Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 01, 2013

Obama's Carte Blanche War Resolution

Any war resolution Congress would pass would likely be interpreted by the administration as a license for all out war on Syria and beyond.

But the first draft the executive is putting to Congress is even worse:

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria in order to -
  1. prevent or deter the use or proliferation (including the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors), within, to or from Syria, of any weapon of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons; or
  2. protect the United States or its allies and partners against the threats posed by such weapons.
This draft is nearly as wide as the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists that Congress passed on September 14 2001 and which has been (ab-)used by the Bush and Obama administrations as an undiscriminating, unlimited license to incarcerate, torture or kill anyone at the free discretion of the executive.

The key words in Obama's draft and their meaning are:

  • "as he determines to be necessary and appropriate" ==> no limits apply
  • "in connection with" ==> as everything is connected ...
  • "or deter the use or proliferation" ==> by whatever means
  • "to .. other state .. actors" ==> target Iran
  • "or components of or materials used" ==> from corrugated steel to petroleum products
  • "protect ... or its allies and partners" ==> the Zionists
  • "against the threats posed" ==> includes non-use but assumed existence of such weapons

It is clear from this wording that such a resolution would allow nearly everything far beyond the "punitive" few cruise missile strikes against Syrian forces the administration marketed so far. It could easily be used for an outright blockade of Iran or even a "preemptive" strike against Iran's industries in the name of "deterrence" and "protecting" Israel.

It is all or nothing, peace or unlimited war. Anyone with peace on her mind should hope and work to prevent any war resolution from passing Congress. The abuse of any war resolution by this and the next executive is practically guaranteed. And even with a Congress approved war resolution any attack by the United States against Syria would still be a illegal war of aggression under international law.

There is some hope that the French parliament may come to help. The French president is now under pressure to also allow a vote on a war on Syria and beyond. That would would likely come before Congress votes and the French people are very much against a war. A "no" vote in the French parliament would increase pressure on Congress to also reject war.

During next weeks discussions it will be important to point out that the U.S. "intelligence" about the chemical incident in Syria is full of holes. The paper by the British Joint Intelligence Organisation used by Cameron to ask for war speaks of 350 people killed in the incident. On Friday Secretary of State Kerry spoke of 1,429 people killed. The draft war resolution speaks of "more then thousand" killed. 350, 1,429, 1,000 - which is it?

Even the often quoted, pro-insurgency Syrian Observatory for Human Rights rejects these numbers as propaganda:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that monitors casualties in the country, said it has confirmed 502 deaths, nearly 1,000 fewer than the American intelligence assessment claimed.

Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the organization, said he was not contacted by U.S. officials about his efforts to collect information about the death toll in the Aug. 21 attacks.

"America works only with one part of the opposition that is deep in propaganda," he said, and urged the Obama administration to release the information its estimate is based on.

If the British and U.S. intelligence can not get the death count right what else in their estimates are just guesses based on open source rumors and insurgency propaganda? Are such unconfirmed estimates, not knowledge, really enough to send off armed forces to kill more and more people in foreign lands?

Posted by b on September 1, 2013 at 02:18 AM | Permalink

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The justification is once again pointing to Israel. This is pathetic. Syria pose no threat thus, war is ILLEGAL.

This will end with occupation, is Obama mentally challenged, doesnt he what hes about to do?

Also:

Syrian Opposition Vows to Join Ranks with Assad if US Attacks Syria
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=368_1377994715

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 2:33:51 AM | 1

Even if congress gives Big "O" the go ahead for war, the US will still NEED UNSC resolution before any war can be launched - WON'T HAPPEN.

I think America will be MADE to understand that US laws are not International laws. So congress can pass all the laws they want, it won't do squat!!!

Posted by: Zico | Sep 1, 2013 2:37:07 AM | 2

I'll even venture to say that congress may use this war resolution to humiliate Big "O" like the UK parliament humiliated Cameron.

Posted by: Zico | Sep 1, 2013 2:39:00 AM | 3

Oh yeah..A little off topic but what happened to the recently launched Jerk Kerry initiated Israeli - Palestinian piss(sorry, peace) talks???

Posted by: Zico | Sep 1, 2013 2:41:15 AM | 4

Craig Murray opens further differences between British and American Intelligence assessments of the gas attacks,by arguing that the failure of the British Troodos GCHQ base on Cyprus (the most advanced in the Middle East) to intercept Syrian army signals suggests that they did not occur and were likely fabricated and passed to the US/NSA by Mossad.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/08/the-troodos-conundrum/

Posted by: johnf | Sep 1, 2013 2:51:42 AM | 5

Zico

I see no reason why Congress wouldnt support war, rather Congress want to go BEYOND the plan by Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 3:07:06 AM | 6

Anonymous @ 6

Like I said, it doesn't matter. They can support all the resolutions they want. It doesn't make it international law. The US will NEED to get a UNSC approval for a strike.

The real international community's left them off the hook on many occasion and I don't think they'll let them get away with it this time. Do you realize how isolated the US's become with this whole Syria fiasco?

Their view of "the world" comprises of themselves and few US occupied satraps in Europe whose total population won't even make 1/4 of the world's population.

What we're witnessing is the ending of America's unilateral moment in history. Wonder how their "allies" across the region are freaking out all over the place?

Posted by: Zico | Sep 1, 2013 3:22:25 AM | 7

I don't know why there was such a congressional outcry to be consulted on this at all. Of course they were going to support it (they're not Brits, fer Chrissake!) They were just pouting because they all wanted a piece of that authorization pie.

A clever congressperson would have just shrugged his/her shoulders and kept mum about the consultation. That way, they'd still get the policy they want and none of the blame when it inevitably backlashes (either via domestic disapproval or international prosecution.) Hell, they could even lie outright and say they were against it from the start if push came to shove. Where's the benefit to attaching your name to a policy you wanted anyway? It could have been exactly the same as the Presidential election when the GOP pretended to oppose Obama's candidacy with the weakest tea they could offer up.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 1, 2013 3:46:56 AM | 8

"What we're witnessing is the ending of America's unilateral moment in history."

I'm not so sure about that.

Up to this point the US has show every indication that they are going to keep pushing forward regardless of the consequences that the US is not beholden to international law - or that international law is what the US decrees it is.

So far the rest of the world has not done anything other than failed to support the US's attempts to attack Syria. There has been no sanctions or any type of warnings of punishment of the US by the world community if it goes ahead with an illegal unilateral attack on another nation.

