tad…

Libya becomes ‘the new Mali’ as Islamists shift in Sahara

…Regional rivalries are aggravating the problem for Paris and its Western allies, with a lack of cooperation between Saharan countries helping militants to melt away when they come under pressure and regroup in quieter parts of the vast desert.

Security officials say lawless southern Libya has become the latest haven for al Qaeda-linked fighters after French-led forces drove them from strongholds in northern Mali this year, killing hundreds.

“The south of Libya is what the north of Mali was like before,” said a senior adviser to Mali’s interim President Diouncounda Traore, asking not to be named…

…But the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 flooded the Sahara with pillaged weapons and ammunition. Tuareg separatists used them to seize power in northern Mali, only to be ousted by even better-armed Islamists who set up training camps and imposed harsh Islamic law until the French forces arrived.

The Islamists have also exploited Libya’s weakness. Veteran al Qaeda commander Moktar Belmokhtar bought weapons there after Gaddafi’s fall and his fighters passed through southern Libya to carry out a mass hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January, in which 37 foreigners died…

Now, Iran quickly rejected the report…

Tehran says U.S., not Iran, sponsors terrorism

Iran on Friday rejected a U.S. State Department report that accused Tehran of increasing its support for terrorism overseas to levels not seen for two decades, saying it is the United States that backs terrorists in the Middle East.
“Iran itself has been the victim of state-sponsored terrorism, which has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Iranian people,” said Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s U.N. mission. “Iran has been actively engaged in counterterrorism activities by all possible means and is a party to many counterterrorism international legal instruments,” he said…

…”It should be mentioned that the U.S. government has no merit to label other nations of sponsoring terrorism as it has a long … record (of) supporting terrorist groups in our region as well as Israeli state terrorism,” Miryousefi said.

He cited the recent removal from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations of the Mujahadin-e-Khalq, a dissident group that calls for the overthrow of Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim clerical leadership and fought alongside the forces of Iraq’s late Sunni Muslim dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

“The recent delisting of the MEK terrorist group … and also allowing it to publicly lobby in Washington is a clear indication that the U.S. government has double standards in dealing with terrorism and uses designation of others as terrorist only to serve its illegitimate political interests,” he said…

Speaking of the MEK, translated from Le Figaro

Two members of the Iranian opposition movement People’s Mujahedin were found dead a month ago in the Idlib region in western Syria, says an MEP in contact with the anti rebellion Bashar al-Assad. They fighting alongside insurgents seeking to overthrow the Syrian regime, backed by Iran. Considered by France as a terrorist organization, MKO have a base in Iraq, based in the Paris suburbs. Services to Arab and Western intelligence would use against Iranian interests, or allies of Tehran, as the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

In recent developments on Syria… In spite of McInsane’s screeches, Syrian rebels need heavy weapons, I was certainly pleased to read this…

U.S. withholds millions pledged to help Syrian opposition

The United States is withholding $63 million that it had pledged to the main Syrian opposition organization because the Obama administration is frustrated with the group’s disarray and is searching for more credible partners to support in the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad, knowledgeable officials said Friday.

The decision not to fund the Syrian Opposition Coalition contrasts sharply with the Obama administration’s continued public expressions of confidence in the group, which has been central to U.S. policy on Syria since last fall and which the administration recognizes as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

But U.S. officials said privately that they are fed up with the group’s inability to organize, appoint a government-in-exile or reach decisions on a wide range of issues. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to more freely discuss sensitive diplomacy…

More on the Syrian Rebels…

Saudi edges Qatar to control Syrian rebel support

…The outcome, many Syrian opposition leaders hope, could strengthen them in both negotiations and on the battlefield – while hampering some of the anti-Western Islamist hardliners in their ranks whom they say Qatar has been helping with weaponry.

Anger at a failure by one such Qatari-backed Islamist unit in a battle in April that gave Syrian government forces control of a key highway helped galvanise the Saudis, sources said, while Qatari and Islamist efforts to control the opposition political body backfired by angering Riyadh and Western powers.

The northern rebel commander said Saudi leaders would no longer let Qatar take the lead but would themselves take over the dominant role in channelling support into Syria.

“The Saudis met leaders of the Free Syrian Army, including officers from the Military Council in Jordan and Turkey, and have agreed that they will be supporting the rebels,” he said after attending one of those meetings himself.

Prince Salman bin Sultan, a senior Saudi security official, was now running relations with the Syrian rebels, backed by his elder brother, intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Qatar also gave ground in the political field, accepting finally, late on Thursday, that the National Coalition should add a non-Islamist bloc backed by Saudi Arabia.

