As the group's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, was arrested and charged with running an armed faction, the possibility of prohibiting the Muslim Brotherhood inches closer...
"The most realistic scenario is that the Brotherhood would accept negotiations with the interim government and return to public life under the law as a politically legitimate entity," political analyst and expert on Islamic movements Ammar Ali Hassan told Ahram Online.
The Brotherhood, for its part, has repeatedly said it has no relation to acts of violence committed since Morsi was deposed by the military after mass protests against him. Nevertheless, armed protesters — sometimes carrying and firing automatic guns — walked among pro-Morsi crowds at demonstrations and attacks on churches and Copts since Morsi's ouster were attributed to Islamists.
"Historically speaking, violence was never divorced from the Muslim Brotherhood," political science professor and analyst at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies Hala Mustafa told Ahram Online. ...
Gulf states, except Qatar, back Egypt’s new leaders
Who Are We? Iraq Struggles With Its National Identity
Turkey will never rule Arab World’ – Egypt’s FM
Justifying the Unjustifiable
Belgrade burning after the NATO air raid campaign of bombing civilian buildings, hospitals, bridges and residental quarters was carried out without permission of the UN Security Council.
The US/NATO war against Yugoslavia, which used unilateral force to break up a sovereign state, detaching the historic Serbian province of Kosovo and transforming it into a US satellite, was clearly in violation of international law.
In May 2000, the distinguished British authority on international law, Sir Ian Brownlie (1936-2010), presented a 16,000-word Memorandum, evaluating the war’s legal status for the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British Parliament.
Brownlie recalled that key provisions of the United Nations Charter state quite clearly that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Brownlie added that the alleged right to use force for humanitarian purposes was not compatible with the UN Charter.
Concerning the Kosovo war, in his Memorandum Professor Brownlie reached the following major conclusions:
- The legal basis of the action, as presented by the United Kingdom and other NATO States, was at no stage adequately articulated.
- Humanitarian intervention, the justification belatedly advanced by the NATO States, has no place either in the United Nations Charter or in customary international law.
- The intentions of the United States and the United Kingdom included the removal of the Government of Yugoslavia. It is impossible to reconcile such purposes with humanitarian intervention.
- In spite of the references to the need for a peaceful solution to be found in Security Council Resolutions, the public statements of Mrs Albright, Mr Cook, Mr Holbrooke, and others, and the reiterated threats of massive air strikes, make it very clear that no ordinary diplomacy was envisaged....
Gaddafi: "We are the enemies of one another"
Tunis: Tunisia's Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said on Tuesday he was ready to step aside for a caretaker cabinet to hold new elections, but he would not create a power vacuum while the country faced serious security and economic challenges.
He said this after announcing that Tunis had proof the jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia had assassinated two secular politicians and killed eight soldiers in recent months and so had now officially classified it "as a terrorist group".
Larayedh, speaking amid intense speculation about the future of democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolts, said the drafting of a new constitution must be finished and all parties must agree on the election plan before he stepped down.
"We are not playing politics with the security of the country," he told a news conference, anticipating the reaction that promptly came from opposition critics who have long accused his Islamist Ennahda party of being lax with Muslim radicals. ... "The government has to continue to work in a disciplined way until a consensus is achieved."
Ansar al-Sharia is the most radical Islamist group to emerge in Tunisia since secular autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011 in the first of the Arab Spring revolts. It was the prime suspect after the assassinations of leftist secular leaders Chokri Belaid in February and Mohamed Brahmi in July, which police said were carried out with the same gun.
Ennahda, which governs in coalition with two smaller secular parties, has come under growing pressure from critics for promoting an Islamist agenda and mismanaging the economy and the security challenge from radical Salafi and jihadist Muslims.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabil Fahmy, has stated that Egypt refutes military intervention in Syria, insisting that the only way is a political solution in the war-torn country.
"Egypt rejects military intervention in Syria, as we believe a political solution is the only way out for the crisis there. Egypt supports the Geneva Two talks," said FM Fahmy in a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo Tuesday.
"Egypt condemns the use of chemical weapons, not only in Syria. We strongly refute it regardless of whoever uses such weapons against civilians," said the FM, who added that Egypt is waiting for the results of UN investigations concerning Ghouta's chemical weapons attack.
"Accountability should be based on accurate information, in order to determine who is responsible for the chemical attack in Ghouta," said Fahmy. He also stated that Egypt does not support 'Jihadists' in Syria.
Israel has clearly been quite comfortable with the idea of the US attacking Syria, but new revelations suggest that behind the scenes they have actually been the driving force on selling the Obama Administration on the narrative behind it.
The US has conspicuously insisted that the rebels’ story is “undeniable” even though they have never presented any proof of it, but the secret “proof” which is never put forth for public scrutiny apparently comes straight from Israeli intelligence.
According to the reports, Israeli military intelligence told the US they had wiretapped the Syrian government and heard them talking about using chemical weapons, insisting that “proved” that they were the ones who did it.
Israel has been pushing these stories multiple times, always citing dubious secret evidence that the public never gets to see. The administration, itself a big fan of secret proof that they don’t have to defend, has been only too eager to latch on to the idea, and it has now pushed them into an impending war.
MOSCOW: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Western claims his regime used chemical weapons were an "insult to common sense", in an interview with a Russian newspaper published Monday.
Assad told pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia in the extensive interview that Syria would never be a "puppet" of the West and said Washington had never succeeded in reaching its political aims through war.
"The comments (accusing the regime of using chemical weapons) made by politicians in the West and other countries are an insult to common sense... It is nonsense," Assad said.
Assad accused the United States of first making the accusations that his regime used chemical weapons in an attack outside Damascus [..], and only later starting to look for proof.
He said the frontline in the area where the incident took place was not clear and the Syrian regime would have risked killing its own army forces if it used chemical weapons. "This contradicts elementary logic," Assad said.
"If someone is dreaming of making Syria a puppet of the West, then this will not happen. "We are an independent state, we will fight against terrorism and we will build relations with whom we want for the good of the Syrian people."
Syria’s foreign minister Waleed al-Mualem said that “Syria has a national interest in revealing the truth behind al-Gouta’s incident making clear that UN specified “4 sites for inspection upon the request of the opposition coalition.”
Al-Mualem, in a press conference today said that his American counterpart, John Kerry, called him last Thursday after “a divorce for 2 years and a half; our speech was friendly, I told him that we have a national interest in revealing the truth behind what took place in al-Gouta.”
The Syrian Foreign Minister made sure that his country immediately said yes to all the demands of the UN. He pointed out that the Syrian forces can never remove the evidences of chemical weapons because the evidences exist in the areas that terrorist control. He ordered anyone who accuses the Syrian forces of using chemical weapons to present any evidence that proves it.
The Russian Federation had no evidence of a chemical attack in Syria, but it does have evidence that one may have been staged and that those who did so were the so-called “rebels”, who we know are US backed, armed and funded.
The Syrian regular army and President Bashar al-Assad have been winning the war so the urgency with which the United States is calling for an armed intervention is alarming but obvious. They have spent billions and they cannot see their plans for the destruction of the Syria state fail...
You cannot trust the statements of a country, state, body or individual when they already have an agenda and a set and concrete goal and the statements that they make only go to back up that goal.
In this case we have to consider the United States and their clear and unwavering plans for a military adventure in Syria which will forcibly remove the president Bashar al-Assad from power. A goal that has been repeated over and over again by the United States and its minions....
For the informed and even partially informed masses the ridiculousness and the transparent self-serving nature of the entire US effort may seem ludicrous. They have used the same old playbook of lies and fear to launch wars of aggression for too long and to devastate country after country to gain control of resources, that this time the world community is not so eager to jump on the US bomb launching wagon.
The White House really believes that if you create a lie and run with it, repeating it endlessly, the world will eventually take it to be the truth, and this is usually the case.
They decided long ago, when it became clear that funding, arming and importing terrorists and waging an information war inside Syria to foment a color revolution would not work that they would launch another “humanitarian” invasion using the pretext of “chemical weapons”.
Statements by the White House through their spokes-tool Jay Carney and Secretary of State John Kerry are disingenuous at best and bald-faced lies at worst when it comes to Syria and the supposed chemical weapons attacks. Their constantly repeated assertions, statements as facts and comments about the Syrian government defy credibility and seem even more circus-like when they say they have intelligence that they will release sometime later. The argument is: “President Bashar al-Assad is evil, he gassed his own people, we will go to war, trust us on this and you are too stupid to see the real intelligence.”
AMMAN — Jordanian jihadist leaders warned Western powers against an impending military strike in Syria, vowing “full resistance” to any international intervention.
Leaders of the hard-line Jordanian Jihadi Salafist movement denounced US calls for a military response to chemical weapon use in Syria, claiming that any strike will serve as a “pretext” to target jihadist fighters battling the Syrian regime.
“For over two years [..] the West was silent. Why is it ready to act now?” remarked Mohammed Shalabi, known as Abu Sayyaf, head of the Jordanian jihadist movement. “There is only one true reason — to prevent the Syrian people from establishing an Islamic state.”
A Syrian Islamist source confirmed that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other Islamist groups are preparing a series of retaliation “counter-offensives” against Western interests if jihadists become the target of any military strike.
“A decision was taken to prepare for military operations within Syria and abroad against the West should they target our fighters,” an official from Al Qaeda-linked ISIS said. “After two years the West has proven that it is no supporter of the Syrian people or Islam — and we will be ready.”
Due to their battle experience, Islamist groups have emerged as influential forces in the Syrian conflict in recent months, routing regime forces on several occasions.
Over 1,000 Jordanians are fighting alongside Islamists in Syria, constituting the largest foreign contingent. The vast majority — some 80 per cent — serve with Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra coalition, while the rest have joined smaller Islamist groups and the Free Syrian Army.
