Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 29, 2014

Syria: Obama To Work With Assad?

Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, muses about Obama's speech in West Point. The piece includes this nugget on Syria:

This may well surprise experts, but senior administration officials tell me that Obama has been modifying his objective and is now prepared to work with Assad, to some degree, along with the moderate rebels, against what the White House finally has come to see as the real and major threat—the jihadists. These senior officials further say that they expect support in this new policy from previous opponents, i.e. from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Let us hope that this is true.

Amen.

As is know none of the "moderate rebels" in Syria are actually moderate. That leaves the Syrian government under President Assad as the only party to work with. The rumor Leslie Gelb spreads here rings true because in his speech Obama, despite earlier announcements, did not spell out any additional help for the Syrian opposition. Maybe he recognized that U.S. training is not really necessary to teach the jihadists "how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush."

Posted by b on May 29, 2014 at 04:43 AM | Permalink

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Total bs by gelb.
obama just said he would give terrorists more support.

Posted by: Anoynmous | May 29, 2014 4:47:15 AM | 1

"The rumor Leslie Gelb spreads here rings true because in his speech Obama, despite earlier announcements, did not spell out any additional help for the Syrian opposition."

Anyone who believes that, have I got a great deal on the Golden Gate Bridge for you. Cash, and in small bills please.

Posted by: scalawag | May 29, 2014 5:04:40 AM | 2

Its just a PR. "US is against these evil jihadists, we swear! And if they are funded and armed by us and our alies, its really those naughty arab private donors, we are very much against it, we swear!" :))

Just because Plan A failed, doesnt mean Plan B is not in action, i.e. to keep weakening Syria through thousand cuts. "Arabs killing arabs" working just fine as far as neocons and zionists are concerned, its the next best thing for them if they cant install puppet regime (just yet). Hell will froze sooner than US would help Assad.

Posted by: Harry | May 29, 2014 5:24:47 AM | 3

Momentous Russia-Syria agreement

"A large Russian delegation arrived in Damascus last week. It was headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and comprised Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak and Alexander Fomin, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

The Russian-Syrian Intergovernmental Commission met both in a plenary session and in working groups in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Taken up by the Ukraine crisis, over the past two months Russia appeared to be absent from the Middle East. This visit marks its return to the region and its new policy towards "the West."

Three important decisions were reportedly adopted at the economic, military and financial levels:

- In 2015, the Eurasian Economic Commission will create a free trade zone with the Customs Union (Russia - Belarus -Kazakhstan ) which will include Syria.

- The Russian Federation will continue to deliver weapons authorized by the UN Security Council. The Syrian Defense Minister, Fahd Jassem al-Freij, will travel to Moscow in August to sign a detailed treaty of cooperation between the two states. It is expected to involve the extension of Russia’s military base in the port of Tartus as well as Syria’s access to Russian satellite images.

- The Russian Federation should largely foot the bill for the reconstruction of Syria, so that she will not be constrained to sell the passage of Saudi and Qatari gas pipelines on its soil."

Posted by: scalawag | May 29, 2014 6:28:28 AM | 4

Dis info mation

Posted by: rowan jerkley | May 29, 2014 7:40:37 AM | 5

What should not be forgotten is the Chinese pledge for Iran to be included in the new economic and military alliance between Russia and China. The West's attack on Syria is an attack on Iran. With a successful attack on Syria,[the low hanging fruit] the neocons hoped to replace Assad with a Saudi lackey,this would have caused Hezbollah to be isolated and exposed between Israel and a Saudi backed Sunni block, including March 14 in Lebanon. Nasrallah [being the consummate politician] realized this as being, for them, existential, so committed his forces to assist Assad, both Syria and Hezbollah are vital to Iran's independence, this alliance is formidable and one the forces of reaction [the GCC and US] cannot break,they realize that if they do not hang together, the US plans to hang them individually, one day soon they will all have to acknowledge these facts on the ground and try to undo their crazy foreign policy.

Posted by: harry law | May 29, 2014 7:59:50 AM | 6

Greenwald's interview in al Akhbar (Beirut)
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/glenn-greenwald-nsa-documents-middle-east-be-disclosed

O Bomber gives what they want to hear to both the syrian 'rebels' and to the dirty Hill

Posted by: Mina | May 29, 2014 8:24:45 AM | 7

I'm with the other commentators here. This is a whispering campaign to stave off the kind of rout the mainstream political parties in Europe experienced last weekend. The Democratic Party is held together by the canard that Obama is a good and decent leader constantly striving for peace who is always stymied by 1)Republicans in Congress and/or 2)the Deep State. Obama's warmongering in Syria dispels directly this canard, with all the grave consequences for turnout in November that it entails; hence, the West Point speech yesterday, and its attempt to repackage once again Al Qaeda as the "true enemy."

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 29, 2014 8:26:19 AM | 8

There's an old political saw that goes something like this: "Follow what they do, not what they say".

Gelb can't be trusted and neither can Obama.
Putin needs to cut the umbilical and provide direct ground and air support for Syria.
Then he needs a plan for directly supporting dissident movements in Saudi Arabia, the hub of middle east terrorism and the US troublemaking cat's paw.

Let's see how Washington likes it when the shoe is on the other foot.
Regime change in Riyadh will be a gamechanger that will roll back US power in the middle east.

Posted by: plantman | May 29, 2014 8:39:28 AM | 9

@9
Russia doesn't do regime changes these days: unlike the US Russians know what the word "diplomacy" means.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | May 29, 2014 8:51:47 AM | 10

plantman @ 9: "Then he needs a plan for directly supporting dissident movements in Saudi Arabia, the hub of middle east terrorism and the US troublemaking cat's paw."

"Let's see how Washington likes it when the shoe is on the other foot."

I'd love to see this happen.

Posted by: ben | May 29, 2014 9:36:58 AM | 11

That was the plan all along, as described by Thierry Meyssan many months ago, which I have tried to bring to attention a number of times.

(Video) "Time" weekly news program, Channel One Russia, April 14, 2013

Тьерри Мейсан: Самое интересное, что у России есть союзники внутри американской системы

Posted by: ProPeace | May 29, 2014 9:50:18 AM | 12

That was the plan all along, as described by Thierry Meyssan many months ago, which I have tried to bring to attention a number of times.

(Video) "Time" weekly news program, Channel One Russia, April 14, 2013

Тьерри Мейсан: Самое интересное, что у России есть союзники внутри американской системы

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 29, 2014 9:51:25 AM | 13

That was the plan all along, as described by Thierry Meyssan many months ago, which I have tried to bring to attention a number of times.

(Video) "Time" weekly news program, Channel One Russia, April 14, 2013

Тьерри Мейсан: Самое интересное, что у России есть союзники внутри американской системы

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 29, 2014 9:55:56 AM | 14

I agree with the above posts that the leader of the Free World and of the 'necessary nation' is just blowing smoke. To the degree any of this signifies anything, it is that the foreign policy establishment is still in deep denial about the changed international standing of the US, which has become distinctly less 'necessary' over the past few years, and especially since the aborted attempt to overthrow Assad. This not to say that the US does not remain supremely powerful, but the worm is turning. I do not think for one second that Obama is managing a transition to a saner long-run appreciation of America's place in the world. He is just sticking his finger in a crumbling dike.

Posted by: Knut | May 29, 2014 9:57:26 AM | 15

@9: To defend the Saudi regime, the U.S. would send in its own troops. And threaten to use nukes, if necessary.

Obama just repeated in his West Point speech the long-time U.S. doctrine that it will use military force to defend its vital interests. Of which the Saudi regime is surely one.

Posted by: lysias | May 29, 2014 10:08:52 AM | 16

A little housekeeping here: B, do you have some comments unnoticed in a spam folder? Rowan Berkeley has been unable to post.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 29, 2014 10:21:57 AM | 17

Someone at Frontline mentioned how AlCIAda is against Jews.Can anyone cite any attacks by AlCIAda against Israel,or Israeli citizens recently?(last 10 years?)An observer might speculate they are doing Zions bidding,AlCIAda.

