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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, I/P, Syria, and Yemen

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here we go again…! From the CSM…

Did Syria use chlorine gas against rebels in Kfar Zeit?

The US State Department says there are indications that a toxic chemical, probably chlorine, was used against opposition forces in Syria earlier in April.

The United States has indications that a toxic chemical, probably chlorine, was used in Syria this month and is examining whether the Syrian government was responsible, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

‘We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical’ in the town of Kfar Zeita, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, referring to a rebel-held area.

‘We are examining allegations that the government was responsible,’ she told a regular news briefing. ‘Obviously there needs to be an investigation of what’s happened here.’

Syrian opposition activists reported that helicopters dropped chlorine gas on a Kfar Zeit on April 11 and 12. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told ABC television’s This Week on April 13 that the attack was ‘unsubstantiated.’

Psaki said chlorine was not one of the priority one or two chemicals Syria declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) under a Russian-U.S. agreement for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Psaki said the United States was still trying to determine the facts.

‘We take all allegations of the use of chemicals in combat use very seriously,’ she said. ‘We’ll work with the OPCW, who is obviously overseeing the implementation, and determine if any violation occurred.’

Even Hollande piles on…France backs claims that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons recently

Meanwhile, in Syria…

So while everybody agrees that Assad is secure in his position and the Syrians move forward with their planned elections… The UN slams Syria…

Top UN officials warn against Syrian presidential elections

Top United Nations officials have cautioned that Syria’s newly announced presidential elections have a risk of undermining efforts to achieve a political solution to the country’s three-year-old conflict, a UN spokesman said here on Monday.

‘The secretary-general and the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, have repeatedly warned that the holding of elections in the current circumstances, amid the ongoing conflict and massive displacement, will damage the political process and hamper the prospects for a political solution that the country so urgently needs,’ Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, told reporters at a daily briefing.

‘Such elections are incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Communique,’ Dujarric said in reference to an action plan adopted in June 2012 during the first international conference on the Syrian conflict, calling for a political transition in the country.

Ironically, neither Assad, nor the SNC(or whatever version) had ever agreed to the Geneva Communique, even when it was first drawn up…! Here’s a great RT clip on the foreign intervention… Young Blood: Teenage Europeans joining jihad in war-torn Syria

Now, reflecting back…

An Eyewitness to the Syrian Rebellion: Father Frans in His Own Words

…Father Frans was murdered under still unclarified circumstances in the embattled Syrian city of Homs earlier this month.

Opposition sources have blamed the Syrian government for his death. But it is widely believed that Father Frans was killed by hard-line Islamist members of one of the rebel factions that have taken control of his Bustan al-Diwan neighborhood in Homs.

The texts of Father Frans, who had lived in Syria since 1966, provide an eyewitness account of the origins of the anti-Assad rebellion and the gradual hardening of the front between opposing rebel and government forces in Homs.

In many respects, the Father’s observations contrast sharply with what has become the standard view of the rebellion in Western media.

Perhaps most notably, whereas the rebellion is typically held to have been sparked by the violent repression of peaceful protests, according to Father Frans, the ‘protest movement’ contained an armed and violent element ‘from the start’ and the violent opposition quickly gained the ascendancy over the peaceful opposition.

Thus, in a letter published in January 2012 on the Dutch-Flemish Mediawerkgroep Syrië website, Father Frans wrote:

‘From the start, the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.’

In the same letter, Father Frans insisted that what was occurring in Syria could not be described as a “popular uprising,” since the majority of Syrians do not support the opposition and ‘certainly not’ its armed component.

Moving along… Lebanon is holding their Presidential elections tomorrow…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, the I/P Peace Farce, Iran, and Iraqi Drones?

3:36 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

 

FDL Alum, Jim White, delivered an excellent rant today…

Morally Depraved Obama Fails in Response to Egyptian Massacre

…Just wow. The Egyptian military has staged a coup in which they have removed a democratically elected (although dysfunctional and failed) government and massacred over 600 of its citizens in cold blood. None of that rises to the level of the “threshold where we can’t give a tacit endorsement to them”? What on earth do they have to do to get the US to cut them off?