The British government has declared that Syria can be attacked without UN authorization, just as Serbia and Libya were militarily attacked without UN authorization. In other words, the Western democracies have already established precedents for violating international law.
“International law? We don’t need no stinking international law!” The West knows only one rule: Might is Right. As long as the West has the Might, the West has the Right.
In a response to the news report that the US, UK, and France are preparing to attack Syria, the Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, said that such unilateral action is a “severe violation of international law,” and that the violation was not only a legal one but also an ethical and moral violation.
Lavrov referred to the lies and deception used by the West to justify its grave violations of international law in military attacks on Serbia, Iraq, and Libya and how the US government used preemptive moves to undermine every hope for peaceful settlements in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
Britain has drafted a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Despite witness reports that rebels may have been behind last week’s attack, the West is insisting Assad was responsible. Cameron said the resolution would condemn “the chemical weapons attack by Assad” and authorize “necessary measures to protect civilian lives.”
The Syrian government has faced a barrage of accusations from the West, alleging the government of President Bashar Assad was behind the alleged chemical weapons attack last Wednesday in the Damascus neighborhood of Ghouta. French charity Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) reported that 355 people died in the attack.
However, evidence from witnesses indicates Syrian rebels used a chemical weapon in last week’s attack, not regime forces, a senior UN official has said.
Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof," that rebels had used sarin nerve gas in the Damascus suburb attack. She added that even so, more investigation was needed, as she had not yet seen evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons.
The Syrian government also maintains that it is the rebels that are using chemical weapons and not the government. Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Maqdad, slammed the US, UK and France for helping rebel groups use chemical weapons.
"We repeat that the terrorist groups are the ones that used [chemical weapons] with the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, and this has to stop," he said. "This means these chemical weapons will soon be used by the same groups against the people of Europe," stressed Maqdad.
The South African government hit out at what it called "dangerous rhetoric" pointing to Western military action in Syria, and called on all sides to negotiate. The G20 member said it "is alarmed at the latest escalation" in the Syria conflict...
"South Africa is concerned by the dangerous rhetoric pointing to the possibility of a military intervention," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Pretoria said it did "not believe that bombing the already suffering people and crumbling infrastructure of Syria, will contribute to a sustainable solution".
"The outcome of such an action is unpredictable and will only worsen the conflict." "It will ultimately be the people of Syria who pay the price, whilst those participating in the military intervention will return to safety far away from the crisis."
In recent years South Africa has moved to deepen ties with China and Russia, long-time supporters of the ruling ANC during the anti-apartheid struggle.
Chinese state media warned the West against strikes on Syria Thursday as momentum mounted for President Bashar al-Assad's regime to be punished over an alleged chemical weapons attack.
In an editorial headed "No excuse for strikes", the state-run China Daily said the US and its Western allies were "acting as judge, jury and executioner".
"Any military intervention into Syria would have dire consequences for regional security and violate the norms governing international relations," it said, adding such a move "will only exacerbate the crisis and could have unforeseen and unwelcome consequences".
Making a comparison with the war in Iraq, it said the international community should not allow "itself to be led by the nose by US intelligence, which after all was responsible for claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction".
(Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron was forced on Wednesday to push back his plans for an imminent military strike against Syria in a humiliating climb-down for Britain's leader after coming under fierce domestic and international pressure.
Just a day after recalling Britain's parliament to vote on how to respond to Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons, Cameron was ambushed when the opposition Labour party said it wanted greater parliamentary scrutiny and rebel lawmakers in his own ruling Conservative party said they would oppose him....
Cameron's failure to execute his original plan of action could hamper efforts by the United States to deliver a swift cruise missile strike against Syria as early as this week, potentially harming London's alliance with Washington. ...
Inspired by the legacy of public mistrust left behind by former Prime Minister Tony Blair's contested decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, Labour leader Ed Miliband and some rebel Conservatives used the prospect of a government defeat in parliament to force Cameron to delay action.
After hours of impromptu negotiations between Cameron's political managers and the opposition, his office agreed that the United Nations Security Council should see findings from chemical weapons inspectors before it responded militarily.
Before the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all now have to swallow – it might be as well to say that the Cruise missiles which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria.
They are intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at the Islamic Republic now that it has a new and vibrant president – as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – and when it just might be a little more stable.
What in heaven’s name are we doing? After countless thousands have died in Syria’s awesome tragedy, suddenly – now, after months and years of prevarication – we are getting upset about a few hundred deaths. We should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But now? Why?
Well, I suspect I know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s army might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm. With the assistance of the Lebanese Hizballah – Iran’s ally in Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West....
To observe the leadership of the rest of the Arab world applauding the destruction is perhaps the most painful historical experience for the region to endure. And the most shameful.
The White House signaled Thursday that President Barack Obama is ready to go it alone to strike Syria despite the British parliament's rejection of military action and the lack of a UN mandate.
Aides said Obama believes that Syria must pay a price for breaking taboos on the use of chemical weapons, action which he sees as posing a grave threat to US national security.
US plans to build an international coalition for a "limited" strike on Syria suffered a devastating blow when the House of Commons in London voted against the use of force to punish a chemical weapons attack last week outside Damascus....
While British Prime Minister David Cameron recalled parliament for the fateful debate on Syria, there were no plans for the US Congress, which is in recess, to do likewise. The White House will likely argue that since its proposed action in Syria will be "limited," it does not require Congress to wield its constitutionally granted power to authorize a declaration of war. ...
The White House said that while Obama prized the United Nations and closely consulted allies, his first duty was to US national security, which he sees threatened by the Syrian attack...
Obama sees perils to US national security in the belief that Syria shattered international norms by using chemical weapons, and that US interests and regional allies could be threatened next.
So, unfortunately, we are dealing with psychosis. We are dealing with a psychopathic situation. And all of us, including myself, we can’t do anything but keep being reasonable, keep saying what needs to be said. But that doesn’t seem to help the situation, because, of course, as we know, after Iraq, there’s been Libya, there’s Syria, and the rhetoric of, you know, democracy versus radical Islam. When you look at the countries that were attacked, none of them were Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalist countries. Those ones are supported, financed by the U.S...
It’s just, you know, a combination of such foolishness, such a lack of understanding of culture in the world. (democracynow 2013)
An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that after days of media exaggeration about what the US administration described as decisive evidence, US Secretary of State John Kerry only produced material based on old stories which were published by terrorists over a week ago and are full of fabrication and lies.
The source said that the Ministry is surprised that one of the bigger countries in the world is attempting to deceive its public opinion in such a naïve manner by relying on non-evidence, and that the Ministry denounces the US act of basing its positions on war and peace on what was published on social networking sites, which the Ministry views as a desperate attempt to talk the world into accepting the upcoming US aggression.
The source said that the numbers quoted by Kerry are fictional and produced by armed groups in Syria and the opposition abroad, both of whom instigate the US aggression, adding that this scene brings to mind the lies promoted by Colin Powell before the invasion of Iraq.
The Source said that Foreign and Expatriates Ministry confirms that all the accusations leveled by Kerry against the Syrian state are lies and devoid for truth for the following reasons:
- 1. Kerry relied on fabricated images from the internet, and the alleged call made by a Syrian officer after the alleged attack is too ridiculous to be discussed.
- 2. Syria never impeded or restricted the international investigation committee, on the contrary; as the UN Secretary-General has lauded the Syrian cooperation with the committee in his most recent call with the Foreign and Expatriates Minister on 30/8/2013, asserting that Syria permitted the committee to move exactly as per the agreement signed by the two sides.
- 3.The UN itself said time and again that the traces of using any form of toxic gas do not dissipate over time, and the proof of this is that the UN sent the investigation committee 5 months after the Syrian government requested an investigation of Khan al-Assal incident. Therefore, the Syrian government did not delay the investigation committee's access to the alleged attack site, as this occurred within 48 hours of the arrival of UN envoy Angela Kane to Damascus.
- 4.The Syrian government affirms that Kerry's allegations that the Syrian Army knew about chemical weapons use three days prior to the incident are lies, as proven by the fact that Syria requested the investigation committee to visit al-Baharia area where Syrian Army soldiers were exposed to toxic gas, and the committee met the affected soldiers in the hospital.
"If the only tool you have is a hammer,
every problem has to look like a nail"
Interview General Wesley Clark
" Because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq."
This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"
RADIO FREE SYRIA UPLOADED PHOTOS OF THE “CHEMICAL ATTACK”
THE DAY BEFORE THE ATTACK TOOK PLACE, ON AUGUST 20, 2013!
Syria Free Press Network, 31-8-2013
Naftali Bennett (born 25 March 1972) is an Israeli politician and former software entrepreneur. He is the leader of the variously described right, or far-right political party The Jewish Home, as well as the extra-parliamentary movement My Israel and former leader of the Judea and Samaria Settlement Council. (Wikipedia)
Press TV: I am sure you heard the speech there by John Kerry and his presser, who continue to make this case for military intervention despite the doubts and questions that exist even at US Congress and Parliament, not to mention some of the generals, which are in the army there and of course, this closest ally, Britain.
How convincing was this evidence, given the evidence that his predecessor Collin Powell presented to the UN in 2003, prior to US war on Iraq? Were you convinced?
Becker: Kerry’s case was laughable; I mean you just had to listen to his words a little bit carefully to see how ridiculous they are. He said at one point angrily that he called the Syrian foreign minister and demanded the immediate access to the country for UN weapons inspectors and then a second later said the UN weapons inspectors’ report was actually irrelevant...
Press..." behind this intelligence which implicate the Syrian government in this suspected chemical attack which is the same intelligence that the US is using to make their case. What is Israel’s role in all of this?
Becker: Israel has bombed Syria twice; the Israelis and the CIA have been working together, coordinating this massive weapon shipments from Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Turkey through Jordan that have fueled the civil war.
