Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 22, 2012

Russia And China Respond to Obama's "Red Line"

While I interpreted Obama's "red line" for attacking Syria -its use of its strategic weapons - as a free pass to the Syrian government to use all disposable means to fight the foreign supported insurgency, Russia and China seem to have a different, or additional, interpretation.

They both seem to allege that this "red line" on the use of chemical weapons is just a trick to justify an open military attack.

The Russian did so in a more diplomatic tone:

Lavrov said at the meeting with [China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo] that Russia and China base their diplomatic cooperation on "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the U.N. Charter and not to allow their violation".
Russia has also expressed concern about Syria's chemical arsenal, saying it had told Damascus that even the threat to use it was unacceptable.

But Lavrov said on Monday that the Security Council alone could authorize the use of external force against Syria, warning against imposing "democracy by bombs".

The Chinese response came through an editorial of its official news agency Xinhua: The tone is quite direct:
Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily in another conflict-torn Middle East country, as U.S. President Barack Obama warned Monday that the use of chemical weapons by Syria's government would change his "calculus."

With the hypocritical talks of eliminating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and protecting civilians in Libya still ringing in the ears, such "red line" threats seem to have almost become a signal for the United States and some of its Western allies to sharpen their weapons before exercising interventionism.

The Xinhua writer goes on with a general description and critique of "western" foreign policy behavior:
Apart from being ineffective to bring real peace, military interventions by the United States and its Western partners are always interests-driven and highly selective.

It is not difficult to find that, under the disguise of humanitarianism, the United States has always tried to smash governments it considers as threats to its so-called national interests and relentlessly replace them with those that are Washington-friendly.

That easily explains why both Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, who once worked closely with the United States, were later depicted as brutal dictators with the people's blood dipping through their fingers.

Right now, as conflicts between government troops and rebel forces still rage in Syria, nations around the world should continue to build on the progress that has been achieved by outgoing international envoy Kofi Annan and his team.

Any attempt to scrap the chances for a political settlement and to turn Syria into the next testing ground for Western weapons must be guarded against and ruled out.

It is not often that one hear such truths in official media of big world policy players.

It is obvious now that Russia and China have joined in a general fight to stop the international lawlessness that the "west" got used to after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Let's hope that they this aim and restore the principles of Westphalia and the UN Charter.

Posted by b on August 22, 2012 at 14:31 UTC | Permalink


RE: Russia and China
"They both seem to allege that this "red line" on the use of chemical weapons is just a trick to justify an open military attack."

That's the way I saw the "red line" comment.
And when you read about what is taking place in Turkey....
"Operational Mechanism" on Syria
NO PRESS allowed. I could only find 3 very brief stories

"Operational Mechanism"

Getting ready for something. And it looks to be boots on the ground.

Posted by: Penny | Aug 22 2012 14:45 utc | 1

Not to mention USA's use of Depleted Uranium in Iraq, the Atom bombs on Japan and Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Posted by: Alexiswolf | Aug 22 2012 14:53 utc | 2

I still agree with b's first reaction. There is ZERO chance that Syria would use chemical weapons. They have no applicability in urban warfare and so Obama was setting an impossible red line in order to keep out of Syria. Afghanistan is going DEEPLY into the toilet, with Romney making a bigger issue of it, and Syria is the last thing Obama needs in a political campaign.

Russia and China are responding to Obama's (typical) reliance on a military solution rather than a diplomatic one, and not to chemical weapons. This is part of an increasing world trend to stick it to Uncle. They're piling on when they spot weakness in the world hegemon USA, particularly after the USA (Clinton particularly) has continually spit on them. Payback time.

However, me being a believer in conspiracies, this US position does suggest that the US might be thinking about a black flag chemical weapons demonstration as a trigger for intervention. That would be extremely difficult and risky, however.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 15:28 utc | 3

Meanwhile the dependable New York Times, with all the terrorist news that fits, headlines the terrorist concern with "fear tactics," which are apparently unfair.
Rebels Say Syria Using Fear Tactics in Damascus
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group in Britain that maintains a network of contacts in Syria, said the latest raid on Wednesday morning in Kafar Soussa — with tanks backed by infantry soldiers — left at least 12 people dead.

Activists there described it as another “hit-and-run” assault. Similar attacks have been reported in several areas ringing the capital in recent weeks, as troops and shelling intensify then fade, as the government kills and leaves. This week, activists reported finding 40 bodies in one suburb; last week, 60 others appeared in a landfill, many of them believed to be civilians blah blah blah

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 15:41 utc | 4

Realistically Syria does not have to use chemical weapons or threaten they would use chemical weapons for the US to decide that they are about to use chemical weapons.

Obama also put in a "move chemical weapons" is sounds devious.