“In the end Qatar did not want a confrontation with Saudi Arabia and accepted the expansion,” said a source close to the liberals who were allowed to join a body which the United States and European Union want to become a transitional government.

The rebels, whose disunity has been a hindrance both in the field and in manoeuvring for a possible international peace conference in the coming weeks, still face a huge task to topple Assad, who has long labelled his enemies Islamist “terrorists” and has his own powerful allies abroad, notably Iran and Russia.

What a Clusterf*ck…! *gah*

by CTuttle

Madame Shillary is Worried That ‘Extremists’ Are Hijacking The SNC, Sacks SNC

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here’s an example of the ‘spin’ being put on the ‘recent’ discovery of Jihadists amongst the Syrian Rebels… Syria: Rebel Fighters Are Becoming Radicalised…

Sky has seen new evidence that the Syrian uprising is becoming more and more radicalised and being fought by Islamic fundamentalists and extremists.

The Syrian rebels have all but given up on military intervention by the West but after 18 months of grinding battle and a feeling they have been abandoned by the international community, they are making their own bombs and weapons and becoming much more self-sufficient.

There are some weapons and arms being smuggled across the borders from sympathetic Muslim neighbours.

We saw brand new rocket propelled grenade launchers with their rockets still in their plastic wrappers which had been smuggled across the Turkish border and an anti-aircraft gun which the rebels told us had come from Iraq.

But although that means that the rebels have many more weapons than they have had before, it is still small fry in comparison to the heavy weaponry, tanks and artillery employed by the regime.

What is increasingly obvious is the number of Jihad (holy war) flags and Jihad paraphernalia worn and used by the rebel fighters. The black headbands worn by many of the fighters are a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism – used by extremist groups and usually anti-Western.

The common refrain from many of the rebel fighters is that they have been forgotten by the outside world.

A number of commanders told us they were disappointed, angry and frustrated by the lack of help from the international community.

One said: “All we get is words, not actions.”

Y’all should know by now, that I’ve been screaming my head off about the F/UK/US/Arab League promotion of Jihadists in Iraq, Libya, Syria, amongst numerous other places! Afterall,’Divide and Conquer‘ is the primary means to Regime Change…!

Now, one should read all of Madame Shillary’s statement in Zagreb, to get the full impact…

QUESTION: Secretary, if I could ask you about Syria. Mr. Brahimi’s attempt at a ceasefire has evidently failed, and the violence is increasing again. What are your views on what needs to be done now to bring the violence down?

And turning to next week’s opposition conference in Doha, what gives you confidence, if you have any at all, that this could produce the beginnings of a government in waiting where the SNC has failed to do that? And are you sure that your key allies, including Turkey, are ready to swing behind whatever is the outcome of Doha? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well Andy, those are all very important and timely questions. And I want to start by thanking Croatia for their assistance in dealing with the extremely difficult problems presented by both Syria and Iran.

Look, I sincerely regret, but I, unfortunately, was not surprised by the failure of the latest ceasefire attempt. Despite its reported commitment to the UN Special Envoy, Mr. Brahimi, the Assad regime did not suspend its use of advanced weaponry against the Syrian people for even one day. And the shelling in the suburbs of Damascus was as bad last weekend as at any time in the conflict.

So while we urge Special Envoy Brahimi to do whatever he can in Moscow and Beijing to convince them to change course and support stronger UN action, we cannot and will not wait for that. Instead, our efforts, and those of our partners in the EU and the Arab League, are focused on pressuring the regime through increasing and tightening sanctions, meeting the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people who are displaced, assisting those countries that they seek refuge in, and helping the opposition unite behind a shared, effective strategy that can resist the regime’s violence and begin to provide for a political transition that can demonstrate more clearly than has been possible up until now what the future holds for the Syrian people once the Assad regime is gone.

So we are working very hard with many different elements from the opposition – yes, inside Syria as well as outside Syria. Some of you might remember I hosted a meeting in New York during the UN General Assembly. We facilitated the smuggling-out of a few representatives of the Syrian internal opposition in order for them to explain to the countries gathered why they must be at the table. This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but have, in many instances, not been inside Syria for 20, 30, or 40 years. There has to be a representation of those who are on the frontlines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom.

And there needs to be an opposition leadership structure that is dedicated to representing and protecting all Syrians. It is not a secret that many inside Syria are worried about what comes next. They have no love lost for the Assad regime, but they worry, rightly so, about the future. And so there needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria. And we also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution. There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against a repressive regime for their own purposes.

