Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 29, 2013

UK Has No Case For War On Syria

The British government is trying to construct a case to allow itself to attack Syria.

To this purpose the British Joint Intelligence Organisations issued a two page paper on Syria: Reported Chemical Weapon Use (pdf). The paper cites the amount of propaganda Youtube videos of a certain incident as supporting "evidence":

Unlike previous attacks, the degree of open source reporting of CW use on 21 August has been considerable. As a result, there is little serious dispute that chemical attacks causing mass casualties on a larger scale than hitherto [..] took place.
It blames the Syrian government for the incident because the other side could not have done it.
It is being claimed, including by the regime, that the attacks were either faked or undertaken by the Syrian Armed Opposition. We have tested this assertion using a wide range of intelligence and open sources, and invited HMG and outside experts to help us establish whether such a thing is possible. There is no credible intelligence or other evidence to substantiate the claims or the possession of CW by the opposition. The JIC has therefore concluded that there are no plausible alternative scenarios to regime responsibility.
The British JIO obviously needs some help in using the Google:
Al-Qa'ida and associated extremist groups have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attacks.

Does the JIO find those reports implausible? The whole argument of the JIC is

  • Lots of propaganda videos show something bad happened.
  • Maybe Al Qaeda didn't do it.
  • Assad must have done it.

How can such a line of thought be called intelligence?

Even worse than the sloppy intelligence case is the legal case, based on the intelligence, the UK government is trying to assert:

If action in the Security Council is blocked, the UK would still be permitted under international law to take exceptional measures in order to alleviate the scale of the overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe in Syria by deterring and disrupting the further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Such a legal basis is available, under the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, provided three conditions are met: ...
"Humanitarian intervention" is highly controversial (pdf) in international law because it contradicts the charter of the United Nations, which is established and binding law, and has been frequently used as sorry excuse for illegal wars. It is not even a "legal doctrine" but simply the opinion of some government lawyers. Such a case for "humanitarian intervention" could also be made on Egypt where the military junta killed over 1,000 people who protested against its coup against a democratically elected government. Why isn't Cameron making that more urgent case?

In fact both papers show that Cameron has nothing. No defining intelligence that the Syrian army used any chemical weapon nor is there a legal case for waging war on Syria. There would not be even be a case if the Syrian army had used chemical weapons. The Geneva Protocol of 1925 do not involve any enforcement clauses and Syria is not part of the Chemical Weapon Convention.

An AP report today about the U.S. intelligence case on the incident in Syria shows that it is just as weak as the JIO's thin assertions: AP sources: Intelligence on weapons no 'slam dunk'

[M]ultiple U.S. officials used the phrase "not a slam dunk" to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet's insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk" — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria is thick with caveats. It builds a case that Assad's forces are most likely responsible while outlining gaps in the U.S. intelligence picture.

Are the U.S. and the UK really going to war based on a "most likely responsible" assertion fiddled from very thin and dubious actual information?

Posted by b on August 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

Comments
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UK says its legal to strike Syria no matter what. Or rather I think UK think its ok to strike whoever, it will still be "legal" according to the UK.

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/08/29/321102/uk-syria-war-legal-without-un-approval/

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 10:44:06 AM | 1

Here's another curious bit of disinfology, from the WSJ, yesterday, Aug 28:

One crucial piece of the emerging case came from Israeli spy services, which provided the CIA with intelligence from inside an elite special Syrian unit that oversees Assad's chemical weapons, Arab diplomats said. The intelligence, which the CIA was able to verify, showed that certain types of chemical weapons were moved in advance to the same Damascus suburbs where the attack allegedly took place a week ago, Arab diplomats said.

"Chemical weapons were moved in advance to the same Damascus suburbs where the attack allegedly took place"? That's outright nonsense, these things are projectiles, you fire them from point a to point b, or are they disputing that too, now?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 29, 2013 10:48:34 AM | 2

As most people who follow such news know, hard evidence that the Syrian army fired the chemical-laced shells is non-existent. It's conjecture at best. While it seems apparent that some chemicals were released, who did it is not clear at all.

Why Obama, Cameron, Hollande, et al are interested in missile strikes on Assad has nothing to do with chemical weapons usage. It's most likely some domestic political reason or some convoluted strategery like this will be good for Israel and Saudi Arabia. In the case of Obama maybe it's to get the NSA lawlessness off the front pages.

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 29, 2013 11:01:36 AM | 3

Obama (look up his ass to find english and french) arrogance causes stupid decisions. Just like Hitler, Napoleon and many others. He starts illegal murder of Syrians.

Gen Martin Dempsey resigns and is elected as next president. Unlike the liar colin powell. He takes back America from Money and zionists with the full support of the real Americans.

Wait for the movie.

Posted by: boindub | Aug 29, 2013 11:05:41 AM | 4

How embarassing. Open source intelligence?

Thier minds are so open you can pass from ear to ear without hitting a thing.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 29, 2013 11:07:01 AM | 5

@2

"Here's another curious bit of disinfology"

Could people at least TRY not to grace Zio-Nazis claims with any description other than " An obvious pack of lies"?

CLEARLY that is all these Israeli claims are - "An obvious pack of lies!" - pretending otherwise helps no one

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 11:07:54 AM | 6

ab inito

Of course it has to do with Israel. People, especially here should now that by now, one shouldnt have to ask what this war is about.
It was the same with Libya and Iraq war.

Read:

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 11:23:46 AM | 7

You can't even say "humanitarian intervention" w/o the winkquotes. Everyone knows it's a euphemism for something much worse.

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 29, 2013 11:26:52 AM | 8

'b' asks: Are the U.S. and the UK really going to war based on a "most likely responsible" assertion fiddled from very thin and dubious actual information?"

The UK Labour Party will only support military action upon "The production of compelling evidence that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of these weapons." (ref). David Cameron speaking today in the UK parliament said he believes there is "compelling" evidence that the Assad government carried out the attack. (ref). Cameron is still speaking as I write but as far as I know he's got no new evidence to offer.

So now it all comes down to the question of interpretation of the evidence. I say this question is going to be decided in the court of public opinion (in the UK at least) and what is said and not said in the mass news media is very important. Looking at the mass media today, I see a rising level of askance about the evidence.

E.g., Peter Oborne is the UK Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator, and the Telegraph is the chief newspaper of UK Conservative voters, and he says today: "Mr Cameron first of all needs to show us that we have solid evidence, capable of standing up in a court of law, that proves his claim that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a large scale against its own people. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them.... The rush to judgment by Britain and the US looks premature." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10271248/The-rush-to-judgment-on-Syria-is-a-catastrophic-and-deadly-error.html

As Cameron can't show more evidence (which assuredly he can't), I expect he will be forced by UK public opinion to back down.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 29, 2013 11:27:48 AM | 9

There is no ‘intelligence’ to be found at the B - JIO.

Attacking Syria is simply gangsterism. Local gangsterism like a Mafia vendetta or a gang fight or a family feud, blaming or incriminating some individual(s) for breaking the code - some minor sin - not enough allegiance, submission - not enough tribute in kind or cash.

