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by CTuttle

More Evidence Points To The Syrian Rebels

3:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

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

From the Huffington Post…

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

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

Syrian rebels’ Damascus chemical cache found by Syrian Army

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

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

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

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

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

Well, lah di da…

Syria will let UN inspectors probe chemical attack: FM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria Rebels: We’ll Use Chemical Weapons, Too

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

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

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

God Help the Syrians…! *gah*

by CTuttle

Chemical Attacks In Syria – Cui Bono?

2:36 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Reuters…

Syria gas “kills hundreds”, Security Council meets

Syria’s opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people on Wednesday by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.

With the dead estimated at between 500 and 1,300, what would be the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since the 1980s prompted an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.

While U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock, immediate international action is likely to be limited, with the divisions among major powers that have crippled efforts to quell two and a half years of civil war still much in evidence.

Russia hastened to back up denials from the administration of President Bashar al-Assad by saying it looked like a rebel “provocation” to discredit him.

Britain voiced the opposite view: “I hope this will wake up some who have supported the Assad regime to realise its murderous and barbaric nature,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said on a visit to Paris, London’s ally against Assad.

France, Britain, the United States and others called for an immediate on-site investigation by U.N. chemical weapons inspectors who arrived in the Syrian capital only this week. Moscow, urging an “objective” inquiry, said the very presence of that team suggested government forces were not to blame.

Neighbouring Israel’s Channel 10 television quoted Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon as telling reporters that Syria had used chemical weapons, and not for the first time. {…}

If confirmed, a major gas attack could increase pressure on Obama to do more to support rebels whose links to militant Islam have helped dampen Western enthusiasm for their cause.

The Security Council, where Russia has vetoed previous Western efforts to impose U.N. penalties on Assad, began a closed-door meeting but is not expected to take decisive action, with the big powers still at loggerheads and cautiously seeking clarity over the incident.

As Col. Lang wrote…

Think about it! A UN chemical weapons use investigating team is in Damascus. They were invited into the country by the Syrian government.

These attacks are supposedly in the Damascus suburbs. Are the rebels so desperate as to make claims that are easily investigated? Is the government so inept as to do this? pl

As b at Moon of Alabama wrote…

Syria: Another False Flag “Chemical Weapon” Attack

Whenever there is some international action with regards to Syria, a United Nations security council meeting or a G8 conference, the Syrian insurgents create and/or propagandize some “massacre” that they allege to have been perpetrated by the Syrian government.

On Monday UN chemical weapon inspectors arrived in Damascus to investigate some older claims of chemical weapon use. Just in time a new incident happens with the insurgents alleging use of “chemical weapons” by the Syrian government just some 10 miles away from the inspectors hotel…

Videos of the incident show many people, including children, with respiratory problems. But non of the first responders and medical personal in those videos wear any protection against chemical weapons.

Real chemical weapons, like Sarin, are persistent agents. They stick to the cloth of the victims and any contact with those victims would practically guarantee to kill the people who try to help them unless those people take serious precautions. Whatever happened in Syria today is therefore unlikely to be the consequence of military grade chemical weapons. Many other chemical agents, like insecticides based on organophospate or some industrial process chemicals, could induce the observed symptoms.

It would of course be totally irrational for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons just the moment that chemical weapon inspectors arrive in the country. But it makes a lot of sense for the insurgents and their foreign supporters to create such an incident, as they did previously, and to use it to renew their propaganda campaign against the Syrian government. It is therefore no surprise that the British government immediately jumped all over the case.

Simply answer “cui bono?” and you will know who is responsible for this incident.

To be sure…

Russia terms reports of Syrian chemical weapons as “planned provocation”

Russian Foreign Ministry termed on Wednesday media reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria as “planned provocation” against the ruling regime.

“Moscow considers it important to conduct an objective and professional investigation,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters, adding the provocation undermined the efforts for convening an international conference on Syria. {…}

Lukashevich said later in the day that a homemade rocket with ” an unidentified chemical agent” was launched Wednesday in the eastern suburb of Damascus from an area occupied by opposition militants.

“All this looks very much like an attempt to create a pretext for demanding that the UN Security Council side with the opponents of the government,” he said.

Russia urged “all those who have the possibility to influence armed extremists make every effort to end provocations with chemical agents,” he added.

*gah*

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

Pouring Gas On The Syrian Inferno

5:09 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From this past Sunday’s Bobblehead shows…

Lawmakers say Syrian chemical weapons could menace U.S.