I agree with b.'s analysis, I also agree with Russia and China that Obama's statemant does not comply with international law.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 22 2012 16:04 utc | 5

Russia and China are making clear that they see through a pattern of deception. Obama has already made a prior threat ,--as US Presidents now make open threats,-- with indirect weasel words, announcing that where the the president is concerned, he does not "take such an attack off the table." This is the new language of open threat,--especially as is comes at the end of a long process of aggression, with economic weapons already deployed, with extensive propaganda and media coordination rolled out, with funding and arming of mercenaries and salafist crazies, and with a strong disinformation campaign being carried out at the diplomatic level.

Lavrov had already acknowledged the previous threatening language, before dealing with this latest one. And even before that, with diplomatic language he also expressed horror at the US reaction to the recent terrorist bombing in Damascus that assassinated senior Syrian cabinet officials.

Obama is taking the threat level a step up with his "red line" statement. Assad is not about to use WMD against Syrians or move around any stockpiles in a threatening manner. Obama knows this; and the Russians and Chinese know this. The "red line" statement could signify the use of a pretext or trick, to justify an attack. Russia and China are suspicious of deception; and they have a good right to be.

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 22 2012 16:38 utc | 6

"It is not difficult to find that, under the disguise of humanitarianism, the United States has always tried to smash governments it considers as threats to its so-called national interests and relentlessly replace them with those that are Washington-friendly."

Man oh man, truer words were never spoken. Kudos for them that said'em.

False flag operation? Maybe, but, probably after the US "election".

"National interests" = Corporate interests

Posted by: ben | Aug 22 2012 16:47 utc | 7

We'll see how long Russia opposes NATO interventionism because of this change..

Posted by: ben | Aug 22 2012 16:52 utc | 8

I read it differently - I think Russia's and China's comments both validate b's previous interpretation

I don't think they are really warning the Us against military intervention - they would have had reason to be so outspoken in many preceding occasions; I think they are simply getting more courageous because they - as b - detect an unwillingness of the Us to actually intervene, so they are starting to shout at the Us that it shouldn't do what he now already seems to be unwilling to do

Posted by: claudio | Aug 22 2012 16:56 utc | 9

... but Don Bacon #3 could also be right ...

Posted by: claudio | Aug 22 2012 16:58 utc | 10

I interpreted Obiman’s “no chem weapons - red line” as essentially empty of content, addressed to an internal audience concerning WMD, bio / chem warfare, etc. partly simply to justify past actions and once again stress the scare factor.

To his base, Democrats love that stuff.

> A man of principle, who has his moral priorities straight, but won’t intervene like Bush did. Ha ha.

Basically: Obomber: “I have to say something, so let’s go for what is consensual. What everyone will agree with, support. / Whisper to insiders: in any case, Syria will not use such weapons.“

That others read all kinds of messages into it is par for the course.

It is a sign of weakness and indecision. (From the most powerful man on the planet.)

No position is taken, no solution - negotiation is proposed, nothing moves forward, even in self-interest terms.

No concerted action, of any kind, is announced.

It is just, oh, btw, gassing or poisoning ppl is not on.

Now, that may just be to pretend to be present to buy time.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 22 2012 17:33 utc | 11

@ claudio
I don't see us differing.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 17:37 utc | 12

Obama is into redlines currently as a mode of World Leadership. It'll pass.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 17:39 utc | 13

plus, China and Russia are probably taking revenge for the US going on and on about human rights in their countries ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 22 2012 17:44 utc | 14

ahh come on!

what do the Russian and Chinese governments know about foreign affairs??

i KNEW as soon as i read your interpretation of Obamas remarks that YOU were absolutely completely 100% correct!

take a bow for another job well done!

Posted by: JADEZ | Aug 22 2012 18:18 utc | 15

Since I have little trust in what Obama says to the public in general and have many instances where what he's said to the powerful and wealthy behind closed doors (with some leaks pointing out his lies to the public) is what he actually does work for and does, I don't trust what he says openly. But, what he did say is astonishing enough, that just moving "possible" chem/bio weapons "around," when the CIA has said it doesn't really know where such weapons are.

OK, weapons' locations not known for sure, but Obama feels he can tell when they're being moved around. Either the CIA info is bogus, meant to trick Syria into thinking the West doesn't know the chem/bio stuff's locations, OR it's just another pretext being set up so Obama et al can "justify" actual military incursions into or actual invasion of Syria. The humanitarian reasons have been undermined by the now known brutalities of the "rebels," but chem/bio Weapons of Mass Destruction!! OMG!! Must save the innocents, aged, women and children!!! With bombs and killing, of course.

My only reason for thinking this may be bluster more than actual threat is that Obama has to maintain his "strong leader" image to wage his campaign for reelection. Romney will use any actual weakness, or just make stuff up, to attack Obama on what is perceived by some as one of his strengths.

After the election? Oh, Katie bar the door! Obama, if he wins or loses, will be working on 1) the Grand Bargain with the Repubs to undermine SocSec, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety net programs and 2)bulding his legacy by possibly "rescuing" Syrian civilians by invading, attacking.

