Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 26, 2013

To Read On Syria

To read on Syria:

President Assad's interview with Izvestia:
President al-Assad: Syria will never become a western puppet state, we will fight terrorism and freely build relationships that best serve the interests of the Syrians - Sana

How the Saudi Price Bandar is goading the Unites States into another Middle East war:
A Veteran Saudi Power Player Works To Build Support to Topple Assad - WSJ

Half of the CIA paid Fee Syrian Army's recruits from Jordanian refugee camps are under 18 and pressed into service through threats and/or bribes on their families
As losses mount, Syrian rebels turn to teenage soldiers - Washington Post

Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran - FP

Syria: Expert sees no military grade chemical weapon effect
What Happened? - If it isn’t Sarin, what is it? - Strongpoint Security

Posted by b on August 26, 2013 at 16:03 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Israel firsters in the US want to see syrian blood asap!!

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 16:49 utc | 1

The facts are being fitted around the policy.

History may show that:

"There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Obama wanted to remove Assad, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Syrian regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 26 2013 17:13 utc | 2

Israel will surely dictates what the U.S. should do in the coming wks/months:

Posted by: Gregg | Aug 26 2013 17:26 utc | 3

There is a plausible reconstruction of the July conversation between Bandar & Putin, here.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 17:27 utc | 4

So Kerry is about to speak in 30 minutes, what will he say?
Since the UN reporting isnt done on what happend Kerry could certainly not declare war, that would look incredibly stupid, maybe he will urge to the "world-community" to unite against Syria with the possible result to use military means?

What do you guys think he will say?

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 17:42 utc | 5

"Saudi Price Bandar is goading the Unites States into another Middle East war"

So what is all the talk about AIPAC and Israel dominating our Middle East Policy. Which is not to imply that they are not affective but clearly there are more variables (players as they say), not to mention Big Oil. Remember that pipeline from Iran through Syria to the Med. Sea?


Posted by: TomV | Aug 26 2013 17:54 utc | 6


You say that because you are pro-israel(?) US strongest allied are Israel and wouldnt go against their interests in the region, Israel is the primary reason for Obama's war on Syria.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 18:02 utc | 7

Well, we all know it matters not one jot about evidence, that's clear from the Breaking News banner on the BBC:

"PM spoke to Russian President Putin on phone on Monday, says No 10 - PM said "no doubt" Syrian regime behind chemical attack"

No doubt = doesn't matter what evidence if any comes to light (or doesn't!) about who used it or what the agent was ...

Posted by: Rod | Aug 26 2013 18:15 utc | 8

Syria is all about Iran, and Iran has long been a thorn in the side of US/UK for several reasons. This mindless US enmity toward a non-threatening country allows other countries, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, an opening to use the situation to promote their own national interests, and they do.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 18:23 utc | 9

Little doubt got transformed into no doubt.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 18:24 utc | 10

SANA is back up.

Putin, Cameron discuss situation in Syria... Lavrov: Claims that Syrian government used chemical weapons unsubstantiated

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 18:26 utc | 11

ooops -- I see b linked to SANA.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 18:27 utc | 12

The decision to attack has already been made, the troops and resources are deployed and in place. Now we are only seeing the theater to present a phony reason for the idiotized western audiences.

The only thing that may have a chance to stop or delay the attack would be a credible threat from Putin. But the US may not even believe that the thread is credible, just like they didn't really believe that Medvedev would launch a full assault to free Ossetia and the Russian Peacekeepers there in the middle of the Olympiad Games.

They played the UN inspector games for weeks in Iraq, didn't found anything, make Iraq to destroy some middle range missiles, and when the troop deployment was ready they just pulled the UN inspectors out of there and attacked. We are seeing the same play. Watch for the UN inspectors to leave Damascus for the bombing to start.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 26 2013 18:36 utc | 13

Kerry about to speak -- video at

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 18:47 utc | 14

Diane Johnstone on the illegality of the proposed attacks on Syria:

In essence a war on Syria would have the sole purpose of raising funds for political campaigns in the USA. Elsewhere, in Nato, the purpose would be to appease the US.

The Israeli coalition of fascist political parties wants chaos to reign in the region. It cares very little where, it just wants civil wars everywhere. And it works, 24/7, to provoke, prolong and spread them. In this it has an ally in the Saudi racketeers and their fellow tyrants, who fear, just as Israel does, the mobilisation of Arab public opinion.

Both parties, Israel and the Arab League, nestle under the protection of the United States, without whom they are very insignificant powers, whose malicious wishes would be disregarded, contemptuously, by the international community.

The solution lay in discovering the fulcrum with which to move the US government. That was where AIPAC came in. It realised that the only means of moving America's political class was to buy it.
There were two basic reasons why this was practical: the first was, obviously, that US politicians are greedy and will do anything for money, provided that it costs them nothing. The second reason proceeds from this: the most extreme policies protecting Israel have no consequences, the most dreadful injustices and barbarisms practised against Palestinians have no political costs.
That was the lesson Israel was demonstrating in its attacks on defenceless Gaza: "it doesn't matter what we do, or what you support us in" Israel told Congress "you will not risk the loss of a single vote."

Why? Because all that counts in Congressional elections is money: no politics are involved, there is no difference between the two parties, and no possibility of a third party challenging their duopoly, small chance of a third party getting on the ballot, and, absent enormous amounts of money, very little chance of getting a message out in House districts about 750,000 voters strong and Senate elections with State wide electorates.

The problem was that, although there are many rich Jews vulnerable to the siren songs of Zionist racism in the United States they are a tiny minority among the 1% and they didn't get rich by giving money away. The trick, for AIPAC, has been to raise vast sums of money to buy the US government not from Zionists but from the American people who, through their taxes, pour billions annually into the support of Israeli fascism.

Not Israel, per se, which, without these billions would be forced into an accommodation with its neighbours and with the people of Palestine (the idea behind the Oslo process) but with Israel's fascists, the inheritors of Jabotinsky's mantle, who are in principle opposed to any peace in the middle east which does not involve the submission of the Arab nation to Israeli hegemony.

The way in which Netanyahu and his allies have managed to perform this magic while preserving, often greatly enhancing, the fortunes of its wealthy supporters is not just by persuading the purchased Congress that, while it is cutting Food Stamps feeding tens of millions of American children, on the grounds that it lacks the financial resources to do so, it should increase its donations to Israel's government. There must be a limit to such insanity; even though it has yet to be reached, it must be approaching.

There are several other ways of diverting money to Israel. One of them is to move Defense industry contracts, off shore, to Israel, so that Israeli corporations share in the trillion dollar US Defense/Security budget as well as in the US subsidy of Israel's bloated defense budgets.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, is the way in which the US tax system is employed to allow taxpayers to write off their donations to a panoply of clearly political "causes" ranging from Summer Camps for Snipers, and the establishment of colonies in the West Bank to funding of Congressional visits to Israel as well as the more established appeals and land funds that Zionists have been running for over a century.

