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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al-Assad, Al-Sisi, Bibi, Erdogan, and House of Saud

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Al-Sisi is stepping down to run for the Presidency, this little bombshell fell…

Egyptian army funds parties to stand against Muslim Brotherhood

The Egyptian army funded many Egyptian political parties and youth coalition groups in order to stand against the Muslim Brotherhood in the elections, Egyptian security expert and researcher Sameh Al-Yazel revealed.

Speaking to the Egyptian TV channel CBC, Al-Yazel said the army paid millions of Egyptian pounds for these parties and youth coalition groups in order to be able to affect the public opinion. He said many of these bodies are active until today, but refused to mention names.

Al-Yazel also said that the army supported these bodies, which called for the expansion of the transitional period in order to take their time to ‘organise or reorganise’ themselves.

He said: ‘They [the army] said they [Muslim Brotherhood] are the only well-organised party; therefore they will sweep the elections.’ Al-Yazel explained this is what caused the army to take these measures.

Meanwhile, Al-Sisi is headed to Moscow…

Egypt’s top military commander and expected presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is on his way to Moscow, marking the first time senior Egyptian officials have visited Russia since the overthrow of the country’s president, Mohamed Morsi, in June.

El-Sissi is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin and speak at a joint press conference, The Associated Press reported, citing Egyptian media.

State-owned Egyptian news outlets have also reported that the purpose of the visit was the conclusion of a $2 billion arms deal funded largely by the Gulf States Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Another interesting development… Egypt Detains a U.S. Embassy Employee

Moving along to Syria…

Here’s the ludicrous, 22-point plan offered up by the Syrian Opposition… Opposition plan for post-war Syria ignores Assad

Naturally…Russia and China want no part of it…!

In fact, Russia says Syria aid draft groundwork for military action

So, yesterday, Clapper called Syria an ‘Apocalyptic Disaster’ during congressional testimony…

US intelligence concerned by Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria

The director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper, testified in Washington on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee that there are at least 7,500 fighters from 50 different countries who have been trained by Al-Qaeda fighters inside Syria.

Defence Intelligence Agency Chairman Michael Flynn warned that: ‘There is also the very real possibility that extremists in the Syrian opposition could overrun and exploit chemical and biological weapons storage facilities before all the materials are removed.’

‘The current instability in Syria presents a perfect opportunity for Al-Qaeda and associated groups to acquire these weapons or their components,’ added Flynn.

When asked if Al-Qaeda is ‘on the run’ or ‘on the path to defeat,’ Clapper replied no, saying that: ‘It is morphing and franchising itself, not only [in North Africa] but other parts of the world.’

Flynn also responded that Al-Qaeda is not on the path to defeat.

Clapper noted that at least 7,500 foreign fighters from 50 countries have gravitated to Syria, including a small group of Afghani and Pakistani supporters of Al-Qaeda ‘who have aspirations for external attack in Europe if not the homeland itself.’

‘Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence,’ Clapper added, ;I’ve not experienced a time when we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.’

I thought Col. Lang did a great job on cutting through that claptrap…

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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, Iran, And Syria

6:07 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Consortium News’ Ivan Eland, truly spelt it out on Syria…

Courting Catastrophe in Syria

…Their argument isn’t that the Syrian rebellion will fall apart if the United States doesn’t provide arms, it’s that when the insurgents finally take over Syria, the U.S. will won’t have much “influence.“ They argue that militant Islamists among the rebels, who are the most well armed and ruthless fighters, will become dominant if the United States does not arm the more secular and democratic forces.

Yet the war hawks don’t ever ask themselves how the Islamists became the most well-armed groups in Syria — answer: by being the most ruthless. So far, the United States has reportedly helped Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Sunni Arab arms providers to vet the groups to which they are arranging weapons shipments. Yet despite those efforts, media reports indicate that the Islamists seem to be getting the lion share of the weapons anyway. In chaotic war situations, such unintended consequences are usually the rule rather than the exception.

And the situation in Syria may be about to get worse. Media reports indicate that the Saudis have ramped up their arms financing — purchasing and sending to Syria a large shipment of Croatian infantry weapons, a transaction that seems to have been facilitated by the United States.