No matter what he says as while electioneering, I believe he desperately wants to be the "transformative" president that transforms the nation more than Reagann did. If a black could have been elected as a Repub, Obama would have run as an R.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 22 2012 18:24 utc | 16

Obama announces his red line; Netanyahu announces his red line; all the aggressors got red lines. And the aggressors are pre-positioned to attack Syria and Iran. The US election may or may not delay the attack. If Romney is elected, an attack on both nations is a metaphysical certainty. I don't think Obama's announcement is a fad that's predicated on his looking presidential, or is about striking a pose. The goals of the Empire have not changed; its imperatives remain in place. Deception and mendacity are real, and have been a staple of this administration from the beginning.

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 22 2012 18:29 utc | 17

With all respect, a US attack on Iran was a "certainty" at least four years ago. Admiral "Fox" Fallon was a victim of it.
TIME, Mar 12, 2008:
In the April Esquire, Thomas Barnett, a former professor at the Naval War College, wrote that Fallon was "brazenly challenging" the Bush Administration's push to go to war with Iran, fighting "against what he saw as an ill-advised action." The lengthy article claimed that while President Bush wants war with Iran, "the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy," adding, "Who will prevail, the president or the admiral?",8599,1721491,00.html

Fallon was fired, but (other than the current CNO, who has no operational control) I've seen nothing but reluctance from US military commanders, certainly no enthusiasm and that explains the caution of Dempsey & Panetta.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 19:27 utc | 18

I admit I went overboard, to describe something like an all out attack on Iran as a certainty; it can't be said what is certain. But the policy coup described by General Wesley Clark in 2002, which met resistance in the military ranks, did not stop the trajectory of the policy--nor did it stop the subsequent attack on Iraq,--nor the path of aggression that leads to Syria, nor the overthrow of the Libyan government before that. Iran was listed as the last, among the nations targeted for regime change. But you have to concede the durability of the obsession, as well as the existence of plans that keep the objective in view. This year, we had a republican candidate, Santorum, who was running on the promise to attack Iran, if elected.

Where I am skeptical, is concerning the opinion expressed here, that this crisis is being handled, and is about to be put to bed somehow, at the very moment when Russia and China are digging in. It seems to me that the true dimensions of this, as an international crisis, are just beginning; while some are saying that what we are seeing is some kind denouement; no Horses of the Apocalypse possibly being saddled up, no false flag gimmick in the works to attack Iran, no suspicion that softening up the battlefield in Syria can behaving implications for a wider war.

Look at the political turmoil in Israel now and the wargasms of Netanyahu. Something terrible is in the air; and it's just like we are waiting for the calculation or miscalculation that sets this awful thing in motion.

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 22 2012 20:32 utc | 19

*heh* Ban Ki Moon tells Bibi and Obummer to suck it... UN's Ban Ki-moon to Visit Iran

The United Nations announced Wednesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend a meeting of non-aligned nations in Iran at the end of this month, despite objections from the United States and Israel.

Ban will visit Tehran to attend the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement...

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 22 2012 20:48 utc | 20

Life was ever thus. There may be attacks, or they may not be. There will always be the possibility of war -- there's so much money in it. But we can attach probabilities, and with Iran the probability is low b/c of Iran's multiple counter-attack options. This regards air attack w/o ground forces, which are clearly zero probability for many reasons. Syria has a similar low probability, for similar reasons. The US military can't even win over raddedy-ass eighteenth-century illiterate backward countries with no defenses, but they continue to be favored with military attention.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 20:49 utc | 21

re: Ban -- Is the puppy really off the leash? Hard to believe. The US may move him from his East River mansion to Flatbush.

Haaretz has reported that Ban's going to Tehran would increase the probability of an Israeli attack on Iran. Anyhow, we can now bury deep the repeated US claim that Iran is "isolated." Thirty-five heads of state, plus Ban, plus another sixty or seventy foreign ministers -- I's say that Persia has arrived.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 20:55 utc | 22

I for one, warmly welcome the decision by Ban to go to Iran; and the meeting itself is good news, good enough to restrain the Doomsday Clock, and dial back our undoing a little.

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 22 2012 21:12 utc | 23

Having thought about it, I see Obama's statement as a threat to directly intervene militarily against Syria. I do not see it as an Obama green-light to do everything possible EXCEPT use chemical weapons.

In July Ehud Barak and Amos Gilad, using the exact same formulation with regard to Syrian chemical weapons, made threats against Syria.

Posted by: revenire | Aug 22 2012 21:39 utc | 24

'“Tehran is not the place for the U.N. secretary general to visit, not at this time, not to meet with this Iranian regime,” David Harris, the group’s executive director, said in the statement. “We are stunned that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would honor a regime that consistently ignores both him and the world body he heads in ways that threaten regional and global security.” '

its not as if the zionist regime ignores the UN or its head..right Mr Harris!?

zionists are the olympic champions when it comes to ignoring the UN!

Posted by: brian | Aug 22 2012 21:43 utc | 25

when most of the worlds population belong to the non-alligned nations...its hard to ignore them!