…Lawmakers sought to remind viewers on Sunday news programs of Obama’s declaration while discouraging a U.S. foothold on the ground there.

“The president has laid down the line, and it can’t be a dotted line. It can’t be anything other than a red line,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican. “And more than just Syria, Iran is paying attention to this. North Korea is paying attention to this.” Added Sen. Saxby Chambliss, also a Republican: “For America to sit on the sidelines and do nothing is a huge mistake.”

…But Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, said Sunday the United States needs to consider those weapons. She said that when Assad leaves power, his opponents could have access to those weapons or they could fall into the hands of U.S. enemies.

“The day after Assad is the day that these chemical weapons could be at risk… [and] we could be in bigger, even bigger trouble,” she said…

…”The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground on Syria. That would turn the people against us,” said McCain, the Republican who lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama.

His friend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, also said the United States could safeguard the weapons without a ground force. But he cautioned the weapons must be protected for fear that Americans could be targeted. Raising the specter of the lethal bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Graham said the next attack on U.S. soil could employ weapons that were once part of Assad’s arsenal.

“Chemical weapons — enough to kill millions of people — are going to be compromised and fall into the wrong hands, and the next bomb that goes off in America may not have nails and glass in it,” he said…

US lacks evidence in accusing Syria of using chemical weapons

…The United Nations and the Secretary General have been notified about alleged chemical weapons use in Syria by American politicians. In response, a spokesman for the UN chief warned that “the United Nations is not in a position to comment on assessments based on national intelligence information.

But a team of UN advisers “have been in contact with the US authorities on the latest developments,” the spokesperson for the Secretary-General said in a statement.

The statement added that a “technical expert team to conduct a fact-finding mission” has been put together and is on standby, ready to begin work in “24-48 hours.”

So far the expert team is still awaiting its marching orders, after UN chief Ban Ki-moon promised the probe in late March, following an official request by the Syrian authorities to appoint an independent mission to investigate the alleged chemical attack that claimed lives of at least 25 people on March 19.

Although following the Syrian plea, the United Nations said the team would not include experts from Russia and China to ensure it wasn’t biased. Russian EU envoy Vitaly Churkin criticized “this kind of logic” saying in that case he “would recommend excluding all NATO countries too.”

Following this development, in early April, Syria refused to let the UN proposed team enter Syria as it – contrary to the Syrian request – was planning to deploy “throughout Syrian territory” and not at particular locations of alleged attacks. “Syria cannot accept such manoeuvres on the part of the UN secretariat general, bearing in mind the negative role that it played in Iraq and which cleared the way for the American invasion,” a Syrian foreign ministry official explained at the time.

The official stressed that Syria had specifically asked for “a neutral and honest technical team to visit the village of Khan al-Assal” in the province of Aleppo…

Opinion divided on investigation in Syria over chemical weapons

…Speculation on chemical weapons in Syria has flared up. The White House has stated that the government troops may have used them against the rebels. The international community is divided on whether to send an investigation panel to the country.
Amateur videos have sprung up online, showing various victims of chemical gas. This come after Washington’s accusation that Damascus has used chemical weapons.
One video shows people left unconscious and others reporting aches and dizziness after what they say was a Syrian government air raid in Aleppo on April the 13th.
And a picture purportedly showed a flock of sheep killed by chemical weapons.

…The Syrian government has denied accusations from western countries. It compares the US accusation to claims about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction to justify its 2003 invasion.
In the meantime, fears are growing in both government troops and rebel groups. Some are calling for a UN investigation, while others doubt UN neutrality.
Yahya Sulaiman, a retired soldier, said, “The UN is under control of the western countries. We don’t think it represents the justice. If the UN investigation doesn’t make clear the investigation period, their access to Syria may also bring foreign spies, who’s true purpose is to inspect Syrian military facilities.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says the investigation panel is ready to get access to Syria at any time. US President Barack Obama has expressed support for a UN mission.
Russia has warned not to use the allegations as an excuse for foreign military intervention. The final decision is still up in the air.

