Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 30, 2013

Syria: Assad's Al-Manar Interview

Just listened to Bashar Assads's interview with Hizbullah's TV station Al-Manar in the English language live translation by Press TV. Some points from my notes:

The interviewer asked why the recent more offensive reaction against the foreign supported insurgents only came so late.

Assad responded that there first had to be a change in public opinion. Many people first believed that this was a "revolution". They took time to understand that this was a foreign assault. Now many of the Syrian fighters have stopped to fight and the balance of power has changed. There are now mostly tens of thousands of foreign fighters against our troops.

Q: Is the action in Qusayr to connect to a Damascus connection to the Alawi land on the coast.

A: That is nonsense. There are no road connections there [we pointed this out in an earlier post - b]. The purpose is to cut the insurgents off from the borders to diminish their supplies.

Q: S-300?

A: Russia is committed to our contracts and those will will be fulfilled. Parts of the contracts have been fulfilled [no direct confirmation that S-300 are already in Syria -b].

Q: Geneva conference?

A: We will ask who the SNC represents. Who are the people on the other side? What is their legitimation? Who do they represent? They are just slaves of foreign powers.

Q: Conditions for Geneva?

A: No preconditions. Results will have to go to a referendum for the Syrian people to decide. Constitution says the president stays on. The government (prime minister etc.) may change while president stays on.

Q: Change of position in Arab League or Turkey?

A: No detectable change. Just rhetoric. They still support insurgents with money and weapons. They receive orders from outside.

Q: What if Geneva fails?

A: That is possible. Some try to make it fail. Russia plays down expectations. Would not change things on the ground.

Q: What do you say to our friends.

A: We confront a campaign against the resistance. This is a World War against us and the resistance.


The above is just from my shortened notes. I will link to transcript as soon as one is available.


UPDATE: The official English transcript posted by the Syrian news agency SANA: Interview Given by President al-Assad to Lebanese Al-Manar TV.

I have not read it yet (and have no time to do so now) and therefor have not yet corrected any of my impressions posted above.

Posted by b on May 30, 2013 at 18:57 UTC | Permalink


Interesting. Around 2pm gmt The Independent were spinning that Assad had confirmed a delivery of S-300. Good news as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: BillyBoy | May 30 2013 19:21 utc | 1


"McCain can't help himself. He has become a raving madman bent on war everywhere against anyone available. Kerry is just pathetic, a bumbling, conceited fool who thinks charm is the touchstone that will open all doors for him. pl"

Posted by: polenta | May 30 2013 19:26 utc | 2

@BillyBoy - the guys who originally put that "S-300 arrived" spin on were from AlAkhbar, a leftish Lebanese paper and website near to the resistance.

It was just a fake to test the waters of who would get nervous over it. The Izzis freaked out over it :-) Purpose achieved ...

Posted by: b | May 30 2013 19:28 utc | 3

Cheers b.

Posted by: BillyBoy | May 30 2013 19:41 utc | 4

Thanks b. Wishing autonomy for Syria and its' people.

Posted by: ben | May 30 2013 19:50 utc | 5

Good interview, just finished it. Whatever Assad is, he's no dummy.

Posted by: ben | May 30 2013 20:16 utc | 6

Assad was in an extremely good mood!What stroke me was ,as every time I heard him talk,how self-assured reasonable and logical he is .The most extraordinary thing is how cartesian he is in his analysis compared to western so called leaders who are today showing themselves to be more pity full than the fossilized arab sheikhs and presidents who are plaguing the arabs.I never knew I would live long enough to see the world upside down with Brejnev Pravda,la langue de bois,demagogy having emigrated to the so called free world....

Posted by: Nobody | May 30 2013 20:18 utc | 7

Thanks for the transcript and I hope with the help from friends he pulls this off.

Posted by: jo6pac | May 30 2013 20:42 utc | 8

"It was just a fake to test the waters of who would get nervous over it. The Izzis freaked out over it :-) Purpose achieved ..."

I agree to some extent because in fact nobody knows exactly and wont know if s300 is physically there or not but by mentioning it in the press (it was on reuters yahoo dpa ria novosti...)and leting defense misters in russia and israhell talk to the press in this case the russians didnt just test the waters but sent a strong massage (let it be for the reputation of russia as a wappon export champion).And the izzis get the massage and responded("The S-300 would be the pinnacle of Russian-supplied arms for Syria," Colonel Zvika Haimovich, a senior Israeli air force officer, told Reuters in an interview. "Though it would impinge on our operations, we are capable of overcoming it.

He said Israel's "red line" on the S-300 was "between Syria and others". This was a hint Israel might hold off on bombing the batteries as long they did not appear set on shooting down planes within Israeli airspace, of being transferred to Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas or to Iran - both staunch allies of Assad and enemies of Israel, or of being looted by Islamist rebels.)after freaking out to an extant that it was recevied in russia as a threat and netanyahood had to call his ministers to shut the up about s300(german:Link )

Posted by: some1 | May 30 2013 20:54 utc | 9

off topic? Not really:

Posted by: bevin | May 30 2013 21:23 utc | 10

Assad is. . .no dummy

Quite the opposite. He understands what many in the aggressive West fail to understand, which consistently causes them to fail, and that is that there are other factors besides military ones which are paramount in national security. In Assad's words: "It is not merely a question of opening the front geographically. It is a political, ideological, and social issue." And, as Assad describes, timing is important when used to consider these factors.

Assad is an intelligent man, and that has enabled him (and his government) to resist the mighty forces arrayed against him, and it has also encouraged his allies -- Iran, Russia, Hezbollah -- to continue their support for him and his government.

And now the tide has shifted.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 30 2013 21:39 utc | 11

Many reports today from Turkey that sarin gas was found in the homes of Al Nusra militants in the Turkish city of Adana by Turkish authorities. They were allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Adana. The police in Adana also received intelligence that a bomb-laden vehicle had entered Adana, the bombs being of the same type used in a recent attack in Hatay's Reyhanli town.

Posted by: lysias | May 30 2013 21:53 utc | 12

From what b reported so far Assad looks like a very seasoned, prudent and pragmatic man.

As for those S-300 I don't think that that works as most seem to think it works, i.e. that some day some Russian ship has or will dock at a Syrian port and deliver those systems.

In my minds eye it works very differently.

For one, quite probably syria already *has* some S-300 systems, albeit rather old ones. So, one point is to update those (Remember the scandal of turkey holding a Russian airplane with "military parts" on board?).

Secondly, Russia quite certainly aready has some (modern) S-300 systems at Tartus. The process of "delivery" might actually consist of a) downgrading them somewhat and b) handing them over.

Also there is much mentioning of "rockets" (missiles) having been delivered for Syrian S-300 (which might come down to effectively being upgrades.

Furthermore, again, the Russian flotilla has an unusually high percentage of supply vessels (3). It would be a reasonable assumption that at least one of those supply vessels actually has S-300 on board (and possibly Iskander).
Another factor pointing in that direction is the fact that Russia chose - without factual necessity - to compose that flotilla of 3 fleets, in particular including the Pacific fleet. It should be seen in that context that there are 3 entry points into the mediterranian see, Gibraltar and Bosporus, both de facto under zato control/observation and Suez, the one entry point neutral to friendly for Russians. And the one entry point the pacific fleet would use.

Another point worth noting might be the strategy used by both, Assad now and Putin formertimes. Both were confronted with very bad situations and very little in their hands to do about it. And both seemed to just hold still and eat whatever was served. And, most importantly, at least Putin - and quite probably Assad, too - rather quietly, intelligently, prudently and calmly prepared to turn the situation around and to break free.

