Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 02, 2013

Media Claim Sarin Usage While "Signature Evidence" Is Not Viable

Several newspapers claim that U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said that there is proof of sarin gas used in the recent Syrian incident. These claims are false.

All these headline claims are false. From the McClatchy report this is what Kerry said:

“We have learned through samples that were provided to the United States and that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus (that) hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin,” Kerry said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

It is important to differentiate between sarin and mere "signatures of sarin". (UPDATE) The "signature" does not say much about what chemical exposure happened. The U.S. Army book Medical Aspects of Chemical Warfare explicitly says that concluding on a chemical agent exposure from "signatures" in bio-samples is false (Chapter 22 (pdf)):

Assay of Parent Compounds

analyzing for parent nerve agents from biomedical matrices, such as blood or urine, is not a viable diagnostic technique for retrospective detection of exposure.

(/update) Sarin, a fluid at room temperature, evaporates and decomposes rapidly. A few hours after sarin exposure it is nearly impossible to find pure sarin samples on or within a human body. Sarin molecules react with other molecules and fall apart. What might be found in a biological sample of someone who was exposed to sarin are therefore only decomposition products of sarin. But the same decomposition products can also occur from exposition to other chemical substances. Especially exposure to typical farming insecticides, chemically organophosphates, is likely to create the same decomposition products that sarin exposure does.

Dan Kaszeta, a former Chemical Officer in the United States Army, is one of the foremost experts in chemical and biological weapons. As he explains in an interview:

A number of reports have claimed to have proven the use of sarin through tests on hair, clothing, blood, tissue, and urine samples.

At least one study shows that the presence of a nerve agent could be deduced by examining post-mortem blood samples for presence or lack of acetylcholinesterase, up to a week after death. A person who has died from Sarin exposure would have little or no acetylcholinesterase present. It should be noted that this would only indicate the presence of a nerve agent and would not specifically indicate Sarin versus any other nerve agent (or even organophosphate pesticide intoxication) nor would it conclusively indicate nerve agent as a cause of death, as other factors may have killed the victim, such as conventional trauma.
...
One of the decomposition products of Sarin in the human body is methylphosphonic acid. A study shows that this substance is detectable in urine by use of mass spectrometry. This particular substance is not specific to Sarin.
...
Is it possible other substances could produce false positives for sarin?

Yes. Generally, the more sophisticated and expensive the detection technique, the less scope for false positives. The false positives depend entirely on the detection method. IMS is often fooled by chemicals of the same molecular weight as Sarin. Organophosphate-based pesticides are very similar chemicals to nerve agent chemical weapons, so they may pose a false positive.

The hair and blood samples the U.S. tested came from the insurgents in Syria through an insecure custody chain of evidence. They did not test positive for sarin but showed decomposition products that may have come from exposure to sarin or may have come from exposure to insecticides or some other class of chemical substances.

It is also very important to keep in mind that even proven evidence of exposure to sarin, or any insecticide, does not say anything at all about how such an exposure might have happened and who might have been responsible for it. The indications that the insurgents in Syria might have been responsible are at least as strong as the indications of government use. The insurgents, who do want the U.S. to intervene on their side, also have a very strong motive to create such an incident.

It is irresponsible that headline writers and journalists fail to explain these contexts and claim "sarin usage" while the evidence thereof is inconclusive and while not even the U.S. government made such a indefensible claim at all.

Posted by b on September 2, 2013 at 05:44 AM | Permalink

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Well, the BBC are certainly not interested in anything other than making people think if it is proved that Sarin was the agent used that means it was the Regime, they seem to be willing to go to great lengths to avoid the fact, proof of an agent used is not proof of who used it.

Posted by: Rod Brown | Sep 2, 2013 6:05:47 AM | 1

More heat, and no light. The bottom line is that the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians "persuaded" ZATO to back down. All this complicated analysis of what might have influenced Kerry to say one thing or another is irrelevant. The anti-ZATO alliance stood firm, and didn't take the bribes and withstood the threats. In fact, they may have raised the bet, and ZATO folded. Being scumbags, the biggest warmongers in the pro-war alliance will try to gin up something, but the air attack idea is now unlikely. But the anti-ZATO side better push things to a resolution that makes another attempt at war hard to do. One can take it as a given that Bandar and Netanyahu are burning the midnight oil on tricks and evil plans at this moment.

Posted by: Ozawa | Sep 2, 2013 6:15:33 AM | 2

see links #266 and #267 from the last thread. Insider Bodansky calls it false flag and Iran via the Swiss warned the US 9 month ago that the rebels had Sarin.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 6:18:33 AM | 3

whats done in secret constitutes a conspiracy and attempt to move outsidet the law: notgic how the 'democracies' love secrecy
this story is from april 2007, at the start of the insurgency: adding fuel to the idea this was a planned coup by foreign regimes esp US
============================

The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.
The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on “armed gangs.”
Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. The channel is named after the Barada River, which courses through the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-04-17/world/35262231_1_syrian-opposition-diplomatic-cables-syrian-authorities

Posted by: brian | Sep 2, 2013 6:30:09 AM | 4

Re #3: I think people will appreciate not having to click backwards three times through comment pages. The Bodansky articles are here (Aug 28) and here (Apr 22). The later article also contains a link back to the earlier one.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 8:02:31 AM | 5

Sorry, 'Apr 22' should read Aug 22.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 8:03:18 AM | 6

US military revolt Against War with #Syria #IDidntJoin http://www.infowars.com/military-revolt-against-obamas-attack-on-syria/

Posted by: brian | Sep 2, 2013 8:33:35 AM | 7

Kerry is apparently not the smartest, even if there were sarin, so what? What does that have to do with the syrian state? That is no proof whatsoever.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2, 2013 8:38:14 AM | 8

My question is why is the media so far ahead even of the government on this?

Since day one they have been calling an attack "inevitable," like this example they have been exaggerating evidence, they have even gone so far as to insult rather than praise the President's decision to ask for a vote in congress.

I would think it was a simple case of the government putting out trial balloons but the fact that they have actively been pushing stories about the disagreements among administration officials and attacking Cameron and Obama for taking things slow indicate a fight going on at the top of either the administration or the war alliance - US-Israel-Saudi Arabia.

For example: I saw on Twitter an image of an Economist cover with Assad's face at half opacity with the dead children behind him and the tagline "Hit Him Hard".

Agains for those 'somebodies' claiming Israel is not pushing for this attack, that doesn't appear to be the case:

In Israel, President Obama's decision to postpone military action until after congressional approval was received with skepticism. Analysts on Israeli television blasted the president for making the U.S. appear weak in the region. An Israeli official warned that U.S. hesitation could embolden Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"There is concern that this will be seen in the region as the U.S. president hesitating to enforce his red lines and that that will send the wrong messages to other regional powers," said an Israeli official.

Senior Israeli officials have publicly backed U.S. intervention and Israel provided intelligence to Washington to support its case.