So the Arab League-sponsored meetings, starting in Doha next week, will be an important next step. I have been constantly involved with my counterparts, both in the EU and in the Arab League, in particular with the hosts of the meeting next week in Qatar. We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure. We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard. So our efforts are very focused on that right now. Thank you.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) This completes the statements for the press. Thank you.

As The Cable is reporting…

Clinton explains State Department efforts to build new Syrian opposition council

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged Wednesday that the U.S. government has been working to establish a new council to represent the Syrian opposition, to be unveiled in Qatar at a major conference next week.

The Cable reported Tuesday that the State Department has been heavily involved in setting the stage for the Nov. 7 rollout of a new opposition leadership council, which will subsume the Syrian National Council (SNC), a group of external opposition leaders that the administration has decided is too consumed by infighting and ineffectiveness to represent the Syrian opposition.

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford will travel to Qatar for the conference and has been working to craft the new council in a way that better represents a wider array of both internal and external opposition groups. U.S. officials and opposition leaders are calling the initiative the “Riad Seif plan,” named after the former Syrian parliamentarian and dissident who has been active in preparing the new initiative.

“We call it a proto-parliament. One could also think of it as a continental congress,” a senior administration official told The Cable.

Needless to say, it’s going over like a lead balloon…

Syrian opposition figures bristle at new US push to overhaul leadership

Members of Syria’s opposition-in-exile bristled Thursday at the Obama administration’s suggestion that Washington will handpick more representative leaders at a crucial conference in Qatar next week.

The new U.S. push appears aimed at creating a unified leadership that could work more closely with the West. But there are signs of resistance among deeply fractured opposition groups wary of attempts by foreign backers to dictate strategy in the civil war against President Bashar Assad.

“This direct tutelage and these dictates are not acceptable to the Syrian people anymore,” said Zuhair Salem, the London-based spokesman for Syria’s banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group. The Brotherhood is part of the main political opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which is dominated by exiles…

b at MOA further extrapolated on what a Cluster F*ck we’ve created… U.S. Installs New Political Proxy Opposition…

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

‘Syrian Rebel: Uprising Hijacked by Extremists’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

CBS’s Holly Williams filed this report today…

…In a new video, men crouching against a wall are about to be killed by an angry mob. Syrian opposition groups said the men who died were members of a family with links to the Assad regime.

The killers were rebels fighting in an increasingly chaotic conflict.

Human rights groups — as well as the rebels’ own leadership — condemned the deaths as summary executions.

However, in a sprawling refugee camp on the Syria-Turkey border, Syrian refugees defended the killings. Many of the men there are rebel fighters.

“If we had a state, we could have taken those men to court,” said Mohammad Hajhasan through a translator. “But we’re in the middle of a revolution, and they were war criminals.” {…}

We want a democracy in Syria,” Mohammad said. “But only if it’s within an Islamic state.

Others disagree. Jamil Saeb, who led protests in Syria in the early days, said he wants a Western-style democracy, and claimed the uprising is being hijacked by Islamic extremists.

“The West isn’t doing enough, and other countries like Saudi Arabia are pushing their Islamic agenda by giving the rebels financial support,” Saeb said.

The Syrian opposition is divided, and there are fears that if and when the Assad regime falls there’ll be continued violence between rival factions…

I really do have to hand it to Faux Spew to actually post the most honest headline I’ve seen today…

With diplomacy dead, US banks on Syrian rebel win

…With Syrian diplomacy all but dead, the Obama administration is shifting its focus on the civil war away from political transition and toward helping the rebels defeat the Syrian regime on the battlefield…

…It’s a scenario analysts see as unlikely, even as the opposition gains ground in Aleppo, Damascus and elsewhere, and as the cadre of high-level defections from Assad’s government grows. Prime Minister Riad Hijab and two other ministers became the latest to abandon Assad on Monday, rebels said.

The defections are “the latest indication that Assad has lost control of Syria and that the momentum is with the opposition forces and the Syrian people,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

“The regime is crumbling,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. {…}

…Ventrell said the goal of much of the recent diplomacy was to help the opposition come up with a post-Assad plan that would be as cohesive as possible…

…The approach is one that American officials liken to a “soft landing.” The goal would be to avoid the power vacuum of post-Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by salvaging as many elements of the state as possible, and avoiding new insurgencies from emerging.

“We want to get there in a way that’s a softer landing,” a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We don’t want to see the institutions just melt away.”