I think we are entering completely unknown territory. Three different scenarios come I can think of:

A. The US goes right ahead and bombs Syria for a couple of days with a couple hundred cruise missiles, murders a bunch of Syrians, and the rest of the world condemns the action and life goes right back to normal. And the Syrian army continues to wipe out the jihadists and mercenaries ending the war and only having to deal with random acts of terrorism that pose no existential threat.

B. The US goes right ahead with their war plans and Syria retaliates and we spiral out of control into a Middle East wide war.

C. The US backs down. And like A. above Syria continues to successfully win the war.

It will be extraordinary if C. happens but I don't see how it will. Or how the rest of the world community will rally together in the next week to create a credible threat to the US to step down from their war plans.

Maybe the fake 'Syrian government gassed its own people' propaganda will continue to fall apart fast enough that the Western media can longer ignore it like they are right now. And force the US administration to hold back war plans and start working with Saudi Arabia on yet another FSA chemical attack.

Posted by: stevens | Sep 1, 2013 3:52:12 AM | 9

I will return to my previous posts later. This isn’t too far OT I hope...

Before that, though, here is a look at Medecins Sans Frontieres, who are a quoted, respected authority testifying to the existence of the attack.

The MSF site only mentions 2 hospitals - in Idlib (traumatology) and Aleppo (general hospital.) They show a map with a little logo showing their presence in the country (only two are named), but there is no logo in or near Damascus. French:

http://www.msf.fr/actualite/dossiers/urgence-syrie

The “Dossier Syrie” section don’t have one single article about CW or any event in Damascus, or CW anywhere else. The articles are about refugees, measles, etc.

One article from May 2013 details helping or acting in 5 medical facilities, all in opposition controlled zones (according to their text): Aleppo, transit camp on or near Turkish border, two hospitals in Idlib, one primary care facility in Tal Abyad, a clinic in Al Hasaka, which makes 6, not 5.

However, the Press section has one very brief article (24 Aug, unsigned) which says 3 600 patients arrived in 3 unnamed hospitals early 21 August ‘supported’ by the MSF in Damascus, but that to this date no MSF doc has been able to visit these hospitals because of security risk. Dr. Baart Janssens is quoted as stating that the MSF cannot scientifically verify the cause of the symptoms. C. Stokes (head) states a request for immediate access to independent investigators. The article says clearly that their info comes from colleagues in these (anonymous) hospitals. French:

http://tinyurl.com/pd2mypg

If you merely open the Press section you won’t see this article, you need to go to ‘complete list’ which is written in tiny letters.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 1, 2013 4:22:12 AM | 10

4th generation warfare: how to overthrow a sovereign state
Leader X hates leader Y and wants to bring state to chaos: get rid of X: how do u do it?Its simple:
1. agitate among locals for reforms; then gradully urge /provoke locals to act of violence.
2. Govt responds...preferably with violence, the more the better
3. send i a few snipers to target crowds
4. Get media to report on real or imagined violence: show images on TV:images of dead children are especially good at arousing indignation
5. Show you are humanitarian by starting sanctions to cause economic chaos and further provoke locals to rally against state
6. Get media to call leader 'Brutal' 'tyrannical': talk up his crimes: invent some if none. Maximise image of his cruelty. This arouses media audiences to call for international R2P. Bootstrapping
7 . Hope state cracks down with violence: get foreigners to send in forces...jihadis are good: idealistic gullible stupid and many
8. As chaos rises, agitate among 'international community'(aka your cronies at the UN) for direct military action to save lives.
9 Invoke R2P
10 Promise surgical strikes(but a few bombs lobbed into civilian areas makes them more tractible)
11 Media trumpets day of liberation as your forces strike

Posted by: brian | Sep 1, 2013 4:26:48 AM | 11

'Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the organization, said he was not contacted by U.S. officials about his efforts to collect information about the death toll in the Aug. 21 attacks.'

he must be disappointed

Posted by: brian | Sep 1, 2013 4:28:09 AM | 12

Zico

Unfortunately US can do whatever they want because World let them and west even if silently support Obama, he wont be isolated sadly.

As I see it Obama either fails to win support in Congress vs he advance the plan on syria, meaning regime change. The latter is a more realistic result I guess. Full war.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 4:31:49 AM | 13

Wide range of death tolls in alleged Syria gassing
AP, Aug 31 2013

A broad range of estimates has been offered on how many Syrians were killed in the suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug 21. Here’s a look at who is saying what and on what basis. The US government says its preliminary figures show 1,429 people were killed, including 426 children, but that this “will certainly evolve” as more information is obtained. Jackass Kerry presented the death toll as part of the administration’s overall intelligence assessment of what happened during the attacks, based on satellite and signal intelligence as well as information from activists, regime sources and social media. Kerry did not say specifically how the death toll was compiled. The Syrian National Coalition says at least 1,460 people were killed in the strikes on rebel-held western and eastern suburbs of Damascus. The coalition and Majed Abu Ali, who said he is a spokesman for 17 clinics and field hospitals east of Damascus, provided a list of 395 names of people killed. On that list, some of the victims were only identified by their first name or said to be members of a certain family. Abu Ali said the overall death toll is based on reports received from the clinics, but would not elaborate or provide a breakdown of the number of dead counted at each clinic. He said the total could be off slightly due to possible double-counting as victims were being moved. Three other senior anti-regime activists referred questions to Abu Ali. The coalition did not respond to requests to provide further explanation. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which draws its information from a network of anti-regime activists in Syria, says it only counts victims identified by name, and that the current total stands at 502. The list is based on interviews with hospital officials and activists in the affected areas, said Rami Abd’el-Rahman, the head of the Observatory. Abdel-Rahman said he was not asked by US officials to share his information. He questioned the claims of more than 1,400 killed and urged the Obama administration to release the information its figure is based on. Medicins sans Frontieres says it has not been able to update its initial Aug 24 estimate of 355 killed because communication with people on the ground in the Damascus area is difficult. That estimate was based on reports by doctors in three clinics in the Damascus area that are supported by the group. MSF does not have a list of the names of the dead and won’t say from which three hospitals the data came, citing security reasons. New York-based Human Rights Watch received reports from doctors and activists from clinics in four Damascus suburbs, three in the east and one on the west, on the day of the attack. Based on these reports, HRW says the death toll is “at least in the hundreds” but that it is unable to give an exact figure. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky has said he does not know if the UN chemical weapons experts who visited stricken areas earlier this week would provide a death toll as part of their investigation of the Aug 21 attacks.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 1, 2013 4:34:32 AM | 14

What will happen if in a few days, more chemical bombs explotes in any part of Syria? two, three, ten bombs. I think this possibility is very probable.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 4:39:47 AM | 15

10) Humas Rights Watch also had nobody on the ground - they report hearsay from witnesses "activists, residents and doctors"
and the media has picked up on the numbers game. Not much of Kerry's "We know" will remain if people are interested enough to keep digging.