In essence Congress is being bribed to disregard both the opinions and interests of its constituents with the re-cycled money of its insulted electorate.

As to the US government itself, it is a comment upon the moral nullity of those running it that they would contemplate, for a moment, attacks on Syria which would involve the deaths of many people.

In the great scheme of things a US attack on Syria would be of small importance. From the Russian or Chinese point of view it would hardly be worth opposing except in words. The sad truth is that, after the Syrian victims themselves, the most significant casualties would be the USA and its allies who now stand before world opinion denuded of all but the last stained and stinking shreds of their moral and intellectual clothing.

Nobody with more brains than a snail believes for a moment that any righteous indignation motivates US policy. Only a week ago we watched it smiling approval as General Sisi and his minions, using US materiel, subsidised by US money, wearing US style military uniforms burned down mosques full of unarmed protestors and machine gunned crowds running away. So it is unreasonable to credit Obama's camarilla with any ethical purpose in appeasing Netanyahu, his media chorus and his congressional puppets.

The last time I looked at this matter, of an attack on Syria, I was inclined to believe that it would be seen by Russia, China and Iran as an action that it was necessary for their own preservation to prevent. I no longer believe that to be the case: any strategic gains to the empire from a puppet regime in Syria would be inadequate compensation for the damage it would suffer from the further alienation of world opinion and the increase of its, already enormously overblown, wager on Arab monarchies.
Perhaps the most important fact in US diplomacy at the moment is its weakness in the area of its, traditionally, greatest strength: Latin America. While there is still no shortage of corrupt, vicious client regimes there, few of them (Good Morning Colombia!) look very stable. And the real significance lies in the importance of governments which are defiant of the US, all of which have in common that their current rulers came to power in reaction to US sponsored dictators in the eighties and nineties. The net result of past US triumphs in South America, from Chile to Argentina, has been to nourish implacable opponents in the mould of the lamented Hugo Chavez. It is a curious fact that in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil victims of US trained torturers, occupants of US built dungeons are in power.
The likelihood is that their equivalents, current victims of the El Salvador option being practised in the middle east, will emerge as the next generation of rulers in Arabia, in Yemen, for example, in Bahrain, Jordan and the Saud family estates themselves.
A Kossovo style operation against Syria would, in all likelihood, bring the day, on which both the Houses of Saud and Cards fall a little closer. To begin with, I suspect, it would cut into the current support that Sisi enjoys in his political honeymoon.
Given this why should Russia protest? Why should China object?
A man with a gun, who has already shot holes in his own feet frightens nobody. And the bigger such a man’s armament the less daunting he is.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 26 2013 18:50 utc | 15

I read the article at StrongpointSecurity linked to above by 'b'. Its author Dan Kaszeta is ernestly trying to be evidence-based and rational, based on Youtube videos. I have a question for you. He says "Many observers seem to indicate that rockets were used. The number of rockets to perpetrate an attack of this scale would need to be hundreds not dozens of rockets." Question: what video or videos of victims has he seen at Youtube that makes him say that? Because I haven't seen videos of victims that indicate such scale.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 26 2013 18:51 utc | 16

"Bandar is goading the US into another Middle East war." So what is all the talk about AIPAC and Israel dominating our Middle East Policy? Posted by: TomV | Aug 26, 2013 1:54:36 PM | 6
It suits the USA to maximise in every way and on all occasions the apparent autonomy of its clients. Empires have always done this. Consider how, when India's independence became inevitable, Britain deliberately manipulated it (India) into such an extreme state of religious and ethnic hatred that it (Britain) could then stand back and watch it destroy itself and say, well, we gave them their freedom, we encouraged them to decide for themselves, and so on. This is the ruthless cynicism and stage-management of empires; they all do it. The most important continual effect of this is for the hegemon to be able to pose as referee, which implies a moral superiority, an independence from the passions that agitate lesser races... (ahem). In the current case, we are talking about a truly global network of pseudo-religious terrorist gangs, which engage in everything from blackmail to drug-running to destabilisation of target regimes (which may also be client regimes, because being a client is no guarantee of safety). Parts of this network go by the name of al-Qaeda, other parts by the name of the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, others again by the name of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and so on. They are all deniable assets of the USA. In order to maintain their deniability it is desirable if you have a client secret service run by an expert of the same ethnicity and the pseudo-gangs, to use him to manage them. In any case, for almost half a century, Saudi has been acting as paymaster for the MB, even when the CIA were providing direct hands-on instructions to the MB chiefs. See please, this if you can get past the contorted headline (typical of me). So there are many reasons why Bandar becomes so to say manager of the USA's covert franchise for Asia. And none of this has any logical bearing on whether Israel controls the USA or vice versa (this is what I usually refer to as the "which is dog & which is tail? which is hammer & which is nail?" problem).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 18:52 utc | 17

Who cares about evidence? That's such a snooze. Not the citizens of UK, France, Canada and of course the USA. Wow! Another "shock & awe" war on teevee. Can't wait! Can it be scheduled between Miley and Robin at the VMA?

What Keeps America Up at Night

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 26 2013 18:54 utc | 18

Translating Kerry : attack is inevitable.

It's done. Now let see how long Russia's bluff last.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 26 2013 18:58 utc | 19

Kerry: The chemical weapon attack by the government is undeniable. We have additional information, which will be provided in the days ahead. --The rest was bluster.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 19:02 utc | 20

Hilarious, they have all the proof, its undeniable but they got nothing to show.
What on earth did Kerry say anyway I just heard 100% emotional stuff blended with lies.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 19:09 utc | 21

Lavrov held a press conference three hours ago. Lavrov said:

"We are highly concerned about Syria, with growing hysteria and confrontation from the use of chemical weapons by Syrian authorities. A massive weapon build-up is occurring in the region, with calls for and threats of military force against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. There is the persistent feeling of history repeating itself. We have seen similar scenarios develop in Iraq and Libya. The US, UK and France officially announced they have solid information on the Syrian authorities’ guilt, but can't present evidence. The actions of western nations clearly contradict the agreements reached by G8 leaders at the Lough Erne Summit in June 2013. The Lough Erne Declaration states any use of chemical weapons in Syria must be fully investigated and the results shown to the UNSC. Those trying to enact a forceful scenario are dissatisfied with yesterday’s [25 Aug] agreement between the Syrian government and UN experts.... Not a single case of coercive intervention from the outside has resulted in achieving security and a better life in any country."

Thus Lavrov has been hearing saber-rattling that Lavrov is taking to be serious.

Speaking for myself, I still don't believe the chances are high that the West is going to attack Syria, even though I've seen the chances move higher in that direction today.

