Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 27, 2013

At A Complete Loss

Alexei Pushkov, chair of the Russian Federation State Duma's international affairs committee, saying what I think:
"To us, it looks as though [George W.] Bush, [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld never left the White House. [...] It's basically the same policy, as if US leaders had learned nothing and forgotten nothing in the past decade. They want to topple foreign leaders they regard as adversaries, without even making the most basic calculations of the consequences. An intervention in Syria will only enlarge the area of instability in the Middle East and expand the scope of terrorist activity. I am at a complete loss to understand what the US thinks it is doing."
Or maybe I am not yet enough of a cynic.

Posted by b on August 27, 2013 at 6:06 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I think I can explain. The US is trying to break up all the countries in the region into small pieces so that Israel may expand its dominance. The instability is not a bug it's a feature.

That is not to say there won't be blowback and very negative consequences for the criminals but no need to be baffled by their actions.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 6:25 utc | 1

Agree with Lysander.

Posted by: johnf | Aug 27 2013 6:36 utc | 2

Russia is really botching this fabricated situation.

The various Russian officials act like their nuanced responses are reaching anyone. They are having the same effect as someone making a somber argument that Fox News is 'biased'. Those who watch Fox News don't care. The rest of the world already knows this fact and is pointless to waste time putting it forth.

Russian should be standing in front of video screens demanding action be taken against the foreign backed FSA terrorists in Syria and those who fund and support them:

The words FSA, Saudi Arabia, and Sarin should be repeated in the same way branding is done in commercials. Constant repetition.

Russian troops should be flown in to 'aid and protect the UN teams on the ground'. And stern warnings that even a single act of outside aggression will be treated as an attack on Russia itself.

Posted by: Pike | Aug 27 2013 6:56 utc | 3

1) Americans correctly ask where the US interest is in this ...
I agree,Lysander,it is the only strategy that can be observed, however ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 7:02 utc | 4

3) Russia is basically saying "Go hang yourself". Lavrov said something along the lines "We will not go to war over this but ask the US to consider its long term interests ..."
Iran is also very quiet.

Which makes sense. Why warn the enemy about what they will do? They are watching and drawing conclusions.

It is possible that all this is just a hard way of bargaining - trying to frighten Assad into making concessions. He does not seem to make any.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 7:07 utc | 5

Lysander is correct.

Also, what the Russians need to understand is that there is no political opposition against the people who are pushing for this policy in the US. Simply naming the groups/people that are behind this is politically incorrect. Let alone challenging them. Those who are brave enough to criticize them, do it cryptically, which is not very effective.

In a tragic turn of events, the grand children of the Bolshevik revolutionaries of the old Soviet Union have managed to take over the US and they are picking up where their grandfathers left off. If history is our guide, than we are headed for a violent and turbulent future. I doubt they violence will stop in the middle east. These guys have big plans for everyone, including us Americans. Its very frightening watching these guys become increasing more aggressive and violent.

How sad it is witness history repeat itself again.

Posted by: Gary | Aug 27 2013 7:11 utc | 6


Yes theres alot of talk by russians but no action. The least thing they could do was to sell S-300 then these warmongers wouldnt go to war, instead Putin gave after from pressure from Israel not to sell.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 7:37 utc | 7

The US is doing Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya and sectarian Iraq (just wait how long will Maliki survive after Syria breaks down, all the Sunni regions like Anbar will come next). It knows perfectly well what it's doing as it is what it has been doing for decades.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 27 2013 7:51 utc | 8

This should make everyone sit up and take notice. The electronic intercept "proving" that the Assad government carried out the CW attack was obtained by Mossad and passed on to the US.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 27 2013 7:52 utc | 9

This is coming from Syria's 'no anti-aircraft missiles' ally. The Russians have been bought, just like everyone else. They get to talk trash and give asylum to Snowden ... no doubt Vlad is keeping his soul brothers in the USSA KGB apprised of his every move ... but when it comes to actually doing anything, they're all talk ... and fat wallets, too, no doubt.

Der Spiegel has a truly shameful piece on their English page whitewashing the continuing ... soon to be peaking ... American aggression.

As to 'reasons' for this vile behavior ... I agree with Lysander.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 27 2013 7:53 utc | 10

Some people forget that the US by it's location in the world can't be really menaced or attacked other than by nuclear ICBMs. Mexico and Canada are basically US provinces. South America is powerless and basically unarmed. Phony terrorist attacks have no real impact. The US can do whatever it wants when it wants where it wants with their expeditionary capabilities and foreign bases with close to zero negative consequences. Afghanistan overrun by Pakistani backed Talibans? Do you really think that was the real reason for invading in 2001? The Talibans and the Arab US-Saudi mercenaries there represented no real menace for the US before or after 9/11.

That has not been historically the case for most other countries in Europe or Asia. They have lived along with other countries and thousand years of invasions, internal and border conflicts. That kind of menace is not in the US DNA. The talk of 'consequences' is meaningless when talking to the US. The European leaders should know better but they have long given up on defending their countries interests. They are part of the US global empire with perhaps Germany being still slightly independent because it is close to Russia and a slightly different economic system.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 27 2013 8:00 utc | 11


But that has been clear from practically the very beginning. The Russians have not put much muscle into Syria or even signed a mutual defense treaty. However, the question is what game they are playing. They could have sold Syria down the river early in the game for a good price. So perhaps they want to see America make a foolish move and take advantage of it. We shall see - but we will never have a clue in advance.

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 27 2013 8:17 utc | 12

how to start a humanitarian intervention #syria

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 8:29 utc | 13

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 27, 2013 3:53:03 AM | 10

why do i find your post unbelievable?

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 8:37 utc | 14

what is needed to be done is do what US does: slap sanctions on the obscenity

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 8:40 utc | 15

Today Kerry said he was horrified by children dead in bed without even marks.
He was not horrified by 10 times as many children in Gaza dead with guts or brains out or bullet wounds in the head from close range.
Russia not involved. Dont believe it. Say it aint so Joe.