I mean his "proof" was youtube videos, "activists said" and anonymous Syrian officers talk. If there is proof of the chemical weapons build up three days before the event they have to present that to the UN. After Iraq they cannot say "trust me".

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 4:47:59 AM | 16

supposing that Obama would like to bomb Syria and push the government to collapse, we would see an immediate free for all (a la Libya/Afghanistan) where the insurgents would surge forward behind the american bombs. The next logical step would be the insertion of US Forces to "secure the WMD sites" and I have no doubt that Israel would be tempted to immediately use this as the cue to accuse Hezbollah of taking possession of WMD and use this as an excuse to launch a war against the now isolated group. The only problem now is how to squeeze Alqaeda back into the magic lantern (to be used against someone else).

A Syria in collapse, splintering into an coastal Alawite enclave and northern kurdish enclave and the islamists and the rest of the nominal sunni's fighting over the rest for quite a few years. The islamists will use a weak state to launch attacks against neighboring countries - probably starting off by kicking off another lebanese civil war in the wake of any action against hezbollah.

obviously, all of the above is one of a thousand nightmare scenario's, but the forces that have been unleashed are no longer withing anybody's control and a lot more people will no doubt pay the ultimate price for any US gamble.

Iran will work hard to keep whatever set-up the US cobbles together to rule in Damascus off balance... and the game will continue. The Turks will be bitten unless they can quickly come to an understanding with the PKK, the Turkish/Kurdish issues will only insure to pull in the Iraqi Kurds and consequently the Iraqi's and Iranians - they will all happily support the PKK to fend off the Turks.

Syria's implosion would immediately pull lebanon into the void, and definitely threaten Jordan. And as long the Arabs are fighting each other - they won't be too concerned about what the Israeli's are doing - for at least the next 10 years.

Unfortunately, this recipe can only lead to even bigger threats to US interests in the long run and Israels is only buying itself a few more years....

Posted by: oab | Sep 1, 2013 4:55:24 AM | 17

obviously, all of the above is one of a thousand nightmare scenario's

yep. that is one of the "known unknowns"

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 5:09:10 AM | 18

What will happen to the Damasco Museums like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_Damascus, with the oldest sinagoge and the first tablets with text of the history. It is a Open museum very easy to loot.

Posted by: anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 5:12:59 AM | 19

19)The different calculations going to parliament means - the conservative Daily Telegraph:

"Syria crisis: 'You can sell arms without always having to use them. Germany does' They outsell us, but know that a successful, outward-looking nation has no need of military adventures, writes historian Michael Burleigh"

Most people can recall Acheson’s famous 1962 observation that “Britain had lost an Empire and not yet found a role”. There will be much recalling of those words in the coming weeks following Thursday night’s historic Commons vote against the rush to armed intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Acheson was part of an East Coast foreign-policy elite that believed that if the American people were allowed a voice in foreign policy, “they would be wrong every time”. Well, both in Britain and the US, the worm has really turned this time, with the majority of people in both countries opposed to any open-ended involvement in Syria and, one suspects, anywhere in a wider Middle East where we receive grief rather than gratitude.

In part, this reflects a healthy democratic mistrust of the entire foreign and security policy-making Establishment. Not just because the latter submissively colluded with Tony Blair’s alien neo-connery, but because they are no longer prepared to allow the Rorys, Ruperts and Sherards of this world to mediate foreign affairs for them.

They have gone native, while Labour has its own quotient of Scottish “securocrats”, with defence-sector constituencies, to rival the likes of Malcolm Rifkind, who is wrong about every issue every time.

....

So Britain is not so much about to embark on a bout of soul-searching as catching up with debates that have flourished in the US for over a century. Right now, the US is itself pondering whether “foreign policy begins at home” – the title of an excellent book by Richard Haas, chairman of the Council of Foreign Relations, in which he argues that the US should focus on fitting its low-grade public education system and crumbling infrastructure for the late 21st century rather than meddling in places where it knows not what it does and leaves chaos behind it.

We should have had that debate decades ago, whether in 1945 or 1956 when the diminution of Britain’s global pretensions happened in the wake of Suez. One of Britain’s greatest contemporary historians, Corelli Barnett, took five volumes to spell out the financial impossibility of huge overseas pretensions and a runaway welfare state. David Cameron might take them on his next holiday.

No “isolationist” (or non-interventionist) has ever argued that Britain or the US should cease being outward-looking, trading nations with multilayered international involvements. Germany is much more cautious in its overseas postures. It recently surpassed Britain as an arms exporter, without constantly having to demonstrate what their weapons can do on any battlefields. Buyers trust Leopard tanks like they trust Mercedes cars.
...

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 5:27:29 AM | 20

Anon @1 That is quite the conundrum, eh...? I wrote a new post at FDL, if anybody is interested... Syria: Chemical Hypocrisy, InterOccupy, and Zogby

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 1, 2013 5:40:07 AM | 21

Well, I suppose that there are two ways to interpret that open-ended request from Obama.

1) He really, really, really does not want to live up to his red-line-rhetoric, so if he makes his request so outrageously open-ended then the Congress might just pull his chestnuts out of the fire by refusing to vote him that authorization. At which point he sighs a "I tried. Really, I did" before walking away.
2) He really, really, really does want to thrash the living daylights out of Assad, and if he makes his requestion so outrageously open-ended then the Israel Lobby's eyeballs will bug out of their sockets in anticipation of all the US-supplied mayhem they can command. They'll then go into overdrive to make sure that this thing passes, at which point (a) Obama gets what he wants and (b) he'll owe AIPAC big-time.

Can any come up with any other reasons why he should *talk* about surgical, focussed strikes but *request* the power to smack down anyone, anywhere, any time, and for any reason that he cares to name?

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 1, 2013 8:05:27 AM | 22

Former government lawyer Jack Goldsmith on the "very broad" AUMF

As the history of the 9/11 AUMF shows, and as prior AUMFs show (think about the Gulf of Tonkin), a President will interpret an AUMF for all it is worth, and then some. The proposed Syrian AUMF is worth a lot, for it would (in sum) permit the President to use military force against any target anywhere in the world (including Iran or Lebanon) as long as the President, in his discretion, determines that the the target has a connection to WMD in the Syrian civil war and the use of force has the purpose of preventing or deterring (broad concepts) the use or proliferation of WMDs in, to, or from Syria, or of protecting the U.S. and its allies from the mere threat (again, a broad concept) of use or proliferation of WMDs connected to the Syrian conflict.