On a similar note it might be noteworthy that some high level Russian [defense industry] speaker today (out of the blue, it seems) stated that the Russian side will quite certainly lose the case brought against them by Iran (regarding the non-delivery of S-300). This, in my understanding, basically means that Russia "being forced by law" *will* (and probably rather soon) also deliver S-300 to Iran (the country their fleet payed a friendly visit en route to Syria ...)

This all happens to fall, so it seems, along what some call the "Taurus option", a modus operandi of careful and patient preparations leading to a chessmate situation by having all entries and exits trapped and having all traps snap in an carefully orchestrated way.

Clearly, both Putin and Assad played the Taurus option and, as b pointed out yesterday, we are quite close to the "snap point", the chessmate.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 30 2013 22:33 utc | 13

Jane's Defense Weekly reported in the mid-90s that Syria had S-300s.

Posted by: MRW | May 30 2013 23:05 utc | 14

At the State Department today, "Matt" took Jennifer Psaki to the woodshed.

QUESTION: Do you know when the last time it was that the Russians were at the table for an international conference on Syria?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me.
QUESTION: Well, I believe it was the first Geneva meeting. That was almost a year ago.
MS. PSAKI: You’re right.
QUESTION: So they haven’t been at the – so you haven’t invited them to the table, or they have refused to come?
MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I think --
QUESTION: I mean, you – all you’ve been doing since Geneva 1 is exactly what you said is not productive, which is sitting around the table talking to people who you agree with; correct?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, the – I think there was a – we felt and many other international partners have said that the meetings that the Secretary had in Russia just a few weeks ago did – were effective in breaking a little bit of the stalemate and moving forward on trying to implement Geneva 1. Do we know it’s going to be successful? No. But is it worth making the effort and trying, and trying to bring both sides to the table? Absolutely, and that’s why we’re focused on it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 30 2013 23:35 utc | 15

This is a technical question that someone here might have some insight. These missiles are extremely dangerous in that they can easily shoot down commercial airliners. I am thinking of the Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 accident when Ukraine let an errant missile go 300 km and intercept that flight. These things seem to operate on the fire and forget principle in that they are self guiding when within visual range of a potential target.

If Israel launches jet fighters into Syrian airspace and a bunch of these missiles go up, it seems every commercial airliner in a 300 km radius will be in danger. How can they be used under these circumstances?

Posted by: ToivoS | May 30 2013 23:41 utc | 16

ToivoS (16)

It is, of course, a mere coincidence that your "question" is very similar to zionist lies that are being spread ...

But don't worry; while israel will not exactly like that fact but those S-300 systems don't work like that. It's not that S-300 missiles are launched and then hunt and kill whatever happens to be within their range.

Sure, it's a surprise because, after all we all know from our wunderfully democratic media that those pesky Russians have but rusty old junk from Sovjet times ...

But somehow the stupid Russians, who with a solid majority voted for an evil dictator, managed to lump together some rusty crap from the junk yard in such a smart way that the S-300 not only can differentiate between large civil airplanes and military planes or missiles, it actually can be programmed to hunt and kill a clearly defined target.

Isn't that amazing?

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 31 2013 0:09 utc | 17


Those were an older version, and not nearly as potent as the ones in discussion now.

Posted by: Ozawa | May 31 2013 0:33 utc | 18

If I was Assad.....sorry....the Syrian government....I'd build a load of dummy S.300s. They'd make cheap targets and probably just as effective as the real thing.

Posted by: dh | May 31 2013 0:42 utc | 19

@19....just as effective for propaganda purposes I mean.

Posted by: dh | May 31 2013 0:45 utc | 20

You're talking missile guidance systems, which for the S-300 involve the use of Big Bird, Flap Lids and Clam Shells as shown here. (But please don't quote me, I'm only googling.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 31 2013 0:56 utc | 21

Plywood and some lengths of pipe, should be easy enough to turn an old bus into something like that. A few hundred would keep the Israeli drones busy anyway.

Posted by: dh | May 31 2013 1:01 utc | 22

news report:
A fighter for Hezbollah, the Lebanese group that’s sent troops to Syria to join Assad loyalist forces, said the group had cleared rebels from most of Qusayr. A spokesman for one of the main rebel groups in the area confirmed the assertion. “We have suffered heavy losses,” said Yazed al Hasan, a spokesman for the rebel Farouq Battalions, which have occupied Qusayr since last year. He also acknowledged that government forces had recaptured the military airport north of the city.

Ms.Psaki, US State Department:
"We demand that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately."

In other news, the Taliban has demanded that the US withdraw its fighters from Afghanistan, but not immediately. "We'll give you until 2014." They're nice.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 31 2013 1:10 utc | 23

In Istanbul, the Coalition follies are amusing. A week into the chaotic meeting, dissidents have failed to agree on any of the key talking points they were scheduled to resolve, chief among them the proposed peace conference that Washington and Moscow are trying to organise in Geneva next month.

*Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu joined a meeting of Syria's divided opposition in Istanbul, in what was seen as an effort to break the deadlock in talks to push the movement forward. No luck for smiley.

*US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and a top French diplomat on Syria attended the meeting of the main opposition National Coalition on Wednesday. Ford had a breakdown.

*Veteran Syrian dissident Michel Kilo, head of a liberal bloc, also arrived at the Istanbul hotel alongside a top Saudi official. Kilo got pounded. Delegates at talks in Istanbul agreed to add only 14 members of a liberal bloc led by veteran figure Michel Kilo to the 60-member assembly of the Syrian National Coalition. Qatar still rules.

* Syria's rebels said on Thursday they should be granted half the seats in the opposition Syrian National Coalition, warning that without strong representation of fighters on the ground the group would have no legitimacy. The Coalition members will have to be introduced to the fighters. It won't be pretty.

*After the first session ended, the opposition released a declaration of conditions before its members engage in proposed peace talks. "The participation of the Syrians in any conference is tied to the presentation of a deadline for a solution and giving the necessary binding international guarantees," said the statement. But Assad has said "no conditions" to talks.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 31 2013 1:25 utc | 24

I apologize for the levity. I can't say that I haven't been influenced by Pepe Escobar.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 31 2013 1:28 utc | 25

No apology necessary. The Istanbul meeting is a farce.

Posted by: dh | May 31 2013 1:32 utc | 26

Assad video interview from Penny:

Posted by: ben | May 31 2013 5:09 utc | 27

From Penny:

Posted by: ben | May 31 2013 5:16 utc | 28

My Goodness!!! Never in the history of the US's imperial wars have they managed to cobble together an incompetent bunch of fools, all congregated in one place, going by the name SNC blah blah blah. These guys can't even agree on what to have for breakfast let alone who's gonna rule.

To make matters worse, their own patron, His Majesty the Turkish FM, Mr "I've-got it all figured out" - "We're creating a new Middle East" - Davutoglu, who attempted to push them into some kind of agreement before the Geneva talks came out with egg on his face by the same group he's hosting in top Istanbul/Ankara hotels and taking a lot of flak for it at home. I'm actually beginning to think if Assad is winning now, it's probably because the opposition arrayed against him are a really incompetent, pathetic bunch that can't sh*t from shinola. They seem to be more interested in lining their collective pockets with Qatari/Saudi money and calling for "weepons/weebons" all the time.

I mean, they make the Iraqi Challabi Inc. look like pros - but then the Challabi Inc. had an Iranian connection ;) (Wheels whithin wheels)

Posted by: Zico | May 31 2013 6:03 utc | 29

Russians , Chinese and westerns already negotiate on Syria ....