In addition, the Syrian rebels have extorted pledges of more humanitarian aid from the United States and United Kingdom in exchange for attending a Friends of Syria meeting in Rome. Previously, the U.S. has shipped “non-lethal“ communications and medical supplies to the rebels.

So the public pronouncement that the United States is not arming the rebels is only technically true; the reality is that the U.S. is vetting and facilitating the delivery by other countries of weapons to the insurgents. Even the communications equipment the U.S. sends directly could be used to increase the coordination, and thus effectiveness, of rebel missions…

…If the rebels do finally displace Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, the subsequent internecine violence could dwarf that of the tribal conflict and instability in post-Qaddafi Libya, because Syria has sectarian tensions, similar to those in Iraq, which Libya does not possess.

Thus, after analyzing and admitting such a record of failed interventions, how can anyone in the United States, with a straight face, advocate wading deeper into the Syrian swamp?

To be sure… White House Pledges More Aid to Syrian Rebels – Denies Reports of Armored Vehicles ‘For Now’ Btw, $60 million in ‘Aid’ was pledged from the Rome Confab…

Here’s some more insight on the Syrian clusterf*ck…

Syrian National Coalition: Opposing Currents Fight for Control
…“The SNC was parachuted down on us to draw the domesticated opposition into a settlement with the regime,” he added. The Russians and Americans “want to exhaust the two sides in order to lead them into a Lebanese-style settlement where there are neither winners nor losers.”…

Now, moving along to my favorite bugaboo, AIPAC, ahead of their annual Lovefest in DC, has the unmitigated chutzpah to demand…

AIPAC To Hill: Don’t Touch Israel Aid

At a time when sequestration is about to take a big bite out of the Pentagon budget, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will be sending thousands of its citizen lobbyists to Capitol Hill next week to make sure Israel is exempted from any spending cuts…

…The 13,000 expected AIPAC activists will be telling Congress not to touch Israel’s $3-billion-plus annual security assistance and to vote for legislation declaring the Jewish state a “major strategic ally.”

That is a designation not enjoyed by any other nation, JTA pointed out, noting it may be a step toward the goal of some conservatives of divorcing assistance to Israel from all other foreign aid spending.

AIPAC’s annual policy conference begins Sunday and culminates Tuesday with personal visits by constituents to hundreds of members of the House and Senate.

Ironically, I don’t think they’ll fail in their efforts…

Senators Push Resolution Committing US to Aid Israel in Attack on Iran

If Israel attacks Iran in ‘self-defense,’ the resolution declares, the US must provide diplomatic, military, and economic support

…The chief sponsors of the resolution are Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Graham said the resolution will be non-binding and is neither a declaration of war nor an authorization to use military force. Non-binding resolutions are supposed to express the sentiment of Congress, as opposed to actually legislate policy. This one seems tied to placating the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which holds its annual conference in DC this weekend.

Leaving aside the fact that under no reasonable definition of “self-defense” could Israel conceivably justify an attack on Iran, the resolution is both an illustration of Congress’s fealty to Israel, as well as their aggressiveness towards Iran…

Here’s some basic facts, folks… Top Ten Myths about Iran

And to be sure, folks… Obama’s Israel Trip: It’s Iran, Stupid!

*gah*

by CTuttle

What Really Happened To Richard Engel?

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Folks, I smell a Rat…! But, first, let’s quickly dispense with some of the nonsense swirling about Syria…

The Assad government is not “falling.”

…Yes, the demise of the Syrian government exists mainly in the “minds” of a couple of vendu think-tank analysts in Washington, the corporate media bandwagon, and the enfants terribles Wilsonians now riding high in the Obama Administration. The attempt is being made to simply BS Assad out of power. Obama is now functioning fully as the reincarnated Lincoln and sees himsef as “clothed in a great power.” Well, pilgrim, he has placed the US in the position of an alliance with an AQ affiliate (al-nusra). The Syrians that he recognised as government are demanding that he stop condemning their AQ ally and are coming to Washington to tell him and the Wilsonians that he must de-list al-nusra as a terrorist group.