Congress needs to be careful about what it authorizes.

Posted by: b | Sep 1, 2013 8:05:40 AM | 23

Gideon Levy, over at haaretz: "An exercise in honesty (and double standards): What would happen If Israel were to use chemical weapons? Would the United States also say to attack it?"

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 1, 2013 8:10:49 AM | 24

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 1, 2013 4:34:32 AM |14

2 months ago i warned of a fire that burns and the arrival of a russisn cargo plane if the people of damascus do not lay down there weapons yet no one listened
many innocent people have died and some will say it was a mistake,a miscalculation,the rockets landed in the wrong area,the wind is to be blame.
now america wants to punish the guilty but it is too late,too late for bombing,too late for the dead.

Who will accept responsibility

the officers who gave the orders
the suppliers of the weapons
the backers in faraway places

The british were wise in stepping away because there are no winners in this war
but surely the beast has stirred
the door is open
A warning to the people of damascus
Lay down your weapons
For you a farmers prophecy
3 companions,will bring 7 stars that will fall,7 years of peace,weapons laid down.

Posted by: mcohen | Sep 1, 2013 8:13:42 AM | 25

@24

"If Israel were to use chemical weapons? Would the United States also say to attack it?"


Well, we can dream . . .

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 8:18:08 AM | 26

@Johnboy | 24

"Gideon Levy, over at haaretz: "An exercise in honesty (and double standards): What would happen If Israel were to use chemical weapons? Would the United States also say to attack it?"

Israel did use chemical weapons as recent as 4 years ago. Were werent even crickets heard in US.

Israel could bomb Damascus with nukes today if they want to, US will claim it was a "preemptive attack in self defense against Syrian CW" and block any resolution in UN. When it comes to the most hypocritical countries in the World, there is no depth they wouldnt sink to.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 1, 2013 8:40:20 AM | 27

"If Israel were to use chemical weapons? Would the United States also say to attack it?"
They'd say that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Posted by: Gregg | Sep 1, 2013 8:41:46 AM | 28

re 19 What will happen to the Damasco Museums like ?

For the moment, the museums are not in danger. I am certain that the staff have taken precautions against air raids, very probably thorough and ingenious.

It is the archaeological sites in the countryside (mainly under rebel control) which have been thoroughly pillaged. But also there's some damage to monuments like Crac de Chevaliers.

There's an FB site in French: https://www.facebook.com/Archeologie.syrienne

Posted by: alexno | Sep 1, 2013 8:42:58 AM | 29

@20 above

Does b think the Leopard 2A7+ the best ever built, so far?

Is Merkel under pressure from the German defense industry to follow Obama?

Posted by: cloned_poster | Sep 1, 2013 8:48:16 AM | 30

@24

They have. They haven't.

Posted by: BillyBoy | Sep 1, 2013 8:50:12 AM | 31

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-31/unidentified-marine-sums-it-all

Probably not legit...

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 8:58:22 AM | 32

What will happen if in a few days, more chemical bombs explodes in any part of Syria? ...

- Anonymous at 15.

That has already ..reportedly... happened!

Close to Aleppo.

Here is CNN reporting a CW attack on 26 August. Published Aug 31, 2013.

From what one can see, the victims are burn victims. (?)

The usual MSM caveats, and hyper hysterical froth, are served up.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 1, 2013 9:05:19 AM | 33

Xymphora in Three Letters observed on Friday that "The plan from Kerry and the gruesome twosome is clearly to make an American escape from another War For The Jews impossible without Barry losing face. Why else would they make unequivocal statements of blame at a time when they admit the evidence has not been gathered?"

Now see this: Bolton to Newsmax: Obama Shows Weakness Not Seen in Decades

Bolton says he is stunned. Krauthammer describes the decision as "sort of amateur hour." From the sound of Neocon fury it would seem Obama is doing his best to wriggle out of one more war for the Jews. If he has given them all they might ask for in the war power authorization, it might be a smart move.

Posted by: sarz | Sep 1, 2013 9:13:59 AM | 34

@cloned poster

Does b think the Leopard 2A7+ the best ever built, so far?

Yes

Is Merkel under pressure from the German defense industry to follow Obama?

The pressure is from the Saudis "We will buy and you can claim to create jobs if you do our bidding!"

Posted by: b | Sep 1, 2013 9:16:43 AM | 35

link for post 32.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86fYIARXsN8

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 1, 2013 9:18:00 AM | 36

29) no. Merkel does not want to talk about Syria, it is toxic for her election prospects.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 9:18:19 AM | 37

actually, Merkel probably does not want to talk about arms exports to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Qatar either ..., the SPD presumably will not challenge her on that.

In Germany it is pressure on export controls, not on war.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 9:26:06 AM | 38

Seems to me the whole going to congress thing is a red herring designed to give a veneer of legality over an illegal act of aggression. As in, "the UNSC said no, but congress said yes! So it's all legit." Paradoxically, fighting against the AUMF in congress sort of enhances their intended effect.

OT, but if anyone is wondering what those Russian ships are doing this is a very good possibility. In short, they would act as very powerful radars and sigint for Syria in case their own radars are destroyed.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 1, 2013 10:06:33 AM | 39

Doctors Without Borders has a long history of working with the CIA and the US government, beginning in 1979 when they provided field hospitals for Al Qaeda and the mujahedeen in Afghanistan.

From their web site: "Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began working in Afghanistan in 1979. After the Soviet invasion MSF medical teams undertook clandestine cross-border operations..."

Thus they are as much a party in these conflicts as they are a "humanitarian" organization.
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/events/exhibits/thephotographer/msf-afghanistan.cfm

Posted by: Gareth | Sep 1, 2013 10:09:23 AM | 40

34) actually, they don't seem to have bought, Germany seems to supply Qatar this year.

Unemployment is no issue these elections, so no pressure point.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 10:17:06 AM | 41

This looks like the modern day equivalent of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which was followed by a huge escalation of the Vietnam war.