Posted by: brian | Aug 22 2012 21:49 utc | 26

say NO and become the target of zionist assassins:

Today, General Dempsey, Chairman of America’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the man who flew to Tel Aviv and informed Netanyahu that America wanted no part of his scheming against Iran was the subject of an assassination attempt in Afghanistan

Posted by: brian | Aug 22 2012 21:56 utc | 27

Ban goes to Iran, Morsi goes to Iran ... c'mon what more is needed to show that the Us policy has again silently shifted?

phase 1: the "realists" (Obama, etc) want to "engage Iran", support Mubarak till the end, and find themselves "on the wrong side of history" in front of a perceived "Arab spring"

phase 2: the "idealists" (Clinton, the neocons, etc), backed by colonialists Sarkozy and Cameron, and by the GCC, get to "ride the wave" against Gaddafi (Obama stresses that the Us aren't leading this aggression, and then says that the Us preferred regime change is that of Yemen); but it takes eight months of daily bombardments instead of a few days or weeks, Al Qaeda raises its head, Libya is another failed state: not everybody in the Us foreign policy establishment must be happy with the outcome; but it did seem a victory to blood-lusty Clinton; so ...

phase 3: ...a compromise on Syria: the Us would sustain the aggression but without giving weapons to the insurgency and practically ruling out military engagement unless the whole UNSC was on board

phase 4: after Aleppo, the "pragmatists" are again in control: NO to to deepening the Sunni-Shia divide, that is, NO to civil wars all over the ME; green light to Mosni and, to make it more clear, to Ban, to go show that Iran isn't an outcast anymore

expect future shifts, as occasion arises, because foreign policy is really out of control; the only allowed public narrative is the one of the neocons, and any alternative must be practiced discreetly, almost shamefully, because it shows you don't have the guts to bomb Iran or somebody else (see the Republicans' primaries ...)

Posted by: claudio | Aug 22 2012 22:01 utc | 28

I do not think the US is in control, they never had that power

While Syria is hardly invincible, Haggerty’s analysis is a stark reminder of the requirements simply for clearing the way for any kind of military campaign. The United States and its allies make unfettered access to aerial battlespace an integral part of their military operations. Given the cost of fighting without assured IADS suppression and air superiority, they will need to spare no expense in resourcing and prosecuting a comprehensive SEAD campaign over Syria. Though not insurmountable, a sober reading of the military challenges and resources available to meet them suggest that a Syrian air campaign—if it is to be painless—will not come cheaply.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 22 2012 22:30 utc | 29

@Don Bacon #12 - I was referring to your afterthought at the end of post #3:

me being a believer in conspiracies, this US position does suggest that the US might be thinking about a black flag chemical weapons demonstration as a trigger for intervention.
, which is different from b's thesis

maybe I don't understand the meaning of "black flag"? (actually, I hurriedly read it as "red flag")

Posted by: claudio | Aug 22 2012 23:05 utc | 30

Direct US intervention would really change the geometry of the war. Just think of how the region would explode after an overt US & NATO attack on Syria. It is really mind-boggling that the US would play with fire this way.

Obama is way nuts.

Posted by: revenire | Aug 22 2012 23:43 utc | 31

'Black flag' is the US causing an attack that appears enemy-caused, and then acting on it. Think battleship Maine, Gulf of Tonkin, etc. Syria has made it clear that its chemical weapons have one purpose, to defend Syria against external aggression. So why do Obama/Clinton make a big deal about it? Perhaps they have something nefarious in mind, is all I'm saying. Perhaps. Reminds me of Iran saying if they were attacked they'd close the Gulf. Oh my god Iran is going to close the Gulf! Oil prices shoot up, etc.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 22 2012 23:52 utc | 32

A website has been set up for the upcoming sixteenth summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran Aug 26-31.
"Honorable Heads of States and Foreign Ministers are encouraged to limit their interventions[sic] to approximately 700 words (a statement of a maximum of seven minutes) in such discussions. Statements might focus on the theme of 'Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance'. Delegates may opt for group or regional statements, in lieu of individual statements."

I guess they considered "Lasting War through US Global Governance" and discarded it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 0:12 utc | 33

Syria: Obama's pushing the chemicals, Clinton the refugees. (Of course they'll require a "safe zone.")

Clinton's man at the UN is newcomer (since June) Jeffrey Feltman. In New York, U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council that the United Nations views the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria "with growing alarm." He said about 2.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance while the number of displaced people in Syria and the flow of refugees to neighboring countries is growing.

Then there's UK's Baroness Amos. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who visited Syria last week, told a news conference at U.N. headquarters that U.N. agencies last month provided food for more than 820,000 people across Syria. "But when you're talking about 2.5 million people affected, we need to do a lot more," she said.