The Kapos require respect, and it has to be shown upfront, any ‘evidence‘, ‘facts‘ or laying down of tribal law stand, as they are backed by murderous power.

The accusations are always exaggerated and trumped up. Why? To show the accused he/she is evil, he cannot defend against false accusations, those accusing him can write the script, the scenario, freely, it is their version that will prevail, as they can impose, enforce it. (Gitmo .. )

Note this is precisely the territory the finance industry entered in the late 90s. They were, are, successful.

In this case, the effort seems dismal, as it is subject to too much opposition and scrutiny. To the Brit PTB: get real. But they can’t, as they are stuck in power plays, fighting for their individual positions, in a sclerotic Gov. rife with payed-for special outside interests they cannot disclose. Therefore, they simply wait and see, and don’t care a whit if anything the Gvmt. publishes is false, lame, ridiculous, etc., that is no matter to them. All important events and deals take place behind the scenes.

So, I guess, the high players are very divided on the Syria attack, but don’t care much one way or the other.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 29, 2013 11:41:12 AM | 10

The JIC doc is astounding! As it says the only 'proof' is that, it 'had to be the Assad government because the opposition couldn't have done it!' The paper is fit only to wipe your arse with. In fact, it's an embarassing bit of flimflam but certainly in line with the same bunch of clowns and their 'Niger Yellowcake' and only 'Saddam's rockets are only 45 minutes away' bullshit that kicked off the total destruction of Iraq.

This is desperate stuff. They seem to be clutching at straws for this bit of sleight of hand. It's as I have said, they knew from the getgo that it was a setup, hence the insane drive to attack Syria, destroy any evidence and in any case, it's all relegated to history. Disgusting stuff.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 29, 2013 11:44:45 AM | 11

Cameron's speech in parliament today also has: "no 100% certainty about who is responsible .... you have to make a judgment".

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 29, 2013 11:45:52 AM | 12

Doctors without Border refuses to be misused

Over the last two days, the US Administration and other governmental authorities have referred to reports from several agencies, including Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), while stating that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was “undeniable” and to designate the perpetrators.

MSF today warned that its medical information could not be used as evidence to certify the precise origin of the exposure to a neurotoxic agent nor to attribute responsibility.
Neurotoxic symptoms

Last Saturday [24th August], MSF said that three hospitals it supports in Syria’s Damascus governorate had reportedly received 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms, of which 355 died.

Although our information indicates mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent, MSF clearly stated that scientific confirmation of the toxic agent was required and therefore an independent investigation was needed to shed light on what would constitute, if confirmed, a massive and unacceptable violation of international humanitarian law.

MSF also stated that in its role as a medical humanitarian organisation, it was not in a position to determine responsibility for the event.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 29, 2013 11:58:43 AM | 13

@13

"Doctors without Border refuses to be misused"

Pure Bullshit

MSF jumped right in with both feet, quite happily

too late for them to try and distance themselves from their own decision to throw away what little credibility they had left.

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 12:05:26 PM | 14

Just in case there's any confusion here - It's your completely made-up headline that I am referring to . . . .

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 12:06:40 PM | 15

Stupid brits think something become legal just because you vote on it!

And what about the UN team in Syria? First Ban ki moon said they had to stay atleast 2 weeks, now after talking with obama they have to leave asap.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 12:18:11 PM | 16


Are the U.S. and the UK really going to war based on a "most likely responsible" assertion fiddled from very thin and dubious actual information?

no , They will begin wars for their own interests - or we should call it ,"The elite class " interests - ....

Jungle law is running this world ... Who has more power , will do whatever he want ... who has louder voice , will say whatever he want ...

Posted by: The End | Aug 29, 2013 12:23:14 PM | 17

So many posters on MOA on the Syrian threads have denigrated the UK. Yet today's debate in Parliament has shown a quality of the democratic process in the UK. However subject to a translation of words into common sense in practical actions. This debate contrasts with the debacle of the Iraq debate. George Galloway's oratory was as ever engaging.

Posted by: Nick | Aug 29, 2013 12:37:12 PM | 18

MSF is funded by corporate big shots like microsoft. It works ONLY in rebel-held areas and in fact, doesn't actually have any staff on the ground in rebel-held areas. But of course they were only too happy to lend their name to it on the 24th.

Another 'NGO'. Y'know there's 10,000 of the fuckers in Haiti. It's jobs for the boys and girls ofthe rich world.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 29, 2013 12:38:38 PM | 19

It'll be funny if it wasn't serious. The UK's blowing a lot of hot air and even being adamant that they can still launch a war without UNSC resolution..F*ck me!!! Did Bush just took over UK's president office???

Here's my reading of the situation. Syria was supposed to fold under this massive psychological warfare. It was aimed at sowing confusion/disarray among the ranks of the Syrian army to either defect or just drop dead. It didn't happen. In fact, their campaign on the nusra dogs keeps going up.

This was a massive escalation to "nowhere". Sorta like a big-d*ck competition. The problem with this stupid escalation is that, after you reach a certain level, you're expected to act even if you didn't really intend to. Hence the notion of "limited" strikes and hope that the Syria doesn't strike back. FAT CHANCE!!!


Thing is, Assad's called their bluff and I'm suspecting his confidence isn't coming from his general alone but some assurances he's received from some very important quarters. Make no mistake, this war won't be limited to Syria if it ever starts.


Our dear friend in the White House, O-bomber, is being told in real terms by his generals what's really at stake here. Let the Brits and French go in and commit suicide. This is one war the US must sit out. The outcome, whatever it may be, won't be favorable to US interest.

Posted by: Zico | Aug 29, 2013 12:41:51 PM | 20

Nick

Its not we who denigrate UK, its the UK that denigrate themselves with their own behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 12:56:16 PM | 21

Here's the double-sided face of U.S. and U.K. policy: The Zionist
bought-sold politicians cry and howl when videos of suffering Syrian children are paraded on cable news, without minimally questioning their authenticity. And they scream WMDs and beat their chests and the drums of war at a deafening pitch, BUT, when illegal explosives, bombs, phosphorous and yes, CWs are raining down on Palestinians, most recently in Gaza and in Iran during the U.S. supported Iran invasion by Saddam Hussein...you can hear a pin drop in Congress and in the British Parliament until everyone leaves the room when the few politicians who speak out for equal justice take the floor.

A very well-known U.S. media outlet just aired a short piece on Assad's wife, referring to her as double-sided for on the one hand working with children's charities in Syria and on the other standing by her man and ordering candlesticks from Paris.

Here's the thing: Mrs. Obama, was dining on the finest china and dancing in expensive ballgowns at her husband's inauguration, while Gazan children or their parents were still being dug out of the rubble and screaming from phosphorous burns and amputated limbs after illegal U.S.-bought weapons were used on them! And Mrs. Obama no doubt ensures that her temporary accommodations are well stocked with the finest linens, crystal, silver and whatever else!

And let me finish off this double-sided argument by stating that more drones rained down on innocent families and particularly, children, during the Obama Administration than any other Presidency, including the Bush presidency. And not a squeek, not a peep out of Mrs. Obama's mouth on the atrocity committed by HER OWN HUSBAND.