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 1, 2013 10:28:03 AM | 42

The draft resolution --

# mentions that "these flagrant [alleged chemical] actions were in violation of international norms and the laws of war"
--The US is continually in violation of the Nuernberg and Geneva Conventions and the law of war, with its kidnapping and bombing of civilians, torture, etc. The US is a prolific user of cluster munitions which are prohibited for those 83 nations (not including US) that have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

# cites UN Security Council resolution 1540 of 2004 that proliferation of chemical weapons is a threat to international peace and security.
--Syria has not been charged with chemical weapon proliferation

# states that "the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement"
--But if these attacks are carried out it would further escalate the war with the probable result of extending it to neighboring countries is toxic to negotiations

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 10:34:41 AM | 43

What's with this "Anyone with peace on her mind should hope and work to prevent any war resolution from passing Congress." You're too good and too informative a writer to throw in this politically correct horseshit.

Posted by: Greg | Sep 1, 2013 10:43:01 AM | 44

"I don't know why there was such a congressional outcry to be consulted on this at all. "
- Monolycus

Extortion. I mean campaign contributions. "Never let a crisis go to waste" - Rahm Emmanuel.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Sep 1, 2013 10:47:53 AM | 45

@38

"OT, but if anyone is wondering what those Russian ships are doing this is a very good possibility. In short, they would act as very powerful radars and sigint for Syria in case their own radars are destroyed."

Simply position 2 or 3 of them between ZUSA warships and the syrian coast..

Instant off-shore radar/SigInt facility for Syria.

Possibly could even electronically attack (or possibly shoot-down?) any missiles launched from ZUSA Warships

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 10:51:45 AM | 46

@33, when you say "Jews" do you mean, some of them, most of them, all of them, many of them, a few of them? Why not be more precise and say "Zionists"?(there are other formulations). That way you could sweep up the Xtians who heart Israel in your rhetorical net and avoid the capture of those Jews who loathe, execrate, revile, despise, recoil from, the Vanity State.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 1, 2013 10:52:02 AM | 47

Obama 'has the right' to strike Syria regardless of Congress vote, says Kerry

Less than a day after vowing to put an attack on Syria to a vote in the US Congress, the Obama administration indicated on Sunday that it would launch strikes even in the face of congressional rejection.

President Obama "has the right to do this no matter what Congress does", said secretary of state John Kerry, one of the leading advocates of a military assault on dictator Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons on 12 neighborhoods outside Damascus on 21 August.

Kerry said the Obama administration's clear preference was to win a vote in Congress that could occur as early as next week, after Congress returns from its summer recess on 9 September.

"We are stronger as a nation when we act together," Kerry told CNN, defending a decision to seek congressional authorization that has stunned Washington and foreign capitals alike. He said he could "hear the complaints" about presidential abuse had Obama not gone to Congress.

But, Kerry said, "America intends to act."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/01/obama-strike-syria-congress-kerry

Posted by: Gareth | Sep 1, 2013 10:53:33 AM | 48

It seems they polled chemical weapons incident beforehand - from June

Polls have consistently shown Americans are deeply wary of the United States becoming involved in the fighting in Syria. But they also show that public support for intervention increases sharply under circumstances where it is confirmed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons.

Does not seem to have worked out that way - notice how the questions closely follow the strategy Obama is trying to sell intervention to the US public - the questions are pretty leading to get a positive result on strikes.

"It has been reported that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its citizens. Do you think the United States should take military action against the Syrian government in response to the use of chemical weapons or not?"

Should Should not Unsure
% % %

8/28-29/13
42 50 8

"Now, more specifically, if U.S. military action in Syria were limited to air strikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks would you support or oppose this U.S. military action in Syria?" Asked Aug. 29 only; N=291.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
8/28-29/13
50 44 6

"Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The use of chemical weapons by any country is a 'red line' -- that is, an action that would require a significant U.S. response, including the possibility of military action."

Agree Disagree Depends (vol.) Unsure
% % % %

8/28-29/13
58 35 3 4

80 percent want congressional approval. This here is the full poll

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 10:53:48 AM | 49

@46
"avoid the capture of those Jews who loathe, execrate, revile, despise, recoil from, the Vanity State."

Yeah, all 1.111111119% of em,

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 10:56:43 AM | 50

Gen Wes Clark explaining the nuts and bolts of US foreign policy. Don't believe anything has changed about US/NATO ambitions. Obama's PR work, going to Congress, will only further the cause for Syrian regime change.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017141887

Posted by: ben | Sep 1, 2013 10:57:46 AM | 51

@34

Ah, the danger of relying on a munitions and armaments industry, even if they are only for others to use. You all make very nice blenders, tractors, and civilian aircraft as well. Can't you stick to that please?

In any case you may be doing well in the tank market, but you're really missing out in the burgeoning demand for small trucks with rockets mounted to them (and also ample room for a few starving young men with no alternatives and an AK in the cab) - there isn't a CIA trained terror group/drug cartel worth its salt - from Mexico to the Sahel to Syria - that doesn't need a huge fleet of those.

You know and I know that today's states buying tanks are tomorrow's failed states that will need small trucks! Don't get caught in the cold with an armful of tanks everyone is too poor (or perhaps under too many illegal US sanctions) to buy. If you could also figure out how to make newly manufactured rusted old Soviet weapons, you'd have the market cornered.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to be part of a growth industry!

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 1, 2013 11:03:16 AM | 52

@ 47 This talk is an anticipatory repudiation of Constitutional principles, in and of itself sufficient for Congress to question whether the author or authors of this sentiment are Constitutionally qualified to hold office.

Posted by: Tazor Raoule | Sep 1, 2013 11:07:10 AM | 53

The idea that US Congress will reject the opportunity to bomb Syria and thereby weaken Iran is frankly ridiculous.
The only question that remains is what Putin intends to do about it.
Russia has invested too much in Syria for the US to bypass the UN and undo all their hard work. As Putin observed yesterday, the claim of Chemical Weapon use is a trump card for the 'rebels' at a time when they are on the run or surrounded. To claim that the Government would authorise its use now is "utter nonsense".
The Russian Mediterranean task force can certainly interfere in any planned attack; at the very least they can provide an early warning signal to ground forces. But beyond this? All huff and puff, no doubt.

I'm still not entirely convinced that this whole fiasco wasn't discussed when Bandar was in town. 'Evidence' presented at the UN of chemical weapons use would certainly be a reason for Russia to step aside whilst saving face, and at the same time counting the money that Bandar promised in return. The timing was certainly impeccable.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 1, 2013 11:13:13 AM | 54

Back to Ghouta. Up until now, I have hesitated between two interpretations. Either:
(1) the rebels set off the gas bombs accidentally, and directly caused the whole mass casualty event by doing so; or
(2) the rebels set off SOME gas bombs and killed themselves, but the mass casualty event was caused by Jabhat al-Nusra proceding with Prince Bandar's plan regardless, letting off the remainder of the gas bombs in the open and either:
(2a) directly causing the mass casualties that way, or
(2b) bringing in bodies gassed elsewhere and strewing them around.
But in either case, following a prearranged plan to frame the government for firing gas rockets and causing the mass casualties.