Group Think and the desire to be loved by colleagues and the powerful account for a lot of the intellectual irresponsibility on display but it is also the fact that many of those “running their mouths” over Syria are simply ignorant, callow creatures created by ten years of war and the super-abundance of government money that allowed the hiring of the pitifully under experienced.

The only real question in my mind is whether or not Syria actually wasted a few SSMs last week. Let’s see some evidence, some wreckage, statements by Clapper about heat signatures at launch, something.

The civil war appears to be a stalemate. Having painted himself into a corner BHO will eventually have to opt for intervention of some kind. pl

Now, it would seem that even ex-FDLer, Spencer Ackerman has been sucked into the proverbial Media vortex…

Islamic Extremists Rescue NBC Reporter Held in Syria

…Securing Engel’s freedom is a particularly unexpected turn for Ahrar al-Sham, which the Associated Press describes as “Islamic fundamentalist brigade home to many foreign jihadis.” A recently revamped rebel command structure excluded the group, along with the al-Qaida-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, seemingly to secure Western backing. Such groups are given to criticizing the U.S. — not for intervening in Syria, but for not intervening enough in Syria, and being prissy about the company it keeps.

Ahrar al-Sham might give Westerners pause. But Danger Room pal Matt Fanning, a Fort Worth-based IT consultant who closely tracks Syrian rebel groups, says the jihadist organization is one of the most effective and the most media-savvy of the rebel coalition. Their weapons of choice include roadside bombs and car bombs, tactics that “clearly came from Iraq,” Fanning says.

Ahrar al-Sham is also one of the most prolific Syrian jihadi groups on YouTube. Ahrar al-Sham takes video cameras along on raids — to capture giant explosions for upload — and doesn’t mind displaying maps of its operations against Assad’s forces. “Sham also releases probably three to five videos a day where Nusra is good for about one to three a week,” Fanning says.

But Ahrar al-Sham’s ideology is no less extreme. It’s issued religious edicts against the ruling Alawite minority and has been criticized for rounding up Shias as hostages. “I agree with al-Qaida on certain things and disagree on others,” one Ahrar al-Sham fighter, a veteran of al-Qaida in Iraq, told The New York Times in July. His nuanced view of suicide bombing: OK against government troops, not OK against civilians…

Basically, Spencer, fails to see the forest through the trees…!

Now, b at MOA, asked some very penetrating questions of Richard’s abduction…

Another Indication That Richard Engel’s Kidnapping Story Stinks

… There is now new evidence that this was indeed a fake event and that, whatever Richard Engel may believe, he and the people with him (which included one ever unnamed “British engineer” who is more likely some special operations guy) were not in the hands of Shabiha but in the hand of well known experienced video fakers.

Early this year we have looked at the roles of citizen journalists from Syria. One was Khaled Abu Salah who faked and uploaded many videos of Syrian government atrocities, one day playing nearly dead while playing very well and enraged just few days later. The other fake journalist was one “Danny” who presented his fake videos with Anderson Cooper on CNN. {…}

Now here is a video, uploaded yesterday, in which the fake citizen journalist Khaled Abu Salah interviews the just freed Richard Engel the evening before Engel returns from Syria to Turkey.

How come that this known serial producer of fake videos is involved in a murky kidnapping case that looks like a propaganda set up for “western” media consumption?

Further:

-Who smuggled Richard Engel into Syria? Was it Avaaz?
-Did “Danny” and Khaled Abu Salah knew that he was coming?
-Did they prepare the kidnapping and the liberation of Richard Engel?

Some of the answers may be found if Richard Engel explains how he came to meet Khaled Abu Salah for this interview. Engel should urgently answer that question.

The Grey Lady’s Robert Mackay pointed out much of the Agitprop being generated… As Last Member of NBC Team Escapes Syria, More Details on Hostage Drama Emerge… Yesterday, he did a great job in exposing the real disparities in reports from Syria… Accounts of a Siege in Syria Differ on Rebel YouTube Channels and British Television…! Fancy that, eh…?

Btw, I’ve highlighted much of these shenangians in play, before… The Syrian Morass…

*gah*