I rest my case although tomes could be written on the war crimes of the U.S. and U.K. warmongers and their duplicity!

Posted by: kalithea | Aug 29, 2013 1:02:52 PM | 22

I just spoke to Damascus resident and Arabic teacher Basil Nejem over Facebook, he emailed me that "everyone is relaxed and that they hope nothing happens", that his Arabic school is still open for business.
If the Syrians spirits are high, so should ours!!
No?

Posted by: Fernando | Aug 29, 2013 1:04:11 PM | 23

Ohhhhhhhh Anonympus, Marianne Le Pen is AGAINST the war in Syria, just like YOU!
Who would've thought you two sweet souls had something in common!?

http://iphone.france24.com/en/20130108-french-le-pen-west-blind-syria-war

Posted by: Fernando | Aug 29, 2013 1:12:44 PM | 24

I bet David will be pissed if he is forced to sit on the sidelines while Hollande and Obama have all the fun. He's in a tough spot "up to 70 conservatives not convinced", a Labour Party putting up roadblocks, Lib Dems silent but worried (after all the Liberal Democrats rose to mainstream support by being the only party against the Iraq war from the start).

In the end though, anyone who trusts the Labour Party in the UK on this issue will be disappointed. This is the Labour Party of Tony Blair. He purged the party of all Socialist members before his victory in 1997 under the branding of "New Labour". Then the Iraq mess led to the resignation of any remaining Anti-War figures (George Galloway kicked out, Robin Cook resigned, Claire Short resigned, Jack Straw fired as Foreign Minister after saying he wouldn't support an attack on Iran). All that's left now are the scum that remained silent under the mad leadership of the war criminal Blair... Miliband included.

In related Syria news: Russian warships crashing the party in the Med.

Russia will send two ships to the east Mediterranean to strengthen its naval presence because of the "well-known situation" in Syria, Interfax news agency said on Thursday, as the United States stopped seeking a United Nations mandate for its planned military strike in the war-torn country.

The agency quoted a source in the armed forces' general staff as saying an anti-submarine vessel and a missile cruiser would be sent in the coming days because the situation "required us to make some adjustments" in the naval force. The Russian Defense Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 29, 2013 1:15:00 PM | 25

Oooooooh Anonympus, Marianne Le Pen is ALSO against the war in Syria!

http://iphone.france24.com/en/20130108-french-le-pen-west-blind-syria-war

Who would've thought two sweet souls like you two would have something in common!!

You know, I got nothing but love for you my bête noir, even though I'm probably more noir than you.

Posted by: Fernando | Aug 29, 2013 1:19:28 PM | 26

I am not a military expert, but seems to me that whether or not US attacks depends heavily on the ability of Syrian command and control to survive US cruise missile attacks and hit back effectively. Does Syria have the ability to hit US naval ships carrying out attacks?

Posted by: Andoheb | Aug 29, 2013 1:21:22 PM | 27

What Syria expects

The Yemeni Model

In Damascus, they expect for NATO to wage a war that follows the Yemeni model, rather than the Libyan model. In practice, this would see the United States conducting a strategic first strike against Syrian army posts that act as a buffer separating armed opposition pockets.

Indeed, one goal could be to allow besieged opposition forces to restore their ability to join forces and spread out, in a way that would return them to their positions prior to the battle of Qusayr and the Syrian army offensives in the Damascus countryside, Homs, and Aleppo.

The second major goal of a strike would be to act as a precursor for a sustained, long-term military intervention in Syria, following the Yemeni model.

The United States might want the world to become accustomed to the idea of US drones carrying out strikes against selected targets in Syria from time to time. One target could be Assad himself, as assassinating him would remove a major obstacle facing Geneva II in the eyes of the West and some Arab countries.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 29, 2013 1:29:31 PM | 28

Both the US and UK arguments for Syrian government ownership of the Ghouta chemical attack come down to the assertion that rebels don't have a delivery system capable of launching a chemical-bearing shell. Therefore it had to be the SAA.

But what happened to reports that the attack was made my means of low-tech tube rockets? As for the idea that rebels don't possess nerve agents the excellent links at the top of the post puncture that canard.

The US and UK are going to have a tough time blustering through this with what little proof Obama and Cameron have been able to muster so far.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Aug 29, 2013 1:33:00 PM | 29

@26 If the U.S. starts using illegal, extra-judicial targeted assassination of world leaders, it'll set a precedent for China, Russia and everyone else to follow suit to fulfill an ultimate agenda for regime change, coup or whatever else. The U.S. is far, very far removed from the moral high-ground to even begin to justify such an act.

Posted by: kalithea | Aug 29, 2013 1:40:32 PM | 30

@24 "I bet David will be pissed if he is forced to sit on the sidelines while Hollande and Obama have all the fun."

I can see the US doing this without the French but not without the good old Brits.

Posted by: dh | Aug 29, 2013 1:41:52 PM | 31

Our investigative team at A Closer Look on Syria is starting the murder investigation from scratch. Despite the week that has passed, no evidence has been presented, that a gas attack ever happened. Yes, people were murdered, possibly with gas, but where and how?

What we would need to see is:
– Video of dead family killed in their home.
– Video of family member or neighbor, in situ, describing how the whole family was killed.
– Video of dead animals in situ.
– Video of the attack site, empty houses, without fresh bomb damage, abandoned in panic or cleared of dead bodies.
– Lists of victims with addresses.
– Any sign that the claimed victims ever lived in the effected areas.

I had a fresh look at the YouTube channels and found little or nil of any of these. The one video of a dead family found in their house is a fly-in-your-face fraud, prepared by well-known Douma massacre managers.

For comarison, in the al-Bayda and Baniyas massacres in government controlled areas the "activists" were able to act as flies in the roof and film the massacred families in situ in their homes, even before the Assadist dumped their bodies on the streets. Yet, in this rebel controlled area the activist are not able to provide any in situ footage.

All we have seen so far is dead or dying people in hospitals and morgues.

At this point I am reverting back to the hardcore Assadist working hypothesis. About 1000 hostages are still missing from the recent al-Qaeda massacres in Latakia and Tal Abyad. These Alawite and Kurd hostages, and some more from Damascus or from Douma were gassed in some confined space, then left dead or dying at the hospital. Some teargas was released here and there to cause panic. Drops of sarin were left somewhere for the UN team to find. The task now is to negate this hypothesis. Find the evidence and prove me wrong!

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 29, 2013 1:41:54 PM | 32

This from RT today:

Even in Libya, where much weaker air defenses largely remained inactive, NATO air forces had to waste additional resources to be sure not to come under fire from ground forces, and this prevented the invaders from gaining total control of the Libyan skies, Sivkov said.

The Syrian situation is different altogether, he added.

“The current NATO forces, mostly American, present in the region cannot do serious harm to the Syrian state and army,” Sivkov said.

Media reports say that the US Navy has two air carriers with about 120 jets that could be directly involved in the assault on Syria. Altogether, NATO has about 280 cruise missiles on warships and submarines near Syria.