Rapidly deteriorating, we need to do a lot more. Russia know who's a fault. Russia's Foreign Ministry said the West "has done nothing" to urge the Syrian opposition to start a dialogue with the government. "Instead, they are engaged in openly instigating it to continue their armed struggle," it said in a statement. It claimed that the Western approach to the Syrian civil war is "hypocritical" and is not helping to resolve the conflict that has killed an estimated 19,000 people.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 2:17 utc | 34

There is no syrian 'civil war'...thats because there is no syrian uprising..the majority of syrians support their govt and army

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 2:57 utc | 35

Syrian rebels try to use prisoner for suicide bombing
22 August 2012 Last updated at 14:20 GMT Help
The Syrian army has launched fresh offensives on conflict areas of Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo.
Activists say at least eight people have been killed in the capital, with more casualties reported in Aleppo following an aerial bombardment.
While the fighting continues, anti-government forces are becoming more coordinated and sophisticated in their attacks on government targets.
The New York Times has released a video which shows Free Syrian Army rebels trying to use a prisoner as an unwitting suicide bomber, as the BBC's Gordon Corera reports.
Unusual behavour from the NYT and BBC

The insurgents are getting foreign military help, hence their 'sophistiaction'

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 3:03 utc | 36

@ Copeland: "and the wargasms of Netanyahu."

Nicely done.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Aug 23 2012 3:42 utc | 37

>> It is obvious now that Russia and China have joined in a general fight to stop the international lawlessness that the "west" got used to after the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

I believe b is expecting too much from Russia. I'm Russian and I do like to see it this way but it's just impossible for Russia now. Totally agree with Ben in @8. Power is just not on this side right now.

Posted by: Sergey | Aug 23 2012 4:50 utc | 38

Thanks to all for an informed and civil discussion. In particular, brian's link
@ 27 is very interesting, although the main thesis will surely remain shrouded in denials and doubt.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Aug 23 2012 7:00 utc | 39

the war on syria in a nutshell: Certified Sunni :::what people dont understand is that they think, this is a sunni, shia, sunni, alawite conflict, but they are absolutely incorrect. While the media might want the world to think this, they are wrong. The media is trying to show that the army is alawite and the FSA is a sunni force overthrowing a minority government. Wrong!!! The Syrian Army is predominately Sunni, it has alawites, christians, Druze, Shiites and Aethesits fighting against a terrorists force protecting their sovereignty. This is all about the right to sovereignty and stability as Syrians. The FSA is also not a sunni force, as a matter a fact the majority of those who fight are from libya, yemen, tunisia and are prisoners predominately rapist and murders along with Alqaeda terrorists who have no religion whatsover. Shame on them for calling themselves ahlul sunnah, they dont deserve that tag, Sunnah beleive in teachings of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Sa7aba (RA) and based on these teachings a real sunni would not be terrorising and causing instability like what is happening in syria. But that is besides the point, the media is making this religious or "Civil", but it is the most opposite to a civil conflict as it gets, this is a conflict with an internal army being attacked by a foreign western backed force. Hopefully the Syrian Army will overcome this force and be victorious.

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 8:25 utc | 40

Aleppines help Syrian Army track down FSA/terrorists in Aleppo. ...

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 8:27 utc | 41

what people dont understand is that they think, this is a sunni, shia, sunni, alawite conflict, but they are absolutely incorrect.

You are right in a way, but this battle is for the domination of the 3 desert religions. Zionist Judaism want to be the winner, the USA, Turkey the (P)GCC states are fighting for the spoils of war. Zionism has already neutered the Vatican, the mainstream Christian religions, Buddhism ( the battle between China, Korea Vs Japan ). If you heard Hassan Nasrallah on Al Qods Day, August 17, 2012 he says this

Israel's problem is that Iran is a strong Islamic country; Iran is a state in a region with a horizon for more power, development, progress, and enhancement on the scientific, technical, technological and every other level. Israel's problem is that this strong Iran has enormous chances to develop and increase its power despite all the conspiracies it suffered from all through 30 years. Israel's problem is that this Iran is doctrinally and religiously committed to Palestine, Al Qods and the Palestinian people, and this commitment is above political postulate and considerations. All through 32 years, Iran has proven that this doctrinal and religious commitment is decisive and final even in the most difficult conditions and under the toughest threats, and under war and fire. Neither its stance nor its terminology changed.

You could be sure if that weasel Medvedev was still President of Russia he would have capitulated by now to the Zionists. Putin gave his word to the Orthodox church and he is a man of his words, well lets see. So you are right Brian is is not Sunni - Shia but rather a war for a strong Islamic State. My hearts bleed for you dear Syrians but the end of this bitter struggle you will have helped the world to be a more enlightned state.

Posted by: hans | Aug 23 2012 10:20 utc | 42
'The BBC narrator admits that forcing prisoners to become suicide bombers “would certainly be considered a war crime.”'....but s the BBC knows their terrorists dont commit war crimes!...that 'would certainly be' is pretty damning to the BBC!

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 13:06 utc | 43

yes medvedev is pretty much the reason libya now suffers

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 13:07 utc | 44

While I fully share the Russian and Chinese arguments about respecting international law and the UN charter let’s not slip into thinking these two states can somehow be understood as great beacons of international justice. Simply right now it suits these less-than-just states to demand adherence to international law because it thwarts the foreign policy ambitions of their strongest rival.