One answer to that question is in the next paragraph:

And it could destabilize the region, particularly the security of Israel, whose 1979 peace treaty with Egypt is predicated on the aid.

It would appear that Egypt can kill all of its own civilians it wants with the weapons and money we provide as long as they don’t also kill any Israelis.

But there is another insidious tie in the US aid to Egypt. US defense contractors are making tons of money off of it… …Cutting off funding to Egypt is cutting off the flow of big bucks to the superstars of US defense contractors, and that just isn’t done. It was this thought that led me to send out this Tweet yesterday:

Name one spot, anywhere in world, where US foreign policy is working for the good of anyone other than defense contractors. I’ll wait….

— Jim White (@JimWhiteGNV) August 15, 2013

Now, besides McCain and Graham demanding a halt, it seems Leahy is also calling for cuts…!

So, naturally, as another FDL Alum, Spencer Ackerman, wrote in the Guardian yesterday…

Reluctance to suspend Egyptian aid exposes White House rudderlessness

Obama again refused to use America’s massive aid leverage over Egypt – part of the president’s ‘least painful step’ approach

Perhaps the most mystifying thing about the cosmetic US response to Wednesday’s massacre in Egypt is the reluctance for the US to use its massive aid leverage over Cairo’s generals.

Former diplomats and foreign policy professionals in Washington are often quick to say the situation is more complicated than a simple aid cutoff will allow. But after President Obama responded to one of the bloodiest days in recent Egyptian history by cancelling a scheduled military exercise, even those cautious policy practitioners were stunned by his meekness.

“If I’m an Egyptian general, I take notice and think President Obama is trying to take the least painful step to demonstrate to various constituencies in the US that he means what he says about democracy in Egypt,” said Amy Hawthorne, who until recently was an Egypt policy official at the State Department, “but only the least painful step, so we won’t take him that seriously.” {…}

Yet at the Pentagon on Thursday, the message remained the same. While the US deplores the violence and urges “restraint”, Hagel – who spoke with Sisi Thursday – believes “that maintaining an open line of communication with General Sisi is very important”, said top spokesman George Little.

“All the things the US has repeatedly, publicly, called for, by our most senior officials, haven’t happened,” Hawthorne said, shortly after Obama’s statement on Egypt. “So why are they still calling for them?”

The US has massive amounts of leverage over Egypt, in the form of approximately $1.5bn worth of annual aid. Yet for a variety of reasons, it does not exercise that leverage – something several Egypt experts say substantively weakens the credibility of the warnings that Washington periodically issues to Cairo, contributing to events like Wednesday’s massacre.

Among them: the aid is “a jobs program” for American defense companies, Radwan noted…

Now, moving along to the single largest recipient of our Foreign Aid, Israel…

Netanyahu: Conflict is Not About the ‘Settlements’

The Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted in the Arabs’ refusal to recognize Israel, Netanyahu tells UN chief.

Can you say tone deaf…?

Honestly, pups, stick a fork in the Peace Farce already…! Poll: 80% of Israeli Jews say peace impossible Most especially after you consider the fact that Bibi had stated he would submit the outcome of the secretive talks, to a public referendum…!

Now, this was a most alarming development on Iran…

US Joint Chiefs Chair: Military Options Against Iran ‘Better’ Than a Year Ago

Buried in a totally unrelated New York Times article about Jordan seeking more US aid for the Syrian border, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chief Gen. Martin Dempsey threw in comments on the prospect of the US invading Iran.

Discussing his recent meeting with Israeli leaders, Dempsey declared that the sanctions were “having an effect” on Iran, but that Israel wants the US to keep emphasizing the prospect of military action.

Of that, Dempsey insisted that “we have better military options than we did a year ago,” ominously adding that “we’ve continued to train and plan” for the invasion, threatened off and on by US and Israeli forces for 30 solid years…

Seriously, Why Israel Is Obsessed With an Iranian Bomb…!

In wrapping up, Wtf kinda noise is this…? Iraq seeking US drones to curb al-Qaida threat…!