The United States and Israel both thought that the agency of civil war would be sufficient to topple the Assad government. The US and Israeli regime are frustrated that the Assad government has the upper hand militarily. They are frustrated that the popular support has made the Assad government actually more stable. They know that only a western intervention could actually help the so-called rebels, the armed groups that they have been funneling weapons to.
So, what would be the trigger for an armed intervention? It would be the so-called redline, the use of chemical weapons. The Assad government knew this full well; so, why would they, under the circumstances of winning the war, use the one weapon that would be used as a pretext, the trigger for the NATO or US intervention, the one thing that could decisively turn the tide for the so-called rebels?
Brian Becker is a representative of the Answer Coalition which stands for Act Now to Stop War and Racism.
"Information Clearing House - A foolish President Obama and moronic Secretary of State Kerry have handed the United States government its worst diplomatic defeat in history and destroyed the credibility of the Office of the President, the Department of State, and the entire executive branch.
Intoxicated with hubris from past successful lies and deceptions used to destroy Iraq and Libya, Obama thought the US “superpower,” the “exceptional” and “indispensable” country, could pull it off again, this time in Syria.
But the rest of the world has learned to avoid Washington’s rush to war when there is no evidence. A foolish Obama was pushed far out on the limb by an incompetent and untrustworthy National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, and the pack of neoconservatives that support her, and the British Parliament cut the limb off.
What kind of fool would put himself in that vulnerable position?
Now Obama stands alone, isolated, trying to back away from his threat to attack a sovereign country, without authorization from anyone (not from the UN, not from NATO, not from Congress who he ignored..)
Under the Nuremberg Standard military aggression is a war crime. Washington has until now got away with its war crimes by cloaking them in UN or NATO approval. Despite these “approvals,” they remain war crimes.
But his National Security Advisor and the neocon warmongers are telling him that he must prove that he is a Real Man who can stand alone and commit war crimes all by himself without orchestrated cover from the UN or NATO or a cowardly US Congress. It is up to Obama, they insist, to establish for all time that the President of the United States is above all law. He, and he alone is the “decider,” the Caesar, who determines what is permissible. The Caesar of the “sole superpower” must now assert his authority over all law or Washington’s hegemony over the world is lost....
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate.
Rice’s commitment to the protection of Israel has been self-evident
Jerusalem Post, 06/05/2013
Rice has been a cabinet-level participant within those policy debates throughout all four years,” says Tamara Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, who has worked extensively with Rice in the past. “She’s very close to the president. And for a national security adviser, that’s an absolutely critical qualification.”
Wittes adds that Rice’s commitment to the protection of Israel, like Obama’s, has been self-evident. “Getting the Iran sanctions package through the Security Council in New York was huge, and a real testament to her,” Wittes says. ...
The choice of her to head the National Security Council has been widely lauded by Israel advocacy groups, who note a reliable commitment to the defense of Israel throughout Rice’s career.
“Susan Rice is a known quantity at this point, with an A-plus record,” says Robert Wexler, president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the U.S. President Barack Obama "not to forget that he holds a Nobel Peace Prize”.
Putin said on August 31, "I would like to say to Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, before you use force in Syria you should think of the potential victims of a military attack against Syria”.
Putin pointed out that "Russia calls to think carefully before making a decision of an operation in Syria”. He pointed out that what is being said about "Syrian army’s use of chemical weapons (CW) is nonsense, and it is a provocative act”.
Putin also addressed the Americans calling them to show the evidences that they claim to have on the use of chemical weapons.
War has a great deal with the American economic system. This system – America’s brand of capitalism – functions first and foremost to make extremely rich Americans like the Bush “money dynasty” even richer. Without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright.
The great strength of American capitalism is also its great weakness, namely, its extremely high productivity.
Moreover, US strategy proceeds from the assumption that losing global supremacy is unacceptable to the country. The linkage between global leadership and the XXI century prosperity is an axiom for the US elites regardless of political details.
Therefore, Getting rid of Iran and Syria which stand in the way of the US global dominance would be Washington’s natural next step.
Attempts to topple the Iranian regime by means of inciting civilian unrest in the country failed fabulously, and military analysts suspect that an intervention scenario akin to those implemented in dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan is awaiting Iran.
The plan has serious chances to materialize even though as of today even the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan presents the US with considerable problems.
President Barack Obama on Saturday backed away from an imminent military strike against Syria to seek the approval of the US Congress, in a decision that likely delays US action for at least 10 days.
Obama, in a statement from the White House Rose Garden, said he had authorised the use of military force to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack.... Military assets to carry out a strike are in place and ready to move on his order, he said. But in an acknowledgement of protests from US lawmakers and concerns from war-weary Americans, Obama added an important caveat: He wants Congress to approve. Congress is currently in recess and not scheduled to return to work until September 9.
Obama’s decision is a big gamble that he can gain approval from Congress in order to launch a limited strike against Syria to safeguard an international ban on chemical weapons usage, guard US national security interests and protect regional allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
Obama said on Friday the chemical weapons attack in Syria threatened US allies Israel and Jordan and said his preference would have been for the international community to move forward on a response.
The United Nations on Saturday vehemently rejected suggestions that the world body was somehow stepping aside to allow US air strikes on Syria over an alleged chemical attack, saying its humanitarian work in the conflict-ravaged nation would continue.
“I have seen all kinds of reporting suggesting that the departure of the chemical weapons team somehow opens a window for military action of some kind,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters. “Frankly, that’s grotesque, and it’s also an affront to the more than 1,000 staff, UN staff, who are on the ground in Syria delivering humanitarian aid and who will continue to deliver critical aid,” he said.
UN experts arrived in the Netherlands on Saturday with evidence gathered in their investigation of a poison gas attack in Syria. Also on Saturday, President Barack Obama said he had decided the United States should strike Syrian government targets, but that he would seek a congressional vote for any military action.
Nesirky repeated that the inspectors would return later to investigate several other alleged poison gas attacks that have taken place in Syria during the country’s two-and-a-half-year civil war....
He also responded to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks on Friday that the UN chemical weapons experts cannot provide any information that the United States does not already have.
“The United Nations mission is uniquely capable of establishing in an impartial and credible manner the facts of any use of chemical weapons based directly on evidence collected on the ground,” he said.
People have been asking why President Obama did not go to Congress about Libya but is willing to do so with regard to a much less robust action in Syria.
The answer is a pragmatic and not a legal or constitutional one.... President Obama did not have a favorable international climate for a Syria strike. As time went on, he became more and more isolated.
The Arab League declined to call for intervention even though it condemned Damascus for chemical weapons use. Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and other Arab countries forthrightly denounced the idea of foreign military intervention in Syria, a very different stance than many of them took in 2011 with regard to Libya.
The fall of the Muhammad Morsi government in Egypt, and the stigmatization of the Muslim Brotherhood, led to a 180 degree turn in Egyptian policy, with the military junta now more or less supporting the Baath Party in Damascus and hostile to the rebels, who are mostly adherents of political Islam.
Then NATO declined to get involved, with Poland, Belgium and others expressing reluctance. Poland explicitly cited its bad experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then the British Parliament followed suit....
The Obama’s own intelligence links cast doubt on whether President Bashar al-Assad had actively ordered the chemical weapons attack of August 21, which seems more likely the action of a local colonel who either went rogue or made an error in mixing too much sarin into crowd control gases. ..
With regard to domestic politics, Obama would be pilloried on Capitol Hill if he backed down as his international support (and elements of his case) collapsed. If he went forward with a unilateral strike, he would be alone and exposed, and risk extreme reputational damage if the operation went bad...
Will Congress authorize a missile strike on Syria? I think the odds are fifty-fifty. It is not impossible that the Libertarian Republicans and the left wing of the Democratic Party will ally to defeat the resolution.
Egypt's highest Islamic institution Al-Azhar released a statement on Sunday expressing its disapproval of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, while condemning US plans to attack the Arab state.
The statement said Al-Azhar rejected the use of chemical weapons “regardless of who was behind the attack”, asserting the people’s right to choose their rulers.
The statement strongly objected to the US decision to conduct a military strike on Syria and considered it both an assault on, and threat to, the Arab and Islamic nation. The attack, Al-Azhar's statement said, would jeopardise international peace and security.
CAIRO – Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal on Sunday told a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo that opposing military intervention in Syria encourages the Damascus regime to “pursue its crimes.” “It is time to ask the international community to assume its responsibilities and to take deterrent measures” against the Syrian regime, he added.
On the prospect of a US strike, he said: “We stand by the will of the Syrian people. They know best their interests, so whatever they accept, we accept, and whatever they reject, we reject.”
Meanwhile, the Arab League denied that it gave cover for a likely US military strike against Syria.
“There is no support or political or non-political cover for any international party to carry out any military action against Syria,” spokesman of the Secretary General of the Arab League Nassif Hitti said here on Sunday ahead of the League session called to discuss the Syrian crisis...
Hitti reiterated the seriousness of what took place in Syria and the necessity to punish the perpetrators of the chemical attack.
About authorizing the US, Hitti said the Arab League has not authorized anyone, as mentioned in its decision issued at the end of August. He added that the Arab League will not authorize anyone. If the Arab League decides, it will be going to the UN Security Council, as an international organization.
Hacker got access to U.S. intelligence correspondence and published U.S. Army Col. ANTHONY J. MACDONALD’s mail.
Macdonald is General Staff Director, Operations and Plans Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence the Army Staff.
From the Anthony’s wife dialog with her friend it’s clear the video with the children killed in the chemical attack near Damascus was staged by U.S. Intelligence.
22-8-2013: Mary Shapiro to Jennifer McDonald: "Did you see those kid's? They were poisoned..."
