Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 24, 2013

What Is The Sudden Issue With Syria?

According to the insurgency supporting Syrian Observatory 136 people have been killed two days ago by some unknown substance released during ongoing fights by unknown perpetrators in some villages east of Damascus.

Based on that Washington is now all giddy about waging open war on Syria.

A few days ago the Egyptian military killed hundred of Muslim Brothers who were protesting against a military coup against the elected government.

Washington didn't care.

And what actually makes the hundred something people killed by some unknown substance in Syria different from those killed in Syria by the 3,500 tons of weapons the CIA got from Croatia and distributed to the insurgents in Syria?

I do not think that the U.S. will in any outright way attack Syria. The unknowns for the U.S., including the potential reactions by Russia and China, are just too many and too big.

Posted by b on August 24, 2013 at 15:33 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Funny how a few years after 9/11, the West is now fighting on the same side as Al-Qaeda..Amazing how NOBODY in the Western media are not asking themselves this very question?

Now, on Obama's threats, it's almost laughable if it wasn't serious. The UK and France + Israel pretty much bully's the US into setting a "red-line" on Syria. Obama takes the bait and proclaims a "red-line" - PUBLICLY!!!!

The fsa/nusra boys stages a chemical attack and blames "the regime". Obama is now caught up by his own "red-lines". He needs to be seen to be doing something else the US risks loosing credibility among her allies all over the world. I mean, all that protection they've promised many satraps (Japan, South Korea, Philippines etc etc) hangs in the balance here.

The problem now is how do you attack Syria when Russia's navy is just hanging out in the living room? When Syria's strategic missiles (which number in the several thousands) are still intact, when Hezbollah's missiles are still intact???

Gentlemen, this is where the US of A finds itself the proverbial perfect sh*tstorm. The warning from the Iran's army commander (NOT the IRGC) should make Washington really pause for thought.


As the saying goes, if you ever happen to have your fingers between your opponent's teeth, you don't hit them on the head. This is what happens when foreign policy is made in through stupid media pronouncements. Obama could've let this slide but coming out in the media and setting himself "red-lines", he backed himself into a corner. Now he needs to act go fly kite. Sending a few ships into the Mediterranean sea means nothing. Sitting ducks comes to mind!!!

Posted by: Zico | Aug 25 2013 19:38 utc | 101

@91
Meanwhile, congress and american presidents always acted in a competent way to destabilize countries all around the world. In the eyes of any rational thinking human being, US gov. do the stupidest things ever, but to their peers, these sell-outs are doing the right thing, which is: breaking up the social fabric of a country to exploit them as hard as "they" can! The U.S. did not "lose" the war in iraq: their aim was to weaken once and for all the country, leaving a 1billion US embassy behind them. Same for Afghanistan (which btw has a border with Iran and China)! The whole "war against terrorism" is their way to sell it to the gullible and the uninformed! But as of now, they really might have done some errors in their planning. This ludicrous "See, we toldya Assad was going to use em CW in front of those UN-observers eyes" shows how desperate they are to "fuck the place up", so they can play around with those illguided terrorists. Its the same thing happening in Lybia: The country broke down into tribal entities, each one of them trying to get a piece of the oil cake! Their greed makes them vulnerable to manipulation! Its the best outcome ever to further their very own imperialistic agenda.The USgov or for that matter the UKgov, Francegov or Germangov do not give a darn about "their people"! Those elites are working in their own interests, in a perfectly in an easily comprehesible manner...

Posted by: Kal | Aug 25 2013 19:40 utc | 102

"Of course Russia and China would say no/using veto, dont you understand? The US, UK, France wont act without UN mandate, well unless they want to commit Of course Russia and China would say no/using veto, dont you understand? The US, UK, France wont act without UN mandate, well unless they want to commit obvious war-crimes.obvious war-crimes"

Aren't you paying attention?? "Obvious war-crimes" are trendy, fashionable, in today's global picture. Why shit, you ain't nobody if you ain't a war criminal. How the hell do you think these guys like Netanyahu or Obama earn thier bones if not by murder and mayhem. Get with the times, man.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Aug 25 2013 19:42 utc | 103

Well well well, what do we have here?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-25/military-intervention-syria-us-training-rebels-2011-and-complete-grand-plan-march-20

Posted by: Sidonia | Aug 25 2013 19:50 utc | 104

Now you go to far POA.

I think that Putin will test them hard?
Stalin once said that you make agreements in order to violate them, and the one who violates it 1st wins.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 19:52 utc | 105

Re: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 25, 2013 3:23:42 PM | 96

Clarification/context of Xymphora's Syria theory...

"Syrian government forces take control of Homs neighborhood in blow to rebels" Aleppo is the only major place left to be freed of oppression. It should now be crystal clear that the American plan is to allow the Syrian army enough time to finish the job, while supporting various jihadist groups in the hinterland for a long-term weakening program - for purely Zionist interests - of the Assad government.
Xymphora July 30, 2013

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 25 2013 19:55 utc | 106

That's why the 300 entered from Jordan last week.
Now the resells are desperate and the chess board has to be equalized. Otherwise the west have lost premature.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 20:05 utc | 107

The Russians recently held surprise training involving the movement of large amount of troups and material over mid distances.