Why not, I suppose, since they’re such a smashing success in Yemen…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, AQAP, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen

4:44 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Before I delve into the AQAP and Yemeni issues, I’d like to highlight this excellent comment from longtime FDL contributor, Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, on my last Mashup…

…In Yemen, in particular, US news is totally misleading. The main opponents of the Yemen government are not AQ but the Southern Yemen secessionist movement, a shaky coalition of different groups. The core group is the Yemen Socialist Party. How many readers even know there was once a North and South Yemen, separate states that unified, and not shortly thereafter, the old state entities were the core around which there was a bloody civil war. This was in the early 1990s.

There are many secessionist and political and tribal and ethnic groups in Yemen. In the US press you’d think it was all about AQ destabilization. With its supposed 1000 or so followers, it is actually one of the smaller opposition groups in that country.

The focus on AQ is to draw support on US intervention in Yemen, which is supported by the Saudis, especially since some of the Yemen groups have claims on Saudi territory, such as the Shiite Houthis in the north of Yemen.

Consider this Reuters article from June 2013:

Tens of thousands of Yemeni Shi’ite Muslims chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel” buried the remains of the founder of the armed Houthi rebel group on Wednesday, nine years after he was killed in fighting with government forces….

The Houthis are an important tribe belonging to the Shi’ite Zaidi sect, whose Hashemite line ruled for 1,000 years before the 1962 revolution, and which accounts for about 25 percent of Yemen’s population of 25 million.

It controls the northern province of Saada and parts of the neighboring provinces of Omran, al-Jouf and Hajja bordering top oil exporter Saudi Arabia….

Complaining of social, religious and economic discrimination in Yemen, the Houthis fought several battles with government forces between 2004 and 2010, when a truce was announced.

Saudi Arabia was drawn briefly into the conflict in 2010 when rebels crossed into its territory.

Straight from the Donkey’s ass White House… ‘AQAP greatest potential threat to USA’

The Al Qaida in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is seen by the US national security team as an affiliate of the Al Qaida posing greatest potential threat to the country, the White House has said.

“While, Al Qaida core and its leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been decimated and is not nearly what it was 10 years ago, Al Qaida in general and its affiliate organisations ~ as we’ve been talking about for years now ~ continue to represent threats,” the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday.

“And AQAP in particular is viewed by the national security team as the most operational of the Al Qaida affiliates,” he said.

So naturally, DronZ Away…! So much so that Count Von Count is having a hard time keeping track of them all…!

The Yemenis’ are none-too-thrilled… Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat!

Funny thing tho…

Yemen: 7 Saudis among militants killed by drones

At least seven suspected militants from Saudi Arabia were among the alleged al-Qaida members killed in Yemen in a recent wave of U.S. drone strikes, senior Yemeni officials said Friday, suggesting that Saudis are increasingly crossing the border to carry funds or seek terrorist training. {…}

Since July 27, drone attacks in Yemen’s southern and central provinces have killed a total of 34 militants suspected of being members of the country’s al-Qaida branch, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, security officials have said.

On Thursday alone, the officials said U.S. drones conducted three airstrikes, killing 12 militants.

The drone strikes occurred in areas where the terrorist group enjoys protection from anti-government tribes or hides in mountainous areas.

The terror network bolstered its operations in Yemen more than a decade after key Saudi operatives fled here following a major crackdown in their homeland. The drone strikes and a U.S.-backed offensive that began in June 2012 have driven militants from territory they had seized a year earlier, during Yemen’s political turmoil amid the Arab Spring.

The senior Yemeni officials who said the seven Saudis were among the victims of the drone attacks said intelligence suggested the foreigners had crossed the border between the neighboring countries to either ferry in money to the terror group or to train in al-Qaida camps.

“Al-Qaida is especially recruiting tech-savvy and well-educated Saudis,” one of the senior security officials said.

Hmmm… I seem to recall that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis too…! Let’s also consider the fact that the House of Saud is the largest funder of Al Nusrah/Salafists in Syria…!

In which, as the CIA’s no.2 equivocates…

CIA warns of crisis as al-Qaeda prepares to pounce

The war in Syria poses the greatest threat to US security because of the risk of the government falling and the country becoming a weapons-rich haven for al-Qaeda, a CIA official said in Washington.

CIA deputy director Michael Morell gave the assessment in an interview published by the Wall Street Journal as he prepares to retire after 33 years with the agency.