By the way, it has long been clear to me and remains clear today that Russia would not go to Syria's rescue if the West attacked Syria. If the West attacks, Syria is going to be all on its own in tyring to defend itself.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 26 2013 19:29 utc | 22

Is the tide turning again (towards the rebels) in Syrias civil war?

Syria rebels take control of strategic town

Report Claims US, Israeli Trained Rebels Moving Toward Damascus

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 26 2013 19:30 utc | 23

So the same date CIA admit US helped Saddam gassing 1000s of people, Kerry speaks out against chemical weapons? I mean this is comedy.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 19:46 utc | 24

Russia has a week to stop the attack but she would need to risk assets: move one or two squadrons in the Damascus airports as deterrence against attacks on Syrian airports and remaining air assets and prevent air raids from Jordan, deploy S-300 batteries manned by Russian soldiers in Damascus to shield from cruise missiles, move air-defence ships to the Syrian coast to prevent cruise missile attacks from that direction. If the Russian position is just the Lavrov empty diplomatic talk this is over.

Otherwise we already know the movie. Aleppo will last one or two weeks and the 'rebels' will fully control the north of Syria. It will be immediately cut off from the rest of Syrian forces. In fact as a preparation from the attack the Syrian forces could already be retreating to Damascus or the coast area. Then it will be just a show to see how much time Syrian forces can hold on Damascus against a large incursion from Jordan in the south and finally from the reinforcements from the north. After the fall of Damascus a replay of the Sirte's meaningless destruction in Latakia and all the Allawi coastal areas to please the bloody mercenaries and let them take as much loot as they desire as a payment.

Hezbollah will be cut off from Iran, their only remaining option to go underground for years or make the Shiite majority take over Lebanon (which is the excuse Israel wants to reinvade with western troops Lebanon) and create their own viable free country with normal commercial relations with Iran (but would remain under sanctions and likely embargo).

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 26 2013 19:49 utc | 25

for almost half a century, Saudi has been acting as paymaster for the MB... Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26, 2013 2:52:46 PM | 17
I should have said, except in the last decade or so, when Saudi got into more and more quarrels with the Saudi branch of the MB and tried to shut them down, and so they started getting money from Qatar, and this gradually generalised, and the US (for US read CIA throughout) unwisely said, OK, Qatar, you run it for a while. Then the Qataris found they couldn't control it, and it started running wild all over the place, until the USA put its foot down, sacked the Emir of Qatar (yes, they can do that), and asked Bandar to put the whole thing back together again more or less the way it had been say 20 years previously, when the Sauds definitely held the purse-strings worldwide (see my link to the history of it). And that, I think, is what is going on now. Bandar is pulling all the Salafi, MB, etc leaders back together and saying, you won't get any more money from Qatar, fellas, so you had better start doing what I tell you to do. That anyway is my reading of it, which doesn't seem impossible, and does explain most things.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 19:50 utc | 26

Kerry: The chemical weapon attack by the government is undeniable.

My bad -- I took a shortcut. Kerry first said it was undeniable that there was a chemical attack, and then went on to say that the government had the capabilities (weapons and delivery systems) to do it, and mainly delivered emotional denigration of the government with crocodile tears for the alleged victims.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 19:52 utc | 27


Meaning US have no proof at all. That Syria gov. have the >>>capability<<< is of course undeniable, just as much as its undeniable that Syria have a president called Assad. I mean Kerry tries to make an argument from..nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 20:00 utc | 28

@KK #23
sources for those reports:
# Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, AKA Coventry clothier
# French Institute for Strategic Analysis -- The Centre d'analyse stratégique is a decision-making and expertise institution under the authority of the French Prime Minister. The Center’s mission is to advise the Government in the creation and application of economic, social, environmental and cultural policy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:03 utc | 29

25) This is assuming Iran will just watch and US allies will not be attacked.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 26 2013 20:06 utc | 30

Here's the transcript of Kerry's remarks.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:07 utc | 31

24) The comedy is also that the Foreign Minister of the most powerful nation on earth bases his emotions on youtube videos.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 26 2013 20:08 utc | 32

dartmouth option

Posted by: cloned_poster | Aug 26 2013 20:11 utc | 33

This is how the WaPo summarizes Kerry's speech:

In a strongly worded assessment, Kerry said that evidence now being gathered by United Nations experts on the ground in Syria was important but was not necessary to prove what is already “grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense.”

So the UN inspections are not needed because the "facts are informed by conscience and guided by common sense. This sounds bad. At the least Syria will be bombed.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 26 2013 20:14 utc | 34

25 doesn't has any asset to deter a western air campaign and jihadist land invasion Syria.

Are you seriously considering that the dove Rouhani and the old Khamenei will send a few divisions, 10,000 to 20,000 fully equipped 'volunteers', through land crossing Iraq to counter the US-Saudi invasion? With no meaningful air protection.

Will they launch missiles against US bases in Jordan (Cyprus and Turkey bases can't be attacked for different reasons) and finally bomb the Saudi oil fields and close the Strait of Hormuz to drop dead the global economy? That's an open invitation for full war on Iran and I don't see they are prepared, crazy/mesianistic enough for it. The counter attack will reach and destroy them even if the US is unprepared for it today. Half a year or one year on you will see the full western armies invading Iran. Russia and China will back off again. They don't want to suicide (war between nuclear powers mean nukes if one of the side doesn't back off) for another country as long as the global world stage remains in place, even as they become weaker in geopolitical terms, they will just wait for their time.

I also doubt the Syrian leadership will use the 'Samson option', even if they have the capability, and trigger a full missile attack with chemical weapons over Tel Aviv.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 26 2013 20:17 utc | 35

Kerry referred to the Syria Human Rights Commission which is probably the United Nations commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. More on that here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:18 utc | 36

The first phrase was mean to say: "Iran doesn't have the assets ..."

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 26 2013 20:20 utc | 37

35) attack Saudi Arabia and block the strait of Hormuz, attack US troops stuck in Afghanistan, get proxies to attack Israel ... the possibilities are endless ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 26 2013 20:25 utc | 38

@bevin (15)

Your analysis is spot on. I wonder how long it will take the people of the ME to realize they are being played like the people of Latin America were decades ago.

I can't however agree with your assumption that Russia, China and Iran will not involve themselves in Syria. They must involve themselves before it's too late. It seems to me that Syria is the domino that will tip the balance of power irretrievably in the ME. That power will be shared among Israel, the U.S. and the house of Saud controlling all the wealth of resources in the region including in Iran should Syria fall. What is being done in Syria will spill into Lebanon and Iran undoubtedly and in short order. Russia and China will be squeezed out of any kind of influential leverage in the region.