One need only touch on the Tibetian case or Abkhaziz-South Ossetia case for counter illustrative examples of the Russian-Chinese love of international justice and the UN charter.

Dont get me wrong, its pleasing they've chosen to prevent a US led Western war against Syria but whether it’s because of their deep love for international justice and law, as they profess or merely cynical opportunism is open to debate with much evidence leaning towards to latter.

Posted by: kolyn phlabyn | Aug 23 2012 13:44 utc | 45

The New York Times isn't alone in getting its news from the US mercenaries. The Voice of America does it too. The media keeps spinning us - or trying to. Thanks to forums like this we can get the truth.
VOA today:Syrian Capital Under Siege
Parts of Syria's capital were under siege Thursday with Syrian government forces battling rebels in and around Damascus in pitched fighting.
Activists reported a campaign of shelling and house-to-house raids in Daraya, on the southwest edge of Damascus, as well as continuing clashes in the city's Hajar al-Aswad district.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel fighters attacked a military checkpoint on the Daraa-Damascus highway, killing or wounding 10 government troops.
The group says at least 41 people were killed in Damascus on Wednesday. Residents said the fighting was the fiercest since the army recently reasserted control of opposition-held neighborhoods there.
The Observatory said clashes also continued Thursday in the northern city of Aleppo, where a number of foreign fighters are reported to have joined the opposition.
* Damascas under "siege" - siege: The surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it.
* PARTS of Damacas under siege
* "Activists" reported activity in two districts, plus a checkpoint attack -- some "siege" -- so the writer (Mark Snowiss) went from the city "under siege" to parts of it to some attacks in two districts.
* para 3 - "The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. . .The Observatory said"
* "the army recently reasserted control of opposition-held neighborhoods there"
* in Aleppo "a number of foreign fighters are reported to have joined the opposition."-- like they weren't there already

Mark Snowiss, US & terrorist stenographer, has also authored:
* Elite Syrian Army Units Besiege Rebel Districts, Activists Say
* Syrian Rebels Retreat From Besieged Stronghold
* UN Security Council Blames Syria for Houla Massacre [that "massacre" disappeared as "news"]
* Syrian Activists: At Least 78 Killed Near Hama
* Shots Target UN Monitors in Syria
* Syrian Defections Begin to Mount
* Outrage Mounts Over Syria Massacre
* Syrian Forces Shell Damascus, 35 Killed
* Assassinations Leave Void in Syrian Military Leadership
* Clinton: Russian Stalling Could Push Syria into Civil

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 14:07 utc | 46

Cyprus Demands Britain Explain Use Of Base For Syrian Operations

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 14:08 utc | 47

Dont get me wrong, its pleasing they've chosen to prevent a US led Western war against Syria but whether it’s because of their deep love for international justice and law, as they profess or merely cynical opportunism is open to debate with much evidence leaning towards to latter.

Posted by: kolyn phlabyn | Aug 23, 2012 9:44:19 AM | 45

the syria case is not posturing

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 14:09 utc | 48

Here's the Facebook web-page of the terrorist mouthpiece in London where these "journalists" get the propaganda for their fanciful "news stories" about Syria (scroll down).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 14:16 utc | 49

hypocrisy 101!
note : '“It is a very serious issue if the bases are being used for purposes other than those explicitly set out in the Treaty of Establishment,” Markouli said.'....this is also the line used by the brits re Ecuador and Assange...that the embassy may or is being used for other than intended purposes etc

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 14:19 utc | 50

Somar, whose father was a general, his mother a teacher, and who practices his English with Dan Brown novels, was as quick as a cat. "It's not where you are born or what is your religion," he said. "It's what's in your mind. Islam comes from this land, Christians come from this land, Jews come from this land. That is why it is our duty to protect this land." ..."

Read rest here Robert Fisk: 'Rebel army? They're a gang of foreigners'

Posted by: hans | Aug 23 2012 14:29 utc | 51

Jürgen Elsässer Explains Lies About Events in Syria, False Flags

Posted by: brian | Aug 23 2012 14:36 utc | 52

Terrorist Sabah Othman confessed to working with armed terrorist groups in Douma, Damascus Countryside and being an accomplice to the abduction, torture and murder of women, with her acting as an interrogator.


Posted by: hans | Aug 23 2012 16:23 utc | 53

The US could be planning a strike from various external locations hence Obamas statement and knowing that the chem will and can be used if attacked from external forces. The most critical line here is ' and "other players on the ground" about the use or movement of such weapons'. This opens all doors, even a staged door where 'Other players' are instructed to 'move' chem weapons thus set the red line as an actionable cause. Other players in this case are 'Who' - FSA, radical groups etc? In all cases the others are the partners of the US/AL at least for this brief 'paid' friendship of sorts.

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 23 2012 19:05 utc | 54

The 'right hands' for these weapons nontheless are actually Assads 'regime', no?