Mr Morell said there were more foreign fighters flowing into Syria each month to take up arms with al-Qaeda-affiliated groups than there were going to Iraq to fight with al-Qaeda at the height of the war there.

The Syrian government’s weapons ”are going to be up for grabs and up for sale” as they were in Libya when Muammar Gaddafi fell, he added.

”It’s probably the most important issue in the world today,” he said of the war in Syria, ”because of where it is currently heading” – towards the fall of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

But Mr Morell’s assessment contrasts with that of many experts who believe Syrian troops are gaining the upper hand…

Talk about stirring the Pot, Saudi style… ‘Saudi offers Russia deal for distance from Assad’

…Saudi Arabia has offered Russia economic incentives including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if it scales back support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle East sources and Western diplomats said yesterday.

The proposal between two of the leading power brokers in Syria’s devastating civil war was set out by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, they said.

Russia has supported Assad with arms and diplomatic cover throughout the war and any change in stance would remove a major obstacle to action on Syria by the United Nations Security Council.

Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons as well as ensuring that Gulf gas would not threaten Russia’s position as a main gas supplier to Europe.

In return, Saudi Arabia wanted Moscow to ease its strong support of Assad and agree not to block any future Security Council Resolution on Syria, they said.

A Gulf source familiar with the matter confirmed that Prince Bandar offered to buy large quantities of arms from Russia, but that no cash amount was specified in the talks.

A Lebanese politician close to Saudi Arabia said the meeting lasted four hours.

“The Saudis were elated about the outcome of the meeting,” said the source, without elaborating…

Not so fast… Kremlin: No deal discussed with Saudi Arabia on changing Syria stance…!

Now, moving along to Egypt…

I did wonder why Lieberman wasn’t initially asked to join his hombres, McCain and Graham…

McCain and Graham flipflop on aid to Egypt — after AIPAC speaks up

Two conservative senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, went to Egypt this week to urge Egyptian leaders to show more respect for democracy. McCain and Graham may be Republicans, but they have a lot of clout. They were reported to have the blessing of the Obama administration in making this embassy.

Why do they have such clout? One reason is that they are extremely responsive to the Israel lobby. In fact, both men lately flipflopped on a principled statement — cutting off aid to Egypt — evidently at the urging of AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby organization. {…}

…Hold on, guys. Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, formerly McCain and Graham’s wingman in the neoconservative caucus called the Three Amigos, weighed in. From the National Review, July 15:

“The retired Democratic-turned-independent senator expressed guarded optimism about the state of affairs in Egypt, and declared that, contra his former ally John McCain, the U.S. shouldn’t cut off its aid to the Egyptian military.

“He explained to Sean Hannity today… ‘I’m actually going to disagree with my buddy John McCain; I don’t think we should suspend military aid.’”

Then the other shoe drops. AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby group, also speaks up. Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

“‘We do not support cutting off all assistance to Egypt at this time, as we believe it could increase the instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally,’ AIPAC said in a letter to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), its top Republican.

“The letter is the first public signal since the army coup that deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in early July that AIPAC is actively opposing efforts to cut aid to Egypt.”

…It certainly appears that the two men abandoned a position of principle because AIPAC told them to. You’d think they would be buffoons. But they’re not. They haven’t lost any political capital for this abdication of principle. No, they’ve gained political capital. The Times said the senators went to Egypt this week “at the request of President Obama.” And as Jeff Klein, who pointed me to this story, says, No one in the press is calling them out for flipflopping. It’s just not a story when powerful senators dance to AIPAC’s tune.

This is a demonstration of how central AIPAC’s ideas are to American foreign policy. As neocon Lee Smith once said, the central plank of the last dictatorship in Egypt was the peace treaty. That is all that matters to the U.S. We’re willing to throw everything else overboard for the sake of preserving Israel’s security.

Now, about that Peace Treaty, for the first time since ’79, openly at least, Israel has struck in the Sinai…

Egypt walks the wire in denying Israeli strike on Sinai

Contradicting earlier reports, the Egyptian army spokesman said late Friday that there is no truth to news of an Israeli drone attack on Egyptian soil. He also claimed there was no coordination at all between Israeli and Egyptian authorities with regard to what he termed “explosions in the Rafah region.”