Now, of course, it's a completely different thing to move some thousand war vehicles to, say, Syria. But that wasn't the point. That was about saying in an unmistakeable way and in an unmistabeable military coloured tone "We can and we *will* go thousand or two thousand miles to engage an enemy".

But a full scale deployment won't be necessary.

There is plain nothing in Russias way to, having been invited and asked by the acting Syrian president, send some 2.000 or 3.000 paratroupers and to air-transport some minimal equipment.
From that moment on it would be a matter of days to take back Aleppo and the complete north with minimal Syrian army support (mainly translators and local guides and maybe some distraction).
More importantly, who would be "smart" and brave enough then to send so much as a missile to Syria, knowing that this act would invite and justify Russia to annihilate whoever was so suicidal.

So, I don't care if zusa currently does some saber rattling. It's just the noise of an impotent player ...

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 25 2013 20:22 utc | 108

That's only the one side of the coin.
If Russia did what your telling it would open the door to the west alliance. I think here they have to be more careful and try to opportune the enemy's mistakes-

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 20:28 utc | 109

If Russia did what your telling it would open the door to the west alliance.

Well, yes. But the funny question is: Would they - knowing perfectly well that this would mean all out war with Russia (and concequently pretty certainly China)? I don't think so.

(On a sideline and btw: Don't care about "anonymous". He's just sth. like the local tel aviv guy)

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 25 2013 20:34 utc | 110

POA

Thats what they want you to believe, that the war is on and cant be stopped, again these states wont act without UN mandate.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 25 2013 20:39 utc | 111

And what if Hezbollah launches some missiles on Israel tomorrow, do you still believe they wont get the mandate or do you think they will sit and wait for it.??? LOL

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 20:46 utc | 112

Does anybody know the composition of the UN inspection team? I'm sure they are all totally impartial and we can expect to see a balanced report. Also wondering what kind of security they have and how long the mission will last.

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2013 20:48 utc | 113

The most ridiculous thing I read today was the Israeli excuse for Lebanese rockets retaliation.

Dozens of Holocaust survivors came very close to being struck by one of the four Katyeusha rockets fired at Israel from southern Lebanon on Thursday, according to The Times of Israel.

The survivors were unable to evacuate the area with the many Israeli residents who rushed to nearby bomb shelters, after air-raid sirens wailed throughout northern cities of Nahariya, Acre and Kiryat Shmona.

One of two rockets that landed in residential areas fell a short distance from the survivors’ living facility and caused damaged to a reported four or five homes. Fragments from the second rocket damaged property in Kibbutz Gesher Haziv.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 20:49 utc | 114

So what if we knew the composition of the UN inspection team?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 20:53 utc | 115

@ 115 It obviously wouldn't interest you Christos but I have this insatiable appetite for detail.

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2013 20:57 utc | 116

You must understand that Israel sees this conflict as their big chance to control the area, but they got to get the NATO involved. Otherwise they will be wiped out the world map. What composition of the UN inspection team and chocolate donuts???

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 20:59 utc | 117

Wikileaks just pointed this out from their StratFor dump:
http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/1671459_insight-military-intervention-in-syria-post-withdrawal.html

Though it is somewhat old (March 2012) The points are still important I think. It is basically a Stratfor employee relaying to his boss a conversation between himself and an Air Force intelligence officer.

Selected highlights (italics mine):

1. "One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn't much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway." Incredible. And most certainly remains true to this day. The FSA is a complete fiction whose sole purpose seems to be to allow hasbara pimps to say 'the rebels aren't ALL al Qaeda!' on Twitter.

2. "the idea 'hypothetically' is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces" Your tax dollars at work. A US backed terror war straight out of 1980s Central America.

3. "They emphasized how the air campaign in Syria makes Libya look like a piece of cake."

4. "The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down. Brits and FRench would fly out of there. Air Force Intel guy seems pretty convinced that the Turks won't participate" And where is that Russian fleet docked again?

5. "They dont believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi. They think the US would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn't reach that very public stage." All that would be needed would be something like, oh, I don't know, a "chemical weapons" strike?

6. "Another concern they have about an operation in Syria is whether Iran could impede operations out of Balad air force base in Iraq." Presumably this doesn't even apply anymore.

7. "The French representative was of the opinion that Syria won't be a libya-type situation in that France would be gung-ho about going in. The UK rep also emphasized UK reluctance but said that the renegotiation of the EU treaty undermines the UK role and that UK would be looking for ways to reassert itself on the continent." How many Syrian civilians should die for completely unrelated UK/EU bickering I wonder? Maybe the Foreign Office has a handy calculation for that somewhere.

9. "He doesn't think Iran has significant covert capabilities in the GCC states, though they are trying. Iranian activity is mostly propaganda focused. He said that while KSA and Bahrain they can deal with it as needed and black out the media, Kuwait is a lot more open and thus provides Iran with more opportunity to shape perceptions. He says there is a sig number of kuwaitis that listen to Iranian media like Al Alam especially." We can only hope that this has improved in the last 1 1/2 years as it really is. The day the gulf dictators heads are bouncing down the steps of their looted palaces will be the first page in the new history of the Middle East.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 25 2013 20:59 utc | 118

That's why I am sending you donuts.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 21:00 utc | 119

That was kind of tea party and philological discussion.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 21:01 utc | 120

Damn, sorry Sidonia @104 I just relinked to what you posted. I should pay better attention.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 25 2013 21:04 utc | 121

@119 Donuts!!! That is hilarious. You may be too young to remember the Iraq WMD Inspection Team but I do. They were all qualified scientists. Some of them turned out to be all too human.

