AuthorTopic: The Syria Desk  (Read 57272 times)

Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #90 on: August 30, 2013, 04:18:38 AM »
It seems that the opposition to Syria intervention is finally being heard. Hope I am not just having a pipe dream, but it seems there is renewed hope.   :icon_sunny: :emthup: :emthup: :emthup:

British Parliament says no go, and many in congress, BOTH sides of the aisle.  are now voicing stronger opposition. Let's hope for a miracle.

Offline g

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Who says there aren't some wonderful Lefties??   :exp-grin:


The Christian Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com
Syria crisis: Dovish Democrats urge Obama to consult Congress

In a letter, 54 Democratic lawmakers urged Obama Thursday to 'seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any US military engagement to this complex crisis.'
Temp Headline Image
President Obama pauses while speaking at Henninger High School in Syracuse, N.Y., Aug. 22, 2013. Lawmakers sent a letter to the White House Thursday 'expressing unequivocal condemnation over the news that chemical weapons were reportedly used by the government of Syria' but also cautioning against bypassing Congress.
(Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By Jennifer Skalka Tulumello, Correspondent / August 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm EDT
Washington

With Washington focused on the prospect of military action in Syria as retaliation for the apparent use of chemical weapons by its government, whither Congress’s more liberal members?

It seems the doves have a dilemma. To support their Democratic president in the quest to right a humanitarian wrong? Or to back the institutional protections that require congressional approval before a White House can engage in anything resembling war?

“There’s a certain wing in the Democratic Party that’s pacifist that doesn’t support the use of force in most instances, except in the case of an attack on the US,” says Brian Katulis, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. “I don’t think they’re going to move.”

These and other Democrats are also concerned that public opinion isn’t yet in favor of military intervention in Syria. Mr. Obama should not move forward with military action, they say, without a full congressional review and members’ approval.

Spearheaded by Rep. Barbara Lee (D) of California, 54 Democratic members, many of whom made up the coalition of those opposed to the last Iraq war, sent a letter to the White House Thursday “expressing unequivocal condemnation over the news that chemical weapons were reportedly used by the government of Syria” but also cautioning against bypassing Congress. The apparent human rights violations there “should not draw us into an unwise war,” they write.

“While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, even if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) have not been attacked or threatened with an attack.”

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These lawmakers urge Obama to “seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any US military engagement to this complex crisis.”

Polls are an issue for members of Congress, regardless of party identification, and on the Syria matter, they’re showing the public to be war weary following years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Reuters-Ipsos survey released recently indicated that most Americans want nothing to do with military action in Syria – some 60 percent are opposed, while 9 percent are in favor. The number in support of intervention only modestly increases – to 25 percent – when the variable of a chemical weapons attack is introduced.

Iraq fatigue is of particular note where Syria is concerned. After all, the evidence presented by the administration of President George W. Bush as he made his case for war there turned out not to be accurate.

Democrats, and Republicans, reflecting on the Iraq intervention, which dragged on for years, are proving they’re once bitten and twice shy.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) of California, who opposed the Iraq intervention and Thursday signed onto Lee’s letter, wants a congressional vote, not just a briefing. The president, she says, needs to make an appeal to Congress. It is, after all, she reminds him, the people’s house.

“Aside from the legal requirement, there’s a political requirement,” she said Thursday afternoon in an appearance on MSNBC. “The president apparently believes that some kind of military action should be taken. The American public doesn’t agree. So he needs to make his case. We need to listen carefully to his arguments to understand why bombing Syria would be good for America, good for the world. What’s the end game?”

The tensions in Syria and prospect of strikes there seem to be drawing together an unlikely grouping of tea party Republicans and more conservative members with liberal Democrats, according to former Democratic congressman Tom Perriello, who represented Virginia’s fifth congressional district in the House from 2009-2011 and now serves as president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

Perriello believes Obama does not need congressional approval in this case for a limited engagement in Syria but that it helps his cause to have “as much buy-in as possible from the legislative branch.”