The circumstances surrounding the strike that occurred early Friday evening near Rafah in the northern Sinai Peninsula, in which (it appears) that five Islamic terrorists were killed, are still unclear. Particularly elusive are the facts regarding who perpetrated the strike. Initial reports published by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency and then later by AP cited Egyptian officials in El-Arish who said that an Israeli drone fired missiles at a storage site for long-range missiles. They said the strike took place near the Kerem Hashalom crossing, and in the triangle between the Israeli, Egyptian and Gazan border.

According to those reports, the five individuals killed belonged to one of the jihadist groups operating in the peninsula. Groups that concurrently target the Egyptian military and Israel…

…If there was an Israeli strike on Egyptian territory, it would signal the first time that Israel has operated (openly) there since the signing of the peace treaty between the two countries in 1979. However, in the hours following the purported strike, there was a concerted Egyptian effort to restore calm. Egyptian sources told AP that the strike was conducted in coordination between Tel Aviv and Cairo…

…It can be assumed that reports of an Israeli strike on sovereign Egyptian territory would not be useful to the military. On the Israeli side, it is evident that officials in recent days have sought to keep a low profile regarding security coordination between the two countries…

Quite the conundrum, eh…?

In Egypt General al-Sisi is at a loss – but a massacre on Eid would bring too much infamy

No Muslim general wants to go down in history as the author of the Eid Massacre. That’s why many Egyptians last night suspected that their supposedly “interim” government’s self-declared failure to end the crisis with their Muslim Brotherhood enemies might still not be the ultimate collapse.

Abdul Fatah al-Sisi may be a very jolly general indeed – after all, he created this wondrous administration with himself as deputy prime minister – but sending in his goons against hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshippers on the eve of the feast marking the final day of Ramadan is not likely to commend itself to Egyptians, let alone to the Americans who supply the military with $1.5bn a year…

…The Brotherhood knows al-Sisi does not want a mass slaughter. Al-Sisi knows the Americans do not want a mass slaughter. Perhaps some sort of ‘people power’ can be organised – now there’s a thought – to drive the Brotherhood away and leave the army unspattered with Brotherhood blood. After all, a lot of the snipers who have shot down Morsi’s supporters these last five weeks have been unidentified. But there are too many foreign diplomats, NGOs and journalists sniffing around for that to work on a large scale.

So which is more important? The will of ‘the people’ – those who hate Morsi – or the steadfastness of the Brotherhood for whom martyrdom (often in Egyptian prisons) has long been a characteristic? What about the dignity of the Egyptian army? About to set sail aboard his royal ship of exile, the ‘al-Mahrussa’ in 1952, King Farouk turned to the officers who had dethroned him. “Look after the army,” he told General Mohamed Naguib, soon to be deposed by Colonel Gamal-Abdul Nasser. Everyone loves the army.

And the Egyptian army rather loves itself. Its vast and obscenely bloated investments in real estate, banking and industry make this one of the richest Arab armies in one of the poorest Arab countries. It’s hardly in their interest to start a mini-war in the streets of Cairo. But the Brotherhood itself is bloated with arrogance, its record in power – with Morsi as their cypher – hardly worthy of the support of the ‘people’…

What a Wicked Web…!

*gah*

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*

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

‘Intervention – Disaster For Libyans’

5:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Libya on verge of grave humanitarian crisis…

Libya might be on the verge of witnessing a grave humanitarian crisis as western nations have stepped up their military operations ostensibly to wipe out Colonel Gaddafi’s forces at a time when several global humanitarian organisations are unable to sustain their operations because of lack of funds from rich countries.

The Libyan crisis appears to be a repeat of what happened in Iraq, when the coalition forces made swift military advances while humanitarian relief operations lagged far behind resulting in endless chaos and insecurity, analysts said.

The United Nations Humanitarian Agency on Friday issued a flash appeal for the $160 million while International Migration Organisation made a separate appeal for almost the same amount to evacuate and address the humanitarian needs of people fleeing Libya because of the fighting.