____________

And the Washington Post is apparently going heavily for the moron demographic:

9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

Including Question #1: What is Syria?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 9:05:38 AM | 9

Syrian UN envoy urge UN to stop any aggression against his state.
Time for UN to act as the anti-war group as supposed to still this is the UN that apparently moved out too fast from Syria because Obama 'said so'.
http://presstv.com/detail/2013/09/02/321722/syria-asks-un-to-prevent-aggression/

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2, 2013 9:40:15 AM | 10

This is typical; it keeps saying the Israeli political echelon is 'privately' and silently furious' while obviously the function of the article (by the ex editor of the JPost, now editor of this thing) is to shout it from the rooftops:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-unleashes-horror-in-jerusalem/
There is also an amusing cartoon in Haaretz by Amos Biderman:
http://www.haaretz.com/daily-cartoon/1.544812

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 9:43:19 AM | 11

9) Well if the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of your country who is the professional that is supposed to know about war sends a letter like this to your representative

There are certainly actions short of tipping the balance of the conflict [in Syria] that could impose a cost on them for unacceptable behavior. We can destroy the Syrian Air Force. The loss of Assad’s Air Force would negate his ability to attack opposition forces from the air, but it would also escalate and potentially further commit the United States to the conflict. Stated another way, it would not be militarily decisive, but it would commit us decisively to the conflict. In a variety of ways, the use of US military force can change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious, and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.

Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides. It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not. The crisis in Syria is tragic and complex. It is a deeply rooted, long-term conflict among multiple factions, and violent struggles for power will continue after Assad’s rule ends. We should evaluate the effectiveness of limited military options in this context.

and your elected president still calls for war, you know there is a problem.

If you are a dependent client state living next door to warfare you know there is a huge problem with no easy way out.

If you are a main stream journalist used to take notes of what politicians say and explain it for people who have no time to really listen you have no problem.
Doing real journalism just makes your life harder and endangers your pay.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 9:50:36 AM | 12

Iran, Venezuela Stress Political Solution to Syrian Crisis


AN (FNA)- Iranian and Venezuelan foreign ministers in a telephone conversation deplored any possible US-led attack on Syria, and reiterated that a political solution should be reached for the Muslim country’s crisis.

During the phone conversation on Sunday, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Elias Jose Jaua Milano reiterated that the ongoing crisis in Syria can only be resolved through peaceful means.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920611000285

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 10:37:58 AM | 13

@9

"For example: I saw on Twitter an image of an Economist cover with Assad's face at half opacity with the dead children behind him and the tagline "Hit Him Hard"."

The Economist is mostly owned by some people with the family name 'Rothschild"

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 10:39:24 AM | 14

'I trust him on everything that affects Israel,' says Peres of Obama

Peres backs Obama’s Syria policy, says he’s sure the US will strike

‘Weighing your moves is not the same as stuttering,’ says Peres. Obama reportedly warned Netanyahu he’d be seeking Congress’s okay.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/peres-backs-obamas-syria-policy-says-hes-sure-the-us-will-strike/

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 10:42:45 AM | 15

@ # 8: Good point, Serin or not, isn't the real question, who used it?

Posted by: ben | Sep 2, 2013 10:42:50 AM | 16

“This case is going to build stronger and stronger,” he [Kerry] said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” But he also said he thinks “the people of America should be celebrating that the president is not acting unilaterally.”

The definition of "unilateral" has really degraded, hasn't it? It used to mean "with other countries as allies" now apparently it means "with a compliant congress."

How 'bout this: when Obama decides to strike Iran, if Bo wags his tail we'll call it "a grand coalition."

Fuck me. Orwell was a prophet.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 10:49:09 AM | 17

Re #13

"If you are a dependent client state living next door to warfare you know there is a huge problem with no easy way out."

Almost perfect. However a few minor quibbles with phraseology, namely:

"If you are a dependent client [Terrorist] state [with a political ethos very similar to Nazism] living next door to warfare [which you helped create] you know there is little point in later pretending that it all has nothing to do with you, and that you don't actually want war, especially when Polls in your state indicate very strong support for escalating the war, but only as long as people of a differnt religion/nationality do the murdering on your behalf

Just some minor adjustments to the text and it's puurfect

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 10:51:44 AM | 18

@guest77 #9
Again for those 'somebodies' claiming Israel is not pushing for this attack, that doesn't appear to be the case: -- blah, blah from Israel media

There he goes again. g77 continues with his vacuous no-evidence claims of Israel's position on attacking Syria. The fact is that neither Israel nor AIPAC has made one peep about advocacy of attacking Syria. Quite the opposite.

reuters, Sep 1
Netanyahu mum on Obama's Syria delay but says Israel strong alone

"Israel is serene and self-confident," Netanyahu said in public remarks to his cabinet before its weekly meeting. "Israel's citizens know well that we are prepared for any possible scenario. And Israel's citizens should also know that our enemies have very good reasons not to test r power and not to test our might," he said.

jpost, Sep 1
As Obama stalls on Syria, Netanyahu says Israel is 'calm and confident in itself'
"Israel is calm and confident in itself," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "The citizens of Israel know very well that we are prepared for any possible scenario," he said, without mentioning Syria or referring directly to Obama's statement. Israel's citizens also need to know that our enemies have very good reasons not to test our strength – and they know why," he added.

The simple fact is that current events in Syria are driven by Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar and not by Israel. Lighting up the western Middle East including attacks on Israel, which is the probable result of a US attack on Syria, is definitely not in Israel's interest.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 2, 2013 10:55:29 AM | 19

More on the big picture concerning Syria, from Penny:

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ben | Sep 2, 2013 10:56:46 AM | 20

14) hardly

"The Economist Group is 50% owned by Pearson PLC via The Financial Times Limited. The bulk of the remaining shares are held by individual shareholders including the Cadbury, Rothschild, Schroder, Agnelli and other family interests as well as a number of staff and former staff shareholders. The Economist Group operates as a separate and independent business."

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 11:06:42 AM | 21

Fogh Rasmussen is convinced by concrete evidence, but he can't comment further.

RT, Sep 2
NATO Chief Rasmussen: “I do not comment on intelligence reports.”

“I don't foresee any further NATO role,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a press conference on Monday. However, he said the bloc still conducts “closed consultations between allies.”

Rasmussen added that he had seen concrete evidence that made him convinced “not only that a chemical attack had taken place, but… also convinced that the Syrian regime is responsible.”

Yet he believed any subsequent strikes against the country were fully up to the discretion of the constituent states, adding that it could take time to build internal support.

He stated that he could not discuss evidence presented to him thus far. “I do not comment on intelligence reports,” he affirmed. UN chemical weapons inspectors left Syria on Saturday, and it will likely be three weeks before they provide the public with their analyses. However, the US is pressing ahead with its claims of concrete evidence.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 2, 2013 11:09:15 AM | 22

@19

"There he goes again. g77 continues with his vacuous no-evidence claims of Israel's position on attacking Syria."


Absolute nonsense

Polls indicate that Israelis are heavily infavour of attacking Syria. Out of several polls of various countries citizenry, Israelis are the only people polled that overwhelmingly support this.

Evidence has already been posted.

I know that You have looked at that evidence.

Are you seriously now claiming that poll does not exist, or that the poll is fataly flawed in some way?