All Syria options ‘fraught with risk for US’

As the UK’s former Ambassador to Syria wrote recently…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

More Persian Fantasies After Baghdad Talks…

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Niles had equivocated in that great RT clip, the ball is squarely in the West’s ballcourt, and, the Oily Bomber, along with all of our AIPAC bought-off Congress Critters, are the sick individuals that are failing us miserably…

the Obama Administration seems no more prepared to deal with the big issues that will determine diplomatic success or failure—namely, accepting the principle and the reality of internationally safeguarded enrichment in Iran and recognizing that a negotiated solution will necessarily entail significant sanctions relief—than it was during its initial experience in multilateral negotiations with the Islamic Republic during 2009-2010. Until that changes, the chance for anything other than failure or, at best, an extremely narrow deal of little strategic significance—is negligible…

…the Iranians assess that the Obama Administration has an interest in keeping the negotiations going at least through the U.S. presidential election in November. As Flynt points out, they have been using the talks as a way of probing Western seriousness about a potential deal…

But the talks are not going to produce anything of strategic significance unless the United States substantially alters its approach

Just to be sure…

No gaps exist between the U.S. and Israel on Iran nuclear program, says official…

Senior official involved in Baghdad talks says U.S. is pressuring Iran because it perceives it as a real threat to world security, not because of Israeli pressure…

…The U.S. official, who is intimately acquainted with the P5 + 1 talks which took place in Baghdad last week, asked to remain anonymous owing to the sensitive nature of the issue.

According to the official, the U.S. government does not feel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to pressure it over negotiations with Iran.

We are the ones who are pressuring ourselves because we see a nuclear Iran as a real danger to global security, and not because of Israel, ” the U.S. official said.

Even if we do not have the patience, we need to give diplomacy a chance before military action…it is still not too late, and I think that Israel thinks that it is already too late,” the official added…

…On Friday, the head of the U.S. negotiation team, undersecretary of state for political affairs Wendy Sherman, arrived in Israel along with officials from the White House National Security Council working on the Iran nuclear issue – Gary Seymour and Puneet Talwar.

The American team had a three-hour meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, with National Security advisor Yaakov Amidror, and a number of other senior Israeli officials who deal with the Iran issue, in order to update them on the talks in Baghdad.

According to the U.S. official, the Israeli government was the first to be updated by them on what happened in Baghdad after the talks were over. “We updated the Israelis in detail before we updated our own government,” the official said.

This shows how much trust and security we have in our ties with Israel.

Former AIPAC employee, MJ Rosenberg, totally eviscerates that ‘anonymous’ US official’s foreign delusions…

Mainstream Media & Bloggers Are Too Scared To Mention AIPAC In Iran Coverage

Every piece of legislation dealing with Iran, including all the sanctions bills, were written in AIPAC’s offices and then handed over to favored senators and representatives for introduction. For the last decade, every AIPAC annual conference, attended by the President and half the Congress, has had as its centerpiece the need to confront Iran. Just this week, as negotiations began in Baghdad, the Vice President met with the ultra-right Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which is led by this guy. (Watch the youtube, you will fall off your chair laughing). And the next day the Senate Majority Leader met with the same group. The message to the Conference in both cases: trust us, we will not deviate from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policy that sanctions not be lifted no matter what Iran offers. And we didn’t!

To put it simply, there would be no Iran hysteria was it not for the lobby. After all, was there hysteria over North Korean nuclear weapons? The North Korean regime is insane which the Iranian regime is not. And we have over 100,000 troops in South Korea, not to mention that Seoul, the South Korean capital, is virtually on the border with the crazy north.

But Iran is different. And that is because of the lobby. (If groups other than the lobby cared much about Iranian reprocessing, would not Biden and Harry Reid have met with them. Of course, they would have. But they know Iran is strictly an Israel lobby issue. And that means it is enmeshed in the question of who will or will not receive campaign contributions from PACs and individuals who take their marching orders from the lobby.

Imagine if there was no lobby. (Such a lovely thought)

…And that is among the many reasons that I wish the timid MSM and bloggers would start telling the truth to the American people. This whole issue is not about us. It’s about Netanyahu and AIPAC. And, largely due to them, we may never be able to resolve it.

George Washington is spinning in his grave, waiting for Rachel Maddow to address this issue. Fat chance.

Neither Maddow or the other “progressives” want to risk offending people who might slow their advance to the heights. That is why this is the ONLY issue that the wise don’t touch with a ten foot pole.

Career comes first. And last…

Now, I may not be paid for my I/P blogging, but, I have always soldiered on…!