“IOM is issuing this third appeal for $160 million on Friday to provide critical humanitarian and evacuation assistance,” said Jemini Pandya, IOM’s spokesperson, maintaining that it is not able to deliver adequate assistance due to severe shortage of funds.

Consequently, it is unable to evacuate an additional 75,000 people who manage to escape the violence, she said. “The continued provision of humanitarian assistance such as food and medical attention at the border areas, travel health checks for all those being evacuated and health referrals for particularly vulnerable people in addition to providing reintegration assistance to some of the returning Tunisian and Egyptian migrants,” she said.

So far, IOM received pledges for about $44 million but no immediate delivery of funds. At this rate where bilateral and multilateral donors are not forthcoming funds, IOM will drastically scale down its operations, she cautioned. However, the UN Humanitarian Agency which also issued a flash appeal for the $160 million managed to secure 70 per cent of its appeal.

US President Barak Obama reportedly signed an order authorising covert support for anti-Gaddafi rebels.

Isn’t it sad that the US/Nato/UN/Arab League, ad nauseum, are quick to provide the military $, but, hesitant on real humanitarian $…?

Didn’t we just expend more than the $160 million that they’re requesting, on our opening salvo alone? Interestingly, US pulling Tomahawk missiles out of Libya combat…

Not being a ‘cruise missile liberal’, I’ve been extremely pessimistic over the ‘humanitarian crusade mission’ to stop Ghadaffi’s brutal suppression. Many knowledgeable individuals have since stepped forward and stated our real intentions…

Libya’s Blood for Oil: The Vampire War

By Susan Lindauer, former U.S. Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003

Who are we kidding? The United States, Britain and NATO don’t care about bombing civilians to contain rebellion. Their militaries bomb civilians every day without mercy. They have destroyed most of the community infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan before turning their sights on Libya. So what’s really going on here?

Hmmm… Great question! The ever-intrepid Pepe Escobar exposed ever more of the Oily linkage behind Libya…

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. [...]

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.

Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.

Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.

Profiteers rejoice

Humanitarian imperialists will spin en masse this is a “conspiracy”, as they have been spinning the bombing of Libya prevented a hypothetical massacre in Benghazi. They will be defending the House of Saud – saying it acted to squash Iranian subversion in the Gulf; obviously R2P – “responsibility to protect” does not apply to people in Bahrain. They will be heavily promoting post-Gaddafi Libya as a new – oily – human rights Mecca, complete with US intelligence assets, black ops, special forces and dodgy contractors.

It’s interesting to note that the CIA did and does know that many of the Libyan ‘rebels’ are AQIM members: The CIA’s Libya Rebels: 2007 West Point Study Shows Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk Area was a World Leader in Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber Recruitment

Some more excellent background…. The CIA, the Libyan Rebellion, and the President…

Now, as Jeff Steinberg, editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, notes…

‘Al-Qaeda bogeyman of choice for West’

Press TV: There’s always talk of al-Qaeda bogeyman whenever there is any report on Yemen in the Western media. Yet this al-Qaeda affiliate was very quiet since the start of the revolution in Yemen. What does that show?

Steinberg: Al-Qaeda is the buzzword to justify any kind of criminal activity imaginable from military intervention to brutal suppression of a genuinely popular and peaceful revolt against a corrupt and completely bankrupt regime and of course the Saudis in particular have carried out a whole series of brutal campaigns violating the borders of Yemen over a long period of time using this al-Qaeda pretext.

It is noteworthy that according to Colonel Gaddafi in Libya the two main sources of the uprising there are the CIA and Osama Bin Laden so it is almost getting to be comical that this bogeyman is used to justify all kinds of illegal behavior. We are going to find out at some point in the very near future the Saudis are engaged in massive “rendition operations” going into certain neighborhood in Bahrain and picking people off the streets and this is a desperate effort on the part of [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries to basically hold onto these Sunni regimes. It is not going to hold. Either there are going to be some very genuine and legitimate and verifiable concessions or one after the other these regimes are going to go under. The Libya situation has become more complicated by the fact that it is about the American and European interest in Libyan oil.