“For those of us who care about international norms and crimes against humanity, you’re likely to come down on the side of intervening in some way,” Perriello says. “I really do think that members of Congress from both parties are taking very seriously this question of whether this is the next Iraq or the next Rwanda.”

On the matter of congressional sanction of the administration’s Syria policy, it seems the parties aren’t that far apart – about process at least. House Republicans, almost 100 of them, have lined up to register their fervent plea that President Obama consult Congress before taking any military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Another 18 Democrats signed onto that letter to the White House, which was circulated by Rep. Scott Rigell (R) of Virginia.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who voted against the US invasion of Iraq during the Bush years, was one of them.

“Since there is no imminent threat to the United States, there is no legal justification for bypassing the constitutionally required congressional authorization,” said Nadler, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

“The American people deserve to have this decision debated and made in the open with all the facts and arguments laid out for public review and debate, followed by a congressional vote.”

The White House is actively engaged in courting congressional approval, although for now that process seems informal. In a conference call Thursday evening, the White House provided leading members of Congress with evidence that the Syrian regime had carried out chemical weapons attacks that killed hundreds of civilians. With members out of session until Sept. 9, Obama would have to call them back to town for a more formal vote.

For his own political cover, and perhaps for the good of his party more broadly, many members believe he should allow Congress to do its part to weigh the issues involved in the Syria conflict. Lofgren says Congress has been overly lenient in recent years in allowing presidents to seize too much authority over these types of interventions.

“Congress has been complicit in allowing the executive, including this one, but not just this one, to act without regard to the requirements of the constitution, and without regard to the War Powers Act,” she said on MSNBC. “I think that’s not correct. It’s not the right course of action. The fact that it’s happened in the past does not mean at this juncture in our history that we shouldn’t go back to what the law and constitution requires. I think the country will be better off if we do.”

And, she added: “There’s a broad bipartisan consensus, way more than a majority in the House, that says the same thing.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/0829/Syria-crisis-Dovish-Democrats-urge-Obama-to-consult-Congress :icon_study: :icon_study:

Offline Robert (qslv)

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #92 on: August 30, 2013, 05:15:20 AM »
I saw a video on RT (Russian Television) about a week ago which show Jihadist rebels strapping packets of what seemed to be polyisocyanurate crystals to small mortar projectiles which were about 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter with 4 fins at one end. They then dropped them into mortar tubes and sent them off somewhere. RT stopped playing the video and has censored most reports about Syria since then. It seems like RT, which does not represent the Russian government and is strongly pro-jihadist has blacked out any reports which suggest the rebels are responsible for gas attacks.

Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk Flash: UK People Are Smarter Than Obama
« Reply #93 on: August 30, 2013, 05:22:18 AM »
 From Karl Denninger this morning.

Flash: UK People Are Smarter Than Obama
 

Ok MaObama, go ahead and do it alone if you insist.

    LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron has lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes, a stunning defeat for a government which had seemed days away from joining the U.S. in possible attacks to punish Bashar Assad's regime over an alleged chemical weapons attack.

Yeah, the Brits aren't convinced that Assad was the one who used chemical weapons.

Neither am I -- in fact, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that it was the Al-Qaida linked rebels that did so, and in fact an attack by America (or anyone else) on Assad's government would be a factual and formal act of war in support of avowed terrorists!

Now this does not mean that I like Assad.  I don't; he's clearly a bastard.

But that one side of a conflict is bad doesn't make the other one good.  Sometimes all "sides" of a conflict are detestable and unworthy of being feral hog food.  This is one of those cases.

But there is in fact no support for action in support of Al-Qaida linked rebels in Syria (which any attack on Assad's government would be) outside of certain wamongering jackasses like McStain and Obama himself.