God help us all…!

by CTuttle

Syria’s ‘Dead Man Walking’…

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters reported today…

America and Syria’s ‘dead man walking’

…A peaceful solution to Syria’s protracted crisis now looks remote enough to wonder whether Bashar Assad might outlast Obama in power. The US president is not assured of winning another term in office next November. But the odds of the Assad regime surviving into 2013 look better with every passing day, even though one of the US government’s top experts on Syria has labeled the Syrian president a “dead man walking.”

There are several reasons for skepticism about a resolution to the Syrian crisis in the near future. One is the government’s military superiority over fractured and lightly-equipped opposition forces. More importantly, there is no international consensus on how to deal with what began 14 months ago as peaceful demonstrations against a 40-year family dictatorship and now includes huge suicide bombings of government targets that have raised suspicions of Al-Qaeda involvement.

At the summit of the G8 — the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and Japan —an aide to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev made clear, again, that Moscow, unlike the West, does not see Assad’s departure as a necessary step toward ending the bloodshed.

“Some may like or dislike the Syrian government but one cannot avoid a question — if Assad goes, who will replace him?”
said Mikhail Margelov…

A very savvy question, indeed…

Beyond Bashar, Syria’s rebels are facing far more significant resistance

…China, Russia and Iran support for Bashar Assad makes a Western military intervention in Syria impossible, given the likely catastrophic repercussions for all concerned. In the eyes of this coalition, Assad is a tool and pretext. He is the façade against which the courage of the insurgents will continue to collide as long as Russia and its allies on the one side, and the United States and its allies on the other, fail to dispassionately settle their differences, therefore reach agreement over their contending interests, through negotiations…

Negotiations…? What negotiations…

U.S. considering plan that arms Syrian rebels…

…The effort, U.S. officials told The Associated Press, would vet members of the Free Syrian Army and other groups to determine whether they are suitable recipients of munitions to fight the Assad government and to ensure that weapons don’t wind up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked terrorists or other extremist groups such as Hezbollah that could target Israel.

The plan, which has not yet been finalized, reflects U.S. frustration that none of the previous efforts — including diplomatic rhetoric from the United Nations and the multinational Friends of Syria group, and special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for a cease-fire — has even begun to nudge President Bashar al-Assad from power. The vetting would be the first tiny step the U.S. has made toward ensuring that the Syrian opposition uses the weapons to fight Assad and not to turn it into a full sectarian conflict.

While some intelligence analysts worry that there may be no suitable recipients of lethal aid in the Syria conflict, the vetting plan has arisen as the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation…

As Steve Hynd wrote… US To Vet Syrian Rebel Arms Recipients – Really?

So if this vetting will prevent Saudis funding arms for Al Qaeda (yeah, right) how far beyond that will it go? The chances of arming some pretty nasty people that have the only virtue of being not-AQ are pretty high.

A United Nations investigation said Syrian government forces and rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad had both committed serious human rights abuses despite an attempted ceasefire in the conflict and opposition activists reported fighting in several regions on Thursday.

…The rebels, who are increasingly armed and well-organized, have executed or tortured captured soldiers and government supporters, it said. They have also abducted civilians in an apparent bid to secure prison exchanges or ransoms.

It doesn’t matter how many bad ideas you pile on top of other bad ideas, the result will never be a good idea.

Remember, it’s not just our grubby fingers at work, but, the House of Saud/GCC’s too… Syrian rebels get influx of arms with gulf neighbors’ money, U.S. coordination…

Meanwhile, the UN’s Ban Ki Moon spewed this nonsense today on CNN…

‘We have no Plan B’ to stop the violence

…With the carnage in Syria that has left thousands dead now entering its fifteenth month, the United Nations Secretary General says there is no clear path beyond the current mission being led by Kofi Annan.

“At this time, we don’t have any plan B,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview for ‘Amanpour’ on CNN International. “The joint special envoy Kofi Annan has proposed six peace proposals, among which the complete cessation of violence is number one. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented while with the deployment of monitoring missions, we have seen some dampening effect.”

Many regard the Annan mission in Syria to be a failure already.

There will be discussions in the Security Council next week about the situation in Syria Mr. Ban said, and he will make a report about the situation. But the lack of cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is making the situation very difficult…

God Bless the Syrian People, from all our misguided ministrations…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Let Us Call Terror, Terror…

5:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle


Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!