This is a strategic time for stopping this world order shift from happening for whoever ends up controlling the Middle East ends up controlling the world and its future, and it's already happening. Global power is being tipped; balance is being sabotaged and the masters of the world will be the most corrupt, selfish entities: U.S., Israel, and the Saudi kingdom. It's already happening; the U.S. is trying to end run the Security Council. This outcome was planned; as was fomenting chaos among the people of the ME to weaken their ability to coalesce for their own greater benefit and distort their perception of the grim reality and ruin that is descending upon them. I even believe that weakening the European Union through the Euro was also part of this plan, because no union greater than the former three can exist on the planet. They will rule the world with their own selfish agenda to the detriment of everyone else.

There is still time to stop this momumental shift in power IF Russia, China, Iran and yes, Latin American nations, which have learned from experience under U.S.-sponsored fascism, join together to form a credible offense against this grave threat to global balance of power. And I mean an offense not only at the U.N. but in the movement of military resources as the U.S. has already done to demonstrate seriousness in stopping this irreversible threat to the balance of power.

Posted by: kalithea | Aug 26 2013 20:27 utc | 39

Sigh, people here needs to stop believe that Iran, Russia, China would sacrifice themselves for Assad!

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 20:30 utc | 40

@31. I read the transcript 3 times. Yes CW were used, yes the Syrian 'regime' has the capability, moral obscenity etc. But I don't see Kerry stating categorically that Assad was responsible. Not yet anyway. And I'm not sure what kind of evidence would make a difference.

Posted by: dh | Aug 26 2013 20:32 utc | 41


If things get worse, which I hope they won't, you should consider several theaters for action not one as you do. You should also think about qualitatively different forms of actions in different places. Furthermore you should weigh in the long-term effect of such actions, at least at financial/economic level and the impact on the projected superpower image.

As some would say you might know when and where you start it but you won't know how it will end for you. And this is the worst nightmare for the military planners in Washington, the most realist of the decision-makers right now.

Posted by: ATH | Aug 26 2013 20:35 utc | 42

John Kerry's highly emotional state on stage today is not only bad diplomacy, but his over-dwelling on alleged war victims is hypocritical given his past experiences.

CounterPunch -- What John Kerry Really Did in Vietnam

Though Kerry has a reputation as an anti-war activist, his brief tenure in Vietnam and Cambodia was notable both for acts of casual savagery and his striking lack of contrition for his own participation in atrocities that in a rational society might easily be classified as war crimes.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:36 utc | 43

Funny: Israel, Lebanon and Syria share an aquifer. INWEB (some sub-org of UNESCO) notes not only problems with extraction, but also heavy use of herbicides & pesticides. From one link to another (brainstorm: borders > gee, interesting lakes in north Syria > wait.. water management > aquifer) one stumbles across Ghouta. This is the green region around Damascus. On Wikipedia the poison gas attacks are known as "Ghouta 2013 attacks". With the pdf on the effects of various sorts of poison gas, I think you can imagine why - to me - the likelyhood of an accident à la Bhopal suddenly increases by +1000.

PS. Googling "Middle East" will get you a nice map. Personally, I didn't know Damascus was bases that much south. But given its proximity to Lebanon and Israel (read: Hezbullah), I fail to see how this can be all about removing Assad.

Posted by: Jamisia | Aug 26 2013 20:42 utc | 44

#39 Klaithea, what you hope to happen will not happen. China is not ready to confront the US militarily that far from its shores. Russia will probably never have the power to fight the US in the Mediterranean. We really do not need to argue this point, we will likely, unfortunately, see the result in coming weeks.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 26 2013 20:45 utc | 45


"We really do not need to argue this point, we will likely, unfortunately, see the result in coming weeks."

And what this result will be according to you: removal of Assad, or just few missiles being dropped?

Posted by: ATH | Aug 26 2013 20:47 utc | 46

Cooper: "The second half of the twentieth Century has seen not just the end of the balance of power but also the waning of the imperial urge: in some degree the two go together."

Cooper fails to mention the United Nations, for which a lot of people had high hopes, particularly the UN Charter provisions for peace:

To maintain international peace and security,
# All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
# All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

While most countries have observed these charter provisions, a few have not. All it takes is a few rotten apples.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:50 utc | 47

Russia still has the means to stop this without firing a shot and that is by closing the Afghan supply rout. Whether they do this is another matter but they certainly could if they wanted.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 26 2013 20:53 utc | 48

ooops -- wrong thread.
It's my third mistake today, and I went all year until now without any mistakes! Believe it or not.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:53 utc | 49

Quickly, zusa, don't waste time thinking, go ahead, go ahead!

... and lose bahrain, qatar, saudi arabia and tens of thousands of zusamericans over thereand in Iraq and Afghanistan.

... and have at least 2 carrier groups sunken.

... and ruin what little you are left with economically and financially.

... and be humiliated and demasked as the criminal, coward thug you are.

israel also will value your engagement and celebrate their do ... uh ... friends. As long as they exist.

Hurry up, bring it on, zusa!

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 26 2013 20:55 utc | 50

@Lysander #48
The US military claims that only four percent of equipment is currently heading north from Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 20:59 utc | 51

@23 KerKaraje

The 4th armored division, one of Syria's elite units, is on its way to Aleppo, and the battle for the city has only just begun.

As for the gang of teenagers with high tech weapons driving to Damascus, their capabilities are at this point unknown. It may make the government take a more defensive posture, it may not.

As for the Kerry speech, the response everywhere is heartening. American will not accept being pulled into another war for Israel, especially not with a fake casus belli. The top comments on all the big newspaper sites are people objecting to this march to war.
Kerry's statement, about allowing UN inspectors in too late, is an absurd and horrible echo of Iraq War 2. They want to beat the drums before the inevitable negative results. All the people paying attention don't believe the rhetoric. It's something like a miracle.

Posted by: Crest | Aug 26 2013 21:03 utc | 52

Who knows, perhaps Russia will bomb Saudi Arabia, if US attacks Syria

Posted by: Andoheb | Aug 26 2013 21:11 utc | 53

The BBC seem to be misquoting Kerry.....

"US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned what he termed the "moral obscenity" of the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against its own people."

A jounalistic oversight no doubt.

Posted by: dh | Aug 26 2013 21:11 utc | 54

An independent analyst at Xinhua predicted today there would be NATO attacks against Syria coming in a week or two and the attacks would be "limited to punitive action", as the United States wouldn't like to tilt too much the military balance in Syria for the benefit of anti-government forces in the absence of a credible body to take over from the government.