Posted by: dahoit | May 29, 2014 10:29:29 AM | 18

What's with the censorship?

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 29, 2014 10:52:18 AM | 19

@12
Nothing would seal the fate of the Saud family enterprise than the US sending in its own troops. There is virtually nothing the US can do if there is a popular rising in Arabia.

On the post itself, Obama is making these noises for reasons of domestic politics. The US has a very simple remedy if it really fears "jihadis" in Syria: it can stop financing, training and arming them. If it did that their ranks would quickly dwindle. But it won't it has put its money on Hariri, the Saud klepto/torturocracy and terrorism. After all it cannot maintain a wahhabi army ready for deployment where needed, from Chechnya to central Asia, from Mali to the Philippines, without giving it something nasty to do and providing it with an enemy (preferably shia) de jour.

What might give the US pause are two, not unrelated, things:
1/ The same policy driving the SCO together (see Pepe's latest piece from Petrograd) is also driving the shia powers, including Iran and Iraq into the anti-US alliance. With the possibility of India being forced by sheer gravitational pull to join with them the prospects for the US hegemonic project look dim enough to force Washingtonians to learn to think realistically. On the other hand the shadow of looming defeat might just make the imperialists weirder than ever.
2/ As Mike Whitney
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/29/the-wheezing-u-s-economy/
reports the long decline of the US economy is continuing. The screws are tightening, and layer after new layer of the relatively secure are being pushed down into poverty, insecurity and desperation. There are those who believe that there is no limit to what the American people will put up with, but I disagree. In my view an explosion is coming and, when it comes, the whole strategy of pouring trillions annually into military adventures is going to be questioned. As is the, virtually unopposed, ideological juggernaut of neo-liberalism.
Maybe that is what Obama was talking about: the coming refusal of the people to allow him to pursue policies for the .01%.

This is from Whitney's piece:
"...The American people are now facing a long period of high unemployment and slow growth that will shrink the middle class and change the country in ways we can hardly imagine. It’s unavoidable. It’s the policy."

Posted by: bevin | May 29, 2014 10:54:14 AM | 20

i'm with harry @6 and mike @8..

if obama gets voted out, does anyone think anything is going to change? clinton/jeb bush? i don't think so.. same bullshit - different leader..

@9 plantman quote is attractive, but i don't know that this is going to happen either.. for me any change in the dynamic in saudi arabia will be an important step forward as it can't get any more backward then that..

Posted by: james | May 29, 2014 10:54:31 AM | 21

Sorry:
"Nothing would seal the fate of the Saud family enterprise than the US sending in its own troops."
Should read
"Nothing would seal the fate of the Saud family enterprise, more quickly, than the US sending in its own troops."

Posted by: bevin | May 29, 2014 10:57:21 AM | 22

Concerning Counterpunch, Renee Parsons yesterday and Ray McGovern today have useful articles on Ukraine.

Posted by: bevin | May 29, 2014 11:01:56 AM | 23

"Work with Assad"? Is it that or is it recognizing reality that they have lost this effort at forced regime change? For past six months there have been many reports of increased US training etc. That's been accompanied by marketing efforts to remove the association with ISIS and Al Queda. Witness the recent video "Syria: Wolves of the Valley". The good news is that Obama is setting down marker that they won't send troops .... just train more cannon fodder to fend off the far right and Saudis, prolonging the bloodshed. See review of the video at
http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/VPS_May2014_V10.pdf


Posted by: rick | May 29, 2014 11:49:46 AM | 24

As i sayed like 10 years ago, the best intelligent service are the people of the world also becouse of the internet.

The ones with the agenda of "deathculture" still think we live in the year 0. They are backward retarded and/or to stupid to realise that there are more and more people using the internet as we speak and learn a diffrent side of the so called MSM (main stream media).

They're whole agenda to have a 1 world government is not crumbling, but going into dust second by second.
I'm verry glad that i live in a glimpse of time where the people of the world can speak out and interact with eachother to be the true central intelligence of the world we live on.

Leslie Gelb thinks that the mouse (Syria) is starving and hand it a piece of cheese. When the mouse is close enough, it would be slammed with an sledgehammer.

Amen :)

Posted by: Paty Kerry | May 29, 2014 11:54:00 AM | 25

How many other US Reps think like Senator RH Black of Virginia who has praised Assad in an open letter. "You followed your father by protecting all sects" Here.http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=153910&cid=23&fromval=1&frid=23&seccatid=20&s1=1

Posted by: harry law | May 29, 2014 12:15:03 PM | 26

A century ago, during and after the genocide of the Armenians, many American families sent aid to that people because they were (and are) Christian, and parents used to tell their children when they didn't eat everything on their plates to think of the starving Armenians.

But now the dispensationalist heresy has become predominant among evangelical Protestant churches, and that heresy takes the view that earlier forms of Christianity, like Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, are not in fact Christian at all. Consequently, very many self-proclaimed Christians do not consider the Christians of the Middle East, including Syrian Christians, to be Christian, and have no sympathy for them.

Posted by: lysias | May 29, 2014 12:29:52 PM | 27

Robert Parry has a useful analysis of the West Point spiel at Consortium News. Pity about the JFK worship but....


In passing he mentions that "there were U.S.-backed coups in Honduras, Haiti and Venezuela in the 21st Century."
It strikes me that there were, even in South America, many more. There was the one in Paraguay for example. And a very close to success "police strike" cum hostage taking in Ecuador. Both very obviously US backed.
Then there is the current "election" in Colombia in which Uribe's hand picked successor is in a run off against Uribe's current candidate, who is opposed to negotiations with FARC and, like Uribe, is a paramilitary candidate.
Surely this too is sponsored by the US which works closely with the Cocaine gangs and fears nothing more than the democracy that FARC favours?

Posted by: bevin | May 29, 2014 1:06:05 PM | 28

General staff: in the South-East of Ukraine are fighting over 300 Ukrainian mercenaries, who had returned from Syria

"According to the operational data, about 300 Ukrainian military mercenaries, previously fought in the ranks of the irreconcilable Syrian opposition against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, in March - April, returned to Ukraine and joined the squad battalions radicals "Right sector"taking part in punitive operations of the Ukrainian security forces in South-Eastern areas of the country", - have informed ITAR-TASS a source in the defense Ministry.

"According to the same data, most of these mercenaries - natives of the Western regions of Ukraine," he added.

"Among them there are snipers and special forces soldiers, were particularly brutal. Behind them is not one of the "hot spot", including participation in combat actions against Federal forces in the North Caucasus", - the source said.

Now the winning these mercenaries of the Syrian army have every reason to kill a sneaky enemy in his lair. The visit of the Syrian volunteers Bashar Assad in the South East would be a good gratitude to Russia for its support in the past year."

Original:

Генштаб: на юго-востоке Украины воюют около 300 украинских наемников, вернувшихся из Сирии

Besides the "Al CIA-da" cannibals, the west is using nazi mercs along side them in Syria to terrorize the people there.

Posted by: scalawag | May 29, 2014 1:28:20 PM | 29

Let's assume for a minute, that Putin knew that his gas deal with China would be taken by Washington as a declaration of war.

I think Putin is smart enough to realize that, which is why he probably gave it a lot of thought before he took that step.

So what does he do now? After all, if you are on the US target list, there's no way to get off, so you have to be proactive in trying to defend yourself.

So far, Putin has put together a number of deals and strengthened alliances that make it look like he's moving away from the unipolar world model.

Good for him. But it won't amount to anything unless he has a game plan for protecting himself and his country. You can bet the knives are already being sharpened in Langeley and the pentagon. So he's going to have to work fast.

In broadstrokes what he needs to do is think outside the box, think asymmetrically (focus on the bond market, the dollar, and the markets) take chances, and use the element of surprise. Don't just sit there and wait for Uncle Sam to kick the crap out of you. Do something.