If so, have YOU any evidence to support that?


" neither Israel nor AIPAC has made one peep about advocacy of attacking Syria. Quite the opposite."

The opposite of "advocacy in favour of" something is NOT "silence", it is "advocacy against" and theres been none of that from Israel nor AIPAC

And your continued pretence that AIPAC is the sole member of the Lobby is a complete joke at this stage, and a fairly dishonest one to boot

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 11:13:16 AM | 23

@21

" [a sizeable chunk of ] The Economist is owned by some people with the family name 'Rothschild"

There, all fixed

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 11:16:41 AM | 24

The mainstream media largely owned and controlled by Zionist Jews. In case you were wondering why they keep pushing for US to fight another war for Israel.

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 2, 2013 11:20:22 AM | 25

"Lighting up the western Middle East including attacks on Israel, which is the probable result of a US attack on Syria, is definitely not in Israel's interest."

This argument, in light of the fact that both Israel and AIPAC openly call for war on Iran, which would also light up the ME, both east and west, is complete nonsense.

Simply inserting the phrase "western" before "middle east", doesnt make it any less nonsensical

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 11:22:48 AM | 26

Thanks so much for this and all your other work, b. MOA posts, hands down, have been the best on Syria.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Sep 2, 2013 11:24:25 AM | 27

23) Your brain's perceptive faculty is slightly off:

Jerusalem Post

Polls: Israelis want US, Europe to attack Syria, but against IDF intervention
The US and European countries should attack Syria, but Israel should not be involved in the assault, two polls in weekend Hebrew newspapers found.

While polls in the US and United Kingdom have found overwhelming opposition to their countries attacking Syria, a Gal Hadash poll published in Israel Hayom found that 66.6 percent of respondents would be in favor of American and European military intervention in Syria.

Two-thirds of respondents to Gal Hadash poll concerned American attack on Syria would lead to Israeli involvement in war ....
A separate Ma’agar Mohot poll published in Friday’s Ma’ariv found that Israelis overwhelmingly oppose an Israeli strike on Syria. If America does not intervene in Israel’s northeastern neighbor, 77% of respondents who expressed an opinion said Israel should not get involved militarily, 11% said the IDF should, and 12% said they did not know and other answers.

When divided among how people voted in the January general election, 79% of Likud voters opposed Israeli military intervention in Syria, while 96% of Labor and Meretz voters were opposed.

Yes, questions and answers are slightly schizophrenic.
On the other hand, that poll got the the same result as polls in Europe and the US - more than two thirds oppose their army getting involved in Syria. That question on other armies was not asked in the US or Britain.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 11:33:21 AM | 28

Is P Cockburn at Counterpunch plunking down for an all out Yankee Freedomizing of Syria? His declarations of tender feelings for the Syrian populace ring rather hollow alongside this:

The only military action that might [compel President Assad to negotiate his own departure from power] is a full-scale assault including a no-fly zone and a no-drive zone. This means giving the rebels an air umbrella, as was done for the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001, the Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in 2003 and the anti-Gaddafi militiamen in Libya in 2011.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 2, 2013 11:34:24 AM | 29

This phrase "western ME" is quite a laboured and rather desperate-looking rhetorical construction, the equivilant of slapping lipstick on a pig

FYI "western" ME is already pretty well "lit up", and the Israelis have had a verifiable role in lighting it up , but until now fairly well obscured by a smokescreen of hysterical headlines, thanks to their many many friends in the western media,

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 11:37:15 AM | 30

@28. In other words, Israelis say lets the stupid USA engages in our wars for us.

Posted by: Gregg | Sep 2, 2013 11:39:02 AM | 31

@Don

How many quotes do I have to provide before I get past "vacuous no-evidence" Don. It's more than three I guess.

What is it about Peres saying "I'll know you'll strike Syria" like a granddad taking his grandson fishing for the first time that says to you "they don't want this attack"?

I've made several comments stating that the real force behind this is the Saudis, I'm sure you didn't miss them. But it is important to note that the Israelis are pressing for this as well. I keep bringing up the point on Israel because it keeps getting brushed aside. I know you didn't miss the fact that the only whiff of evidence linking the attack to the Syrian government are the Israeli "intercepts".

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 11:43:08 AM | 32

@28

Your poor excuse for a brain seems unable to comprehend that that article actually confirms exactly what I said @18 &23

Israelis are happy for others to do the murdering for them.

Which is exactly what is said.

When you finally manage to dislodge you brain from your deep behind your sphincter, where you apoear to have lodged it, you could re-read both and if you were honest, a big IF i know, you would be able to confirm the truth of my description of that poll

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 11:44:45 AM | 33

Don Bacon

Guest77 rightly say that Israel and its american lobby push for war. Only zionists will deny this. Israel have no reason telling everyhing publicly. Israel doesnt do that. Also, you Think the rebels want Israel to publicily supporting them?

If you dont understand that Israel is pushing this, well then you havent grasped anything what this conflict is about from US viewpoint.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2, 2013 11:45:42 AM | 34

@Don "The fact is that neither Israel nor AIPAC has made one peep about advocacy of attacking Syria."

Peep: "There is concern that this will be seen in the region as the U.S. president hesitating to enforce his red lines and that that will send the wrong messages to other regional powers," said an Israeli official."

Peep: "Senior Israeli officials have publicly backed U.S. intervention and Israel provided intelligence to Washington to support its case."

Peep, peep: "“I’m confident the U.S. will respond against Syria,” Peres said today"

There a fucking flock of chickens in here or something?

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 11:48:03 AM | 35

It isn't Israel public opinion that's relevant, firstly because in Israel as in other so-called 'democracies' the public knows nothing and has no power, and secondly because public opinion polls are in principle completely fallacious and manipulable and are invariably used to validate an elite strategy, not always to approve the elite strategy but sometimes to draw attention away from it, as in this case. Another important point which the extraordinarily misguided Don Bacon does not grasp is that Israel (and now I am returning to the elite, which is the only significant element) has an invariable tactic vis-a-vis the US which I call 'ventriloquism'. It always avoids expressing itself directly in favour of getting its viewpoint articulated by US opinion-makers, ostensibly in the framework of US interests. That is what its various opinion-making organisations in the US are there for. Finally I have another gem for you and please note that this is a report in the British Financial Times, ie an exercise in doubly removed ventriloquism, using a British opinion-making newspaper as a mouthpiece for a US opinion-maker:

"You hear more and more people in government saying, ‘Can we really rely on the US to stop Iran?” said Mike Herzog, a retired Israeli general and international fellow with WINEP. “If they can’t take a decision on a red line in Syria, why should we think they could do so on Iran?”

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 11:51:38 AM | 36


In the present flap nobody in the USA is saying where + when the samples that show ‘sarin’ were taken! They are probably harking back to previous CW attacks.

Imho, Obama was coerced into making the red line speech.

After that reported CW attacks flourished.

The US let many ‘attacks’ go by. Then a year later, impatience had been mounting for 12 months...and pressure, media, etc. escalated.