That's plausible enough to me, yet I'm still willing to bet that NATO and the USA does not attack Syria. A reason why is that Syria has some hardware with which to defend itself and fight back, so that the attack wouldn't be cost-free to the attackers. And another reason is that the Syrian government did NOT use chemical weapons and therefore the evidence to the contrary can never be clear and convincing. And another reason is that USA public opinion is against an attack according to a very recent public opinion poll sponsored by Reuters, the poll conducted within the past few days, even when the poll respondents were asked to suppose the chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is a true allegation (ref). A NATO attack against Syria would be a far bigger obscenity than whatever happened in Al-Ghouta last week. Famous quote from Obama, year 2002: "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war." I think an attack against Syria should be able qualify itself, in Obama's mind, as a dumb and rash idea. We shall see.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 26 2013 21:21 utc | 55

#46 ATH the result that may possibly occur is that the US will start bombing Syria. What happens after that is unknown to me. I doubt that the Assad government would fold but I suspect if the rebel forces have Nato air support it will be very difficult for the government forces to continue their string of victories.

What I am more sure about is that Russia, China and Iran will not directly confront the US in Syria. Once the bombs start dropping there will be new and unpredictable consequences that might lead to escalations on other fronts.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 26 2013 21:28 utc | 56

I should have said "few missiles being launched"

Posted by: ATH | Aug 26 2013 21:30 utc | 57

55) The plans seems to be to send missiles from the sea, and yes the US finds a stalemate in Syria to their liking, so the Syrian government was winning too much recently.

The UN inspectors seem to be there despite the US telling them to leave

The U.N. weapons inspectors arrived at the site after the U.S. delivered a caution to Mr. Ban, telling him it was no longer safe for the inspectors to remain in Syria and that their mission was pointless, said a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Ban "stood firm on principle," ordering his team to continue their work establishing whether chemical weapons or toxins were responsible for the estimated hundreds of deaths of Syrian civilians.

Rebel groups said last week's attacks killed more than 1,000 Syrians. Video images of the attacks showing young children gasping for breath and rooms filled with bodies served to galvanize calls for a swift and decisive international response.

Mr. Kerry, in his remarks, cast doubt on the necessity of the U.N. mission to the sites. The investigators, he and U.N. officials say, are tasked with establishing whether a chemical attack had been carried out—not who had perpetrated it. Mr. Kerry said that "gut-wrenching" videos have made clear that such an attack occurred.

"Anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass," he said. "What is before us today is real, and it is compelling."

Western governments joined Mr. Kerry in taking an increasingly stern line against Damascus.

"The suspected large-scale use of poison gas breaks a taboo even in this Syrian conflict that has been so full of cruelty," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday. "It's a serious breach of the international Chemical Weapons Convention, which categorically bans the use of these weapons. It must be punished; it cannot remain without consequences."

The U.K. said it is "clear" that the Assad regime was behind last week's attack. British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his holiday in order to return to London for a U.K. National Security Council meeting that has been called for Wednesday.

Although President Barack Obama remains undecided on military action, the U.S. request for the U.N. team to withdraw echoed its moves before it attacked Iraq in 2003, when it asked a U.N. inspection team in Baghdad to withdraw for its own safety as it prepared for military operations.

In Iraq, U.N. inspectors investigating American claims that the regime of former President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction were pulled out after being notified that the U.S. was about to invade. That invasion didn't have the backing of the U.N. Security Council, which would likely see Syrian allies Russia and China veto any proposed strike against Damascus. The U.S. could instead seek a mandate from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The American message to Mr. Ban as of Sunday was that the U.S. believed there wasn't adequate security for the U.N. inspectors to visit the affected areas to conduct their mission, a senior official in Mr. Obama's administration said. The administration also told the U.N. that the U.S. didn't think the inspectors would be able to collect viable evidence owing to the passage of time and damage from subsequent shelling, this person said.

The suspected chemical-weapons attacks occurred Wednesday, but the Syrian government gave permission to the U.N. team to access one of the areas on Damascus's outskirts only on Sunday.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 26 2013 21:42 utc | 58

quoted in #58:

The administration also told the U.N. that the U.S. didn't think the inspectors would be able to collect viable evidence owing to the passage of time and damage from subsequent shelling, this person said.

This is false. If it was a sarin attack then it will still be detectable in the environment. If the sarin was degraded with alkali, then the chemical breakdown products would be detectable. I used to work on a project funded by the US Army on ways to decontaminate organophosphate triesters so I know something about the chemistry. Each possible poison has its own chemistry but any that are so unstable as to disappear without a trace inside one week would not be useful. And don't remind me of binary weapons -- those just extend the shelf life of the relevant chemistry and make for safer storage.

There are literally hundreds of people in the US that have worked on this problem of disposing chemical weapons I don't understand how some US official could make such a transparently false assertion without being called on it.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 26 2013 22:36 utc | 59

A coalition of the puppets will strike Syria sooner than later. Irak, the sequel, is inevitable. But I don't expect any retaliation from Russia and Iran.

Russia will continue to support the Assad regime as it does now until there's no more regime to speak of. Iran won't join the war in Syria because they know too well they're next. And even Hezbollah will try hard not to rush arms and fighters to Syria, because soon after, and even during the upcoming strike, they'll be a target in Lebanon.

Posted by: Gregg | Aug 26 2013 22:45 utc | 60

Isn't it odd that a UN investigation team was in Syria examining locations where alleged chemical events happened five months or more ago, but the US position is that even a couple of days after the recent (10/21) alleged event is too much.

More specifically, on Friday (10/23) Kevin Kennedy, a retired U.S. Marine colonel who heads the U.N. Department of Safety and Security, told a small group of reporters at U.N. headquarters that he hadn't given the inspection team a green light to visit the site of the supposed attacks. His office was still carrying out a security assessment to see if it was safe enough to go. Details here.

Kerry, in his remarks today, told a different story:

I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallim and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate – immediate transparency, immediate access – not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. Failure to permit that, I told him, would tell its own story.

Instead, for five days, the Syrian regime refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack that would allegedly exonerate them. Instead, it attacked the area further, shelling it and systematically destroying evidence. That is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide. That is not the action of a regime eager to prove to the world that it had not used chemical weapons.

And Assad has been called a pathological liar.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 23:13 utc | 61

A followup on my #59 post on the forensic chemical analysis of sarin and its break down products. This paper claims to be able to source not only sarin and its hydrolysis products, but can determine the source of precursors in their synthesis by impurity profiling. That would mean that the manufacturer of the agent narrowed to a few producers.