The key to this whole crisis is Germany. If Germany sides with Moscow; Putin wins. It's that simple.

That's why Putin should be doing everything humanly possible to strengthen ties with Berlin and supporting the Schroeder faction that are sympathetic to Moscow.

Posted by: plantman | May 29, 2014 1:38:37 PM | 30

After millions of Syrians killed /displaced / living in misery mostly as refugees where they are not well treated / deprived of water, food, med care / towns, buildings, hospitals, schools, infrastructure, destroyed. Mission accomplished ..

...> now we can work with Assad.

The US recognizes Jihadists or ‘muslim terrorists’ or whatever, as being nefarious or dangerous whenever it suits. As in this Syria case they no longer contribute to ‘wins’, are disorganized, dumb, no help at all, so turn to the winner...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Obama pledges to increase support for Syrian Rebels.

May 28, 2014, The National.

US president Barack Obama announced plans to increase support to Syria’s rebels and for a new $5 billion counter-terrorism fund that will in part help regional countries address the refugee crisis and security threats produced by the civil war.

http://tinyurl.com/ndgyvyt

yahoo news: Obama promises to boost support for Syrian opposition. May 28 as well.

http://tinyurl.com/nypp9t2

Posted by: Noirette | May 29, 2014 1:41:44 PM | 31

Diviser la Syrie pour négocier... avec Assad Al Manar titled with Leila Mazboudi on Mai 24th. L. Mazboudi is not somebody, but chief editor of Al Manar.

The US works already with Assad. The UN and several NGO's participated in the negotiations that led to deportation of remaining terrorists from Homs.

And now a much bigger deal of the same kind was made in Damascus Countryside.

Mohammad Balloud, french correspondent of As Safir, who proved to be an exellent source since 2012 at least, tells you how the partition of Syria went on for a while with the help of foreign NGO's. For example German government is funding an endowment that assists local rebel authorities in Ar Rastan in building local administration and government.

Leslie Gelb argues:

if [Assad] is not winning, he’s certainly not losing. And no amount of projected aid to the moderate rebels will change that unfortunate but unarguable fact.

Well put. And Obama announced, that the same should be valid the other way round. In fact, this is the case already , otherwise Damascus wouldn't have had the incentive to the above mentioned deals.

btw: Debka announced the strategy as well:

... 3. Establishing a US military intelligence foothold on the Damascus periphery to challenge Russian and Iranian exclusivity as the only major powers with operational access to the Syrian capital.
4. US military intelligence agents on the spot would seek to establish ties with high-ranking Syrian general command officers and the field commanders of units deployed in and around Damascus.
5. Creating a barrier to stave off Al Qaeda encroachments on Damascus or the Syrian-Jordanian and Syrian-Israeli borders and so preventing the jihadis from gaining jumping-off positions for attacks inside those countries.

Further reading in German (two blog-posts of me)
http://tomgard2.blog.de/2014/05/26/syrien-26-mai-18546683/
http://tomgard2.blog.de/2014/05/29/syrien-29-18558789/

Posted by: TomGard | May 29, 2014 1:46:15 PM | 32

@13

Um... No.

I can point to you about Mossad acting against the west, but not western intelligence against Israel

Btw, 'the jews' is not synonymous with Israel or Israelis. Not all jews are israeli and not all israelis are jews.

So if that commentator has evidence to such a thing I would be happy for him to speak it, but I would assume definitely not.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 29, 2014 1:50:20 PM | 33

@ 18) yes, regime change has failed. The Syrian army is closing in on the terrorist positions in Aleppo city which means Military victory is closer than ever. I hope Obama is preparing for this inevitable outcome.

Posted by: hilmi hakim | May 29, 2014 1:52:11 PM | 34

With his annoucement of support and training to 'moderate rebels, who is Obama thinking he is fooling?
The 'moderate' rebels? The Western opinion?

The "Friends of Syria" have finally understood that the 'moderate' rebel fighters are just a bunch of hopeless idealists who will never make it as they are faced with the 'immoderate' extremists that have been financed and supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and who took over the leadership of the upheaval to establish their Islamist rule.
Now the 'courageous' "Friends of Syria" all fear from their own skin. They are all panicking at the idea that these well trained terrorists will come to haunt them in their own country.
Calling to boost the 'moderate' rebels is a fig leave to hide Obama and Europe's top priority: Boost any party who is able to kill these terrorists so they never go back from where they came.
That includes .... the powerful Syrian army.

It is therefore obvious that the overthrow of Bashar al Assad is not a priority anymore, quite the contrary as his presence ensures the cohesion of the Syrian army helping to eradicate the terrorists.
Tacitely Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait are in agreement that Bashar al Assad will have to leave AFTER the terrorists are eliminated in Syria and Iraq.
The only staunch opponent is Qatar, who continues to support anyone that would eliminate Bashar al Assad from power so they can come and finance the 'rebuilding' of a country they could claim as theirs.
Qatar has few Achilles' heel, it will only renounce to its Moslem Brotherhood support if Turkey does so too. It is matter of time that this will happen.

Posted by: Virgile | May 29, 2014 2:08:30 PM | 35

thx TomGard at 26 that clarifies somewhat. or a lot.

Posted by: Noirette | May 29, 2014 2:12:13 PM | 36

"That leaves the Syrian government under President Assad as the only party to work with."

Not that I believe this story one iota but if true it would be just like how the US "worked with" Qaddafy, Saddam etc etc. You're only a "partner" until the US unilaterally decides that your time is up and you get an anal-knife raping or whatever the method of spectacular death du jour currently is. Think you can be subservient enough for the US? Hah, anal-knife raping for you, fucker. I think the only thing that keeps many of the world's elite alive is that they share the same child sex-slaves as their US counterparts. Or is that a rite of passage? Hmmmmm....

Anyhow, the problem with people banking on the US economy and its destruction being the catalyst to change is that the US economy - and by extension the economies of the Western world - are COMPLETE and TOTAL manipulated fabrications that have again ZERO ZIP NADA ZILCH bearing/correlation to reality anymore.

Seriously, people must understand/know that EVERY SINGLE market - stocks, bonds, PM's, oil, commodities, etc - in the US is a complete utter manipulated fantasy/spectacle and that means every indicator, index, statistic, quote, etc.

For example, due to the LIBOR scandal we KNOW for a fact that the base numbers used to set the interest rates for the entire planet are completely just made up and have no basis in anything resembling an objective real need. The bankers just get together and collude to make it whatever number they want and adjust the TRILLIONS of dollars/euros etc in investments they have to best take advantage of the number they set.

Gee, I don't remember anything having changed after THAT came to scandal light, huh? Weird.

Ok, from there we can look at the stock markets which somehow are still breaking records even though the vast majority of people - read: those without money invested in said markets - have seen ZERO economic improvement in their lives but rather a steady decline which simply continues the decline they've been experiencing for nearly 50 years.

Within the QE era, HFT and other sundry devices/practices allow computers/algos to now give the biggest players - read: TPTB - whatever stock etc numbers they need at any given time in any given market all the while the 20%? 30%? of the bourgeois just keep on thinking everything's great as THEIR shares in the fantastical nonsense markets go up with those of our war criminal overlords.

Do you really think that the bourgeois members of American society care if it all is bullshit while their nest eggs are going up up up? Why would they EVER call for a correction? The dominant mantra in the US is STILL that business are too CONSTRAINED by regulation and taxes even among many of the powerless proles so there's really no reason to think that - in the absence of a real (read: not Piketty-esque ameliorative nonsense) Marxist/socialist alternative paradigm - anything is going to change anytime soon.

Really, do people think that TPTB have not gamed the loss of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency? That it's going to catch all of TPTB by "surprise" a la 2007-8? Y'know, that type of "surprise" by which the rich/powerful become even MORE rich and powerful and further entrench their gains/loot/station? I think they probably have. As "incompetent" TPTB may appear in certain arenas, making/safeguarding their loot is one in which they most undoubtedly always seem to land on their feet. No matter what.