I’ve been screaming ‘bloody murder’ about this Syrian miasma for sometime, I would peg the starting point from early January, when the EU/GCC/US/Nato first started to pivot from Libya to Syria. As Col. Lang wrote today; Terrorism in Syria…

The Obama administration, pre-occupied with its re-election and the need to sooth its financial backers, continues to support the neocon policy position that all anti-establishment revolution is good in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The simple truth that there are not and will not be governments in the ME made up of “good guys” seems beyond the reach of “scholars” at AEI and WINEP as well as members of the Foreign Service.

What we have in Syria is revolutionary civil war waged by the forces of salafist Sunni Islam against the forces of the Alawis, the Druze and the Christians. In this civil war the Sunni salafists are backed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, US media and I suppose Israel in some underhanded way. Iran backs the Assad government, and Iraq is edging its way closer toward the position of the Mullocracy in Teheran.

The war has not been going well for the Sunni insurgents. Assad and company are not willing to surrender to the UN or anyone else since they know that they will be put down like the proverbial dogs if they do.

Logically, the Sunni salafists have now resorted to the kind of large scale terror that has characterized the last ten years in the greater ME.

Let us call terror, terror…

Yes, let’s call it for what it really is! Now, let’s look at some of the ‘sources’ of that specific terror threat, Syria says attackers came from “well known” countries, and, Syria envoy says British, French, Belgian fighters killed…

Syria’s UN envoy said Thursday that British, French and Belgian nationals were among foreign fighters killed in the country’s mounting conflict and that there was Al-Qaeda involvement.

The ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told the UN Security Council that 12 foreign fighters had been killed and 26 detained in recent clashes with Syrian forces.

“We have a list that contains 12 names of foreign terrorists killed in Syria, including one French citizen, one British citizen, one Belgian citizen,” Jaafari told the 15-member council.

He said a list of the 26 foreigners detained had been sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the Security Council.

The 26 have “confessed they are terrorists and entered Syria to carry out terror operations,” he added. Some were “associated” with Al-Qaeda.

The ambassador later told reporters that those detained were mainly Tunisians and Libyans but there was one Palestinian and one Jordanian.

All of the “confessions” have been shown on Syrian television, Jaafari said.

The ambassador said that recent bomb attacks in Syria “carried the stamp of Al-Qaeda methods.”

Jaafari renewed condemnation of Gulf Arab states and Turkey who he accused of backing the foreign fighters and Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile, in Aleppo today, while Syrian forces stopped one car bomb, another one detonated…

An explosion hit Syria’s northern city of Aleppo Friday, just hours after state TV said the army had foiled a would-be suicide attack in the city, raising fears the country is drifting toward an Iraq-style insurgency.

Elsewhere across the country Friday, peaceful protesters defied Syrian army gunfire and took to the streets in the tens of thousands to protest the rule of President Bashar Assad.

The anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said no one had been killed by the Aleppo blast close to the ruling party headquarters, which came a day after twin bombings in Damascus left scores dead.

“Initial details indicate that the Aleppo blast was targeting the local branch of the ruling Baath party and there is no information until now on the number of victims that fell in the explosion,” the British-based group said in an email… {snip}

…Thursday’s bombings have raised fears that extremist elements could be taking advantage of the deadlock in Syria to stoke the unrest.

An Islamist group calling itself Al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility online for the Damascus attack, the SITE Monitoring Service said Thursday.

It said two bombs it had placed near a military headquarters on a central highway in the capital on May 5 had killed around 20 guards. For many, the Al-Qaeda-style tactics recall those once familiar in the country’s eastern neighbor, Iraq, raising fears that Syria’s conflict was drifting further away from the Arab Spring calls for political change and closer to a bloody insurgency.

“Syria is slowly but surely turning into another Iraq,” said Bilal Y. Saab, a Syria expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Even Hezbollah was saying today; Hezbollah chief says Syria may descend into Iraq-like abyss…

Now, lets look at a common thread that wends it’s insidious ways through the tapestry, that is the Middle East, and our GWOT, namely, the House of Saud…! From; 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11, to Iraq’s ‘awakening’, Libya, Bahrain, and, even Yemen, the Saudi-fueled Salafist/Wahabbi based Sunni Insurgency has led the way.

Emptywheel did an awesome job of connecting-the-dots in some of the House of Saud’s nefarious machinations, yesterday…

Cluster Bombs on the Head of a Saudi Pinpoint

Congratulations to the NYT, which offers the superlative version of a story everyone seems to be writing today. It describes a whole host of reasons why we should not trust the Saudis.