Anal Chem. 2011 Dec 15;83(24):9564-72. doi: 10.1021/ac202340u. Epub 2011 Nov 22.
Impurity profiling to match a nerve agent to its precursor source for chemical forensics applications.
Fraga CG, Acosta GA, Crenshaw MD, Wallace K, Mong GM, Colburn HA.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington 99352, United States.
Chemical forensics is a developing field that aims to attribute a chemical (or mixture) of interest to its source by the analysis of the chemical itself or associated material constituents. Herein, for the first time, trace impurities detected by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and originating from a chemical precursor were used to match a synthesized nerve agent to its precursor source. Specifically, six batches of sarin (GB, isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate) and its intermediate methylphosphonic difluoride (DF) were synthesized from two commercial stocks of 97% pure methylphosphonic dichloride (DC); the GB and DF were then matched by impurity profiling to their DC stocks from a collection of five possible stocks. Source matching was objectively demonstrated through the grouping by hierarchal cluster analysis of the GB and DF synthetic batches with their respective DC precursor stocks based solely upon the impurities previously detected in five DC stocks. This was possible because each tested DC stock had a unique impurity profile that had 57% to 88% of its impurities persisting through product synthesis, decontamination, and sample preparation. This work forms a basis for the use of impurity profiling to help find and prosecute perpetrators of chemical attacks.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 26 2013 23:13 utc | 62

What is the agent that has made so many of our political leaders so borg like, utterly stupid and incredibly immoral,in pursuing this idiotic war of terror which increases our potential enemies daily?What is the tie that binds them all?
Greed and Israel.Too bad ancient Israel wasn't an island in the Pacific.The world would breathe a lot easier,instead we have this gilded splinter, puss oozing continually.
Would that they lived up to(most)of their scripture,and were a light unto the world.oy.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 26 2013 23:13 utc | 63

VID: Leaked Docs: #US & #NATO Framed #Syria in #Chemical Weapons Attack -

Posted by: brian | Aug 26 2013 23:25 utc | 64

And Assad has been called a pathological liar.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2013 7:13:05 PM | 61

by whom? the patholigical liars club?

Posted by: brian | Aug 26 2013 23:25 utc | 65

Looks like the Brits are all set...

Unusual activity observed at British military base in Cyprus amid Syrian row

Witnesses living near the RAF base at Akrotiri (meaning The Cape), a few kilometers from the city of Limassol, said they saw three large planes landing there late on Monday. Two of the planes were AWACS, or Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and the third one a tanker for mid-air refueling.

The state broadcaster said similar activity had been observed prior to past military action involving the British base, the most recent being the use of the base by Tornados enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya the fall of 2011.

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 26 2013 23:30 utc | 66

by ex-everything Colin Powell

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 23:35 utc | 67

Hmmm... Syrian Kurdish leader says Assad not to blame for attack

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 26 2013 23:48 utc | 68

Interesting. Three large planes land at an RAF base in Cyprus today, and china's Xinhua is immediately notified by "witnesses living near the RAF base" somehow of "unusual plane activity".

According to wiki, the base has several operational wings including:
3 × Sentry AEW.1 AWACS aircraft
A Sentinel R1 airborne standoff radar aircraft
3 × VC10 air-to-air refuelling tankers

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 23:48 utc | 69

Don @69 Would you settle for the Guardian instead...?

Syria crisis: warplanes spotted in Cyprus as tensions rise in Damascus

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 26 2013 23:57 utc | 70

Don @69 Would you settle for the Guardian instead...?

No, but I like the switch from "large planes" to "warplanes." (points for style)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 0:00 utc | 71

#69 I live under the flight path into Travis airforce base and every time the US commits to a major military engagement I can hear the C17s flying overhead (they make a unique sound and I confirmed their identity seeing them during the day though most activity seems to be at night). It would not surprise me in the least if Xinhua might not be employing a "stringer" to keep his ears open. It would be a trivial matter to monitor traffic at Travis with a simple sound meter. Those damn planes fly over a population of about 500,000 people.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 27 2013 0:10 utc | 72

#72 A lot of C-5's and C-17's stop to refuel here in Hilo, on the Big Isle, enroute to Asia and points east...!

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 27 2013 0:29 utc | 73

Hey, they're Keeping Us Safe (but stay out of Oakland).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 1:00 utc | 74

"Clapper should be frightened. The State Department says it relies on videos posted on the internet for its intelligence." -- Pat Lang

Who needs the NSA when we have YouTube with its fake videos, probably funded by Kerry's State Department video department!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 1:07 utc | 75

WaPo, Aug 26
New poll: Syria intervention even less popular than Congress

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has finally found something that Americans like even less than Congress: the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria. Only 9 percent of respondents said that the Obama administration should intervene militarily in Syria; a RealClearPolitics poll average finds Congress has a 15 percent approval rating, making the country’s most hated political body almost twice as popular.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was taken Aug.19-23, the very same week that horrific reports emerged strongly suggesting that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people, potentially killing hundreds or even thousands of civilians. If there were ever a time that Americans would support some sort of action, you’d think this would be it. But this is the lowest support for intervention since the poll began tracking opinion on the issue. The survey also found that 60 percent oppose intervention outright, with the rest, perhaps sagely, saying that they don’t know.

So much for the comments about idiot Americans. Put that puppy to bed!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 1:12 utc | 76

@45 Russia and China can use other means to stop the savaging of Syria by the triumverate (U.S./Israel/Saud) and its plans to take this war to Lebanon and Iran besides military action. However, Russia and China should flex their military muscle and send in some warships to show strength and that they mean business. There are other ways "to skin a cat" besides all-out military force and Russia and China can certainly throw a wrench in the tri's plan to throw it off the rails.

No doubt while the 3-headed dragon is razing Syria and subsequently Syria's allies, Lebanon and Iran, they will also be attempting to undermine and damage Russia's and China's influence at every turn.

Posted by: kalithea | Aug 27 2013 1:12 utc | 77

only 9& of americans back a US war on syria./...thats the new 1%

one day US will have an american spring revolution and there will be democracy and politicians hanging from every tree

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 1:29 utc | 78

So this time Obama had the SoS by-pass the phony, computer-generated pictures of mobile bio weapons facilities and the aluminium tubes bit at the U.N., knowing full well no one will buy that setup, and just have the SoS drop the "undeniable" proof as per the rebels Youtube video for the media to fan and then just go straight to an illegal invasion. In American spiel it's called: progress! End running the Security Council that is.

Posted by: kalithea | Aug 27 2013 1:41 utc | 79

There is only one certain outcome: more suffering for the Syrian people. More severed heads, more dead children, and an extension of the war. Not less.

That John Kerry can so blithely accuse others of lacking conscience and morality while he blatantly sidesteps every stated commitment to carry out an honest investigation into the attack shows the moral degeneracy of the elite of this country. That a man who once questioned why his own life should be risked for a lie is willing to sign the death warrant of thousands based upon some YouTube videos created during the foggiest of foggy moments shows an astounding moral blindness.

Is there a single sight more ridiculous than watching the US blame the Syrian government for not being able to insure the protection of the UN inspectors in the areas controlled by the rebels they direct?

Meanwhile the same Americans who two days ago at work were discussing "the CHILDREN!" are today discussing with equal gravity if not more, a rich princess' "twerking" of some princeling's "junk" amongst a $1,000,000 suite of anamatronic teddy bears. That our country is planning the murder of thousands to right the murder of hundreds is unremarkable. Bless their souls, it's not that they don't want to know what's being done in their name, it's just that there are so many channels to choose from!