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2013 21:05 utc | 122

And I didn't even get the date right. It is from 2011.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 25 2013 21:05 utc | 123

The US must be prepared to lose ships if it attacks Syria. During the last Lebanon war Hezbollah took out Israel's most advanced warship with Chinese missiles.

Posted by: Barry | Aug 25 2013 21:10 utc | 124

You don't say! And where was Sadam's weapons of mass destruction?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 21:11 utc | 125

Probably has been posted before, but might be good to be seen again - newsstories from January of this year.

US 'backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria, blame it on Assad govt': Report - Yahoo! News India

London, Jan 30 (ANI): The Obama administration gave green signal to a chemical weapons attack plan in Syria that could be blamed on President Bashar al Assad's regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country, leaked documents have shown.

and

Deleted Daily Mail Online Article: “US Backed Plan for Chemical Weapon Attack in Syria to Be Blamed on Assad” | Global Research

In January 29, 2013, Britain’s most popular Daily Newspaper, in its online version Dailymail.co.uk published an article titled: U.S. ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime’

A few days later they pulled the article.

There is a scan of the orignial article inside this link.

Posted by: Fran | Aug 25 2013 21:12 utc | 126

@125. Nobody knows to this day if they even existed. That's kind of my point about inspection teams. Their findings aren't always definitive. It has a lot to do with the composition of the team and how the results are interpreted.

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2013 21:15 utc | 127

I give up on you dh.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 21:30 utc | 128

@128 Very sensible. The question remains.....will the inspection team decide CW was used and if so does their mandate extend to attaching blame?

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2013 21:35 utc | 129

Ok I am pretty sure that they will decide that some kind of CW was used. And BARACKS red line has been crossed.
And then?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 21:44 utc | 130

@130 Well if the evidence is conclusive then Obama will be hoist on his own petard (you may have to google that one).

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2013 21:53 utc | 131

Let's wait and see. Its already Monday here in Greece and also in beautiful Damascus.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 25 2013 22:01 utc | 132

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/world/middleeast/syria-says-un-will-get-access-to-site-of-possible-chemical-attack.html?pagewanted=all

If Obama negotiated with Assad like he negotiates with the Republican party, he'd have offered Assad northern Israel and the USS Abraham Lincoln just to come to the bargaining table. But in this case it looks like he finally found a spine of sorts (probably with the aide of some delicate forceps and a microscope) and can be tough when it comes to dropping bombs on innocent civilians in a war torn country.


A Sharp Shift in Tone on Syria From the White House

By SCOTT SHANE and BEN HUBBARD
Published: August 25, 2013

WASHINGTON — Moving a step closer to possible American military action in Syria, a senior Obama administration official said on Sunday that there was “very little doubt” that President Bashar al-Assad’s military forces had used chemical weapons against civilians last week and that a Syrian promise to allow United Nations inspectors access to the site was “too late to be credible.”

"Hope and Change" and a Nobel Peace Prize. As George Galloway says "You couldn't make it up."

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 25 2013 23:19 utc | 133

"But Representative Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the situation might be too urgent to wait for Congress, which does not return from its summer recess until Sept. 9."

Of course it is too urgent to wait for Congress. It is probably best just to let the Knesset give the order... we need something to cover these "urgent" situations when we need to bomb civilians at a moment's notice. Why its almost like the founders didn't even consider that we might some day give a foreign country the power to send our soldiers into a war.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 25 2013 23:36 utc | 134

Poor mans guide to sound policy:

Listen to what john mc cain't says and then go a do the opposite.

Chances are you'll do well.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 25 2013 23:47 utc | 135

Interesting comment this morning from the Australia Foreign Minister, who took great pains to point out that the UN observers were only there to determine if a CW attack took place, not to determine who was responsible for that attack.

Or, as he put it: they look at the "what", and not the "who".

It is a very revealing comment because "the West" (and that counts Australia, which is the USA's deputy) never has the slightest problem with unilaterally expanding a "mandate" when that is to their advantage to do so.

So the most likely reason why "the West" wouldn't want those UN boffins to finger-point is because they know where the finger will point, and it won't be at Assad.


And. That. Will. Never. Do.

Posted by: Johnboy | Aug 26 2013 0:50 utc | 136

You can't make this stuff up.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is cautious about any possible Syrian intervention, warning that the two-year-old civil war was likely beyond US capabilities to affect any meaningful change.