CW attacks in Syria before August 21, 2013

Numbers = reported dead. When ‘disputed’ is used it means officially so but that judgment may have been revised at a much later date. Of course quarrels concerning veracity and evidence raged all along between all the involved parties. The vid. material is posted because it looks as being amongst the most credible, as compared to others.

Timeline:

Aug 2012. Obama red line speech

Dec 2012. >> Homs 7 (one or two attacks, unclear) “gas”, Agent 15? other? - disputed as CW by US

March 19 2013. >> Aleppo 26 (and Damascus according to Israel, later the Brits as well) - disputed as CW by US. Much later, accepted as ‘CW attack’ by US

March 19 2013. >> Ateibeh (near Damascus) none? some? > see previous entry.

April (subsequent all 2013), end of. >> Saraqib 2 or so - sarin - Blamed on rebels by UN Del Ponte - disputed as CW by the US - finally all parties state “no solid evidence.” Vid shows victims etc.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22559421

April and uncertain dates >> Jobar, elsewhere - gas - only one print article from Le Monde. 27 May. Article also mentions Nashibiyya and Douma, March. Included only only because it had influence. English.

http://tinyurl.com/oos3ejg

?? April >> Aleppo - 3 ?? (some vids)

May 26 post on attacks of 27 May: (huh? go to link and see) >> Harasta (Damascus), gas, none or some? date? Bolstered the Le Monde article. Ex:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYtSbTABQ0o

June, Zamalka (Damascus) - 6

July - all quiet on the Western front

Note the no. of dead reported is very small.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 2, 2013 11:54:19 AM | 37

Believe me Don, I hate to be on the side of hmmm here with his "zionasties" and "jizzreal" (come on, b runs a classy joint here) but facts are facts.

I almost feel like the leaders of the free world are having an "the emperor has no clothes" moment. The only evidence they have are these likely bogus Israeli intercepts, we're just waiting for one of them to kind of raise her eyebrows at another and whisper "this is horseshit, isn't it."

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 11:54:21 AM | 38

@28

The relevant part, which you duplicitiously ignored,

" Israelis want US, Europe to attack Syria, but against IDF intervention

 The US and European countries should attack Syria, but Israel should not be involved in the assault, two polls in weekend Hebrew newspapers found.

While polls in the US and United Kingdom have found overwhelming opposition to their countries attacking Syria, a Gal Hadash poll published in Israel Hayom found that 66.6 percent of respondents would be in favor of American and European military intervention in Syria."

It would be nice if you could stop lying, for 5 minutes at least

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 11:59:45 AM | 39

@38

Believe it or not Jizrael is actually yiddish for ZioNazi-AntiAssimilation-land

Strewth!

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 12:03:00 PM | 40

34) Look Israel has not been strategically viable for quite some time now at least since 2006, the US generals know this, they are not stupid.
Israel is in the role of hostage now that can be used for all types of blackmail. You do have to adjust your analysis regularly, the time frame for innovation at present is something like two years and shrinking.

This here is unvalidated storytelling but has some likelihood

The story starts shortly before the Israeli-Saudi intelligence operation that engineered the chemical attack near the Syrian capital. The Americans and Europeans had begun negotiating with the Russians and the Iranians for a political settlement, after having failed to remove the regime by force. The West’s only condition was that Bashar al-Assad would not be part of the solution, even proposing to Moscow that they would be willing to allow the Syrian president to pick a successor of his own choosing.

When the Russians – after extensive discussions with their allies – told Washington that it was difficult to accept such a condition, the West turned to Plan B, which was to raise the level of military support for the opposition and reorganize the armed groups fighting against the regime, allowing Saudi Arabia to take the lead in mobilizing them to up the ante on Damascus...

Of course Israelis did all kinds of things in Syria, the "false flag" however was not intended for war but for pressure in negotiations ...

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 12:05:18 PM | 41

@ 38

admittedly inserting the extra "z" was a little OTT, but not much

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 12:09:53 PM | 42

Mr. Kerry on Sunday said the U.S.'s acquisition of blood and hair samples only further solidified the U.S.'s belief that the Assad regime used sarin gas.

This is like saying you know whose fault the accident was because you confirmed there were cars involved.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 12:10:09 PM | 43

"This here is unvalidated storytelling but has some likelihood"

Of course what he really means is

I have absolute no evidence for the dubious self-serving point I am making so here's some unverifiable crap I found on the net that will have to do instead

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 12:12:10 PM | 44

Oh my

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/world/middleeast/obamas-syria-decision-greeted-silently-by-israel.html?_r=0

On Obama’s Plan, a Message Emerges in Israel: Stay Quiet
By JODI RUDOREN and ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: September 1, 2013

JERUSALEM — Since reports surfaced of an apparent chemical attack outside Damascus, Israeli leaders have called for an American response, both on moral grounds and as a warning to Iran over its nuclear program. But on Sunday, after President Obama said he would delay a military strike to obtain Congressional approval, a new message emerged from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government: Do not say anything.


Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 12:13:39 PM | 45

Of course Israelis did all kinds of things in Syria

note the slippery use of language - "all kinds of things"

Like what?

take a few holiday snaps, have a cappuccino, take a swim, go to a few nightclubs?

no specifics, of course

no no. specifics definitely NOT allowed because to detail specifics would only completely indict his beloved Anti-assimilation land, and utterly negate the points that both he and Don are very ineptly trying to bamboozle people into believing

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 12:17:11 PM | 46

Interesting statement from International Crisis Group about attacking Syria. They're agin it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 12:21:25 PM | 47

46) Look hmm, you are like a bull going for the red when the person holding the red is somewhere else, whilst you are unable to think and change direction once you have seen red.
As a matter of fact Israel saved Syria by sheer geography as the US would have been able to do their "limited punishement strike" in virtually all of Africa and most of the Middle East without the sound of a protesting mouse. They were even able to do it in European Serbia. They could not do the imperial strike this time because Israel next door might have caught a lung infection.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 1:10:41 PM | 48

"As a matter of fact Israel saved Syria"

unintentional I'm sure, but very very Hilarious

You may well be the world's foremost expert practitioner of "unintentional hilarity", congratulations.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 1:24:02 PM | 49

"As a matter of fact Israel saved Syria"

Thats like saying Netanyahoo is an angel of peace and believing it :)) I might not agree with hmm's language (cut ad-hominem's please!) but he is right.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 2, 2013 1:28:15 PM | 50

Just to change the subject if I may....what's going on with McCain? Obama has invited him to discuss the Syria situation at the Whitehouse. Something to do with a 'limited strike'. McCain obviously wants total war.

Posted by: dh | Sep 2, 2013 1:29:01 PM | 51

They "saved" it by attacking it with missiles 3 times in the past year?

They "saved" it by aiding and abetting the Terrorist Mercenary "pseudo-Jihadists" that have been trying to destroy it for the past 2 years?

Do you just randomly completely inaccurately redefine words as it suits you, or is there an actual system for word-redefinition that they taught you before you graduated from Hasbara-skool?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 1:29:03 PM | 52

@dh | 51

"what's going on with McCain?"