Russia will use these conflict to get ride of takfiri in Chechen and in mean time , he will gain a weaken Syria that is totally under his control ....

and west will weaken resistance axis and in the same time get ride of his wild dogs and prepare for his "Bigger Middle East" plan ...

all of their noise is tool that fool naive people ....


Posted by: a person | May 31 2013 7:08 utc | 30

It was just a fake to test the waters of who would get nervous over it. The Izzis freaked out over it :-) Purpose achieved ... Posted by: b | May 30, 2013 3:28:29 PM | 3
But the problem with that theory is that just to gain this puny psyop advantage, al-Akhbar gets exposed as unreliable and as a tool of the Assad govt.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 31 2013 7:51 utc | 31

I think that Russia is about to make its move - and Putin is not stupid. There is no question that if the S-300s are not already there, they will show up within a week.

Posted by: a | May 31 2013 8:58 utc | 32

must read: events in Turkey clearly orchestrated by turkish regime


On the day of the incident, which was a Saturday, the Government managed to get the local court of Reyhanli to issue a blanket censorship ban regarding the broadcasting of news about the bombing attacks in Reyhanli. According to this ban, only statements made by senior authorities and police reports would be allowed to be reported on the media and the internet:

“Within the framework of the investigation concerning the blasts in Reyhanli district on 11.05.2013 [...] , broadcasting and displaying information concerning the site of the incident, concerning the dead and injured casualties of the incident and concerning the content of the incident on all types of audio-visual, written and visual media and the internet is banned according to Article 153 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.” [34]

Actually, this blanket ban was mainly targeting the information flow through the Internet considering that Turkey’s mainstream media have been fully complicit in the Government’s constant war propaganda against Syria from April 2011. Nevertheless, the ban on the Internet proved to be somewhat ineffective in the face of an overwhelming sense of indignation towards to Government across the country.

Medical staff in the Hatay province, where Reyhanli is located, was ordered to “limit the death toll to 50”. Local authorities said they ‘were instructed not to give any statement to the press’. [35] Journalist Ferdi Ozmen revealed the actual figure by posting the number of deaths in seven local hospitals with a total of 177. He has been arrested for defying the blanket ban. [36]

Republican People’s Party (CHP) member of parliament Mevlut Dudu explains how the evidence was instantly destroyed after the incident:

“The police officers refused us entry to the site of the attacks on the grounds that they are collecting evidence. Nevertheless, we did [manage] to enter and saw that no evidence was being collected. Quite on the contrary, they were destroying the evidence using heavy construction equipment.” [37]

It transpired that none of the 73 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the town recorded the bombing attacks. Due to a “system error”, they had been out of order four days before the incident. Most of these 73 CCTV cameras were directly viewing the points where the bombing attacks occurred. [38]

CHP member of parliament Aytug Atici revealed that electricity was cut off just five minutes before the bombing attacks. [39] In fact, according to activist Hamide Yigit, cutting off the electricity was a strategy used by Turkey’s authorities in smuggling international mercenaries into Syria:

“Electricity is cut off along the [Harbiye-Yayladagi] itinerary; everywhere, including streets and roads, becomes totally dark. Meanwhile, vehicles carrying military ammunition and armed groups to the border pass by. Once their passage is over, the electricity resumes. The local residents, who are prevented from witnessing this transport, are feeling deeply restless about it.” [40]

On the day of the bombing attacks, the militants who wanted to cross from Syria into Turkey were guided towards the Cilvegozu border gate instead of their habitual point of entry in Reyhanli. [41]

A currently censored video which was posted on Youtube shortly after the bombing attacks was recorded from an angle which oversaw the site of the attacks. Arabic speaking “Free Syrian Army” militants are seen to be recording the blasts in jubilation, shouting “Allah-u Akbar” (God is great) and mentioning the location of the blasts and the date. [42]

Only two days before the bombing attacks in Reyhanli, ABC reported “a secret visit” by the former U.S. Ambassador to Syria (January-October 2011) Robert Ford, who is the mastermind of NATO’s covert war on Syria [43] :

“A U.S. official confirmed [Robert] Ford’s secret visit, which occurred along the Turkey-Syria border. He briefly crossed into Syria to meet with opposition leaders before returning to Turkey.” [44]

In fact, there is a long history of false-flag incidents occurring in Turkey ahead of almost every top level meeting between Turkey’s politicians and their U.S. or Israeli counterparts.

Of all the false-flag operations in Turkey, by far the most devastating was the bombing attacks on 15th and 20th November 2003, which targeted two synagogues, HSBC bank headquarters and the British Embassy in Istanbul, killing 57 people and wounding another 700. The attacks coincided with U.S. President George Bush’s meting with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London. [45]

Baki Yigit was on of the five people who were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment in 2007 for their roles in these attacks. He was released from prison in 2010 and died in 2012 whilst fighting in Aleppo among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army. [46]

Furthermore, foreign intelligence agencies CIA (U.S.), Mossad (Israel), MI6 (Britain) and BND (Germany) have a very prominent presence across Turkey’s border region with Syria. Located some 100 km from Turkey’s border with Syria, NATO’s Incirlik Airbase is being used as the command centre for the covert war on Syria. [47]

Posted by: brian | May 31 2013 8:58 utc | 33

And while Israel got us focused on Syria...Israel to build 300 units in Jewish settlement.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31 2013 9:52 utc | 34

@dh: In fact there are alot of inflatable dummies out there. Theres even an inflatable S300!

Posted by: Kal | May 31 2013 10:26 utc | 35

Hi Ben!

Thanks for linking over to the Assad interview and full transcript

Direct link below.

Eventually... today or tomorrow I will get a new post up and the direct link is easier for those who wish to watch the video approximately 30 minutes or read the transcript

Posted by: Penny | May 31 2013 12:48 utc | 36

Sorry all, for the double post, thought one was lost in space.

Hi Penny, b and you do some heavy lifting on Syria, thanks!

Posted by: ben | May 31 2013 13:17 utc | 37

Let me see if I have this correct.

Syria beefing up its DEFENSE against Israeli OFFENSE is “a threat.”

Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture?

Posted by: Cynthia | May 31 2013 13:38 utc | 38

the view from Dubai :-))

If it was not for the struggle of the Syrian people, the war may not have lasted for longer than a year and Assad could have gone on to smash the opposition and avenge himself against the rest of Syria. However, the fact that the Syrian people have been left to act alone will ensure that victory against the Assad regime will be very difficult to achieve. The Syrians are currently confronting armies arriving from Iran, Iraq, Russia and Lebanon (Hezbollah) and it is unjust to expect the people to confront all this alone. The involvement of armed elements from Iraq, and Hezbollah’s interference in particular, means that supporting the Syrian people is a collective responsibility. It is a duty of the international community to deter this evil regime, like it previously did with Milošević in Bosnia. However, the international community seems to be in a stupor. The Syrian people are now only being partially supported by Britain and France and by a few Arab countries that include Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Other states, including Egypt, Algeria, Sudan and Tunisia are siding with Assad, while the rest of the Arab world are neutral.

The Gulf states, however, are the Syrian people’s true supporters. They have taken brave standpoints despite huge risks, particularly in terms of the first clear political and military disagreement with the United States regarding regional conflicts. Although they are almost the only ones supporting the Syrians, the Gulf states must be aware that the situation has become increasingly clear over the past few weeks, with the arrival of thousands of fighters from Iran and Iraq, as well as Hezbollah, to fight alongside the Assad regime. These developments indicate that the Syrian revolution has become an arena for a regional war, where the only option is to stand by the Syrian people in their battle against injustice and against Assad and his axis of evil.