If there isn't a hell, there most certainly ought to be.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 27 2013 1:53 utc | 80

There you go, blaming Americans regarding what criminal politicians do, despite the contrary poll evidence on both politicians and Syria.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 2:10 utc | 81

Good thread, thanks b, and all.
Looking more and more like the jig is up for the Syrian people, who'll be the real loosers. The empire and it's minions will have their way. I only hope the forces of opposition can push back the inevitible. Listened to much talk radio today, and the American sheeple are in a swoon from the PR about the deaths of "all those poor children" killed in Syria. I wonder if there was a thought given to all those poor children killed by our illegal drone strikes? The massive 3 yr. PR war against Assad is succeeding.

Kudos to ThePaper @ 13, and another great synopsis from bevin @ 15. As stated in 13, "the decision to attack has already been made." Can anythig stop these sciopaths?

Posted by: ben | Aug 27 2013 2:14 utc | 82

Just reflecting my personal experiences over the last couple of days Don.

Answering the phone and saying you're not for killing children isn't going to stop a war.

At some point simply blaming politicians gets a little stale. What's it going to take to get the power out of the hands of these criminals? Where does it end, exactly?

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 27 2013 2:34 utc | 83

news report:

In the coming days, officials said, the nation’s intelligence agencies will disclose information to bolster their case that chemical weapons were used by Mr. Assad’s forces. The information could include so-called signals intelligence — intercepted radio or telephone calls between Syrian military commanders.

The tapes were supposed to be delivered with the videos but you can't depend upon anyone these days. Cheeez -- "the nation’s intelligence agencies" -- better late than never = melius tarde, quam nunquam.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 2:44 utc | 84

Where does it end, exactly?

Well I don't know where it ends, but it certainly begins with us, and anyone that claims that b and the rest of us who are fighting the system are wasting our time, that we should give up and face the inevitable, is dead wrong. We don't quit. I have a sticker on my pickup -- Die Trying.

I'm here to tell you -- I will fight the supposed inevitability of war until I can no longer do so. And that also means that I have faith in people, whatever country they were by chance born in, because I know that at the core they don't like war any more than I do. Probably less.

"The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other--instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals." -- Edward Abbey

Did you read your Thoreau?

"Must the citizen, ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think we should be men first, and subjects afterward."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 2:57 utc | 85

Posted by: bevin | Aug 27 2013 2:59 utc | 86

"The information could include so-called signals intelligence — intercepted radio or telephone calls between Syrian military commanders."

The NSA comes through! That it will it be two men that sound suspiciously like John McCain and Lindsey Graham speaking in bad Arab accents is purely a coincidence...

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 27 2013 3:02 utc | 87

Please don't ever think for a minute that I don't have faith in humanity to know the difference between right and wrong Don, no matter where they are, what color their skin, or what "tribe" they belong. Men (and women), especially in a group, can smell out justice like a dog can smell its way back home across a continent or like an eagle can scope out its prey from a mile away.

My faith in that certainly can get tested by examples of mens greed and arrogance - especially in moments like these - but I wouldn't last a half a heartbeat in this world without that faith, believe me.

I apologize if my snide remarks came off as anything but an opportunity to blow off some steam.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 27 2013 3:10 utc | 88

@85 page not found, bevin

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 27 2013 3:11 utc | 89

Don Bacon (80)

There you go, blaming Americans regarding what criminal politicians do, despite the contrary poll evidence on both politicians and Syria.

So, who behaving like criminals on crack broke tens of thousands of doors of civilians houses?
Who quite indiscriminately mass murdered children, women, elderly?
Who p*ssed on the dead bodies of their victims?
Who considered it amusing to go into a village and mass murder innocent civilians?
Who left Iraq as a nuclear infested waste dump making poeple suffer for years to come?

Unless the zusa thugs outsourced war (which still wouldn't make them innocent) it was zusamericans who comitted this endless series of crimes.

It was zamerican officers, zamerican "soldiers", zamerican mercenaries, zamerican scum.

About the only thing zusa politicians and myself have in common: Neither one does care the slightest, how and what and why zamericans vote this or that.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 27 2013 3:22 utc | 90

I do not see any reason to be worried. Although Putin, who unlike obama is a straight, intelligent, and reliable man, will certainly not tolerate zusa to terrorize yet another country and an important one, Russias involvement is actually not that much needed to break zusa.

Just look how miserably zusa failed in Iraq - although that country was worn down by years of illegal and inhuman sanctions and could hardly afford to pay its soldiers.

In Syria zusa will encounter a well trained and loyal army that might have some surprises for zusa.

In other words, zusa will lose yet another war and lose its face, billions of dollars and - hopefully - many, many zamerican lives.

That's without Russia. With Russia getting involved in one way or another, Syria will be zusas highway to hell.

Now, what if China also has funny ideas like e.g. taking care of zusas major ally and a PITA for whole east asia, japan? What if Russia, say because one Russian was shot at, attacks saudi arabia ("As you have learned from zusa, terrorists can not be tolerated and must be hunted down by all means" ...) and Iran cleans out qatar, bahrain, jordania?

How many fronts can zusa fight? Against an enemy that is way stronger than the zusa coward terrorists?

This world has been terrorized way too long by zamerican scum.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 27 2013 3:35 utc | 91

Signal's intelligence? Where did we here that before? Ah yes, Colin Powell's "Captain Ibrahim" story

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 4:17 utc | 92

bevin @15 ... masterful and succinct. I at first took it to be a summary of Johnstone, but it's not. Reading Johnstone I followed up on Brownlie.

@85 ... something wrong with the link ... I think it's missing an 'http://' prepended, or something ...

Thanks for the education.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 27 2013 4:22 utc | 93

The "USAians/Amerikans/Zusans/fill-in-the-blank-with-the-pejorative-of-your-choice" thing is eyeroll-inducing, but whatever. If you come from Germany, you will eventually be called a Nazi. If you come from Russia, you'll eventually be called a Stalinist fruitcake. If you come from Canada, you'll eventually be called a syrup-sucking, puck-slapping scumbag. It's simplistic and peurile, but it's what the children take away with them after the credits have started rolling.

But, really, the citizens of the USA have in this instance shown that they are, largely, not what these reflexive and knee-jerk stereotypes about them would suggest. The US givernment spent a lot of unnecessary effort getting their Al Qaeda assets to stage a chemical weapons massacre to blame on the Syrian government in order to justify another decade of war crimes and defense industry pillaging... and what it would have taken to drag the American public along willingly is to have made a video of Assad twerking on some second-rate music awards show.

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 27 2013 4:36 utc | 94

@92: thanks for the link: For me, the operative sentence..