So that situation is somewhat different when you have a much larger criminal violation going on right now. The whole terms under which the UN Security Council resolution, which was halved with abstention rather than vetoes from Russian and china, has been proven to be a complete sham. The discussion among American and European leaders from day one was not about the humanitarian aid to the people in Benghazi but it was regime change, plain and simple. President Obama went on national television on Monday night and knowingly and systematically lied through his teeth about the nature of the operation was there. So al-Qaeda is the bogeyman of choice for justifying violation international law, and human rights and everything else.

To sum it up, Jeremy Scahill is right…

The Obama Doctrine Is No Different Than Bush’s

According to The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill, the US is worried that if President Ali Abdullah Saleh falls “the vacuum that would exist” in Yemen could be terrible for US counterterrorism operations. Scahill joined Martin Bashir on MSNBC to discuss why the US is intervening in Libya but refusing to take action in Yemen.

Saleh is a “thug,” says Scahill, someone whose snipers shoot protesters in the head. Yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants a “political solution” to the growing instability in Yemen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claims it is not the US’s business to meddle in the internal affairs of Yemen.

Scahill says that “the Bush Administration created this theory that the world is a battlefield” and it therefore follows that the US can strike anywhere it sees a threat. The Obama Administration has not challenged this “theory” and has authorized a fair amount of covert violent actions.

We need another ‘Church Committee’ at the very least…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Betrayus Jokes, Tahrir Square Cleared Out, Yemen Uses Nerve Gas, and, Israel Needs $20 Billion More In US Military Aid

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

General Petraeus jokes with Robert Gates about attacking Libya

Apparently unaware of an open microphone, Gen Petraeus greeted Mr Gates at Kabul airport joking: “Welcome back, sir, flying a little bigger plane than normal … you gonna launch some attacks on Libya or something?”

The US Defence Secretary responded to the comment by laughing and replied, “yeah, exactly”.

It’s certainly no laughing matter, Mr Secretary…!

Now, in disturbing news from Egypt today, the Old is New again…

Amnesty International Condemns Egyptian Army Over Tahrir Square Protest Breakup

Amnesty International has today condemned the Egyptian army’s heavy-handed actions to clear Cairo’s Tahrir Square of protesters, after soldiers beat demonstrators and made scores of arrests.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that the army should participate in violently breaking up the peaceful protests”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The Supreme Military Council has the duty to uphold the right to peaceful protest.”

“We have spoken to eye-witnesses who have told us that the army allowed thugs to attack protesters with sticks and swords, the same practice that was used under former President Mubarak,” said Hadj Sahraoui. “It appears that the Armed Forces are simply continuing the same old tactics of repression.”

According to witnesses testimonies gathered by Amnesty International, the army entered Tahrir Square on the afternoon of March 9 and violently dispersed a gathering of around 1000 people, beating demonstrators, dismantling tents and breaking up an informal medical clinic. Journalists attempting to record events had their memory cards wiped. Soldiers made arrests and took protesters to the Egyptian Museum near to Tahrir Square.

“One protester, who told us he was arrested with over 100 other protesters, witnessed people being beaten in detention,” said Hadj-Sahraoui. “All those arrested for peacefully protesting must be released immediately and unconditionally,”

Cairo clashes kill 13…

…The government said it “is fully committed to the interests of the people and to implementing the goals of the revolution; and it will stand firm against plans for a counter-revolution,” according to state news agency MENA.

Sectarian clashes killed at least 13 in Cairo, the health ministry said.

Bloody fighting broke out in the working class Cairo district of Moqattam when Muslims confronted 1,000 Christians who had been blocking a main road in protest at the burning of a church last week in the provincial town of Sol, south of Cairo.

Father Boutros Roshdy of a Moqattam church told AFP at least seven Coptic Christians were among the dead.

Meanwhile, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, attackers armed with knives and machetes waded into hundreds of pro-democracy activists, witnesses said.

Stone-throwing skirmishes raged, and activists were gathering sticks and stockpiling rocks to defend themselves.

By early evening, the army had restored order in the square, dismantling tents pitched by protesters shortly after anti-regime riots erupted on January 25, and detaining several protesters, MENA said.

Armed civilians attacked protesters outside state security headquarters in Cairo as they attempted to storm it to retrieve files kept on the population by a powerful regime apparatus long accused of rights abuses.