Posted by: boindub | Aug 27 2013 8:49 utc | 16

I'd guess that russias policy is somewhat ambiguous. On one hand there's their naval base and their influence on Syria and probably more so Iran in a these days pragmatic tactical partnership (that's just guessing. Anyone insights on the diplomatic and economic relationship between these two countries? I'd think they get along alright as opposed to the muslim terrorists in russian border provinces financed by the sunni emirate kingdoms), but on the other hand I'd assume that theres also an influence from russian israelis, which there are a lot, on russian foreign policy. So russian engagement will come to its limits at the point where israeli interest is concerned. Russian troops in Syria bombed by israeli military, that won't happen, I'd say.

Posted by: peter radiator | Aug 27 2013 8:59 utc | 17

Ian Brownlie's conclusions on Kosovo hold as true for Syria fifteen years later ...


    There is no point in presenting a summary of what has gone before. The intention is to highlight points of particular significance.

    The conclusions are as follows.

  • The primary justification for the bombing of Syria was always the imposition of the NATO plans for the future of Syria. It was in this context that the bombing campaign was planned by August 18 2011.

  • The threats of massive air strikes were made in the same context as and well before the first public offers of arms to the takfiris in June 2013. Neither the purpose of the planned air strikes nor their implementation related to events on the ground in Syria in August 2013.

  • The cause of the air strikes is quite simple: given that Syria has not given in to threats, the threats have to be carried out.

  • The legal basis of the action, as presented by the United States, the United Kingdom and other NATO States, was at no stage adequately articulated.

  • Humanitarian intervention, the justification belatedly advanced by the NATO States, has no place either in the United Nations Charter or in customary international law.

  • Whilst in theory customary law could develop in such a way as to legitimise action by way of humanitarian intervention, the proponents of a change in the customary law have a burden of proof of a new consensus among States which cannot now be discharged on the evidence available.

  • If the view is held that the Permanent Members of the Security Council would recognise the need for humanitarian action, then no doubt a resolution would have been sought.

  • The argument that a resolution will be “blocked” by Russia and/or China is unattractive, in part because the matter could then be taken to the UN General Assembly (in a Special Emergency Session) on the basis of the Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950. Presumably the NATO States have no hope of obtaining a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly.

  • The intentions of the United States and the United Kingdom include the removal of the Government of Syria. It is impossible to reconcile such purposes with humanitarian intervention.

  • The claim to be acting on humanitarian grounds appears difficult to reconcile with the disproportionate amount of violence involved in the use of heavy ordnance and missiles. The weapons have extensive blast effects and the missiles have an incendiary element. A high proportion of targets will be in/near towns and cities. Many of the victims will be women and children. After seven weeks of such bombing at least 1,200 civilians were killed and 4,500 injured in Kosovo in 1998.

  • In spite of the references to the need for a peaceful solution to be found in Security Council Resolutions, the public statements of Ms Rice, Mr Kerry, Mr Hague, and others, and the reiterated threats of massive air strikes, make it very clear that no ordinary diplomacy is envisaged.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 27 2013 9:11 utc | 18

It is a joke. They seem to sell to US citizens that this will be a limited "punishment" action, attacking non chemical Syrian army control centers by missiles. Counting on Syria not to retaliate - which I find unlikely - as Iran will push for a fight - it is their interest to fight it out with the US in Syria not in their country.

This here is the desaster recipe

He said U.S. options could range from missile attacks by naval destroyers off Syria’s coast to employing the help of American and allied forces in nearby countries.

"You’re aware that we have people on the ground in very nearby locations," Corker said. "But obviously not (U.S.) boots on the ground."

If US naval destroyers off Syria's coast get counter attacked what then ... if people on the ground in nearby locations get counter attacked the whole region is involved ...

To say "just a few days" and "limited" is beyound stupidity. They have no way to stop the escalation.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 9:13 utc | 19

The story at the CSmonitor link that you give for Pushkov's quote above is well worth reading in its entirety.

I am struck by the barely veiled ennui, derision, and in some cases, genuine hatred for the Israeli interests (determining US policy) being expressed throughout the web over this issue.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 27 2013 9:15 utc | 20

Now obama even cancel the meeting with Russia about Syria. These are certified psychopaths.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 9:16 utc | 21


Not the first time Israel lies. In 2010 they were caught busting creating the fraudlent audio recordings from the Freedom Gaza Flotillas in 2010.

IDF admits doctoring audio of raid on Gaza flotilla

Israel Military Admits It Doctored Gaza Freedom Flotilla Audio Clip

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 9:33 utc | 22

@19 Well, Syria could stop the escalation by simply sucking up this attack, as it did with those Israeli attacks.

But there must come a point where Assad decides that just suckin' it up is simply inviting others to join the queue, at which point he'll retaliate.

Still, it may not get to that. Dare I suggest that if he does have any S-300s hidden away somewhere then now is a verrrrrry good time to light one up with a "radar calibration check".

Just to let Dempsey know he has some....

Posted by: Johnboy | Aug 27 2013 9:43 utc | 23

Samantha Power blame Assad and warmonger,

and yes here is her new friend...

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 9:56 utc | 24

@23 Why waste them?

Posted by: MRW | Aug 27 2013 10:02 utc | 25

FYi from Pepe Escobar

Khalil Harb, of Lebanese paper As-Safir, confirmed a few minutes ago to my great friend Claudio Gallo an article published in Arabic two days ago, quoting a Russian source.

According to the source, Russia's ambassador in the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, presented conclusive evidence - based on documents and Russian satellite images - of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian "rebels", and landing on East Ghouta. Hundreds of "rebels", as well as civilians - including those children on the cover of Western corporate media papers - were killed. The evidence, says the Russian source, is conclusive. This is what Lavrov himself was hinting at yesterday. And that's the reason there's no UN Security Council resolution against Syria, and why Washington does not want the inspectors to find anything.

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 10:03 utc | 26

hence the snipers

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 10:04 utc | 27

I am also quite disappointed of the Russian "talk-down" strategy, when they should ACT! I hope i am wrong, and Russia has acted long ago, and noone could possibly know how and what. Which leads me to the question: Has anyone news about those damn S-300 which may or may not have been delivered to Syria? How I wish I was wrong about the world politics. But Samanthas posing with this certified liar Elie Wiesel, member of the almighty victims club just confirms everything about this hellish machinery. Everything is so obvious. From their lies back then, to their lies today. I struggle to find reliable information about the Russian navy in the eastern med . Has anyone an idea how many vessels are located in that area? Its all the more important as we're hearing of the 6th fleet moving towards syria, and Britain gearing up in Cyprus. But no talk about Russian presence there.