"To achieve the objective of removing all impediments to their control over the vast oil reserves of the Middle East, the imperialist powers, led by the United States, would gladly organize the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, just as they did in Iraq."

Posted by: ben | Aug 27 2013 4:37 utc | 95

Mr. P.,

ZATO didn't really fail in these wars. The goal was to destroy the other countries. I agree that it is dangerous for ZUSA to start something, but what will Russia, Syria, Iran, or Hezbollah actually do? You suggest an attack on the Gulf States. That sounds reasonable, but an attack on a US base, such as at Qatar, sounds like it would force the US's hands.

All along, ZATO has felt that Russia would eventually back down, and that Syria and Iran can't really do anything. Why would they change their mind now?

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 27 2013 5:58 utc | 96


But Americans vote for these criminals, and the harsh reality is that the wars only become unpopular when the cost becomes an issue. Iraq II was not that unpopular at first. If it had ended more cleanly, the US would have gone to war all over the Middle East by now.

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 27 2013 6:01 utc | 97

Ozawa I disagree with both points. The USA has a well-known embarrassingly low voter turnout rate. Some vote for criminals, yes, but the broad strokes about "those Americans" is still primarily just projected hate and nothing that can;t be said about any other number of countries. As for wars being unpopular only after the cost becomes an issue, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, both of which never enjoyed popular support, would argue otherwise. The unpopularity of a war doesn't tend to be reported until the cost becomes an issue and excuses and finger-pointing on the part of those who dragged everyone into the war is necessary.

Still, I respect your opinion.

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 27 2013 6:27 utc | 98

Ozawa (95)

I think you make an error here (although it's an error most in the western hemisphere make).

If you reasonably compare the relevant parameters of western and Russian weapon systems you will find that Russia has solidly superior systems in the decisive key areas.

Of course, it's easy to get that wrong and be misled by western media power and control. In order to understand that issue one must do a relatively complex comparison.

Within zato there are basically two major goups, zusa and europe. Both typically have weapons designed and built by conglomerats, with zusa enjoying the advantage of somewhat better control due to the fact that european systems are usually spread over multiple countries and extremely politicized.
Both, zusa and europe, however, have some major factors in common. For one the already mentioned conglomerates (which naturally brings frictions on multiple levels into the process). Another typical property is that the - sales driven - corporations design new weapon systems, typically out of nothing i.e. completely new, and the gobernment(s) then order them. Of course, corporations being sales driven, a very considerable sales pitch and marketing factor enters the equation, not seldom leading to weapons that look great in brochures and theory but are problem laden and in reality under par.
Russia is different in two major aspects. One is that the mil-ind-complex is widely guided by government. Another and extremely important one is that Russia doesn't create weapons out of thin air but rather incrementally optimizes existing and well proven systems. Quite typically a new SU-Y, for instance, is just another name tag for what actually is a SU-X that had a series incremental optimization steps behind it and such warrants a new label. This leads to very realiable yet modern weapon systems.

Comparing the military capabilities one also must see doctrins and paradigms. zusa has an aggressive doctrin that relies very much on naval power and on sheer quantity, partly because zusa basically never had to defend itself but rather brought war to diverse parts of the world.
Russia, on the other side, is very much based on defense and near abroad operations, which obviously also shows in doctrin and weapon systems.

Somewhat generalizing one could think of 3 levels. The first level would be nuclear, the second one "traditional", and the third one the troups and their quality.
Obviously, the nuclear level is to be avoided and has its main significance in MAD. On this level Russia has some advantage due to different parameters.
The second level is probably what most see (and try to compare). In our days this level is largely dominated by missiles and air defense capability. One noteworthy detail is that the zusa navy is largely designed around carriers and long range transportation (after all, they have to bring their war machine to places all over the world). Russias navy on the other hand follows a more classical approach with very high level missile capabilities on top. In simple words: a zusa carrier group is about "How to bring war, in particular air raids to any destination", a Russian flotilla is about "How to a) defend themselves from zato attacks and b) how to destroy carriers and carrier groups".
As for missiles and air defense, there is no doubt; Russia is strongly superior to zato. Russias missiles are faster, more deadly, have longer reach and (re)act smarter and, very importantly, they work reliably. zusa missile capabilities are something like a compromise between brochures, dreams and propaganda; they are inferior in pretty every relevant parameter and, in particular with respect to defense, more of an afterthought. The most reliable parameter is quite probably their lousy realiability and hit rate.

Coming to the third level, the troups, zato is at a loss. Their troups need climate controlled housing, PXs and Starbucks and their "strength" is to enter theater when cruise missiles and bombers have completely broken any significant resistance. Futhermore their system is such that soldiers are basically just brainless robot; their every move is coordinated and their radios are quite noisy.

This is also why both israel and zusa were so extremely eager to avoid or block S-300 delivery to Syria. These systems would quite simply be a major crowbar in zatos way to conduct a war.

As for Iran it would be a very serious error to underestimate that country. Their troups have a high morale and are very well trained. Furthermore Iran has achieved to design and produce a large part of their weapons themselves. This would be extremely advantageousin case of a war. Considering all factors I'm confident that neither france nor uk could risk a war with Iran. zusa could but they would pay extremely dear. A war against Iran would be no less difficult than a war against Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey all at the same time.

My guess is that with zusa involved in and by necessity focussed on a war in Syria, Iran would not attack by themselves but they would a) support Syria and b) hit back extremely hard if any of the gulf states or saudi shot as much as single bullet against anything Iranian. There is no doubt whatsoever that nobody but zusa could stop them, which however is rather theoretical considering that zusa were already engaged in multiple wars.

Now, one might say "so what, who cares about saudi arabia". Well, zusa does. With the saudi regime falling, zusas and zatos power would falter very quickly.

I personally guess that dempsey and possibly even obama are againsta Syria war but that the zio-thugs (aipac, ...) will force them into it. The godd new is, pretty much no matter what, israel will be terminated and zusa crippled.

So, obama, bring it on!

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 27 2013 7:06 utc | 99


I don't hate Americans at all. I just think they are ignorant and apathetic. Also, they can't see the lies that are constructed by their owners. So a liberal/progressive type wants to believe MSNBC or Amy Goodman, which is ridiculous. And a conservative type wants to believe Glenn Beck, which is no better. All of these are paid by the machine, so to speak. Still, Americans happily go to work for the machine, buy its products, and otherwise not resist.

And the question with the wars is not whether 50% opposed six months into the war, or any other such minutiae. The issue is that the wars should have no more than 1% support from the very beginning. And this is the case in Japan. "Do you support the latest American war?" No gets 90% and 10% refuse to answer. Now, this is changing because the warmongers are buying up the polling companies and lying about the results, but you get the idea. It is frightening that 30 or 50% of the public is insane.

But I respect your opinion.

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 27 2013 7:42 utc | 100

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