Btw, folks, lets remember the long standing fact that Oily Bomber, nor even Shrillary, at Foggy Bottom nor any other foreign locales, have not once sat in the same room, much less, talk to anybody even remotely related to the Assad regime…! Just like the failed single roll of the dice that Oily Bomber had gambled on with the Iranians…!

What seems to be the problem with even talking to our supposed Adversaries…? I do seem to recall a ‘hotline’ that we’d set up between the Kremlin and the White House, and was manned 24/7…! What ever happened to even that semblance of old-fashioned Diplomacy…?

Here’s some other analysis from the disaffected ‘populations’ I’d seen today…

Obama brings Erdogan in to bat..

Here’s an excellent synopsis of the ever enigmatic Kurdish Question…!

And, it should be noted that Pepe Escobar, once again, cuts to the quick…

Syria’s Pipelineistan war

This is a war of deals, not bullets

Deep beneath “Damascus volcano” and “the battle of Aleppo,” the tectonic plates of the global energy chessboard keep on rumbling. Beyond the tragedy and grief of civil war, Syria is also a Pipelineistan power play.

More than a year ago, a $10 billion Pipelineistan deal was clinched between Iran, Iraq and Syria for a natural gas pipeline to be built by 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field, traversing Iraq and Syria, with a possible extension to Lebanon. Key export target market: Europe.

During the past 12 months, with Syria plunged into civil war, there was no pipeline talk. Up until now. The European Union’s supreme paranoia is to become a hostage of Russia’s Gazprom. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversify Europe’s energy supplies away from Russia.

It gets more complicated. Turkey happens to be Gazprom’s second-largest customer. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia — and Iran. Turkey dreams of becoming the new China, configuring Anatolia as the ultimate Pipelineistan strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and gas to Europe.

Try to bypass Ankara in this game, and you’re in trouble. Until virtually yesterday, Ankara was advising Damascus to reform — and fast. Turkey did not want chaos in Syria. Now Turkey is feeding chaos in Syria…

Seriously, Wtf, over…? *gah*

by CTuttle

Syria Will Not Implode, It Will Explode

5:36 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

All war is deception. ~Sun Tzu

Let’s look at some of the current developments that are swirling inside and out, of the Syrian borders…

Syrian tanks amass near Turkish border: FSA general

A general in the rebel Free Syria Army said on Friday that Syrian government forces had amassed around 170 tanks north of the city Aleppo, near the Turkish border, but there was no independent confirmation of the report.

General Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of the Higher Military Council, an association of senior officers who defected from President Bashar al-Assads forces, said the tanks had assembled at the Infantry School near the village of Musalmieh northeast of the city of Aleppo, 30 kms (19 miles) from the Turkish border.

“The tanks are now at the Infantry School. They’re either preparing to move to the border to counter the Turkish deployment or attack the rebellious (Syrian) towns and villages in and around the border zone north of Aleppo,” Sheikh told Reuters by telephone from the border…

Now, using the same Salt Shaker with that last article, DebkaFile reports…

Saudis forces mass on Jordanian, Iraqi borders. Turkey, Syria reinforce strength

…”(H)eavy Saudi troop movements (headed) toward the Jordanian and Iraqi borders (with Syria) overnight and up until Friday morning….after King Abdulah put the Saudi military on high alert for joining an anti-Assad offensive….”

Units include tanks, missiles, special forces and anti-air batteries. Two units were deployed. “One will safeguard Jordan’s King Abdullah against potential Syrian or Iranian reprisals from Syria or Iraq.”

“The second will cut north through Jordan to enter southeastern Syrian, where a security zone will be established around the towns of Deraa, Deir al-Zour and Abu Kemal — all centers of the anti-Assad rebellion.” {…}

The failure of (US/Russian) talks “would spell a worsening of the Syrian crisis and precipitate Western-Arab military intervention, which according to military sources in the Gulf is scheduled for launch Saturday, June 30.”

DF also said that Western forces reported Jordan “on war alert.”

Now, straight from the horse’s mouth…

…Libya’s model isn’t “a solution to be copied because it took (the country) from one situation into a much worse one. We all now see how the Libyan people are paying the price,” he (Assad) said.

“The policies of the Turkish officials lead to the killing and bloodshed of the Syrian people,” he added.

He said reports about Iranian and Hezbollah forces aiding Syria are false.

“This is a joke that we hear many times in order to show that a rift has been created within the army and that therefore there is not an army.”

Pointing fingers at Washington, he said:

“The colonialist nature of the West has not changed. From the colonialist standpoint, regional countries should not move according to their national interests and if any country moves against their (Western) values and interests, they say no, like what happened in the case of Iran’s nuclear program.”