Posted by: Kal | Aug 27 2013 10:20 utc | 28

23) It might be the best bet for Syria just to absorb and fight it out legally.

The way Kerry construed his speech (the Syrian regime had the ability to ...) it is clear there is a problem. It is not possible to prove that you do not possess weapons of mass destruction, however the UN had interviewed people who had effects of chemical poisoning and it might be possible for Syria (or Russia) to prove who had done the poisoning.

There is some inconsistency on the UN inspectors continuing their work - Kerry had flawed logic in that, too.

If the US/GB plan more than restricted missile strikes - and obviously they do - Syria/Iran/Hezbollah will have to retaliate militarily. And that is the way to a larger Middle Eastern War Obama has tried to keep out of.

20) Why are you struck - this drumming for war on fake humanitarian pretext has happened now for the umpteenth time - people stop to believe you when you are a serial liar.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 10:21 utc | 29

@25 Why would they be "wasted"?

These are transportable weapons. All Assad would need to do is to turn on an S-300 radar for five minutes, turn it off again, and then drive it awa.

The message to the USA would be that Syria has the S-300.

But the USA wouldn't know where they are, just where one was for five minutes....

Posted by: Johnboy | Aug 27 2013 10:24 utc | 30

The latest for moon of alabama friends: Hezbollah fighters exposed to chemical agents in Syria

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 27 2013 10:37 utc | 31

"I am at a complete loss to understand what the US thinks it is doing."

Comments like this are why I don't trust the Russians. Everybody and his dog knows what the US is doing, it's just no one has the guts to say it out loud. The least the Russians could do is highlight the fact these wars are being fought for Israel. Instead we get these disingenuous comments where they pretend not to know what's going on or pretend to give a damn about Syria.

Lots of adolescent macho posturing by Saint Vladimir which goes over well with the right wing in Russia, but no real action. Ever. Unless you count gay bashing as taking a stand against Western imperialism.

Putin is more Emmanuel Goldstein than Emiliano Zapata. He's a wind-up toy who's there to keep what remains of the Left in the West dreaming that the Russians are going to ride in to save the world from USUK Israel. It ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Sean | Aug 27 2013 10:38 utc | 32

31) this here is the link

BEIRUT: At least four Hezbollah fighters are receiving treatment in Beirut after coming into contact with chemical agents in Syria, a security source told The Daily Star Monday.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said between four and five members came into contact with chemical agents while searching a group of rebel tunnels in the Damascus suburb of Jobar over the weekend.

On Saturday, Syrian state television said Syrian soldiers found chemical agents in Jobar and that some had suffocated while entering the tunnels.

The Hezbollah fighters were transported to Lebanon for treatment and are currently in a Beirut hospital in stable condition, the source said.

The source did not say what the chemical agent the fighters encountered was except that it was dispersed in the form of a gas.

U.N. inspectors are investigating claims of a chemical weapons attack in eastern Ghouta, outside the Syrian capital.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 10:53 utc | 33


You are correct, but the sad truth is that Russia is too close to west and Israel to do anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 11:07 utc | 34

Nothing is likely to happen whilst the UN inspectors are in Syria. This takes us to the G20 summit in St Petersburg. No agreement with Russia and China on Syria will be reached here, but following the summit expect to see comments from the US such as
"having discussed the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, the international community has decided that it has a responsibility to protect..." - thereby attempting to legitimise an impending attack on Syria and bypassing the UNSC.

However, the US doesn't want to go it alone and needs Cameron and Hollande to give credibility to claims that the 'international community' acted on Syria. But Cameron almost certainly needs Parliamentary approval. This wasn't fothcoming when he wanted to arm the opposition in order to 'alter the balance of power on the ground'. Let's see what happens. The massacre marketing stategy might have done its job and influenced opinion in Parliament.

Certainly, approving the decision to bomb Syria in response to a 'chemical weapons attack' rather than giving guns to militants might seem to be more agreeable for MPs, but the goal is actually the same.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Aug 27 2013 11:14 utc | 35

The view from Iran

ran’s Majlis Director General for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam stressed on Monday that a military strike on Syria is very unlikely, but added that if it actually occurred, “the first victim… would be the Zionist regime (Israel), because the Syrian military… can launch a major offensive on” Israel and “flatten the place that is tied to the US’s national security.”

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 11:19 utc | 36

You are correct, but the sad truth is that Russia is too close to west and Israel to do anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27, 2013 7:07:28 AM | 34

the sad truth is your anonymous and so we cant tell who you are to make this unfortunate statement

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 11:19 utc | 37


There is a fantasy that Russia will attack west, this is nonsense, in fact Russia itself said they wouldnt go to war against west for Syria. People needs to stop living in denial about this.
(brian is btw as anonymous as the nick anonymous)

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 11:30 utc | 38

Ayatollah Khamenei on Monday, in a meeting with visiting King of Oman in Tehran, said:

The main reason behind the status quo in the region is the different interferences done from outside the region. Unfortunately, a Takfiri group has been formed with the support of certain regional states which is in conflict with all Muslim groups, but supporters of this stream should know that this fire will burn them too.

What he is saying, if I translate it into the terms of the hypothesis I outlined on the previous thread, is that Bandar will be no more able to control the new breeds of Sunni Jihadi guerrillas than the now deposed and forgotten Emir of Qatar was. If you recall, my hypothesis was that for a while Qatar acted as paymaster and manager for these various groups, but lost control of them and thereby disgraced itself in the eyes of the CIA, which was and is the ultimate string-puller.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 11:43 utc | 39

Kerry speaking about morality is just disgusting..The US's murdered far more humans in the history of man...I hope Syria will be the last war that puts an end to their murderous tendencies...

Posted by: Zico | Aug 27 2013 12:12 utc | 40

Thought so. The US wants its British lacky by its side as it attacks Syria. Appearances are everything and Obama wants to create the impression that this is a response from the 'international community'.

So British members of parliament will vote on it. I'm depending on the opposition party, Labour, party of Blair, to throw a spanner in the works.

How hopeless.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Aug 27 2013 12:30 utc | 41

Pepe Escobar breaks the news worth reading and the news Mainstream journalists won't touch.Did Putin relay this information to Cameron when they had their chit chat on the phone the other day!