The violence, widely blamed on remnants of Mubarak’s regime, revealed the security vacuum created by police, who disappeared from the streets during January protests that led to Mubarak’s resignation

That is a very disturbing turn of events in Egypt…

And, Wtf is this…? Gaddafi plane lands in Egypt with army officer on board

Meanwhile, in Yemen, more war crimes were committed…

…Doctors from the scene of violent anti-government protests in Yemen’s capital Tuesday night said that what was originally thought to be tear gas fired by government forces on demonstrators might instead have been a form of nerve gas, which is forbidden under international law.

Military personnel opened fire and used what was originally assumed to be tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators who were trying to bring additional tents into the protest area outside Sanaa University.

According to witnesses, the soldiers fired warning shots into the air before shooting gas — and in some cases live bullets — into the crowd, killing one and injuring at least 50.

Earlier reports indicated that the gas used was tear gas, but doctors who have been treating the wounded refuted that claim today


Police use live ammunition to disperse protests in Yemen…

Here’s Al Jazeera on today’s events in Yemen…

Two protesters have died in Yemen as demonstrations calling for Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, to step down continue across the country.

A supporter of the president was killed during clashes with anti-government protesters in the southern province of Hadramaut on Wednesday, a security official told the AFP news agency.

He said that another person was also injured in that clash.

Meanwhile, an anti-government protester who was shot when the army raided a university campus in the capital, Sanaa, has succumbed to his wounds, doctors said.

Mohammed al-Abahi, one of the doctors volunteering at the campus, said Mohammed Ali, 24, died early on Wednesday morning.

He said that six other protesters also sustained bullet wounds in the raid by police on the anti-government demonstration and are in serious condition.

Army troops stormed the campus late on Tuesday, shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets and firing tear gas. About 90 protesters sustained gas inhalation and minor injuries in the raid.

A security official said that 12 policemen were injured by rocks hurled by demonstrators.

Police had initially intervended to prevent protesters from erecting tents in a street close to the university’s main square, where anti-government protesters have been camping since February 21.

This is just so wrong…

Andrew’s trip to Yemen was followed by arms deal

Now, continuing along with the outrageous arms deals theme, buried deep in a story by the Grey Lady, but, headlined a WSJ article…

Israel Considers Military ‘Upgrade’

…While Israel did not face an immediate threat to its security, Barak told the WSJ, “The issue of qualitative military aid for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you [the U.S.].

“It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so,” he said, adding: “A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region.”

From the Grey Lady…

Netanyahu Vows to Keep Jordan River Posts

…Mr. Netanyahu, referring to the upheaval in the Arab world as “a political and security earthquake which we have not seen the end of,” said, “In this situation, more than ever, we need to ensure that we have solid security foundations upon which to defend the state of Israel.

“Our security border is here, on the Jordan River,” he said, “and our line of defense is here.” [...]

Mr. Barak said that Israel might seek extra security assistance from the United States of up to $20 billion, but could not seek pledges of aid without making a “daring” peace offer.

The Palestinians, who want a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, have repeatedly rejected both a long-term Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley and the idea of a provisional state.

However, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has expressed readiness for the presence of a third party, like an American-led NATO force, on the borders of a Palestinian state.

Mr. Abbas commented over the weekend on the reports of a possible Israeli offer.

At a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he said, “We know that there was an idea in the past that called for a state with provisional borders, and if this idea is proposed again, we will not accept it.”

I’ll bet ya Israel gets the additional $20 Billion…!

Btw, a friendly note from Bibi’s base was handed out to visiting foreign diplomats today…

A diplomat in Jerusalem told Ma’an that “a number of Western diplomats” received the fliers at the district coordination office terminal. A “settler youth group” targeted cars with diplomatic plates, he said.

“Dear diplomats,” the flyer says, “Go Home! Face the facts! We never will make peace with Palestinian terrorists!

“You are guests in our country! You are standing on the Holy Land! Of the Jewish nation! Do not interfere with the building of our country: The meddling by the American government and by the European Union, is putting your stay at risk!”

On the back, the pamphlet continued: “President Barack Hussein Obama — With friends like you who needs enemies!!!”

Well, with friends like that…!

*gah*