Shall we talk about what a concerted scam/strategy the ENTIRE profession/discipline of economics has been for the last 50 years in the US/West? How seemingly inexplicably - oops - every fucking nonsensical neoliberal theory and the economists who spouted them have filled every university econ dept. and think tank decade after decade until in the US/West there really IS NO ALTERNATIVE anymore? Maggie, you were a fucking seer. Or were you just showing us the hand we were being dealt?

All the while the peons have been continuously conditioned to do more with less as they are incessantly being fed nonsense/fantasy number after nonsense/fantasy number.

Unemployment's only 6%, right, peons? Never mind that TPTB just stopped counting the people who've been unemployed for too long or those who are only working part-time now. Oopsie.

Inflation is only 2%, right, f*ckheads? Never mind the reduced size of your grocery items. How about a 1/3 of a gallon of ice cream instead of 1/2 for the same price? What do you have to say about that, peons? Silence.

And the stock market is really breaking records because those numbers really have some correlation to reality, right?

When looking at the different aspects of the American spectacle in toto and how they are used as weapons of dominance and control, one would be hard-pressed to find the equivalence of the ENTIRE financial system/spectacle that is currently operating in the US. And I mean even INCLUDING all of the intelligence/military shit that drives so much of what occurs in the US foreign affairs arena.

The lives of enough people in the US are now entirely dependent upon/invested in the charade to continue and it's been a charade - although never approaching the totality it is now - for years and years. Those poor enough to not be dependent on the charade are being left to die - or rotting in prison - as the last remaining vestiges of social support are slowly - ever so slowly - being systematically - but ever so slowly - dismantled and scrapped.

The economic system in the US is now "spectacular capitalism" which means that the economy's doing as well as a TPTB tell us it is.

They have the numbers to prove it.

Posted by: JSorrentine | May 29, 2014 3:45:24 PM | 37

Correction to #26:

This is the Mohammad Balloud-Article:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/05/syria-rebels-setback-south-national-council.html

Posted by: TomGard | May 29, 2014 4:23:03 PM | 38

If this Gelb rumor is true then it very good news. It would mean that the admin is realizing that it's Syrian policy has failed. The day that Ambassador Stevens was killed in Benghazi it was obvious that his killers were also our allies in the war against Syria. This statement by Gelb --the White House finally has come to see as the real and major threat—the jihadists. is mind-boggling. Finally! Its taken them this long to discover this? They can't be that dense. It is just a way to admit that the policy has failed.

I was fearful that Obama was going to follow Ann Marie Slaughter's advice and retaliate against Russia by escalating the war in Syria. It would be comforting to see more substantial evidence than just Gelb's anonymous sources.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2014 4:30:42 PM | 39

Toivos

You gotta be sarcastic, you cant be THAT naive!?

Posted by: Anoynmous | May 29, 2014 4:49:00 PM | 40

This may be some sort of pause or pivot... but it's always a pivot to yet more neoliberalcon sociopathic chaos, mayhem, death and IMF destruction... It's who the U.S./West is, what they do... all they know.

Oh wait... didn't we just budget in 60 million to remodel or expand Guantanamo? Aren't we back on the shores of Libya, just this week? Conducting a coup within a layer of our last coup? Didn't we just budget another 600 billion (they tell us about) 'defense' budget? Didn't all the Snowden revelations just lead to the Pres. and congress making all that activity retroactively immune and from here on out legal?

Taking the words of these madmen and women seriously when they utter any reasonable sounding one or two liners.... Stockholm Syndrome.

Any seemingly polite pivot in words by these monsters can always be met with streaming documented actions to the contrary. Always.

You really surprised me today, b.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | May 29, 2014 5:41:50 PM | 41

@Toivos

Im going to agree with 34.

When does the establishment ever tell the truth? Ever?

Theyre going to say they will work together with Assad, WHILE CONTINUING TO SUPPORT THE TERRORISTS TRYING TO DESTROY SYRIA.

If you dont understand thats how the US rolls, im sorry but you must have not been reading the history of US foreign policy for the last 60 years.

@35 I have to agree here. B is being Naive. Doesnt he know well enough to NEVER take the white house at face value?

Posted by: Massinissa | May 29, 2014 8:10:00 PM | 42

The last time we worked with Assad, he took in millions of Iraqi refuges.... and he/we all renditioned and tortured together.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | May 29, 2014 8:52:32 PM | 43

@ToivoS#33:

I seriously doubt that an administration official would use such language with Gelb, even if this reflects Obama's actual thinking:

Thus, Obama either will have to change his means and provide massive aid to these rebels, which he will not do, or he will have to change his goal of eliminating Assad. This may well surprise experts, but senior administration officials tell me that Obama has been modifying his objective and is now prepared to work with Assad, to some degree, along with the moderate rebels, against what the White House finally has come to see as the real and major threat—the jihadists. These senior officials further say that they expect support in this new policy from previous opponents, i.e. from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Let us hope that this is true.

With an election just months away, Obama will continue to say just enough to avoid upsetting Congressional Dems' big donors about "moderate rebels" and about Assad's "illegitimacy" even as those propaganda points erode for increasing Americans who are able to spot an actual fact or a buried lede in the MSM's coverage of the region. In the meantime, the MSM touts the amazing democracy despite the small turnout in Ukraine and Egypt's elections, but ignore the overwhelming turnout of early absentee voting of Syrian expatriates and refugees in those countries where it still has working embassies.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 29, 2014 10:43:44 PM | 44

Thank you b for a Syria thread!!! So many things have been happening in the region in the past few days, between the Pope's visit to the Middle East and condemnation of weapons profiteers, Jordan's expulsion of the Syrian Ambassador and the early voting at Syrian embassies.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 29, 2014 10:47:37 PM | 45

I am with b. on this one. For the following reason

Saudi-Iran talks offer fuels hope

If they want that Iran deal - and they badly do now China has thrown its weight behind Russia (and Iran) - they have to pack in the Sunni-Shiite split business. Or do you believe the US is going to sanction Chinese banks on dealing with Russian banks to transfer Yuan to Iran? When China owns $1.227 trillion in U.S. Treasuries?. And Saudi Arabia has signed an alliance with China?

It is possible that the US has agreed with Russia and Assad to back an opposition faction Assad / Russia / Saudi Arabia / Iran can accept on and make it win among the opposition.

There is also the Palestinian unity deal that would not have happened without financing by Saudi Arabia.

And, of course, there is Egypt and Libya.

Russia seems to be doing something similar in Donetsk just now.

The US has got to get out of sanctions or get cut out of international business. Or isolate economically, which might be good for US workers and good for Chinese consumers.

As the Kazakh saying goes: Blowing out another's (oil) lamp will only burn one's beard.

Nobel peace price, pah! There is a Silk Road Peace Price now

Following the talks, at the witness of Xi Jinping, Nursultan Nazarbayev received the Silk Road Peace Prize. As initiated by Chinese civil sectors, selected by all circles of society, and presented by the Committee of Silk Road Peace Prize, the prize aims to carry forward the spirit of Silk Road and commend organizations and personnel from various countries who made great contributions to maintaining world peace, and promoting regional stability and national reconciliation.

Posted by: somebody | May 29, 2014 11:48:07 PM | 46

Watch this guy - Silk Road peace - new Europe initiative :-))

First, let me starts with the geographic sense of the Silk Road, which begins at Xi’An of Shaanxi province, hometown of Chinese President Xi Jinping, goes through Xinjiang to Central Asian countries, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and the UK. The region covers not only the European countries which are mired in economic difficulties, but also such hot-spot Middle East counties as Iraq, Iran and Syria. If the problems and disputes in the Middle East can be eased, and if the several weak European economies can recover as a result of the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” what effects do you think this would have on Europe? I believe that the launching of the concept would bring about unprecedented opportunities for Europe. The Chinese leaders only put forward this concept after considering this would bring common benefits to the world.