Posted by: jim | Aug 27 2013 13:19 utc | 42


As far as I am aware the vote will be non binding meaning they will do whatever they want anyway, which is what they are already doing now. I hope the BBC show the debate live on BBC Parliament.

Posted by: Rod Brown | Aug 27 2013 13:22 utc | 43

"I am at a complete loss to understand what the US thinks it is doing."

It's simple -- the U.S. is the dominate world military power and it must act accordingly. Iran has been a U.S. enemy for decades, with Syria as an ally and a bridge to anti-Israel Hezbollah. So when there is this opportunity to destroy Syria, it can't be passed up.

Regarding increasing instability in the Middle East and expanding the scope of terrorist activity, those are good things for the U.S. because it reduces opposition to US interests and promotes arms sales to the Middle East countries. Recent news: Pentagon Poised for $13 Billion in Mideast Arms Sales -- Saudi Arabia, Iraq Lead Summer List of Prospective New Deals

Since mid-June, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) informed Congress of $6.4 billion in potential defense trade with Saudi Arabia, including a $4 billion National Guard modernization program, new Mark V patrol boats and follow-on support for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

In Iraq, DSCS notified Congress of $4.7 billion in possible sales, including a $2.4 billion integrated air defense system and $900 million worth of Stryker vehicles configured for nonconventional warfare scenarios.

During the same period, it informed Congress of a potential $1.1 billion early warning radar deal to Qatar; a $588 million package of C-130J airlifters to Libya and $200 million to support Kuwait’s fleet of F/A-18 fighters.

All the prospective deals, according to DSCA, advance US foreign policy and national security interests and would “not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 13:32 utc | 44

Re the Russian position: As ever, Russia acts on the basis of what it sees as its national self-interest. Now whether it can see straight enough to figure things out, is entirely another question.

Thus we have their vacillating over Libya, and not sure what to do in their relationship with Iran. Back in the 90s, after the collapse of the USSR, it was entirely understandable that allowed the breakup of Yugoslavia and the destruction of Iraq. The country was an economic basket case following the Empire's massive asset stripping of state enterprises.

But clearly the attempt to overthrow the govt in Syria is a step too close, but what can the Russians do? Clearly they can't go to war over Syria so their options limited. The Empire knows this.

I think we underestimate the sheer power of the US and its six lackey states. After all, according to reports, the US even leaned on Cuba not to offer asylum to Edward Snowden.

As ever, and I'm sick and tired of repeating myself: ultimately it's only us citizens of Empire who stop the psychopaths. But typically, iy'll be the poor and people of colour who not only resist, but also pay the ultimate price. Fuck the West!

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 13:37 utc | 45

"...the US doesn't want to go it alone and needs Cameron and Hollande to give credibility to claims that the 'international community' acted on Syria."

Remember that, in 2003, massive marches against war, throughout Europe made it very difficult politically for Blair to provide Bush with the political cover that he needed. The anti-war movement came close to succeeding. And that was with Labour in power. Blair never did have a majority of Labour MPs for war. He had to rely on Tory support.

Ten years later there are no marches, in part because the "left", then united against war, is now, in large part, lined up behind NATO. It is certainly not defending Syrians as it was ready to defend, verbally at least, Iraqis.

What makes the current situation so weird is that the lessons of Iraq clearly indicated that the anti-war side was 100% right.
The pro US governments were lying.
The casualties were horrendous, amounting to millions of dead, wounded and driven into refuge.
The net result was chaos, bloody civil strife, disease, poverty and waste": the Four Horsemen led to Coalition of the Willing.

Furthermore, in the past decade the economy has collapsed and is due to collapse again: living standards are falling everywhere. By all rational accounting Cameron, Obama, Hollande and their governments should be staggering towards political oblivion. Instead they are cheerfully proposing, even as they cut unemployment benefits, pensions and healthcare, to splurge a few billion more killing Syrian civilians.

Let us call this one: Tariq Ali's war.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 27 2013 13:41 utc | 46

Where were the UN inspectors after the November 2004 US attack on Fallujah, Iraq, which included the use of white phosphorous against civilians?

Falluja was gutted. Two months after the invasion, Erik Eckholm of the New York Times described the city as "a desolate world of skeletal buildings, tank-blasted homes, weeping power lines and severed palm trees." At least a quarter of its homes were fully destroyed, and virtually all the others were severely damaged. Blown out windows, wrecked furniture, three-foot blast holes in walls, and disintegrated doors demonstrated that American troops had relentlessly applied what they jokingly called the "FISH" strategy (Fighting in Someone's House), which involved "throwing a hand grenade into each room before checking it for unfriendlies." Since (in the words of Lt. Gen. Sattler) "each and every house" was searched, very few remained livable.

The civilians who stayed during the fighting found themselves in a kill-anything-that-moves free-fire zone. Numerous sources reported that coalition forces cut off water and electricity, seized the main hospital, shot at anyone who ventured out into the open, executed families waving white flags while trying to swim across the Euphrates or otherwise flee the city, shot at ambulances, raided homes and killed people who didn't understand English, rolled over injured people with tanks, and allowed corpses to rot in the streets and be eaten by dogs.

When the first medical teams arrived in January they collected more than 700 unburied and rotting bodies (reputedly including those of 550 women and children) in only one-third of the city; and these obviously didn't include the dead already buried during the battle or hidden under the debris. (As Al Jazeera put it, "the smell of corpses inside charred buildings pervades the atmosphere.") If the 2,000 kills claimed by U.S. forces are accurate, that means that no fewer than 3000 people (1% of the city's estimated pre-campaign population) died; the real figure is undoubtedly far higher.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 13:45 utc | 47

Since mid-June, the Pentagon informed Congress of $6.4b in potential defense trade with Saudi Arabia...
Also cluster bombs:
US Selling Cluster Bombs Worth $641M to Saudi Arabia IPS News, Aug 23

WASHINGTON - Arms control advocates are decrying a new DoD announcement that it will be building and selling 1,300 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, worth some $641m. The munitions at the heart of the sale are technically legal under recently strengthened US regulations aimed at reducing impact on civilian safety, but activists contend that battlefield evidence suggests the weapons actually exceed those regulations. Opponents say the move runs counter to a strengthening push to outlaw the use of cluster bombs around the world while also contradicting recent votes by both the US and Saudi governments critical of the use of these munitions. In a May 15 UNGA vote, the US and Saudi Arabia joined 105 other countries in strongly condemning Syria’s use of cluster bombs. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, told IPS: “Both the US and Saudi Arabia have recently condemned the use of cluster munitions by the government of Syria. That’s ironic given this new sale, because a cluster munition is a cluster munition, no matter what kind it is. To my knowledge, the sale of cluster munitions by the US is infrequent today, so this sale is surprising in the sense that this is a very sophisticated, controversial system because these are cluster bombs. Further, that these weapons are used by Saudi Arabia is questionable from a military standpoint. These weapons have not been used by the US in over a decade, so it’s hard to see why it’s in our interest to sell these to Saudi Arabia.”

