Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 10, 2013

No Need For UN In Syria's Chemical Weapon Solution

Gregg Carlstrom summarizes Obama's confused messaging on Syria:
We are "seriously skeptical" of an offer, which we originally and accidentally proposed just a few hours earlier, to peacefully resolve a standoff over a "red line" which we accidentally set down last year. At the very least, it will delay for several weeks our response to a "deplorable" slaughter, our "Munich moment," which we promise will be "unbelievably small and extremely limited."
For anyone who closely followed yesterdays events (and the longer term issues) it is clear that the Obama administration had not planned for this development to happen. It was not the result of apt U.S. diplomacy but the result of another Kerry gaffe that Russia used to turn a terse situation into a win for nearly all sides.

The Russian initiative using Kerry's offhand remark saves Syria from an imminent attack by U.S. forces that would have shifted the battlefield balance towards the foreign supported insurgents and terrorists. It reenforces Assad's international position as the head of the state of Syria. It also saves the Obama administration from a serious defeat in Congress and from an embarrassing unilateral and illegal strike that would have been too big to be seen justified - internationally as well as domestically - and too small to placate the Israeli warmongers and other insurgency supporters.

The United Nations Secretary General, China, Britain, France and the Arab League welcomed the Russian initiative. Syria accepted it. Predictably the Syrian insurgents are against the Russian proposal as are the Israelis. They will not matter. The Obama campaign momentum towards war is now broken and can not be repaired. Going to war now would require a complete new propaganda campaign build on a different pseudo-rational cause.

France now proposes a UN Security Council resolution to underwrite the yet to be defined proposal. The U.S., Britain and France will try to put such a resolution under UN Chapter VII which would eventually allow for the use of force against Syria. Neither Russia nor China will agree to that. There is actually no need for a UN resolution at all though Russia may prefer to have some UNSC statement on the issue if only to pull the United States back into the realm of international law.

Syria's chemical stockpiles can be put under international control by immediately handing the keys of the warehouses over to Russian and Chinese officers. Syria could then contact the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and ask for its inspectors to work with those foreign officers to compile and verify lists of the stockpiles and to create plans for their eventual destruction. The OPCW is a legal international organization in its own rights and not a United Nations agency. Syria would join the OPCW by signing and ratifying the Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC). Syria would inform the United Nations Secretary General of these steps. There is no legal reason at all for the United Nations or the Security Council to be involved in any of these steps.

The destruction of Syria's stockpiles will take a long time. One would want to avoid to transport those chemicals and would preferably build a special handling and incineration facility somewhere in the Syrian desert to then destroy those chemicals and munitions. This may take, like in the United States, a decade or two or even longer.

I do not see any way the U.S. and its allies can reasonably press for a Chapter VII resolution. Syria declares, like many states did earlier, that it will voluntarily take the steps towards fulfilling the CWC. Why then should it, unlike any other countries before it, be threatened with force to do so? If there is to be a UNSC resolution on chemical weapons in the Middle East Russia and China must insist for it to cover all Middle East countries including of course Israel's chemical weapons. It is an reasonable demand and will be rejected bei the U.S. which is then a good reason to blame it for a failing resolution.

If Obama is smart he will recognize that Russia pulled him back from destroying his presidency. He should use the moment to rethink his Syria strategy, to dissociate himself from the Saudi-Israeli-Turkish alliance to destroy Syria and to finally agree on a diplomatic-political solution for the Syrian people.

Posted by b on September 10, 2013 at 11:13 UTC | Permalink

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Some comments above were good. It was foolish of 'b' to use the word "checkmate" because the game is still in flux and the enemies of Syria are very far from checkmated by Lavrov's move.

But it's looking like the enemies of Syria are in danger of getting checkmated by, of all people, US Republican voters. In case you didn't see the PEW opinion poll published yesterday: Among Repubican voters in the PEW survey conducted during 29 Aug - 1 Sep, 35% favored and 40% opposed military airstrikes against Syria, whereas in PEW survey during 4 Sep - 8 Sep, Republicans opposed airstrikes by an overwhelming 70% to 21% margin, with 51% saying they are strongly opposed.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 10 2013 21:23 utc | 101

Somehow we seem to have miss something important about the sequence that preceded Lavrov-Muallem press conferences.Days BEFORE St Petersburg austrian weekly Format if I am correct published an article about a letter sent by HAGEL to his austrian counterpart asking if austrians would be ready to sent troops to Syria (with whom austrian gov always maintained good relations,I cynically always thought that in light of Nabucco fiasco austrians were quick to understand the immense advantage of having good relations with Syria in order to place early on the national OMV on the chessboard maybe in partnership with the russians )to secure chemical weapons.Austrian defense minister replied with yes if the UNSC would agree.Well as lebanese journalist of Al Mayadeen Sami Kleib wrote yesterday things in politics are never as they appear because what goes under the table is much more important and different than what goes on it.He should know being married to Syrian Presidency press office boss!!

Posted by: Nobody | Sep 10 2013 21:23 utc | 102

100) well,
the New York Times is completely dissatisfied

- somehow I suspect they do not consider events a "win"

No doubt, ridding Syria of chemical weapons would be a great blessing, not least because it would get these horrible weapons beyond the reach of Assad’s Hezbollah allies and jihadi rebels. And if it opens the way for serious diplomacy aimed at ending the Syrian carnage, I will eat my hat – after tipping it in grateful salute to Kerry, Obama and Putin. At this stage, though, here’s what Putin seems to have accomplished:

a) He has stalled and possibly ended the threat that his client thug, President Bashar al-Assad, will be struck by American missiles for gassing his own people. As long as the international community is debating the endless complications of finding, verifying and locking down Assad’s chemical arsenal, Congress and the allies have ample excuse to do nothing.

b) He has diminished the already small prospect that the United States will attempt to shift the balance in Syria’s war. That sound you hear is John McCain’s head exploding.

c) He has further demoralized the Syrian resistance, and strengthened the jihadi radicals among them, by demonstrating that American red lines mean little.

d) He has recast Russia – whose military helped the Assad dynasty create its chemical weapons program in the first place – as the global peacemaker.

e) He has, incidentally, assured continued Syrian demand for Russian-made “conventional” ordnance, so that the extermination of Syrian civilians can proceed by marginally less inhumane means.

f) While seeming to help President Obama out of a political fix, he has made the American president seem even more the captive of events. A president who once seemed sure-footed, combining prudent diplomacy with the occasional bold stroke (killing Osama bin Laden) now stands accused of being, as his Texan predecessor might have put it, all hat and no cattle. He vowed to bring the Benghazi killers to justice, to stand against the return of military rule in Egypt, to arm the rebels in Syria, to enforce a red line against weapons of mass destruction. So far, he has accomplished none of the above.

The other day the neoconservative uber-hawk Norman Podhoretz offered a bizarre theory: that Obama, the “left-wing radical,” has actually embarked on a sly campaign to sabotage American influence in the world, “camouflaging his retreats” as incompetence. The screed sounded like the work of satirists at The Onion. But at least it credited the president with having a plan.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 21:33 utc | 103


The Austrians pulled out of the Golan a month or 2 back, citing danger due to the claimed possibility of ZATO-Merc attacks. Many took it as a definite signal that this USreal attack was a certainty..

