Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 14, 2013

What We DO Know About Chemical Weapons In Syria

The White House now claims that the Syrian Arab Army has used chemical weapons:
Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year. Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information.
Remember that such "high confidence" and "multiple, independent streams of information" were also claimed when the United States attacked Iraq over such claims of chemical weapons. None of the alleged weapons were ever found. The claims were proven false.

The U.S. is trying the same lame trick again. It has provided no evidence but statements from the insurgents for any chemical weapon use by the Syrian army. It provided no explanation why its assessment has changed. This "mushroom cloud" lie is used as an "excuse" to now provide weapons and ammunition to the insurgents. That is another lie. The U.S. had decided on that earlier than it now claims. Over the last months the insurgents received powerful wire guided anti-tank missiles. So many indeed that the Syria weapon watcher Brown Moses tweeted:

The Syrian opposition in the north appears to have wire-guided missiles coming out of their ears.

There IS some evidence that chemical weapon have been used in Syria. But everything we know about them points to their use by the insurgents, not by the Syrian Arab Army.

Late last year the insurgents in Syria threatened to produce and use chemical weapons. They uploaded videos in which they demonstrated the use of gas to kill animals while threatening to do the same with their enemies in Syria.

In March 2013 16 Syrian army soldiers guarding a barrier were killed when they were attacked by insurgents with Chlorine gas. According to Alex Thomsen of the British Channel 4 insurgents had sourced the gas from an earlier captured factory near Aleppo.

Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general and prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), is a member of the UN's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. On May 6 she declared that according to investigations she had seen insurgents in Syria had used the nerve gas Sarin:

Testimony from victims of the conflict in Syria suggests rebels have used the nerve agent, sarin, a leading member of a UN commission of inquiry has said.

Carla Del Ponte told Swiss TV that there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof".

The insurgents distributed fake videos allegedly showing people "foaming at the mouth" as consequence of a chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian army. The foam was shaving cream.

Also in May an al-Nusra fighter was photographed carrying a grenade with strong riot control agents similar to those security forces in Turkey had purchased from an Indian weapon manufacturer. Debris of such  grenades was found in places in Syria where "chemical weapon attacks" had occurred. Symtoms described after such attacks are consistent with exposure to riot control agents.

At the end of May an insurgency cell was busted in Turkey as it produced, according to local media, the toxic gas Sarin:

Seven members of Syria's militant al-Nusra group were detained on Wednesday after police found sarin gas, which was reportedly going to be used in a bomb attack, during a search of the suspects' homes, Turkish media have reported.

Newspapers claimed on Thursday that two kilograms of sarin gas, which is usually used for making bombs and was banned by the UN in 1991, had been found in the homes of suspects detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersin. Twelve suspects were caught by the police on Monday. The reports claimed that the al-Nusra members had been planning a bomb attack for Thursday in Adana but that the attack was averted when the police caught the suspects. Along with the sarin gas, the police seized a number of handguns, grenades, bullets and documents during their search.

In early June another Al Qaeda cell was busted in Iraq where it was producing mustard gas:

Iraq has captured a suspected Al Qaeda cell that was allegedly planning to produce chemical poisons such as mustard gas to attack Iraqi forces and to ship overseas for attacks on Europe and the United States, the government said on Saturday.
Five men were caught before they could manufacture any gas or chemical weapons in makeshift factories in Baghdad and another province, Mohammed Al-Askari, a Defence Ministry spokesman told reporters.

“They got some programs from Al Qaeda outside Iraq, they were working … to produce mustard gas … and other gas,” he said.

No evidence has been shown that demonstrates the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army. Several items of evidence are available that demonstrate the use of riot control agents and chemical weapons by the insurgency.

But the U.S. is again claiming "chemcial weapons" as a (fake) reason to wage war on a Middle Eastern country. Who does it think will believe such claims?

Posted by b on June 14, 2013 at 5:40 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The powers that be do not give up easily, it'll take a whoopin to force them to change track. I sincerely hope that they do get that whoopin for being so brazen and wicked. Perhaps Putin will finally now deliver whatever has to be sent in order to ensure the Syrians have they need. After that, who knows...Armageddon anybody?
I'm not talking about Def Leopard neither.

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 14 2013 5:56 utc | 1

This is shameful.

With all the Snowden stuff and Obama's domestic difficulties, war might seem a nice clean avenue of escape to him.

Let us pray that Russia, China and the other BRICS countries, as well as the still sane members of the EU in which I hope Germany can be included, finally stand up to this madness.

Posted by: johnf | Jun 14 2013 6:06 utc | 2

'Who does it think will believe such claims?' They no longer care about that. Many of these Syrian rebels have actually pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda as we know. War is the only thing big enough to cover the decline of America and the West, U.S. needs someone to blame for the economy. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration is considering plans to bring all of the poor "refugees" that are allied with these "rebels" to the United States...Putin of course might have something to say. This is it unless it isn't. Who would ever deride Clinton?

Posted by: TikTok | Jun 14 2013 6:18 utc | 3

Yes, Fox News .. sorry .. Sky News is running this over and over this morning, including the shaving cream footage. This was always an inevitable maneuver by the US et al after Qusayr was taken by Assad and Hezbollah forces. I won a £10 bet over the format that would be taken, heart strings and chemical weapons, Yesterday: "Syria death toll at least 93,000, says UN", "The revised toll came the day after a separate global UN report called the number of deaths among Syrian children "unbearable"." .. of courses that's Navi Pillay and we already know about how she comes to a figure! .. then today: "US: Syria 'used chemical weapons'"... which I have heard already was "independently verified". Of course the independent verification can't be independently verified.. so basically it's just the word of the US. My guess is a no "fly zone" next ... or to give it its real title "Al-Nusra Air Support".

Posted by: Rod Brown | Jun 14 2013 7:18 utc | 4

Oh in the middle of the spy and hacking scandal Obama try to start a war, disgusting!

Remember the UN report that found no proof of chemical weapons being used by the government side, now - why didnt France/US provide its so called evidence to the UN?
Because there is no evidence and we will see none of it!

Obama doesnt even dare saying it himself, putting forward the israeli-hawk Ben Rhodes.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 14 2013 7:40 utc | 5

Ok, now after reading fully the Statement by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes on Syrian Chemical Weapons Use it is abundantly clear the US has nothing.

"We are working with allies to present a credible, evidentiary case to share with the international community and the public."

Whilst reading that an image Colin Powell holding up a phial of "white powder" sprung to mind... I think the word "present" needs changing to "fabricate" given the "body of information used to make this intelligence assessment"...