And as for Obama I believe one can make a cogent argument for his administration having already having directly supported insurgent forces linked to terrorists -- and the attempted cover-up of those acts is why there is no full public exposition of what happened in Benghazi.

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=223970  :icon_study:

Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #94 on: August 30, 2013, 05:24:41 AM »
Good morning Robert (qslv)  Great to have you posting on the forum.   :icon_sunny:

Offline monsta666

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #95 on: August 30, 2013, 06:19:33 AM »
A few notes to bear in mind. The British public were against the war in Iraq and voted against it. However at the time Tony Blair and the Labour party had a powerful majority in the House of Commons so the party could enforce their will upon the people with some immunity and they did not need to worry about votes from the opposition party either as they could get their bill passed without needing any conservative MPs needing to vote for their policy. So the move could went ahead and the rest is history.

After the war, Britain's international reputation was damaged after taking part in what was essentially an illegal war. This made going into another war more politically difficult to sell to the public and the opposition party. To add to this Cameron and the Conservative party do not even hold a majority in the House of Commons (this is the reason why the Conservatives must form a coalition to run the country) so they needed the votes of Labour/Liberal Democrats MPs to get the vote for war passed through Parliament. That didn't happen and so the war is less likely to happen. It is an embarrassment for Cameron though because he called Parliament back from holiday to make a vote for war but got rejected. He will need to pay the spin doctors to recover from this setback. To go back though this isn't so much a case of the public being more intelligent than before but rather the party in power are in not such a powerful position to push their agenda so easily. If Cameron had the same majority as Labour did going into the war in Iraq I am pretty sure he would have got his war in Syria regardless of what the public thought of it.

Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #96 on: August 30, 2013, 08:58:29 AM »
A few notes to bear in mind. The British public were against the war in Iraq and voted against it. However at the time Tony Blair and the Labour party had a powerful majority in the House of Commons so the party could enforce their will upon the people with some immunity and they did not need to worry about votes from the opposition party either as they could get their bill passed without needing any conservative MPs needing to vote for their policy. So the move could went ahead and the rest is history.

After the war, Britain's international reputation was damaged after taking part in what was essentially an illegal war. This made going into another war more politically difficult to sell to the public and the opposition party. To add to this Cameron and the Conservative party do not even hold a majority in the House of Commons (this is the reason why the Conservatives must form a coalition to run the country) so they needed the votes of Labour/Liberal Democrats MPs to get the vote for war passed through Parliament. That didn't happen and so the war is less likely to happen. It is an embarrassment for Cameron though because he called Parliament back from holiday to make a vote for war but got rejected. He will need to pay the spin doctors to recover from this setback. To go back though this isn't so much a case of the public being more intelligent than before but rather the party in power are in not such a powerful position to push their agenda so easily. If Cameron had the same majority as Labour did going into the war in Iraq I am pretty sure he would have got his war in Syria regardless of what the public thought of it.

I was like, wait a minute, Tony Blair was of the Labour Party? LOL Double-take. Oh, right. He just doesn't LOOK like as much of a money grubbing corporatist warmonger as Cameron does. :icon_mrgreen:

What's a liberal socialist like Obam-bam supposed to do, now?  :laugh:


Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk - Don't Show This Report to Obama - Zero Hedge
« Reply #97 on: August 30, 2013, 04:41:57 PM »
Don't Show Obama This Report About Who Really Is Behind The Syrian Chemical Attacks

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/30/2013 10:33 -0400 - ZERO HEDGE
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-30/dont-show-obama-report-about-who-really-behind-syrian-chemical-attacks



As we showed mere days ago, it appears the truth of who the real puppet-master in the Middle-East is becoming plainer to see. The incredibly frank discussion between Saudi's spy-chief Prince Bandar and Russia's Putin exposed a much deeper plot is afoot and the following details from the actual people on the ground in the chemically-attacked region of Syria suggest Obama is playing right into the Saudi's plan. While Obama is 'certain' that the chemical attacks took place on al-Assad's orders, as MPN reports, "from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack."