Are you saying they are going back in?

Was it all theatre?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10 2013 21:34 utc | 104

Well when I'm relying on the NYT to tell me what is what re Syria, I'll know it's time to quit

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10 2013 21:35 utc | 105

102) Austrians were neutral in the cold war, that's why they are considered ideal for Syria ... found a few articles calling Russia "Soviet" ... some things take a long time to change

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 21:40 utc | 106

Freed journalist 'ducks for cover' at sound of planes
Quirico says US intervention in Syria would be 'serious error'
10 September, 14:27

(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 - After 152 days in often-brutal captivity, veteran war correspondent Domenico Quirico, who returned to Italy on Monday, said he instinctively "ducked for cover" at the sound of airplanes overhead when he woke up in his own bed on Tuesday.

"Only after a few moments did I realize I was not in Syria, I was home. It was a beautiful sensation," he said in an interview with television network Sky TG24.

Quirico, a long-time journalist for La Stampa daily, celebrated his first day of freedom Monday after five months of captivity in Syria along with Belgian academic Pierre Piccinin.

The 61-year-old reporter, who returned five kilos lighter but in good health, said that his captors did not treat him well.

"I was scared. The revolution betrayed me," he said.

"Maybe this sounds too moralistic, but truly, in Syria I met the country of Evil," he said. Quirico warned against United States intervention in Syria.

"The Americans have made many errors over the last years.

But to carry out an action like this would only strengthen jihadist would be a serious error.

"Our captors were happy at the idea of an American bombardment," he said.

Quirico said that he believed they had originally been captured and sold by the Syrian Free Army.

"We were beaten daily and - I am duty-bound to say this - were only treated well by an al-Qaeda group.

"They were 152 days of imprisonment, small dark rooms where we were fighting against time, fear, humiliation, hunger, lack of pity, two mock executions, two failed escape attempts, the silence of God, family, of others, of life. I was a hostage in Syria, betrayed by the revolution that no longer exists and has become fanaticism and the work of bandits" he said.

Of the many events that took place during his six months as a hostage, he said he was "very intrigued" by Premier Enrico Letta's recently forged left-right government.

"I was received by Premier Letta and I never would have imagined that (PdL Secretary Angelino) Alfano would be standing next to him...but this too is politics," he said.

A government based on a precarious alliance between traditional foes - Letta's own centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party - was forged in April to break a stalemate that left Italy without a government for two months

Posted by: brian | Sep 10 2013 21:48 utc | 107

Regarding flights into /out of Syria:

Use which is a live flight tracker, for Aleppo in this case. At my time, it shows flights to and from Damscus and Moscow. If aircraft have their transponders enabled, their track can be monitored live. The final code in the URL 'alp' is the IATA airport code

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 10 2013 21:48 utc | 108

The French-drafted UNSC Resolution is dead in the water.

It has to be stressed that a UN Security Council resolution is not required for **any** of Lavrov's plan. Indeed, none of it requires any UN involvement whatsoever.

1) The Chemical Weapons Convention is *not* a UN document. The Security Council does *not* get to vet who can and who can not sign it.

2) The treaty itself says that once a state signs the CWC then the inspection/verification regime gets negotiated between the signatory state and the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons. The OPCW is *not* a UN agency. The Security Council does *not* get a say in what the OPCW does or does not agree to with the signatory state.

3) The ad-hoc arrangement required to "secure" the existing stockpiles pending their destruction is entirely a matter between Syria and whichever country is willing to put up its hand and offer its troops. Nobody can *compel* Syria to accept foreign troops, nor can the *compel* Syria to agree to the makeup of any such international force.

This is not a situation where two countries are in armed conflict.
This is not a situation where the UNSC has to separate two combatant nations.

There is just Syria and its weaponry. Syria therefore gets to decide whether it wishes to dispose of those weapons, and if Assad and Putin come to a little deal between themselves regarding how that is to be done then n.o.b.o.d.y. has a right of veto over that arrangement.

The Security Council is not The World Government.
Barack Obama is not God Emperor Of The World.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 10 2013 21:56 utc | 109

And this is how they treat their friends! Men consumed by pursuit of money( capitalists!nowonder they have american support ) This account gives us alook at the day to day life of the 'syrian rebels': who would support a revolution by ths sort or fellow?

Syria hostage Domenico Quirico 'treated like animal'

An Italian war correspondent held captive by multiple armed groups in Syria has spoken of how he was treated "like an animal".
Domenico Quirico was freed on Sunday, after being held hostage for five months along with Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin da Prata.
In the pages of his newspaper, La Stampa, the 62-year-old described being subjected to two mock executions.
He said his captors were "mixed-up" men consumed by the pursuit of money.
Mr Quirico entered Syria from Lebanon on 6 April. He disappeared four days later near the city of Qusair - probably betrayed, Mr Quirico said, by members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Over following months he and Mr da Prata were passed from one armed group to another.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote
I could hear him [my captor] breathing. I knew that he liked to have a man's life in his hands”
End Quote Domenico Quirico
Italian and Belgian freed in Syria
The captives endured long, dangerous journeys that took them halfway across Syria as the battle frontlines shifted and they were forced to decamp.
He finally arrived home in early on Monday morning, after what Italian authorities said were extensive efforts by the Italian foreign ministry and other state agencies.
"Our captors were from a group that professed itself to be Islamist but that in reality is made up of mixed-up young men who have joined the revolution because the revolution now belongs to these groups that are midway between banditry and fanaticism," he said.
"They follow whoever promises them a future, gives them weapons, gives them money to buy cell phones, computers, clothes."
Such groups, he said, were trusted by the West but were in truth profiting from the revolution to "take over territory, hold the population to ransom, kidnap people and fill their pockets".
Mr Quirico said he and his fellow captive were kept "like animals, locked in small rooms with windows closed despite the great heat, thrown on straw mattresses, giving us the scraps from their meals to eat".
Mr Quirico's daughters appealed for information about their father on 1 June
He said his guards seemed to take no interest in anything other money and weapons - spending entire days lounging on mattresses, smoking and watching old black-and-white Egyptian movies or American wrestling shows on television.
He said he felt these men took satisfaction from seeing what they would regard as two rich Westerners reduced to the status of beggars.
'Country of evil'
Once, Mr Quirico said he had borrowed a mobile phone from a wounded rebel fighter to call home. "It was the only gesture of pity I received in 152 days of captivity," he said.
"Even children and old people tried to hurt us. Maybe I am putting this in overly ethical terms but in Syria I really found a country of evil," he said.
Paradoxically, he said, "the only ones who treated us with humanity were those closest to al-Qaeda", because they had an attitude towards prisoners - a code of conduct - that other captors lacked.
Twice, Mr Quirico said, he was subjected to mock executions, including one in which a rebel held a loaded gun to his head.
He writes of his fear in a moment when his "executioner" stepped very close to him: "I could hear him breathing. I knew that he liked to have a man's life in his hands... that he liked making me afraid."
Mr Quirico does not write of exactly why he was finally released.
He talks of being forced to make a walk in the night and fearing that he was going to be shot in the back - but then hearing an Italian voice in the darkness, and realising that he was being freed.