According to Sivkov’s calculations, even without active countermeasures on the behalf of the Syrian armed forces, this would be enough for the US-led forces to destroy only about 30 or 35 targets inside the country. In case these targets were shielded by short-range anti-aircraft systems such as the Pantsir-S1, the likelihood of targets being destroyed would be three or four times less.

“That means that at the moment NATO cannot do decisive damage, changing the balance of power in Syria,” Sivkov said.

“According to my estimates, if NATO wants to destroy Syria’s military infrastructure and make sure that the Islamists get the upper hand in the conflict, the alliance needs to concentrate in the region about three times more air forces and about four times more cruise missiles. That would be enough to suppress Syria’s air defenses and destroy its military potential,” Sivkov said, adding that bringing additional forces to the region would take Western forces about a month.

‘Syrian air defense crews’ skills are decisive’

Air Power Australia reported that Syria has about 900 anti-aircraft batteries, over 4,000 MANPADs and around 4,000 air defense guns. Though most Syrian air defense systems are outdated, a large number of Soviet-made missile batteries have been upgraded over the last decade and now have advanced capabilities.

Moreover, Damascus has recently bought dozens of Russian medium- and short-range air defense systems, such as the Buk-M2E (NATO designation SA-17 Grizzly) and the Pantsir-S1 (NATO designation SA-22 Greyhound).

According to various reports, Syria also possesses an unknown number of Russian S-300 long-range air defense missile systems.

“Some say S-300s were supplied to Syria from Belarus years ago, while others insist the delivery happened some time ago from Russia within the framework of technical-military cooperation,” Sivkov told RT. “If Syrian personnel have properly learned how to operate the Russian systems supplied to the country, than Syrian air defenses can give battle to an assault by the US Air Force.”

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 29, 2013 1:41:57 PM | 33

@31 I would guess Syria also possesses a large number of inflatable dummy missile batteries.

Posted by: dh | Aug 29, 2013 1:49:50 PM | 34

Tomahawks have a range of at least 1000 km. Export missiles are limited to a range of 300 km so Syrian coastal defense can do nothing to those US ships unless they for fool enough to get too close to the coast. I doubt that Syria has any meaningful ship that could be used as deterrence or for counter-attack. Perhaps some small missile boat or camouflaged merchant ship could slip from the Syrian coast but then it would need to locate the US ships, get close enough to them, lock them with radar and fire on them. After that they would be immediately dead, it's a suicide mission. Asymetrical and it's something that Iran has for sure prepared in the Persian Gulf but doesn't seem very viable in the Mediterranean. Targets will be too far and surveillance all around.

Same for any attempt to attack the ships from the air.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 29, 2013 1:55:08 PM | 35

At this point I am reverting back to the hardcore Assadist working hypothesis. About 1000 hostages are still missing from the recent al-Qaeda massacres in Latakia and Tal Abyad. These Alawite and Kurd hostages, and some more from Damascus or from Douma were gassed in some confined space, then left dead or dying at the hospital. Some teargas was released here and there to cause panic. Drops of sarin were left somewhere for the UN team to find. The task now is to negate this hypothesis. Find the evidence and prove me wrong! Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 29, 2013 1:41:54 PM | 30
Jesus F*ck, that's hardcore alright. Thank you, Petra. I'm going to post that on my own blog and blow a few hundred minds with it, right now.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 29, 2013 2:05:31 PM | 36

@ Andoheb 25

Does Syria have the ability to hit US naval ships carrying out attacks?

The C-802 for starters. Chinese made missile that Syria gave Hezbollah during the 2006 war, so I assume they have more. Can be fired at a range of 110 miles away and glides a few feet over the sea level. High Anti-Jamming capabilities and is designed to pierce the ships hull and then once inside the ship to explode.

But the weapon that will really worry any ships will be the Russian Yakhont missiles. In May 2013 Russia made a large delivery of these to Syria and Israel was trying to destroy these missiles when they bombed a warehouse in Lattakia province citing fear they could end up in Hezbollah's hands. Low profile stealth technology missile, supersonic speeds, missile guides itself to the target through Fire and Forget, most modern electronic countermeasures. Those things could really cause damage to any ship that comes within 200 miles of Syria or Lebanons coastline.

On the ability of the Syrian command and control to survive, noticed this news.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces appear to have evacuated most personnel from army and security command headquarters in central Damascus in preparation for a Western military strike, residents and opposition sources said on Wednesday. Activists in east Damascus said barracks and housing compounds for the Republican Guards and Fourth Division near the suburbs of Somariya and Mouadamiya had been evacuated and troops and their families had gone into the city. Various commands are being moved to schools and underground bunkers.

Sounds like a smart move by Assad if the US is planning to attack 50 "command and control" targets best to move all the personel and equipment to other locations. Then after the few days of strikes move back in. Similar with the Republican guard melting into the city you just know the Republican Gaurd barracks and HQ would be heavily targetted in any strike. Luckily Assad forces are already so spread out because of the civil war its doubtful any air strikes will do much systemic damage.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 29, 2013 2:07:53 PM | 37

With all due respect for b (and his usually quite on the spot asessments) I feel that we should care so much. For a simple reason: *Of course* zato didn't attack, no matter how much exited discussion was going on there and here. This is a weird game and one along the western rules of making noise, bluffing, threatening, ignoring international law, etc. Following every fart that escapes some zuk or zusa politicians snout just means playing along their rules.

Just look at Russia a souvereign and real superpower. Almost no noise, no drama. The Russians are and act professional and don't handle international issues like a gay parade.

Then look at the facts on the grounds (as have some here, praised be they no matter their political leaning):

Syria is close enough to Russia to basically bring in unlimited troups, material and resupplies in short time and cheap. Whatever zusa, zuk, franze want to bring up will take more time and far more money.
Syria indeed has not insignificant self protection capabilities. And a very soon reenforced Russian navy presence. Considering the capabilities of the involved navies realistically and professionally, the Russian navy presence is more than enough to take care of one or two zusa carrier groups and two dozen zato ships incl. some submarines. This is even more true as Russia can easily establish a simple 2 air fueling stops air support line bringing very serious air power into the theater (don't hold your breath, that will almost certainly not be needed).

As I said before, this can't be compared to Afghanistan or Iraq. This time, zato will pay brutally in both money and blood - if they dare to ... my guess still is that they won't; they are thugs and scum and stupid but not suicidal (as much as I regret that).

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 29, 2013 2:12:38 PM | 38

Syria have a weak defense plus we dont know how much is already damaged by the civil war. There will be no match for states like US / Nato.
People needs to stop saying Russia will defend Syria, they wont. Period.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 2:24:04 PM | 39

B,
The De Ponte's statement is a fake, as noted by Parvizy on the comment section of the last post.