Posted by: somebody | May 31 2013 14:13 utc | 39


Without sarcasm, these are the true followers of the "Human Rights" ideology. You are with them or against them.

Posted by: ATH | May 31 2013 14:27 utc | 40

Got to love the prevalence of Voice of America articles on Google News (though supposedly our great American democracy would never stoop so low as to have state-run television) but funny to see the two US sides bicker over what's what. I could have SWORN I saw a Fox News piece yesterday about how the missiles were already there...:

Reports: Russian Missiles Unlikely to Reach Syria for Months
Voice of America
Russian media is reporting that an arms industry source says Russia has not yet delivered anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and may not do so for several months.

And also on the front page:
Michigan woman, 33, killed in Syria fight, family says
Fox News
A 33-year-old Michigan woman was killed in Syria while fighting for opposition forces, relatives said. Nicole Lynn Mansfield, of Flint, and two other were fighters for a group opposed to Syria's government and were killed during a confrontation in Idlib, ...

I wonder how many other Americans are there now, just waiting to come home and live peaceful, quiet lives, pledging allegiance to the flag each day and stuff...

Posted by: guest77 | May 31 2013 14:42 utc | 41

"Michigan woman, 33, killed in Syria fight, family says
Fox News
A 33-year-old Michigan woman was killed in Syria while fighting for opposition forces, relatives said. Nicole Lynn Mansfield, of Flint, and two other were fighters for a group opposed to Syria's government and were killed during a confrontation in Idlib, ..."


Truly excellent news - she totally got what she deserved.

Posted by: nobody | May 31 2013 15:17 utc | 42

@40 Much like those feckless flecks of human feces (er...paid mercenaries) who were shot by the Bolivian Police during their plot to kill Evo Morales (It was a years ago, but Al Jazeera recently had a "human" interest piece about it).

I try not to cheer for the death of anyone (it is soooo hard sometimes, I admit), so I'll just say... play with fire, get burned...

Posted by: guest77 | May 31 2013 15:33 utc | 43

I hate to even post this, for fear people will think it is an endorsement of it. I know some people (not here, necessarily, but on ICH certainly) balk at reading the words of their enemies - but I find it instructive.

Ehud Barak on Russia and the Syrian Civil War DOT uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/10089431/The-price-will-be-high-but-the-key-to-Syrias-civil-war-lies-in-Vladimir-Putins-Moscow.html

Though he of course trots out all the tired chemical weapons lies, it is interesting that the Israeli Labor leader endorses a diplomatic solution lead by Russia.

"True, Assad’s armed forces are weak and debilitated by infighting." This may have been true in the past, but certainly this ZATO war is doing everything to reverse this.

"Even more worrying is their intention to supply the Syrians with the S300 anti-aircraft system, which could alter the delicate balance of weapon systems in the region." Delicate balance... you know, meaning one side grossly outweighs even the combination of all the others. "Balance." Look it up in Webster's Dictionary, the Israeli version.

"That is why, in a mirror-image of what happened in Libya, where Russia was asked to support a European-led effort backed by the US, here Russia must be convinced to lead the international effort in Syria." LOL, is Barak calling for a Russian no-fly zone and invasion of Syria? Far out dude.

"There is no reason why a mutually agreed special role for Russia in post-Assad Syria, to include recognising its naval interests, could not be found." Break up, break up, break up. It's the Wests go to solution for the problems in the Middle East.

I don't make much of this. Just a simple endorsement of the power of Russia - a power Israel needs to recognize more and more as the US pivots towards Asia (despite Israeli attempts to keep the US focused on the region).

Barak puts on the table several concessions (including ones, like missile defense, which are solely US interests... thanks, "ally") but more interestingly the Caucuses, and energy delivery.

The Russia-Israel relationship is one that I don't know much about, but which seems entirely central to the outcome of the war in Syria.

I found the discussion of the Russian oligarchs interesting. Anyone care to elaborate further on the Russia-Israeli relationship?

Posted by: guest77 | May 31 2013 15:58 utc | 44

Looks like Erdogan has more trouble on his hands. To think I used to be impressed with this guy...

mashable DOT com/2013/05/31/istanbul-protests/?cid=Mash-Product-RSS-Pheedo-All-Partial

At least 100 people were injured in Friday's clashes, per Reuters. Hundreds of peaceful protesters flocked to Istanbul's historic Gezi Park to protect it from demolition four days ago. The demonstrations have now escalated in size and scope, with thousands of protestors airing a wide array of grievances against Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. DOT com/watch?v=Z1AJiaYirpY&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: guest77 | May 31 2013 16:26 utc | 45

I thought Press TV was banned the EU.

Posted by: | May 31 2013 16:31 utc | 46

42) hedging clients/patrons?

Roughly one million Israelis speak Russian. Gazprom recently signed a deal for Israeli gas

Posted by: somebody | May 31 2013 16:39 utc | 47

40,41;I have a feeling she was a captive audience to whatever her husband wanted,AKA collateral damage.
Divide and conquer,Sunni vs. Shia vs Kurd vs Turk vs Chechens vs whomever.The Zionist playbook,and we are its victims also.
When will our sleepers awaken to the sting?Oy!

Posted by: dahoit | May 31 2013 16:52 utc | 48


Of course I have no way of verifying anything like this, but reports are that she had divorced her husband. She may well be a homegrown, committed terrorist. And she's (was) a white skinned baptist.

"Speelman's mother, Monica Mansfield Speelman, told the Detroit Free Press that her niece was a convert to Islam who married an Arab immigrant several years ago but later divorced him. The family was not happy about Mansfield's conversion to Islam, said Monica Speelman and Mansfield's grandmother, Carole Mansfield."

I don't think we should take the quick succession of the Boston bombing and the UK knife attack as coincidence. We can't ignore the effects of an extended war on the psychological make up of the general population - especially the excluded percentage who, seeing that they are not embraced by the society, will come to define themselves with that society's declared "enemy". Now you have children growing up who know nothing other than this war against Islam. And unfortunately for those innocent people who will end up being victims, I definitely believe we will see a lot more of these lone wolf, homegrown terror attacks - certainly through the official "end" of this conflict and probably, in one form or another, for years beyond that. Like a rat passing through the body of a snake, so will the psychological trauma of this long, brutal, war (and the violent outbursts associated with it) have to pass through the Western body politic.

As they are done by "clean skins" and "clean names" they will be impossible to defend against. We've been lucky up until now that generally the attackers have not been extremely capable, but if one of them with real brains gets going, they could paralyze the country. We quickly forget about the DC sniper and such events, but those caused incredible disruptions to daily life - much like Boston.

America can go crazy with security all it wants. It can put on a huge production like they did in Boston. That's all well and good, and even impressive at the beginning. But that is not a sustainable way to fight terrorism (especially when you are feeding it at the same time). You can't be shutting down whole cities like that often. Eventually all the theater, the disruptions, the feeling of being spied upon will take their toll on the morale of the people and (worst of all for the ruling class) the economy.

I was taught in middle school history class of the Chinese concept of the "mandate of heaven" - simply put: rulers may rule as long as things are going well (a nascent form of non-participatory democracy to be sure). But when there is too much disruption and crisis, their time is through and they may be replaced. We are rapidly reaching that point in the West.