Posted by: brian | Sep 10 2013 21:56 utc | 110

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 10, 2013 2:56:12 PM | 79

Ghouta(the new Houla)
good work Petri! i suppose now its amatter of mopping up: determing the nature of this event. What id like to see is positive ID of the vistims by relatives: names and where from.

Posted by: brian | Sep 10 2013 22:03 utc | 111

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 10, 2013 5:23:09 PM | 101

in a Democrat regime republicans are antiwar and vice verse

Posted by: brian | Sep 10 2013 22:12 utc | 112

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10, 2013 5:33:18 PM | 103

NYT acts as if it were edited from Tel Aviv

Posted by: brian | Sep 10 2013 22:14 utc | 113


It is... didn't you know? It's the voice of Israel/Neocons... think back to invasion of Iraq...

Posted by: crone | Sep 10 2013 22:24 utc | 114

b nails it. Nothing really to add.

But expect the US, British and French to be working in overdrive as they look to derail any proposal that might jeopardise their Syrian aspirations.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Erdogan's palace. That the opposition were handing out hit-wish-lists of Government targets when a strike seemed imminent but which now appears redundant is frankly hysterical.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 10 2013 22:36 utc | 115

@104 hmm and @106 somebody,
what I meant are the good relations dating back to the cold war up to Kosovo because then all of the sudden Austria forgot its neutrality.It was really a free neutral country till the adhesion to the EU.What I find interesting is that they withstood Eu pressure in the case of Syria and I explained before why I think they acted this way (calculus about gas).Anyway it is definitely interesting that Hagel would write to his counterpart in Vienna before the G20.It maybe has to do with the situation Obomber boxed himself in,the desertion of the UK but mostly the immense difficulties of taking the overt war path not the covert one in which they are up to their neck because of the huge budget cut in the pentagon and the very real military unhappiness to be dragged into yet another failure ,this time of enormous proportions.Web and msm rumors are aplenty in the arab world of US asking Iran not to retaliate with Hezbollah in case of their "surgical strikes".....

Posted by: Nobody | Sep 10 2013 22:36 utc | 116

Don't forget this blast from the past (last May): Report: Police foil al-Nusra [sarin] bomb attack planned for Adana.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 10 2013 22:36 utc | 117

In addition to the Times Of Israel, Dale also did work for BBC, NPR and this Assad torture piece for Public Radio International back in July of 2011 which as with the Ghouta piece ran the disclaimer that the info couldn't be independently verified for what it's worth. I bring it up as it definitely was a part of the "Assad tortures peaceful activists" campaign that started around that time - Spring 2011 - and encompassed many Western intelligence front groups like HRW, Amnesty and news agencies .

I think it's important to chart the phases of this campaign. First, it was Assad tortured. When it turned out that most of the "activists" were mercenary jihadists in the employ of the Zionist West and they were losing, the focus shifted to the next crime: CWs. Gavlak ran pieces in both phases with the one on the Ghouta attack went viral for a bit.

I agree w/ Petri, this is a false flag murder - a la 9/11, that's my comparison not Petri's - again dressed up to look like a deliberate attack. Obviously, as with professional operations, it will probably be impossible to finger anyone but the similar Zionist fingerprints on this show again 1) America being drawn into war 2) Saudis being fingered for crimes and 3) Israel's involvement in the entire situation being erased.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 10 2013 22:36 utc | 118

Front up: I don't see why some here who obviously have the brains to do better things, actually engage with zionist prop tools like zomebody and anomymouz. You don't discuss with toilet flushing, no? Why then would you discuss with zio-prop bots.

Same goes for that bodansky and other zio-rats.

brian (11):

Also I think it is important for people to realise that Russia is NOT all powerful, it cannot do ANYTHING to 100% ensure that Syria is protected. We need another ten to fifteen years of military development especially of Russia and China to be able to really match and stop the imperialist war machine.

And you say that based on *what*?

Until now Russia and other civilized nations *have* protected Syria. As Petri Krohn already pointed out correctly Russia, while looking very well mannered, actually of course used cannon boat diplomacy. And it obviously worked. Another prespective on this: Why would the zuk parliament suddenly be opposed to a war? Have they magically turned into responsible human being? Hardly. More realistically, the Russians gave them a friendly hint à la "nice country, that you've got yourself there. Would be a shame if it suddenly somehow stood in flames, wouldn't it?"


Quite many simply don't know about or don't realize the potential of the Club-* system. In short those are the very missile systems everybody with a brain is very afraid of (the whole Sunburn familiy and successors) - but in a standard 40' container. This not only make them virtually invisible but also extremely versatile.
Good that you mentioned them. Maybe it helps some people to get a more realistic understanding of the potential facts on the ground.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 10 2013 22:40 utc | 119

Russia and Syria have proposed that Syria could surrender all its chemical weapons to international (UN) control.

But the US has found a way to reject that by insisting that any UN Security Council resolution accepting that offer must be binding with a pre-approved military option for enforcement.
Why would that be unacceptable to Syria and Russia? Because agreeing with such a resolution would allow false cover for unilateral US "enforcement" and "punishment" of alleged non-compliance. (Remember Iraq and the alleged "non-compliance" of a UN resolution for having non-existent WMDs?)

The US policy has been consistent. The aim is to "degrade" Syria to get at Iran, and thereby gain an unquestioned upper hand against Russia and China. Of course, a policy which seeks "security" by full-spectrum dominance over others is neither salutary nor flawless.

It is their public explanations which are inconsistent. But they're done out of necessity, since the real reasons are too unpalatable to reveal, and false reasons invariably lack logic and fact.

Posted by: Cynthia | Sep 10 2013 22:41 utc | 120

it all boils down to the approval, or not, of an intrusive inspection regime as part of the deal over Syria's CW

I was pessimistic from the start, but Putin seems strongly opposed to such a possibility; so maybe b was right (not really a surprise, ok); but the battle isn't over

the situation is difficult to understand (at least for me) because many forces are acting covertly, and there are great divisions; for example, German secret services' "scoop", having intercepted a phone call between Hezbollah (!) and an Iranian official (!!) is certainly propaganda against the government's official position

another example: I still don't understand Uk' opposition to a military action; that seems to show that also the Us and Israel are divided over war, otherwise the Uk would have certainly followed a concerted Us-Israel pressure

so "somebody"'s insistence that matters are different from what they seem must be taken as skepticism legitimated by the circumstances

Lavrov's greatest contribution has been, at the moment, that it has weighted into the Us debate, instilling doubts and opening new perspectives; but nothing good would have come from it if it wasn't because the west is already deeply divided and without a viable strategy after Assad resisted the aggression

rather, I'd say that Obama's moves (and the whole CW charade) show that also the strategy of letting Assad and the jihadists bleed each other out has failed: Syria is devastated, but Assad's regime (yes, I call it this way although I support its resistance to imperialism) is becoming stronger and wiser by the day

Posted by: claudio | Sep 10 2013 23:48 utc | 121


Putin: Syria chem arms handover will work only if US calls off strike

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Syria’s chemical arms handover will only work if the US and its allies renounce the use of force against Damascus.