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 13:49 utc | 48

I find it amazing that none here - in their "at a loss" moment of soul-searching - have taken the next step and wondered:

Hey, do you think the Snowden affair was entirely US intelligence agency concocted nonsense designed to cut off relations between the US and Russia before the planned/manufactured run up to war in Syria?

I mean, what a coincidence, hey? That Snowden gets "stuck" - meaning the US wouldn't allow him to leave - in Russia and then the POTUS is "forced" to break off relation with Putin.

Now, the Russian's can't present the US with the conclusive evidence that Escobar talks about. Gee, shucks.

9/11 was also an event in which people - to accept the official story - were also forced to swallow a number of coincidences, too.

Everyone knows it was the US backed side who fired the chemical weapons so why should we not believe the affairs of the last two months are of a piece?

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 27 2013 13:55 utc | 49

Re bevin's comment @#46: Let's call it Tariq Ali's war is right on the money! He's a toadying professional lefty, whose made a pile out of looking left but behaving like the imperialist that he is. As I said before, it's up to us to do something about events, but I'm not holding my breath in the belly of the beast.

Stop the War Coalition (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one), have called for a demo outside Downing street tomorrow, not that it'll make an iota's worth of difference even if the entire population london turned up!

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 14:04 utc | 50

@9 Fvck Israelis! They came up with the fabricated excuse for the Iraq invasion too!

Obviously, Zionists are at the root of the hell that has befallen the Syrian people. Their meddling operations inside Syria are responsible for triggering the hell of civil war.


Posted by: kalithea | Aug 27 2013 14:05 utc | 51

@ 49, Russia could always call an emergency session and present its evidence at the UNSC. Snowden or no Snowden. It could present it in public in its own press. Putin could say it outright. Indeed they have hinted at it a number of times, and I think they might come out in public with it...hopefully before it is too late.

Snowden has caused an enormous loss of confidence in the government among the US public (God bless him for it) and has exposed US sanctimony about democracy is stark new colors. All that to avoid meeting Russia? That's a pretty high price to pay for something you could get for free.

OTOH, I can see Obama being petty enough to attack Syria just to spite Russia over Snowden. That I could believe.

Of course, you are correct about 9/11.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 14:13 utc | 52

Ten years later there are no marches, in part because the "left", then united against war, is now, in large part, lined up behind NATO.

I think there are no marches, demonstrations or whatsoever, because the guys fighting on the ground are non-white, non-western jihadi freaks. As soon as the Nato media gives the slightest hint that a "humanitarian" intervention means potential western casualties, there'll be mothers-against-war on the streets again. Wouldn't make much of a difference anyway, sadly.

Posted by: peter radiator | Aug 27 2013 14:13 utc | 53

Don Bacon

On Fallujah, better yet,

Article: The WHO must release report on Iraqi birth defects now

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 14:15 utc | 54

"the limited strike" is a nasty lie. If someone will start bombing they will bomb until Assad is dead, just like Libya/Qadaffi.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 14:22 utc | 55

The view from China

The Syrian army continued advancing against the western-backed rebels in the countryside of the capital Damascus, mainly in the hotspots of Jobar and Muadaieh, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said.

The Syrian army has made a notable advancement and almost besieged Jobar from all directions to isolate it, the report said.

Meanwhile, a security source told Xinhua that the army troops will keep progressing in Damascus' countryside until eliminating all the rebels' positions.

The military advancement is rolling on amid speculations that the United States would attack Syria for alleged chemical weapons use in the restive country.

Local experts said that one of the main goals behind the expected US attack is to achieve balance in favor of the rebels amid the rapid advancement of the Syrian troops ahead of possible negotiation.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 14:23 utc | 56


Yes of course it's all about the Syrian Army kicking some proxy butt! It's the Iraq-Iran War all over again. The US were quite happy to see 'rag-heads' killing each indefinitely just as Kissinger spelled out in the NYT (and even arming both sides just make sure they continued to kill each other). But now that the tide is turning againt the US's proxy army, big brother has to step in. Disgusting, cynical stuff produced by a psychopathic capitalist class.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 14:34 utc | 57

BTW: Liz Burbank has assembled two excellent pages of resources on R2P and other imperial bullshit:

8/23 Outline of Failed Attempts to Defeat Syria, p.1


8/26 US NATO,Israel, GCC, AlQaeda: "Responsibility to Protect' Syria, p.2

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 14:38 utc | 58

BTW: Liz Burbank has assembled two excellent pages of resources on R2P and other imperial bullshit:

8/23 Outline of Failed Attempts to Defeat Syria, p.1


8/26 US NATO,Israel, GCC, AlQaeda: "Responsibility to Protect' Syria, p.2

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 14:38 utc | 59

Maybe this is what is driving the timetable?

Treasury: US will hit debt limit in mid-October, running out of money to pay its bills

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Aug 27 2013 14:42 utc | 60


The big question is what the Syrian side can or should do. One would imagine that sending a few missiles at Jordanian and Israeli bases would be a reasonable start, and one can hope that Russia will remove a thing or two in Saudi Arabia. Then the question is whether the West would stop.

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 27 2013 14:47 utc | 61

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Syrian army source warned the US and its partners that waging a full-scale war on Syria would be reciprocated with an immediate attack on Tel Aviv by Damascus and its allies. The Syrian army source who urged anonymity due to the security reasons told FNA on Tuesday:

If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a license for attacking Israel. We are rest assured that if Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria's neighbors. In addition, if Syria grows weak, certain irresponsible groups will be formed which will endanger Israel's security growingly. Therefore, weakening the central government in Damascus will actually start growing attacks on Israel and will create insecurity for that regime. Thus, a US attack on Syria will herald frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in retaliation, but by extremist groups who will find a ground for staging their aspirations.