This initiative only makes sense if it is not so much about exporting Chinese goods but about Chinese investment, too (see the trillions of US bonds)

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 12:08:20 AM | 47

Posted by: somebody | May 29, 2014 11:48:07 PM | 40

I am with b. on this one.

That is the main purpose of your comments. ;)

--------------------

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah commemorating the Day of Resistance and Liberation held in the Southern village of Bint Jbeil on May 25th, 2014

Nice to read something from somebody in a position of leadership who isn't full of shit.

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 1:07:41 AM | 48

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 1:07:41 AM | 42

Nice to read something from somebody in a position of leadership who isn't full of shit.

As a matter of fact, he is. He is an authoritarian sectarian leader allied with an authoritarian secular leader on sectarian grounds. To define his fight as "resistance" saves him from having to lay out what he is fighting for.

When you go back to the history of Hezbollah in the Lebanese civil war, their role was bad in the context of Lebanon. Hezbollah was full part of the sectarian split he is denouncing now as a plan by Israel, same as Iraqui Shiite groups allied with the US in the sectarian split of formerly secular Iraq.

He is good in rethoric. Here an example from your link where he is splitting hair

Our goal is humble. We are not saying we want a president who protects the resistance. I will remind you of 2006 and what I said in 2006. We want a president who does not conspire against the resistance. We want a president who does not stab the resistance in the back. We want a president who has a firm stance from the resistance. That's what we want.

If religion and ethnicity were different from state, all people having the same human/civil rights irrespective of descent, there would be peace in the Middle East.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 1:47:44 AM | 49

From 2002

Israel created two of its own worst enemies, Hamas and Hezbollah

Scrap the "unintended" from the article. Israel did not like the enlightened secular PLO leadership the West could sympathize with. They prefered someone they could justify fighting. When the PLO stopped to be terrorists they could justify fighting, they needed new ones.

Hamas and Hezbollah came to rise as alternative to the Oslo accords.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:03:01 AM | 50

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 1:47:44 AM | 43

Thank you for confirming not only your role supporting western corporate fascism, but specifically and more importantly, that your disinformation spam is designed to promote an Israeli friendly POV (IE: you are hasbara).

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 2:06:18 AM | 51

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:03:01 AM | 44

Thank you for further digging your credibility grave, Israeli.

How do you sleep at night, promoting this Israeli genocidal thinking? Dumb question, eh, zionist? Yeah. Everybody knows, those without a soul never stay awake kicking themselves in the ass worrying about their depredations on others, or promoting of the same. Look at Charles Manson for an example of the mentality.

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 2:16:50 AM | 52

somebody

So what are hezbollah really fighting for in your opinion if hezbollah "full of shit" as you claim?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2014 2:17:13 AM | 53

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 2:06:18 AM | 45

Yes, I do consider Israelis, Sunnis, Shiites, Communists, Fascists, US Americans, Syrians, Russians, Chinese, Western and Eastern Ukrainians to be made from the same human stuff.

Do you think something else? Please explain.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:19:08 AM | 54

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:19:08 AM | 48

"Yes, I do consider Israelis, Sunnis, Shiites, Communists, Fascists, US Americans, Syrians, Russians, Chinese, Western and Eastern Ukrainians to be made from the same human stuff."

I don't think of people as "marks" to exploit, israeli, that's the main difference between you and I.

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 2:29:10 AM | 55

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 2:29:10 AM | 49

I don't think of people as "marks" to exploit, israeli, that's the main difference between you and I.

I am afraid you have to explain a bit more. How do you define Israeli? By citizenship? Or in national/ethnic origin (which is Palestinian, plus Iraqi, Iranian, Moroccon, Yemeni, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian ..... , plus Bedouin)? Or by religion, which would be Jewish, Christian and Sunni Muslim, plus Bahai? Or by ruling political parties, which would be a coalition of Jewish religious fundamentalist and Zionist (no, Zionists are not religious, just sectarian)? Or by official language, which is Hebrew and Arabic or the languages actually spoken which are many more?

If you agree with Zionists that there is something like Israeli you accept it.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 3:24:16 AM | 56

Israel is an artificial construction out of that fatal Austrian-Hungarian mix, that still brews something like the Ukrainian-Russian language war.

See here - modern Hebrew

Modern Hebrew (Hebrew: עברית חדשה‎, Ivrit Chadashah), also known as Israeli Hebrew[4] (Hebrew: עברית ישראלית‎ ivrit yisre'elit), is the result of the most successful language revitalization project in history, and intimately linked to the Zionist movement and the founding of the modern state of Israel. There is debate over whether it is a direct continuation of Classical Hebrew or something closer to a relexified Yiddish, with a grammar that is more Slavic than Semitic.

The revival of the Hebrew language was led by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 4:04:55 AM | 57

somebody | May 30, 2014 1:47:44 AM | 43

If religion and ethnicity were different from state, all people having the same human/civil rights irrespective of descent, there would be peace in the Middle East.

That's the position Obama would like to dominate White House and State Department policy. It's kind of nostalgic of the Reagan Plan which was a reaction to israel military figthing the US-army in Lebanon. "Secularization of Israel" at that time was the ideology to the US-plan, to lay the Israeli zionists off the role of ME-bandog and switch to a policy exploiting inner-arabic and arabic-persian rivalries.

And in fact the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was the starting point of the neocon coup on 9/11 in favour of "full flegded global dominance", on which Obamas administration is based, which he continues, but which brought his domestic rivals (especially Killary "We camem, wie saw, he died" Clinton) to power.

After that coup Ariel Sharon circumstancially became the last of the jewish "Princes of Darkness" the Reagan Plan sought to counter. His rivals and successors, namely Netanyahu, Barak, Olmert, Yaalon are racketeers of a military - industrial oligarchy, that is less "jewish" than any other attribut you might think of. Rather you could name them "christian fundamentalists".

It was interesting so follow the change, Hasan Nasrallah underwent in this process. With his foes becoming warlords and thugs, he changed from an sectarian chieftain to a genuin political and spiritual leader. A process of "christianization", too, patriachic / political opportunism is at the bottom of Christianity.

So, well, Somebody talks BS, but certainly not Hasbara-BS.

Posted by: TomGard | May 30, 2014 4:07:52 AM | 58

# 52 addendum

Joint Discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres Hosted by the Brookings Institution, Remarks Hillary Rodham Clinton, June 12, 2012

Posted by: TomGard | May 30, 2014 4:26:52 AM | 59

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2014 2:17:13 AM | 47

Only Hezbollah knows. Officially all they are doing is fighting "against".

I have a suspicion though. Just as Fascists and Russian nationalists agree on fighting for "traditional values", Hezbollah is fighting for traditional values, too.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 5:02:43 AM | 60

Posted by: TomGard | May 30, 2014 4:07:52 AM | 52

Zionism is by definition secular. Jewish religion bans military service.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 5:04:11 AM | 61

see religious Zionism - German 19th century stuff.

Religious Jews believe that "Eretz Yisrael" (the Land of Israel) was promised to the ancient Israelites by God and the right of the Jews to the land is permanent and inalienable. To generations of diaspora Jews, Jerusalem has been a symbol of the Holy Land and of their return to it, as promised by God in numerous Biblical prophecies. Despite this, many Jews did not embrace Zionism before the 1930s and certain religious groups opposed it then as some groups still do now, on the grounds that an attempt to re-establish Jewish rule in Israel by human agency was blasphemous.

and

Religious Jews also disapproved of the Zionists because many were secular Jews or atheists, taking their cue from Marxism. Socialist Zionism envisaged the movement as a tool for building an advanced socialist society in the land of Israel, while solving the problem of antisemitism.

Netanyahu's attempt to define Israel as "Jewish" state is a desperate last ditch attempt to get some consistency into its identity.

It would be very difficult for him to explain how he defines "Jewish" in politically correct speech.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 5:14:08 AM | 62

Somebody,
jewish "by definition" antizionist ... uh? How nice a definition.

so "peace in the ME", at least from the israeli side, would come by erecting a genuin religious jewish state?
Remember what you wrote before?