"Of course, all of this will only mean anything if the United States and other nations supporting it tell us that they're giving up their plan to use force against Syria. You can’t really ask Syria, or any other country, to disarm unilaterally while military action against it is being contemplated," President Putin said on Tuesday.

Now the US options are 1) Try to sweet talk Putin out of that condition. Pretty tough to do IMHO 2) Reject the CWC deal and restart the countdown to war 3) Reject the deal, without actually ever attacking Syria (the most likely option I think)or 4) Accept the deal and the restrictions it places on the US attacking anyone it feels like...that would really be a feat but US policy makers can handle only so much reality at a time.

At any rate, anyone who thought Syria was giving away its chemical arsenal in exchange for an empty box of chocolates is mistaken. Syria's chemical weapons aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 10 2013 23:57 utc | 122

If the intention was never to actually attack but just to achieve what it is they have achieved, then the UK parliament vote looks less important, or mysterious.

If the US acting all "big crazy", so crazy as to "go it alone
!!", without the Brits (!!), got the Syrians and Lavrov to blink, and offer something, with a sigh of relief, that they would not have offered before?

Moving a few boats around, make a few speeches, tell a few obvious lies, just to show how far yer willing to go. Tap dancing.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 0:07 utc | 123


So far no plan has been presented. Let alone agreed upon.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 0:10 utc | 124

I really like the Vineyard Saker's analysis:

Role of the Russian Navy

The Russian naval task force off the coast of Syria is a pretty big one, and it includes some very powerful ships, such as the Moskva class guided missile cruisers, whose main function is to sink aircraft carriers. Except that the Russians never had any intention of sinking anybody, much less so a US carrier. While clearly this task for was designed with several possibly contingencies in mind, I would argue that one of its most important tasks was to protect a ship with no firepower at all: the Priazov'ye intelligence collection ship.

And don't let the "medium" descriptor fool you as it only refers to the physical size. This ship is packed with advanced electronic and communication intelligence gear (including special electronic intelligence equipment "Profil`-M", "Rotor-S", "Prokhlada", "Vizir", "Konus", "Zarya-1", sonar MG-349 «Uzh», MGP-303). Combined with the extremely powerful radars and anti-air capabilities of the rest of the Russian naval task force the electronics onboad the Priazovie made it impossible to strike Syria with any degree of tactical surprise. This consideration, in turn, must have counted as an important element in Obama's decision take accept Putin's "Russian Gambit". Exactly has I had predicted, while the entire world was focused on whether the Russians had or had not delivered all, or part, of the S-300s to Syria, the Russians came up with a totally different move which took the world by surprise.

Saving Obama's sorry face:

Anybody who has seen the video of Kerry running his mouth about Assad giving up all of his chemical weapons before the end of the way even though this was, I quite Kerry, "impossible" will see this was not a planned statement but just Kerry thinking out loud. So why are the Russians now eagerly confirming that yes, indeed, this option had been discussed with Obama in Saint Petersburg? Because Putin, Lavrov & Co are hyper-pragmatists. They don't want to humiliate these idiots Obama and Kerry and they are quite happy to give them a face-saving way out, as long as that contributes to the Russian objective for Syria. This is what the State Department first said that Kerry statement was 'rhetorical' - even they had no clue. And is it not fitting that one thoughtless statement by a US politician almost started a war (Obama's "red line") while another, no less thoughtless statement by another US politicians (Kerry's "give up all weapons in a week") prevented it? Karma is beautiful!

The whole thing is great reading.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 11 2013 0:11 utc | 125

@124 That is true, but then no chemical weapons have been given up. And it's not yet clear that they will be, since the US publicly renouncing the use of force is like us holding our heads under water for 10 minutes. Better to let the Syrians keep their weapons, than do that.

At any rate, Putin's statement in 122 is a pretty clear indication of who is setting the terms for any disarmament that may or may not take place.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 11 2013 0:17 utc | 126

@ 125, 126

Lysander, thanks for turning me on to Shaker... been following him for a few days now... very informative.

And I agree, Putin is calling the shots. Nice to see an adult in charge for a change.

Posted by: crone | Sep 11 2013 0:20 utc | 127

This significance of the CW is not whether or not they stay in Syria. It's all about setting the precedent, otherwise "something would have to be done!"

It's for later. Barry might even pass it on to the next guy or gal.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 0:27 utc | 128

hmmm, the point is, I'm not sure of what the Us (or part of it) really wanted; my guess: interrupt Assad's slow strangling of rebel strongholds around Damascus and let the rebels - aided by special forces - regain some of the positions lost in the last months

the "limited strike" might have played, then, a role analogous to Libya's "no-fly zone"

in any case, they would have had a better chance of obtaining what they wanted, whatever it was, with the UK standing by them; so the UK vote suggests another possibility: that they didn't really know what they really wanted, after all

Posted by: claudio | Sep 11 2013 0:32 utc | 129

hmm, yes, the Us might try to use this as a precedent; but inspectors of a UN agency are already in Iran, monitoring that enriched uranium isn't diverted from its civilian uses; so the analogy will hold only for those who already decided to go to war, and it will boil down to - as in the present case - how much lust for war exists in the west: not much, fortunately, these days

Posted by: claudio | Sep 11 2013 0:37 utc | 130

The chemical weapons are not much of a deterrent against nuclear weapons, most certainly not as much as having a nuclear armed superpower with an ever deepening interest in protecting your existence.

Syria is, unfortunately, in no position to tell the Russians no. As a small country under threat, they have few options. That is reality unfortunately.

But putting that in perspective, a trade has been made, and quite a good one. For some nice words and some future, yet to be worked out promises, the empire's drive to war has been stopped dead in its tracks and the empire's leaders have been shown to be the fumbling bumbling fools that they are. This is the last thing they wanted - though they had to take it lest they spark a genuine world disaster. That that disaster would come was so clear that even these clowns could see it.

Assad is not only still the President of Syria free to continue eliminating the takfiri killers, he has the chance to look like a statesman (which he is, from what I've seen) on the world stage and, hopefully with some pomp and circumstance, sign an international treaty which only further makes Israel's nuclear weapons look like the unnecessary danger to the region that they are. Russia and Syria look like serious world leaders. Russia is ever more committed to Syria now as it has brokered this deal. The bonds of trust have been deepened and Russia's reputation is even more deeply tied to the success of the Syrian government over the zio-empire's lackey "rebels". The story of the chemical attacks will get ever more focus and be exposed for the rebel outrage that it was.

In short: one has only to decide which is more vital to Syria's future: possessing some expensive, not particularly effective weapons or its existence as a secular, sovereign state that works for the good of its people and not for the empire.


I wonder if Hasbaristas should be scoped out like agent provocateurs at a protest. Those making the loudest accusations ought to be the first place under suspicion.

Just a thought.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 11 2013 0:40 utc | 131

POTUS tonight: "The US military doesn't do pinpricks."

Pushback against Kerry's "unbelievably small and limited" remark?

Or allusion to the actual Circular Error Probable of previously-chracterized-as-"pinpoint precision" cruise missile capabilities?

I can't decide.