"I have no affection for Assad," Powell told Bob Schieffer on US show Face the Nation, while mentioning he knows the Syrian president and has personally dealt with him. "He's a pathological liar."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 2:32 utc | 137

And the Austrians in 1914 did not expect Russia to start mobilizing for a general war over Serbia, especially when Serbian criminality in the assassinations were so obvious... The situation is somewhat analogous: like in 1914, Russia has been weak and toothless for a generation. Nobody expects them to do something big--and the experience in the late 1990s Balkans (from which so many Western neocons--let's call the Obama gang this also, since they are of the same feather as W's cronies at least as far as US foreign policy is concerned--had pretty much learned their foreign policy lessons) seems to provide plenty of evidence that Russia is all bark and no bite. Of course, this is the very reason that Russians are likely now to try barking harder, and perhaps even bite some to show that they are serious. If Kaiser O were to insist that he should dictate French, eh, Chinese defense posture so that he can deal with Russia at leisure, the Guns of August scenario isn't too far off, except with much bigger guns...

Posted by: a different anon | Aug 26 2013 2:40 utc | 138

@ dh | 113

"Does anybody know the composition of the UN inspection team? I'm sure they are all totally impartial and we can expect to see a balanced report."

Considering UN inspection team is hand-picked by the West, while Russia/China experts were denied participation, I dont think there is much hope for impartiality. Even if they'll find hard evidence of those homemade rockets with West-origin chemical agent, they'll still find a way to whitewash it and blame on both sides (1), or outright blame the "regime" (2).

(1) It already happened in Iraq-Iran war, when West supplied chemical weapons to Iraq, and when this question was raised in UN, USA pushed for "it was Iran who used CW, not Iraq!" and final resolution was whitewashed to just calling both sides to restrain from using CW. Iraq was never blamed for it, despite of absolute evidence they did it, not Iran.

Then US proceeded of blocking medicine to Iran, which would have alleviated symptoms of US and its alies supplied chemical weapons. US regime was (and still is) criminal at every step.

(2) It happened also, with Syria's Houla massacre. UN investigation team led by American rejected all the evidence and witnesses which pointed to the terrorists, while blindly accepted testimonies of several "activists". In the end, Syria's army was blamed for massacring pro-Assad(!) civilians.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 26 2013 3:28 utc | 139

Monday morning here in the drizzly Britzy isle, and the Independent and tabloid Mirror, here and here, claim a decision has been made to start cruise missile attacks within the next fortnight. No other organ, in UK, US, or Iz, is running with this. They all report the same 40-minute telephone convo between Obama and Cameron, Hollande & Rudd of Oz, but in terms of "Cameron urges Obama" etc. Even the London Times (subs only) is being cautious, with "Cameron ups pressure on Obama for Syria strike: David Cameron is pressing President Obama for a punitive missile strike to be launched within days..."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 8:22 utc | 140

Monday morning here in the drizzly Britzy isle
@dh

Now where comes your UN mandate and composition of investigators in picture.

It's like putting up a sign at the door ' The dog bites' after the dog has teared apart all the neighborhood.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 8:42 utc | 141

Harry @ 139 (1) It already happened in Iraq-Iran war, when West supplied chemical weapons to Iraq, and when this question was raised in UN, USA pushed for "it was Iran who used CW, not Iraq!"

From today's FP... CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history — and still gave him a hand

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 26 2013 8:42 utc | 142

If anybody wanted to prevent such an attack or invasion they would have taken measures against any provocation, as Russia did with the Tartus navy base.
After all UN has troops to watch situations and in extreme cases there is always KFOR.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 8:47 utc | 143

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25, 2013 10:32:21 PM | 137

LOL.
Pot calls kettle black?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26 2013 8:52 utc | 144

It's beginning to look more like the usual suspects that pushed the US into the Libyan slaughter-fest are the same that are pushing the US into Syria despite Pentagon's warnings to O-bomber.


This whole Syria chemical attack noise has been an Anglo-French "hoohaaa" from the get go. They NEED uncle scum's superior military muscle so bad that they willing to massacre hundreds of people in false flag ops to push the Americans into another ME quagmire.


O-bomber has the best opportunity in US's history to let sleeping dogs lie where they may. Let the French and Brits take the lead if they're so convinced of victory.

All this for the benefit of a racist apartheid regime occupying a stolen land called Palestine. HA!!!

Posted by: Zico | Aug 26 2013 8:53 utc | 145

@Hoarsewhisperer

WTF is: Pot calls kettle black?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:00 utc | 146

Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com agrees with b that this is all a fraud. He thinks it's 'forget about the NSA and spying and look over there at this really neat war that's about to start'.

The Guardian, on the receiving end of said heat from the USSA due to its role in the NSA revelations, seems very pleased to be able to report on a new 'coalition of the willing' right over there where the new, neat war is about to start. They note there is zero chance of UN figleaf for this war so it will have to be straight up US/NATO/Israeli aggression ... a la Libya.

I hope there is no war and that the NSA's feet are held to the fire until they catch, and that the fire burns wildly, burning its long, wooden nose off as well.

Posted by: john francis lee | Aug 26 2013 9:01 utc | 147

When The Independent, Mirror and The Times publish the above at the same time, don't be too sure that it is fraud.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:07 utc | 148

If the point of no return isn't reached it will very soon.
At the chess board it is the situation when you lost all soldier and the King is pushed with only a few trusted left. Now he must send out the more flexible parts to achieve space. If he don't he will be pushed even harder.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:15 utc | 149

@dh

Look at this since your interest for UN is so sensitive.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45684&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.Uhse-H-WYms

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:26 utc | 150

UN CW experts: how exactly are they going to examine an area still apparently under the control of the rebels? Are the rebels likely to give the Assad regime access? The Assad govt can give access until the cows come home, but only if the rebels agree to it.