25-8-2013: Jennifer to Mary: "I saw it either and got afraid very much. But Tony comforted me. He said the kids weren't hurt, it was done for cameras..."
Arab media means have revealed some of the UN investigators’ conclusions about the Chemical Weapon use; the investigators have left Syria before days after they have visited some towns of Damascus countryside.
The Lebanese Newspaper “al-Safer” points out that the upcoming results of the UN inspectors’ investigations will suggest, according to the available data, that "homemade gas, was thrown with homemade flasks" and not a complex gas fixed to a warhead on the missile.
The newspaper points out that the results of the investigations will increase the international confusion specially when it will exclude the suspicions of Damascus’s use of chemical Weapon and will accuse the armed men.
According to figures released on Sunday by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 804 people were killed 2,030 others were injured due to violence that occurred during last August.
“The civilian death toll reached 716 people killed ( including 106 civilian police forces ), while the number of injured civilian has reached 1,936 people ( including 195 from civilian police troops) as well as the death of 88 elements of the Iraqi security forces and injury of 94 others ,” a statement from the representation of UNAMI received by “Shafaq News “.
“Despite the low number of casualties in August compared to July, acts of violence still leave a major impact on civilians and constitute a source of major concern in light of deaths of nearly 5,000 civilians, injury of 12,000 others since the beginning of 2013,”the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary -General of the United Nations in Iraq , Jacqueline Badkok said according to the statement.
It is worth mentioning that many of the Iraqi provinces , including the capital, Baghdad experienced during last August violence by car bomb and roadside bomb explosions that was the worst since the beginning of the current year till this day that claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and military personnel .
A trial of Muammar Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam may begin in Libya shortly. The first hearing is scheduled for September 19, yet it remains unclear whether the defendant will be brought to Tripoli from Zintan where he has been held in a local prison since being captured by a rebel militia group in November 2011. Demands to bring him over for trial have been utterly ignored.
This is not the only sign of the helplessness of the central government which has completely lost control over regions. With Zintan and many other cities stubbornly refusing to obey Tripoli, it is safe to say that there is no central power in Libya, Oleg Fomin, co-chairman of the Russian Committee for Solidarity with the Libyan and Syrian People, told the Voice of Russia.
“Libya is actually split into separate regions disobeying the central authorities. And even at a lower sub-regional level there here are signs of fragmentation. There is no central power – the real power is in the hands of rival militias that often clash with each other,” he said.
Veniamin Popov, Director of the Center for Partnership of Civilizations at the Moscow Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), fears that the situation may worsen.
“The central power is growing weaker. That especially concerns relations between Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. In 1950, when Libya acquired independence, its territory was made up of three regions – Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan. The latter is a large but mostly desert region in the south. As for Tripolitania with its capital Tripoli and Cyrenaica with Benghazi as its administrative center, they have always competed with each other,” he said.
After Gaddafi’s overthrow, it became clear that he was the one who fastened Libya together as a single state. The moment he was gone, it began falling apart. “Libya is disintegrating.
Malbrunot: President Obama has postponed a military strike on Syria, how do you explain this?
President al-Assad: Some have seen Obama as weak because of his decision to withdraw or delay a possible strike by days or weeks; by waging a war on Syria, others have seen him as a strong leader of a powerful country.
From my perspective, power lies in your ability to prevent wars not in igniting them. Power comes from ones ability to stand up and acknowledge their mistakes; if Obama was strong, he would have stood up and said that there is no evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he would have stood up and said that the right way forward is to wait for the results of the UN investigations and work through the UN Security Council. However, as I see it, he is weak because he succumbed to internal pressure from small groups and threatened military action. As I said strong leaders are those who prevent wars not those who inflame them.
Malbrunot: What do you say to members of congress whose vote will determine whether or not there will be any military action?
President al-Assad: Before they vote, they should ask themselves a simple question: What have previous wars achieved for America, or even for Europe? What has the world achieved from the war in Libya and the spread of terrorism in its aftermath? What has the world achieved from the wars in Iraq and other places? What will the world achieve from supporting terrorism in Syria?
Members of congress are entrusted to serve in the best interests of their country. Before they vote, they need to weigh up their decision in the interests of their own country. It is not in the interests of the US to perpetuate instability and extremism in the Middle East. It is not in their interests to continue – what George Bush started – spreading wars in the world. If they think logically and in the interests of their country, they will not find any benefits to these wars. However many of them they have not mastered the art of logic in their political decision-making. ...
Malbrunot: How can we stop the war, the crisis in Syria has been on going for more than two-and-half years? You have suggested a National Unity government, the international community has suggested Geneva II, how can we stop the blood bath in Syria?
President al-Assad: Discussing a solution at the beginning of the crisis is very different to discussing it today. From the beginning I have emphasised that a resolution can only be achieved through dialogue, which would lead to solutions that can be implemented through political measures.
The situation today is different; today we are fighting terrorists, 80-90% of them affiliated to Al-Qaeda. These terrorists are not interested in reform, or politics, or legislations. The only way to deal with the terrorists is to strike them; only then can we talk about political steps. So in response to your question, the solution today lies in stopping the influx of terrorists into Syria and stopping the financial, military or any other support they receive. ...
Malbrunot: French Parliamentarians will meet on Wednesday. There is a big debate in France now, with some believing that Hollande has gone too far on this issue. What is your message to the French Parliamentarians before they convene and vote on the strike?
President al-Assad: The question really is: will the meeting of the French parliamentarians return the independence of France’s decisions back to the French? We hope that this would be the case. Since they will be working in the interests of France, will the representatives of the French people take the side of extremism and terrorism? Will they support those who perpetrated the September 11 attacks in New York, or those who bombed the Metro in Spain? Will the representatives of the French people support those who killed the innocents in France?
How can France fight terrorism in Mali and support it in Syria? Will France adopt the American model of double standards? How can the parliamentarians convince the French public that their country is secular, yet at the same time it supports extremism and sectarianism in other parts of the world? How can France advocate for democracy but yet one of its closest allies – Saudi Arabia – is still living in medieval times?
My message to the French Parliamentarians is: go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality. ...
The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. French society itself underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic, and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from various left-wing political groups, the masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside. Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy regarding monarchs, aristocrats, and the Catholic Church were abruptly overthrown under the mantra of "Liberté, égalité, fraternité." Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of republics and democracies, the spread of liberalism and secularism... (Wikipedia info)
Malbrunot: Moratinos, a previous friend of yours, told me few days ago that he cannot understand what is in Bashar al-Assad’s mind, how could he possibly commit such violence in his country.
President al-Assad: There is an analogy that can also be asked here: how could France allow the killing of the terrorists who terrified French citizens? How did the British deal with the riots in Britain last year? Why was the army deployed in Los Angeles in the nineties? Why are other countries allowed to fight terrorism and Syria isn’t? Why is it forbidden for Mohammed Merah to stay alive in France and to kill civilians and yet terrorists are allowed to remain alive in Syria and kill innocent people? ...
Malbrunot: When your father passed away, you visited France and were received by President Chirac. Everyone viewed you as a youthful and promising president and a successful ophthalmologist. Today, since the crisis, this image has changed. To what extent have you as a person changed?
President al-Assad: The more imperative question is: has the nature of this person changed? The media can manipulate a person’s image at a whim, yet my reality remains the same. I belong to the Syrian people; I defend their interests and independence and will not succumb to external pressure. I cooperate with others in a way that promotes my country’s interests. This is what was never properly understood; they assumed that they could easily influence a young president, that if I had studied in the West I would lose my original culture. This is such a naïve and shallow attitude. I have not changed; they are the ones who wished to identify me differently at the beginning. They need to accept the image of a Syrian president who embraces his country’s independence.
Failure to take military action against Syria would send a dangerous signal to Iran, North Korea and other U.S. foes, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
“Iran is hoping you look the other way,” Kerry said. “Our inaction would surely give them (Iran) a permission slip for them to at least misinterpret our intention, if not to put it to the test,” Kerry added.
Kerry said that the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah is “hoping that isolationism will prevail” and that “North Korea is hoping that ambivalence carries the day.” “They are all listening for our silence,” Kerry said.
He was speaking in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee together with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Hagel said several key allies in the region strongly support U.S. military action in Syria. Hagel told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and others in the region are key partners in any U.S. action.
The Obama administration is using a time-tested pitch to get Congress to back military strikes in Syria: It will help protect Israel.
Israel’s enemies, including Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah, could be emboldened if Congress fails to approve action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, senior administration officials said Saturday.
And for the second day in a row, President Barack Obama publicly cited the threat against Israel if Assad’s reported use of chemical weapons goes unchecked. “It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq..."
Secretary of State John Kerry also referred to Israel repeatedly as he made the rounds on all five major Sunday morning news shows — as well as comparing Assad to Adolf Hitler.
“I think the stakes of upholding the international standard of behavior that has been in place since 1925, after World War I, that only Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein have breached that in time of war since then, and now Assad joins them...
I think to contemplate that the Congress of the United States would turn its back on Israel, on Jordan, on Turkey, on our allies in the region, turn its back on innocent Syrian people who have been slaughtered by this gas and those who yet may be subject to an attack, … I can’t contemplate that the Congress would turn its back on all of that responsibility and the fact that we would have in fact granted impunity to a ruthless dictator to continue to gas his people,” Kerry told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
"Gaddafi's personal cook:|
"he was just the leader of the revolution.."
Egypt is the clearest example in recent years. The Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative social force, that belatedly joined the struggle to overthrow Mubarik, emerged as the strongest political player in the conflict... Its factionalism, stupidity, and a desire to reassure both Washington and the local security apparatuses that it would be business as usual led it to make several strategic and tactical errors... New mass mobilizations erupted... The result was obvious. The ancien regime is back in charge with mass support. If the original was not a revolution, the latter is hardly a counter-revolution.