Posted by: Shwell Thanksh | Sep 11 2013 1:28 utc | 132

@120 No, I don't think the Russians have suggested handing over the CW stockpiles to UN control.

That would be pointless, since the forces that would "secure" those stockpiles will have to be REAL soldiers, with REAL authority to shoot anyone and anything that approaches those warehouses.

This will be an ad-hoc arrangement, something created entirely outside the auspices of the UN Security Council irrespective of whether (or not) it comes with a UNSC Presidential statement saying how much the Council thinks that this is A Most Wise And Wonderful Idea.

"But the US has found a way to reject that by insisting that any UN Security Council resolution accepting that offer must be binding with a pre-approved military option for enforcement."

No, sorry, the US simply can't block this, precisely because nothing in the Lavrov plan **requires** UNSC approval for its implementation.

So while the Russians might **like** a Security Council Seal Of Approval they don't actually **need** it, and they certainly can't be **blocked** by any American shenanigan's at the UN.

a) The UNSC can not prevent Syria signing and ratifying the CWC
b) The UNSC can not give orders or insist upon conditions with respect to the OPCW
c) The UNSC can not tell Russia it is banned from offering to secure those stockpiles, nor can the UNSC prohibit Syria from accepting that offer.

These are SYRIA's weapons.
Those are RUSSIA's soldiers.

If Putin wants to offer the services of his soldiers then he is perfectly at liberty to do so.
If Assad wants to accept that generous offer then he is perfectly at liberty to do so.

There is n.o.t.h.i.n.g. that Obama can do that can prevent this from happening e.x.c.e.p.t. to open hostilities against Assad's military, and that is now a non-starter.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 11 2013 1:32 utc | 133

I love how Israel is desperate to appear like a reluctant participant in this evil warmongering, as if anyone with a functioning brain believes it. Recall that Israel has already bombed and/or attacked Syria several times recently. Given this, the Israeli posturing is simply laughable. Same as it always was, they just want someone else to do their dirty work, and take the fall if it goes badly.

Posted by: Cynthia | Sep 11 2013 1:38 utc | 134

What a drag to live in a country where the President lies to you in a tone normally reserved discussing treats with a dog.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 11 2013 1:47 utc | 135

What a drag to live in a country where the President lies to you in a tone normally reserved for discussing treats with a dog.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 11 2013 1:48 utc | 136

Obama's speech = the dramatic retreat of US imperialism in the Middle East. What a moment to witness!

He just gave up the long-standing ambition of US foreign policy in the Middle East: hegemonic dominance.

And what irony too given the discourse of 2003... What karma...

Posted by: anon4569245555 | Sep 11 2013 2:07 utc | 137


you must live on another planet... I heard none of that in his speech.

Posted by: crone | Sep 11 2013 2:24 utc | 138

crone, anon456925555 and guest77

what was interesting was the way the networks switched back to their regular rubbish game shows (NBC)
or gave a meandering vague commentary about nothing in particular. (abc)

Posted by: heath | Sep 11 2013 2:43 utc | 139

I agree that describing this as a Russian "checkmate" is a bit much... a Russian "bitchslap" is probably more accurate. It's definitely thrown a spanner into Netenyahu and Bandar bin Sultan's (and probably Rockefeller and Rothschild's while we're at it) designs, but the policy has been too long in the making for them to just take their collective balls and go home. I have no doubt that they are furiously inventing Plans B and C and D even now. One thing that we can say has come of this pretty assuredly, though, and that's that they will never again let John Kerry near a microphone when any of the heavy lifting needs to be done.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 11 2013 3:28 utc | 140

JSorrentine, various: doubtless you find your own sarcasm funny, but to me it's irrelevant. So is the roll-call of what newspapers Bodansky and for that matter Gavlak have written for. Bodansky is correct when he says so far there is no actual EVIDENCE connecting Bandar to the mass casualty event at Ghouta. For that matter, there is no actual EVIDENCE as to what the event was. Look up EVIDENCE in an online dictionary and learn to distinguish it from propaganda points.

By the way, I think this is the first time Gilad Atzmon has written something absolutely ESSENTIAL. The various trolls and counter-trolls saying is this a win or a lose should pay attention to him. This is the first big lose for the Israel lobby, which is why both the lobby and Israel are pretending they don't know each other. To see through this ploy and expose it as bullshit, loudly and everywhere, is extremely important, otherwise we (the anti-Israel community) will have lost our greatest opportunity so far.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 3:41 utc | 141

I disagree that this is the first time Atzmon has written something absolutely essential.

As for the Israel Lobby (which includes AIPAC) they are out of the closet, out in the sunlight, and like toothpaste, will stay outed... Americans are becoming more aware everyday of the role they play...

As far as the first big loss, I rather thought the Israeli dodgy dossier provided as 'evidence' for the invasion of Iraq, the forged documents, etc. was a tremendous loss. But then it wasn't out in the open, NYT made sure of that. This time, ironically it was the NYT with their pitiful attempt to change one graph in an article that got the Lobby exposed - once the dam burst, it was all over.

Posted by: crone | Sep 11 2013 3:55 utc | 142

140) To be fair to John Kerry, he was tasked with the impossible. I agree with 120) that the US and Israeli strategy is to let all sides bleed in Syria - there is no way to sell this to decent people, especially when you need a strike to prevent one side from winning but not designed to let the other side win.

There is a real split in US ME Foreign Policy establishment on the usefulness of Saudi Arabia. It is not just US alliance with Israel that gives the US a bad reputation, it is also alliance with Saudi Arabia. Obama was supposed to restore US soft power in the Middle East - he has completely lost if any was left.

This here is a pro contra discussion in the NYT "The Threat and Value of Saudi Arabia" of August 21

with this contra

Indeed, this odd marriage between an absolute monarchy and a free republic has stood the test of time, despite the fact that the 9/11 attacks were largely carried out by Saudi nationals. But this might change soon. The Saudi monarchy has repeatedly undermined U.S. policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and other countries. Over the past few years, the Saudis have orchestrated brash interventions in other countries and have supported violent groups with anti-U.S. interests.

A common misconception among American policymakers is that the Saudis are adamantly anti-terrorism and effectively curb extremism through internal departments, and thus are the best hope for fighting terrorism in the region. However, upon further investigation, Saudi Arabia willingly or unwillingly, depending on whom you ask, has provided much of the financing, manpower, and ideology for building up Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Thousands of Saudis have been killed fighting alongside Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. And Saudi Arabia has turned a blind eye to the exponential growth of Al Qaeda along the southern border of Yemen.

Simultaneously, the Saudi’s have pledged billions of dollars to undermine the emergence of a successful Arab Spring outcome in Egypt, Tunisa and Yemen. If the United States aims to stabilize the Middle East, it must support the emergence of governments that are somewhat democratic, but that is exactly what the Saudi monarchy loathes and is spending billions of dollars to prevent. In a nutshell, with the existence of the Saudi monarchy, the prospect for democracy in the Middle East, especially in the Gulf countries, is nearly impossible.

The usual suspects, Dennis Ross, are for, the majority of contributors are. The whole piece tries to advocate for the alliance with the Saudis.

The fact however, that they feel the need to debate this, is telling.