Political events like terrorism and the debilitating response to it (more disruptive than the attacks themselves in some ways), as well as increasing acts of random violence like shootings, plus the never-ending economic scandals and increasing inequality, on top of extreme weather events (though, more importantly are the failed responses to them) all chip away at the governed sense of legitimacy in the government. It is even more simply expressed in the psychology of the master/slave relationship. The master can be the master only so long as he/she protects and respects the slave. All these recent and coming disastrous events - but most importantly the elites failure to prevent or help with the recovery from them - will lead the subjects of the Western countries to the same undeniable conclusion: that those currently in power don't give a flying f**k about them.

And then the game is up.

Posted by: guest77 | May 31 2013 17:39 utc | 49

somebody (47)

You forgot to mention that the vast majority of those "Russian-speaking" israelis living in israel have fled from Russia in the Sovjet era. You also forgot to mention the - very ugly - problem of israelis living around the world and, of course, in Russia. The former ones' links to Russia are cut to a large degree and the latter ones are not connecting the two countries but rather harming Russia (to later, if prosecuted, flee to israel as a safe-haven for criminals).

Let's be honest. Russia has been robbed and savaged by "israeli citizens" (often enough only becoming israeli citizens when fleeing Russia with their loot).

And honest once more: Putin was smart and acted the way he acted concerning israel (and for many years *had* to look friendly) mainly for the very reason everyone else does, the holocaust blackmailing.

I do btw. not think that Putin has particularly negative emotions toward israel; quite probably israel is no more to him than any other country albeit a very troublesome one. I'm sure, however, that Putin wouldn't hesitate to bring the full power of Russia (incl. military) against israel if they - again - harmed or tried to harm Russias inner core and national security interests.

And I think that netanyahoos behaviour reflect that. While that criminal smilingly pisses right into the face of zusa and their president, he closely leashes his crime syndicate (aka "cabinet") regarding Russia.

As for that Gazprom deal, those resources aren't israels anyway but Palestines and Lebanons.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 31 2013 18:31 utc | 50

"As they are done by "clean skins" and "clean names" they will be impossible to defend against."

If by "clean skins" you mean anonymous citizens emerging from the population, you are wrong. In both the Boston and Woolwich cases the links between the "terrorists" and the secret police were clear and undeniable.
We can choose our explanations: either these were the actions of men who had slipped out of the control and sight of their police controllers. Or they were part of operations deliberately contrived to keep the public in a state of panic and facilitate the further destruction of civil liberties and legal restraints on executive power. There really isn't much difference.
In the meantime the actors are being killed or silenced quickly.

Posted by: bevin | May 31 2013 18:42 utc | 51

@ Mr. Pragma ... #50

Russian won't make any move ...

if west pay them enough , they will left Assad and Syria alone ... the problem is that West doesn't want to pay Russia anymore ....

Posted by: a person | May 31 2013 19:21 utc | 52

Don Bacon @ 21.

Thanks for the link on Russian 3D Radar. If the info is/was correct (at the time of publication) it explains a lot about the West's lame-duck built-to-a-price (but ridiculously expensive) weapons industry. It also explains why no-one has ever seen Uncle Sam's anti Ballistic Missile Defense System do a verifiable intercept.

Here's the go-to phrase from your link:

"From this point on, the track data rate is two points per antenna rotation. The cost of this two-coordinate scanning array may be higher than most Western systems, but the advantages in rapid track initiation and doubled data rate are significant."

Those two sentences, all by themselves, explain why USUK-Fr has become so timid about Iraqi-fying/Libya-ising Syria - assuming the Russians have continued to upgrade the system since the cited report was written.

So ... America's Fake War Mongers really are fucked.
How quickly things change when the 'facts on the ground' turn out to be nothing more than piles & puddles of (cheap) bullshit, whimsy and wishful thinking.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 31 2013 19:26 utc | 53

The Saudis have won the Battle of the Monarchs. Qatar can still send money but Muslim Brotherhood no longer welcome.;_ylt=AwrNUbJDBKlRHiAAgWrQtDMD

Posted by: dh | May 31 2013 20:19 utc | 54


"If by "clean skins" you mean anonymous citizens emerging from the population, you are wrong."

That is generally what I mean. There is no doubt that the FBI monitors every citizen in the country via social media (possibly through email) but they still have to make a decision on what to do.

I guess I don't quite mean to equate this "clean skin" idea (and that's not my phrasing or anything) with "anonymity". It's got nothing to do with being under surveillance. We're all under surveillance to some degree, no doubt. Now it has everything to do with how far the FBI is going to respond to "threats".

If the basic manner in which the secret police operate is this: gather intelligence, act on the intelligence. Both of these things must, theoretically, be carried out within the confines of the law.

Look, the FBI could have simply taken the elder Tsarnaev and locked him up simply because the Russians called. But that wasn't politically possible. And the fact that he was a "clean skin" as opposed to a foreign national made it that much harder.

When your set to focus on is foreign nationals, things are easy - it is both a small set of people subject to limitless surveillance, and the legal options for dealing with them (being that they are not citizens) are practically unlimited. When the dangerous set becomes, say, immigrants, it is that much harder to do your job because both your set has expanded in size and the options on cracking down on them are slightly more limited. Keep going up the social hierarchy and you see the problem.

Posted by: guest77 | May 31 2013 21:15 utc | 55

In these cases there was much more than casual surveillance through social media: the Tsarnaev's uncle was married to the daughter of a CIA station chief who organised jihadists, for example.
The Woolwich guy has all manner of links with MI6, Hariri salafists and thus with the Saudi intelligence.
And that is just what we do know. See that link at @10.

Posted by: bevin | May 31 2013 22:29 utc | 56

@Don Bacon#23&24:

Some possibly good news from recent State Dept. pressers:

1) Victoria Nuland (AKA Mrs. Robert Kagan) has been replaced as spokes.

2) Ambassador Ford will be leaving the Syria assignment soon.

It may well be that under Secretary Kerry, the US will be drawing back from a neocon/neolib agenda. But then, our multimillionaire Secretary may be substituting an approach of trying to bribe our way out of problems.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 1 2013 0:08 utc | 57

A person,

The West can't pay enough, because it's about control of the future at stake. As Brzezinski roughly said, "the main threat to US domination is an alliance of Russia, Iran, and China, all with different ideologies, but mutual interests".

Central Asia is the grand prize, and rail networks and roads are being built quickly. The resources there are enormous, and won't be under the control of America's Navy.

Posted by: Ozawa | Jun 1 2013 0:20 utc | 58

Syrians 'executed in cold blood' by al-Qaeda group

14 days ago
Al Qaeda
A still from a video showing the men prior to their execution by Al-Nusra rebels in Syria. Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Syrian rebels have been shown on video executing 11 shackled men in cold blood after a sharia court condemned them to death for fighting with the government.

The al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front said it had executed the men, who were shown blindfolded and kneeling as they were shot in the head, for participating in massacres of civilians.

The gunman shouted God is great after firing each shot to the head.

The video is the second in two days to show such executions by fighters who say they are from al Qaeda-linked groups.

“The sharia court for the eastern region in Deir al-Zor has sentenced to death these apostate soldiers that committed massacres against our brothers and families in Syria,” the executioner declared on the video.

Al-Nusra has been designated a terrorist organisation by the US government and moves are on track to designate it as part of al-Qaeda through the United Nations.

A video posted online on Wednesday from the northern province of Raqqa, which is controlled by Islamist rebels, showed three blindfolded men sitting on the curb of a central roundabout before being shot in the head with a pistol. A man speaking in the video said the executions were revenge for killings in the coastal town of Banias two weeks ago.


Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 1:30 utc | 59

Posted by: guest77 | May 31, 2013 12:26:15 PM | 45

ERDOGAN is doing what he claimed Assad was...attacking peaceful protestors! and he lies while quoting the Koran

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 1:45 utc | 60

Posted by: somebody | May 31, 2013 10:13:49 AM | 39
i left them some comments to chew on

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 1:46 utc | 61

has Hamas gone over to the dark side?

A hardly noticed detail of the operation in Al-Qusayr (Syrian city near the border to Lebanon): some fighters of the Qassam Brigades were killed and others were taken prisoner in this operation. It does not take long to guess on who’s side they have been active: on the side of the “rebels”.
In this context, Hezbollah declares Hamas and, in particular, their local representative in Lebanon, Ali Baraka, as unwanted with the insistent demand, that he should leave Lebanon very fast.
The visit of the Emir of Qatar to Gaza was actually and straightaway seen as an attempt to win the Hamas fighters for the war against Syria. This would be consistent with the interests of the aggressors that would establish a mobilization machinery, trained combat brigades and get additional human resources, which should not be underestimated, in this way, as well as it would serve the interest of Israel that could lead all the various troublemaking militant groups in one direction and thus, “away from itself”.

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 2:01 utc | 62

@55 you are right re: those two attacks. There are certainly more examples.

My point would be about the difficulty of preventing attacks, yours seems to be that the attacks are not meant to be prevented. I honestly can't argue with you considering the track record of explicit warnings being ignored until they turn into a quick advantage for the elite and tragedies for the rest of us.

That said, I don't think the two examples say much other than A) the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and B) options for the police are few.

Having your uncle's daughter being in the CIA is not the same as being seen to be a imminent threat. In fact, if anything, its entirely possible that the connection allowed the Tsarnaevs brother further cover to fly under.

The same with the man in England. He was clearly a threat, which is why, not being able to arrest him, the M16 tried - apparently - to turn him. That's my point. The options with dealing with people - even clear threats - are fewer and more difficult for the police as radicalization reaches the core of western societies.

My main point is the only path out of the cycle of violence is the one that will never be taken: do the right thing, start following the rule of law, and begin to treat people with dignity and justice.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 2:08 utc | 63

@RP #56
Right, I've got Jen Psaki covered as in my #15. I almost feel sorry for her, trying to explain US policy in Syria to a hostile press. She's kept her cool so far, give her credit.

Here's today's effort at State:

MS. PSAKI: We view the Syrian Coalition’s announcement that it has expanded by 51 new members to a total of 114 people as a positive step. Of those 51 new seats, we understand 15 will be reserved for the Supreme Military Council and 14 will be reserved for additional grassroots activists from inside Syria. Just so everybody understands where we are in the process, some of these are reserve slots so there aren’t names yet assigned to the slots. That’s part of the process that they will be going – undergoing in the days ahead. And then, of course, they’ll be electing their leadership.
QUESTION: Okay. And finally, you concur that it has to be the regime versus the opposition that must sit together and resolve these issues, correct?
MS. PSAKI: They’re – certainly, they are key components of this, absolutely. And there are a number of other countries in the region and international leaders who have been very engaged in this – the U.S., Russia, the London 11 – and we’ll work through with the UN the participation as we get closer.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 2:31 utc | 64

hardd core terrorists call brit man and american woman'martyrs'!

Keir Simmons @KeirSimmons
American woman and British man ‘martyred in Syria’ according to militant jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra.

they were with hard core killers Al-Nusra, the worst of islam

how can they be 'martyrs'?

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 3:06 utc | 65

is Flint Michigan, home of Michael Moore and victim of US economic mismanagement, now exporting terrorists?

According to reports, Mansfield is yet another “Muslim convert”. Go figure yet another convert ends up fighting alongside terrorists in a country we are trying to destabilize. Anyone else see a pattern developing here?
And there is another pattern.
It just so happens that Mansfield is from Flint, Michigan, one of the hardest hit cities in the engineered financial collapse of 2008. The crappy little apartment she had was just served an eviction notice. Apparently she had been subletting illegally while she was off on her new job.
Abject poverty breeds a very special kind of desperation. Whether or not she actually believed in her new religion or not is beside the point. Chicken hawks always flock to desperate people whether they are LEOs looking to cultivate a snitch in order to entrap dupes in honeypot schemes or whether they are looking to offer a few thousand bucks and a way out to hopelessly poor “converted Muslims”, it’s all pretty much the same. The economic crisis they created also creates other opportunities for the strong to feed on the weak.
“She had a heart of gold, but she was weak-minded,” her grandmother said. “I think she could have been brainwashed.” Foreign Policy

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 3:11 utc | 66

For a long time the State Department goal was to “change the calculation” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We haven't heard that recently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 3:12 utc | 67

A pattern? She might have enlisted in the Marine Corps, after all, as many others have.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 3:17 utc | 68

@67 I guess she just wanted to murder different people.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 3:27 utc | 69

Send John McCain to Guantanamo Bay

Senator meets with America-hating, Al-Qaeda terrorists
Paul Joseph Watson
May 28, 2013
Given the fact that numerous individuals have been sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for “associating with terrorists,” Senator John McCain has now opened himself up to the same fate after he met with FSA rebels in Syria who are admittedly led by and who have pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda terrorists.
The following facts clearly illustrate how the FSA now bear all the hallmarks of a terrorist organization and by associating with them, John McCain is now not only an associate but also a lobbyist for terrorists.
- FSA rebels are defecting to Jabhat al-Nusra in droves.
- Jabhat al-Nusra is now the leading front line fighting force in Syria and is commanding the other rebel groups.
- Jabhat al-Nusra killed U.S. troops in Iraq.
- Immediately after the State Department declared Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization, 29 different FSA rebel outfits pledged allegiance to the Al-Qaeda group.
- FSA rebels have vowed to “fight the U.S.” once they finish with Bashar Al-Assad.
- FSA rebels have been filmed burning US and Israeli flags on more than one occasion.
- FSA rebels have been filmed singing songs that glorify Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks.
- One FSA group even calls its fighting unit the “Osama Bin Laden” brigade.
- Another video shows FSA rebels chanting, “We are all with Osama bin Laden!”
- FSA rebels have voiced their desire to see the Al-Qaeda flag fly over the White House once the rebels are victorious across the region.
- FSA rebels have been filmed cutting out people’s hearts on camera and eating them while chanting “Allahu Akbar”.
- FSA rebels have been responsible for innumerable beheadings over the course of the conflict, chanting “Allahu Akbar” as they decapitate their victims.
- FSA rebels have committed innumerable sectarian murders, including beheading a man for being a Christian and feeding him to the dogs.
- FSA rebels have also forced children to behead people and carry out other atrocities.
- FSA rebels have ransacked Christian churches.
- FSA rebels have murdered numerous journalists in targeted killings, including Maya Nasser and most recently Yara Abbas.
- FSA rebels have been pictured numerous times flying the black flag of Al-Qaeda and wearing uniforms with Al-Qaeda insignia.
- FSA rebels have been caught on camera preparing chemical weapons attacks.
- In March, UN human rights investigator Carla del Ponte said FSA rebels had used chemical weapons.
- FSA rebels have forced prisoners to become suicide bombers.

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 3:30 utc | 70

Posted by: guest77 | May 31, 2013 11:27:51 PM | 68

thats not how it would have been presented: many jihadis see their war on syria as justified by the media reports of Assad atrocities. The reports are lies but people are not able to understand that professional media can and do lie

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 3:33 utc | 71

It's a pity Ms. Mansfield didn't meet Senator McCain in Syria. He knows the difference between the good bad guys and the bad good guys.