Now Gilad Atzmon has put yet another construction upon it, which he has not derived from the story itself, but has imported according to his own desire to find a fatal irony, to blame the regime for the gassing while not blaming it for doing it deliberately. He is saying the regime bombardment set off the Saudi-supplied gas bombs. But there is no justification in the text for this at all.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 1, 2013 11:13:57 AM | 55

@hmm - If you intend to further comment here you better take ruralitos advice.

Posted by: b | Sep 1, 2013 11:15:19 AM | 56

Kerry is pushing for this above and beyond his pay grade. Was it him who was at the meeting objecting that this be taken to congress? If he is not authorized to do this, Obama should fire him. But both that he is not authorized and that Obama would have the temerity to fire the Ketchup Chump are both pipe dreams.

In any case, just as we saw what we'd have gotten for foreign policy had we elected Gore in 2000 by way of Lieberman's warmongering over Iraq and 9/11, we now see what kind of complete idiot warrior we'd have gotten if we voted for Kerry in 2004. None of these characters has so much as a shadow of a soul in them. And Kerry was to be "praised" for his throwing his war medals back onto the White House lawn, and now he is prepared to throw, at full force, tomahawk missiles into the homes of some Syrian familes.

Kerry is out on television presenting samples from an unknown source - first responders in rebel held territory - so the rebels - instead of waiting for the UN. They want this war that bad that they are willing to simply try to out run the UN inspectors to the finish line. The UN needs to hurry their analysis so that the world knows the truth about this, unfortunately the reports that it will take 3 weeks means that the US will have already started the bombing.

The U.S. obtained samples of hair and blood "independently" and through "an appropriate chain of custody," and those samples tested positive for sarin gas, Mr. Kerry said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

Wether AIPAC is lobbying for the strikes, I'll leave to others to debate. But if you ask about Israel: They are, and they couldn't be more clear.

In Israel, President Obama's decision to postpone military action until after congressional approval was received with skepticism. Analysts on Israeli television blasted the president for making the U.S. appear weak in the region. An Israeli official warned that U.S. hesitation could embolden Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"There is concern that this will be seen in the region as the U.S. president hesitating to enforce his red lines and that that will send the wrong messages to other regional powers," said an Israeli official.

Senior Israeli officials have publicly backed U.S. intervention and Israel provided intelligence to Washington to support its case.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323932604579048821158553250.html

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 1, 2013 11:26:01 AM | 57

54) It would fit into all narratives, somehow I do not believe in an accident though.


Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 11:29:09 AM | 58

aipac represent israeli gov, of course they want war.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 11:30:58 AM | 59

Chris Hedge's latest on Syria from the Real News Network:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10656

Posted by: ben | Sep 1, 2013 11:33:16 AM | 60

#47

kerry is going crazier by the minute. Sure Obama could bomb any state but that wouldnt be internationally buy domestically unlawful.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 11:34:11 AM | 61

sigh typos..

#47

kerry is going crazier by the minute. Sure Obama could bomb any state but that wouldnt be JUST internationally BUT also domestically unlawful.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 11:35:14 AM | 62

51) That is for the cheap Indian or Chinese production, we only do hightech. Of course you are right, the relation of bought versus used presumably is reverse for hightech and lowtech.

But yes, it would be great if the Middle East could come up with a different business model from investing oil revenue into high tech Western arms (with armies thrown into).

I do hope Egypt finally gets this plan off the shelves of invading Libya and Saudi Arabia. They have the manpower. They might even team up with Iran.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 11:37:29 AM | 63

Craig Murray writes about "The Troodos Conundrum"

The GCHQ listening post on Mount Troodos in Cyprus is arguably the most valued asset which the UK contributes to UK/US intelligence cooperation. The communications intercept agencies, GCHQ in the UK and NSA in the US, share all their intelligence reports (as do the CIA and MI6). Troodos is valued enormously by the NSA. It monitors all radio, satellite and microwave traffic across the Middle East, ranging from Egypt and Eastern Libya right through to the Caucasus. Even almost all landline telephone communication in this region is routed through microwave links at some stage, picked up on Troodos.

Troodos is highly effective – the jewel in the crown of British intelligence. Its capacity and efficiency, as well as its reach, is staggering. The US do not have their own comparable facility for the Middle East. I should state that I have actually been inside all of this facility and been fully briefed on its operations and capabilities, while I was head of the FCO Cyprus Section in the early 1990s. This is fact, not speculation.

It is therefore very strange, to say the least, that John Kerry claims to have access to communications intercepts of Syrian military and officials organising chemical weapons attacks, which intercepts were not available to the British Joint Intelligence Committee.

On one level the explanation is simple. The intercept evidence was provided to the USA by Mossad, according to my own well placed source in the Washington intelligence community. Intelligence provided by a third party is not automatically shared with the UK, and indeed Israel specifies it should not be. . .
-- h/t Pat Lang

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 11:38:41 AM | 64

Rand Paul: U.S. involvement in Syria a 'mistake'

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Sunday the United States should avoid military involvement in Syria. He challenged Secretary of State John Kerry on his assertion America should launch a strike.

"He's famous for saying, 'How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?' I would ask John Kerry, 'How can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?'" Paul said on NBC's "Meet The Press."


Congrats to Paul. Showing some anti-war spine has not been a characteristic of US senators recently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 11:44:13 AM | 65

John Kerry: Sarin used in Syria

(CNN) - Blood and hair samples from eastern Damascus, Syria, have "tested positive for signatures of sarin" gas, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday, arguing that with "each day that goes by, this case is even stronger."

Kerry said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the U.S. obtained the samples independently from "first responders" and through an "appropriate chain of custody"," not the United Nations chemical weapons inspectors.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 11:47:12 AM | 66

"But yes, it would be great if the Middle East could come up with a different business model from investing oil revenue into high tech Western arms (with armies thrown into)."

Funny you of all people should mention that

The 2 most relevant examples would be:

Both Iran and libya tried that. They got coup'd (both iran and libya) and their leaders murdered (libya) for their efforts.

