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by CTuttle

AIPAC, Barak, Hagel, Kerry, and Mattis

4:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Mahalo to Medea Benjamin, for that RT interview and all of Code Pink’s efforts, along with these brave souls…!

Americans protest against AIPAC

Now, lest you thought the US Military was averse to starting a war with Iran…

Top US commander: Iran sanctions not working

Head of US Central Command says diplomatic efforts against Islamic Republic are useless, but it’s not too late to bring Iran ‘to its senses’

Top US commander in the Middle East, General James Mattis, said the current sanctions and diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities are not working. He said Tehran has a history of denial and deceit and is enriching uranium beyond any plausible peaceful purpose…

That’s absolute Bullsh*t…! But wait, there’s more BS Mattis…

U.S. efforts on Iran not working, Syria planning underway: Mattis

…A top U.S. general said on Tuesday that American efforts aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon were not working, even as he voiced support for crippling sanctions and diplomatic efforts aimed at isolating the Islamic state.

“I still support the direction we’re taking. I’m just paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly,” General James Mattis, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, told a Senate hearing…

A Freudian slip, perhaps…? To be sure… “Iran remains the single-most significant regional threat to stability and prosperity.”

Anyways, if you’re not pissed off enough… In Qatar today, SoS Kerry confirmed the blatantly obvious… ‘US now openly supports Syria militants’

Now, getting back to the Pentagon, I was truly flabbergasted by this Lovefest…

Chuck Hagel meets Ehud Barak (and wants to make sure the Israel lobby knows it)

New U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon on Tuesday, making a special effort to express warmth and friendliness toward his Israeli counterpart during their first meeting together since the prior assumed office.

Hagel assured Barak during their meeting that he was committed to the security of Israel and of preserving the Israel Defense Forces’ qualitative advantage over the armies of the Arab world. He also said that he would work to ensure that U.S. funding toward Israel, particularly with regard to its defense systems, would continue “despite fiscal uncertainty.”

Where’s all that “I’m not Israel’s Tool Senator” rhetoric now…? *sigh*

Now, in closing on a humorous note, Phil and Annie, at Mondoweiss, wrote a great post on Stephen Colbert and the real Israeli tool, Michael Oren… Did Oren’s iron dome of affability stop Colbert’s brilliant strikes?

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

On 3rd Anniversary, Cast Lead II, Or WW III…?

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The IDF’s Benny Gantz recently boasted…

IDF chief: Gaza war against Hamas was an ‘excellent’ operation

Second round of fighting in Gaza is not a matter of choice for Israel; it must be initiated by Israel and must be ‘swift and painful,’ Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz says…

As Paul Mutter wrote at Mondoweiss…

…For now, I think Gantz is saber-rattling. Israel is hoping to scare or wrongfoot Hamas as it scores political successes through the prisoner exchanges, the electoral success of Egypt’s Islamist bloc, entry to the PLO and new unity talks with Fatah. A more conciliatory Hamas is not what Likud wants to deal with. The best way to undermine Hamas’s nonviolent political successes would be to put Hamas in awkward position over the actions of Islamic Jihad (which Israel struck just this week) or another militant organization. Hamas’s leadership would be an awkward position of having to manage feelings of militant nationalism that it has cultivated in order to secure potentially ephemeral political concessions. Its legitimacy would be at stake, but should it respond with violence, its survival would be in jeopardy.

Hamas will likely avoid the temptation to return to fighting. The Middle East is too politically fluid at the moment. But given the hawkishness of the “liberal” alternatives to Likud, as Dimi Reider points out, I am still convinced that the timing of Cast Lead II will be a question of when, not if. Israel would be more likely to use massive force against Gaza than Iran if it came down to an eleventh-hour choice for Defense Minister Barak. Israel’s leadership has no doubt been encouraged by SecDef Leon Panetta and President Obama’s public backpedalling on their reluctance to attack Iran. The U.S. could deal with Iran (an “October surprise,” as some have suggested), leaving Israel a stronger hand to play against Hamas. The timing for any of these possible actions will greatly depend on how the 2012 U.S. presidential election progresses.