Posted by: dh | Jun 1 2013 3:34 utc | 72

over at the morally challenged Christian Science Monitor Editorial Board:

' Putin's decision to send sophisticated S-300 antiaircraft missiles to Syria’s embattled regime shows a moral indifference to human suffering and popular demands for democracy'

this sums up the dead end of western journalism.
'Embattled regime'? hasnt CSM seen the cannibals the are battling and CSM is supporting?

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 3:59 utc | 73

Humor - Family Concerned After John McCain Wanders Into Syria: Members of Sen. John McCain’s family expressed deep concern Tuesday after receiving word that the aging legislator had wandered off into Syria. “Unfortunately, this has been happening a lot lately; he’ll walk out of the Capitol building, get disoriented, and then we get a call late at night saying that John is in Syria,” McCain’s wife Cindy said

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 4:01 utc | 74

Time for Russia to Make a Stand

By Prof. Rodney Shakespeare

May 30, 2013 "Information Clearing House" - It’s time for Russia to make a stand. Now or never. Russia’s future is at stake just as much as the future of others

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 4:03 utc | 75

CSM: "America has long anchored its foreign policy in moral terms, usually to protect people in harm’s way or to promote universal rights. “We are the force for progress, prosperity, and peace,” said Hillary Rodham Clinton as she left the State Department in February." But that nasty Putin who wants to help Syria defend itself "shows a moral indifference to human suffering and popular demands for democracy," according to the Monitoring Christians. How about some facts.

How did that Iraq thing work out, Hill, that war you voted for and supported?
• More than 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence in Iraq have been civilians – an estimated 134,000. This number does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher.
• The Iraq war will ultimately cost US taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.
• The $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the US almost $500 billion through 2053.
• The total of US service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 US contractors have died as well, a number often underreported.
• Terrorism in Iraq increased dramatically as a result of the invasion and tactics and fighters were exported to Syria and other neighboring countries.
• Iraq’s health-care infrastructure remains devastated from sanctions and war. More than half of Iraq’s medical doctors left the country during the 2000s, and tens of thousands of Iraqi patients have been forced to seek health care outside the country.
• The $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 4:23 utc | 76

US senator enters a country illegally and meets with terrorists? No worries says US regime

even Dailykos sees it as only an embarrassment

'Senator McCain's blundering has put the US in the same camp as kidnappers in the minds of millions in the Middle East. Like America needs more bad PR in the Middle East. Way to win hearts and minds, Senator Clueless'

US is not in the same camp or league as the kidnappers: the latter are rank amateurs in the field compared to the US war machine

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 4:27 utc | 77

Oh, and 4.5 million Iraqi children have lost one (usually a father) or both parents. “We are the force for progress, prosperity, and peace." No. Ask an Iraqi about that. There are some living near me. If you want a hateful, icy-cold stare, just ask them what they think about the war the US brought them. And now with a support for terrorists in Syria, the US is doing it again.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 4:27 utc | 78


Oh, they're just natural allies, cannibalism being a key rite in every Christian service. ;)

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 4:30 utc | 79

DalyKos has to be careful not to differ with the war party. "Remember that ultimately, this is a site about the Democratic Party and elections. I'll be looking for people who get that we're building a movement and can help further that goal." -- by kos (Markos Moulitsas)
Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 09:19:53 AM PST

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 4:35 utc | 80


No doubt about it that the events in Syria suit enough of the Democratic leadership just fine. Obama is cooly playing his hand, and Mr. McCain and Ms. Graham are on the other side of that divide.

Though in the big picture they don't amount to much (meaning, the methods very greatly, but the ends are all the same), there are some very interesting differences in Democrat and Republican policy on foreign policy issues. Making McCain look the fool is important politically. Playing up the cannibal story (it is remarkable and certainly no accident that it had the life it did in the press) is important in keeping the temperature of the war fever down as well.

Seeing as how the Democrats have been much harder on the jihadists than the Republicans were, and seeing as how desperately they are trying to put the Middle East behind them, maybe we should put a little more emphasis on Nasrallah original taunt to the Takfiris - that they we're being lured into Syria to be slaughtered.

“I warn al-Qaeda: the Americans and the European countries and Arab and Islamic countries have set a trap for you in Syria, and opened for you a battlefield so you come from across the world… to be killed and to kill each other…”

Maybe we will be luck enough to see the Russians and the Americans spring the trap at Geneva. Seal the borders with Turkey and Jordan and let the Syrians kill the jihadis.

A guy can dream...

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 4:57 utc | 81


And never will we say we were wrong and attempt to make amends.

"During a recent visit to Vietnam, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen pointedly refused to apologize for the U.S. military action there, explaining, as he put it, 'Both nations were scarred by this. They [the Vietnamese] have their own scars from the war. We certainly have ours.'"

There is no limit to the immorality of the rich and powerful.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 5:12 utc | 82

EU allows terrorists to open bank accounts in fortress europe

imagine if HAMAS or hezbollah were to open accounts there

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 5:30 utc | 83

Obama is cooly playing his hand. . .the Democrats have been much harder on the jihadists than the Republicans were

I don't agree. Obama is a lost child, but what did we expect.
And hard on jihadists - where? Libya? Afghanistan? Syria? Qatar? Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 5:33 utc | 84


I don't want to leave the impression that there isn't something entirely and completely fucked up about all of this. Especially the shooting of the man in Florida.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 5:43 utc | 85

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1, 2013 1:33:11 AM | 84
apart from Reagan, its been during the Democrats years that islamic terrorists have been put to work for the US regime...remember Bosnia?

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 5:47 utc | 86

He certainly took killing Bin Laden more seriously than Bush did. He's not taking trips to Syria to visit with them. I think there are a few ways in which you can argue - Syria being the most important of them - that Obama sees Al Qaeda less as a useful tool, and more as an enemy.

But like I said, the end result is all the same and so in that case it's hard to see meaning in differences of methods.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 5:49 utc | 87

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1, 2013 1:49:56 AM | 87

OBL died late in 2001

who knows what Obama really thinks. All we see are public statements.
so NO Obama does not take alqaeda more seriously as an enemy

Posted by: brian | Jun 1 2013 6:26 utc | 88

Regarding the protests in Istanbul, from yesterday:

The bosporus bridge was closed to traffic but more are walking from Asia to Europe to join the protests at Taksim square [picture taken early morning]

There were impromptu marches all accross the country, some at 2:00 am!

Erdogan better back down quickly, or this will turn real ugly. Rumours are swirling that more policemen are being flown into Istanbul from the rest of the country, as well as busloads of protestors expected to converge on Taksim square later today, 19:00 local time.

Various luxury hotels, businesses have been helping out, giving food to protestors, and there were gas masks handed out to some protestors from the Istanbul Army HQ [down the road from Taksim].

Posted by: kodlu | Jun 1 2013 6:39 utc | 89

89 I guess it will turn ugly

"Some of you may have heard this so I want to also note at a personal level: many religious and pro-AKP folk in Turkey now (from my observations) have taken an attitude of “if we don’t crush them, they will crush us” ..."

Posted by: somebody | Jun 1 2013 7:16 utc | 90

I wonder how much Erdo can relay on the army, should the police alone prove unable to crush the demonstrations. Are the Generals now Erdogan's men? If so is it out of loyalty and ideological compatibility, or just plane fear? And what of the colonels and mid-level officers? It would be ironic, though not at all surprising, if formerly anti-military leftists ally with the military against Islamists.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 1 2013 8:49 utc | 91

@91: Most ordinary people in Turkey still trust the army more than they trust politicians and much much more than they trust the police. In some way, the army is still seen as being "above politics". I know it sounds contradictory with the history of military interventions, but polls regularly show this. There has always been sympathy to the left among colonels and mid-level officers in the Turkish army. As for the generals, I am pretty sure they do not want a war with Syria, are full of disgust with Erdogan's meddling and supporting islamist/salafist rebels, but under the current conditions are waiting for the electoral process to bring Erdogan down. This might change in a flash if the US decided Erdo was no longer useful to them. The current chief of staff of the Army, who came in after the previous top generals resigned, is probably as well disposed to Erdogan as any army officer is going to be, but the army is a huge bureaucracy and one man cannot sway the whole behemoth.