The narrative for public consumption is well-known and quite clear - it was all as-Assad's fault. And yet...

Via MPN,

    ... from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

     

    “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

     

    Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

     

    Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

     

    Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

     

    “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

     

    “When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

     

    A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

     

    “We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.

     

    Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.

     

    The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.

     

    More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.

About the report authors: Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and the Associated Press. Gavlak has been stationed in Amman, Jordan for the Associated Press for over two decades. An expert in Middle Eastern Affairs, Gavlak currently covers the Levant region of the Middle East for AP, National Public Radio and Mint Press News, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Contact Dale at dgavlak@mintpressnews.com Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist and is currently working on a master’s degree in journalism,  He has covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Libya. His stories have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere.

For those who may have forgotten, here are the details that were exposed a few days ago...

    what are some of the stunning disclosures by the Saudis? First this:

     

    Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. ... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

     

    It is good of the Saudis to admit they control a terrorist organization that "threatens the security" of the Sochi 2014 Olympic games, and that house of Saud uses "in the face of the Syrian regime." Perhaps the next time there is a bombing in Boston by some Chechen-related terrorists, someone can inquire Saudi Arabia what, if anything, they knew about that.

     

    But the piece de resistance is what happened at the end of the dialogue between the two leaders. It was, in not so many words, a threat by Saudi Arabia aimed squarely at Russia:

     

    As soon as Putin finished his speech, Prince Bandar warned that in light of the course of the talks, things were likely to intensify, especially in the Syrian arena, although he appreciated the Russians’ understanding of Saudi Arabia’s position on Egypt and their readiness to support the Egyptian army despite their fears for Egypt's future.

     

    The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.”

     

    At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.

     

    Since we know all about this, it means no more talks, an implicit warning that the Chechens operating in proximity to Sochi may just become a loose cannon (with Saudi's blessing of course), and that about a month ago "there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate." Four weeks later, we are on the edge of all out war, which may involve not only the US and Europe, but most certainly Saudi Arabia and Russia which automatically means China as well. Or, as some may call it, the world.

     

    And all of it as preordained by a Saudi prince, and all in the name of perpetuating the hegemony of the petrodollar.

Again we remind: Russia and Saudi Arabia account for 25% of global oil production, but far more importantly absent the Qatari natgas (and a potential pipeline crossing under a receptive Syrian regime - i.e., not Assad -  and going into Turkey), Europe will remain beholden to every rate-hiking whim by Putin and Gazpromia.

Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk - Saudi's Behind Chemical Attack? - Mint Press News
« Reply #98 on: August 30, 2013, 04:47:59 PM »
EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack
Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
By Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh | August 29, 2013 - MINT PRESS NEWS
http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/


This article is a collaboration between Dale Gavlak reporting for Mint Press News and Yahya Ababneh.

Ghouta, Syria — As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last week’s chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit.

Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.

The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.”

However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.

Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.

More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.

 
Saudi involvement

In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad.

Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.

“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” Ingersoll wrote.

“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Bandar allegedly told the Russians.

“Along with Saudi officials, the U.S. allegedly gave the Saudi intelligence chief the thumbs up to conduct these talks with Russia, which comes as no surprise,” Ingersoll wrote.

“Bandar is American-educated, both military and collegiate, served as a highly influential Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and the CIA totally loves this guy,” he added.

According to U.K.’s Independent newspaper, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first brought allegations of the use of sarin gas by the regime to the attention of Western allies in February.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the CIA realized Saudi Arabia was “serious” about toppling Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar to lead the effort.

“They believed that Prince Bandar, a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world, could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and, as one U.S. diplomat put it, wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout,” it said.

Bandar has been advancing Saudi Arabia’s top foreign policy goal, WSJ reported, of defeating Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

To that aim, Bandar worked Washington to back a program to arm and train rebels out of a planned military base in Jordan.