That collaboration appears to have intensified over the past two years, despite a long history of mistrust rooted in the role of Saudi hijackers in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The relationship was tested again last year when Saudi leaders responded furiously to American endorsement of the revolt that ousted a Saudi ally, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. American diplomats were surprised and angered in turn soon afterward when Saudi Arabia sent troops to help put down unrest in neighboring Bahrain.

[snip]

The counterterrorism cooperation has not been without bumps, officials from both countries acknowledge.

In 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation quietly sent a handful of agents to Saudi Arabia to work with officials there on a classified counterterrorism strategy, according to a senior American official who was briefed on the program. After several months, however, the two sides disagreed on a common strategy, and the F.B.I. agents went home.

Internal State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations revealed American frustration with Saudi Arabia in curtailing financial supporters of many extremist activities.

“It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” said a classified cable sent by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in December 2009, concluding that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

But ultimately concludes that in spite of all this evidence, our partnership with the Saudis is working just great…

Yes, indeedy, we do in fact have the AP, and our entire agitprop, Western Lamestream Media peddling that very same Neo/Ziocon Snake Oil… Saudis emerge as key US ally against terror…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Syria: Intervention or Mediation? And Bibi Blinked, to Host ‘Direct Talks’ With Abbas

6:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From the accompanying YouTube blurb…

After more than a year of turbulence, Syria is still facing both a violent internal opposition uprising and the threat of external intervention. NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council have backed the opposition, the Syrian Transitional Council, both politically and militarily. Calls for humanitarian intervention in the name of the “responsibility to protect” have been made by the same NGOs as those who acted over Libya last year. Russia and China have vetoed interventionist resolutions in the Security Council, backed by the US, France and the UK, and a chance for reconciliation has been offered with Kofi Annan’s mediation mission. But can it succeed? Will sovereignty remain respected, as provided for by the UN Charter? What are the real aims of NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council in Syria? Do they want peace and reconciliation or regime change and chaos?

I’ve made my opinion well known, repeatedly, on the farcical R2P ‘humanitarian’ crusade directed at Syria…! Just like I did in the run up to Libya’s smashing success…!

Here’s some of the latest on Syria… From Non-Western Media… Syria to halt military actions as of Thursday… From the ‘Rebels’… Syria rebels set ultimatum, as peace deal falters…

Here’s some recent Western Leaders responses… David Cameron: Syria used ceasefire to kill civilians… Sarkozy: Syria blatantly lying about ceasefire…

What a clusterf*ck in the making, it’s truly a No-Win scenario for the Syrians, needless death and destruction for what exactly…? Reminds me of the age-old adage, that to ‘save’ the village we must bomb it into oblivion…!

Now, moving along… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

‘Arab countries to arm Syria rebels’, and, ‘Israel Estimates ‘Only’ 300 Deaths in 3-Week War’

9:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Expanding on the above good Doctor’s reporting…

Arab countries to arm Syria rebels as fighting continues…

Arab countries have pledged to arm Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, while 40 people were killed in violence around Syria, activists said… {snip}

The opposition said some countries had agreed to arm the rebels.

‘The Free Syrian Army will be armed by some friendly countries but this will not be done in the open and will be very soon,’ Sheikh Anas Airout, a member of the Syrian National Council, told dpa.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya are the key financial backers of the plan to arm the rebels, an opposition source who requested anonymity told dpa.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States have pledged millions of dollars at a Friends of the Syrian People conference in Istanbul at the weekend to pay salaries for rebels fighting to topple al-Assad and provide communications equipment.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged against weapons being funneled to Syrian rebels, warning about the risk of regional proliferation…

Syria is another f*cking GCC/UN/EU/US/Nato R2P ‘humanitarian’ disaster in the making, just like Libya…!

Expanding on this rubbish: ‘The Free Syrian Army will be armed by some friendly countries but this will not be done in the open and will be very soon,’… …Stratfor Emails: Pentagon-Hired Mercenaries Intervening in Syria Since December, apparently Blackwater Xe Academi is on the job already…!

Also, from the previous article…

Al-Assad is maneuvering we all know that, he will never implement any peaceful plan to end the crisis in Syria, he only knows the language of killing,’ said Walid al-Buni, a member of the Syrian National Council.

In Washington, the US State Department said it would establish a so-called Syria Accountability Clearinghouse to help the Syrian people and international partners document human rights abuses in the country.