“Western states are opposed to Iran’s access to nuclear knowhow; they are more fearful of Iran’s expertise in the nuclear field than what they claim to be a nuclear bomb.”

He also called insurgents “gangs of mercenaries and criminals.” Outside forces are directing them.

For them and their sponsors, “reforms are not important, since the very forces that claimed (a lack of) reforms were the problem. They never benefited from them…all they wanted was (continued) unrest.”…

Phyllis Bennis largely agrees with Assad’s assertions…

Syria is not Libya: it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders

Probably the only useful thing outside powers can do, would be to engage in serious new diplomacy, in which supporters of both the regime and the armed opposition participate.

Fifteen months on, the short Syrian spring of 2011 has long since morphed into a harsh winter of discontent. Syria is close to full-scale civil war.

If the conflict escalates further, it will have ramifications far outside the country itself. As former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan put it, “’Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”

Like so many other times before, the human cost of this conflict is incalculably high. It’s not surprising that the normal human reaction is “we’ve got to do something!” But exactly what any army or air force might do that would actually help the situation isn’t very clear.

US/NATO military intervention didn’t bring stability, democracy or security to Libya, and it certainly is not going to do so in Syria…

Now, Russia isn’t about to be fooled by a second UN Security Council R2P fiasco, and this CSM article spells it out in a relatively decent fashion, despite all it’s Western biased strawmen…

What is Russia thinking on Syria?

…In Syria, they argue, Western nations are pursuing their own geopolitical interests under the guise of a humanitarian “right to protect” which supposedly trumps the country’s sovereignty. Moscow sees it as its duty to block such attempts. {…}

…Speaking to an audience of students in Copenhagen today, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upped the criticism of Russia, saying, “I have been telling (the Russians) their policy is going to help contribute to a civil war” in Syria.

But today Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, responded emphatically that Russian policy toward Syria will not change under duress. Russia’s position is “well-known, balanced and consistent, and completely logical,” Mr. Peskov told the independent Interfax news agency. “So it is hardly appropriate to talk about this position changing under someone’s pressure.” {…}

…Russian analysts argue that any violation of national sovereignty is a form of neoimperialism which, even if packaged as a humanitarian intervention, tends to be wrapped up with the geopolitical interests of the intervening powers and seldom leads to better humanitarian outcomes. They cite most of the wars of the past decade, from Kosovo to Iraq to last year’s NATO intervention in Libya (which Russia acquiesced to in the Security Council) to make their point.

“We were told that military interference in Libya would be limited to protecting civilians, but we were deceived, pushed aside once we’d let it get through the Security Council,” says Pavel Gusterin, an Arab specialist with the official Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. “Why would we let them do this again?

Just to be sure, it’s already out of Russia’s and the UN’s hands…

Syria Rebels Increasingly Violent, Thanks to Foreign Arms

…The opposition is still a disparate, rag tag group of localized militias with conflicting agendas and many of whom are Sunni extremists or have ties to al-Qaeda. They are increasingly to blame for massacres of civilians as well. Nothing has changed, except that the weapons being funneled to them by the US, European Union, Turkey, and the Gulf Arab states are being put to use.

But none of this bodes well for an end to violence in the country. Foreign meddling on behalf of all sides in Syria has been instrumental in prolonging the conflict by emboldening both sides and making a political settlement more remote.

“The intensity of the divisions in the country, the external environment in which sides are providing arms to both of the contending parties—all of that suggests that the situation’s going to continue to deteriorate,” James Dobbins, director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center and a former US assistant secretary of state, told NPR…

Now, to be clear on our Persian fantasies…

Our obsession with Iran obscures the bigger threat

It is funny what people choose to worry about. The west is obsessed with stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons. By contrast, Pakistan’s nuclear programme is not much discussed. And yet, by any sensible measure, Pakistani nukes are much more worrying.

Start with the obvious: Pakistan already has nuclear weapons – probably more than 100 of them – and is thought to be increasing production. Iran has still to assemble a single nuclear weapon. The prospect of an Iranian bomb is said to be unthinkably dangerous because of the country’s connections to terrorist groups, its hostility to the west and Israel, the risk it will spread nuclear technology and the prospect of a regional arms race. And yet, almost all these considerations apply even more forcibly to Pakistan. {…}

…Yet it is Iran’s non-existent nukes that continue to obsess the west. Diplomats have spent so long trying to stop Iran that I get the impression they no longer even ask themselves why it is such a high priority. Press them, and you will get explanations about the dangers of a Middle Eastern arms race and Iran’s regional ambitions.