Posted by: Rod Brown | Jun 14 2013 7:43 utc | 6

Who do it think will believe such claims? Begin with the New York Times. From there to the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Politico, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Koch Brothers Times, SKY news, Rachel Maddow etc etc. McClatchy will be the only holdout among the MSM. Even if reporters were not ideologically prepared to accept what they are told, they are, as a rule, too lazy, too uncurious, or in their words "too overworked" to question what the government tells them. In short, the answer to your question, is just about everybody who's telephone and internet records are being gathered and watched.

Posted by: Fabrizio | Jun 14 2013 7:50 utc | 7

It is time for Putin to step up and call this bluff. Russia should anounce and deliver the best weapons they have to the Syrian army.

Posted by: hilmi hakim | Jun 14 2013 7:50 utc | 8

According to the WSJ the ramp up will include a no fly zone from Jordan: U.S. to Arm Syrian Rebels

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama authorized his administration to provide arms to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, officials said Thursday, a major policy shift after the White House said it had confirmed that Damascus used chemical weapons in the country's civil war.

The classified order directing the Central Intelligence Agency to coordinate arming the rebels in concert with its allies reverses a long-standing policy that limited the U.S. to providing nonlethal support.

The White House declined to comment on the authorization, saying only that Mr. Obama had decided to ramp up "military support" to moderate rebels both in "scope and scale."

U.S. officials also told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the U.S. military proposal for arming the rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by U.S. and allied planes on Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there.
The plan would create what one official called a "no fighting zone" that would stretch up to 25 miles into Syrian territory along the Jordanian border, preventing Mr. Assad's forces from launching attacks against the rebels and refugees and protecting U.S. personnel involved in distributing weapons and providing training.

Under this plan, the U.S. and its allies would enforce the zone using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials.

Jordan has been inundated by a flood of refugees that Jordanian and U.S. officials say is a growing threat to the kingdom, a key U.S. ally in the region.

The U.S. has already moved Patriot air defense batteries and F-16 fighter planes to Jordan, which could be integral to any no-fly zone if Mr. Obama approves the military proposal.

Proponents of the proposal think a no-fly zone could be imposed without a U.N. Security Council resolution, since the U.S. would not regularly enter Syrian airspace and wouldn't hold Syrian territory.

U.S. planes have air-to-air missiles that could destroy Syrian planes from long ranges. But officials said that aircraft may be required to enter Syrian air space if threatened by advancing Syrian planes. Such an incursion by the U.S., if it were to happen, could be justified as self-defense, officials say.

Creating even a limited buffer zone that Syrian airplanes cannot enter will be expensive, costing an estimated $50 million a day, officials said.

Posted by: b | Jun 14 2013 7:59 utc | 9

I guess its time now for Russia to deploy some S-300 battalions to Syria. Will Putin do so?

Posted by: b | Jun 14 2013 8:14 utc | 10

It must be true and will be true even if fabricated or in part truth, rahter just twisted version to suit 'the' agenda. There is nothing anyone can do! Well, and I hate to say it, only China or Russia could, but; this would be serious, a utter change of military balance and power. In tha,t the US would not step down even if it would mean WWIII and the lives of millions of innocents were on the table; that is the way they roll, they play poker, but go all-in with poor hands. More so now with the PRISM issue, as the administrations back is against the wall. The risk may even lose German blessing, and Nato could be fractured, thus other would follow. In fact the EU does want this, this is on its trading doorstep (Turkey) and that would be severely damage related ties, then we have the effects with Jordan and Lebanon, it’s like dominos. Again this also hampers Oil/Energy markets, none that effect the US, and they know that, since they control it and wan to keep it that way.

War will have drawbacks; the cost for one, who is picking up the tab? Then the crashing markets, it happens will all War, also the unknown aftermath, revenge, public protests; and this time, not just Syria, but a horde of expecting extremists, then bad blood with Russia will have consequences’ in a political arena, with China and target economic triggers; the blowback would be devastating. The US global strategic ability will be thinly spread – The Eagle has landed, only because the wings were clipped, and may never fly again, so it would need to ensure utter devastation in ored to rise from the ashes.

Sarin - We seem to forget Germany invented sarin, Nato & the US loved it, the US in the 70 (Laos) Op tailwind did some nasty ‘War crimes’ against it own people. The fact that most who do have such NBC class weapons have document trails that show the assistance in developing chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Russia. Most of this stuff is ‘Ex-stock’, i.e. dumped by the Countries that assisted as they agreed to stop its use. So where do you dump; logically in places you want to destabilize in the future.

The first successful use of chemical agents by terrorists against a general civilian population was on June 27, 1994, when Aum Shinrikyo, an apocalyptic group based in Japan that believed it necessary to destroy the planet, released sarin gas in Matsumoto, Japan, killing eight and harming 200. The following year, Aum Shinrikyo released sarin into the Tokyo subway system killing 12 and injuring over 5,000.

The Aum Shinrikyo did this twice, never a Nato, US or Global condemnation was uttered. It was a WMD, and epic in scale; scale of Aum's activities was revealed for the first time. At the cult's headquarters in Kamikuishiki on the foot of Mount Fuji, police found explosives, chemical weapons and biological warfare agents, such as anthrax and Ebola cultures, and a Russian Mil Mi-17military helicopter. The Ebola virus was delivered from Zaire in 1994.[19] There were stockpiles of chemicals that could be used for producing enough sarin to kill four million people – Why was this contained? Japan is a US partner, Ok, it sided with Germany, attacked pearl harbor, but in return was the recipient of the only Nuclear attack ever executed (WMD) on civilians (Not a military target, in the late 50’s took GE’s nuclear power stations and agreed to be the key supply for US uranium - The group is still active to this day.

Posted by: kev | Jun 14 2013 8:22 utc | 11

I am not yet convinced that this is more than political theather. We all know here that the kind of weapons that they are promising now is being delivered already. Now they will be supplied openly.

With this move Obama gets rid of his "red line" and removes some of the pressure from the ultra-war-lovers.

I'll wait for the Russian reaction to see if there is anything new in the US actions.

Posted by: z | Jun 14 2013 8:29 utc | 12

Is this smoke and mirrors?

US to arm rebels

Ben Rhodes, a senior aide to the president, said the US would now provide “military support” to the opposition Supreme Military Council.. However, he stopped short of saying that opposition troops would be armed.

I'll leave it with you guys to discern the realities, rather than relying on eye catching headlines. I'm going nowhere near the orgy that the media is having with this today.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 14 2013 8:33 utc | 13

First response from russia on this
Russia slams ‘fabricated’ info on Syria’s use of chemical weapons

“Information about the use by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad of chemical weapons has been fabricated in the same place as the lies about (Saddam) Hussein's weapons of mass destruction,” Alexei Pushkov said.