If religion and ethnicity were different from state, all people having the same human/civil rights irrespective of descent, there would be peace in the Middle East.

Disorientated?

Posted by: TomGard | May 30, 2014 5:30:55 AM | 63

My comments are missing, what the hell happened?

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:21:36 AM | 64

My comments are missing, what the hell happened?

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:22:22 AM | 65

That was the plan all along, as described by Thierry Meyssan many months ago, which I have tried to bring to attention a number of times.

(Video) "Time" weekly news program, Channel One Russia, April 14, 2013

Тьерри Мейсан: Самое интересное, что у России есть союзники внутри американской системы

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:23:13 AM | 66

That was the plan all along, as described by Thierry Meyssan many months ago, which I have tried to bring to attention a number of times.

voltairenet.org article178197: "(Video) Time weekly news program, Channel One Russia, April 14, 2013"

www.odnako.org terri-meysan-samoe-interesnoe-chto-u-rossii-est-soyuzniki-vnutri-amerikanskoy-sistemi "Тьерри Мейсан: Самое интересное, что у России есть союзники внутри американской системы"

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:24:44 AM | 67

That was the plan all along, as described by Thierry Meyssan many months ago, which I have tried to bring to attention a number of times.

voltairenet: article178197: "(Video) Time weekly news program, Channel One Russia, April 14, 2013"

odnako: terri-meysan-samoe-interesnoe-chto-u-rossii-est-soyuzniki-vnutri-amerikanskoy-sistemi "Тьерри Мейсан: Самое интересное, что у России есть союзники внутри американской системы"

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:25:31 AM | 68

@somebody of course you are right about Hamas and Hezbollah being Israeli creations, but they've grown, especially Hezbollah, into something independent and unexpected by the Israeli criminal regime. Hamas case is more murky, they are divided, what's really pathetic - a leader of that "resistance movement" supported terroism against Syria, he's been bought off by Qatar where he probably still comfortably resides.

But you are plainly paranoid about the nationalism, which in essence is not bad, but has been smeared and its meaning distorted by the ruling cabal that wants to get rid of any challenges to their power, and such challenges are rooted in peoples nationalist/religious persuasions.

@scalawag you are paranoid about hasbara/sayanim, you do not see @somebody's irrationality coming from his silly fears of nationalism, not from being an Israeli agent

The bickering on this and other forum and Saker's pathetic gay bashing are sad examples why the ruling satanic "elite" has been so successful in their "divide and conquer" imperialist quest. It's very easy to make people loose their cool, rationale, solidarity, patience by adjusting the knobs for the parameters the social control. At some point people cannot stand prolonged stress and become extremely selfish and defensive. That's how it's been done.

Of course the remedy is education to make people aware of such manipulation and train them in absorbing such shocks, and resisting pressure. It can be done but only as a conscious collective human effort.

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:38:26 AM | 69

@57: A "genuin religious Jewish state" is a contradiction in itself. Judaism does not allow a Jewish state.

Posted by: g_h | May 30, 2014 6:46:01 AM | 70

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | May 30, 2014 6:38:26 AM | 60

:-)) Just because I am paranoid about nationalism does not mean it is rational.

How do you construct it? After WWI (nationalist), WWII (racist) we had a fairly relaxed period of "free world" against "communism", both overtly neither nationalist nor racist concepts though covertly the US used fascist, nationalist and radical religious groups in the fight. When Russia did a disappearing act as an enemy, only nationalism (ethnicity, culture, language) or sectarianism were left as constructs to justify the sharing or non sharing of resources.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 8:05:21 AM | 71

well, Somebody hijacked the thread - again...

b, the hasbara bots have discovered your site. Will be impossible to get much in the way of intelligent comments wrt thread topic in the future.

Posted by: crone | May 30, 2014 8:22:57 AM | 72

#54 Somebody
Sorry, on that I don't follow you. Hezbollah is fighting for the survival of the Shiite communities in Lebanon. These people have been there since even before Iran was majoritarily Shiite (something which happened only through the bloody Safavid rule).
Without Hezbollah as a representant in the stupid confessional system of Lebanon, the Shiites would be shown the way out, just as the Palestinian Christians have been all over the Near East. Maybe the more you share traditions with Pre-Islamic Judaic and Christian practices and the higher you get on the hit list.

Posted by: Mina | May 30, 2014 9:26:49 AM | 73

Posted by: Mina | May 30, 2014 9:26:49 AM | 64

To protect the Shiites, was/is it necessary for Hezbollah to organize as Shiite with a Shiite cleric as leader, or could they have organized with others for protecting the rights of all?
As is, they are part of a system that reinforces itself and facilitates civil war, as presumably, they are the strongest voting block now, so positions open for all and equal value of votes would nix the representation of anybody else.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 10:30:14 AM | 74

"or could they have organized with others for protecting the rights of all?"

Uh.. Thats what they do bro.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 30, 2014 10:48:56 AM | 75

@63
I always wonder, when these outbreaks of silly bickering occur, whether those participating are just interested in sharing the unoriginal opinions that they adopt, because it is easier than thinking for themselves; or whether it is that scalawag enjoys abusing others while somebody likes to be abused.

Posted by: bevin | May 30, 2014 11:41:22 AM | 76

To Vote, Or Not To Vote? Syrians Ponder Their Choices

Aryn Baker / Damascus @arynebaker


As Damascus prepares for Presidential elections on June 3, Syrians must make the difficult choice between casting a meaningless vote or boycotting the process as the country's brutal civil war shows no sign of ending
...


The poet Majid Hamdan calls on Syrians to vote

Even though he had strong criticisms of Assad’s regime, Ammar said he was most likely to vote for the Syrian President. Given the circumstances in the country—a conflict now in its fourth year, economic collapse and the rise of extremist groups among the anti-Assad rebels—he opined that it was not the time for change. “At this time Bashar is the only person capable to combat terrorism. He is the only one who can bring back international investment.” But, warned Ammar, he had high expectations, and would be willing to take back his vote in the next election if Assad doesn’t deliver. “He has a responsibly to bring democracy and social justice. We have to get rid of corruption. We want good, educated and competent people in the right positions to take our country forward.”

http://time.com/2796972/syrians-ponder-choices-for-presidential-elections/

Posted by: Virgile | May 30, 2014 12:10:24 PM | 77

Who other than Assad is "available" in the election?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2014 12:36:27 PM | 78

The reason Hezbollah are so strong is they need to be, since the Lebanese Army cannot defend against an Israeli assault. The US deliberately make the Lebanese armed forces weak, I think their air force consists of a couple of bi-planes, the army equipped with flintlocks etc, I seem to remember in the 2006 war against Israel the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniola was crying, [literally] about his inability to do anything to stop the slaughter,[even if he wanted to]. Hezbollah have said that when the day comes that the Lebanese Armed forces can protect Lebanon, they will integrate their forces with them, that's fair enough.

Posted by: harry law | May 30, 2014 1:48:45 PM | 79

Posted by: Massinissa | May 30, 2014 10:48:56 AM | 75

I believe you have to be Shiite to join.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:33:10 PM | 80

somebody

Hezbollah unite all kinds of groups in Lebanon, thats why they enjoy a significant support by the people. Its not only shiites that supports/works with them.

You are right in a sense that they are sectarian but thats not what defines them. Also the rest of Lebanon political groups are sectarian so it has nothing to do with HEzbollah in particular.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2014 2:50:41 PM | 81

According to today’s lead article in Al Binaa (a newspaper belonging to the Lebanese PPS), former Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman, now working for the United Nations, told the Saudis that their actions in the war against Syria have to end quickly as the developments in Syria, with the ever stronger position of President Assad, could harm the security of Israel.

http://al-binaa.com/albinaa/?article=5562

There seems to be a kind of natural law concerning Great Powers loosing their position: Whatever they are doing or saying in such a situation is further undermining their interests. When the US and its allies started the war against Syria it was the many declarations that Pres. Assad was finished and had to leave which helped Damascus a lot. Syrian television-stations showed such a declaration of Mrs. Clinton about twenty times after it was made. The declaration strongly enhanced the support of most Syrians for Assad’s Presidency.