Nothing new AFAIK. He as die-hard neocon zionist always wanted Syria attacked and puppet regime installed by any means possible. McCain is consistent in this regard.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 2, 2013 1:34:16 PM | 53

@53 I understand that Harry. Why invite him to the Whitehouse for discussions? What does Obama expect from him regarding the 'limited strike'?

Posted by: dh | Sep 2, 2013 1:38:17 PM | 54

@dh | 54 "@53 I understand that Harry. Why invite him to the Whitehouse for discussions? What does Obama expect from him regarding the 'limited strike'?"

I'm pretty sure resolution will pass in Congress (knowing Israel's influence there), but there will be a fight over details. Some want much more limited resolution, some (like McCain) want even harsher one (hard to do knowing how wide Obama's already is). All sides will want as many votes as possible, hence flurry of consultations.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 2, 2013 1:45:05 PM | 55

Right. I'm guessing broader action will be conditional on how Syria reacts to the 'limited strike'.

Posted by: dh | Sep 2, 2013 1:47:45 PM | 56

"There he goes again. g77 continues with his vacuous no-evidence claims of Israel's position on attacking Syria. The fact is that neither Israel nor AIPAC has made one peep about advocacy of attacking Syria"

#19....

Actually, Don, I suggest you peruse the Los Angeles Times today and fixate on the article about the sentiments of many Israeli political figures. Many seem to view an attack on Syria as an imperative component to reining in Iran. Were there any substantive opposition to that viewpoint in the Israeli Knesset, I think we would be seeing such opposition manifested in public statements. The division in Israel doesn't seem to be whether or not an american attack on Syria is desirable or not. Instead, the division seems to be whether or not the Israeli politicians should voice their overwhelming support for such an attack.

Honestly, Don, the tenacious manner in which you are holding to your argument suprises me. I've known you too long to accuse you of a lack of intelligence. But considering the actors here that are closely aligned with the Israeli/AIPAC agenda, who are advocating for an attack, coupled with the statements of the more vocal members of the Knesset that are not afraid to speak up.....

Its inexplicable to me why you are so unwavering in advancing a premise that is rendered absurd by the facts. I have made an honest effort to address your questions, yet, seemingly, you have avoided answering mine. Heres one that I am particularly interested in receiving a response from you, and have previously asked in a couple of different posts...

Do you think that Biden, Fienstien, Derschowitz, Maddow, Clemons, Lieberman, etc, all known apologists and lackeys for AIPAC and Israel, would go against the wishes of AIPAC and Israel? Because if what YOU say is true, these feckless servants of the Israeli agenda have suddenly grown gonads, and have jumped the Israeli ship. You really think thats so?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 1:52:49 PM | 57

"Whats going on with McCain?"

Ah, that poor fellow. Well, he was born with his testicles residing where his frontal lobe was supposed to be. So, unfortunately, he thinks "having balls" means "using his brain".

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 1:57:08 PM | 58

#46....

"....Don are very ineptly trying to bamboozle people into believing"

I have been interacting with Don for a number of years now, and I have NEVER known him to attempt to "bamboozle" anyone about anything. You're wrong. If he advances a premise, its because he believes in it. So, Grasshopper, your mission is to convince him, not to deride him.

Now "somebody" is a different story altogether. I too distrust his motives, his integrity, and his info.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 2:02:56 PM | 59

We do not know if the same toxic gas was used in all the cases. Looking at the various YouTube images, one cannot say whether they depict results from the same cause or from different causes. If sarin is unmistakeably found in one or a few cases, it is not a basis to know what the gas or gases were in most cases, nor how delivered, nor who delievered them.

Gap in evidence: It is reported by the US Government's assessment that thousands of people showed up at hospitals in eastern Damascus on the morning of 21 Aug 2013. It is straightforward to go to these hospitals and ask all the doctors and nurses what they saw on the morning of August 21. But this has not been done. As said already on this board (Noirette), the report from the Medecins Sans Frontieres organization is relaying testimonies from opposition sources, not from the hospitals.

Gap in evidence: "Why no visuals after the chemical weapons attacks — only when the corpses were lined up in mosques?"

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 2, 2013 2:03:13 PM | 60

If even Reuters writes so people denying that Israel is the foremost driver of the bus here should shut up.

Insight: As Obama blinks on Syria, Israel, Saudis make common cause

Israel and Saudi Arabia have little love for each other but both are pressing their mutual friend in the White House to hit President Bashar al-Assad hard. And both do so with one eye fixed firmly not on Syria but on their common adversary - Iran.

Posted by: b | Sep 2, 2013 2:06:07 PM | 61

Hmmmmm....on a lighter note.

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/grumpy-cat-begs-to-differ-on-obamas-syria-declarations.html

Be sure to note the look an Senor Asshole Biden's face.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 2:09:20 PM | 62

Seeing reports which may or may not be true that Syrian missiles have shot Down an F22 raptor testing their defenses. Could the reluctance of the US military to intervene reflect a fear of heavy losses?

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 2, 2013 2:14:32 PM | 63

@ #59 : I've been a regular and semi-regular visitor to this board for the last 18 months and commenter 'somebody' is one of the relatively few commenters on the board whose comments I tend to read. I reject some of the foundations of this thinking, but I trust his motives, his integrity, and his info. More than half of his foundations are okay too.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 2, 2013 2:14:34 PM | 64

#60....

I think it is a given that fabricating evidence of a chemical attack would be a very simple matter. Particularly when such "evidence" is not presented in the field, but is allegedly "from" the field of battle. I have no doubt that these lying pieces of shit will produce artifacts that do in fact test positive for the presence of sarin. Why wouldn't they, when such a fraud can be so easil;y carried out?

The difficult part will be proving that Assad's forces carried out the attack. This will have to be done with circumstantial claims buttressed by an intense marketing campaign waged by the traitorous and complicit maggots in our state controlled media complex. Obviously that marketing campaign is in full swing, and is apparently working, considering the comments of the brain dead members of my own community that I have conversed with.

The "what" will be uncontestable. The "who" will have to be sold. And it looks like there are plenty of buyers.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 2:20:34 PM | 65

sombody[sic]'s "saved" means that Israel's proximity to Syria enforces a certain irony on the deliberations of the Regime Changers. Yes, a power vacuum will exist after Assad's fall, one(supposedly) detrimental to the Shtetl State; yes, people have wised up; yes, the piles of the wrongfully killed are too high to overlook; yes, the stench that attended Gadaffi's passing has yet to clear. But...but. A fresh knot needs to be tied into the pretzel logic that justifies the West's atrocities. Stay tuned.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 2, 2013 2:32:41 PM | 66

#64....

Ok..perhaps I'm guilty of contempt prior to investigation. His last two days of argument seems specious to me at best. But I must admit I have not been investigating his links, nor giving his commentary the kind of consideration that you claim is warranted. In this, I have been remiss. I'll try to give his opinions and sourcing a couple of days re-evaluation, and see if perhaps I have been too hasty in discounting his contributions here.