Posted by: sajid | Jun 14 2013 8:57 utc | 14

What DO We Know About Chemical Weapons In Syria?

We know that use of chem weapons was Obama's declared red line, that the Syrian gov would one convenient day be accused of using them was therefore always a foregone conclusion. Thats all there is to know. If the claim is true or not is in today's media landscape as irrelevant as WMD's were in Iraq - once military actions are commenced the why becomes meaningless.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 14 2013 8:59 utc | 15

Nato commanders and their PR staff (like Obama) don't even care to fabricate plausible causes, they just put out any gargabe that contains at least two trigger terms (chemical, mass, destruction, human, rights, children, torture) and do what they'd do anyway.

Posted by: peter radiator | Jun 14 2013 9:28 utc | 16

Some nuggets in this NYT report on the issue:

But the president’s caution has frayed relations with important American allies in the Middle East that have privately described the White House strategy as feckless. Saudi Arabia and Jordan recently cut the United States out of a new rebel training program, a decision that American officials said came from the belief in Riyadh and Amman that the United States has only a tepid commitment to supporting rebel groups.

Moreover, the United Arab Emirates declined to host a meeting of allied defense officials to discuss Syria, concerned that in the absence of strong American leadership the conference might degenerate into bickering and finger-pointing among various gulf nations with different views on the best ways to support the rebellion.
After weeks of efforts to organize a conference at which the Assad government and the opposition were to negotiate a political transition, the administration is now slowing down that effort, fearful that if it were held now, Mr. Assad would be in too strong a position to make any concessions.

The conference has been pushed back repeatedly amid warnings that the main rebel leaders did not plan to attend. But now, an administration official said, the focus will switch from setting a date to fortifying the rebels before they sit across the table from the government.

So no Geneva II, as was already clear, and some nasty spats with the U.S. Gulf "allies" .. those spats are interesting. Could they be exploited?

Posted by: b | Jun 14 2013 9:31 utc | 17

"What We DO Know About Chemical Weapons In Syria"!

[Almost] Absolutely nuttin!

When do we know it?


Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 9:49 utc | 18

@ #13


and elegant enough

Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 9:51 utc | 19

michael gordon once again...just classic

and zionist punk rhodes makes his debut, the new dennis ross

Posted by: flyod | Jun 14 2013 10:14 utc | 20

israeli regime tied to the spy scandal?

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 14 2013 10:29 utc | 21

Anytime the US government is in Deep shit at home, they always uncover some plot..I see this new CM claim as the same as the Iranian-drug cartel-Saudi Ambassador hit when the fast and furious snafu was exposed.....Bill Clinton launched a war on Yugoslavia to escape a crisis at home (was it Monica???)..Obama NEEDS one now to escape the latest NSA spy scandal on not only American citizens, but also his "allies" in the EU and the rest of the world.

Only this time round, the Russians are calling Bullshit and it looks like they mean it. Obama better come up with a more manageable plot than this Syrian CM one.What we're witnessing now is a "super-power" in desperate times in need of a way out. For US officials, war is always a preferred fall-back option to better their strategic position.

Interesting times....:)

Posted by: Zico | Jun 14 2013 10:41 utc | 22

"But the U.S. is again claiming "chemcial weapons" as a (fake) reason to wage war on a Middle Eastern country. Who does it think will believe such claims?"

Does it matter? If anyone at all 'believes' it?
Obviously you feel this is not to be believed because it is a blatant lie. And I would agree.
How many lies for how long have been fed to the masses
And have been believed like some god dam religion

This is propaganda, pure and simple, this is perception management
This is mind control.

It doesn't have to be believed as fact or truth.
It simply has to be taken in for the fear factor of it all
It just has to scare people.
And it will.
I can just imagine the sound bites today and people will take it all in.... 'they will believe' in their zombified brains

Posted by: Penny | Jun 14 2013 10:49 utc | 23

John F Kennedy was prepared for nuclear war over Cuba, his red line.
Krushchev was bluffing and learned a bitter lesson
Mr Putin (todays Kennedy) is prepared for nuclear war over Syria, his red line.
Obama (todays Krushchev) is bluffing and will learn a bitter lesson.
This is a serious drift. There is little room for compromise. Just a form of words.
A slow learning bully must feel fear before he accepts that his power wave has hit a rock. US citizens want education, Health and jobs , not war.

Posted by: boindub | Jun 14 2013 11:00 utc | 24

"US citizens want education, Health and jobs , not war.",/i>

yeah but you only need ever con about 25% of them to claim a "mandate"

Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 11:06 utc | 25


Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 11:06 utc | 26

Who will believe?

A coalition of "believers" includes Turkey, Britain, France,Germany, Israel, certain Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian interests, as well as SA and Qatar. Like the US, they don't believe, but it doesn't matter, because they want it and their populations are accepting of the "facts" as their leaders want them portrayed.

What more do you need for a war?

Posted by: mrd | Jun 14 2013 11:13 utc | 27

Who would've thought that 10 years into the US war on terra, they'll be setting up a no-fly zone for Al-Qaeda infested mercenaries??? The joke must be on us, for sure!!!!

Are the American public so blind that they don't see the irony???

boindub @24

I wouldn't compare Putin to Kennedy as I think Kennedy was an a**hole like all US presidents. The only difference here is that, Russia is no longer USSR and they've largely recovered from the shock they suffered for the collapse of the USSR. In other words, THE BEAR IS BACK!!!!! It's just that the technocrats in DC haven't got the memo yet. They'll still living in their cold-war fantasies.

Posted by: Zico | Jun 14 2013 11:16 utc | 28

mrd @ 27

Those nations don't have to 'believe' as you seem to comprehend.
They are complicit.
Their 'belief' is not required. Only their cooperation and collusion

The 'belief' indoctrination, via the msm, timed for mass exposure first thing Friday am, (though it was up early evening at my place)

Is for the dumbed down masses..

Because the dumbed down masses believe what is in print and what their tellies will play to them all weekend. Over and over and over

Posted by: Penny | Jun 14 2013 11:38 utc | 29

Ben Rhodes: White House natsec advisor behind the claim Assad used chemical weapons in Syria, is a fiction writer

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 11:39 utc | 30

if you want the truth...go to Russia!

who really has the sarin?Turkish police seizes 2 kg of sarin gas from AlNusra militants

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 11:40 utc | 31

' Who does it think will believe such claims?'

most amerioans; those who are in positions of power, the EU politicians etc

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 11:45 utc | 32

Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2013 5:31:53 AM | 17

LOL what low farce: the saudi 'rebel training program'! how to overthrow an independent secular state and establish a islamic dictatorship

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 11:48 utc | 33

I'll leave it with you guys to discern the realities, rather than relying on eye catching headlines. I'm going nowhere near the orgy that the media is having with this today.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 14, 2013 4:33:09 AM | 13

realities? Ben Rhodes is a writer of fiction

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 11:53 utc | 34

as long as people keep using the words 'syrian rebels' the public will have the romantic pic of Luke Skywalker and his buddies vs the evil Assad

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 11:54 utc | 35

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 12:00 utc | 36

"LOL what low farce: the saudi 'rebel training program'!"

the saudi 'rebel training program', completely independent of any US influence, no less!