Here is an interview in French (but not to a French journal) by Haytham Manna', one of the most reliable opposition people.

http://www.levif.be/info/actualite/international/syrie-les-attaques-chimiques-sont-un-coup-monte/article-4000384171801.htm
(from Escobar, who links to Petri's page again today
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-04-290813.html)

Posted by: Mina | Aug 29, 2013 2:26:16 PM | 40

well , from unofficial source I heard that Fletman told Iran that They ( western block ) will attack Syria in Saturday or Sunday ...

and UK Parliament is just a show to convince western people to attack ...

probably UK Parliament will say yes to attack with little margin/difference ( 51-55 % yes and 45-49 % No )

Posted by: The End | Aug 29, 2013 2:27:06 PM | 41

Colm O'Toole

/trufax

I played pool with Claire Short

Posted by: cloned_poster | Aug 29, 2013 2:33:55 PM | 42

I often disagree with the columnist George Will but not in this case -- and the man does know how to use the English language.

Barack Obama’s foreign policy dream — cordial relations with a Middle East tranquilized by “smart diplomacy” — is in a death grapple with reality. His rhetorical writhings illustrate the perils of loquacity. He has a glutton’s, rather than a gourmet’s, appetite for his own rhetorical cuisine, and he has talked America to the precipice of a fourth military intervention in the crescent that extends from Libya to Afghanistan.

Speaking of words, or "rhetorical writhings", Wills ends up with--
If a fourth military intervention is coming, it will not be to decisively alter events, which we cannot do, in a nation vital to U.S. interests, which Syria is not. Rather, its purpose will be to rescue Obama from his words.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 2:49:55 PM | 43

George Will, what pretentious crapola, fit for Private Eye's pseud's corner no less

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 29, 2013 2:52:15 PM | 44

Damascus plunged into darkness

Electricity has been shut down in many neighbourhoods of Damascus, during the night of Tuesday the 27th to Wednesday the 28th. Truck convoys were moving improbable freights.

The Syrian government was taking precautions in regards to the possible US bombing.
Even satellites are unable to precisely record what is going on in pitch dark. - Voltaire Network 29 Aug 2013

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 29, 2013 2:59:57 PM | 45

B, The Del Ponte statement is a fake, as noted by Parvizy on the comment section of the last post... Posted by: Mina | Aug 29, 2013 2:26:16 PM | 36
No, Mina: The Del Ponte statement that B is citing referred to the gas attacks of May 2013. That Del Ponte statement was genuine. AFAIK, she never repudiated it. The fake statement, the one circulated in her name that she has repudiated, refers to this month's events.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 29, 2013 3:00:54 PM | 46

George Galloway on todays debate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIddCee7P0c

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 3:04:31 PM | 47

This is the kicker:

(CBS News 29 Aug 2013) - The declassified report on the Syrian chemical weapons attack -- to be released as early as Thursday -- will contain intelligence within the Syrian regime about how the attack was carried out and set into motion, including phone calls and other evidence, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports.

So what kind of 'evidence' are they going to show us? Fuzzy photographs and powerpoint presentations like Powell's ignoble performance at the UN? It really might be crackly phone conversations, with words like 'gas' and 'strike' popping upb (in Arabic of course). I can't wait to see it.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 29, 2013 3:05:46 PM | 48

The US probably won't be sending attack planes over Syria because of that country's extensive air defense system, and the US couldn't stand to have any casualties. So cruise missiles will be used, and also "standoff" bombs, like the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon with a BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomb, AKA cluster bomb, warhead.


Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 3:08:55 PM | 49

As I recall there was no proof of Del Ponte's allegations.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 3:11:20 PM | 50

@43

Since phone-calls were the only thing explicitly mentioned, then that steaming pile of flimsy Zionist-supplied bullshit regarding phone intercepts will obviously constitute the base onto which the rest of the lies and bullshit will be ineptly pasted

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 3:24:38 PM | 51

@44. So they fire off a billion dollars worth of whizz-bangs. Then what? Will that satisfy the people who want to see Syria destroyed? What happens after the next CW attack?

Posted by: dh | Aug 29, 2013 3:27:09 PM | 52

Like they can't fabricate a phone call. It's even easier than shooting a bogus video.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 3:27:19 PM | 53

Robert Fisk

"... And while we’re talking about institutional memory, hands up which of our jolly statesmen know what happened last time the Americans took on the Syrian government army? I bet they can’t remember. Well it happened in Lebanon when the US Air Force decided to bomb Syrian missiles in the Bekaa Valley on 4 December 1983. I recall this very well because I was here in Lebanon. An American A-6 fighter bomber was hit by a Syrian Strela missile – Russian made, naturally – and crash-landed in the Bekaa; its pilot, Mark Lange, was killed, its co-pilot, Robert Goodman, taken prisoner and freighted off to jail in Damascus. Jesse Jackson had to travel to Syria to get him back after almost a month amid many clichés about “ending the cycle of violence”. Another American plane – this time an A-7 – was also hit by Syrian fire but the pilot managed to eject over the Mediterranean where he was plucked from the water by a Lebanese fishing boat. His plane was also destroyed.

Sure, we are told that it will be a short strike on Syria, in and out, a couple of days. That’s what Obama likes to think. But think Iran. Think Hezbollah. I rather suspect – if Obama does go ahead – that this one will run and run."

Posted by: crone | Aug 29, 2013 3:33:22 PM | 54

Le Figaro finally reported what I suspected was the only possible motive for Assad to use chemical weapons:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2013/08/22/01003-20130822ARTFIG00438-syrie-l-operation-anti-assad-a-commence.php

Google Translate claims this says:

According to our information , the regime's opponents , supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos moving towards Damascus since mid-August. This attack could explain the possible use of the Syrian president to chemical weapons.

While it is too early to rule out categorically the argument put forward by Damascus and Moscow, who blame the massacre on the Syrian opposition , it is already possible to provide answers to a troubling question . What benefit would have Assad to launch an unconventional attack at the precise moment he had to allow UN inspectors - after being stranded for several months - to investigate the use of chemical weapons ?

Operational logic first. According to information obtained by Le Figaro, the first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid -August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa . A first group of 300 men , probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos , as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17. A second would have joined the 19. According to military sources , the Americans, who do not want to put troops on the Syrian soil or arming rebels in part controlled by radical Islamists form quietly for several months in a training camp set up at the border Jordanian- Syrian fighters ASL, the Free Syrian Army , handpicked .

The fact that US and allied Special Forces have been operating inside Syria near the Jordanian border is an open secret, but their moving toward Damascus could trigger a major reaction from the Syrian government, such as use of chemical weapons. Special Forces are tough to threaten, even a heavy artillery is unlikely to do major harm. But chemical weapons raise the possibility of mass casualties among the special forces, or at least force them to waste time on prevention/protection. Combine this analysis with the fact that the supposed attack took place just a few days after the US carrier in the Eastern Med exited through the Suez Canal, and at least someone finally has a plausible argument for WHY the Syrian government would use chemical weapons.

Does it mean they actually did so? Of course not. Further, the US would never reveal such a reason, since it would mean admitting we have Special Forces on the ground. so it's unlikely we'll get much light shed on this.

Posted by: Bill | Aug 29, 2013 3:33:55 PM | 55

There is no legal option for a unilateral strike relying on R2P, as described here:

http://russiadebate.com/threads/syria-gas-attack-as-it-were.140/page-2#post-963

see the last two comments by Alexander Mercouris, who is a London-based attorney. Neither the United States or United Kingdom has the right to launch a unilateral strike using Responsibility To Protect as a justification, and although the push to establish the doctrine was intended as a fiddle to get around the "War Of Aggression" war crimes label, there are still safeguards built in which disallow a unilateral strike.