This raises the question I am always worrying at: are there any Jihadi (or if you prefer, Takfiri) groups that are in fact genuine, in the sense that they would attack Israeli, Zionist or Jewish targets? Or are they all, at least to that extent, fake? If the latter, is this Syrian propagandist merely trying to play on public ignorance that this is the case?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 14:49 utc | 62

Meanwhile, the anti-Syria forces are becoming more radicalized.
defenseone, Joshua Foust, Aug 26

In a video statement released on Aug. 22, the five front-line commanders from the opposition-backed Supreme Military Council announced they were abandoning the group and choosing instead to work with any group willing to fight Assad. They tendered their resignation while sitting in front of the black flag of Jabhat al Nusra, a key opposition group with growing ties to al Qaeda in Iraq – implying they have rejected U.S. demands not to work with jihadists.

The SMC is nominally led by Salim Idriss, who chairs its Joint Staff. “It never really exercised its power,” said Kirk Sowell, CEO of Uticensis Risk Services and an Arabic language researcher. “They failed to remove troublesome commanders from Aleppo and Dira, but they could have become a kind of Defense Ministry.”

Yet this recent defection of its top leaders, Sowell says, shows that not only does Idriss lack authority over his own commanders, but that the SMC “is a total non-entity” inside Syria.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 14:52 utc | 63

@RB #62
Nobody is predicting a "full scale war on Syria."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 14:55 utc | 64

55) As the ways to escalate are endless they should consider an end game - which they haven't. To assume Iran, Hezbollah, Syria will let them stop just when they feel like it is beyond ... we are back to "at a complete loss".

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 14:56 utc | 65

Readers might be interested in this take on the Russian and Chinese positions re Syria:

Another US War Crime in the Making in Syria: Russia, China Extremely Careless in Dealings with US

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 15:04 utc | 66

I have a bad feeling about this. US doesn't attack unless the outcome is assured; think Panama, Grenada, Iraq... If Russia and China are posturing and winking from the sidelines at the Reptiles, we are entering a new Dark Age.

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 27 2013 15:14 utc | 67

A ship in Tartus would say a thousand words, but unless I see something, anything from Russia other than 'disappointment' and evacuating its citizens, I'm inclined to believe that Bandar managed to strike a deal with Putin during their recent meet.

Whilst M K Bhadrakumar suggested that Bandar left empty handed, others commented that Saudi officials left the meeting elated with the outcome.

Money talks. Naturally Putin will act in the interests of his electorate.

I'm toying with joining a rally in London tomorrow, but one million in 2003 achieved nothing.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Aug 27 2013 15:25 utc | 68

If the USgov, powers that be can't buy you out, or beat you through lying or cheating. Then, they will try to destroy you.
The Syrians as I have stated before have very good odds in their favor. It looks bad but I believe that barring any betrayals like what happened to old man Gaddafi. I think they can survive, not intact though. Assad himself may die. But the USgov could lose.

Posted by: Fernando | Aug 27 2013 15:25 utc | 69

If you dig weapons-talk, you'll like this.
The Rogue Adventurer
Preliminary analysis of alleged CW munitions used in Syria

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 15:32 utc | 70

Ozawa @61:

Syria is a poor 'third world' country that has survived in the post-WWII period because of its 'big brother' to the East, the USSR, wanted to keep the West as far from its borders as possible. Now Russia is in exactly the same position. The fact that it is no longer even a state socialist country makes no difference. Russia, just like Syria, is 'in the way' of imperialist expansion.

Fortunately, Russia has nuclear weapons (I never thought I'd say this!) so all the Empire can do at this point in time, is nibble away at the edges, one defenceless state at a time.

Unfortunately, if Syria was as you suggest "send...a few missiles at Jordanian and Israeli bases would be a reasonable start", might make us feel good but it would be suicide for Syria (excuse the alliteration).

I think, as I've been reading the Assad regime is keeping on with smashing the proxy army. I think a suggestion made elsewhere here, that Russia should mount a major pr campaign utilising its intelligence cf; Pepe Escobar's should piece, is an excellent idea and I only wish I had the ear of Putin, and could tell him to stop being such a wuss (in spite of all his macho posturing) as the next thing you know, they'll be at the outskirts of Moscow. I kid you not.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 15:33 utc | 71

The US also wants to permanently block a planned oil/gas pipeline from Iran to the Mediterranean through Iraq and Syria. This has Russian involvement.

Russia also must know that if the US is appeased over this, it will go on to Iran and then what? The ultimate goal of Russia and China?

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 27 2013 15:34 utc | 72

Here's what Pepe wrote:

Khalil Harb, of Lebanese paper As-Safir, confirmed a few minutes ago to my great friend Claudio Gallo an article published in Arabic two days ago, quoting a Russian source.

According to the source, Russia's ambassador in the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, presented conclusive evidence - based on documents and Russian satellite images - of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian "rebels", and landing on East Ghouta. Hundreds of "rebels", as well as civilians - including those children on the cover of Western corporate media papers - were killed. The evidence, says the Russian source, is conclusive. This is what Lavrov himself was hinting at yesterday. And that's the reason there's no UN Security Council resolution against Syria, and why Washington does not want the inspectors to find anything.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 15:36 utc | 73

"As-Safir said Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” he allegedly said.

Posted by: skybox | Aug 27 2013 15:51 utc | 74

Bandar thinks he can blackmail Putin

Posted by: skybox | Aug 27 2013 15:52 utc | 75

67 Obama has not decided yet :-))

"The opposition was told in clear terms that action to deter further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime could come as early as in the next few days, and that they should still prepare for peace talks at Geneva," one of the sources said.

Ahmad Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition, met envoys from 11 states in the Friends of Syria group, including Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, at an Istanbul hotel.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 15:53 utc | 76

"Peace talks" -- the last time they were successful was . . .when? It's merely a cover, as with I/P.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 16:00 utc | 77

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said it best today:

The West behaves towards the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade."