The US is a democracy, politicians have to sell policies. When foreign policy elites can no longer sell their plans this is the beginning of the end.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 4:03 utc | 143

'strategy is to let all sides bleed in Syria '

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11, 2013 12:03:06 AM | 143

one of those sides has been orchestrated by USrael allied witrh saudi qatar turkey jordan sunni dictatorships..Iraq COULD do more to help

Posted by: brian | Sep 11 2013 4:10 utc | 144

@ 143, is it your contention that KSA was doing all this despite US objections, or perhaps under America's unwitting nose?

Because quite frankly I'm of the opinion that Saudi Arabia has been a loyal tool of the empire since the beginning. Anti-Nasser and anti Arab Nationalism, Iran-Contra, Afghan Mujahideen, Chechen 'rebels,' Anti-Iran and Anti-Hezbollah. An odd coincidence that all those independent Saudi policies just happened to be exactly what Uncle Sam needed done at the time.

It is true that puppet governments want to maintain an appearance of independence before their public, and so KSA has to do a Kabuki from time to time. And it is also true the US would certainly wish to hide its decades long alliance with Wahhabism from its own public. And now that the cat is out of the bag, the US could very well throw the Saudis under the bus, and claim the whole thing was their idea all along.

But that's the behavior of criminals in a conspiracy that's going off the rails.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 11 2013 4:24 utc | 145

145) It is same as trying to sell a strategy of letting two sides bleed to decent people.
It is impossible to justify the alliance to a country which funds the killing of your citizens and soldiers once it is in the open.
The elites - read ruling sociopaths - however might consider it a brilliant strategy.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 4:44 utc | 146

hmm (123)

If the intention was never to actually attack but just to achieve what it is they have achieved, then the UK parliament vote looks less important, or mysterious.

If the US acting all "big crazy", so crazy as to "go it alone
!!", without the Brits (!!), got the Syrians and Lavrov to blink, and offer something, with a sigh of relief, that they would not have offered before?

Moving a few boats around, make a few speeches, tell a few obvious lies, just to show how far yer willing to go. Tap dancing.

Well, it was a tap dance then an extremely expensive one, costing zusa a vast amount of respect with the sheeple who understand issues only when they blink and yell. Furthermore it cost zusa what little credibility I might have still had.

Now zusa is looking like a bunch of aggressive, law ignorant retards who have been beaten at their own game. Additionally they have lost considerable weight in UN and generally on an international level.

And while currently everyone is focussed on Russia, Syria, and zusa there will sure enough be a bill presented to zaudi arabia, jordania, and israel (and quite possibly to turkey).

zusa will have a hard time now and it will be an interesting fight between zusa and their allies; right now everyone moves his lips to say "We, of course, welcome this approach and chance for a peaceful resolution". In the case of zusa, of course, that is a lie. But it will be interesting to see how many of their allies can be kept at zusas side and how many mean it and prefer to avoid war, if reluctantly.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 11 2013 4:53 utc | 147

145/146 plus

I think it is systemic and cold war related. Throughout the cold war the US allied against perceived communism - labor, trade unions, left wing,socialist, anti-imperialist nationalist, communist groups with the most reactionary right wing forces - Gladio network in Europe, Al Queida in Afghanistan, military dictatorship in Latin America in a dual global fight with the Soviet Union and China.

Now Russia is a strategic partner and China an economic partner a large part of the secret service, security, think tank sector connected to the cold war has become obsolete, they needed a new business model after the fall of the Soviet Union. Islam and the clash of civilizations replaced the Communist threat. What de facto happened was to continue the fight against the - now defunct - Soviet Union in Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. This is very much a story of the old cold war institutions selling their policy for continued funding. And obviously think tanks and security contractors would try to get funding from US public sources controlled by congress and private parties.

US foreign policy works more like a business model than a national strategy.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 5:24 utc | 148

148) That also explains why large parts of Latin America can have an independent policy nowadays. The funding is simply no longer there.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 5:29 utc | 149

There is something else that will have to give - the Tamarrod "Saudi/liberal" alliance

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 6:07 utc | 150

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 10, 2013 11:41:33 PM | 141

Superlatives aside, that piece certainly stands alongside Atzmon's finest contributions to the anti-Israel/anti-Lobby debate. And, as usual, his aim is unerringly accurate and unambiguous.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2013 6:34 utc | 151

This is Russia trying to do deals with the US behind closed doors again, which I object to:

Russia cancels emergency UN meeting on Syria CW
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Sep 10 2013

UN – An emergency closed-door meeting of the USC on Syria was canceled on Tuesday after Russia withdrew its request for the session, Australia’s UN envoy said, as Western powers and Russia disagreed over a plan for Syria’s chemical arsenal...

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 6:34 utc | 152

One of the things I like about Atzmon is that if he hasn't got much to say, he doesn't say much or keeps quiet.
(Dumbass Yankees please note - and give it a try)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2013 6:43 utc | 153

Atzmon isn't far off but - and that makes his writing worthless - he deals only with a jewish perspective. Is this or that action by this or that jewish group or people good or bad for other jewish groups or people; that's his only real concern.

I doubt that there is any other solution than to terminate israel along with everyone and everything not strictly and unconditionally opposed to israel and all its tentacles, cut-outs and puppets.

As for zusa, I don't care that much. Maybe they, the americans, decide and succeed in terminating all the servants of israel and "double citizenship" rats and possibly save some of their country and liberty, or they don't and end in hell on earth.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 11 2013 7:21 utc | 154


This stupid deal saved obama and put syria in a bad position.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 11 2013 8:03 utc | 155

So Bandar’s boys kidnapped 426 Alawi children and gassed them in cold blood:

Western rationality (excerpt)
Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Net, Sep 9 2013

... All observers have noted the high proportion of children among the victims. The US has counted 426, or more than a third... The wide distribution of satellite channel images of victims allowed Alawi families near Latakia to recognize their children who had been abducted two weeks prior by the “rebels” ...

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 8:24 utc | 156

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 11, 2013 3:21:48 AM | 154

There you go again - this time misrepresenting Atzmon.
It doesn't matter whether it's deliberate or accidental. It's demonstrably wrong, Mr Pragma. Atzmon casts "Israel's" favourite ('Never Again') holocaust (but not their own Palestinian holocaust) as the Holocaust religion. He does so because it is used, by Jews, to bully people opposed to "Israel's" crimes into silence, and to discourage people from questioning the lies surrounding 'Israel's' strident and discordant assertions using (unexamined) tales of suffering and victimhood.
It's a crock, Mr P, as you yourself have acknowledged. Dismissing Atzmon precisely when The Lobby and all its convoluted variations are being flushed out from under their rocks and into the sunlight is, to be generous, really bad timing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2013 8:38 utc | 157


Still a lot cheaper than firing off tomahawks @1.5mil a pop

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 8:51 utc | 158

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11, 2013 4:24:47 AM | 156

"...their children who had been abducted two weeks prior by the 'rebels' ..."

and let's not forget that they did so with Obama & the Neocons blessings, encouragement and complicity.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2013 8:55 utc | 159

155) you mean to be able to regain control of Aleppo?