What will the shameless little tykes think of next?

Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 12:03 utc | 37

It looks to me like a major US strategy goal in the entire ME is to create and maintain chaos all over the place. It doesn't matter which side we support, as long as nobody ultimately wins and sets up an orderly situation. The idea seems to be that we can sell weapons to anybody and everybody, we can maintain disorder on Russia's southern borders, and disrupt the international oil/gas market at will. Anybody who sells oil/gas in other than US dollars is a dead man. Anybody who wants to use oil wealth to establish independence from international finance is a dead man.

Having a constant proxy war with nebulous participants and shifting alliances keeps the resources in the ground, prevents long-term trade arrangements, and creates a situation where whoever has the biggest army on the ground is the only power wherever they are. Our "nation-building" efforts don't lead to anything because they aren't mean to. They're just a means of distributing spoils, and keeping the churn going. And if any other power (meaning, Russia) gets involved, we will then fund the other side, to bleed them dry again. Look how we keep stirring up trouble every place China has made a substantial investment.

We seem to have learned something from the unconventional wars we can't win. Now we're starting them all over the world, so nobody else can win them either.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 14 2013 12:24 utc | 38

Now is the chance for Iraq, Iran and Lebanon (Hezbollah) to fight back against the Shiite genocide promoted by the Gulf Medieval Monarchies and their Western Imperialist Puppetmasters. With the help and backing of Russia and China hopefully.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 14 2013 12:41 utc | 39

Ah the peace loving-and-freedom-rights-britons never stops to amaze.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 14 2013 12:43 utc | 40

- MK Bradrakumar:

The United States may have administered one of the biggest-ever snubs to the Kremlin in the post-Cold War era with the White House announcement on Thursday that it will provide military support to the Syrian rebels. The US President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit scheduled to begin in Northern Ireland this coming Monday. This was to have been the first meeting for the two presidents after their respective re-election to the high office.

As a token courtesy to Putin at a personal and public level, Obama should have deferred the announcement until after meeting Putin. Syria was expected to figure on top of their agenda and Obama and Putin have been closely in touch over Syria. Geneva 2, the proposed conference on Syria, is a joint Russian-American initiative. By delaying the announcement to next week, the US wouldn't have "lost" Syria. Quite obviously, Obama has made a cool assessment that Putin's friendship is expendable.

Russia needs to react to this strongly or it will lose all respect. It cannot abandon an ally after going this far and cannot allow the rise of Jihadist's so close to its own territory. Deploy the S-300's, send in Zaslon Special Ops to help with Operation Northern Storm around Aleppo (One team already rumored to be in Syria).

- Nicholas Noe thinks regional war is now inevitable:

The multiple indications that war and/or a major attack regarding syria is imminent are all around. The critical point is that this was always where things were going to end up if the US and Team Obama pursued the policy they did – benign neglect mixed with aggression on the part of quite undemocratic, frankly sinister allies in the region.

Indeed, that leads to the core problem: Obama’s team does not have the courage to avoid a war by altering their negotiating position. For sure they are now sending messages to Assad and Russia that an attack is imminent and it is time to agree to most of the US-backed demands. They will NOT soften their demands – surely not after the declaration of chemical weapons use. Obama should really consider what Hizbullah SEEMS to have been able to achieve on the ground: IN A FEW SHORT DAYS, they changed the pace and facts on the ground – CHANGED THE WHOLE discourse in fact.

I don't think the situation is as certain as Nick suggests yet but it could go that way. Once the US gets involved in arming the rebels its INVOLVED in the civil war. It's then a slippery slop to a No Fly Zone and will drag in all the players into a regional war. The US is supporting the racist Sunni monarchies in a war against Shia. If the US thinks this will end any other way than a region wide war its stupider than the Bush administration.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 14 2013 13:02 utc | 41

This is an excellent article on the subject:

Posted by: tiga | Jun 14 2013 13:06 utc | 42

Another move Russia should make. Close the Northern Distribution Network into Afghanistan. Will completely fuck with the 2014 withdrawal schedule. Let the scum walk home from the Hindu Kush.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 14 2013 13:08 utc | 43

#40 Colm

Unfortunately Russia is either on board with the US on Syria or are horrible naive, soon they will have NATO troops on their border if they dont act and support allies like Iran and Syria.
Instead they have bowed down selling S300 for both Syria and Iran just b.c. Israel (and US) wants to.

Russia needs to wake up and stop being played!

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 14 2013 13:37 utc | 44


нет - Russia Keeps Freeze on S-300 Contract with Syria – Kremlin

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 14 2013 13:44 utc | 45

Again, the game is afoot. Destablise and control. On again, off again. Don't think the empire and their minions will ever relent. IMO, Russia still holds most of the cards in this game. I hope they go all in.

Posted by: ben | Jun 14 2013 13:58 utc | 46

The announcement by the US may have been timed to indirectly threaten and pressure Iran and thereby influence today's election.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 14 2013 14:03 utc | 47

At this point a big Njet from Russia. Ria Novosti:

Russia is not convinced by a US report on the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces against rebels, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said on Friday.

“The Americans have tried to provide us with information on the use by the [Syrian President Bashar Assad] regime of chemical weapons, but I will be frank: The report does not seem convincing to us,” Ushakov said.

The Kremlin aide suggested Washington was trying to play up the fact that it had provided Moscow with the information. “Of course, the essence of this information has not been revealed, but I repeat, it is not convincing,” Ushakov said. [...]

Another fragment from this interview:
[...] Asked if Mr Obama's decision to start arming the rebels would prompt Russia to proceed with the delivery of the sophisticated S-300 missiles to the Damascus regime, Mr Ushakov said: "We are not talking about this yet." [...]

I believe what this "yet" means is that Putin, unlike Obama, won't be making any rushed statements before their upcoming meeting.

In an interview Putin gave on RT a couple of days ago he said something interesting along the lines of "in order to have any say at the table, a country and its government needs to be seen as a defender...". I have a feeling he meant it and Syria will be the proof in the pudding.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 14 2013 14:08 utc | 48

I guess its time now for Russia to deploy some S-300 battalions to Syria. Will Putin do so?