Think back to the Houlah (sp?) alleged chemical weapons attack some months ago. The rebels denied access to the inspectors.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 26 2013 9:27 utc | 151

@CTuttle | 142

"The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history — and still gave him a hand"

At least FP admits US knew and supplied intelligence, but they forgot to mention US also supplied CW, and later protected Hussein from any repercussions in UN.

We see similar (if not the same) strategy in Syria. US sponsored/supplied criminals uses CW, and then US blames it on the victim.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 26 2013 9:36 utc | 152

The bloop in latest development is that Barakcs red line statement and UN

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45684&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.Uhse-H-WYms

are at same level.
Only a few excuses are needed, and of course the findings o today's site examination of CW use, won't disappoint the big players. Otherwise what?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:44 utc | 153

After the inspection the Sec. council will meet urgently in order to minimize time for the veto guys to build their case.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:49 utc | 154

At this time I am starting to play with the idea that Assad finally got things (circumstances) where he wanted and is ready to start the fiesta.
You see when the 'ruler of the planet' as they used to call the president A lately, says the 'red line has been crossed' HE MUST STAND UP FOR HIS POSITION, no matter if IRAN sets up 'anti red line'.
It's just simple as that.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 9:57 utc | 155

When The Independent, Mirror and The Times publish the above at the same time, don't be too sure that it is fraud. Posted by: Christos | Aug 26, 2013 5:07:30 AM | 148
No, I said the Times is not supporting it. If you compare the two Mirror stories, you see that the second one is a slight exaggeration of the first. The semantics, the choice of verbs, gradually shifts from urging towards agreeing. This may not be psyops proper, it may just be subconscious enthusiasm at work. It is usually in the headlines rather than the texts that you see this skewing of the message towards the desired outcome. But anyway, leaving the tabloid (hardly likely to be first recipient of a genuine leak), aside, let me point out that the so-called Independent is actually the organ of the British Liberal Party (or Lib Dem as it prefers to be called now due to various complex fissions and fusions in the 1970s to 1990s). The Lib Dem party worldview is viler even than that of the NuLabs. Lib Dems love imperialism, human rights, big science, junk science, pop science, educational 'reform', colour revolutions, gender-bending, racial do-goodery, micro-engineering of other nations' political systems, half-baked progressivist thinking, religion-bashing, pop psychology, and brainwashing in pursuit of political correctitude. The Independent is the worst, trashiest, most unreliable broadsheet in the english language. Not a good source.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 10:02 utc | 156

Christos

Why would Hezbollah lauch missiles into Israel all of a sudden? You seems to think that Russia, China, Iran, Hezbollah would somehow start attacking west, thats nonsense and wishful thinking.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 11:08 utc | 158

Anonymous @ 158

Do you think Iran, Hezbollah will sit idle while NATO rains bombs on Syria???? Wishful thinking???

Just watch, the region will go up in flame the moment the first NATO bombs start dropping..

Posted by: Zico | Aug 26 2013 11:22 utc | 159

Breaking News on RT (around 11am GMT):

A UN inspection team vehicle in Syria has been shot at by snipers, a UN spokesman says. The team has currently come back to the government checkpoint to replace the damaged vehicle. There have been no reports of casualties so far.

The incident has allegedly forced the UN inspectors to suspend the investigation, a UN spokesman pointed out, as cited by AFP.

The inspectors’ car “was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area," the spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Martin Nesirky, said. He added the car was no longer serviceable and a replacement vehicle was being obtained. - Snipers shoot at UN chemical inspectors in Syria – UN spokesman


Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 26 2013 11:24 utc | 160

What are Obama, Hollande, Cameron going to say now? That the syrian gov shooting at themselves in the cars?

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 11:51 utc | 161

Zico

Again wishful thinking, Russia, China, Iran, Hezbollah wont sacrifice themselves for this and what "region"? Whole sunni-region are in cahoots with the west and support the war against Syria.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 11:53 utc | 162

Why wasn't the inspection team guided by blue helmets?

If and I say only if the true is that opposition was behind the CW attack and this is confirmed by the inspectors work indirectly, whoops there goes alliance accusation platform for attack.
Now who doesn't want the inspection? And on the other hand who is undermining the inspections work?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 12:03 utc | 163

Frankly, I don't the Empire gives a rats arse about the truth of the situation. Back in 2002, we knew the Niger Yellowcake was a fake (supplied via the Italian intelligence agencies but most likely Israeli sourced), ditto, chemical weapons labs on wheels (weather balloons), ditto aluminium tubes for producing uranium. I could go on (but I wont).

The bottom line is that one or the other the Empire (USUK) will, by hook or by crook, find a way to get rid of the troublesome Assad government.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 26 2013 12:10 utc | 164

Everything is very good planned.
E.g. why didn't the rebel's use CW before the entrance of the 300 men force from Jordan? The provocation is perfect set up.
But Assad is taking his advantages of it.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 12:15 utc | 165

'The bottom line is that one or the other the Empire (USUK) will, by hook or by crook, find a way to get rid of the troublesome Assad government.'

