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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Handing a Monkey a Hand Grenade, Real Men Go To Tehran, and SEAL Fail

5:36 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The esteemed Col. Lang, a signatory of this letter to both Kerry and Lavrov, pointed out this excellent article…

De Borchgrave on Syrian government guilt in re the 21st of August gas deaths.

“What is becoming increasingly clear is that Assad wasn’t behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in an eastern suburb of Damascus. The evidence gathered by U.N. inspectors may lead to pro-al-Qaida operatives in the resistance movement. The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad’s regime and sabotage peace talks.” De Borchgrave

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When I saw this section of Arnaud De Borchgrave’s column yesterday, I contacted him so as to know this was his opinion or that of the Russians. He assures me that this is his opinion. pl

Please do read the entire article, originally entitled: The US could be supporting the wrong people in Syria…

…The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad’s regime and sabotage peace talks.

Russia is playing its Syrian hand deftly and prudently. It warned the Obama administration that U.S. military intervention would have “catastrophic consequences” for the entire region by giving radical Islam a winning hand.

But some Russian voices objected to the softer tone of the men in the Kremlin. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that the West “is playing with the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade.”

Some newspapers criticized Russian leaders as overly prudent.

Komsomolskaya Pravda, a mass circulation tabloid, warned, “If optimists in the Pentagon believe that Russia will limit itself to warnings and expressions of anger, like it did over Iraq and Yugoslavia, they may well be mistaken … Times have changed. There’s too much at stake and Moscow won’t retreat … Who’ll cave first — Putin or Obama?”

Next to the Russian media’s fire-and-brimstone warnings, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had made clear that Russia has “no plans to go to war with anyone.”

The Syrian civil war, with its influx of foreign fighters, including a powerful contingent of pro-al-Qaida combatants, many of them recruited online, have led some Russian commentators to predict Moscow will soon be increasing weapons supplies to Syria.

At the same time, Russia will be negotiating still closer ties with Iran coupled with a cut back on areas of cooperation with the United States, some Russian experts said.

Before increasing aid to Syria’s underground resistance, U.S. intelligence should nail down beyond the shadow of a doubt the true identity and plans of the underground resistance. Or at least of the commanders of units they are dealing with.

During the recent four-day siege of Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, al-Shabaab jihadists “raped, tortured, beheaded, dismembered, castrated, gouged out eyes, amputated fingers and hung hostages on hooks from the roof,” a forensic medical doctor in Kenya told FrontPageMagazine.com, a conservative online magazine edited by David Horowitz and published by the Freedom Center in Los Angeles.

For jihadists — or “holy warriors” — these were ritual killings “consistent with a growing global jihadist MO (modus operandi),” writes FrontPage’s Dawn Perlmutter. “Similar acts of torture, rape, beheading and mutilation regularly occur in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria and other countries,” says Perlmutter. {…}

Taking on the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis at this late stage in Syria’s civil war would put the United States in the same camp as AQAM — al-Qaida and its associated movements. This would also jeopardize negotiations with Iran aimed at abandoning its quest for nuclear weapons.

Seriously, pups, I’m aghast at the clusterf*ck that is our FP…! On the one hand, you have Obama asking Congress to ‘delay’ the latest round of sanctions on Iran, then, roll out this IC propaganda…!

Followed up by this noise…

Obama says Iran a year away from nuclear bomb

US President Barack Obama said in an interview released Saturday that Iran was “a year or more away” from getting a nuclear bomb, in a clear sign of discord with Israel.

Obama also told the Associated Press that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had staked his credibility on dialogue and it was up to the United States to see if he had the political weight to follow through.

The president’s timetable contrasts with that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has warned that Iran has been building faster centrifuges to enrich uranium which would allow it to jump across an Israeli red line within “weeks.”

Did you catch that Calvinball shift…? Oopsies… Israel: No Dispute Over Iran Timeframe…

Well, that was certainly a quick response dontcha think…! Hmmm…?

Let’s be clear who is responsible these daze…!

Anyways, when I’d first heard about a ‘western’ strike in Somalia, I’d suspected Mossad, yet… AP sources: Navy SEALs raid Somali town in strike aimed at al-Shabab militants, and f*cked it up…

US Navy SEAL raid in Somalia fails to nab al-Qaida suspect in Kenya mall attack

U.S. Navy SEALs carried out a pre-dawn raid Saturday on a coastal town in southern Somalia looking for a specific al-Qaida suspect linked to the Nairobi shopping mall attack, but did not get their target, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press.