Posted by: b

The answer: no. Frankly, the "Russia will save us" cry is getting rather stale. It smacks of desperation but it is ignorant of reality and past practice. MoA is one of the best blogs in existence, but this tendency is quite misguided. I am happy to be proven wrong, but I won't be.

Posted by: Daniel McAdams | Jun 14 2013 14:11 utc | 49

Unreal. I'm floored, I really am.

After so many people have been killed and the war is nearly over?

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 14:16 utc | 50

Colm O' Toole | Jun 14, 2013 9:08:19 AM | 41 - That would work, the only doable ‘out’ would be the Pakistan line, a no-go due to past issues; but the closure was planned (My assumption, based on ‘Cost’ issues?) as a rouse to some degree; otherwise the only other option would be expensive and spread i.e. airlifts ( Overbearing resources and vulnerabilities). Here is also the timing issue, and logistical nightmare; 2013 Syria, and 2014 Afghanistan - tight, conflicting and costly, in addition, casualties. The NDN (Current) is operational, and secondary, nothing to do with extraction planning, if it was, then ‘stupid fucks' is all I can say!.

Posted by: kev | Jun 14 2013 14:24 utc | 51

Hassan Nasarullah's speech will be important.

Posted by: sajid | Jun 14 2013 14:32 utc | 52

@38 Cynthia
This is the plan, Israel has openly published military documents that state their aim to destroy/make impotent all the states around them so that none can offer a conventional threat.

Posted by: Crest | Jun 14 2013 15:11 utc | 53

I don't have anything to say.

It's bad news when the light at the end of the tunnel is muzzle flashes from the first shots of world war three.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 15:15 utc | 54

'Young fighters’ first point of contact in Syria is with the Jabhat al Nusra (meaning the ‘Support Front for the People of Syria’), considered the most aggressively militant arm of the FSA.

so al-nusra means: Support Front for the People of Syria....??!

Posted by: brian | Jun 14 2013 15:25 utc | 55

Interesting that the 'proposed' 25 mile no-fly zone covers the Golan border with Syria.

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2013 15:50 utc | 56

@ brian 55

so al-nusra means: Support Front for the People of Syria....??!

Yeah according to Wikipedia the full name is "Jabhat al Nusrah li Ahl ash-Shām" or "Front for Defence for the People of Greater Syria".

- Notice the part "Greater Syria" instead of Syria. The Greater Syria is all the lands of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Western Iraq historically known as the "Fertile Crescent". Basically just a renamed term for Al Qaeda in the Levant.

- Also notice the irony of massacring villages while calling yourself "Front for the Defence for the people".

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 14 2013 15:55 utc | 57


Is this the speech:

Nasrallah below discusses the Sunni/Shia so-called divide. He is keeping a cool head. The Israelis are obviously inflaming the tensions for the sole purpose of avenging their loss in 2006. They apparently intend to live in the nicest house in a neighborhood in which all their neighbors houses are burned down.

"In Baablek, rumors are circulating that say that the rockets fired on the area originate from Arsal, a Sunni town in the middle of a Shiite region.

If anyone in Arsal is killed for personal reasons people are accusing Hezbollah of the killing.

Local media is propagating stories that are not true."

The rockets that hit Baalbek and Hermel and Nabi Shit did not originate from Arsal but were fired by armed gangs from Syrian territories."

All I can say is that I hope that cool heads in the United States prevail. But now with that hedonist Bill Clinton throwing his "weight" behind war in Syria, I'm not so sure.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 16:03 utc | 58

O'Bluster forgot to explain how he intends to prevent his 'advanced weapons' from falling into the hands of the Syrian Arab Army and/or Hezbollah. Bibi and his Peanut Gallery have been unusually (but mercifully) quiet lately. Is it possible that both O'Bluster and Putin have told him to stfu?
Imo the 'Israelis' would be slithering into panic mode right now.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 14 2013 16:29 utc | 59

The way google, facebook, and the news services themselves are reporting the snooze is getting rather bizarre. Eg in searching terms 'syria'... 'chemical'... 'weapons'... 'within 24 hours'..., google reports:

Syria Has Used Chemical Arms on Rebels, U.S. and Allies Find ...‎
by Mark Mazzetti
22 hours ago – It is unclear precisely how the Obama administration made its final determination about the chemical weapons use in Syria. According to the ...

Yet that line appears NOWHERE within the current article. Explanation?

In addition i submitted a comment, to which I (surprisingly) received an almost immediate response:

Thank you for participating on Your published submission can be found at this link:

I clicked on that, confirming it actually directed one to my comment. When I checked several hours later, the link no longer worked, nor was I able to find that comment.

Posted by: erichwwk | Jun 14 2013 17:01 utc | 60

The people who think Putin will back down are forgetting that he couldn't back down if he wanted to because Russia is on America's list of countries earmarked for regime change. Preventing regime change in Syria will push any foolish Yankee daydreams about regime change in Russia off the table - for quite some time.
And Russia can push very hard.

Whilst Yankees have found many causes worth killing for, they've yet to stumble upon one worth dying for (a lot like their 'Israeli' friends).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 14 2013 17:03 utc | 61

b @9

preventing Mr. Assad's forces from launching attacks against the rebels and refugees and protecting U.S. personnel involved in distributing weapons and providing training

So there are going to be US personnel on the ground in Syria - that is an act of war so any attempt to remove them is a legitimate act of self defence, the US trying to protect them is an act of aggression.

Colm O' Toole @57

Also notice the irony of massacring villages while calling yourself "Front for the Defence for the people"

al Nusra don't regard Christians, Shiites, etc. as people so they have no problem.

Posted by: blowback | Jun 14 2013 17:04 utc | 62

The first black president eggs on the first black Bush:

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 14 2013 17:09 utc | 63

Poor Obama! What a chump. I get the feeling in all of this that Obama is constantly being presented with fait accompli from the Military and Intelligence "communities". If Obama protests, they just point to whatever policy he already signed which led to this, or program he didn't stop. And then Obama, like a true chump, goes out to take responsibility for it, and defend it.
The Bush foreign policies were criminal, and a military and Intelligence community capable of and willing to carry them out was handed over to Obama. And he took them on. What on earth did he expect, that Bush's crimes would become his (Obama's) successes?
Obama will end up the scapegoat for the Bush crimes. Including the Army Rumsfeld had. Which is, probably, no more than the way it goes.

Posted by: Mooser | Jun 14 2013 17:24 utc | 64

He had his moment of extraordinary political synergy, and he choked. It happens.

Posted by: Mooser | Jun 14 2013 17:25 utc | 65

"Whilst Yankees have found many causes worth killing for, they've yet to stumble upon one worth dying for (a lot like their 'Israeli' friends)."

You have hit the bulls-eye, rung the bell, tossed the ring over the bottle, and are entitled to cigar or coco-nut, winner's choice.