In Libya, the old state was destroyed by NATO after a six-month bombing spree and armed tribal gangs of one sort or another still roam the country, demanding their share of the loot. Hardly a revolution according to any criteria.
What of Syria? The notion that the SNC is the carrier of a Syrian revolution is as risible as the idea that the Brotherhood was doing the same in Egypt.
The strikes envisaged by the United States are designed to prevent Assad’s military advances from defeating the opposition and re-taking the country. That is what is at stake in Syria.
The idea that Saudia, Qatar, Turkey backed by NATO are going to create a revolutionary democratic or even a democrat set-up is challenged by what is happening elsewhere in the Arab world.
The democrat Hollande defends and justifies the Moroccan autocracy, the Saudis prevent Yemen from moving forward and occupy Bahrein, Erdogan has been busy with repression at home, Israel is not satisfied with a PLO on its knees and is pushing for Hamas to do the same so it can have another go at Hezbollah.
The region is in a total mess and most Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan are only too well aware that US strikes will not make their country better.
Gamal Abdel Nasser was a giant of the twentieth century who curiously is not well-remembered today. He was ahead of his times. The world powers that constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today. ...
Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. It reveals a sweeping yet deeply analytical mind and acute observer of human behavior whose periods of disillusionment and exhilaration were intense. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world. (Rompedas 23-7-2009)
DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.
"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth. . . . Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else.
Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea. If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins. ...
"We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness."
Probes fromKhan al-Assal show chemicals used in the March 19 attack did not belong to standard Syrian army ammunition, and that the shell carrying the substance was similar to those made by a militant fighter group, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.
The samples taken at the site of the March 19 attack and analyzed by Russian experts indicate that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the militants, the ministry statement suggests, outlining the 100-page report handed over to the UN by Russia.
The key points of the report have been given as follows:
• the shell used in the incident “does not belong to the standard ammunition of the Syrian army and was crudely according to type and parameters of the rocket-propelled unguided missiles manufactured in the north of Syria by the so-called Bashair al-Nasr brigade”;
• RDX, which is also known as hexogen or cyclonite, was used as the bursting charge for the shell, and it is “not used in standard chemical munitions”;
• soil and shell samples contain “the non-industrially synthesized nerve agent sarin and diisopropylfluorophosphate,” which was “used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.”
The findings of the report are “extremely specific,” as they mostly consist of scientific and technical data from probes’ analysis, the ministry stressed, adding that this data can “substantially aid” the UN investigation of the incident.
While focusing on the khan al-Assal attack on March 19, in which at least 26 civilians and Syrian army soldiers were killed, and 86 more were injured, the Russian Foreign Ministry also criticized the “flawed selective approach” of certain states in reporting the recent incidents of alleged chemical weapons use in August.
The hype around the alleged attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta showed “apparent attempts to cast a veil over the incidents of gas poisoning of Syrian army soldiers on August 22, 24 and 25,” the ministry said, adding that all the respective evidence was handed to the UN by Syria.
The condition of the soldiers who, according to Damascus, suffered poisoning after discovering tanks with traces of sarin, has been examined and documented by the UN inspectors, the ministry pointed out, adding that “any objective investigation of the August 21 incident in eastern Ghouta is impossible without the consideration of all these facts.”
Meanwhile, all biomedical and environmental samples collected by the UN chemical weapons inspection team in Syria due to arrive at designated laboratories by tomorrow. The Secretary-General said that the Mission, led by Swedish scientist Dr. Åke Sellström, has worked “around the clock” since returning from Syria over the weekend to prepare the materials it gathered for analysis. ...
“The mandate of this team is to determine the use of chemical weapons – whether there was or not the use of chemical weapons. It’s not to determine who has used against whom. We do not have that kind of mandate at this time,” Mr. Ban said.
Åke Sellström, born 1948, is a Swedish expert in arms, especially in chemical weapons. He received his Ph.D. in 1975 at University of Gothenburg and has been active at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI).
He was one of the UN inspectors who examined the use of chemical weapons in Iraq in the 1990s. He returned to the country in 2002 to examine whether the regime restored the banned weapons program, for which they found no evidence. (Wikipedia)
We have no proof that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. Evidence for the use of chemical weapons was provided to the U.S. by Israeli intelligence which is not exactly a neutral actor...
Even if, this time, proofs were genuine, it would not legitimate unilateral action from anyone. That action still needs an authorization of the Security Council. What is called in the West the “international community” willing to attack Syria is reduced to essentially two major countries (US and France), out of almost two hundred in the world. No respect for international law is possible without respect for the decent opinions of the rest of mankind.
Even if a military action was allowed and carried on, what could it accomplish?
The West has no real ally in Syria. The jihadists fighting the government have no more love for the West than those who assassinated the U.S. Ambassador in Libya.
There have been offers of negotiations coming from the Syrian, Iranian and Russian governments, which have been treated with contempt by the West.
The time when the U.S. and its few remaining allies acted as global policemen and national sovereignty was considered passé is actually behind us. The West should adapt itself to the fact that it has neither the right, nor the competence, nor the means to rule the world....
True courage does not consist in launching cruise missiles once more but in breaking radically with that deadly logic:
force Israel to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians, convene the Geneva II conference on Syria and discuss with the Iranian their nuclear program by taking honestly into account the legitimate security and economic interests of that country.
The recent vote against the war in the British Parliament, as well as reactions on social media, reflects a massive shift of public opinion in the West.
We are getting tired of wars, and ready to join the real international community in demanding a world based on the U.N. Charter, demilitarization, respect for national sovereignty and equality of all nations.
Dr. Hans Christof von Sponeck, UN Assistant Secretary General (1998 -2000) - Dr. Denis J. Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary General (1994-1998) - Dr. Saïd Zulficar, UNESCO official (1967-1996) - Dr. Samir Radwan, Adviser on Development Policies to the Director-General of ILO (2001-2003) -Dr. Samir Basta, Director of UNICEF’s Regional Office for Europe (1990-1995) - Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly (2008-2009) - José L. Gómez del Prado, Member of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries (2005-2011).
It would seem a piece of wisdom picked up on the school playground not to start a fight that you don’t know how to finish.
President Barack Obama may have missed this lesson during his primary school experience in Indonesia. But perhaps the U.S. Congress will spare him military folly with its vote next week on intervention in Syria. France then might have to go to war alone against Syria or recruit a new coalition of its own. ...
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, has in the recent past made clear his own doubts about the merits and consequences of an attack on Syria, although his duty now is to follow orders.
Let us pray that the Republican majority in the American House of Representatives, in conformity with their party’s long and honorable traditions of reaction and isolationism, will be joined by a handful of chastened Democrats in defeating next week the president’s proposal for creating another and enlarged Middle Eastern war.
If such a vote accomplishes nothing else, it will at least spare the suffering people of Syria still more horror, inflicted by their American and French well-wishers.
The top general of America’s military on Thursday backed away from President Obama’s threats to intervene militarily in Syria...
Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed while on a trip to London that direct military action in Syria, even simply no-fly zones, might be beyond the US and NATO’s capabilities and counter to their interests....
He said frequent comparison of the Syrian situation with that in Libya, where a “no-fly zone” was imposed following a United Nations resolution, is at best a source of “amusement.”
As far as forcibly ousting the Assad regime, Dempsey said, such a move would be far too destabilizing. He said a failed state in Syria would be the worst-case scenario and warned against allowing armed extreme jihadists and rebels with ties to al-Qaeda to increase their influence...
St. Petersburg, (SANA)_Russia's President, Vladimir Putin stressed Russia's rejection to aggression against Syria and all that might aggravate the crisis there, vowing more support in case of a potential military strike. Putin was speaking during a press conference at the conclusion of the G20 summit held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
"We will help Syria. We are helping them now. We supply weapons, we cooperate in the economic sphere, and I hope we will cooperate more in the humanitarian sphere ... to provide help for those people - civilians - who are in a difficult situation today," Putin said.
Putin added that a military action cannot be categorized as self-defense, adding ''Since it is outside the Security Council's mandate, the outcomes of our talks yesterday mean that those who want to take matters within their own hands are bypassing international law.''
Putin said that Russia has discussed the situation in Syria at length during the G20 summit, pointing out that ''Russia, China, India and Indonesia-the largest Muslim country-has opposed the strike, and so have Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy.'' He added that Pope Francis and the UN Security Council also opposed the strike against Syria.
''The UK House of Commons has opposed the strike, and the German chancellor was cautious about it and won't be supporting it.'' "Polls show that the majority of Western populations oppose a military strike..."
Mr. Obama’s limited strike proposal has one crucial foreign ally: Israel....
Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.
For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.
“This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York.
“Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”
Israel’s national security concerns have broad, bipartisan support in Washington, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington, weighed in Tuesday in support of Mr. Obama’s approach.
The group’s statement said nothing, however, about the preferred outcome of the civil war, instead saying that America must “send a forceful message” to Iran and Hezbollah and “take a firm stand that the world’s most dangerous regimes cannot obtain and use the most dangerous weapons.” ....
On Syria Israel pioneered the kind of limited strike Mr. Obama is now proposing: four times this year, it has bombed convoys of weapons it suspected were being transferred to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that Israel considers a major threat....
“If it’s Iran-first policy, then any diversion to Syria is not fruitful,” said Aluf Benn, editor of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “From the Israeli point of view, the worst scenario is mission-creep in Syria and America gets entangled in a third war in the Middle East, which paralyzes its ability to strike Iran and limits Israel’s ability to strike Iran as well.”
Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.
We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. ...
Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal.
There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.
According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.
We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.
In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge.
Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.
Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.
At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government....