A former U.S. military official also confirmed the raid by the SEALs, but no other details have been provided. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid by name. The Pentagon declined comment.

In Somalia, officials said international military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike Saturday against foreign fighters in the town of Barawe. Officials said the strike was aimed at “high-profile” targets.

The strike was carried out in the hours before morning prayers in Barawe, the same town where Navy SEALs four years ago killed a most-wanted al-Qaida operative, the officials said.

However, it wasn’t a total wash, as it were for us… US forces capture al-Qaida leader in Libya wanted by US for 1998 embassy attacks in Africa. Oorah…?

In wrapping up, I do wonder about these newsworthy links…

US was so sure it was striking Syria it made ‘warning calls’ to Israel’s leaders

At height of crisis, Netanyahu was given formal notice of imminent attack on Assad; Obama’s change of heart said to have dented Israel’s faith in president’s ‘military option’ for Iran…

That was right about the time of those two ‘failed’ launches in the Med…!

Last but not the least, link… Iran, Russia to continue negotiations on S-300 missile system

To be crystal clear…

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al Qaeda, Egypt, Iran, and Yemen

5:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

 

From the intrepid Pepe Escobar…

Al-Qaeda to the rescue

When the going gets tough, count on the Ministry of Truth to get going.

The end of Ramadan was imminent. The jihadi chattering classes of that fuzzy entity, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), went on overdrive. It was jailbreak galore from Libya to Pakistan via Iraq. And all this in perfect synch with two successive fatwas issued by that perennial bogeyman, former Osama bin Laden sidekick Ayman “Doctor Evil” al-Zawahiri.

Imagine a rushed crisis meeting at the highest levels of the Orwellian/Panopticon complex: “Gentlemen, we have a golden opportunity here. We are under siege by defector spy Edward Snowden – liberated by the Soviets – and that terrorist hack Greenwald. Snowden may be winning: even among US public opinion, there’s a growing perception we may be more of a threat than al-Qaeda.

So we must show we are vigilantly protecting our freedoms. Yes; we’re gonna scream Terra, Terra, Terra!” {…}

…The bottom line is that the Bush-Obama continuum never ceases to reassure us – not to mention that old fox al-Zawahiri. Doctor Evil, as warped a strategist as he is, figured out a while ago that if the “al-Qaeda” global bogeyman myth is now “stronger than ever” it’s thanks to the Obama administration and its poodles, European and Persian Gulf-based, with their Three Stooges strategy from Libya to Syria. Afghanistan is a completely different story; there’s no “historical” al-Qaeda left, only a handful in the Pakistani tribal areas…

Doctor Evil and the Orwellian/Panopticon complex are on the same side – and that explains why he’ll be allowed to be a motor mouth fatwa machine for as long as he wants, and won’t be nabbed like some patsy in the underwear bomber mould. The complex is back in offense. Reform the NSA? Interfere with our metadata? What for? We have just alerted the US government to “pre-9/11″ levels of terrorist chatter!

AQAP might well decide not to participate in this worldwide “pre-9/11″ script. Real jihadis, after all, are not foolish enough to be caught by XKeystroke. So here’s a Dylanesque riddle for you. All along the watchtower, a false flag is approaching – said the joker to the thief. There’s too much Terra confusion, and we won’t get no relief.

Emptywheel asks… Was It NSA or a Yemeni “Ally” Leaking the “Clear Orders” from Zawahiri to Wuhayshi?

From Foreign PolicyWashington Spin War Erupts Over Terror Alert.

To be sure…

…In Washington Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said an alert that forced U.S. embassy closures across the Middle East and Africa may remain in place all month.

“Our current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond,” Carney said during a media briefing.

“And our information suggests that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” he said.

From RT…

US Special Forces on alert against Al-Qaeda attacks following intercepted communiques

…”While I can’t go into specific details, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee noted yesterday that this information was collected using Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, rather than the Patriot Act,” said Democrat Senator Ron Wyden as cited by The Guardian newspaper. “I still haven’t seen any evidence that the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of Americans’ phone records is providing any unique value to American counterterrorism efforts.”