The newspaper reports that he met with the “uneasy Jordanians about such a base”:

    His meetings in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah sometimes ran to eight hours in a single sitting. “The king would joke: ‘Oh, Bandar’s coming again? Let’s clear two days for the meeting,’ ” said a person familiar with the meetings.

Jordan’s financial dependence on Saudi Arabia may have given the Saudis strong leverage. An operations center in Jordan started going online in the summer of 2012, including an airstrip and warehouses for arms. Saudi-procured AK-47s and ammunition arrived, WSJ reported, citing Arab officials.

Although Saudi Arabia has officially maintained that it supported more moderate rebels, the newspaper reported that “funds and arms were being funneled to radicals on the side, simply to counter the influence of rival Islamists backed by Qatar.”

But rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” or ‘the lover’ by al-Qaida militants fighting in Syria.

Peter Oborne, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, has issued a word of caution about Washington’s rush to punish the Assad regime with so-called ‘limited’ strikes not meant to overthrow the Syrian leader but diminish his capacity to use chemical weapons:

    Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them.

    It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a U.N. commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible.

Some information in this article could not be independently verified. Mint Press News will continue to provide further information and updates .

Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and has reported from Amman, Jordan, writing for the Associated Press, NPR and BBC. An expert in Middle Eastern affairs, Gavlak covers the Levant region, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Contact Dale at dgavlak@mintpressnews.com

Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist and is currently working on a master’s degree in journalism,  He has covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Libya. His stories have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere.

Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk - The Crossroads on Syria - Bromwich
« Reply #99 on: August 30, 2013, 04:54:22 PM »
(one of the few in the MSM who is honest about this  - WHD)

The Crossroads on Syria
David Bromwich
Professor of Literature, Yale University
HuffPost
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/the-crossroads-on-syria_b_3839952.html


Yesterday, in an interview aired by PBS, President Obama said that the United States must now attack Syria. The reason was the imminent danger that, if we do not, the Assad government will use chemical weapons against Americans on the U.S. mainland. "When you start talking about chemical weapons," the president told Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill,

    in a country that has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, where over time, their control over chemical weapons may erode, where they're allied to known terrorist organizations that, in the past, have targeted the United States, then there is a prospect, a possibility, in which chemical weapons that can have devastating effects could be directed at us. And we want to make sure that that does not happen.

This fantastic and hollow pretext comes so close to a statement made by Tony Blair in the run-up to the Iraq war that the two assertions invite a comparison.

What Blair said on September 24, 2002, was that "Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be active within 45 minutes. . .and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability." All this turned out to be based on false reports, forged evidence, outdated sources, and wishful thinking toward war. It precipitated a change in the fame of Tony Blair from "the conscience of the free world" to something a good deal smaller and shabbier.

Compare, once more, President Obama's words yesterday on PBS: "the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world. . .their control over chemical weapons may erode. . .allied to known terrorist organizations. . .target the United States. . .devastating effects." Or to put the new claim in familiar language: "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." President Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice had a conscience as quick on the trigger President Obama's adviser Susan Rice. But in the president's own televised claim, the pileup of distortions was entirely worthy of the predecessor who hired the earlier Rice; for the "terrorist organizations" he was speaking of could only have been Hezbollah and its affiliates, the sworn enemies of Israel; and yet those organizations happen never to have attacked the U.S. or any of its assets on the scale of the bombings carried out by al-Qaeda in 2001. In Syria the president is already allied with al-Qaeda's sister sect, the al-Nusra Front, and to the extent that he weakens the Assad government he will strengthen al-Qaeda.