Anyway, at this stage, the ball is in Erdo's court. If he is smart he will quietly back down. What he has to understand is that of the 50'ish percent support he gets only about 30% are hardcore supporters, the others are just fellow travellers, be they liberals or conservatives, who like the fact that the economy is still doing well and would abandon him if push comes to shove, for a centre-right alternative. It does help that the secular centre-right, represented by Demirel previously, is in disarray and no clear alternative presents itself.

Posted by: kodlu | Jun 1 2013 11:05 utc | 92

@88 "who knows what Obama really thinks. All we see are public statements. so NO Obama does not take alqaeda more seriously as an enemy"

Obama could easily ramp up the violence in Syria with almost no price to pay at home. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he deserves that Peace Prize he got. I'm just saying that he does seem - or at least seems to seem - more aggressive on Al Qaeda with a mind to putting the GWOT behind the United States.

The Democrats are trying to pull itself out of the quicksand GWB got it stuck in - probably so they can focus on attacking Asia (like they are currently doing in Malaysia). Unfortunately, as the US tries to climb out of the quicksand, Israel keeps throwing sandbags into our arms.

All I'm suggesting is that there is a clear difference in tactics. To what degree it has been able to be put into effect is arguable. To the degree that the difference in the goal (preserve the US dominant position and prevent any other power from challenging it, described by both ZBig and PNAC) is not arguable: there is none.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 1 2013 15:11 utc | 93

On the British guy ...

British security services 'arranged Woolwich suspect's release from Kenyan prison'

British security services arranged for Woolwich terror suspect Michael Adebolajo to be freed from a Kenyan jail after he was snatched by a unit of the SAS as he tried to enter war-torn Somalia, it was claimed today.

The British authorities believed that arranging his release from Kenya in 2010 would help persuade him to become an informant for MI5 and infiltrate radical Islamist groups.

The 28-year-old was one of seven men held by an SAS unit working with Kenya police and soldiers as they tried to cross into Somalia by speedboat to join the Al Shabaab terror group.
Sources say that special forces soldiers who helped in his capture are furious that he was later freed to roam the streets and allegedly kill a British soldier. They say MI5 hoped its actions in “rescuing” the extremist from a Kenyan jail would persuade him to work with them.

But after being deported to the UK he was freed and MI5, which failed in its efforts to recruit him as an informant, put him on a low-level watch, apparently believing he was not a high risk.

Posted by: b | Jun 1 2013 15:13 utc | 94

U.S. withholds millions pledged to help Syrian opposition

The United States is withholding $63 million that it had pledged to the main Syrian opposition organization because the Obama administration is frustrated with the group’s disarray and is searching for more credible partners to support in the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad, knowledgeable officials said Friday.

The decision not to fund the Syrian Opposition Coalition contrasts sharply with the Obama administration’s continued public expressions of confidence in the group, which has been central to U.S. policy on Syria since last fall and which the administration recognizes as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

But U.S. officials said privately that they are fed up with the group’s inability to organize, appoint a government-in-exile or reach decisions on a wide range of issues. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to more freely discuss sensitive diplomacy.

Kerry's Syrian Quagmire

Yet the move from the Russians is only the latest signal that peace talks between the Syrian opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which the United States hopes to hold in July, face slim odds at best.
"The opposition is in no place tactically or politically to enter into Geneva right now, so they should not be pushed," said one State Department official, who referred to the timing of the talks as a "mystery." "It is a long shot to get them there -- and if we get them there I think it will further divide the opposition."
"From the administration perspective... the only thing that will work in this situation is the 'negotiated settlement,' and so that is where this White House wants to keep it," said a second State Department official. "There appears to be no interest in doing any next steps, and so this is sort of a fallback because the next step is not something that they are willing to envision."

No Plan B has emerged in discussions with Washington diplomats about what to do should the peace talks fail to end the savage two-year conflict. The other options before the White House, according to this official, "are all problematic, they are all not easy and from where I sit there really is not interest in being involved. Period."
"The idea is we exhaust every possibility," said a third State Department official who was not authorized to speak on the record. "We are facing this enormous confluence of bad things happening but a limited arsenal."
"It is a policy of containment, non-intervention at all costs," said the first State Department official. "Short of sarin gas being lobbed at Tel Aviv, we are not going to intervene."

Posted by: b | Jun 1 2013 17:38 utc | 95

Reportedly the Coalition Follies in Istanbul is somewhat due to the struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia for control, with the latter now gaining supremacy.

Reuters, May 31

. . .Two events finally prompted Saudi Arabia and the United States to lose patience with Qatar's Syrian role - one on the battlefield and another among the political opposition in exile.

In mid-April, Assad's troops broke a six-month rebel blockade of the Wadi al-Deif military base on Syria's key north-south highway, after a rebel brigade that was seen as close to Qatar broke ranks - exposing fellow fighters to a government counterattack that led to the deaths of 68 of their number.

A rebel commander, based near Damascus and familiar with the unit which buckled, said its failure had been due to its leaders having preferred using their local power to get rich rather than fighting Assad - a common accusation among the fractious rebels:

"Qatar's bet ... failed especially in the Wadi al-Deif battle. The regime managed to break through them after they became the new local warlords, caring for money and power not the cause," the senior commander told Reuters. That battlefield collapse infuriated Qatar's allies in the anti-Assad alliance.

"The straw that broke the camel's back was the failure to take over Wadi al-Deif camp," the commander said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 1 2013 19:08 utc | 96

do the right thing and get sanctioned by US dictatorship

Ukraine Renews Rejection of Foreign Interference in Syria


US imposes sanctions on Ukrainian and Kyrgyz airlines, Iran's petrochemical companies


its time states sanctioned the US...dont let themk get away with mass murder

Posted by: brian | Jun 2 2013 3:30 utc | 97

UK Mail Online: What We do to Syria May One Day Be Done to Us

Imagine this: Newspapers and broadcasters in China suddenly start to denounce the British government. They call it a ‘regime’. They say that its treatment of its Muslim minority is cruel and unjust.

Soon, their views are echoed by the Chinese Foreign Minister, who in a speech at the United Nations says that Britain’s treatment of its minorities is a disgrace, and calls for sanctions against this country.

The Chinese ambassador turns up as an ‘observer’ at an Islamist demonstration in Birmingham. Some protestors are injured. Carefully-edited footage of the occasion is shown on global TV stations, in which the police are made to look brutal and the provocations against them are not shown.

Soon after this, armed attacks are made on police stations and on army barracks. People begin to notice the presence in British cities of foreign-looking men, sometimes armed.

Posted by: b | Jun 2 2013 11:33 utc | 98

'Imagine this: Newspapers and broadcasters in China suddenly start to denounce the British government. They call it a ‘regime’. They say that its treatment of its Muslim minority is cruel and unjust.'

but isnt that what UK is? a 'regime'? which implies unsavoury and not legitimate, an institution that operates outside pubic oversight and to sinister ends

Posted by: brian | Jun 2 2013 12:52 utc | 99

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