Disagree neither by hook or crook!
And BTW troublesome to whom, the US or UK?

I would like to see Assad declaring war on Jordan and then watch Israel ally to Jordan just to be in theater, the theater of para-logical nuts.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 12:26 utc | 166

Is this how obama deal with bad ratings and the NSA scandal, starting a war?

"Wag the dog" indeed.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 12:30 utc | 167

What are Obama, Hollande, Cameron going to say now? That the syrian gov shooting at themselves in the cars? Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26, 2013 7:51:28 AM | 161
Yup, just so:
UN convoy hit by sniper fire on way to gas attack site (Times)

Snipers have fired on UN chemical weapons inspectors visiting the Damascus suburb where 356 people are thought to have died in a nerve gas massacre. “The first vehicle of the Chemical Weapons Investigation Team was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area,” a UN spokesman said. The inspectors, who were granted access under a ceasefire agreed only yesterday, had retreated to replace their damaged vehicle but were returning to the scene, he added. This morning’s incident will further harden Western resolve to take military action against the regime of President Assad as William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, said that missile strikes could be launched “without complete unity on the UNSC.”

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 13:05 utc | 168

The news in France are that "in reason of the shooting, the mission is suspended".

Yesterday Fabius and Hollande went hysterical with the motto "there is no doubt it is Assad who fired the CW; intervention very soon."

REMINDER: best pressure actions in small countries are not demonstrations but BOYCOTT (do not consume, as much as possible) and BANK RUN.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 26 2013 13:10 utc | 169

Hague should be in The Hague rather than allowed to rave openly
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/79912/World/Region/UPDATE-Syria-chemical-attack-evidence-may-have-bee.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Aug 26 2013 13:14 utc | 170

I think that by now the Syrian people (not the rebel')and its army have to understand that it is more honorable to die in the battle field rather than by some chemical substance.
Except if they are afraid of fighting. Then it will soon be game over.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 13:31 utc | 171

I covered the US chemical weapons support for Iraq in my #48 -- apparently some readeres didn't see it, so I'll repeat it here.

The US, holier-than-thou on chemical warfare. But facts are facts.

wiki: Riegle Report

On February 9th, 1994, U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. delivered a report to the Senate entitled, "U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Gulf War". This report, commonly called The Riegle Report, summarized testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration co-chaired by Senators Riegle and Al D'Amato. It cites evidence that biological and chemical weapons were provided by the U.S. to Saddam Hussein to help him during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and were subsequently used against American and Czechoslovakian troops during the Gulf War (1990-1991). Senator Riegle implicates the U.S. Department of Commerce as well as the American Type Culture Collection in the shipment of these agents.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 13:43 utc | 172

Hague says missiles could be launched -- but of course not by the skeletal UK military, a weak vestige of the grand empire which currently can produce little more than a royal baby.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 13:46 utc | 173

news report

AMMAN, Jordan — Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is co-hosting an emergency meeting here of defense chiefs from 10 nations aimed at ensuring the security of this moderate, pro-Western kingdom and preventing a spillover of the escalating war in neighboring Syria, officials said.

The three-day meeting, which opened Sunday, is being co-hosted by Jordan’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mishaal Zaben, U.S. and Jordanian officials said. It also brings together top generals from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Canada.


A new coalition of the willing? But Germany, for one, is not so willing. And since when did spillover into Jordan become a major possibility? Is its king in trouble? Or is it a ruse.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 14:05 utc | 174

172) yep, there is also this Foreign Policy
Exclusive - CIA files prove America helped saddam as he gassed Iran

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.

U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.

“The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew,” he told Foreign Policy.

According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983. At the time, Iran was publicly alleging that illegal chemical attacks were carried out on its forces, and was building a case to present to the United Nations. But it lacked the evidence implicating Iraq, much of which was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. The CIA declined to comment for this story.

In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.

In the documents, the CIA said that Iran might not discover persuasive evidence of the weapons’ use — even though the agency possessed it. Also, the agency noted that the Soviet Union had previously used chemical agents in Afghanistan and suffered few repercussions.

It has been previously reported that the United States provided tactical intelligence to Iraq at the same time that officials suspected Hussein would use chemical weapons. But the CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 26 2013 14:07 utc | 175

Not by the skeletal UK military? "Western options include strikes by Tornado jets equipped with Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which can be fired 150 miles from the target, allowing pilots to avoid the need to come within range of Syrian air defences. The US warships in the region are carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles." (Graun). But in the Libyan attack the British apparently launched a few cruise missiles from submarines, also.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 14:13 utc | 176

WTF is: Pot calls kettle black?
Posted by: Christos | Aug 26, 2013 5:00:26 AM | 146

Don's post quotes Colon Powell (one of America's most infamous liars) as saying of Assad...
"He's a pathological liar."

When an unmitigated liar accuses someone of being a liar, it rings a little hollow.
Another common expression which means much the same thing is "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." But "Pot calls kettle black." Is shorter and blunter.
Hope this helps.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26 2013 14:13 utc | 177

Like I said, Russia now publicly declaring that they wont go to war against west as some people here naively think.

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_26/Russian-FM-Lavrov-holds-urgent-press-conference-on-Syria-LIVE-UPDATES-4626/

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 14:14 utc | 178

@RB #176
from MailOnline:

The dove faction is led by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who backs the military in thinking UK forces are overstretched and exhausted.