Posted by: Mooser | Jun 14 2013 17:28 utc | 66

The US purports to have preferences as to which Syrian rebel groups are or are not worthy of support. Has anyone from the Syrian left expressed preferences along those lines? (And am I correct that the Syrian left has not itself deployed any armed formations?)

Posted by: Watson | Jun 14 2013 17:29 utc | 67

re Ben Rhodes, in addition to being blood related to so many in the MSM.

He initially argues for caution and non military solutions, and soon joins in the call for more military. eg

"Mr. Rhodes has had a knack for making himself felt, not just in the way the president expresses his policies but in how he formulates them.

Two years ago, when protesters thronged Tahrir Square in Cairo, Mr. Rhodes urged Mr. Obama to withdraw three decades of American support for President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. A few months later, Mr. Rhodes was among those agitating for the president to back a NATO military intervention in Libya to head off a slaughter by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi."

There is also this:

NYT’s Rhodes To Nowhere: A Cipher In The Oval Office
By Russ Baker on Mar 21, 2013

What’s especially strange about the article [ the one above] is that, for those of us who continue to wonder how a virtual cipher rose so quickly from the Illinois legislature to become the most powerful person in the world, we end up wondering the same thing about an aspiring novelist from New York City who fairly catapults to enormous influence in shaping policy regarding some of the most complex and sensitive matters facing this country.

Somehow, beyond noting that “In many ways, Mr. Rhodes is an improbable choice for a job at the heart of the national security apparatus,” the Times is not sufficiently curious about any of this to probe further. The Times, of course, does not think it is worth pointing out how strange this is. It is almost as if all 24-year-olds with no apparent credentials of any kind go directly to explaining the most massively controversial and complex set of circumstances to the American people.

[ Rhodes worked closely with Hamilton on several projects, including co-authoring the book Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission.
Rhodes also helped draft policy recommendations for the 9/11 Commission and wrote large chunks of the Iraq Study Group report. ]

Posted by: erichwwk | Jun 14 2013 17:37 utc | 68

"Unfortunately Russia is either on board with the US on Syria or are horrible naive, soon they will have NATO troops on their border if they dont act and support allies like Iran and Syria."

Russia has had NATO troops on the border for years. And not just on one border either.
Those calling for Russia to sort this matter out are deluding themselves. The problem here is the US and its allies. There isn't an honest man or woman in Congress and barely half a dozen in any of the NATO Parliaments. The euro-left is lined up behind imperialism and rallies against war are bringing out hundreds rather than millions.
The ball is in our court: the governments we elected are lying cynically and massacring thousands, using public apathy, grounded in racism, cowardice and carefully cultivated stupidity, as their mandate.
In the long term another aggression in Syria will rebound, but in the short term our governments and the terrorist militias they have spawned will create chaos and incredible suffering wherever our taxes, and the money stolen from our welfare systems, enable them to go.

The least guilty in this matter are the poor ignorant young men being used to kill their brother muslims; among the most guilty are the treacherous "socialists" attempting to edge closer to the trough by sacrificing the people of the middle east. They have no excuse, they are beyond the moral pale, together with the imperialists whose boots they are licking for small change. Or no change at all.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 14 2013 17:39 utc | 69

Here, we have McCain(bomb bomb bomb eyeran) and Graham (God's coming tomorrow and we must protect the jews), fronting for Al-Qaeda...Someone tell me this is a dream, dammit!!!

If these people are happy with Obama's actions, Americans should be very worried.. Just when you think there're no more lunatics in the US government after Bush left the

Enjoy :)

Posted by: Zico | Jun 14 2013 18:07 utc | 70

One thing McCain gets right, though, is his insistence that Assad's winning..That, he's damn right!!!

Posted by: Zico | Jun 14 2013 18:08 utc | 71

Carla del Ponte is a a special kind of nut. (Now accusing Syria of using Sarin etc.)

She may seem like an Atlanticist neo-con supporter on occasion, but what she really is is an all-oppo attack dog, as that pays, there are always supporters somewhere!

Her stint as Att. Gen. in CH was comedic.

She went after banksters / money launderers (yes indeed, the PIzza connection, and more, goog: Falcone) with determination but little success, before the time was right. Was vilified and laughed at for it.

She also chased Boris Yeltsin, and froze Benazir Bhutto’s Swiss accounts. And more, much more..later, e.g. organ traffic in Kosovo, in F:

As Attn. Gen CH she arrested and imprisoned leftists, like a friend and colleague of mine, absolutely inoffensive, post-Marxist, Vietnam deserter, who lives in a cold water flat and teaches high school! One of these, not my friend, turned the tables on her, by making a hullabaloo about his imprisonment, and publishing sexy pix of himself behind bars - the archetype of the bad boy with a what is this shit about grin - James Dean meets Polish plumber meets light porno chap...? whoooooo! Fan mail!

> can’t find any pix sorry

All this was supposedly? to finally catch the ‘friends of Carlos’! (goog: Carlos terrorist.)

She was kicked out, upwards, to the Int. Yougo tribunal and finally became Swiss ambassador to Argentina. Indefatigable, she is now looking for new world-stage presence, she has been retired, in a minor role, for a few years.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 14 2013 18:19 utc | 72

Who believes the red line has been crossed? Perhaps the question should be who cares? Not a whole lot o people by the looks of things.

So O'Bomber takes the heat off himself (a little), he's no longer a wuss. The line has been crossed and he takes action.

I don't think the weapons will be decisive, they're not gonna turn the tables. Just enough to prolong the conflict, create further chaos, two enemies killing each other and financially burdening the Petro-monarchies, i know thier swimming in money but it's still a drain. Hydrocarbon transport in the area (proposed and current) mainly benefits the EU. Win Win Win Win.

What will the Russians do? Drip feed arms for the similar reasons, get thier own back for Afghanistan or will they turn the tables? Shit! I don't know.

Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 14 2013 18:23 utc | 73

This site has way too many folks working for ZATO posting. They are throwing out all kinds of BS, particularly at times like these, when the orders come down to push hard on the Mighty Wurlitzer front.

ZATO's army is basically on the verge of being mopped up, so it would require air power to change things - and not just preventing Syrian jets from coming near the Jordanian border, as the Syrians don't need jets to finish mopping up. Since Vietnam, ZATO countries have been very, very hesitant to take major losses, and like to just bomb helpless countries or instigate coups, revolutions, and civil wars. Are they really willing to take big losses?

Posted by: Ozawa | Jun 14 2013 18:48 utc | 74

@73 "I don't think the weapons will be decisive, they're not gonna turn the tables. Just enough to prolong the conflict, create further chaos, two enemies killing each other"

I know what you are saying, but unfortunately this is exactly decisive for the Syrian people.