Firstly I was completely wrong in assuming that this was similar to the Iran nuclear crisis where every six months the US hypes that it is going to invade in order to strenghten its bargaining hand. Anyone who has watched British news channels like Sky or BBC in the last 24 hours won't have much doubts on an attack. Crazy as it is and apparently against the advice of the US and British militaries who know what a stupid idea this is.

This is a serious threat to Assad, obviously. His success against the rebels means the US was forced to either back down and accept an Assad victory or go the full way and take him out himself. Lets not fool ourselves, a bombing campaign will eventually led to Assad's ouster. There is only so long a President can stand up to a British-US onslaught.

The timing is interesting as well. Summer is ending and it will be Winter soon enough in Syria. I'm sure the US military would wish to have started something like this going into the summer months rather than at the end. How will fighter jets hold up in such conditions? Snow and poor visibility will be likely. Of course this poses problems for Assad as well. During Kosovo the US attacked alot of civilian infrastructure like power plants, how will the Syrian people hold up with electricity cuts, road damage, attacks on radio and media stations.

I've read that the British military is currently assembling jets and other assets in Cyprus. In my view this is a bad stance for Cyprus to take. So small and so close to Syria. Any role will have long term effects for the tiny island.

Assad would be wise to send a message, warning the Cypriot government that any assistance to Britain will be met with medium range rockets. Assad certainly needs to get ahead of this if he hopes to survive, seize the initiative. No point him waiting for an attack to come. Target Cyprus now, while they are still organising.

Maybe a sudden bold strike will scare the US-UK in reconsidering, but Assad has nothing to lose by it. After all they are going to attack anyway.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 27 2013 16:01 utc | 78

My response to Pepe:

All the more reason for the drive toward war as it will obscure and relegate to history what actually took place. I remember that at the time of the Tonkin Gulf false flag, on the left at least in the UK, it was common knowledge that it was a setup but of course nobody was listening, or rather nobody wanted to hear. And there are innumerable examples of littering the malevolent history of imperialism.

If what Escobar reports is really true, then it means that those mad fucking rebels actually did kill hundreds of people! Maybe even a thousand or more. No wonder the West doesn't want to investigate it!

All that guff about, 'it's too late, you've gotten rid of the evidence' or, 'you should have let us in earlier', is just total bullshit. What the West HAS to do, is try and cover it up, like they did the thousands of Iraqi troops who were bulldozed in their trenches, live, buried in sand.

After all, where did they get the stuff to launch the missiles? No wonder the madmen are so gung ho to kill some more people who are darker than blue, they've got their capitalist bloodlust up.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 16:02 utc | 79

oh - they know it is dumb

Tactical actions in the absence of strategic objectives is usually pointless and often counterproductive," Chris Harmer, a senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, said. "I never intended my analysis of a cruise missile strike option to be advocacy even though some people took it as that."

"I made it clear that this is a low cost option, but the broader issue is that low cost options don't do any good unless they are tied to strategic priorities and objectives," he added. "Any ship officer can launch 30 or 40 Tomahawks. It's not difficult. The difficulty is explaining to strategic planners how this advances U.S. interests."

In July, Harmer authored a widely-circulated study showing how the U.S. could degrade key Syrian military installations on the cheap with virtually no risk to U.S. personnel. "It could be done quickly, easily, with no risk whatsoever to American personnel, and a relatively minor cost," said Harmer. One of the study's proposals was cruise missile strikes from what are known as TLAMs (Tomahawk land attack missiles) fired from naval vessels in the Mediterranean.

The study immediately struck a chord with hawkish lawmakers on the Hill who were frustrated with the options outlined by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey that required a major commitment by U.S. military forces with a pricetag in the billions.

"For a serious accounting of a realistic limited military option in Syria, I would strongly recommend a new study that is being released today by the Institute for the Study of War," Sen. John McCain said in July, referring to Harmer's study. "This new study confirms what I and many others have long argued: That it is militarily feasible for the United States and our friends and allies to significantly degrade Assad's air power at relatively low cost, low risk to our personnel, and in very short order."

Not all surgical strikes are created equal, of course. And there's no guarantee that the Obama administration's strike plan would look like Harmer's. Regardless, Harmer doubted that any surgical strikes would produce the desired results -- especially if the goal is to punish the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

"Punitive action is the dumbest of all actions," he said. "The Assad regime has shown an incredible capacity to endure pain and I don't think we have the stomach to deploy enough punitive action that would serve as a deterrent."

He also doubted the effectiveness of taking out Assad's chemical weapons capabilities. "If we start picking off chemical weapons targets in Syria, the logical response is if any weapons are left in the warehouses, he's going to start dispersing them among his forces if he hasn't already," he continued. "So you're too late to the fight."

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 16:02 utc | 80

Skybox @74:
The Russians told the Saudis to shove it, all of it.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 16:04 utc | 81


But let's look at the history of privacy/lead activists vis a vis Syria over the last year or two.

Anonymous obtains, then Wikileaks/Assange releases the Syria Files that are basically a bunch of Assad's private emails/communications meant to further de-legimitize him in the eyes of his people. Glenn Greenwald was effusive in his coverage and praise. This was last year July.

"Anonymous stated that as long as Bashar al-Assad remains in power, it will continue "to assist the courageous freedom fighters and activists in Syria".[11]"

So, here we have a coordinated effort to destabilize Assad from last July involving nearly every single player in the Snowden story besides Snowden himself.

Is this not interesting?

And this

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 27 2013 16:09 utc | 82

At William 71.

The biggest mistake Syria made was failing to retaliate in 2007. This was compounded by accepting multiple Israeli attacks this year.

It is VERY hard and dangerous to strike back at a bully much stronger than you. It is painful in the short run. But it is what will save you in the long run. Giving the bully a bloody nose, even if it means a few broken ribs an a week in the hospital, will get you the respect both of the bully and the onlookers.

At this point it is too late. The US will use military force to overthrow Assad. It will not stop. It will pretend to stop from time to time to get Assad to do what you suggest: sit tight and wait for it to be over. But then they will hit again. And again. Assads best chance of survival is to go all out with every thing he has. Otherwise the US will slowly degrade his capabilities until he has nothing left. And the attack all out.