The intelligence services, nursing a bloody nose after their the missing weapons of mass destruction fiasco in Iraq, are wary of backing rebels whose goals and conduct are hard to calibrate.

Now Home Secretary Theresa May, an increasingly voluble presence in Cabinet, has made it clear that she considers invention unwise.


But of course the US MSM quotes only Hague.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 14:29 utc | 179

Any talk of "surgical bombing" should be taken with a grain of salt.

from Winslow Wheeler:

This author has some experience with such prognostications. From 1992 to 1996, I worked with a team in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the effectiveness of the air war in Operation Desert Storm. It was not “one bomb one target;” for bridges, for example, it was an average of eleven laser guided bombs to make any bridge un-useable; for other targets it was more. Other data show that “precision” attacks on Saddam Hussein’s air defenses on the first night of Operation Desert Storm and on Saddam Hussein himself in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 definitively failed to achieve the intended objectives and frequently missed their aim points.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 14:39 utc | 180

Inspectors back on the case?

http://rt.com/news/un-chemical-oservers-shot-000/

Posted by: BillyBoy | Aug 26 2013 14:53 utc | 181

WaPo, Aug 25
by Eliot Cohen (excerpts)

President Obama has boxed himself in. He can no longer ignore his own proclamation of a “red line.”

The temptation here is to follow the Clinton administration’s course — a futile salvo of cruise missiles, followed by self-congratulation and an attempt to change the topic. It would not work here. A minority regime fighting for its life, as Bashar al-Assad’s is, can weather a couple of dozen big bangs. More important, no one — friends, enemies or neutrals — would be fooled. As weak as the United States now appears in the region and beyond, we would look weaker yet if we chose to act ineffectively. A bout of therapeutic bombing is an even more feckless course of action than a principled refusal to act altogether.

For one thing, and despite the hopes of some proponents of an air campaign, this would not be surgical. No serious application of air power ever is, despite administration officials’ claims about the drone campaign, which, as we now know, has killed plenty of civilians. A serious bombing campaign means civilian casualties, at our hands. And it may mean U.S. and allied casualties too, because the idea of a serious military effort without risk is fatuous.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 14:57 utc | 182

Anonymous | Aug 26, 2013 10:14:56 AM | 178

You should brush up on your Russian Humour. I recommend Anton Chekhov.
Lavrov didn't say Russia won't go to war against west. He said...
Russia is "not planning to go to war with anyone" over Syria.

It's completely different. Here's how it works...
1. The Yankees and their friends stage a completely illegal attack on Syria.
2. Russia sinks a dozen or more Yankee warships.
3. The Yankees decide whether their Syrian ambitions are worth starting a war, and dying for.

It's called being subtle. Yankees wouldn't understand it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26 2013 15:06 utc | 183

Hoarsewhisper

I just refered to Russia gov. itself, if you deny that, well then its up to you to live in your fantasy.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 15:14 utc | 184

It's completely different. Here's how it works...

I guess that's not very realistic to put it mildly. More interesting might be Lavrov's additional quote (according to that site) that the bombing of sytian military infrastructure doesn't stop the civil war. Might be translated to russia would intensify its support for militias/hezbollah/iran/assad or at least won't withdraw from action on the ground. And they know very well that Nato "boots on the ground" is not going to happen anytime soon.

Posted by: peter radiator | Aug 26 2013 15:18 utc | 185

"Now Home Secretary Theresa May, an increasingly voluble presence in Cabinet, has made it clear that she considers invention unwise." Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2013 10:29:36 AM | 179
It really does say that: link.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 26 2013 15:22 utc | 186

Posted by: peter radiator | Aug 26, 2013 11:18:11 AM | 185

Well, we can all guess can't we? When it comes to guessing what cowards and blowhards will do nest, I'll stick with my guesses and refrain from pointing out the flaws in yours.
Ok?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26 2013 15:29 utc | 187

@178 Anon

I can see you make a habit of missing the point. As I told you around 150 comments back, no one is talking about Russian soldiers firing on American soldiers, or going to war with the West in a traditional sense. But Russia will asymmetrically counter US moves as they are already doing, by proxy.

When you say the Russians wouldn't go to war with the West over Syria, you are ignoring the reality that Russia is already involved in a "proxy war" with the West over Syria. It's already taking place. Where do you think Syria is getting its credit lines from, its bullets, its artillery, its satellite imagery to map out rebel positions ahead of large offensives.

In dirty wars there are many indirect ways to attack alot with plausible deniability and Russia can be expected to do what Russia has always done. Defend its interests.

In saying all that I'm still of the opinion that this is a bargaining technique. The US is making it clear that one way or another they are getting rid of Assad. Even if they have to drop a bomb on the Presidential Palace. I think the Russians wouldn't have any remorse getting rid of Assad, if they were given assurances that the new head (probably a General in the SAA) would be someone Russia could to business with. That way the US and EU gets to save face by saying they got rid of Assad, and Russia gets a new Syrian puppet who won't alter the overall picture of the Middle East to much.