But honestly, I find his stance, in regards to Israel's part in this charade, ridiculous. Perhaps the next two days will change my opinion.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 2:34:55 PM | 67

61) b. I consider the Reuters article Israeli propaganda 1) they clearly won't attack Iran on their own 2) they clearly are not on the same page as the US on Iran. 1) and 2) are contradictory. Of course the Israelis are frightened as hell to loose the backing of the US.

There is an intersting summary in conflicts forum on the Israeli discussion.

I still don't see any urgency on AIPAC's website though they do have an up do date plan what congress should urgently do after recess

As we witness unthinkable horror in Syria, the urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount. We cannot allow Assad to operate with the support of his greatest ally in Tehran backed by a nuclear weapons capability. The Islamic Republic is already expanding its influence throughout the region, moving military equipment and resources into Syria and Lebanon. Now is the time to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime, and the U.S. must quickly and measurably test Iranian President Rouhani’s determination to bring about a diplomatic solution to the nuclear dispute.

In July, the House passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850) by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 400-20, which will strengthen enforcement of current U.S. sanctions on Iran. The new legislation will expand sanctions targeting Iran’s human rights violations, and, for the first time, specifically authorize the president to impose sanctions on any entity that maintains significant commercial ties to Iran.

When the Senate returns from its recess in September, it should push this bill's counterpart to a vote and increase the pressure on Iran. These efforts offer the best opportunity to peacefully prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions, safeguard American interests, and strengthen U.S. national security.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 2:41:59 PM | 68

@ b
I guess if Reuters writes it, it must be true. **sigh**

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 2, 2013 2:42:01 PM | 69

Seeing reports which may or may not be true that Syrian missiles have shot Down an F22 raptor testing their defenses. Could the reluctance of the US military to intervene reflect a fear of heavy losses? Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 2, 2013 2:14:32 PM | 63
After the dozens of transparently bogus Iraqi shootdown claims I saw in 2003, I have learned to recognise this sort of propaganda and I dismiss it reflexively. However, just for you, I have looked this up:
A US F-22 Raptor jet crashed above the sky of northern Jordan LiveLeak, Aug 31 2013

According to the Oklahoman newspaper Post, citing US military sources that the F-22 Raptor crashed in the north of Jordan, sources tell about the possibility of shoot down the F-22 Raptor aircraft by a Syrian missile Syrian everything and happened near the Syrian border, while a military expert John Blu Reed told the newspaper that the shoot down of the F-22 Raptor confirmation that Syria has a defense system updated the S-300, S-400 missiles or rockets, The US expert also stated that US relations with Russia will be even more strained if it is confirmed that Russia has provided to Syria missiles S-400. On the other hand according to reports from the US, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Syrian defense forces have shot down four missiles launched by the US, type Tomahawk, sources tell us that it was the defense systems Bentsr 1(sic, but obviously means Pantsir-S1) anti-aircraft missiles that have made that American missiles struck, and centered in the middle, the sources of Washington state that four missiles were launched to test the degree of defense of the Syrian forces, the sources have also confirmed that one of the main reasons in stopping aggression against Syria is the overthrow of the US F-22 Raptor crashed yesterday in the north of Jordan, also also deal with the part of the Syrian air defense missiles to the four Tomahawk, remember that Jordan is still home to its territory five F-22, and this was one of the main reasons to postpone the trial of aggression against Syria. Arabic originals of this here and here.


Right. Now there are no newspapers in Oklahoma called anything Post. There is nothing in the LA Times about any Syrian Pantsir shooting down any Tomahawks. Syria does not have S-300, let alone S-400. There is no US military expert called John Reed, unless you mean this guy, whose name the authors just pulled off a web search for 'military experts'. This is all balls.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 2:51:47 PM | 70

I can totally see the criminal insurgents telling a bunch of fellow idiot insurgents to go and attack some supposed target and then dropping a load of sarin on them and saying it was the government. On another note it seems the USA military is starting to crack VoR is showcasing soldiers who are against the conflict. It's about time.

Posted by: Fernando | Sep 2, 2013 2:57:06 PM | 71

The vote in the Congress will be held on Sept 11. What a coincidence! pull out the "2nd Hitler" and "another Holocaust - never again" argument!

Posted by: hans | Sep 2, 2013 3:05:27 PM | 72

@ 59

I have been interacting with Don for a number of years now, and I have NEVER known him to attempt to "bamboozle" anyone about anything. You're wrong.

No I'm not.

And indeed you are entitled to have any opinion of Don that you wish to hold. I would not dream of telling you otherwise.

I accept that you are genuine in what you say regarding don, nonetheless regarding his currently untenable stance, I am just as entitled as you are to form my own opinion, thanks very much

If he advances a premise, its because he believes in it.

Don has repeatedly ignored/dismissed the fact that the Lobby is not solely composed of AIPAC. His continued pretence that "AIPAC, and AIPAC alone = The Lobby" and that "AIPAC's actions = the TOTALITY of Lobby's actions" is most certainly false, and it seems very very doubtful to me that he does not already know this.

so imo "Bamboozle" is a fair description of that, since it can be defined as "to [deliberatly] confuse", which is certainly what he appears to be doing by his continued pretence regarding AIPAC and the Lobby.

As to the other individual mentioned, well, the less said about him, - his deliberately obtuse methods of "debate", his obvious motivation - the better

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 3:06:47 PM | 73

Both Don and the rather disingenuous chap @68 are STILL rigidly adhering to the ridiculous, untenable, but very convenient for them, viewpoint that "AIPAC=The Totality of the Lobby"

It's a deliberate strategy, and one that is clearly false, though very useful.

"deliberately disingenuous" is a fairly accurate description for that sort of behaviour, imo

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 3:11:45 PM | 74

I've read the French version of the 'intelligence' on the Ghouta attack and it's pretty much identical to th both the UK and US versions, even citing the same circumstantial 'evidence' (youtube videos etc).

Posted by: William Bowles | Sep 2, 2013 3:15:17 PM | 75

Don Bacon I suspect we are all aware of the same facts. In the build up to war in Iraq, Israel's efforts in pushing for that one is overwhelming. Today they are being more cautious about Syria. In any case, Max Blumenthal gives a good summary of what is known here:

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/dubious-intelligence-and-iran-blackmail-how-israel-is-driving-the-us-to-war-in-syria.html#comments

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 2, 2013 3:22:53 PM | 76

76) There seems to be a complete cognitive dissonance. The reality described in your link is completely different from the reality described by Politico

Republicans say it’s Obama who has the most to lose.

“This vote is entirely on the president,” said a leadership aide. “If it fails, it’s on him, not us.”

Behind closed doors, administration officials are making the case that America — read Obama — will look terrible on the international stage if Congress rebuffs him.

Problem is, lawmakers may not really care if Obama looks terrible. From gun control to immigration to fiscal issues, Obama has spent much of the last three years hitting congressional Republicans for blocking or slowing his agenda. Republicans could return the favor simply by playing it straight.

If Obama was trying to jam Boehner, who had clamored for consultation but pointedly declined to take a position on strikes, with a vote that would split the Republican caucus, it hasn’t worked yet.