The only business model they are allowed is to invest their gains in the west and/or in western weaponry, to prop up the western economic model

All M.E oil states that tried not to follow that model usually get the shit bombed out of them , or get destroyed by civil war


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKkRDMil0bw

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 11:49:25 AM | 67

None of which is even slightly accidental or coincidental

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 11:52:55 AM | 68

For those readers who enjoy seeing photos of President Assad with people, here's one.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 11:53:50 AM | 69

As for the Russian ships being used to pass radar information to the Syrians, we all remember what happened to the Chinese embassy for doing, allegedly, similar things.

The question is what the response would be from the Russians if the US was to be so bold as to do something similar this time.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 1, 2013 11:55:07 AM | 70

Glenn Greenwald reminds of the fact that Obama is not bound by Congress and that he has alread acted against Congress in the case of Libya

So?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 11:57:55 AM | 71

Not a chance in hell ZUSA would openly attack a Russki ship

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 11:58:54 AM | 72

Re 67

Only one country in the region has ben allowed to develop it's own indigenous tech industries without subsequent sanction or attack from ZUSA/ZUK

Can't for the life of me remember it's name though . . . . Damn.

Something beginning with "I", I think.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 12:03:18 PM | 73

@somebody

Hmmm is absolutely right. You say the ME needs a new "business model" when the fact is the west imposes that model on them. If the people had any say at all - which they would if the west didn't prop up their dictators so that they would in turn buy up the weapons production - they'd most certainly prefer food and infrastructure. Pretty much anything but arms they'll never use.

On the other hand, countries like Iran and Syria HAVE to by the arms because they are threatened by states like Israel, the US, and the Saudis. It's a vicious circle. It's not called an "arms race" for nothing.

You blaming them for their "business model" which, frankly, is the western business model, is such a myopic, self-serving western view.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 1, 2013 12:05:15 PM | 74

Don @66
The evidence gets weaker and weaker. Despite the pessimism regarding Congress (much of which is born of anti-rural snobbery) I find it difficult to believe that this sort of cheap propaganda will not dissolve within two weeks.

The "evidence" that the Syrian government employed chemical weapons is, so far, non-existent. Colin Powell would never have lowered himself to the carny barker role that Kerry so obviously enjoys.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 1, 2013 12:05:37 PM | 75

@69

Surprised AIPAC haven't put that photo on their frontpage, don?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 12:05:39 PM | 76

AP :-))

Even the administration's casualty estimate was grist for controversy.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that monitors casualties in the country, said it has confirmed 502 deaths, nearly 1,000 fewer than the American intelligence assessment claimed.

Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the organization, said he was not contacted by U.S. officials about his efforts to collect information about the death toll in the Aug. 21 attacks.

"America works only with one part of the opposition that is deep in propaganda," he said, and urged the Obama administration to release the information its estimate is based on

Come on Kerry, where did you get this Sarin gas samples from?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 12:07:45 PM | 77

THe major factor deterring the US is the prospect of substantial losses. Iran and Russia may not directly intervene, but rest assured they will help Assad in every way possible. Unlike Libya many Americans likely to die if Obama is foolish enough to fight still another war for Israel and IPAC.

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 1, 2013 12:09:20 PM | 78

will it be Obama and the dufus Hollande that will go to war?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/01/us-syria-crisis-france-idUSBRE98002W20130901

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 12:11:03 PM | 79

@75

"Powell . . . should not have lowered himself to the carny barker role that Kerry so obviously enjoys."

Powell had sold out long ago, after Mai Lai in 1968

Pretty certain he enjoyed that role just as much as Mr Jackass (ht Rowan)

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 12:11:16 PM | 80

Re 67

A relevant 3rd example would of course be Iraq

Destroyed, leader executed.

Best educational system in the ME

Best Health System in the ME

Probably the least oppressive place in the ME for a female arab/muslim to live

All gone now . . .

Well done ZUSA . . .

Well done ZUK . . .

"Mission Accomplished!", eh?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 12:20:31 PM | 81

@bevin
Colin Powell would never have lowered himself to the carny barker role that Kerry so obviously enjoys.

Perhaps a fresh look at Powell's UN charade is in order? Powell's with its voluminous minutiae is a tough act to follow.

We know that Saddam's son, Qusay, ordered the removal of all prohibited weapons from Saddam's numerous palace complexes. We know that Iraqi government officials, members of the ruling Baath Party and scientists have hidden prohibited items in their homes. Other key files from military and scientific establishments have been placed in cars that are being driven around the countryside by Iraqi intelligence agents to avoid detection.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 12:21:19 PM | 82

The photos of Colon's presentation were the best, though

Mr Death-Squad himself, Negroponte, sitting right over Colon's left shoulder throughout

Posted by: hmm | Sep 1, 2013 12:29:22 PM | 83

Viva la France and adios UK. We can now go from Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast back to the Frenchy versions, as the UK has been supplanted by France as #1 US comrade-in-arms, given Libya, Mali and now Syria. It has a bright future, as the list of French possessions and colonies which need to be reclaimed is almost endless.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 12:29:36 PM | 84

from Gareth's link @48:

"At the end of the day, Congress will rise to the occasion," Representative Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, told CNN. "This is a national security issue."

Whoah, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOAH! Slow the hell down there, Tex! We're still at the "He-Gassed-His-Own-People-'Humanitarian-Intervention'" canard at the moment. We don't start the "He-Can-Send-Missiles-In-45-Minutes-'National-Security'" crap until AFTER that's fallen on its face! Somebody find out who was supposed to be proofreading these scripts and render them extraordinarily.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 1, 2013 12:29:50 PM | 85

Russia isn't the only military supplier to Syria.

DefenseNews
Syrian Strikes Would Battle-Test Chinese Radars

TAIPEI — If the US strikes Syria, China would get to see just how well some of its radars and electronic warfare (EW) emitters perform in combat.

Among the Chinese systems deployed by the Syrian military are the JYL-1 3-D long-range surveillance radar, Type 120 (LLQ120) 2D low-altitude acquisition radar, and JY-27 VHF long-range surveillance radar, according to Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 12:36:52 PM | 86

Russia isn't the only military supplier to Syria.

DefenseNews
Syrian Strikes Would Battle-Test Chinese Radars

TAIPEI — If the US strikes Syria, China would get to see just how well some of its radars and electronic warfare (EW) emitters perform in combat.

Among the Chinese systems deployed by the Syrian military are the JYL-1 3-D long-range surveillance radar, Type 120 (LLQ120) 2D low-altitude acquisition radar, and JY-27 VHF long-range surveillance radar, according to Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 12:37:11 PM | 87

Russia isn't the only military supplier to Syria.