In the days before President Obama retreated from his arrogant, unconstitutional stance that he could order missile strikes on Syria without congressional passage of even a vague resolution of approval, much less the required declaration of war, administration officials insisted that the goal of such strikes was merely to punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for the use of chemical weapons, not carry out regime change. That rationale was, and remains, profoundly illogical—and less than candid.
The reality is that Washington has sought the overthrow of the Assad regime almost from the moment that fighting erupted in 2011. Assad’s departure has been the stated goal of U.S. policy for the past year, and the Obama administration has provided aid to insurgent forces. Although the aid began as humanitarian and supposedly nonlethal items, it now includes military assistance and training.
The administration needs to be honest with Congress and the American people and admit that the proposed U.S. attacks on Assad’s forces would be designed to advance the goal of regime change.
Representatives and Senators should also ask hard questions about just how Assad’s overthrow would be in the best interests of the American people.
The most likely outcome of Assad’s overthrow is a fragmented Syria, similar to what has occurred in Libya, the target of the most recent U.S.-led campaign of missile strikes. The second most likely scenario is a Syria dominated by Sunni Islamist elements.
A secular, pro-Western successor regime based on the reconciliation of feuding ethno-religious factions is—by far—the least likely outcome.
Members of Congress need to press Obama administration officials to explain how either of the first two scenarios would benefit America’s security in any conceivable way.
Above all, Congress should not let the administration continue the fiction that missile strikes would have only a limited objective and result in minimal U.S. involvement in the Syrian maelstrom.
Those who want to 'punish Syria' should at least ask hard questions about the source and reliability of the intelligence information.
Specifically, they should insist on knowing how much of the information was gathered directly by U.S. intelligence agencies and how much was obligingly provided by third parties who have their own policy agendas and ulterior motives.
That is an extremely important consideration. Countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the principal sponsors of the insurgents seeking to oust Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Although Israel is more ambivalent about the Syrian rebels, Israeli loathing of the Assad family goes back more than four decades and Israeli leaders want to see Washington take an even more active military role in the Middle East. Information that such sources provide is hardly unbiased and should be assessed with caution.
That is doubly true of any intelligence that the Syrian rebels provide. Not only does that faction have an obvious, massive incentive to have Washington intervene militarily against Assad’s forces, but the insurgents have already been caught peddling bogus atrocity stories. The most notorious example was the attempt to use nearly decade-old photos of slaughtered civilians in the Iraq war as “evidence” of Syrian army abuses. Given that track record, alleged intelligence from rebel sources should have virtually no credibility.
Obama administration officials are insistent that information about the Assad regime being responsible for chemical attacks is indisputable, and that this case is nothing like the fiasco of the faulty intelligence that led to the Iraq war. But of course, we were told that the Iraq intelligence was rock-solid at the time, so that assurance is less than compelling. Moreover, it is important to remember that most of the phony evidence of Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was supplied by Iraqi exiles, specifically the notorious (and aptly named) source “Curveball” that the Iraqi National Congress produced. We must be doubly careful not to be manipulated in that fashion again.
Oh good. It looks as though we're going to have as big a fight over postwar plans for Iraq as we did over the war itself. Just what we need, more of everybody being at everybody else's throat.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who seems prepared to run the world, favors one Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile-emigre group, as postwar leader (read figurehead-puppet). Chalabi is bitterly opposed by both the State Department and the CIA.
Chalabi has been in exile for four decades and, in 1992, he was convicted on multiple counts of embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars in Jordan after the failure of his bank there. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. He escaped from Jordan, reportedly in the trunk of a car, and wound up in London. Dick Cheney is also a Chalabi fan.
The Iraqi National Congress has received millions in American aid money, but the accounting has been very poor (a familiar story) and quite a bit of the money is unaccounted for. Chalabi favors Savile Row suits.
The Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz choice for "viceroy designate" of Iraq is Gen. Jay Garner, head of the Pentagon's Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. Garner is a retired military man with links to both the international arms industry and a Jewish lobby group. After retiring from the Army, Garner became president of SY Coleman, a defense contractor specializing in military defense technology. He is currently on leave of absence from the company.
The third member of the triumvirate that Rumsfeld & Co. want to run Iraq is former CIA chief James Woolsey, who said last week that Iraq is the opening of the "Fourth World War" (counting the Cold War as III) and that America's enemies include the religious rulers in Iran, states like Syria and Islamic terrorist groups.
So, we've got a crook, a Zionist and an old spy who thinks this is the beginning of WWIV set to run Iraq. How lucky can the Iraqis get? Is this what we thought we were fighting for? (Molly Ivins, dailycamera.com 2003)
AIPAC has been closely monitoring the war in Syria for the past two years. We have been deeply concerned about the impact the war has had on American national security interests, the danger it has posed to Israel and regional stability, and the growing influence of Iran. ...
AIPAC will be lobbying in favor of Congress authorizing the President to use military force in Syria. We need your help to persuade members of the Senate and House to join Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Cantor, House Democratic Leader Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Hoyer, and many others in both chambers, in support of this bipartisan resolution.
We believe that Congress’ failure to grant the President this authority would be interpreted as a sign of American weakness, and cast doubt about whether America will act to carry out its commitments in the Middle East – including the President’s and Congress’ pledge to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
AIPAC continues to believe the world must make every effort to prevent and deter the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction that can threaten us, our values and the safety of [..] Israel.
As the president said on Saturday, “We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, [and] the values that define us.” Not passing this resolution would be a security risk to America and our allies that we cannot afford to take.
The stakes here are high. We believe that the world should not tolerate the use of unconventional weapons. We must do everything in our power to prevent any state—be it Assad’s Syria or Khamenei’s Iran—from employing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
Two million refugees out of Syria, some of them Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 and some Iraqi refugees from 2004.
They are the consequences of war and yet the raging beast that is devouring the Middle East is still not satiated. Another war looms. Another country already devastated is to be shattered by missile attacks. Who wants this war: who could want it? Who could even think of avenging the dead by calling for more killing?
It is not the people of the world. All polls show they are against it....
It is only the politicians who want this war: Obama, Kerry, Hagel, McCain and others in the US; Cameron and Hague in Britain; Hollande in France; and Erdogan in Turkey. None of them has any proof of their accusation that the Syrian army used chemical weapons around Damascus, but proof is beside the point.
Their Muslim contras have failed to destroy the government in Damascus and now in the chemical weapons attack they have their pretext for doing the job themselves....
Saudi Arabia has no politicians and no public opinion polls which would tell us what the Saudi people think of their government and its role in the destruction of Syria.
The only country in which the government and the people are clearly united in their support for an attack on Syria is Israel.
Polls show that nearly 70 per cent of Jewish Israelis are in favor of the US striking Syria... The same lines of attack and support were duplicated by Israel’s formal and informal lobbyists in the US.
Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post sneered at Obama for hesitating... William Kristol in the Weekly Standard: ‘Is President Obama going wobbly on Syria? No. He’s always been wobbly on Syria – and on pretty much everything else … "
Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times that the most likely option for Syria was partition, ‘with the pro-Assad, predominantly Alawite Syrians controlling one region and the Sunni and Kurdish Syrians controlling the rest.’ The fragmentation of Syria on ethno-religious lines, of course, has been a Zionist objective for decades. ...
In Commentary, Max Boot called on the US to use air power in cooperation with ground action by ‘vetted’ rebel forces to ‘cripple and ultimately bring down Assad’s regime...
Daniel Pipes, the long-term advocate of Israeli violence in the Middle East, writing in National Review online, wanted not a ‘limited’ strike but something that would do real damage and brings the ‘regime’ down.
Outside these journals and the think tanks, former ‘government advisers’ and ‘foreign policy experts’ signed a petition calling for ‘direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime’. Many of the names will be familiar from the Project for the New American Century and plans laid long ago for a series of wars in the Middle East:
Elliott Abrams, Fouad Ajami, Gary Bauer, Max Boot, Ellen Bork, Eliot A. Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Thomas Donnelly, Douglas Feith, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Bernard-Henri Levy, Michael Makovsky, Joshua Muravchik, Martin Peretz, Karl Rove, Randy Scheunemann, Leon Wieseltier and Radwan Ziadeh.
AIPAC and the Jewish organizations piled the pressure on Congress and the White House. AIPAC’s statement on Syria stressed the sending of a ‘forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hizbullah’ at a time ‘Iran is racing towards obtaining nuclear capability.’
The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations called for an attack that would demonstrate ‘accountability’ to ‘those who possess weapons of mass destruction, particularly Iran and Hezbollah.’
Morris Amitay of the pro-Israel Washington Political Action Committee thought that ‘for our [United States] credibility we have to do something.’
Bloomberg reported the Republican Jewish Coalition as sending an ‘action alert’ to its 45,000 members ‘directing them to tell Congress to authorize force.’ The same message of support for an attack was sent out by the National Jewish Democratic Council and Abe Foxman of the so-called Anti-Defamation League...
"Jewish lobby is responsible for intimidating people" (Hagel 2006)
Stephen Walt: "We are not saying there is a conspiracy, or a cabal. The Israeli lobby has every right to carry on its work – all Americans like to lobby. What we are saying is that this lobby has a negative influence on US national interests and that this should be discussed. There are vexing problems out in the Middle East and we need to be able to discuss them openly. The Hamas government, for example – how do we deal with this? There may not be complete solutions, but we have to try and have all the information available."
Perhaps the most incendiary paragraph in the essay – albeit one whose contents have been confirmed in the Israeli press – discusses Israel’s pressure on the United States to invade Iraq.
"Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes," the two academics write, quoting a retired Israeli general as saying: "Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities."
As President Obama announces plans for another war, adding Syria to the recent and ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, a profound gap has emerged between the highly militarized state and US public opinion. A Reuters/IPSOS poll taken August 19-23 (2013) revealed that 60 percent of Americans surveyed were against the United States intervening in Syria, while 9 percent said President Obama should act. ...
