More misleading half-truths from a paper too cowed by power and myth to tell the truth about U.S. foreign policy
…In this case, we have the irresponsible use of inverted commas, as the Brits say, to shape national opinion on a question of vital importance. The question is Iran. And now to the supine, corrupted and corrupting organ.
You have taken a wild guess, and you are right. We have our familiar problem with our friends on Eighth Avenue, the New York Times, faithful servants of the sanctioned orthodoxy. I give these folks an “A” for clever disguise this time, and I flunk them in the professional ethics class. Simply shameful, this round of reckless chicanery…
Here is the situation.
As all know, a deal with Iran over its nuclear program is the biggest game going these days — an historic opportunity, as previously asserted in this space. Fumble this, and the Obama administration will go down as hopelessly moronic on the foreign-relations side.
You may know, too, that a round of talks between six world powers and the Iranians just hit a pothole. It is essential to understand why.
The paradox is apparent, not real. Knowing why reveals what a nation with imperial ambitions looks like when it is nearing exhaustion and would rather decline than shape up, re-imagine itself, and take a new and constructive place in the global community. Not knowing why encourages Americans to preserve their righteous self-image even as the moths of history chew holes in it…
As Gareth Porter, reported recently about that ‘Last Moment’ draft…
…Lavrov said the United States circulated a draft that had been amended in response to French demands to other members of the six-power P5+1 for approval “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
Lavrov’s revelation, which has thus far been ignored by major news outlets, came in a news conference in Cairo Thursday that was largely devoted to Egypt and Syria. Lavrov provided the first real details about the circumstances under which Iran left Geneva without agreeing to the draft presented by the P5+1…
Lavrov noted that unlike previous meetings involving the P5+1 and Iran, “This time, the P5+1 group did not formulate any joint document.”
Here is definitive proof – if any was needed – that the Gallic fit-throwing that burned the possibility of an interim Iranian nuclear deal last week in Geneva was completely pointless.
The key “concern” expressed by Israel-firster French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to derail an interim deal was about the Arak heavy-water reactor.
Well, UN inspectors this week reported that they had detected no new developments in Arak over the three months since August. 
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, was also in Tehran on Monday, and – unusually for his trademark paperboy role for Washington – had nothing to complain about.
Fabius used the Arak gambit at the last minute in Geneva to derail the talks, provoking the ire of even fellow European diplomats. That was out of pure disinformation; Tehran was already doing what Fabius insisted they were not doing.
A EU diplomat (non-French) confirmed to Asia Times Online that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had already informed US Secretary of State John Kerry about these euphemistically defined “confidence-building measures”. Kerry was fully aware before he landed in Geneva on his way to sign an interim deal.
But guess what: the French were clueless. Kerry did not tell anybody else on the P5+1 table (comprising the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) because he feared any leaks. This proves once again that this infinitely complex negotiation is really between Washington and Tehran. Russia and China are behaving – so far – as sort of quiet (and wary) observers. Yet Kerry, Francophile that he is, should have know better about Gallic peacock instincts.
Meanwhile, there’s a Battle Royal happening in the Halls of Congress and DC…
…Egypt’s key opposition bloc has supported calls for President Mohamed Morsi to resign amid continuing protests across the country a day after clashes in the capital Cairo left one person dead and dozens injured, media reported.
According to Saturday’s statement from the National Salvation Front quoted by Al Jazeera, “the Salvation Front completely sides with the people and its active forces’ calls to topple the authoritarian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood’s control.”
The opposition bloc called on Egyptians to hold peaceful protests and demanded a trial for Morsi for “killings and torture,” ruling out dialogue with the presidency until bloodshed stops and “those responsible for it are held accountable,” the Qatar-based broadcaster reported.
At least one person was killed and over 50 injured, including five police officers, as police clashed with protesters outside the capital’s presidential palace on Friday evening. Police reportedly fired tear gas and protesters threw stones.
TV footage showed police beating a naked man. Egypt’s authorities said Saturday they regretted the beating, saying it was “an isolated act.”
An interesting wrinkle on Israel’s recent illegal incursion(s)…
…So far only two airstrikes have been publicly reported, amid a flurry of conflicting initial reports. Syria officially complained of the destruction of the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya northwest of Damascus. And a variety of news organizations reported that Israeli jets hit a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft defense systems toward Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley, presumably for delivery to Hizballah, the militant Shi’ite group closely allied with the Assad regime. If they had been deployed, those SA-17 ground-to-air missiles would intimidated Israeli pilots who now operate over Lebanese airspace with impunity, forcing them to higher altitudes and other operational precautions.