During these last weeks the US and its allies have again shown their hubris and acted in a similar way believing that by prohibiting the Syrian presidential elections in their countries they would harm Syria. Again these powers showed how little they understand Syrians and their strong national pride. The huge numbers of voters coming to the embassies to vote in Lebanon and in Jordan demonstrate how most Syrians, confronted with foreign powers trying to meddle in Syria’s affairs, react in such situations. The governments of Jordan and the elements of the Lebanese Government supporting the West are feeling now the presence of the many refugees from Syria, obviously mostly supporting Pres. Assad, as a threat. With pro-Syrian demonstrations in cities in the south of Jordan (Karak) and growing discontent with the pro-Israeli positions of the King there is a possibility that the situation in Jordan precipitates. An anti-Israeli regime might come into power there completely changing the strategic situation of Israel. It could well be this fear of what might happen in Jordan which influences US decision-makers.

Posted by: alpino | May 30, 2014 2:53:18 PM | 82

@ Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:33:10 PM | 80 and amplifying the response Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2014 2:50:41 PM | 81

I believe you have to be Shiite to join.

You believe wrongly if you're talking about the situation as it is now. The Hizb have Christian fighters, Christian Officers and NCOs, Sunni Officers and NCOs and Sunni fighters. Yes they are overwhelmingly Shi'i that's a reflection of where in Lebanon they spring from and the circumstances from which they sprang but they aren't sectarian per se. You could argue (and I would agree) that upto about ten years ago they were explicitly Shi'i now they try to be for all Lebanese when it comes to fighting American imperialism and that of America's regional satrap. They've built a very successful political coalition with Christian political parties and with Sunni Muslim parties. Less successfully with the Sunni Muslim parties than with the Christian parties it is true but they have done it. Any of the Druze I've ever known hate them like poison, I've never managed to get a coherent explanation* as to why.

Dubhaltach.

* What I mean by that is that any time the topic comes up the Druze in question goes from charming and affable to snarling and hatefilled in the emotional equivalent of 0 to 100 kmph in fifteen seconds.

D

Posted by: Dubhaltach | May 30, 2014 3:20:22 PM | 83

@80

Yes, you do.

And? That doesnt prevent them for fighting for the whole of Lebanon.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 30, 2014 4:34:13 PM | 84

@80 Re.

Actually im not really sure. Dub may be right.

But either way.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 30, 2014 4:35:20 PM | 85

After Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, the USA chosen group to rule the Arab World, the Moslem Brotherhood, promoted by Qatar and Turkey as 'moderate islamists' are down the drain.
Libya is the next Waterloo for this infantile US policy in the region.

The Moslem Brotherhood and the Islamist extremists will be eradicated in most Arab republics and the power will go back to a government backed by a strong army. The only sign of democracy will be the ballot box.

Under the GCC pressure most Moslem Brotherhood leaders left to Libya. Now they will find a safe haven in Tunisia that has not yet crushed decisively the Moslem Brotherhood in their country.
(Will Tunisia find a strong military man like Hiftar to eliminate the Islamists once from all from Libya?)
In the meantime the US is in a total confusion having been naive to believe Turkey, Qatar childish scenarios and encouraged by the neocons who jumped on the wagon to help destroy Israel staunchest enemy.
As Obama will be obliged to work with Libyan Hiftar, he will soon work with Bashar al Assa....

Posted by: Virgile | May 30, 2014 4:57:10 PM | 86

Virgile

US have worked against the opposition in the arab world that is the MB for decades.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2014 5:09:20 PM | 87

Somebody's comments here in the thread are egregiously wrong. I met a Lebanese scholar who was born into a Shiite family and fought in the 1980s civil war. Personally he was an atheist. He worked actively with Hezbollah in South Lebanon as a medic. Hezbollah earned his support because they were clearly the only group that placed national liberation from Israeli rule over their parochial interests. Somebody's statement that "Hezbollah came to rise as alternative to the Oslo accords" is down right stupid. Hezbollah had nothing to do with Oslo. Its rise to prominence was because it was the only force in Lebanon that mounted a effective resistance to Israel occupation and aggression.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 30, 2014 5:29:11 PM | 88

@80

Yes, you do.

And? That doesnt prevent them for fighting for the whole of Lebanon.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 30, 2014 4:34:13 PM | 84

To repeat myself. No, you do NOT have to be Shi'i to be either a Hizballah fighter, or a Hizballah NCO, or a Hizballah officer. You can be a Christian, or a Sunni Muslim, just as long as you're a Lebanese patriot and willing to devote a hell of a lot of your life to very arduous and intensive training and to subject yourself to Hizballah's military discipline.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | May 30, 2014 5:35:08 PM | 89

@ Posted by: ToivoS | May 30, 2014 5:29:11 PM | 88

Yes, precisely. Lebanese patriot? = Welcome to Hizballah's basic training during which they see if you're trainable up to their standard or not. Added to which that comment about Oslo which I somehow missed:

Hamas and Hezbollah came to rise as alternative to the Oslo accords.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2014 2:03:01 AM | 50

Is flat out false in regards to Hizballah. The Hizb predate Oslo I by more than a decade. The Israelis did NOT have any hand act or part in their foundation. I suppose you could count the Hizb kicking the shit out of the Israeli Armed Forces during their barbaric invasions and occupations of Lebanon causing the Israeli Armed Forces and their vicious sidekicks in the SLA to engage in that military tactic used exclusively by defeated armies called "running away" as helping found them but only if you also believe that Princess Sparklepony is real, that the world is flat, and that the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | May 30, 2014 8:01:54 PM | 90

@87

The USG under Eisenhower allied with the muslim 'Brothers'-

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/feb/05/washingtons-secret-history-muslim-brotherhood/

Posted by: crone | May 30, 2014 8:06:43 PM | 91

To lump the victims in with the victimizers is really out of bounds, but it is a common tool of political propagandists (and those they have convinced). It is extraordinarily slimy of "somebody" to accuse Hezbollah of being "sectarian" in light of what the Syrian war has shown us the abysmal, barbaric violence that being "sectarian" can mean.

It seems the height of ignorance (or disingenuousness) to append the same adjective to Hezbollah, an entity that has been entirely on the receiving end of the ethnically motivated attacks, as has been applied those sectarian fanatics launching them. People who are chopping off people's heads for the crime of praying differently.

Hezbollah may have emerged, organically, within a smaller section of a religion in a small part of an occupied country and taken its name and customs from that, but no force aside from maybe the Syrian government has been more careful to tamp down the fires of sectarianism in the Levant than them. And this is even more exceptional in light of the goading actions of the Takfiris which seek precisely to cause more sectarian outrages.

The only thing more barf-worthy than the entire screed against Hezbollah was to follow it up with some long, self-righteous screed about "our common humanity" instead of just admitting you have said something indefensible. Its positively revolting.

Speaking of all of this - This Weeks Comment with George Galloway focuses on this very issue. George is absolutely right to call what is happening in Iraq and Syria a genocide against the Shia.

Posted by: guest77 | May 30, 2014 8:08:51 PM | 92

Fascinating news blackout on sites like the Guardian. Lots of "human rights" pieces but silence re Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela &c. No doubt James Cameron and others are really proud of the sterling efforts of Messrs Rusbridger, Luhn, Walker, Garton-Ash, Harding and the rest of the FCO-approved drones.

Posted by: Cortes | May 30, 2014 9:01:38 PM | 93

Posted by: bevin | May 30, 2014 11:41:22 AM | 76

"or whether it is that scalawag enjoys abusing others while somebody likes to be abused."