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 23 2012 19:35 utc | 55

The PKK has stepped up attacks inside Turkey. Just in the last couple of days:
*Four Turkish troops were killed and six others wounded in a clash with PKK terrorists in Semdinli town
*One Turkish soldier was killed after suspected militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) launched coordinated attacks on two separate battalion headquarters in the eastern province of Hakkari
*Five Turkish soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in a landmine attack followed by an ambush by suspected militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the eastern Hakkari province yesterday.
*A gendarmerie outpost near Mağara village in the İdil district of the southeastern Şırnak province came under attack by suspected PKK militants yesterday.

Meanwhile a Turkish opposition figure has noted the correlation between the Turkish support for aggression in Syria and the fatal events in Turkey.
"[FM Ahmet] Davutoğlu should not forget that he also has a responsibility in the loss of lives in our country and in neighboring countries because of his theoretical obsessions and shallow approaches.” -- Faruk Loğoğlu, deputy chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 20:03 utc | 56

It looks like Pepe agrees with b's assessment. He even gives MoA a shoutout in the article.

Here is Pepe discussing Syria yesterday with Scott Horton. Again he gives props to MoA, he says he reads it daily.

Keep up the good work b! We are truly in the midst of an information war and you are on the front lines.

Posted by: WTF | Aug 23 2012 21:23 utc | 57

US, Turkey in talks to shape post-Assad era

Seems to me that Turkey still doesn't quite get it...They've been bullied into committing themselves fully to this US leading from behind regime change plot and there's no backing out for them..Even while their own country slowly burns under PKK attack..

The funny thing is that, the Turks seem to begging for assurances from the US that the the outcome of regime change in Syria won't negatively affect Turkey..I mean, can't they see? Their own country is on the verge of destabilization and they still think things will be peaceful after and a BIG IF, Assad falls.

This war will spread all the way from the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan, straight up to the Mediterranean sea..Syria has some serious missiles pointing at Incirlik and Turkey's dams right now..The first Turkish incursion will see big missiles flying towards Turkey proper..

Posted by: Zico | Aug 23 2012 22:02 utc | 58

WTF @ 57
Even Pepe remarks Assads hands are the right for the bio-weapons.

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 23 2012 22:09 utc | 59

We have read in the past about the US mainstream media focusing on entertainment along with a concentration of publishers and the shutting down foreign news bureaus to save money. The result of this has been a greater reliance on government propaganda, the media merely acting as stenographers for the party line.

Following are some examples of the refusal of the mass media to get the true story in Syria, and instead grab propaganda from the Syria terrorist propaganda mouthpiece in London, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Many outlets including abc, cbs, USAToday, etc. simply pick up the AP line which AP plucked from the "Observatory" here. Following is an AP report that was repeated in many publications as truth.

AP: Across the country, at least 100 people died Thursday in shelling and clashes, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees.

The CSMonitor, displaying extreme laziness, quotes Agence France-Presse quoting the Observatory!
CSMonitor: Agence France-Presse reports that Assad regime forces shelled several rebel strongholds in Damascus on Monday, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory says that more than 45 people, including 36 civilians, have been killed in the Damascus province in the past 48 hours, and 150 people all told were killed across the country on Sunday.

yahoo calls the government-supported mercenary mouthpiece an NGO.
yahoo: A total of 23,000 people have been killed in Syria since March last year, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation.
--and the VOA uses a writer who has a history of taking the US side (see above #46)
VOA: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the military bombed Daraya, on the edge of Damascus, and nearby Moadamiyeh. The London-based group also reported house-to-house raids in Daraya and fierce clashes in the Hajar al-Aswad district of Damascus.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 22:18 utc | 60

The talks in Istanbul are expected to coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the crisis in Syria. The administration team is being led by Acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones and includes representatives from the Defense Department and the intelligence community.

MS. NULAND, today: ". . .to go deeply on the full range of contingencies that one might confront, and we are looking at every feasible option in terms of what we might do together to evaluate whether it’ll advance our shared goal of hastening the transition or not. So a full range of issues were discussed."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 22:35 utc | 61

Zico @ 58 -- This is sounding like something out of post-WWI (yes, the first one). Sort of Lawrence of Arabia, only this time the Western powers, instead of breaking up the Turkish empire are looking to, well, try to expand current day Turkeym and just break up Syria?

Except, for those pesky Kurds. But maybe they're proposing taking territory from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey to make up a new Kurdish state? Oh, an making sure Israel gets to keep the Golan Heights and maybe some more areas for water rights....

Or, better yet, take some territory to make up Pipelinistan.

I almost can't believe what's happening, under this pseudo Democratic president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Sheesh.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 23 2012 22:59 utc | 62

I believe I've found a real American journalist!
James Foley, an American freelancer who was detained in Libya for more than three weeks by forces backing Moammar Gadhafi, has written an interesting article on Syria which appears on PBS.
Syria: Al-Qaida's New Playground
By: James Foley

ALEPPO, Syria -- Syrian and foreign fighters sympathetic to al-Qaida are muscling their way into the Syrian conflict, analysts and Syrian rebels say.
While they share homegrown rebels' goal of bringing down the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, they operate independently and are nudging the revolution toward a struggle for an Islamic state. .
GlobalPost confirmed a significant presence of Jabhat al-Nusra militants in Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city and the scene of the latest regime offensive against rebel forces. A group of fighters in the key neighborhood of Salaheddine, for instance, openly operated under the group's banner. However, rebels quickly ushered away journalists attempting to interview them. . ..