This has to be the most immoral act of the last decade. I'd say this beats the Iraq war for pure cynicism, give it a few years and it may match the destruction.

There is no way to defend this. To prolong a two year old civil war when all evidence points to the fact that most of the people in the country not only simply want peace, but actually support the government goes way beyond being criminal. It is just evil.

In all respects it appears that the mask has simply come off. There will be no more bothering with attempts to act "respectable".

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 18:48 utc | 75

@74 "ZATO's army is basically on the verge of being mopped up, so it would require air power to change things"

Isn't that exactly what they may be about to get?

If there is a no fly zone, they'll bomb the shit out of everything, including Assad's ground forces. You know to "take out his air defenses." It was NATO bombers that hit Gaddafi's convoy on his last day. Was it because he just happened rolling around with anti aircraft artillery? No, it was because the aim was to kill him.

And no doubt a "no fly zone" in Syria - as much as that may sound to the American people to NOT be a full scale war - aim will be to take out Assad completely.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 19:03 utc | 76

@74 i do hope your right that it is simple bluster for the negotiating table.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 19:07 utc | 77

Holy shit. How many have read Clinton's actual statement:

""What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they're not telling you not to do these things," he said, but instead, they're urging caution. "They hire you to win ... to look around the corner and see down the road."

Lol. Wow. Okay. Lollllloololollolooo. Holy shit.

That's a fucking civics lesson and a half.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 19:26 utc | 78

@69, there is the "left" and then there is the left.

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 14 2013 19:33 utc | 79

Given that epic amounts of advanced armaments have been flowing the "rebels" for years indirectly from the U.S. I doubt that doing so directly will result a change of fortunes for the ZATO/GCC mercenaries. What does matter is the establishment of a no fly zone as that will be used to decimate Syrian strategic capabilities. It seems that so far the matter of a no fly zone is still undecided but if that happens then Syria will cease to exist.

Given that the Russians did nothing to help long time allies in Iraq and Libya while actively helping ZATO in Afghanistan I can't say I hold out much hope that Putin will finally act in defense of Russian interests in Syria. Simply stationing a couple of interceptor squadrons in Syria and announcing that they will used to repulse ZATO/GCC incursions could settle the matter but I don't see that happening.

Given that Iran simply can't afford to have Syria destroyed or turned into an Israeli client state they either will have to have to go to war to prevent a no fly zone or be left strategically nonviable.

Posted by: user999 | Jun 14 2013 19:42 utc | 80

"Given that Iran simply can't afford to have Syria destroyed or turned into an Israeli client state they either will have to have to go to war to prevent a no fly zone or be left strategically nonviable."

You have just proven that there will be no "no fly zone" i.e. aerial attack by US/UK/France - the rest of NATO would not follow without UN mandate.

Or maybe the fools do think it can be over in September and oil again be affordable in winter.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 14 2013 19:51 utc | 81

Barry's announcement is keeping the option of war from expiring and just keeping stuff ticking over.

Posted by: heath | Jun 14 2013 19:58 utc | 82

Look at this image of Putin the Telegraph UK used. Nice to see they've dropped any pretense of being anything but a foreign policy tabloid.

And of course they're giving plenty of coverage to those racist nitwits of the BNP being in Damascus. You have to read pretty far down to discover it's part of an EU Parliamentary delegation.

Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, is in the Syrian capital Damascus on a "fact finding mission".

Pulling out all the stops today...

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 14 2013 19:59 utc | 83

"Or maybe the fools do think it can be over in September and oil again be affordable in winter."

The fool in this case might well be anyone that still goes around claiming that this has anything to do with getting "cheaper oil"

Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 20:18 utc | 84

@Guest 77

"I know what you are saying, but unfortunately this is exactly decisive for the Syrian people.

This has to be the most immoral act of the last decade. I'd say this beats the Iraq war for pure cynicism, give it a few years and it may match the destruction.

There is no way to defend this. To prolong a two year old civil war when all evidence points to the fact that most of the people in the country not only simply want peace, but actually support the government goes way beyond being criminal. It is just evil."

Totally agree

Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 14 2013 20:21 utc | 85

84) of course not, just Europe (and others) can't afford it getting more expensive either.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 14 2013 20:35 utc | 86

Assad has done more to combat Islamic terrorism in the past two years than anything the West has done in its wholly fake "war on terror". I think it's clear now: the unhinged corporate-imperialists of the dying West, goaded on by Zio-Nazi Jewish supremacist nutcases, are in an increasingly open proxy alliance with Islamic jihadis with the despicable aim of using them as foot soldiers in the quest for "global domination." I wish the Syrian government and people good luck in defeating the nefarious conspiracy against them!

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 14 2013 21:07 utc | 87

"84) of course not, just Europe (and others) can't afford it getting more expensive either."

and yet curiously every action that the EU's made in relation to these foreign misadventures seems to have exactly that effect of making life harder for themselves energyprice-wise.

One mighty make the claim that they are idiots, getting it all wrong, but that doesn't really seem to explain what the EU is up to. It's not like that outcome, of the EU's misadventures causing energy-prices to rise, was ever difficult to predict, given the actions being undertaken.

So what's up with that?

Posted by: nobody | Jun 14 2013 21:19 utc | 88


Who said that Libya and Iraq were Russian allies? Libya had joined the Western camp to a large degree. In any case, the issue is what can Russia do, as in cost versus rewards. Russia couldn't easily defend Libya, the only thing she could do was veto an air attack. In the case of Syria, Russia has a much better range of options, and that's why ZATO is in such a mess about this. Iran and Hezbollah are serious assets in the war, and the tens of billions spent by ZATO and the near elimination of its favorite mercenary army are proof of the failure.

The other issue that some seem to forget is that Libya didn't matter to Russia, while Syria and the Middle East do. Do you get in a fistfight to bail out your brother? There's a good chance. Do you get in a fistfight to save someone who you've talked to a few times while on the way to work? No, not unless the cost looks low.

Posted by: Ozawa | Jun 14 2013 21:33 utc | 89

i am sure the Syrians wouldnt have gone this far in the battle if they didnt knew exactly what US options are.the US can do nothing on the ground in Syria;it is just all bluff.if it wasnt so, they would have gone themselves from the very beginning,in Syria. instead of being forced to send crazy jihadis,which they will have to renegociate with once they reach control over Syria.Crazy jihadis that can turn against their benefactors, which can cause a threat to israel with used , and borrowed but deadly weapons.which can kill any US delegation that can set foot on syrian soil after the battle.

Posted by: Nabil | Jun 14 2013 21:40 utc | 90

The scuttlebutt regarding Obama is that he plans to establish a "no-fly-zone" over the Jordan/Syria border, presumably so that weapons can pass unhindered across that border.