Interestingly, few seem to take seriously the idea that Israel often evokes – that Iran might actually commit nuclear genocide.

Western concerns are valid. But, in themselves, they do not seem compelling enough to explain the desperate focus on Iran. The main reason the Iranian dossier is so urgent seems to be the fear that Israel will soon attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, provoking a wider war. American and European diplomats are reluctant to put it quite that directly, since this carries the uncomfortable implication that western policy is driven by Israel. But when people say “time is running out” over Iran, it is the prospect of an Israeli attack they are usually thinking about…

Are you surprised…?

AIPAC and Syrian intervention lobby

I have it on good authority that something called Syrian Emergency Task Force in Washington, DC is enlisting the help of AIPAC to lobby the US government for military intervention in Syria.

*gah*

An Apology to the Aligned…

by CTuttle

Know Thy Enemy: Think Tank Hypocrisy on Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

That Cato Institute clip is truly staggering in it’s depth of ignorance, in regards to Iran’s imagined Nuclear weapons program…!

Today, the Heritage Foundation released this ‘scholarly’ report on the House of Saud… Thinking the Unthinkable: Modeling a Collapse of Saudi Oil Production

U.S. Military Intervention in a Saudi Crisis

The United States has a vital interest in ensuring that no hostile power exercises hegemony over the Middle East, which is not only a key region for energy production, global trade, and investment, but also a potential source of transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The U.S. will likely need to selectively use force to ensure the continued flow of oil from the region, as it did in Operation Desert Storm. Securing the oil fields and supporting allies, especially GCC members and pro-American elements in Saudi Arabia, may be imperative.

If the U.S. government determines that military intervention is necessary, U.S. actions military could include:

-Supporting civil authorities;

Assisting in humanitarian efforts, provide force protection for nongovernmental organizations (NGO) humanitarian assistance, and protect humanitarian infrastructure;

-Conducting counterterrorism operations;

Ensuring the Strait of Hormuz remains open;

Deterring Iran from stepping into the power vacuum;

- Ensuring that a hostile, radical Islamist power or movement does not seize control of key oil and gas infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.

The U.S. needs to be prepared for the sudden loss of access to bases in the region. Furthermore, ballistic missile defenses (BMDs) need to be increased significantly to mitigate the threat of missile attacks by Iran or other regimes…

Hmmm… Now, where have I heard that very same ME FP garbage before…?

Maybe, from those very same Foreign Policy wonks on Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, possibly Egypt, soon-to-be Syria, and most particularly, Iran these days…?

The Brookings Institute’s Saban Center also chimed in recently, and coughed up this warmongering hairball ‘memo’… Saving Syria: Assessing Options
for Regime Change (PDF! 16pgs)

…This memo lays out six options for the United States
to consider to achieve Asad’s overthrow, should it
choose to do so:

1. Removing the regime via diplomacy;

2. Coercing the regime via sanctions and diplomatic
isolation
;

3. Arming the Syrian opposition to overthrow
the regime
;

4. Engaging in a Libya-like air campaign to
help an opposition army gain victory
;

5. Invading Syria with U.S.-led forces and toppling
the regime directly
;

6. Participating in a multilateral, NATO-led effort
to oust Asad and rebuild Syria.

The options are complex, and policymakers will probably
try to combine several in an attempt to accentuate
the positives and minimize the negatives, which
will inevitably be difficult and bring out new complications.
But by focusing on discrete approaches, this
memo helps expose their relative strengths and weaknesses.
For each course of action, this memo describes
the strategy inherent to the option and what it would
entail in practice. It also assesses the option’s advantages
and disadvantages.

This memo does not endorse any particular policy option.
Rather, it seeks to explain the risks and benefits of
possible courses of action at this moment in time. As
conditions change, some options may become more
practical or desirable and others less so. The authors
mostly agree on the advantages and disadvantages
of each approach but weigh the relative rewards and
costs differently.

Honestly, it astounds me how skewed the Western Media propaganda apparatchik is towards Syria’s ‘insurgents,’ and, the blame squarely put on Assad for his brutality…! Syrian opposition refuses to give regime guarantees…

Now, it’s really tragic how all those Think Tank Brainiacs, all do seem to agree that ‘military intervention’ in either Iran or Syria, will in fact, lead to a ‘region-wide’ conflict…!

Ironically, I’d found two little ‘coinky-doinks’ today…

Exiled Son of Shah of Iran Calls for Israel’s Help…

…The exiled son of the toppled shah of Iran called on Israel not to bomb his home country, but rather to help the opposition to the ruling system, in an interview aired Monday on Israeli television.