Some alleged that the shutdown of US embassies and the media hype it caused may have been blown out of proportion.

“The NSA takes in threat information every day. You have to ask, why now? What makes this information different?” asked Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “The NSA’s choice to publish these threats at this time perpetuates a culture of fear and unquestioning deference to surveillance in the United States.”

The range of diplomatic facilities affected by the alert seems a bit baffling, argues The Washington Post. While the focus of the security beef-up seems to be in the Persian Gulf region, the closures also included some unlikely locations.

Among those are Rwanda and Burundi, two Central African countries with small Muslim minorities and little experience with Islamist extremism or terrorism. The US recently opened a new fortified embassy in Burundi and moved embassy staff in Rwanda to a new high-security building, so in both countries the diplomatic personnel are apparently well-protected.

There is also hardly any apparent explanation for the closure of diplomatic sites in Madagascar and the tiny Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, the newspaper adds.

And, No, al Qaeda Is Not About to Blow Up Your Blouse…!

Moving along to Egypt… So was it a ‘coup’ or not…?

In Egypt, U.S. Senators Label Morsi’s Ousting a ‘Coup’ as Tension and Confusion Reigns

…The simultaneous visits of both Burns and the two senators represent a significant shift on the part of the US—an active re-engagement after several weeks of semantic gymnastics over how to define this crucial phase of Egypt’s revolution. The American government is deeply distrusted by both players in the dispute and seemed, until recently, to be willing to take a back seat and endorse the EU mediation efforts.

But the renewed US engagement hasn’t brought much more clarity to the situation. Last week, Burns’s boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, made the strongest comments yet in favor of the post-Morsi government while on a visit to Pakistan, stating that the Egyptian military’s intervention was aimed at “restoring democracy.”

On Tuesday however, Senators McCain and Graham seemed to be singing from a completely different songsheet. The senators openly labeled Morsi’s ouster as a “coup”—a word the White House and State Department have studiously avoided for weeks and one which, when invoked, draws the ire of the transitional government and its supporters.

Still, McCain stated that cutting off the U.S.’s $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt—an action mandated by current U.S. law in the event of a coup against a democratically-elected government—would be “the wrong signal at the wrong time.” But Graham, in comments to reporters on Tuesday, offered a blunt assessment of the Egyptian playing field—one that directly challenges the transitional government’s statements of its own legitimacy. “The people who are in charge were not elected. The people who were elected are in jail,” he said. “The status quo is not acceptable.”

Interestingly… Egyptian govt rejects McCain’s ‘clumsy’ statements on Morsi’s ouster…!

Moving on to Iran, this about sums it up…

America displays more stupidity on Iran

…The problem with this approach that has failed for many years is that it is based on a series of arrogant assumptions or aggressive preconditions that no self-respecting government in the world would accept. It mentions substantive issues with Iran only in terms of Iran’s nuclear efforts, without acknowledging that Iran also has security, economic, nuclear rights and other concerns to discuss about how it is treated by the U.S. and the Western powers.

The statement accuses Iran of not engaging substantively and seriously, when the evidence shows that Iran has offered many substantive gestures (including freezing nuclear enrichment for two years and allowing all its enrichment facilities to be inspected by the United Nations), but now refuses to advance further mainly as a response to the U.S.-Israeli-driven campaign of sanctions, threats and cyberattacks against it. The U.S., Israel and others in the West never waste an opportunity to threaten to use military force against Iran, but in this context they also demand that Iran be responsible for taking the initiative to resolve this issue peacefully…

…Iranians and Rouhani took the first step of moving their national policies in a different, perhaps more fruitful, direction. Why could the White House not simply have replied to Rouhani’s calls for respect and equal treatment with the same magnitude of fusion between the display of new style and substance that hold the promise for a better world for all? Why did the White House instead reassert the aggressive ways that have only steadily increased tensions across the entire region for the past decade or more?

From the dynamic duo of Flynt and Hillary Leverett… America’s Iran Policy, the Undermining of International Order, and the Bankruptcy of Washington’s Approach to Nuclear Diplomacy…

And in closing… Yemen Scholar Says U.S. Drone Strikes May Have Driven al-Qaida Membership…!

You don’t say…? *gah*