After all the US might want Assad gone, but they don't want the rebels in power either.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 26 2013 15:30 utc | 188

@Hoarsewhisperer

I like that option and I agree.
Besides there is a tremendous Russian submarine in side, and of course an English one.
But that dog, like you say wont bark - only bite.
on the other hand this war can't be won like previous - from the air, not even if they get a no fly zone - because the Syrian army is not just a bit of cake. Don't forget that Syria is a previous military regime of which Hezbollah is a part that was watching Lebanon since Lebanon where forbidden to have it's own army.
So starting a campaign they will soon have to fight a multiple front war against several armies.


Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 15:37 utc | 189

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26, 2013 11:29:00 AM | 187

Yeah, of course it's just guessing, but a dozen navy ships sunken by the russians... I don't see that coming. Time will tell ;)

Posted by: peter radiator | Aug 26 2013 15:41 utc | 190

Colm O Toole

I havent denied there is a proxy war, what I said and refered to was Russia itself not going to war which is a huge difference.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 15:48 utc | 191

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 26, 2013 11:30:16 AM | 188

After all the US might want Assad gone, but they don't want the rebels in power either.

Another irrational guess of mine ;). I'd think the US don't really care who's in power there, as long as that power is no real power that could pose a military threat to Israel or for that cause the SA/GCC interests. Some jihadi lunatics that throw the occasional molotowcocktail across the border? That'd be fine. Anyone with air defence, tanks etc.? No. If there's anything the US/Nato wars achieved in the Middle East over the last decade then it's to turn regular armies into splintered carbombing militias all around.

Posted by: peter radiator | Aug 26 2013 15:51 utc | 193

Does anybody know anything about Syrian-Russian Army(Defense) agreements on cooperation???

Posted by: Christos | Aug 26 2013 15:52 utc | 194

To build on the Russia v. US discussion, it reminds me of the attempts to define 'national power' which go far beyond military aspects (despite US policy) into other realms.

National power may be considered in several ways:
* The sum total of a nation's economic, natural, military, social and diplomatic resources.
* The ability of one state to influence or control other states.
* The ability to achieve outcomes.
* The ability to prevail in particular circumstances.
* probably others

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 15:56 utc | 195

Chemicals? Cyber warfare is where it's at.

news report:

The Syrian Electronic Army appears to be using third-party web properties and domains to attack media organizations, based on new analysis from Cisco.

Furthermore, the networking giant warned that media sites depending on third-parties for content may be increasing the chances of their users being compromised by attackers.

The Syrian Electronic Army has a history of targeting news companies, among other prominent global organizations. Earlier this year, the cyber-crime group launched a series of attacks on Twitter, Thomson Reuters, The Associated Press, and The Guardian, among others.

Last Thursday, The Washington Post admitted that it was the victim of a cyber-attack incurred by the hackers supporting the regime of current Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 16:03 utc | 196

@Christos - banned for having a severe case of diarrhea - go shit elsewhere

Posted by: b | Aug 26 2013 16:11 utc | 197

@#174
Here's Jordan in the news again:
Robert Beckhusen, medium.com (excerpts)

Syria Air War Could Launch from Secretive Jordan Base
Jordan-based fighters and long-range bombers are the U.S.’s backbone for a Syria attack

Syria’s population centers and Assad’s military forces are deep inside the country’s interior, unlike Libya. In the Libyan war, NATO relied heavily on French Rafale jets flying from bases in southern Europe after the initial sea barrage. This doesn’t mean the U.S. is without many options should an intervention escalate past cruise missiles strikes. But it does make a U.S. air campaign harder.

Syria’s population centers and Assad’s military forces are deep inside the country’s interior, unlike Libya. In the Libyan war, NATO relied heavily on French Rafale jets flying from bases in southern Europe after the initial sea barrage. This doesn’t mean the U.S. is without many options should an intervention escalate past cruise missiles strikes. But it does make a U.S. air campaign harder.

Largely, the Jordanian build-up was carried out under the auspices of the annual Eager Lion war games, which concluded in late June out of the sprawling Mafraq Air Base east of Amman.

After Eagle Lion concluded, the U.S.-- unusually -- kept some of those forces in Jordan. Among these include a squadron of F-16 fighters (a squadron normally comprises between 18 and 24 birds), which are capable of both intercepting Syrian fighters and dropping laser-guided smart bombs and air-to-ground missiles. A Patriot missile battery has been deployed to Jordan, which boosts the country’s air defense network in case of Syrian air or short-range ballistic missile attack. The Pentagon has not publicly said where these assets are deployed in Jordan but they are likely at Mafraq.

Around 1,000 U.S. troops have also remained in the country, forming an advance operations and logistics lilypad in the event of a prolonged air campaign over Syria — waiting to organize and plan for a sudden build-up of strike aircraft and drones.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 16:13 utc | 198

Don Bacon

Great, another reason for Syria, if attacked, to take out the corrupt jordanian puppet.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 26 2013 16:19 utc | 199

The US military presence in Jordan ties in with (US ally) Saudi interests in southern Syria.

(Reuters) - Rebels in southern Syria have fired newly acquired anti-tank guided missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia in a significant boost to their battle against President Bashar al-Assad, rebel, intelligence and diplomatic sources say.-- Aug 15, 2013

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2013 16:19 utc | 200

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