Probably Obama, like Blair, justified the untruth to himself by a mental reservation. "What I mean is the distant 'possibility'; the 'prospect' as I call it; the small (say 1%) remotely projectable chance that chemical weapons might get into the wrong hands in Syria and be transported to the U.S. and be used thereafter not by Bashar al-Assad but by agents of his at three removes to hurt the American people here at home." But will letting those weapons fall into the hands of a successor regime of uncertain allegiance be likely to have effects less disastrous for the U.S.? Some way under the surface, what the president also doubtless intended to say was that "devastating effects" would likely be directed not at the continental United States but at are our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and our security operatives stationed in Libya and elsewhere. But again the question returns: will you lessen or heighten the risk by weakening the hold on those weapons by Syria and bringing them closer to the control of al-Qaeda?

The president spoke in the same place on Wednesday about the need for "limited, tailored approaches, not getting drawn into a long conflict, not a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about."

Well, we are worried, it's true, and more than worried we are apprehensive and angry, because we remember Iraq. We suspect that any soldier who has suffered in a war, and any family that has seen its members decimated among the collateral damages of an American "surgical strike," would grow angrier still at the sound of the anesthetic phrase tailored approaches.

What can one say? The scurry of avowals and reservations and retractions and reassertions over the past three days may represent a tailored approach to the truth, but it doesn't fit the body that the president is trying to hang it on. The body in question is called Syria. Its fate is now in the balance, at the reckoning of a superpower half a world away; and the decision is being made on the basis of videos of people who were horribly killed by chemical weapons of some sort. The president and the president's men have mistaken their reaction to those images for assurance about the persons who caused the suffering. They spoke their reactions early and loud, and without the qualification that others who saw the same evidence have felt necessary to enter. And now they are trapped by the unconditional words they were heard to utter.

John Kerry and Joe Biden set the stage for the president's startlingly dishonest formulation about the danger Assad poses to the American people. They said the evidence that the Assad government had used the chemical weapons was beyond challenge. On the contrary, it was described with lukewarm approval by Mike Rogers of the congressional intelligence committee as "convincing if not compelling." When pressed by Robert Siegel of NPR to say that the evidence "disproved" the alternative theory that the chemical weapons could have been used in a false-flag operation to convict Assad and draw in the U.S., Rogers answered that far from being "inconceivable" (as Siegel had suggested) such a hypothesis of falsification by the rebels was "not improbable." Like others in Congress, Rogers is now urging the president to consult the legislative branch and not to act unilaterally, as he did in Libya with regrettable effects that are still being counted. Again, in the past day-and-a-half we have heard that "U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity said there were noticeable holes in US intelligence assessments linking Bashar Assad to the use of chemical weapons on 21 August." And further: "A classified assessment by the director of national intelligence said agents could not continuously pinpoint Assad's chemical weapons supplies, according to an AP report. The White House said it would publish an unclassified version of its intelligence assessments."

Why should this atmosphere of political slackness and imprecision matter? The interventionist argument starts by reducing the choice to a calculation of pure morality and brute power. What should matter is that we believe Assad probably did it; and he has committed other atrocities (as have the rebels); and therefore, who cares about the evidence, or for that matter about international law? We feel that punishing the Syrian government by bombing their defenses is right. So what if the Arab League have announced they won't go along with it, and Jordan has said the same. It "shocks the conscience" to see the video images, as Secretary of State Kerry said, and that means we must bomb somebody; but we can't bomb the rebels because, even though they are al-Qaeda-linked, the noisiest Americans on the subject such as senators McCain and Graham have closed their eyes to the facts about al-Nusra in Syria. Aren't the fanatics provisionally on our side? The president himself has turned against the emphasis of his entire first term, and has thrown away his primary justification of the Afghanistan war, when he now evokes Hezbollah as an organization superior in evil and more dangerous to the U.S. than al-Qaeda.