Prince Reza Pahlavi told Israel’s Channel 10 TV from his home in Washington that bombing Iran would play into the hands of the regime. Instead, he appealed for help saying the Jewish state should put its “technological, financial and other resources at our disposal.” {snip}

…”The best thing you can do for the regime is to tell that, ‘We are going to attack you,’ or in fact attack you,” he said. “You will be giving Khamenei and all his clique, when they have no answers anymore to the country’s ills, the greatest gift of all by doing that. That is just crazy. That just doesn’t make sense.” {snip}

…”Who in this planet doesn’t know that there is a military option, but are there other options?” he said. “The best option is to utilize the best army in the world in place ready to strike, which is the Iranian people themselves. And if you don’t help that, God help us all.

Yes indeedy…!

The other one has a Japanese ex-PM questioning his compadre, Yukiyo Amano’s cosy role as head of the IAEA, in Tehran too…!

Tokyo ticks off ex-PM for Iran visit, words on IAEA…

…Yukio Hatoyama, whose short stint in the top job ended in June 2010 after just nine months, was publicly admonished by his own party after reportedly criticising the UN’s nuclear watchdog for “double standards“.

During a trip in which he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hatoyama said Tehran was not being treated properly by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

International trust-building and respecting regulations are important issues for the world community,” he said, according to a statement issued by Ahmadinejad’s office.

They should be seriously pursued given the double standards by the IAEA towards some nations, including Iran, which is not fair.

Hatoyama late Monday denied making the comments and said Tehran had “completely fabricated” them, Kyodo news agency reported.

I have made no comments that deviate from the stance of the Japanese government,” Kyodo quoted him as saying on his return to Tokyo.

Hatoyama’s reported comments in Iran had come under fire from Tokyo, which said he was at odds with the official position.

Japan respects the IAEA’s role in solving nuclear-related issues,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters.

Japan is asking Iran to thoroughly cooperate with the IAEA so that it can solve pending issues over its nuclear programme.

I suppose it was only a Freudian slip by Hatoyama…!

In summing up, here’s some real clear-eyed thinking…

Thinking the Unthinkable on Iran…

…President Obama has said that all options are on the table in dealing with Iran in particular and nuclear proliferation in general. Are these options still on the table?

I truly hope that all ‘options’ are indeed on the table…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

As The Arab Spring Turns Into Summer…

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It seems this Friday just happened to be another Friday, in that, once again a few Arabs, seemed to be a little pissed off with the ‘promised’ pace in the Arab Spring’s reforms and progress…

First off, from Tunisia…

Tunisian rally faces off tear gas

…Tunisian police used teargas yesterday to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators demanding progress in reforms promised after the president’s removal in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.

More than 700 protesters gathered in Kasbah square in the centre of the Tunisian capital but were quickly dispersed by hundreds of police officers in riot gear. Protesters shouted “We are not afraid” as police pushed them out of the square, where Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi has his office.

Protests also took place in Sidi Bouzid, the central Tunisian town where a vegetable seller set himself on fire last December, setting in train protests that brought to an end the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

From Egypt…

Egyptians extend protests at Tahrir Square

Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, after a week of demonstrations, to tell the ruling generals they are failing to meet demands to reform the system…

From Syria…

1 Million Protesters Push Syria’s Assad to the Brink…

An estimated 1 million Syrians took to the streets Friday to press for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, whose use of force and offers of dialogue have failed to stop a four-month revolt. At least 32 protesters were killed around the country, including more than 20 in the capital of Damascus…

From Jordan…

Jordanian police beat up journalists covering demonstration

…At least 10 people, mostly journalists, were injured yesterday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.
Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists who were wearing orange vests marked “press,” an AFP reporter at the scene witnessed. The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.
“We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests,” said the photographer. “We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes.”
A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen.
Around 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the nearby Al Husseini mosque to the city hall before the clashes occurred with hundreds of government supporters.
“Rulers, we want to reform the regime. We want the palace to hear the voices of Jordanians,” the demonstrators chanted.
They carried banners reading “We need political, economic and social reforms for future generations,” and “It’s our right to fight corruption.”

From Bahrain…

Thousands rally for political reform in Bahrain

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis shouting “one man, one vote” attended a rally for political reform held by a leading opposition party on Friday, days before the group decides whether to pull out of national reform talks. Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have launched a national dialogue to discuss reforms and heal deep rifts in the Gulf island kingdom…

Now, lets put some proper perspective on the problem…

More Harm Than Good…

…Now, before Tunisia and Egypt even have new governments in place, the IMF has jumped to offer them loans for vast infrastructure projects in the desert—as if the fund didn’t know that young Arabs there want ways to start businesses and have careers, not temporary construction jobs.