If, as some scholars argue, militarism and ‘national security’ (and the police state) have become the secular religion of the State, it is clear that the majority of civil society are ‘non-believers’.
The ‘true believers’ of militarism as the road to empire building are firmly ensconced in Washington’s political establishment, especially among the powerful lobbies and propaganda mills known as ‘think tanks’. Militarist beliefs are widely embraced by strategically-placed officials with deep and long-standing ties to the Israeli power structure.
The vast majority of Americas are concerned with domestic economic issues, such as unemployment, the steep decline in living standards, growing inequalities, the growing concentration of wealth (the ‘Wall Street 1% versus the 99%’ issue of the ‘Occupy Movement’), the grotesque and inescapable debt among students and graduates, the savage cuts in social programs (education, health, housing and infrastructure) in the face of soaring military expenditures and stratospheric government subsidies to bailout the banks and speculators.
In other words, the values, attitudes and interests of the vast majority of Americans diverge sharply from those of the Washington establishment, the mass media and the power brokers who penetrate and surround the political elite....
The Presidential declarations of war against the will and opinion of the vast majority of citizens; the decision to finance massive bank bailouts with public funds behind the backs of ‘the 99%’; the shallow proclamations ‘ending’ ongoing wars which still continue under other guises; and the transparent fabrications serving as pretexts for dragging the country into new wars by trotting out the same lies recycled from the previous wars…all undermine any notion of a constitutional democracy in the United States. ...
It is not the members of the US military who choose to disenfranchise and ignore the vast majority of Americans overwhelmingly opposed to new Middle East wars.
The usurpers are mostly civilians, some of whom had formerly carried weapons for a foreign nation and still carry dual citizenship while plying our President with calls for military expansionism. ...
If we want to identify and understand the minority, which secures its own militarist agenda in the White House and Congress against the majority of Americans, it is clearly marked by its swaggering, consistent and intrusive presence. It is a smaller, more cohesive new version of the’ 1%’-- and best described as the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC). ...
"The ZPC [Zionist Power Cofiguration] has marginalized Americans of all creeds, races and religions (including the majority of American Jews and seculars) – especially those who would oppose their agenda."
To the degree that we have moved from democracy to oligarchy, from a democratic republic to a militarist empire engaged in foreign wars of occupation, the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) has accumulated enormous influence in the government and, in turn, has furthered the tyranny of the minority over the majority. ...
The majority of Americans are fed up with the fabrication of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that provided a pretext for the invasion of Iraq, the phony ‘mass rapes (the obscene and racist reports of Gaddafi handing out tons of Viagra to his black “African mercenaries”) and other fake atrocities’ in Libya and the blatant cover-up of Israeli land grabs and ethnic cleansing against the native Palestinian population. ...
There is anger and fear at home directed against the current push for new wars abroad and their most visible propagandist: President Barack Obama. ...
James Petras is a retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Petras describes himself as a "revolutionary and anti-imperialist" activist and writer. (Wikipedia)
Is James Petras anti-Semitic?
Anti-Semitism broadly defined is simply the opposition to jews on the basis that they are a biological group ('an antisemite is a racist).
Now there are two other forms of what we may term anti-jewishness. That is anti-Judaism, which broadly defined is opposition to Judaism as a religion and anti-Zionism, which similarly defined is the opposition to the state of Israel and Zionism as a political and intellectual ideology more broadly.
This then gives the lie to the popular misconception that anti-Zionism is synonymous with anti-Semitism precisely because there are three kinds of opposition to jews which can be held individually or in varying combinations.
None of these broad categories are mutually exclusive to each other either as there have been anti-Semites who were all for Zionism and critics of Judaism who thoroughly supported Israel and Zionism while roundly condemning anti-Semitism. (Semitic Controversies)
- Charlie Rose: Let’s talk about chemical warfare. Do you approve of the use of chemical warfare, the use of deadly chemicals? Do you think that it is an appropriate tool of war, to use chemicals?
- President al-Assad: We are against any WMD, any weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical or nuclear.
- Charlie Rose: But you’re not a signatory to the chemical warfare agreement.
- President al-Assad: Not yet.
- Charlie Rose: Why not?
- President al-Assad: Because Israel has WMD, and it has to sign, and Israel is occupying our land, so that’s we talked about the Middle East, not Syria, not Israel; it should be comprehensive....
- Charlie Rose: Speaking of reality, what was the reality on August 21st? What happened in your judgment?
- President al-Assad: We’re not in the area where the alleged chemical attack happened. I said alleged. We’re not sure that anything happened.
- Charlie Rose: Even at this date, you’re not sure that chemical weapons – even though you have seen the video tape, even though you’ve seen the bodies, even though your own officials have been there.
- President al-Assad: I haven’t finished. Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers - they went to the hospital as casualties because of chemical weapons, but in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations.
We’re not there; our forces, our police, our institutions don’t exist there. How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidence? We’re not like the American administration, we’re not social media administration or government. We are a government that deals with reality. When we have evidence, we’ll announce it.
- Charlie Rose: Well, as you know, Secretary Kerry has said there is evidence and that they saw rockets that fired from a region controlled by your forces into a region controlled by the rebels. They have evidence from satellite photographs of that. They have evidence of a message that was intercepted about chemical weapons, and soon thereafter there were other intercepted messages, so Secretary Kerry has presented what he views as conclusive evidence.
- President al-Assad: No, he presented his confidence and his convictions. It’s not about confidence, it’s about evidence. The Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from an area where the rebels control. This reminds me - what Kerry said - about the big lie that Collin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq before going to war. He said “this is our evidence.” Actually, he gave false evidence. In this case, Kerry didn’t even present any evidence. He talked “we have evidence” and he didn’t present anything. Not yet, nothing so far; not a single shred of evidence.
- Charlie Rose: What about the victims of this assault from chemical warfare?
- President al-Assad: Dead is dead, killing is killing, crime is crime. When you feel pain, you feel pain about their family, about the loss that you have in your country, whether one person was killed or a hundred or a thousand. It’s a loss, it’s a crime, it’s a moral issue. We have family that we sit with, family that loved their dear ones. It’s not about how they are killed, it's about that they are dead now; this is the bad thing...
- Charlie Rose: We’ll come back to it. If your government did not do it, despite the evidence, who did it?
- President al-Assad: The question is who threw chemicals on the same day on our soldiers. That’s the same question. Technically, not the soldiers. Soldiers don’t throw missiles on themselves. So, either the rebels, the terrorists, or a third party. We don’t have any clue yet. We have to be there to collect the evidences then we can give answer.
- Charlie Rose: Well, the argument is made that the rebels don’t have the capability of using chemical weapons, they do not have the rockets and they do not have the supply of chemical weapons that you have, so therefore they could not have done it.
- President al-Assad: First of all, they have rockets, and they’ve been throwing rockets on Damascus for months.
- Charlie Rose: That carry chemical weapons? - President al-Assad: Rockets in general. They have the means - first. Second, the sarin gas that they’ve been talking about for the last weeks is a very primitive gas. You can have it done in the backyard of a house; it’s a very primitive gas. So, it’s not something complicated.
- Charlie Rose: But this was not primitive. This was a terrible use of chemical weapons.
- President al-Assad: Third, they used it in Aleppo in the north of Syria. Fourth, there’s a video on YouTube where the terrorists clearly make trials on a rabbit and kill the rabbit and said “this is how we’re going to kill the Syrian people.” Fifth, there’s a new video about one of those women who they consider as rebel or fighter who worked with those terrorists and she said “they didn’t tell us how to use the chemical weapons” and one of those weapons exploded in one of the tunnels and killed twelve. That’s what she said. Those are the evidence that we have. Anyway, the party who accused is the one who has to bring evidences. The United States accused Syria, and because you accused you have to bring evidence, this first of all. We have to find evidences when we are there.
- Charlie Rose: What evidence would be sufficient for you? - President al-Assad: For example, in Aleppo we had the missile itself, and the material, and the sample from the sand, from the soil, and samples from the blood....
Iran has welcomed Russia’s proposal to Syria to put its chemical stockpile under international control in order to avoid “militarism in the region.”
“Iran considers the [proposition] of this initiative within the framework of stopping militarism in the region,” Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said during the ministry’s weekly press conference on Tuesday.
The proposal, which has been “welcomed” by Damascus, was made during a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow on Monday. Moscow also urged Syrian authorities to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, “We are opposed to using chemical weapons and want the region cleared from chemical weapons.”
The Iranian official also expressed concern over the possession of chemical weapons by the terrorist groups in Syria and said, “Any initiative [regarding chemical weapons] must also include the [entire] spectrum of terrorists.”
Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem welcomed the Russian proposal in a televised statement as a way to avoid a US-led military operation.
"I carefully listened to Sergei Lavrov's statement about it. In connection with this, I note that Syria welcomes the Russian initiative based on the Syrian leadership's concern about the lives of our nationals and the security of our country," Al-Muallem said.
"We also hail the wisdom of the Russian leadership which is trying to prevent an American aggression against our people," he added without elaborating.
Al-Muallem said his government was ready to host the UN team, and insisted that Syria is ready to use all channels to convince the Americans that it wasn't behind the attack. He added that Syria was ready for "full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression." (Ahram online, 10-9-2013)
“It’s a very good step if the Syrians agree to put this under international control,” said Raymond A. Zilinskas, a senior scientist at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a former United Nations weapons inspector. “The inspectors do this kind of thing routinely.”
Since it was set up, the policing unit for the Chemical Weapons Convention, a global treaty that bans the development, production, stockpiling and use of the deadly arms, has verified the destruction in seven countries of millions of munitions and containers holding 78,480 tons of deadly agents.
Military experts say the policing unit, known as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, would be likely to play a similar role in Syria if the parties can agree to a verifiable plan.