As Hans Blix recently pointed out, the Obama administration in the panic days we have lately witnessed has also behaved a great deal like the Bush-Cheney group of 2002-2003 in its show of disregard for UN inspectors. The administration said it wanted inspectors. Then it said that the inspectors permitted by Assad came in "too late to be credible." Thus, having accused Assad of reluctance, the state department and the White House tried to call off the UN in order to begin the bombing on schedule. They used the improvised excuse that the sites of chemical harm would have been degraded by shelling by the time that inspectors arrived. This bogus explanation lasted until the chemical experts weighed in and said that there was no truth at all to such an assertion: it had clearly been made up on the spot by a government operative with no knowledge of the weapons. And now, word has come that the initial data about who used the chemical weapons was passed to the U.S. by Israeli intelligence; and that American intelligence did not hold so high an opinion of it as Kerry and Biden had let on. So, after all, we are waiting for the results of the inspection, though the French Doctors Without Borders are quite sure that they know who did it, and the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who was equally sure about another such attack five months ago where the evidence didn't hold up, has affirmed that France will back the U.S. in doing whatever we end up doing to Syria.

For Congress, this has become a test of constitutional function. Are they a vestigial limb of the executive branch -- persons who need not be consulted on the most pressing matters of national policy and the commitment of arms, resources, and the fame of the country in defiance of international law? Are the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives less significant than the parliament of Britain, which demanded consultation and debate after David Cameron tried to extract their support without it? Just this evening, parliament rejected Cameron's push for war as a piece of adventurism that worked against the interests of the people of Britain. Both the action and the proceeding were instructive.

Many left-liberals have been silent at this moment, and many right-wing Republicans, with voting records that attest their credentials as lovers of war, have risen to challenge the president. And so it is being said by some loyal Democrats that the questioners of the president -- everyone from John Boehner to Ted Cruz -- are merely cynical men: altogether unlike the well-meaning and sympathetic leader who unhappily cornered himself by saying the words "red line" once too often and clearing one too many unnamed officials to declare the U.S. had reached "the point of no return." But a great fact about constitutional democracy is that the very structure of political opposition encourages bad people to do good things for the most ambiguous reasons. Besides, the truth is that this president's good nature, if that is what it is, and his reliance on the parental posture have misled him and done harm before now. He spoke the words "Mubarak must go" and "Gaddafi must go" also once too often. The results are before us: the Egyptian coup, the Benghazi attack, and more. President Obama also said "Assad must go," and in saying it, threw down a gauntlet to himself which he now feels compelled to pick up, or else. Or else what? Or else (it is said) the U.S. will lose credibility because the president will lose face.

Perhaps so. But weigh against that embarrassment the catastrophe of war--a catastrophe that one series of "tailored" missile strikes will not make smaller. It is sheer delirium to suppose that a world power can inflict massive damage and then pull back, full stop. You can't support the rebels now and watch in silence while they are hammered in retaliation, with or without chemical weapons. This seems to be a truth that the president, with his antiseptic power of fantasy, cannot bring himself to recognize. The largest delusion at work however is the idea that -- no matter who is the guilty party -- the right response for the U.S. is to direct missiles against Syria as a "shot across the bow": another of the president's phrases and a bad euphemism. A shot across the bow is a warning that inflicts no damage, but the strikes he is planning will inflict much damage, and will surely kill people unrelated to chemical weapons. All of the persons who want this attack also want the U.S. to enter as a large player in a regional war. The president is trying to convince himself that he can play their game without moving toward their result.

The way out of war is always peace. The way out is not limited, well-tailored, well-spoken, discreet, "smart" shots across the bow which you pretend are not acts of war. But peace comes from negotiations: an activity of which this president has always spoken in the warmest terms but at which he has shown few results during five years in office -- not in Afghanistan, not in Iran, not with Russia or China, not on global warming or nuclear proliferation. Why not start with Syria? It is smaller than those other cases, and peace there might lead to peace elsewhere. It will be unsatisfactory, no doubt. And deeply disappointing to people who admire speed and decision and the chance to wrestle with fortune while employing the largest weapons in the world. But it will be better than the multiplication of deaths. It may be too much to expect the administration to see the good of such a course in the next few days. Let us hope for it all the same. And let Congress call an end to its passive obedience and irresponsibility, and help the president to get out of the trap he has laid for himself and for this country.

Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk - "Senator" Al Franken
« Reply #100 on: August 30, 2013, 05:13:45 PM »
I heard "Senator" Al (MF) Franken on Minnesota Public Radio today arguing that Obama has the unilateral right to bomb Syria, without Congress. He's also been on there lately arguing about the necessity of NSA total surveillance. Who needs "big fat idiot" fascist conservatives when you have liberal comics like that? - WHD












Offline hellsbells

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #101 on: August 30, 2013, 05:28:20 PM »
So what's next, do you think? Looks like our Warmonger-in-Chief and his puppet masters might be going ahead with strikes, against all evidence, world opinion, and the wishes of American citizens.

That Christmas ornament I posted a picture of really, really infuriates me. "peace on earth".... What hypocrisy ! War criminals.  :ranting3:

I sure hope the rest of world appreciates that most of us Americans have about as much say in our government as Ukrainian farmers did under the Bolsheviks.  :sadangel2:

Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk - lluminati What? - Hells Bells said:
« Reply #102 on: August 30, 2013, 05:49:58 PM »
The 2013 White House Christmas ornament has arrived (I thought this was a joke, but sadly it is true)

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/29/white-house-debuts-peace-themed-christmas-ornament/



HellsBells,

I hadn't looked at the link when you posted this. I just did. That, along with the fact that this government that otherwise crushes whistleblowers, declassified last week, info that the CIA was involved in helping Saddam gas Iranians in the 1980's, I'm sort of like, maybe there are Illuminati, and maybe they are Luciferic in the worst possible way? Woodrow Wilson got us into WWI, and presided unwittingly over the creation of the Federal Reserve. Right? Here we are, on the verge of WWIII, and the imminent collapse of the Federal Reserve Note commonly referred to as the Dollar. UN-fucking-believable.  :exp-evil:


WHD

Quote
As President Obama readies a possible military strike against Syria Thursday, the White House 2013 Christmas ornament is going on sale with the slogan, “Peace on Earth.”

The White House Historical Association is advertising the new ornament on its website and on signs around town, including one in Lafayette Park across from the White House. This year’s ornament honors Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, who pushed for a precursor to the United Nations.

The center of the ornament depicts an American elm tree planted by Mr. Wilson on the North Lawn of the White House on December 18, 1913, just before Christmas. It includes a wreath of olive branches, with two peace doves perched on the branches.

The reverse side is inscribed with part of Mr. Wilson’s message to Congress of April 2, 1917, as the U.S. prepared to enter World War I: “Peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.”

The ornament is available for $18.95.



Offline JoeP

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Re: The Syria Desk - lluminati What? - Hells Bells said:
« Reply #103 on: August 30, 2013, 06:10:09 PM »

I'm sort of like, maybe there are Illuminati, and maybe they are Luciferic in the worst possible way?

Now try not to get carried away with all this illuminati speculation.   :laugh:
just my straight shooting honest opinion

Offline hellsbells

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #104 on: August 30, 2013, 06:17:12 PM »
Yes, I also read the revelation that the CIA was involved in the gassing of Iranians. That's a war crime, another proven one to add to the growing list.

I'm seriously wondering if there might be some actual war crimes trials coming up. I sure hope so. Get those neo-cons, Hillary, Goldman Sachs.... all of 'em. Get their counterparts in London and Tel Aviv too.

Time to start fresh, and evil empire-free.

For all the doom scenarios that get tossed around, maybe there's one that hasn't been mentioned (at least not that I've seen). Perhaps the US and co-conspirator countries will be placed under world sanctions while the war criminals are hunted down and prosecuted. Perhaps that will be our hardship scenario. Not a bad one, certainly not compared to most of the ones we've imagined. What would it be like under trade sanctions and a transitional government? I think I'd be okay with that.




 

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