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 23 2012 23:55 utc | 63

Alexander @ 59

Yeah, Pepe is following through Obama's concern about "WMDs falling into the wrong hands" to its logical end. He goes on to paraphrase b as to what Obama may have been saying between the lines.

Obama also stressed Washington's "fears" of Syria's WMDs "falling into the hands of the wrong people". Considering the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is in the business - alongside Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stalwarts Saudi Arabia and Qatar - of weaponizing the myriad gangs that constitute the Not Exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA), including hundreds of Salafi-jihadis, this is a stark admission that in fact they are the "wrong people". Ergo, the "right people" is the Assad regime.

Was that an Obama coded message to Turkey - implying that if you invade northwest Syria, now practically an autonomous Kurdish area, you will have to do it alone, without the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and without the Pentagon? Was that a message to the "wrong people", aka the "rebels", that apart from dubiously effective covert CIA shenanigans, you are on your own?

These two possibilities were advanced at the website Moon of Alabama. [2]

Posted by: WTF | Aug 24 2012 1:20 utc | 64

Don 3. as to the dangers of black flag chemical weapons--in WW2 exactly 1 person died for every ton of chemical weapons deployed. It would be embarrassing to get caught red handed. But the real dangers are more limited than most would think. The tactical utility of chemical weapons is zilch, a black ops use might be the greatest utility ever derived from them.

Posted by: scottindallas | Aug 24 2012 1:47 utc | 65

State: "we are looking at every feasible option in terms of what we might do together to evaluate whether it’ll advance our shared goal of hastening the transition or not."

This has been Russia's big gripe, that the US doesn't want peace it wants "transition." And not only Russia but the whole sane world understands that the "transition above all! anything would be better than Assad" position is a loser, particularly with AQ moving in.

The Syrian army has recaptured Christian areas in the city of Aleppo after heavy fighting but the Jewish section has not been so fortunate.
headline: Jewish Aleppo, Lost Forever -- The Syrian diaspora in Israel watches its once-vibrant ancestral home fall to ruin in the country’s civil war

What made Jewish existence in Aleppo so unique and vibrant? For thousands of years, Aleppo was an unofficial capital of the Sephardic Jewish world. Fueled by wealth from international trade and waves of Jewish immigration, the city’s Jews sustained a pious community revered for educational excellence and as a guardian of traditions with roots in ancient Israel. Aleppine folklore—some even say that one of Kind David’s generals personally laid the foundation for its great synagogue, now located at the heart of fighting—hints at the prestige of the city in Jewish history. But the city is lost, and Jewish existence has been all but erased from its cobbled streets.

Last week, a Free Syrian Army rebel warned that soon “there will be nothing left to destroy in Aleppo.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24 2012 1:47 utc | 66

'The Syrian diaspora in Israel watches its once-vibrant ancestral home fall to ruin in the country’s civil war'

theres no 'civil war': this phrase is a lie that keeps getting repeated by the odious press.What there is is foreign backed aggressive invasion of foreign jihadis.

Posted by: brian | Aug 24 2012 3:39 utc | 67

'I believe I've found a real American journalist!'

amazing! a taxidermist to have it pickled and on display in the locakl museum...last of an extinct breed!

Posted by: brian | Aug 24 2012 3:40 utc | 68

The disdain and contempt the rebel groups have for Syria cities they claim they're fighting to save proves they're not Syrians..

It seems their plan is to just destroy the cities - if they can take it..They hide in people's homes, cultural and historic sites and take pot shots at the Syrian army which responds with artillery fire.

This is like how the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Bhudist statue for nothing..Salafi/Wahabis hate people who have the ability to think for themselves. They prefer a dumb population that they can easily indoctrinate with the extreme brand of Islam..They hated even among most Sunnis.

Is this really what the US supports?

Posted by: Zico | Aug 24 2012 6:20 utc | 69

This is like how the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Bhudist statue for nothing.

Rather then the Taliban, the closest to this is what happened to Iraq and Babylon, the looting and the plundering of ancient artifacts. This was demanded by the Zionists same in Allepo and the Jewish old quarters. Has anybody seen any archaeological find in Israel which proves anything about Jewish residence in modern day Israel, I mean finds which has been scrutinized by outside experts? We seem to find a lot about dinosaurs but nothing about Israel and biblical realities. In a survey recently in the USA 78% of people surveyed thought that Palestinians were living on land stolen from the Jews.

Posted by: hans | Aug 24 2012 8:24 utc | 70

The Hindu seems to have got the same vibes or the author reads MoA.

Shades of Afghanistan in the Levant

Posted by: shanks | Aug 27 2012 3:03 utc | 71

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