That, and the "evidence" is bullshit. I can't believe they're trying to get away with this.

Posted by: Mark | Aug 29, 2013 3:38:52 PM | 56

Bill, 48: There are quite a few people here who will tell you in less polite terms that US 'Special Forces' are paper tigers, and that the Damascus government would hardly notice them. Certainly not worth committing a major chemical attack on totally unrelated people 15 minutes drive from a newly arrived team of UN chemical weapons investigators. Figaro is just whistling one of those tunes like you hear on the ForeignPolicy.com site (eg Were Syria's Nerve Gas Rockets Based On An American Design?)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 29, 2013 3:44:44 PM | 57

Oh yes, and of course, we must be very afraid of zusa "special commandoes" because they are supermen! I'm shivering in a mixture of fear and exaltation.

Bullshit. Typically zusa special ops are about as dicrete as a fully grown and hungry tyrannosaurus.

What they call hardcore training is just another normal day for Russian Speznatz. And btw. Speznatz isn't even needed; Iranian RG and Hebollah will do fine to make short work of zusa special scum.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 29, 2013 3:48:06 PM | 58

An item of evidence that the nation of Germany would behave as dumb and rash as the Anglophones do, if Germany had a permanent seat on the UN Security Council:

29 Aug 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the gas attack is a turning point in the internal conflict, adding that "the Syrian government cannot hope to continue this kind of illegal warfare and go unpunished." Merkel's spokesman said Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a phone conversation on Wednesday night, agreed that there is sufficient evidence of Syria's chemical weapons use and an international reaction is essential. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-08/30/c_125278193.htm

Meanwhile in Netherlands today a majority in the Netherlands parliament considered it a valid possibility to grant political or military support to an American military action against Syria without a mandate from the UN Security Council -- but the condition would be that irrefutable proof must be established that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the chemical attacks and that everything had been done to create unanimity in the UN Security Council. However, under the current actual circumstances in which there's no proof, a majority in the Netherlands parliament supports waiting for more proof and furthermore considers an American military strike against Syria under the current circumstances as illegitimate. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-08/30/c_125278228.htm .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 29, 2013 3:52:10 PM | 59

While relying mostly on standoff weapons, if the Decider decides on a new war, it's conceivable that the US Air Force might consider using its F-22 Raptors. The U.S. Defense Department spent about $67 billion acquiring a fleet of almost 200 F-22's, none of which has yet flown in combat. The F-22 stealth aircraft can carry two 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs; two AIM-120C Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAMs; and two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.


Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 3:56:21 PM | 60

I think F-22s are a certainty. When is the US going to get a better chance to test them against a real opponent, but still in a situation where they are not likely to be shot down, and can be easily recovered/destroyed if they are?

Posted by: Bill | Aug 29, 2013 4:02:16 PM | 61

@Bill #48

Assad's possible motive to allegedly use chemical weapons to allegedly kill kids while a UN investigation team was in country was because of the alleged presence of the 300 Jordanian conscripts? You buy that? Baloney.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 4:06:02 PM | 62

48) This here is the Human Rights Watch Report. They describe residential areas attacked by 18 missiles within a suburb of a million people and effects of poisoning in various areas.

It does not make sense.

German section of Doctors without borders clarifies that the organisation have no personnel on the ground but support three hospitals in the area. What they report they hear from the doctors at the hospitals.

I don't think Human Rights Watch has personnel on the ground. They collect activists reports.

The only - slight - chance of finding out what actually happened is the UN report.


Posted by: somebody | Aug 29, 2013 4:10:11 PM | 63

To kill Jordanian conscripts? No, I thought I made pretty clear that the target would have been foreign special forces. As for buying it, no one is actually selling it, it's pretty much just me saying this.

Posted by: Bill | Aug 29, 2013 4:11:25 PM | 64

I found on a youtube account Damascus Mo a very strange video taken that night showing some of the attack. It seems the only one.If someone can analyse it as I'm not a specialist. I downloaded it in case.
Concerning thesee commandos with "special ops" behind, I think it's more a psyops fantasy than anything else.

Posted by: André | Aug 29, 2013 4:11:41 PM | 65

Mr Pragma

Its just a sign of weakness and denial by you to keep claiming that Iran/Russia will not only intervene but will somehow win over US / nato forces. Sure anyone want US/nato to fail on their warmongering/wars but we shouldnt create fantasy scenarios.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 4:12:37 PM | 66

We've heard from Russia, now China too.

All of the major Chinese news organizations railed against military action, saying Syria could turn into another Iraq. The Chinese also said they were not convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people, as asserted by the White House.

In a statement posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website, Foreign Minister Wang Yi implied that Beijing would exercise its veto power on a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force.

"External military intervention is contrary to the U.N. charter aims and the basic norms governing international relations and could exacerbate instability in the Middle East," Wang said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 4:15:03 PM | 67

crone @47 - The Israelis had already worked out how to defeat the Syrian air defences over the Bekaa Valley before the Americans went in. Did they tell the Americans what they had learnt? Did they hell.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 29, 2013 4:22:01 PM | 68

@ Anonymous #58
. . .a sign of weakness and denial by you to keep claiming that Iran/Russia will not only intervene but will somehow win over US / nato forces.

We can say that Iran won against the U.S. in Iraq. How could Russia/Iran fail to win in Syria, since the U.S. isn't winning, and even with its threatened Tomahawk strikes isn't setting out to win?

The U.S. sucks at diplomacy and it has only military cards to play, and external military force can have little or no effect on the outcome in Syria. The U.S. has stated this. There is no success in sight for the U.S. in Syria, which means that Russia/Iran wins by default.

Vietnam lost every battle against the U.S. fifty years ago, but they still won the war. Wars, these days, are not primarily settled by military on battlefields. Just look at Afghanistan, as the U.S. slinks out of yet another failed endeavor.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 4:27:16 PM | 69

Del Ponte's statements in May are genuine, but the statement attributed to her in late August is a fabrication.

Del Ponte in May didn't make "allegations". She made an assessment of evidence that she saw, and produced interpretations from it that she qualified with words like "probably". She said that the event in Syria last Spring looked very much like a chemical weapons event, and that it was probably done by the rebels, and that the evidence had nothing implicating the Syrian government. She said in May she had "strong, concrete suspicions, but not yet incontrovertible proof" that Syrian rebels used sarin (ref).

The Syrian government itself said in March that it was a chemical weapons event done by the rebels. On 21 March 2013 the Syrian government asked the UN Secretary-General to form a neutral technical commission to investigate it (ref). The UN investigators eventually went to Syria in August to investigate.

For hospitalization photos of the victims of the event on 20 Mar 2013 see http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/03/20/473349.htm .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 29, 2013 4:39:47 PM | 70

Don Bacon

Russia nor Iran sent any troops to Iraq or used any tanks, fight planes etc as proposed by some here that this will be the case in Syria. You wont see any russia ships somehow blocking US /NATO ships. Thats nonsense.