Must be a bend in the matrix.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 3:40:12 PM | 77

I am not the kind to suggest the the poor United States is just being lead by its nose because, god bless it, it's just dumb or anything like that. But the people do need to know what's about to happen here and who might be saying "come on man, do it! You scared?!?!" because we are setting ourselves up for blow back that will make the mess we made of Afghanistan and all that followed look like an episode of The Puppy Bowl (look it up).

Its still the same as always. The average people - in the US, in Israel, and in Saudi Arabia - who just want peace because they don't want to get their legs blown off in a terror attack or have to send their kid off into the desert only to have him come back in a box versus the vicious warmongers - in the US, in Israel, and in Saudi Arabia - who'll never get their legs blown off in a terror attack and never have to send their kid off into the desert only to have him come back in a box.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 3:44:47 PM | 78

@ 76

He's been shown it already and immediately dismissed it, along with a mountain of other supporting evidence, much of it far more convincing than Blumentha'ls article.

Blumenthal's article is not a 'slam dunk' though, it merely quotes some media columnists. far more convincing is the Foreign Policy article going around, strongly urging O'Bomber to please massacre lots of Syrians.

That one is signed by a whole host of people who are Major figures in the Lobby.

Don won't even acknowledge that much. Just as he refuses to acknowledge that AIPAC "The Totality of the Lobby", which is frankly ridiculous at this stage.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 3:47:35 PM | 79

I love the does not equal sign (≠). Not a lot of people know that.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 2, 2013 3:50:08 PM | 80

Don Bacon

Are you pro-israel or whats the deal?

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2, 2013 3:50:37 PM | 81

Re 77

quick search of the page for "Israel" turns up only one reference, buried in that Politico article - a link titled (Also on POLITICO: W.H. to Congress: Help protect Israel)

You Lobby Deniers are kinda ridiculous

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 3:51:07 PM | 82

@81 Oh, and here's Anonymous with the over-reach.

"You think Morsi could have had a more inclusive administration? Why do you love coups and murder?!!?"

Jesus.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 2, 2013 3:54:53 PM | 83

@62 An even better image. POA, you are not alone

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 2, 2013 4:07:13 PM | 84

guest77

What are you talking about? Is that quote supposed to come from me you are hitting on the wrong person.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2, 2013 4:11:41 PM | 85

@85

He's playing "reductio ad absurdum" with you.

Whatever Don's up to, I doubt it's because he's a seekrit zionist.

My guess is he's invested too much into defending his patently false stance, over the past 3 or 4 days, and is just too stubborn to backtrack a little and admit he's wrong on this one, so he's now reduced to peddling absurdites in an attempt to shore this crumbling edifice he has constructed

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 4:20:48 PM | 86

Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) is doing the heavy lifting so to speak as 'AIPAC' is too well known. FPI sounds as though it's an American gov't group to some people, so it's able to fool more people.

The Israel Lobby consists of so many groups and individuals it would be a chore to list. Of the groups:
the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Christians United for Israel (CUFI), Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Middle East Forum (MEF), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Some well-known people in those groups are Dennis Ross of WINEP, John Hagee of CUFI, and Martin Indyck of the Brookings Institution. Some individuals who have been involved in setting US policy: Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, William Bennett, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, and David Wurmser. Some journalists: (the late Robert Bartley, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Bret Stephens, and Norman Podhoretz), academics (Fouad Ajami, Eliot Cohen, Aaron Friedberg, Bernard Lewis, Ruth Wedgwood), and think tank pundits (Max Boot, David Frum, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Daniel Pipes, Danielle Pletka, Michael Rubin, Meyrav Wurmser.).

Media critic Eric Alterman wrote in 2002 that the debate among Middle East pundits is “dominated by people who cannot imagine criticizing Israel.” He identified fifty-six “columnists and commentators who can be counted upon to support Israel reflexively and without qualification” while only five pundits consistently take a pro-Arab position.

There are many more of the above... in addition, there are the 'Israel Firsters' ~ many within the administration and Congress: Joe Biden, Rahn Emanuel (ex member of Obama Admin), Susan Rice, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and the beat goes on (in fact, it would probably be easier to list those NOT Israel Firsters... you can usually identify them by there slow clumsy walk (there pockets are so full of $$$ it's difficult to ambulate...

And don't forget those who own most of the US media... (why do you think the TV pundits are screaming for Obama to bomb Syria, berating him for going to Congress (never mind that it is illegal for him NOT to go to Congress).

But no, Israel does not have any influence in the US Foreign Policy, and could care less about our military attacking Syria. (Did I mention a bridge I have for sale?)

Posted by: crone | Sep 2, 2013 4:21:17 PM | 87

Does anyone have any inkling if there are concerted diplomatic efforts going on quietly between all players to resolve this conflict? Surely no effort should be spared to make a deal or is the world fascinated by fireworks and bangs?

Posted by: Nick | Sep 2, 2013 4:34:58 PM | 88

"I guess if Reuters writes it, it must be true. **sigh**"

Geez Don....

It ain't just Rueters.....*sigh*....

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 4:40:26 PM | 89

87) Times do change, you now. 2002 is 11 years ago, that is at least 5 innovation cycles. Neoconservatives (US grown including Christian Fundamentalists) are different from the Israel Lobby. You are grouping them together. Things look different when you live in a place where war is fought. Neoconservatives are a unique US mix.
Anyway Israelis seem to be (rightly) scared now and have no appetite for war. That has also changed within a few years. There used to be a hell of a lot of jingoism in the Israeli press until recently. There is nothing like that now.
This here is conflicts forum's take on Israel's worries

Perhaps the most significant event this week was the writing of an article. It was penned by the leading Israeli military analyst, Alex Fishman, in the Hebrew Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday. It has been carefully read in the region, and in the US too, particularly since the highly-respected Fishman is the veteran military correspondent of this leading Israeli newspaper, and is known for the quality of his sources.

Fishman flatly states that Israel has entered into a state of “diplomatic emergency”: From the PM down, Israel is waging a ‘desperate diplomatic battle’ in Washington in order to undo the American antagonism towards Sisi and ‘the generals’. This characterization of near panic by Fishman is no flight of ‘literary license’. We see from parallel reporting in the Hebrew press, that instructions have been passed to key Israeli Ambassadors, warning bluntly that the situation in Egypt may flare into having a ‘dire’ impact on Israel. The official message warns that Israel therefore cannot stand aloof, as the fragility of the Egyptian government and the deteriorating economy, requires and demands that the Army be allowed to restore security in Egypt [i.e. that Europe and America should facilitate the army in this role]. Fishman’s warning is that any US antagonistic reaction to the coup ultimately will explode onto Israel. America’s poor handling of the situation, he says, has inflamed all sides in the Egyptian arena into a vying in their desire “hurt anything that symbolizes America – and that includes Israel”. Already, he notes, the liberal/secular opposition are massing signatures insisting on Egypt’s resiling from the Camp David accords. In the meantime, Fishman suggests, Egypt is approaching – or he speculates may already have passed – its own ‘Syria moment’ [the moment when initially manageable protest, metamorphosed into armed conflict]. “No one is talking about a civil war in Egypt at present. The gains made by the Egyptian army against the Muslim Brotherhood have been tactical in nature. Neither side has chalked up a decisive victory, and both are hunkering down in their positions.” “The forecast in Israel”, he writes, ”is that Egypt is entering into a lengthy internal low-intensity conflict (riots, terrorism) that heralds a period of continued instability in which it will be impossible to administer the country properly, there will be no foreign investments and the tourism industry will remain paralyzed. The result of that will be a situation of economic decline that will gradually worsen, and Egypt will be dependent on the depth of the pockets of the regimes in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states. To feed 85 million mouths from donations over time is not a solution that will rehabilitate the Egyptian economy and entrench the current regime”.