Your fellow traveling disinfo spammer "Somebody" ran a standard Israeli smear on Hezbollah, so instead of dealing with the disinformation "Somebody" peddled, you instead run a standard hasbara tactic of smearing those who point out the disinfo as being a "bad person" because they are critical. Unfortunately for you, bevin, is that just about everybody else here disagreed with "Somebody's" smearing of Hezbollah, some as strongly as I did. Though I believe I am the only one who equated "Somebody's" smearing with the usual Israeli smears used against Hezbollah. Perhaps that is what got your knickers in a wad? Or was it a personal grudge (IE: bitchy New York waiter BS)?

Posted by: scalawag | May 30, 2014 9:04:46 PM | 94

Posted by: guest77 | May 30, 2014 8:08:51 PM | 92

Hezbollah/Iran have achieved mutual deterrence with Israel.

As long as you talk about what someone is up against, you can justify anything. I find it difficult to see anybody who takes up arms as "victim", but that is just me.

It gets difficult when you look at what people are fighting for.

It is not freedom, equality and solidarity neither in the case of Hezbollah nor in the case of Israel.

This here is a Hezbollah explainer from someone who is certified as pro resistance writing in Al Akhbar

While the Islamic resistance’s agenda coincided with the Faqih’s ruling on the obligation to fight Israel, Hezbollah’s existence as an organizational entity, as well as its identity as a Shia Islamic movement, derives from its adherence to his guardianship. Given that the principle is a contested one within Shia religious circles, Hezbollah is the only organization in the Shia world, outside of Iran, which officially subscribes to the Wilayat al-Faqih. ... So highly sanctified is his position that Nasrallah asserts: “He who rejects the authority of the Wilayat al-Faqih, rejects God and Ahlu’l-Bayt (the descendants of Imam Ali and his wife, Fatima, the Prophet Mohammad’s daughter) and is almost a polytheist.” It logically follows that subscribing to the concept of the wilaya is a sine qua non for membership in the party: “All those who want to be part of Hezbollah have to commit themselves to its [doctrinal] code, and Wilayat al-Faqih is part of this.”

Posted by: somebody | May 31, 2014 1:30:26 AM | 95

guest77 | May 30, 2014 8:08:51 PM | 92

I think you should also point out that Nasrallah avoids sectarian rhetoric in his statements. He does not denounce Sunnis, Christians or Jews. He categorizes his enemies in terms like Takfiri, Israelis, colonialists or western imperialists.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 31, 2014 1:33:36 AM | 96

Posted by: ToivoS | May 31, 2014 1:33:36 AM | 96

He is polite and he has to be able to do deals with anybody in the Lebanese context.

That does not mean he is capable of integrating anybody but Shiites into his political project - with Wilayat al Faquih going against Shiite tradition itself.

Compare that to this Conflict Forum report on the attitude of Saudi Shiites.

Shaking off their ideological ballast helped the Saudi Shiites to reach out to other reform-minded groups in Saudi Arabia. Liberal Sunni intellectuals in Riyadh and Jeddah promoting human rights, transparency in government and political reforms within the Saudi system, are obvious allies. There are many contacts and meetings. For the Shiites, mixing their specific sectarian demands into a kind of national agenda is much safer than a unilateral approach. As Sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar explains: ‘We are careful not to put specific Shiite demands too high on the agenda. If you do that, like Shiites have done in Iraq and Lebanon, you are asking for sectarian problems. The situation could easily explode here, like it did in Iraq

Posted by: somebody | May 31, 2014 2:06:50 AM | 97

somebody | May 31, 2014 1:30:26 AM | 95

Sorry somebody that does not support your statements above attacking Nasrallah. You are quoting a left wing opponent of Hizbollah for probably legitimate complaints against them. No one has ever accused them of supporting a socialist revolution in Lebanon. They are very conservative and have the backing of mercantile elements. We are not talking about a socialist revolution or even a state free from religion. Hezbollah has proven themselves as protecting Lebanon from Israeli and western imperialism. They have done this by avoiding stoking sectarian conflict against other Muslims, Christians or Jews.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 31, 2014 2:27:11 AM | 98

Posted by: ToivoS | May 31, 2014 2:27:11 AM | 98

1. Hezbollah has proven themselves as protecting Lebanon from Israeli and western imperialism.
2. They have done this by avoiding stoking sectarian conflict against other Muslims, Christians or Jews.

Ok, there are now two goal posts.

1. They are not succeding, are they? The link is a pro Hezbollah account of their success in driving out the Israelis from Lebanon, May 24, 2014.

Today, after all the time that has passed, we still face the same enemy, the same collaborators and the same defeated mentality. If they are fortunate enough to be around, it is because of the morals of the Resistance fighters. It is the kind of morality that they will never know as they jump from one foreign embassy to another offering their services against the Resistance and against their fellow citizens. When the US embassy declines to pay, they go to the British embassy or to the embassy of the terrorist French colonialists.

Now we see them looking for additional resources in the name of charitable organizations or research centers. They run after anyone willing to pay for information against the Resistance and its people. It appears that Beirut today is teeming with willing donors, especially after Turkey joined their ranks and is looking through study centers for Shia clients willing to provide it with information to confront the Hezbollah phenomenon.

Translation: Lebanon continues to be a split society governed by foreign patrons.

2. Whatever their intentions, they were very unsuccessful in that either.

You can argue, like Mina did, that Hezbollah was successful in protecting Shiite areas from Israeli land grabs, but that is the limitation of Hezbollah's project.

They are part of the sectarian problem and part of the patronage system.

Posted by: somebody | May 31, 2014 4:40:02 AM | 99

US confirms American carried out Syria suicide bombing
An American fighting for a hardline Islamist group carried out a deadly suicide bombing, US officials said Friday, in the first such case in the war.

The confirmation came amid growing fears over the flood of foreigners into Syria, with no end in sight in the three-year war that has already left 162,000 people dead.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki identified the suicide bomber as Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Abu-Salha is thought to have been behind a truck bombing against regime forces on Sunday in the northern province of Idlib.

He went by the alias Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki. Abu Hurayra refers to a companion of the prophet Mohammed and Al-Amriki means "the American" in Arabic.

Psaki agreed it was believed to be the first such suicide bombing carried out by an American since the start of the war in 2011.

Estimates of the number of foreign fighters who have flooded into Syria in the past three years range from between 9,000 to 11,000, with most believed to have come from neighboring countries.

Psaki could not give precise figures of how many Americans may be among them.

But The New York Times said about 100 Americans are believed to have traveled to Syria, mainly to join the rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

There were few other details about the mysterious American, who is said to have joined the Al-Nusra Front, which was recently outlawed by the US as a terrorist group.

The Times, citing law enforcement officials, said he was aged in his 20s, of Middle Eastern descent and from the southern state of Florida.

He is believed to have spent two months in a training camp in the divided city of Aleppo, and was on his second visit to Syria, having returned there late last year, the US daily said.

Abu-Salha was named with the help of witnesses and family members, the Times reported, citing law enforcement officials who believe his remains may never be properly identified due to the force of the blast.

A Syrian fighter from the Al-Nusra Front told the Times that Abu-Salha was an Arab-American who spoke only poor Arabic, but was dedicated to the extremists' cause.

"He was a generous, brave, tough man, always on the front lines in battles," the fighter told the US daily.

"When his turn came up" to carry out a suicide bombing, he "was very happy, because he will meet his God after that," the fighter, who called himself Abu Abdulrahman, told the Times via Facebook.

Concerns are mounting among Western powers that -- like Afghanistan in the past -- Syria is becoming a training ground for a generation of militants who will return as battle-hardened veterans ready to carry out attacks both at home and abroad.

"We are closely tracking and closely working with our partners and allies about our concern about the growth of foreign fighters and the growth of extremism," Psaki said, only days after US President Barack Obama unveiled a new $5 billion fund dedicated to the fight against terror.

Reports that an American had been involved in the Idlib bombing have been circulating for days.

A video released by Al-Nusra supporters, first reported on by the private terror watchdog SITE Intelligence Group, shows a huge explosion and footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat and identified as the attacker.

Posted by: Mina | May 31, 2014 4:57:24 AM | 100

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