The information will be used to ‘help develop trial-ready dossiers against individuals responsible for violations of international or domestic criminal law,‘ the State Department said. It will also collect and analyze information to be used in later prosecutions, memorials and justice and reconciliation efforts.

It’s interesting that many Human Rights orgs operating in Libya now, claim that Nato is completely ignoring and/or squashing all their documented cases of overt HR violations caused by Nato’s Airstrikes and other covert activities in Libya…!

Now, from Iraq’s PM Maliki… Syrian regime will not fall, says Iraq PM…

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will not fall and attempts to overthrow it by force will aggravate the crisis in the region, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday.

“It has been one year and the regime did not fall, and it will not fall, and why should it fall?” Mr Maliki told a news conference in Baghdad.

“We reject any arming (of Syrian rebels) and the process to overthrow the regime, because this will leave a greater crisis in the region,” Maliki said…

Maliki knows perfectly well that the Iraqi Sunnis and the Kurds will completely ignore his pleas not to arm the Syrian ‘rebels’…!

Shifting gears a bit…

Some current responses from Iranian officials…

Iran says will not deviate from N-path…

Officer: Iran could hit US if it came under attack…

Now, getting to Israel…

I don’t know what’s more ridiculous, the farcical amount of casualties, or, the fantasy that it’ll only last three weeks…! Just like Cast Lead, maybe…? Anyhoots… Israel Estimates ‘Only’ 300 Deaths in 3-Week War…

Israel’s defense system estimates that if a war breaks out during 2012, 300 people will be killed in a three week period.

Now, despite the fact that Obummer has just approved the latest round of sanctions, this past Friday, and, they don’t officially go into effect until June 28th…! Bibi still has the chutzpah to say… Global sanctions on Iran not working…

…”The sanctions are painful, hard.. but will this bring about a halt or a retreat in the Iranian nuclear programme? Until now, it has not happened,” Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem.

He said the Iranian regime is struggling financially but has strengthened its political grip following the recent parliamentary elections.

The regime strengthened its grip in the recent elections, despite the sanctions,” he said of the parliamentary elections which took place in Iran in early March.

“It has strengthened its political grip, it is struggling financially and it still hasn’t turned back by even one millimetre from its nuclear programme.”

Will these difficulties cause the Iranian regime to stop its nuclear programme? Only time will tell. I can’t tell you if it will happen. I know there is hardship but there still hasn’t been a change.“…

So naturally, bombing Iran is the only recourse to loosening up that ‘political grip’ right, Bibi…? I’m positive they’ll greet those bombs with rose petals too…!

Some more of Bibi’s chutzpah… Netanyahu wants deal to prevent ‘binational state’…

…”I want to solve the conflict with the Palestinians because I don’t want a binational state,” Netanyahu told a rare news conference. “For as long as it depends on me, we will ensure the Jewish and democratic character of Israel.” {snip}

…Since then peace talks have never taken off in earnest, and the current stumbling block is a Palestinian demand that all construction of Jewish settlements on occupied land be halted. About a half million Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel counters that this was never a condition for talks before.

The Palestinians – and most of the international community – view the settlements as illegal or illegitimate. Many Israelis oppose them too – some driven by the sense that they are not in Israel’s interest because they make a partition more difficult.

Israel did remove 8,000 settlers from Gaza when it pulled out, but the scale of the challenge in the West Bank is far bigger – leading Israeli negotiators over the years to seek border adjustments that would incorporate many of the settlers into Israel.

But under most envisioned scenarios, tens of thousands would still have to be moved to enable a partition – or at least one that did not leave Israelis inside the Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has further alienated the Palestinians by making clear that in any future deal he would seek to retain significant chunks of the West Bank because of their strategic value, since Israel in its pre-1967 borders is at its narrowest point only 15 kilometers (9 miles) wide.

The existence of a Jewish state is not just a matter of separation” from the Palestinians, he said Tuesday. “It’s a matter of security, preserving our basic national interests – and this requires negotiations.

It is the Palestinians and not us who chose not to hold negotiations over three years,” he said. “I hope they change their minds in the coming months. We are ready and prepared to hold negotiations.

What Democracy…? Negotiate for what then Bibi…?

Btw, about that Palestinian ‘State’… ICC won’t investigate Gaza war because Palestine is ‘not a state’…

Talk about your Catch 22…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Syria: Who Are The Rebels?

10:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Isn’t it funny that the GCC/Arab League buried the Arab League Observer Mission report on Syria(PDF! 30pgs), just prior to the UNSC vote…? As Chris Marsden wrote…

Report of Arab League mission to Syria contradicts Western propaganda

…The resolution on Syria vetoed at the United Nations Security Council by Russia and China was moved by the Arab League, citing the failure of the regime of Bashir al-Assad to abide by its demands for an end to violence against the opposition.

The veto has been followed by hysterical official denunciations in the West and a media propaganda campaign portraying the developments in Syria as an entirely one-sided and indiscriminate massacre carried out by the Assad regime against its own people.

The UN resolution included a brief reference to the observer mission sent by the Arab League into Syria, “commending its efforts” and suggesting that violence had prevented it from continuing its work.

The reality, however, is that to make the case for regime change in Syria, the League, currently chaired by Qatar and politically dominated by the US-aligned Gulf monarchies, had to terminate its own observer mission and squelch its report.

The report was suppressed because the 166-member observer mission found that violence in Syria was abating, the Syrian government was complying with most of the Arab League’s requirements and the ruling Baathists were faced with an armed insurrection. Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, played the instrumental role in burying the report, and cutting short the mission, because they are arming the opposition forces and arguing for direct military intervention to depose Assad… {snip}

Syria signed the protocol agreeing to the mission on December 19. It was headed by Sudan’s General Muhammad Ahmad Mustafa Al-Dabi and included 166 monitors from 13 Arab countries and six Arab organisations.

On December 22, the Syrian Government “confirmed its readiness to facilitate the Mission in every way by allowing the free and safe movement of all of the observers throughout Syria,” and allowing it to “freely conduct” meetings with whomever it wished.

By and large, the report finds that this pledge was fulfilled…

Today, Col. Pat Lang chimed in about the looming Syrian morass…

…IMO we are being lured towards secret support of the Syrian opposition to the Assad government. There is an assumption that anything and anyone would be preferable for us to the present government. This is troubling.

During the Libyan insurgency the canard was about that those rebels were dominated by Islamists. That never seemed likely to me but perhaps I have known too many Libyans.

In the case of Syria, it seems clear to me that a great deal of the opposition is Sunni mosque centered around salafist leaders. How much ” a great deal” actually is remains a question. The government should have the CIA talk to its media friends so that we can be better informed. pl

Now, Nassar Ibrahim penned a must-read… Syria: the Middle East’s tipping point…

The struggle for Syria isn’t just about Syria–it’s the struggle for a free, democratic Middle East versus one that lives under the yoke of American and Israeli hegemony.

…The conflict in Syria has reached its tipping point. At this level, it is no longer acceptable or reasonable to continue playing in a gray area in the name of diplomacy, as the struggle on Syria has a crucial significance from various strategic points of views.

The importance of the Syrian question has to be found in Syria’s key-role in the regional geostrategic pattern. Its position is directly intertwined with the confrontations we will witness in the Arab world for the next decade, whose results will in turn be strongly affected by the transformation happening in Syria. To be clear, the moves we are witnessing nowadays will influence the fate of a number of regional and global balances on more than one axis.

From the moment that the Arab League made the decision to suspend Syria’s membership, entailing a series of sanctions against the Syrian people, the clashes happening in Syria have moved to another level. This became even clearer with the second proposed UN resolution–calling for a democratic transition and for Bashar Al Assad to step down–which was stopped by Russia and China’s vetoes last Saturday for the second time in four months. There have been two attempts to prepare the ground for a military intervention – that the US, European, and Arab countries would like to see and that 13 out of 15 UN Security Council members voted for. Such fervor reminds of the international climate before the war against Iraq began in 2003…

Please read the whole article…! It’s a very sobering analysis…!

Now, you tell me if today’s carnage was carried out by Assad’s troops or not…

Powerful car bombs rip through Syrian town

…Two powerful car bombs targeting security posts ripped through Syria’s second city of Aleppo on Friday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 175, even as tanks surged into battered protest hub Homs.

State television said “armed terrorist groups” carried out the attacks, the first in Aleppo since the outbreak of an uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad almost a year ago.

It said a “suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives” carried out one of the attacks on a police station, flattening a nearby food distribution centre. The second bombing targeted an intelligence base.

The report showed mangled bodies in pools of blood in the street outside rows of shattered buildings, and deep craters in the ground….

God Help the Syrians…!

*gah*