If US/Nato bomb Syria Assad will of course lose. You think they will bomb this or that facility or area and then go home?

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 29, 2013 4:52:34 PM | 71

To return to the message of your headline, b...

From the live updates at the BBC website, this report would seem to confirm that even the British know they don't have a case, and the U.S. will not have the U.K. as its partner in crime. Even Prime Minister Cameron's party is jumping ship:

Conservative Edward Leigh says he does not believe PM will ever hold crucial second vote on #Syria because he knows cannot win it: "We were lied to over Iraq... we will not go down that road again."

Posted by: M.Black | Aug 29, 2013 4:55:11 PM | 72

Excerpt from Foreword from "The Penultimate Truth" by Philip K. Dick

In December of 1961 the U.S. Defense Department announced a fallout shelter program aimed at establishing 235,000,000 fallout shelter spaces. At that time the entire population of the country had yet to exceed 200,000,000. . . .

. . . . What it meant, for [Philip K.] Dick—as for his novel's protagonist, Joseph Adams—to be a yance-man was that he knew, as most of his fellow citizens did not, that the real sociopolitical function of the cold war and the arms race was to guarantee comfortable "demesnes" for corporate executives and other officials of the military-industrial establishment.

Only as long as there was the menace of an external enemy would a majority of people agree to their own systematic impoverishment. But if one's "enemy" was in the same situation with respect to its captive populations, then a deal could be struck to keep their reciprocal menace ever-threatening—not at all a difficult task with the unthinkable power of the nuclear arsenals both sides possessed.

In another novel, The Zap Gun, conceived and written in the same few months of spring 1964 that produced The Penultimate Truth, Dick hypothesized a very similar conspiracy between the superpowers.

The hero of that novel, Lars Powderdry, is a weapons fashions designer whose imposing but impotent creations are derived, telepathically, from an Italian horror comic, The Blue Cephalopod Man from Titan.

The moral of both novels is clear: Government is a conspiracy against the people, and it is maintained by the illusion of a permanent crisis that exists, for the most part, as a media event.


Such a view of world affairs was much less common in the early sixties than it has become since Watergate, but it was surely not original to Philip Dick.

Its most forceful expression is probably found in George Orwell's 1984, in which a perpetual state of war and shifting alliances among the three superpowers provide the basis for totalitarian rule, and in which the head of state is, like Talbot Yancy, a chimera.

Many critics have pointed out that 1984 is intended, not as a prediction or a warning against some dire possible future, but rather a nighmarishly hyperbolic picture of the actual state of affairs at the time it was being written, a meaning concealed in the title: 1984 = 1948.

The great difference between Orwell's world-nightmare and Dick's is that the possibility of nuclear holocaust has not yet informed Orwell's vision, while it dominates Dick's-and often obscures it.


Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 4:57:32 PM | 73

Excerpt from Foreword from "The Penultimate Truth" by Philip K. Dick

In December of 1961 the U.S. Defense Department announced a fallout shelter program aimed at establishing 235,000,000 fallout shelter spaces. At that time the entire population of the country had yet to exceed 200,000,000. . . .

. . . . What it meant, for [Philip K.] Dick—as for his novel's protagonist, Joseph Adams—to be a yance-man was that he knew, as most of his fellow citizens did not, that the real sociopolitical function of the cold war and the arms race was to guarantee comfortable "demesnes" for corporate executives and other officials of the military-industrial establishment.

Only as long as there was the menace of an external enemy would a majority of people agree to their own systematic impoverishment. But if one's "enemy" was in the same situation with respect to its captive populations, then a deal could be struck to keep their reciprocal menace ever-threatening—not at all a difficult task with the unthinkable power of the nuclear arsenals both sides possessed.

In another novel, The Zap Gun, conceived and written in the same few months of spring 1964 that produced The Penultimate Truth, Dick hypothesized a very similar conspiracy between the superpowers.

The hero of that novel, Lars Powderdry, is a weapons fashions designer whose imposing but impotent creations are derived, telepathically, from an Italian horror comic, The Blue Cephalopod Man from Titan.

The moral of both novels is clear: Government is a conspiracy against the people, and it is maintained by the illusion of a permanent crisis that exists, for the most part, as a media event.


Such a view of world affairs was much less common in the early sixties than it has become since Watergate, but it was surely not original to Philip Dick.

Its most forceful expression is probably found in George Orwell's 1984, in which a perpetual state of war and shifting alliances among the three superpowers provide the basis for totalitarian rule, and in which the head of state is, like Talbot Yancy, a chimera.

Many critics have pointed out that 1984 is intended, not as a prediction or a warning against some dire possible future, but rather a nighmarishly hyperbolic picture of the actual state of affairs at the time it was being written, a meaning concealed in the title: 1984 = 1948.

The great difference between Orwell's world-nightmare and Dick's is that the possibility of nuclear holocaust has not yet informed Orwell's vision, while it dominates Dick's-and often obscures it.

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 5:01:15 PM | 74

Anonymous @ 63

Why do you keep insisting Russia and Iran won't send troops or be involved??? Iran/Russia already have advisers in Syria as we speak. They've been there since the conflict begun in 2011. Both countries have kept their embassies opened and don't intend to close shop and leave.

I think you underestimate the gravity of the situation here..Syria's not just about Assad. For Iran, Syria's a strategic depth that they'll fight for. Shias, Christians, Armenians and other minorities in the region have been given no choice but to fight from the Hindu-Kush to the Mediterranean. And they will win.

It's just mind boggling as to why NATO thinks they can somehow station troops in Afghanistan and launch another war in Syria and somehow "win"..I guess we'd all have ta wait and see.

Posted by: Zico | Aug 29, 2013 5:15:14 PM | 75

From genie (corporation) following hints from globalresearch:

Genie Energy (NYSE: GNE, GNEPRA), said today that the government of Israel has awarded its subsidiary, Genie Israel Oil and Gas, Ltd., an exclusive petroleum exploration license covering 396.5 square kilometers in the Southern portion of the Golan Heights.

Looking closer at genie energys "strategic advisory board" (sth. that (next to some real advisors) typically shows who's behind a company and whose money is in it) one finds such noble people as:

Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, and Jacob Rothschild.

Thanks, your honour, no more questions.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 29, 2013 5:17:55 PM | 76

The appalingly corrupt Mikhail Kordokosky turned out to be no more than a mere frontman for Jacob Rothschild.
His shares in Yukos reverted to Rothschild when Kordokovsky was convicted.

Similarly there are grounds for suspicions that another supossedly "Russian" Oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, is also little more than a frontman for Rothschild interests

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 5:27:51 PM | 77

Some people say that the Rape of Yugoslavia was motivated in part by a desire by certain individuals to obtain a monopoly in aluminium markets, especially the production end

Oleg Deripaska is essentially Mr Alu-foil. He gained this position due to import-concessions recieved from the EU, while Peter Mandelsohn was EU trade commisioner.