The Greek debacle and the North African drama raise existential questions about the IMF. Responsible governments have no business borrowing vast sums from abroad, rather than from domestic sources. That’s what tinpot regimes do. And lending even more to borrowers who can’t pay what they already owe? That’s what loan sharks and mafiosi do.

The IMF’s business model sabotages properly functioning capitalism, victimizing ordinary people while benefiting the elites. Do we need international agencies to enable irresponsible—verging on immoral—borrowing and lending? Instead of dreaming up too-clever-by-half schemes to stumble through crises after they happen, why not just stop imprudent banks from accommodating foreign borrowing by feckless governments? After all, it’s French and German taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the Greeks and the Irish…

Now, today in Libya, we’ve officially recognized the Rebels, freeing up the $34 Billion that we had froze, shortly after Qaddafi had announced that he was earmarking that specified amount to the African Development Bank…

U.S. formally recognizes rebel group as Libya’s government

…The chief effect of recognition may be financial. The rebels have been pleading with Washington and other governments for months to release frozen Libyan assets, including $34 billion held in U.S. banks, and that now appears increasingly likely.

At the Istanbul meeting, France said it was taking steps to unfreeze $250 million, while Italy said it was moving to unfreeze $100 million. U.S. officials said it would take time to release the Libyan money because of legal restrictions, but the task is easier if the council is the recognized government.

The rebels have said they need $3.5 billion this year to prosecute the war and administer the cities and towns they control.

Here’s a juicy little tidbit about those very same Al QaedaLibyan Rebels…

Now, speaking about ‘prosecuting’ and ‘administering the cities and towns they control’. The House of Saud is in full panic mode…

Saudis Seeking Arms amid Growing Fears

Saudi Arabia’s hunger for weapons has grown with the upcoming US withdrawal from Iraq and instability in Yemen and Bahrain.

…”Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries in general realize that they must rely on themselves to defend themselves during this critical period marked by the beginning of a US withdrawal from Iraq,” said Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies. [...]

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has traditionally bought US and British arms, but it showed no hesitation in contacting a new supplier, Berlin, with which it is negotiating the purchase of 200 Leopard tanks, according to reports in Germany.

The order is worth some two billion Euros ($2.8 billion), German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website.

“The kingdom is looking for weapons in Germany and even in Russia, knowing that with the vacuum left by the Americans in Iraq, Iran might begin to extend its influence to the Levant reaching out to the Mediterranean sea,” said Eshki.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country sent about 1,500 troops to Bahrain, freeing up local security forces to crush a month-long uprising, recently reiterated Riyadh’s rejection of “foreign adventures” in Bahrain.

“Persian [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states have strategy to maintain their security,” Faisal said on July 5…

As, b at M of A, pointed out some of the unique features of those 200 Main Battle Tanks…

German Tanks For Saudi ‘Peace Support Operations’

…But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.

The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for “Peace Support Operations”. Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.

Hmmm… Yeppers, it’s all those pesky Iranians fault…

Btw, can we finally be rid of this annoying Beach Boy earworm…?

…There is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict,” Baer explained.

….It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.

They need an external enemy. Because we are leaving Iraq, it’s Israel. But in order to make this threat believable, they would love an attack on their nuclear facilities, love to go to war in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and hit us where they could. Their defense is asymmetrical. We can take out all of their armored units. It’s of little difference to them, same with their surface-to-air missile sites. It would make little difference because they would use terrorism. They would do serious damage to our fleet in the Gulf.

Given all that, is it possible that the United States would allow Israel to attack when the president knows “we would be forced” to join the war on Israel’s side?

Baer’s response: “the President is up for re-election next year” and Israel is “truly out of control.”

What happens when you see 100 F-16′s approaching Iraq and there is a call to the White House [from Netanyahu] that says “We’re going in, we’re at war with Iran”? What does the President of the United States do? He has little influence over Bibi Netanyahu. …We can’t stop him. And he knows it.

Hmmm…! I suppose not…!

Now, this was some great news which actually did instill some hope in my cold, cynical heart…

Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence…

Several MKs participate in the ‘March for Independence,’ the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years…

Arab League seeking full status for Palestine at UN…

The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said yesterday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communique.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move, saying if the Palestinians really wanted peace, “they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution.”

Even the ever-odious Mustache of Fury just had to chime in… …PA bid for UN recognition means ‘next to nothing’…

*gah*