A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes…
…In other words, it may be easier to attack the problem from the other side — simply destroy the weapons you’re afraid they’ll get their hands on. Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces…
…No specific armed force was identified as threatening the compound. Intelligence officials said the concern was unconventional weapons “dripping” into control of extremists in the relative chaos of the rebel side.
One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military was poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region…
An Israeli air attack staged in Syria this week may be a sign of things to come.
Israeli military officials appear to have concluded that the risks of attacking Syria are worth taking when compared to the dangers of allowing sophisticated weapons to reach Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon…
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday slammed both Israel for reported strikes in Syria earlier in the week, as well as Syria for its failure to respond to the attacks, Turkish daily The Hurriyet reported.
“Why didn’t [Syrian President Bashar] Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country?” The Hurriyet quoted Davutoglu as saying…
The leader of the Syrian opposition council, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met here on Saturday with representatives of the United States and Russia — who fundamentally disagree on how to resolve Syria’s civil war — but the meetings were separate and there was no indication, officials said, that any progress had been made toward a workable plan to bring the violence to an end.
Moscow has been encouraged by Sheik Khatib’s suggestion, which he repeated here, that he would be willing to talk to Syrian government representatives under certain conditions. But European and American officials expect that offer to go nowhere now that the sheik’s colleagues in the opposition have attacked it.
The side meetings at the annual Munich Security Conference seemed to confirm the fissures over Syria, including a new disagreement between the United States and some of its European allies over whether to provide rebel fighters with more powerful weapons.
Russia has categorically rejected Western media reports claiming that Moscow is planning to hold talks with Syrian opposition on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference about “a political transition for Syria.”
And, if you had any doubts about Russia’s allegiances…
Military intervention in Syria is unacceptable even if it aims to create an air-protected humanitarian corridor, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov has said. Syria is one of most hotly debated topics at an annual Security Conference taking place in Germany.
”Russia does not support the idea of a humanitarian corridor in Syria. Any use of military power is unacceptable, and not just because we still remember what it lead to in Libya,” Lavrov said while addressing the Munich Security Conference. “We need to see the world the way it is. We need to recognize that military operations bring more chaos into the international matters and can send off waves of instability that will be impossible to hide from in any of what we may think as an island of security.”
Lavrov confirmed that the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal is under full control of the country’s government, and poses no danger as long as it does not fall into the hands of the rebels. Such an event would be a “red line” nobody wishes to see crossed, he said.
Despite the worsening situation in the region, peace is still within reach, Lavrov explained: “The war in Syria could be over if all sides stuck honestly and loyally to the principles of the June 30 Geneva conference.”
Now, take a gander at this recent Stratfor report…
…Supporting the jihad in Syria as a weapon against Iranian influence also gives the Saudis a chance to burnish their Islamic credentials internally in an effort to help stave off criticism that they are too secular and Westernized. It allows the Saudi regime the opportunity to show that it is helping Muslims under assault by the vicious Syrian regime.
Supporting jihadists in Syria also gives the Saudis an opportunity to ship their own radicals to Syria, where they can fight and possibly die. With a large number of unemployed, underemployed and radicalized young men, the jihad in Syria provides a pressure valve similar to the past struggles in Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan. The Saudis are not only trying to winnow down their own troubled youth; we have received reports from a credible source that the Saudis are also facilitating the travel of Yemeni men to training camps in Turkey, where they are trained and equipped before being sent to Syria to fight. The reports also indicate that the young men are traveling for free and receiving a stipend for their service. These young radicals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen will even further strengthen the jihadist groups in Syria by providing them with fresh troops.
The Saudis are gaining temporary domestic benefits from supporting jihad in Syria, but the conflict will not last forever, nor will it result in the deaths of all the young men who go there to fight. This means that someday the men who survive will come back home, and through the process we refer to as “tactical Darwinism” the inept fighters will have been weeded out, leaving a core of competent militants that the Saudis will have to deal with…
Please read that entire Stratfor report, it confirms everything I’ve been saying for years, about all of our MENA craptastic endeavors…!
On a final note… Pepe still rulz, all the rest droolz…
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