Peter Mandelsohn is a Rothschild Political-fixer/frontman

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 5:36:05 PM | 78

Some people say that the Rape of Yugoslavia was motivated in part by a desire by certain individuals to obtain a monopoly in aluminium markets, especially the production end

Oleg Deripaska is essentially Mr Alu-foil. He gained this position due to import-concessions recieved from the EU, while Peter Mandelsohn was EU trade commisioner.

Peter Mandelsohn is a Rothschild Political-fixer/frontman

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 5:37:46 PM | 79

Ed Milliband seems to be the man of the hour in UK, and No. 10 is furious about it. Good.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 5:37:51 PM | 80

David Cameron loses Syria vote in Commons

British MPs have voted against possible military action against Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons.

David Cameron said it was clear the British Parliament does not want action and "I will act accordingly".

The government motion was defeated 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes.


Posted by: Rod Brown | Aug 29, 2013 5:40:41 PM | 81

"Ed Milliband seems to be the man of the hour in UK, and No. 10 is furious about it. Good."

If or when Ed Milliband ever becomes PM, and if or when his owners decide the time is right, to whack Syria, he will vote how he is told

Posted by: hmm | Aug 29, 2013 5:46:41 PM | 82

Remember what I said yesterday about the congress of US, it just happened in house of commons in UK.

How to strike Syria now when UK is out?
Without a provocative event (BIG ONE) the case for attacking Syria is lost at political ground.

And what happened to the crossed RED LINE President Mr....?

Your are a walking comedy.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 29, 2013 5:46:43 PM | 83

The U.S., the “moral” authority, wags its finger and rushes to point its tomahawks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnvNObEOFaU

And this doesn't include U.S. tacit support for Saddam Hussein's use of CWs against Iranians in the war he waged against Iran.

Posted by: kalithea | Aug 29, 2013 5:47:57 PM | 84

Viva Syria al-Assad.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 29, 2013 5:50:33 PM | 85

FoxNews:
STUNNING DEFEAT: UK Votes Against Syria Strike, Obama in a Bind

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 5:52:50 PM | 86

Wow stunning defeat for David Cameron, lost the parliament vote for war by 13 votes. Guess Obama's "coalition of the willing" has just lost Britain and sums up the title of this post from B pretty well.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 29, 2013 5:56:32 PM | 87

Meanwhile I wouldn't suggest Syria to celebrate anything yet because it can be a trick to get Assad relaxed and then surprise him.

But right now Syria has the upper hand, and if congress goes thee same way then it's game over.
Theoretically.

Once again I point out to be aware of provokacia or maybe call it terrorist action.
Now the situation is very dangerous, and maybe out of control.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 29, 2013 5:57:23 PM | 88

The Telegraph -- by Robert Halfon MP -- We are backing the Syrian people. Ed Miliband is backing Ed Miliband.

BBC -- A row has erupted over No 10's claim Labour is giving "succour" to Syria's regime by not backing the prime minister over military action there.

The Independent -- Government sources say Ed Miliband is a ‘copper-bottomed s***’ who ‘changed his mind’ on Syria

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 6:00:44 PM | 89

Because if Cameron got yes, everything would proceed according plan A, now we may see plan B.!?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 29, 2013 6:02:18 PM | 90

Perhaps some docile US Dems will be inspired by Mr. Miliband. I hope so.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 6:03:10 PM | 91

Anybody disagree?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 29, 2013 6:03:39 PM | 92

WSJ

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration on Thursday prepared to build a public case for possible military action against Syria, even as it hit snags in getting full backing from its allies.

Senior administration officials were set to brief lawmakers at 6 p.m. [EDT] on Thursday on the intelligence the U.S. has gathered regarding Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons and the military options being considered in response.

A public report on U.S. intelligence findings could also be released Thursday, the White House said, as part of the effort to build political and public support for what could be the first U.S. military intervention in the 2½-year-old conflict.

The White House said the briefing would be presented, in an unclassified conference call with members of congress, by the U.S. national security adviser, secretaries of state and defense, and other senior officials.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 6:10:10 PM | 93

@ Christos

Because if Cameron got yes, everything would proceed according plan A, now we may see plan B.!?

I don't think Cameron had a Plan B. As far as I know the British parliament has never voted against a war resolution. Cameron must have thought this vote would go the way Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Falklands all went. Doesn't leave him with much options but to sit on the sidelines. Can tell already by the conservative newspapers that they are furious.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 29, 2013 6:14:26 PM | 94

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, confirms there will be no British involvement on Newsnight. "The mood of Parliament tonight was there should be no military involvement, and there will be no military involvement." He says he expects action by US and others to go on without Britain.

hahahaha... guess Cameron gonna have to move all those fighter jets back out of Cyprus tomorrow morning. Wonder how much money he wasted putting those military assets into place?

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 29, 2013 6:20:30 PM | 95

VOA News, Aug 29
UN Chief Urges West to Await Syria Report

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging world powers to hold off on possible military action against Syria until a U.N. chemical weapons inspection team completes its work in the country.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq says the inspection team will leave Syria on Saturday. He said some of the inspectors will travel to New York and brief the Security Council on their findings while others will take samples that they had collected to labs in Europe.

In a Thursday briefing, Haq said the team had a "large number of facts" at its disposal and could "construct a narrative of what happened."

Earlier, Mr. Ban said "diplomacy should be given a chance" as the U.S. and other Western powers consider their response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians last week.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 6:20:36 PM | 96

guess who has chemical weapons

Father of a Syrian rebel says his son was killed transporting chemical weapons in a tunnel in Ghouta

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.

etc
http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/

Posted by: brian | Aug 29, 2013 6:26:19 PM | 97

So...http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/29/cameron-british-attack-syria-mps GOOD NEWS!
I recall Obama stating, he wouldnt want to go for it without any allies! Well theres still Fabius looking for cock...

Posted by: Kalabrese | Aug 29, 2013 6:39:22 PM | 98

At State, they are -- quite successfully, it appears -- taking it as a given that chemical weapons were used on August 21. And then, a small leap to the contention that only the Syria government could deliver such weapons. Voila -- case proven.

MS. HARF, today: . . . we know that chemical weapons not only exist, but that they were used, that they were used three months – we determined three months ago that they had been used. And we’ve said, based on public and other information, that they were used on August 21st. So that’s not in question. That’s undeniable. No one, again, needs the intelligence community to tell them what is in front of our eyes, that the Syrian regime is the only one with the capabilities to use these kinds of weapons with this delivery system.

But it's not over yet, and they do claim that they are going to provide some evidence.
MS. HARF: Let me make a clear point on this. Our intelligence supports two claims: the first, that there were chemical weapons used on August 21st in Syria; and the second, that it’s the Assad regime that’s responsible for that use. I want to make that point crystal clear. . . I would point out that the classified assessment has not yet gone to the Hill. But I think I made very clear that the – that our intelligence supports two claims, and we’ll be talking more about the assessment in the coming days. I know we all are waiting for an unclassified version to be put out publicly.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 29, 2013 6:42:38 PM | 99

@ Colm O' Toole

Sorry I got disconnected.

I didn't mean that Cameron had a plan B.
The west has a plan B. and specially Obama.


Posted by: Christos | Aug 29, 2013 7:07:30 PM | 100

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