This is interesting, because the rebels have ANOTHER supply route i.e. from Turkey down through Aleppo.

Yet I have searched in vain for any mention that Obama is planning a northern "no-fly-zone", or is planning on establishing American-run rebel training camps in the north.

Hmmm, odd....

Has the USA written off Aleppo i.e. concluded that by the time it's ready to act that the horse will already have bolted?

Or has the USA been told to butt out of the north, coz' Turkey/Saudi/Qatah want that as their very own playground?

I would have thought that north->down had a better chance of working than south->up, especially as it appears that Assad's forces are already in the process of wiping the floor with the rebels in the area between Homs and the Jordanian border.

Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 15 2013 0:00 utc | 91

I could be wrong, but I think the 'no-fly zone' is BS. It's Golan, which Israel probably already controls in a similar fashion, and as Johnboy@91 comments, it's in the wrong place to be really effective. So, IMHO, just a useful talking point for O'Bambi. He can talk big without actually doing anything, and if I can see this it's a damn sure thing that Putin can see it.

The threat of Russia closing the NDN becomes a little sharper with a bunch of rogue MANPADs floating about, eh?

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Jun 15 2013 0:26 utc | 92

an alarabiya article that is actually worth reading

' Ongoing violence and Islamist extremism in Tunisia and Egypt show that the rise to power of moderate Islam has failed to absorb its radical elements and integrate them into neo-liberal politics.' translation: we created a monster! thats the socalled arabspring.................this is what alarabiya can expect in syria if Assad loses

Posted by: brian | Jun 15 2013 1:35 utc | 93

This will turn against the terrorists and their (pay)masters.

Remember the beginning? The SAA had to take and swallow a lot because whatever they would do against the terrorists would be turned against them as "further proof" of being evil dictator and his slaughter men.

The power that enabled Assad and the Syrian to very considerably change the situation on the ground was not weapons in the first place; it was their careful exposure of the truth, showing that the terrorists were just that, terrorists and payed mercenaries, payed to create havoc and mercilessly killing civilians.
This not only led to Assad having a majority of Syrians behind himself (or at least not against him and pro government forces anyway) but also to considerably higher international acceptance for Russia and to a degree Iran helping.

It was this change that allowed Assad and the SAA to engage and fight the terrorists with the necessary force.

What zusa does now, no matter what that happens to be en detail, is already widely perceived as yet another lie and dirty game by zusa. And this will allow Assad/SAA as well as Russia to do pretty anything the deem necessary.

For the moment it suffices for a second layer politician to point out the zusa lie in clear words.
Cries for a further or even military answer and action by Russia are premature; In the current situation all that is needed is preparing the ground for whatever might come - and that, quite frankly, is probably nt much, considering the factual impotence of the rapidly declining former super power zusa.

Being at that, a side not concerning Bhadrakumars Asia Times deliberations:
With all respect for a very experienced former diplomat it seems that Bhadrakumars world view is very much defined by a fixed but strongly outdated zusa image from yesterdays. washington did - and could - not "snub" Moscow. About the only power zusa had was extremely short-lived and is actually outdated as of now: Irans elections, which Russia respectfully - and wisely - wished to take place undisturbed.

And, honestly, how on earth could a gay, black, rhetorical trick magician of doubtful provenience outsmart a proven brilliant and successful Ex-KGB agent with pretty all means in his back?

This is even more true when considering the increasingly less hidden "tension" (to put it very diplomatically) within gaybamas military.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 15 2013 1:35 utc | 94


Israel has no compunctions over its efforts to spread chaos throughout the Middle East. After all, the goal is to turn the Arabs against each other. Unfortunately, sometimes things get out of control. Am I supposed to cry if the jerk screaming "Fire!" in a crowded theater gets trampled himself in the rampage?

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 15 2013 1:39 utc | 95

Dr. Wellington Yueh,

The situation in Syria is a reminder of the chaos that was going on in Lebanon in the late 70's and early 80's, which eventually led to the creation of Hezballah. That situation led to the revolt against the Israeli occupiers in southern Lebanon in which Hezballah was able to drive Israel out of Lebanon. Could there be a repeat of that scenario in which a group similar to Hizballah would drive Israel out to the Golan Height?

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 15 2013 1:42 utc | 96

err -- Golan Heights, not Golan Height.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 15 2013 1:45 utc | 97

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but has anyone considered that Obama is attempting some shadow theatre with this?

Think about it: The Plucky Little King of Jordan may have many faults, but when it comes to faithfully carrying out his orders from Washington he is The Man.

So the USA can set up camp inside Jordan, go through the Syrian refugee camps carefully vetting and recruiting 10,000 Syrian freedom fighters - no foreign jihadists here, thank you very much! - and supply them with their carefully vetted and individually-catalogued light weaponry.

Then the Plucky Little King can act out the old ryme:
The Grand Old Duke Of York,
He had 10,000 men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
and he marched them down again.
And when they were up they were up,
and when they were down they were down....

etc. etc. etc. and all under the approving eye of the MSM.

Heck, Obama can even instigate an oh-so-tough-guy "no-fly-zone"; one that covers **all** of Jordan's airspace, and if a Syrian jet so much as pokes its nose over that border then Down It Goes In Flames.

That way Obama can talk tough, he can even point the reporters to all those Freedom Fighters he is training and arming. Some lovely photo-ops there, fer' sure.

But actually send men and arms *into* Syria?
That'll happen, sure, it will, and Real Soon Now.

But in the meantime I've got a nice bridge to sell you.
One owner, guaranteed sale....

Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 15 2013 2:01 utc | 98

'Before it gained power, the Brotherhood thought it could bring these groups under its control and use them to defeat its rival secular forces, he added.
The Brotherhood “did not anticipate that these extremists would turn against them and carry weapons,” Ibrahim said.
Both the Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia have failed to domesticate jihadists, but they are far less dangerous in Egypt than they are in Tunisia, said Waheed Abdel Mageed of the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.'

Posted by: brian | Jun 15 2013 2:22 utc | 99

Yeah according to Wikipedia the full name is "Jabhat al Nusrah li Ahl ash-Shām" or "Front for Defence for the People of Greater Syria".

- Notice the part "Greater Syria" instead of Syria. The Greater Syria is all the lands of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Western Iraq historically known as the "Fertile Crescent". Basically just a renamed term for Al Qaeda in the Levant.

- Also notice the irony of massacring villages while calling yourself "Front for the Defence for the people".

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 14, 2013 11:55:10 AM | 57

Greater Syria = Greater Israel!

Posted by: brian | Jun 15 2013 2:24 utc | 100

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