To date, seven nations that signed the treaty have agreed to the destruction of their chemical arms and plants — Albania, India, Iraq, Libya, Russia, the United States and an unnamed seventh country.
Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin and Italian journalist Domenico Quiric, both of whom were abducted and held hostage for several months in Syria, said they overheard in an exchange between their captors that rebels were behind the recent chemical attack.
In a number of interviews to European news outlets, the former hostages said they overheard an English-language Skype conversation between their captors and other men which suggested it was rebel forces – not the government - that used chemical weapons on Syria’s civilian population in an August 21 attack near Damascus.
“It is a moral duty to say this. The government of Bashar al-Assad did not use sarin gas or other types of gas in the outskirts of Damascus,” Piccinin said during an interview with Belgium's RTL radio station.
Piccinin stressed that while being held captive, he and fellow prisoner Quirico were secluded from the outside world and had no idea that chemical weapons were deployed. But the conversation which both men overheard suggested that the use of the weapons was a strategic move by the opposition, aimed at getting the West to intervene.
"In this conversation, they said that the gas attack on two neighborhoods of Damascus was launched by the rebels as a provocation to lead the West to intervene militarily,” Quirico told Italy’s La Stampa. "We were unaware of everything that was going on during our detention in Syria, and therefore also with the gas attack in Damascus."
Based on what both men have learned, Piccinin told RTL that it would be “insane and suicidal for the West to support these people.”
“It pains me to say it because I've been a fierce supporter of the Free Syrian Army in its rightful fight for democracy since 2012," Piccinin added.
JEDDAH: The monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Tuesday rejected a Russian proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, saying it would not end the bloodshed in Syria.
“We’ve heard of the initiative,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa told a news conference after a meeting of GCC members states. “It’s all about chemical weapons, but doesn’t stop the spilling of the blood of the Syrian people,” he said.
The GCC, composed of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, insists that Syrian President Bashar Assad be punished for using chemical weapons against his own people.
Khalifa called for “appropriate deterrent measures against those who committed this crime” and said the chemical attack required “the United Nations and the international community, represented by the Security Council, to shoulder its responsibility.”
Also on Tuesday, the GCC also denounced the Hezbollah for interfering in the Syrian crisis.
"As GCC strongly condemns the blatant interference of Lebanese Hezbollah in the Syrian crisis and its consequent killing of innocent civilians, it considers that Hezbollah's participation in shedding the blood of the brotherly Syrian people revealed the nature of this party and its real objectives which surpassed the borders of Lebanon and Arab homeland," said the GCC General Secretariat in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Hours after Damascus welcomed Moscow's proposal that Syria hand over its chemical weapons, rebel chief Selim Idriss accused Assad and his Russian allies of lying.
"We call for strikes and we warn the international community that this regime tells lies, and the liar Putin is its teacher," the Free Syrian Army (FSA) leader told Al-Jazeera television.
After hopes among dissidents that a seemingly imminent US strike against Assad's regime would give the rebels a boost, plans for action appeared to have been put on hold.
Opposition National Coalition member Samir Nashar said it is not the first time his bloc has been disappointed by its friends in the international community.
"We have been disillusioned again and again by constant delays in striking (Assad's regime), by the changing US position and by deals struck at the expense of the Syrian opposition," Nashar told AFP. The Russian initiative "was completely unexpected, and it was a surprise to us," he added.
"A strike was supposed to strengthen the opposition and weaken the regime, to the point that it would realign the balance of forces" in Syria's war, said Nashar.
After US President Barack Obama cautiously welcomed the Russian initiative, enraged activists on the ground said they had been abandoned by the international community once again, and talked of conspiracy.
The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.
“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”
Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, told POLITICO in a statement that “we were not aware of Elizabeth O’Bagy’s academic claims or credentials when we published her Aug. 31 op-ed, and the op-ed made no reference to them.”
“We also were not aware of her affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, and we published a clarification when we learned of it,” Gigot said.
O’Bagy’s op-ed piece for the Journal, “On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War,” was cited by both Kerry and McCain last week. McCain read from the piece last Tuesday to Kerry, calling it “an important op-ed by Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy.” The next day, Kerry also brought up the piece before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and described it as a “very interesting article” and recommended that members read it.
But the piece had also come under fire for misrepresenting her affiliations. Originally the op-ed only listed O’Bagy, 26, as only “a senior analyst” at the ISW, later adding a clarification that disclosed her connection to a Syrian rebel advocacy group.
“In addition to her role at the Institute for the Study of War, Ms. O’Bagy is affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force ... that subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition,” the WSJ added in its clarification.
O’Bagy wrote on Twitter after the uproar that “I have never tried to hide that Ive worked closely with opposition & rebel commanders. Thats what allows me to travel more safely in Syria...”
Yossef Bodansky is Director of Research at the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) and Senior Editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs publications (including the Global Information System: GIS). He was, for more than a decade, the Director of the US House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.
WASHINGTON – A top terrorism expert says that recent findings on the chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 in a region on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, was “indeed a self-inflicted attack” by the Syrian opposition to provoke U.S. and military intervention in Syria.
At the same time, however, Dr. Yossef Bodansky, former director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, conceded that only a detailed chemical analysis by the United Nations of the agents used in the poison gas attack can provide the “guidelines” as to the “guilty party.”
“It is still not clear what type of agent killed the victims,” although there are separate reports that the agent used ranged from the deadly nerve agent Sarin to a high concentration of fluoride, which is used to clear impurities out of drinking water.
Bodansky said that various tests suggest the nerve agent Sarin was used, reinforcing the conclusion that “kitchen Sarin” was used, although much will depend on the U.N.’s findings once all tests are completed. ...
Military Sarin accumulates around victims’ hair and loose clothing. Because these molecules become detached and released with any movement, “they would have thus killed or injured the first responders who touched the victims’ bodies without protective clothes … and masks.”
However, opposition videos show the first responders moving corpses around without any ill effects, Bodansky said. Indeed, there didn’t seem to be any effects on the first responders who were administering assistance to those subject to the poison gas attack. “This strongly indicates that the agent in question was the slow acting ‘kitchen sarin,’” Bodansky said.
“The overall descriptions of the injuries and fatalities treated by MSF closely resemble the injuries treated by the Tokyo emergency authorities back on March 20, 1995,” he said. “The Tokyo subway attack was committed with liquefied ‘kitchen sarin.’”
“That the jihadist movement has these technologies was confirmed in jihadist labs captured in both Turkey and Iraq, as well as from the wealth of data recovered from al-Qaida in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002,” Bodansky said. ...
He added that the warheads used in the Damascus attack were cylindrical tanks which cracked and permitted a Tokyo-style – or “kitchen” mixture of liquids rather than the pressurized mix and vaporization at the molecular level by the force of core explosion in a standard Soviet-style chemical warhead
Tokyo subway attack: In five coordinated attacks, the perpetrators released sarin on several lines of the Tokyo subway, killing thirteen people, severely injuring fifty and causing temporary vision problems for nearly a thousand others. The attack was directed against trains passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatacho, home to the Japanese government. It is the most serious attack to occur in Japan since the end of World War II. (Wikipedia info)
Barack Obama should be thanking Vladimir Putin for getting him out of a dilemma that would have ruined his presidency. His attack on Syria, as it was (and is) programmed, would have been or will be no “shot across the bow.” The plan is to “degrade” Syria’s entire military and supporting infrastructure, so as to tip the civil war’s balance—as Baghdad was “degraded” in 2003. It would make the civil war far worse, with thousands more dead, by triggering a rebel offensive, covertly supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to take Damascus (or its ruins). ...
Mr. Putin currently offers Obama the attractive role of a warrior chief whose threats so frightened the world as to force the sequestering and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. It has brought a wide international and U.N. intervention potentially capable of forcing a settlement conference (“Geneva II”), possibly halting the civil war and its multiple threats to the region. Mr. Putin himself chooses to play the peacemaker. And why not?
As Russia would have to be one of the guarantors of such a settlement, as the United States would insist on being, and as Russia would also have to stand guarantee for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, Moscow would automatically provide Syria with deterrence against Israeli nuclear blackmail and that conventional threat from Israel which the chemical weapons were manufactured to deter. Russia’s enlarged political presence and guarantee of Syria’s neutralization would also secure Lebanon. Both results are highly desirable.....
There are plenty of people in the Washington foreign policy elite, as well as the Obama administration, who will be horrified at the notion of introducing Russia into the Middle East under international sponsorship. But Russia has already introduced itself into the only presently recognizable solution, if outside military “punishment” and consequent expanded war are to be avoided.
The Middle East, under the burdens of American military interventions, has since the 1950s suffered heavy-handed and disastrously unsuccessful policies of American intervention and vain “democratization.” This cannot continue.
The Washington community seems incapable of recognizing this, but the U.S., in this region, has made itself hated and feared. It is incapable of generating generally acceptable geopolitical solutions. To use a word popular among Washington’s war-hawks, it no longer has “credibility.”
"Preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not."
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts has become commonplace for the US, President Vladimir Putin said in an editorial for The New York Times. Putin however has welcomed Barack Obama’s decision to develop a compromise on Syria.
In a lengthy piece titled A Plea for Caution from Russia, the President reminded that the United Nations was created as a universal instrument of preventing devastating wars.
“No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage,” Putin wrote. “This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.”
From the very beginning of the crisis, Russia has advocated a political solution according to international law. “We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law,” he said.
“It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States,” he said. The world increasingly sees America not as “a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us,” the President stated.
On the other hand, a successful political compromise on Syria would “open the door to cooperation on other critical issues” between Russia and the US.
Having studied Obama’s address to the American nation on Tuesday, Putin disagreed with a “case he made on American exceptionalism.”
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too.”
“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal,” Putin said in conclusion of his New York Times editorial.