In a follow-up article on 20 August entitled “Eventually it will engulf us”, Fishman specifically ties the ‘massacre of 25 Egyptian security forces on the previous day’ to the decision by the Egyptian Army to withdraw its special, anti-terrorist forces from Sinai – fearing the prospect of an attack on shipping in the Suez Canal. The Special Forces from Sinai were re-deployed to Port Said. Once again, Fishman mourns a security vacuum that had been created in Sinai, and which was immediately filled by the jihadists. Unless the Egyptian command can quickly contain the situation, he forecasts that “the fire will spread – not only in the direction of what remains of the Egyptian Army in Sinai – but also in the direction of the border with Israel too”.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 4:51:49 PM | 90

#88....

Assad's people have repeatedly said they have a "delegation" ready and willing to negotiate. Trouble is, the "opposition" is so fractured with many different factions that they can't, or won't, get it together. I doubt the various factions are capable of negotiating amongst themselves, much less with the Syrian delegation.

Astounding, isn't it? Obama is willing to adopt an already existing clusterfuck. Kinda refreshing, actually, after a few decades of us creating clusterfucks where none existed. This is the new fast track method. Voila, instant clusterfuck. Hey, this might actually be the cheapest clusterfuck yet, because its ready made. Usually we gotta spend a few hundred billion to build a clusterfuck.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 4:57:35 PM | 91

France wont be voting on participating in the war apparently, the president will decide that by himself and apparently France are eager to go to war.
Also - Nato say like the US that they have evidence on Assad and hint 'small' pariticipation.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 2, 2013 4:58:32 PM | 92

@90

"Neoconservatives (US grown including Christian Fundamentalists) are different from the Israel Lobby. You are grouping them together"

There is a MASSIVE overlap between the 2, as you are no doubt aware. Pretending you don't already know that is pretty dishonest.

Indeed it would be fair to say that a significant number of known Neo-cons are also identifiably "Israel Firsters".

The neo-cons have a very high percentage of self-identified "jewish" members, and almost all of those are clearly "Israel Firsters" and also members of the Lobby. This is once again something of which you are without doubt already aware

Pretending otherwise is just not tenable, not that any of that will stop you from continuing to pretend otherwise, i do realise that. You are nothing if not consistant in your obvious pretences

Posted by: hmm | Sep 2, 2013 5:06:27 PM | 93

#77 Somebody your comment is illogical. I presented a link that describes the evidence that Israel is supporting war against Syria. You respond with a bunch of quotes that mention partisan political opposition to war against Syria. There is no contradiction here. It is two sides forming over a political debate.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 2, 2013 5:07:01 PM | 94

Article from last May. Reuters reported UN Investigator said Rebels had used Sarin.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE94409Z20130505

Posted by: Skeptical Surrealist | Sep 2, 2013 5:11:48 PM | 95

91) It is complete madness and they are making it worse not better.

Anyway, AIPAC got sighted now! According to the - upbeat - New York Times the Obame administration seems to have motivated the Israel Lobby to work for them :-)) And -Mc Cain is on board, they claim

Administration officials said the influential pro-Israel lobby group Aipac was already at work pressing for military action against the government of Mr. Assad, fearing that if Syria escapes American retribution for its use of chemical weapons, Iran might be emboldened in the future to attack Israel. In the House, the majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, has long worked to challenge Democrats’ traditional base among Jews.

One administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified discussing White House strategy, called Aipac “the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” and said its allies in Congress had to be saying, “If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line” against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, “we’re in trouble.”

Another official, who acknowledged having deep doubts when the president disclosed on Friday night his desire for a Congressional vote — he said he first thought, “Whoa, why are we doing this?” — by Sunday had joined some other doubters in deciding the gambit was a good one, and would succeed.

“At the end of the day, we’re not going to lose the vote,” a third official said.

Given the risks, however, Mr. Obama’s White House team is wasting no time seeking lawmakers’ support. Although Congress is still in its summer recess, some administration officials traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with House members who might be available and wanted a briefing on Syria.

Should be interesting. I mean I kind of understand Americans let themselves pressure into going to war after 8/11 but for a red line?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 5:13:06 PM | 96

Nick: "Does anyone have any inkling if there are concerted diplomatic efforts going on quietly between all players to resolve this conflict? Surely no effort should be spared to make a deal or is the world fascinated by fireworks and bangs?"

Since any diplomatic effort would be a recognition of the reality of the state of the war, it means formal admitting defeat for the US,Israel,and the Gulf dictatorships.

The Syrian war against foreign mercenaries is rapidly winding down from an existential threat for the country and turning into a more long term security problem of left over jihadists still scattered about the country.

One just has to listen to the apoplectic cry baby tears from the neocons like McCain over the past few months for an indication of just how badly the war is going for the foreign mercenaries and why the US has been sabotaging any attempts at negotiations and has been repeatedly working with Saudi Arabia and Israel to stage a chemical attack that can be used as a pretext for a US attack on Syria to try to put off outright defeat.

Posted by: stevens | Sep 2, 2013 5:17:04 PM | 97

"Indeed it would be fair to say that a significant number of known Neo-cons are also identifiably "Israel Firsters"."

It would also be fair to point out that a number of the members of the PNAC have dual citizenships...Israel/United States.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 5:21:18 PM | 98

94) I think they will have to support the war, I don't think they like it. They definitively did not like the Obama Administration's Muslim Brotherhood strategy, and they very gladly supported the Egyptian army to put a stop to it. They will not have liked the Muslim Brotherhood strategy in Syria. They have no problem with Assad, they have a problem with Hezbollah and Iran. Assad used to be independent of Hezbollah and Iran - he is not now, so Israel's environment has worsened in their view. It will not get better by a power vacuum that is ensured if Assad falls. There is no way you can calibrates strikes in a complex situation to get the desired outcome.
Of course they tried to cultivate own proxies in Syria, I doubt they were very successful.They will not try to pull a Lebanon type occupation scenario, they still remember the failure.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 2, 2013 5:28:26 PM | 99

"....the Obame administration seems to have motivated the Israel Lobby to work for them :-))"

ROFLMAO!!!! I'm trying to keep an open mind about you here, somebody, as I promised Parviziyi I would do. But if you're gonna lie about who's holding the leash, hmmm is gonna win the day as far as credibility goes.

"Motivated the Isreal lobby to work for them"??? You gotta be shittin' me. Even Parviziyi would have to admit that that kind of phrasing is disingenuous horseshit.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 2, 2013 5:30:00 PM | 100

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