As for how the IDF will react to Hamas’s announced new focus on popular demonstrations, Gantz’s past comments about the Arab Spring offer some insight:

There is a focal player in the Middle East – the street – and it is clear to us that in the coming months we can find ourselves in broad popular demonstrations, which gain public resonance. The IDF is preparing for these demonstrations.

[snip]

For this reason, we will act with great fire power and full force at the very beginning of the confrontation. Anything the camera can stand or could stand in the first three days of fighting – it will not be prepared to put up with thereafter.

Now, here’s proof positive the Likudniks don’t want peace with the Palestinians on any terms…

Palestinians offer to renew Israel peace talks without settlement freeze, official says

PA reportedly submits new Quartet offer to restart negotiations, demand Israel releases 100 Palestinian prisoners; Israel rejects offer fearing renewal of only low-grade talks…

…The Palestinian proposal was reputedly the result of heavy pressure applied by Quartet members – the United States, the European Union, Russian, and the United Nations – on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks before January 26…

…Quartet officials – especially EU – made it clear to the Palestinians that they would bear equal responsibility in the event that the two sides would not resume talks by late January…

…With one month to the Quartet deadline, the two sides haven’t even held predatory meetings that were supposed to take place two months ago, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s adviser Yitzhak Molcho and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were supposed to set the talks agenda.

The Israeli official indicated that Israel rejects the Palestinian offer for two reasons: 1) That is replaces one precondition with another, and 2) since officials say the Palestinian proposal is too vague and did not make it clear whether the prisoners’ release will lead to full talks that would include meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas or just the preparatory sessions…

…News of the new PA proposal came after on Sunday, Netanyahu commented on the recent moves by Fatah and Hamas to set up a unity government, saying that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians should such a government be established.

“If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a conference for Israeli ambassadors.

He added that he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas anytime, anywhere, in order to renew negotiations

Now, isn’t this reassuring…

Israel, U.S. discuss triggers for military strike on Iran

The Daily Beast reports that the countries are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities…

Please read this entire, well-researched, and chilling article, Tom Burghhardt wrote recently…

Red Lines and Ticking Clocks: U.S. War Plans Against Iran

Wars don’t just happen.

Before the first bomb falls disinformation specialists prepare the ground.

Leading media outlets, foreign policy journals and a plethora of think tanks funded by elite foundations, energy and weapons’ conglomerates, “right,” “left” or “center” take your pick, churn out war propaganda disguised as “analysis.”

From the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP), rhetorical skirmishes aside, the line is remarkably similar.

Indeed, for “conservative” and “liberal” elite bloviators alike, Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel and America’s regional “allies,” a disparate crew of land-grabbing colonizers, murderous princes and profligate potentates.

Only U.S. intervention, in the form of an overt military attack now or crippling economic sanctions followed by military action later, can save the day and bring “democracy” to the benighted Iranian people…

{snip}

…That an attack on Iran might set-off a global conflict with far-reaching, and deadly, consequences was underscored by Russia Today.

Analyst Col. Vladimir Popov said that “if in the midst [of an attack on Iran] Azerbaijan supported by Turkey, attacks Armenia, then, of course, all of the adversary’s attacks against Armenia will be repelled by Russia in conjunction with Armenian anti-missile defense forces.”

“The analyst does not exclude the possibility of Russia’s military involvement in the Iranian conflict.”

“‘In the worst-case scenario’,” Popov told RT, “‘if Tehran is facing complete military defeat after a land invasion of the US and NATO troops, Russia will provide its military support–at least on a military-technical level.”

As the United States, Israel and NATO prepare the ground for war against Iran, and with operations already underway by the U.S. and NATO to effect “regime change” in Syria, Iran’s close regional ally, the pieces of a slow-motion global catastrophe are falling into place.

God help us all…!

*gah*