This is what is going on at the Turkish border

A crossing on Turkey’s border with Syria is "out of control" due to the flow of refugees, allowing outlawed groups to move freely between the two countries, according to a report by the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s governor’s office, daily Milliyet has reported.

The border gate in Şanlıurfa’s Akçakale district has seen an increased flow of Syrian refugees in recent days due to clashes in Syria’s Rakka province and the situation at the crossing has become unmanageable, according to a report sent by Şanlıurfa governor’s office to the Security General Directorate.

Our border crossing has become uncontrolled due to the overloading and congestion. There is insufficient control over the passports as well as the boxes, bags and equipment people are carrying with them, said Milliyet’s Sept. 6 report.

The modernization of the Akçakale customs gate has reportedly not been accomplished and there is a security weakness for personnel in the event of a flow of refugees at the gate. The report also stated that ID checks, taking the necessary pictures, and conducting body searches cannot be done properly because of the volume of people.

The refugee camps in Şanlıurfa’s Akçakale and Harran districts are full, so the refugees who enter the border crossing are moving to several places across Turkey uncontrolled, with the help of their relatives.

The report also mentioned that the risk of terror leaks into the country has risen along with the uncontrolled gates.

Militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and their collaborators are reportedly taking advantage as the Akçakale border gate is close to the Syrian provinces of Resulayn and Kobani, where a PKK affiliate group, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), is active. Some institutions in Syria are controlled by the PKK members and these people could easily have official passports.

The are also concerns about risks of a possible conflict between Arab and Kurdish communities in Şanlıurfa, as wounded Syrian rebels are being treated in the city’s hospitals.

El Muhabarat, the Syrian regime’s intelligence service, as well as officials, are also thought to be exploiting the security weakness at the border and entering Turkey to collect information and create conflict, the report added.

It also warned that smuggling was increasing across the border, with weapons, animals, hashish, and food being smuggled in greater quantities.

The area is too dangerous for reporters, phone lines and internet cut off, i.e. nothing in the MSM, no outcry, no nothing

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 8:57 utc | 160

Syria, if the US attack doesn't happen, seems to be on the way to becoming a Russian-Iranian protectorate under attack by unconventional forces: Afghanistan in the 80s. The Syrian government will be able to hold on for as much time as the external helpers have the political will to remain assisting them but when/if they are gone (USSR leaving Afghanistan in 1989) they country will be gone and replaced by a warlordish regime.

Posted by: ThePaper | Sep 11 2013 9:11 utc | 161

I'm not sure of what the Us (or part of it) really wanted;

Long term or short term?

Longish term is simply to bleed Syria dry by a death of a thousand cuts

And short term was simply to walk away from this with some binding international agreement that makes Syria's CW a legal issue. They now seem to have that, or close to it.

I am sure this even if yo are not, and I after several days at examining the angles, I said it on Aug 30th

"Zome of us never thought that there would be an overt ZATO/ZUSA/ZUK attack anyway. Not just yet.

From the moment the UK ex-defence chief came out saying it's a bad idea, it was clear the main purpose of this excersize was to fix "Syria=WMD" in the minds of idiots and the great unwashed ignorant masses. The pay-off is further down the line

The wittlin away of the willing is no surprize to any one that viewed this as a bluff from the getgo

Posted by: hmm | Aug 30, 2013 6:50:32 AM | 179

and things are working out out exactly as I said they would, : No fireworks, so far, and Legal documents regarding Syrias CW's soon to be in their back pocket

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 9:15 utc | 162

162) yep, you just forget that when people remember Iraq's WMD, they also remember Colin Powell, and they remember that those weapons were never found, and they remember the Iraq war.

So that plot is just stupid.

161) And this time it is very close to Europe, very close.

And that is why, this time, there is a backlash for Saudi and the US.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 9:37 utc | 163

Hoarsewhisperer (157)

I said that Atzmon is probably right, so I'm *not* going against him.

I'm simply tired and unnerved by never ending jewish self retrospection, even when it's _critically_ considering the phenomenon known as holocaust industry and blackmailing.

Discussing details and consequences of jewish group A being unhappy or even attacking jewish group B may be interesting for some in some contexts. I personally don't care batshit.

Tens of thousands of Syrians are dead and many, many more had to flee their homes or country and zusa just has played with firing off WW3 - all of which is connected to and rooted in israel and its many relentless and heinous tentacles. And I'm supposed to care about one jew or possibly 100 being opposed to the jewish mass murder & terrorism inc.? No way.

Censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 11 2013 9:41 utc | 164

"relentless and heinous tentacles" is good.

Did you watch & read Yossi Gurvitz? I really think he has genius.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 9:49 utc | 165

So that plot is just stupid

Being called "stupid" by you, of all people, is actually quite a compliment in some circles.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 9:56 utc | 166

For an interesting, concise yet comprehensive background into the Zionist project, I recommend Moshe (yup, father of Yehudi) Menuhin's "The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time" (1969). It is also very prescient.

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 11 2013 10:00 utc | 167

The Iron Wall is online for free, and of considerably fewer words I should imagine

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 10:03 utc | 168

Pepe - Note that nobody, absolutely nobody, is talking about Israel's vast arsenal of chemical, not to mention nuclear weapons.

Mission Accomplished!

Most of what he says about the Saudi's is potentially misleading, though. The Saudis pay for this because the Saudis are told to pay for this. But they are not conducting the orchestra.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 10:19 utc | 169

Part 1 of Moshe Menuhin's book is "Palestine, the Jews and the Arabs," but Part 2 is "The Case of the Jews and of Judaism Versus "Jewish" Political Nationalism." It's obvious from the title of Part 2 that this is an invitation to reinvent "Judaism" as something innocent of nationalist urgings. This is precisely what I warned against when I said that the Jews are a nation and their ideology is Jewish nationalism, whether territorial or not. I explained that there are non-territorial, diasporic forms of nationalism. One of these forms is the phony universalism of the Reform period, which tries to reinvent the Jewish religion as a sort of flagship of universal deism and human rights. We know about that tactic by now, I think. Or at least some of us do, possibly Grace Halsell doesn't. So, Yonatan, all you've achieved by recommending this book is the advertisement of your own personal Jewish strategy.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 10:41 utc | 170

One of these forms is the phony universalism of the Reform period, which tries to reinvent the Jewish religion as a sort of flagship of universal deism and human rights.

Nicely put

We know about that tactic by now, I think. Or at least some of us do, possibly Grace Halsell doesn't. So, Yonatan, all you've achieved by recommending this book is the advertisement of your own personal Jewish strategy.

Well, if we're allowed advertise,

- - The Iron Wall -

- (We and the Arabs) -

- (1923) - by Vladimir Jabotinsky

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 10:54 utc | 171

"Two brief remarks: In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.

There is no other morality." - Vlad

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 10:56 utc | 172

The flagship HQ building of Jabotinsky's original party, now partially occupied by a Likud staff centre, is still called Metzudat Ze'ev (Fortress of the Wolf) after him. "Built in a Brutalist style, the building was planned in 1936," says Wikipedia, which does not see fit to translate the name Ze'ev (Jabotinsky's hebrew forename), but that's what it means: "wolf".