Too doubt this is to fool ourselves.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 16:15 utc | 83


OK, what do you suggest Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah should do? ZATO's goal is destruction, followed by creating mini-states under Western domination. Perhaps with a few genocides and radical regimes first, in order to justify a Greater Israel that will have to smash them.

Look at Libya. Why wait till ZATO takes out all your missiles and jets? Why not send up a third of them and see if they want to keep Israel as a modern state? In other words, they want to annihilate Syria no matter what.

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 27 2013 16:16 utc | 84

The war is in not in the Middle East...
The centuries old fractional banking ponzi scheme is teetering on verge of collapse, it can happen any minute now. A war will not save it; but it will justify the drastic measures the Elite has prepared to usher in a New World Order (1) of a socialist nature, personal wealth confiscated (bailed-in) production and consumption rationed, & for those who may complain a ruthless police has 6 bullets for every citizen (1.6 billion hollow point bullets ordered for "domestic consumption" (2))

1. The Elite Plan for a New World Social Order by Richard K. Moore

2. 1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It's Time For A National Conversation

Posted by: Fouad | Aug 27 2013 16:19 utc | 85

@78 Akrotiri is British sovereign territory. Not sure the Cypriot government has any control over it.

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 16:26 utc | 86

Lysander @83:

First they delegitimise you, then they isolate you, then they starve you, then they cut pieces off you, then they destroy you.

Yes, why didn't Assad do all the things you say, and more (and what about his dad?)? Writing as a communist, i'd say he didn't have his shit together. Like Gaddafi, like Saddam, like many other nationalist leaders, they were products of their times, mostly the Cold War times and they used/abused/killed the left, because it challenged their power. In Syria, the communists were 'in and out favour' with the old man, many times.

But they were all nominally at least, in the Soviet camp. All shared large state ownership of production and distribution, some centralised planning borrowed from from the Soviet Union. Above all, they kept large Western capital out.

This is all about money, eventually.

Gotta go, am seeing The Sun Ra Archestra Tonight (minus Sun Ra of course).

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 27 2013 16:30 utc | 87

416 years BC as written by Thucydidos.
The Melians appealing to the Athenians' sense of decency and mercy toward a small, peaceful, and defenseless city. The Athenians replied that questions of justice did not arise between unequal powers and proceeded to starve the resisting inhabitants into surrender. "The strong do as they can and the weak suffer what they must".

Syria, Iran must have overwhelming force to be independant.
100,000 heavy rockets difficult to stop electronically.
Russia has nukes against todays Athenians. We have learned nothing. Athens fell.

Posted by: boindub | Aug 27 2013 16:34 utc | 88

All these hearsay articles about what Bandar said to Putin are citing this original source. I posted this link on the previous thread, but maybe I didn't draw attention to it sufficiently; I just labeled it "A plausible reconstruction of July's Bandar/Putin meeting", which is what it is.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 16:34 utc | 89

DailyStar, Aug 27

Arab League accuses Syria of chemical attack

CAIRO: The Arab League squarely blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday for a gas attack near Damascus and urged the U.N. Security Council to act, providing what diplomatic sources said was political cover for a possible U.S. strike.

Western powers have told the Syrian opposition to expect a strike against Assad's forces within days to punish the attack, according to sources who attended a meeting between envoys and the Syrian National Coalition.

The Arab League's statement, issued after an emergency meeting, made no mention of military action. But it accused Assad of genocide and demanded, in unusually strong language, that the perpetrators of last week's poison gas attack, in which hundreds of civilians were killed, face justice.

The Arab League holds Syria "fully responsible for the ugly crime and demands that all the perpetrators of this heinous crime be presented for international trials", the statement said.

It also called on U.N. Security Council members to overcome their differences and take "the necessary resolutions against the perpetrators of this crime".

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 16:35 utc | 90

"A plausible reconstruction of July's Bandar/Putin meeting"
Just to make my own reading of it clear: I don't think it's genuine, because I don't think Bandar would have actually said:
The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the [Sochi] games are controlled by us.
I think that it is an accurate statement, but I don't think Bandar would have said it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 16:43 utc | 91

Don Bacon 47 & Anonymous 54:

Fallujah now has a cancer rate that is higher than Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. Use of bombs containing uranium are suspected.

Posted by: Harper Langston | Aug 27 2013 16:47 utc | 92

Don Bacon

"It also called on U.N. Security Council members to overcome their differences and take "the necessary resolutions against the perpetrators of this crime"."

Is there any bigger wussies than Israel and Gulf states?
Why dont these arab dictators and Israel attack Syria instead calling US/NATO for their wars?

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 16:54 utc | 93

So O-bomber's managed to talk himself into yet another war..They're hoping Syria does not retaliate so they don't have a regional war on their hands..But are they truly that stupid to believe their own BS...

Change you can believe in.. ;)

Posted by: Zico | Aug 27 2013 17:12 utc | 94

Seriously, if I were Syria, I'll pre-empt the attack by first attacking the weakest link in the coalition..Hit the midget puppet in Jordan first, then hit all useful NATO infrastructure in Israel..

Posted by: Zico | Aug 27 2013 17:14 utc | 95

U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told reporters in Geneva that the inspection team might need longer than the planned 14 days to complete its work and its priority now is to determine what happened in the Aug. 21 attack. "This is the first priority," she said.

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 17:18 utc | 96

Obama's rhetoric about Syria has proven the various low IQ goons of the tea party correct, he loves Al Qaeda with all of his heart.

Posted by: Crest | Aug 27 2013 17:24 utc | 97

@ Rowan 89

I posted this link on the previous thread, but maybe I didn't draw attention to it sufficiently

Well I for one read it yesterday, when you posted it in the previous thread :D

Was a good article, on what seems to have been a highly important meeting. The balls on Bandar, traveling to Russia and implying not very subtly that Saudi Arabia has the influence over the Chechens to make life easy on Russia and "implying" he could make sure there was no terrorist attacks during the Sochi Olympics in 2014 if the Russians "played ball" over Syria.

Putin is a better man then me. I would have sent his head back to King Jabba on a silver platter, diplomatic immunity or not (one of the many reasons I doubt I'll ever be President of anywhere).

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 27 2013 17:27 utc | 98

Turkish economy runs into a brickwall

Posted by: skybox | Aug 27 2013 17:33 utc | 99

96) presumably as long as UN inspectors are there, no bombs ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 17:36 utc | 100

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