DefenseNews
Syrian Strikes Would Battle-Test Chinese Radars

TAIPEI — If the US strikes Syria, China would get to see just how well some of its radars and electronic warfare (EW) emitters perform in combat.

Among the Chinese systems deployed by the Syrian military are the JYL-1 3-D long-range surveillance radar, Type 120 (LLQ120) 2D low-altitude acquisition radar, and JY-27 VHF long-range surveillance radar, according to Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 12:37:29 PM | 88

"to strike" or "not to strike" is not as black-or-white as it is being made to sound.
Israel strikes when it wants to, and no one cares. the US strikes with drones when and where it wants to, and no one cares.
the question of whether the US gets UN resolutions or NATO forces or has to choose its own "boots in the air" does NOT preclude low-level war in Syria which is already in place.

the goals don't really change: take out Israel's enemies, keep ethnically cleansing Palestinians, remove Syria's defenses, and move on to threaten Iran. it won't take UN or NATO, but it was worth the try.

Posted by: anon | Sep 1, 2013 12:43:22 PM | 89

This is so ill-timed it seems like it must be a cover for something else, and the squalid, most likely explanation is a political decision to reassure USrael by emphasising the things will not be and have not been supplied. The canard that S-300 had already been supplied was launched last November by the Saudi-funded al-Quds al-Arabi. Inexplicably injudicious people like Prof Chossudovsky are repeating it as fact to this very day.

Russia Delays Arms Supplies to Syria over Money – Paper
RIA Novosti, Aug 31 2013

MOSCOW – Russia is postponing supplies of fighter jets and S-300 missile defense systems to Syria because official Damascus failed to pay for them, Kommersant newspaper said Saturday. The 12 MiG-29M/M2 jets that Russia agreed to sell to Syria will not be supplied before 2016-2017, the daily said, citing an unnamed source at Russian state arms exports monopoly Rosoboronexport. Though the deal was sealed in 2007, shipping was delayed over technicalities and then put on hold because Syria has only paid Moscow 30% of what it owes for the jets, Kommersant said. Earlier media reports said six of 12 MiGs were expected to be shipped by the end of this year. A 2010 deal to supply Damascus with S-300 missile defense systems, initially frozen over USraeli complaints, also remains on hold due because Syria has so far failed to provide an advance payment, the report said. The newspaper cited an unnamed official at the Russian military-industrial cooperation complex as saying: "Supplies of S-300 are out of question until we see real money." The S-300 were initially expected to be delivered by July 2014, but shipping would be delayed until 2015 or 2016 unless the Syrian government pays up soon, the report said. Russia is also only planning to ship six of 36 Yak-130 combat trainer jets Syria contracted it for in 2011 because this is all that official Damascus paid for so far, the report said. Rosoboronexport has not commented on the report.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 1, 2013 12:48:24 PM | 90

74) I was not analyzing who is to blame. It is a cycle that means you begin and end at the same point depending where you enter it.
Fact is old colonial powers still seem to have a very easy job splitting Middle Eastern populations along ethnic and sectarian lines detracting them from finding own solutions for development, same as Middle Eastern oil rich rulers manage to bribe Western politicians and constituencies.

I think the film George Galloway is planning on Tony Blair will be quite revealing. Someone should plan something like that on Clinton, Obama and Kerry.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 12:49:28 PM | 91

anon

yes syria gets attacked because its allied with iran and not israel.

Iran, Not Syria is the West's Real Target
http://www.zcommunications.org/iran-not-syria-is-the-wests-real-target-by-robert-fisk.html

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 1, 2013 12:53:30 PM | 92

The four or five US destroyers in the eastern Med would require US fighter protection if an attack occurs.

The Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) was recently in the Med, however, the Naval News service reported on August 28 that Truman had relieved the Nimitz CSG in the Arabian Sea on that date. If true, then this would mean the Nimitz would have departed, entered the Red Sea and then theoretically entered the Med for the trip home. However, the Washington Post reported on August 28, 2013 that the Nimitz has been told to remain in the Arabian Sea, leaving two CSGs there, which heretofore the Navy has said it could no longer do due to budget constraints.

This situation will no doubt be clarified this week. US carrier locations can be tracked here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 12:56:57 PM | 93

@ 87, that's true only if they allow the US to fight the kind of war it likes to fight, namely periodic cost free attacks that slowly weaken Syria to the point the Saudi mercenary jihadis can win.

The best strategy for Syria, (assuming Iran and Hizbullah are willing to help and that the Russians will offer whatever they can short of fighting themselves) is to strike at Israel with rockets and keep firing until the Israelis tell the US to stop. This is no doubt extraordinarily painful and it is easy for me to advocate it from the safety of my home. But that doesn't make it any less true.

This highlights to everyone still to dumb to figure it out that KSA/USA/Israel are all on the same team. It brings the whole Arab world to root for Assad again and will transcend the sectarian divisions the west tries so hard to exploit.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 1, 2013 12:59:41 PM | 94

Of course a carrier would make a fine cruise missile target, hard to miss. That would be a consideration (as well as the destroyers).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 1:00:19 PM | 95

@ 70 guest77,

IIRC, they attacked the Chinese embassy because they were hiding the wreckage of the stealth fighter the Serbs shot down. They could call it an accident and would have plausible deniability. But you can't really accidentally shoot a war ship. And at any rate embassies can't hit back, whereas ships can.

If the Russians do give the Syrians real time data and radar, the US/Israel will be mad as hell but it will be one of those things they just have to swallow for now, though they will look for their revenge later.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 1, 2013 1:04:25 PM | 96

According to reports, White House staffers will head to the Hill at 2pm [EDT] today -- IOW in an hour from now -- to brief lawmakers and their staffs on the administration’s intelligence picture and plan for action.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 1:04:33 PM | 97

@Lysander
But you can't really accidentally shoot a war ship.

Unless it's Israel shooting up a US ship, the USS Liberty, that is.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 1, 2013 1:07:28 PM | 98

92) Alternatively, or simultaneously Iran might attack Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 1, 2013 1:08:24 PM | 99

Rowan, what's the benefit of announcing it to the world? They can reassure the Americans in private and tell them exactly what they have given and what they haven't.

That said, these proxy wars are always intended to test and show off weapons. The Russians may fear that their radars and SAMs aren't all that good. If that is discovered, then you will see the west behaving with far greater aggression and arrogance towards Russia.

OTOH, if US aircraft are proven vulnerable, and that the US can no longer count on clean, easy warfare from a safe distance...

The point is, the stakes are VERY high for the Russians, and I don't know how much they are willing to gamble.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 1, 2013 1:15:21 PM | 100

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