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 11:08 utc | 173

FYI: The Center for Defense Alternatives has an excellent page of resources on the Syria conflict:

US Policy on Syria: War or Diplomacy?

Posted by: William Bowles | Sep 11 2013 11:17 utc | 174

FYI: The Center for Defense Alternatives has an excellent page of resources on the Syria conflict:

US Policy on Syria: War or Diplomacy?

Posted by: William Bowles | Sep 11 2013 11:17 utc | 175

From your wiki:

On the night of the 1977 "revolution", when for the first time in Israel's history, the right wing won an election, Menachem Begin delivered his victory speech to an audience of party activists in the Independence Hall of the building.

"The Right Wing" [Of a VERY Right-Wing Ideology] may not have won an election until 1977, but they, known as "The Revisionist Zionists", were brought back into the fold just before the 1967 war.

The Revisionist-Zionist/Jabotinsky plan was merely suspended from 48 to 67, then recommenced under the guise of "existential war".

and it is still on-going

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 11:31 utc | 176

175) So many "humanitarian" strategies to avoid the obvious real thing necessary to end the massacres - stop funding rebels, guarantees of a central, secular state, cease fire, peace conference.
I have seen this hand wringing before in Yugoslavia to give murderous strategies a "nice, well meaning" front.
The alternative to war is peace, simple as that. The only "defense alternative" is not to go to war.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 11:35 utc | 177

RT @RT_com 1 ч
BREAKING: Mostly Christian Maaloula village freed - @MFinoshina_RT reports via Syria military; Details to follow

Posted by: brian | Sep 11 2013 11:58 utc | 178

@169 those nuclear weapons have just lost one more lame excuse for existing. They will become the topic of much conversation soon. Is my guess.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 11 2013 12:04 utc | 179

Careful - prediction is very hard, 'specially about the future

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 12:33 utc | 180

169) Pepe is wrong, people are talking about Israel's chemical weapons.

But what makes the single page found at the Reagan Library so explosive is that it contains the complete and unredacted portion of the intelligence estimate that details what the CIA thought it knew back in 1983 about Israel's work on chemical weapons, which the CIA's censors had carefully excised from the version released to the National Archives in 2009.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 13:32 utc | 181

Pragma, should Atzmon shut up because he's a Jew(the capital is mandatory and in no way implies reverence)?

Since you like Latin, try this on for size:

"Sumite materiam vestris, qui scribitis, aequam viribus..."

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 11 2013 14:12 utc | 182

Today's UNHRC report here (.doc file) contains nothing on CW:

170. Allegations were received regarding the use of chemical weapons, predominantly by government forces. On the evidence currently available, it was not possible to reach a finding about the chemical agents used, their delivery systems or the perpetrators. Investigations are ongoing.

That's it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 14:21 utc | 183

ruralito (182)

Pragma, should Atzmon shut up because he's a Jew

Huh? Whatever makes you think so ...

That's certainly not what I think or wrote.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 11 2013 15:04 utc | 184

This little skinny teenie looking french girl speaking for the french gov. threat to punish Assad!:

Hilarious but these are the psychos that we are dealing with.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 11 2013 15:10 utc | 185

Glenn Greenwald's latest: NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 11 2013 15:14 utc | 186

Merlin2@ 74 posted a link (see below) of analysis of the Aug. 21 2013 CW attack Syria, with a list of curiosities > 5.

(Happy to see some of mine taken up, ha ha.)

There are more:

Curiosity no. 6:

(NOT about previous CW attacks like in Aleppo recently attributed to rebels by Del Ponte, who btw is not trustworthy.)

Few - or no - people who are obviously trained doctors or med staff like nurses.

In Syria, there are some women doctors, but it’s true that lower type staff are often women. Few, or no, helpers, of the kind that appear in any disaster and help out. When such appear they are very dodgy, in appearance or manner. Even at night, med staff and helpers will quickly show up, wake up, or be present. They may wear masks but only sandals on the feet, still they behave ‘professional.’

Triage will always be implemented, even in say Somalia...! None such medical ordinary scenes are shown. No paperwork...that is really a big thing missing...Docs are even in emergencies taking notes and the like. Also, ordinary hospital, or dispensary, scenes are missing. Protection from CW agents is also missing, now there might not be much available, but still.

Curiosity no 7:

Lack of respect for the dead. Of course displaying the alleged ‘dead’ is necessary for these videos to have any impact. So this is hard to judge, and there may be cultural differences. But showing bodies strewn in a hospital corridor is not realistic. (The images of groups of dead are theatre imho.)

And of course, 8 or sidebar, dating the videos is very hard, and placing them in some kind of certain locale is even tougher. This is a serious problem. Many of the videos are older.

I also identified one girl who is in no less than 3 videos. I wasn’t even looking for that. I just got to know her. There she was! Dead on the BBC and screaming at a doc on some Islamist site. I won’t post that because it is unprovable, just my intuition and experience, and one can always argue that many 12 year old girls look like their friends or whatever.

from the link: But the point is that in an attack of this scale and of this magnitude with this many victims, one would expect to see many, many, many unequivocal, messy indications of sarin poisoning, and they are not there.

To sum up, the video evidence does not support any kind of massive attack. There may have been an incident somewhere - fabricated, staged, or real - with a very few victims, say around 20. Or none! I thought maybe tear gas, to get ppl running about in a panic, at night, in the street.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 11 2013 15:16 utc | 187

@Mr. Pragma #164

I suppose you never read Atzmon; he isn't part of any "Jewish group", nor does he support any Jewish viewpoint: quite the opposite!

he doesn't speak "as a Jew", he attacks all those who do ("Jews against occupation", "Jews for peace", etc); he is against any form of Jewish tribalism and exceptionalism, and invites Jews to speak simply as human beings and in the name of universal values; he defines himself as a humanist

he is brave, coeherent and smart

ok, by now you might have guessed that I hold him in high esteem

Posted by: claudio | Sep 11 2013 15:19 utc | 188

claudio (167)

Sorry, this gets silly and boring.

You like what Atzmon writes? Great. Fine with me. I have absolutely nothing against this man and tend to think he has got some things quite right.

But *I personally* did not like *this one linked article*. Possibly I perceived it different from how others perceive it. So what. To turn that into something like "Mr. Pragma is an Atzmon hater" frankly, is simply silly. Trying to convince me that *this one article* is great is silly, too, and won't work.

My only statement re. aipac and other pro-israel or israel controlled organizations is: Put them in jail. In case you prefer to simply kill them I won't complain. In case someone bombs every square foot of israel, fine with me; just give me a moment to open a bottle of champagne. Period - no further differentiation required.

This G. Atzmon, may he live long and prosper, may he write many more articles. I might even like some of them.

But not this one.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 11 2013 15:35 utc | 189

It does look like AIPAC got itself front and center. Should Obama get the credit? If he's smart he won't take it. Atzmon gets to the root of it I think. He calls it blindness. More like hubris.

Posted by: dh | Sep 11 2013 15:36 utc | 190

I only hope Russia, China and Obama read this opinion because it's excellent! Hopefully, they will be moved by their wiser, realistic selves and act accordingly.

If the U.S. doesn't address Israel's Chemical Weapons arsenal, then the stench of hypocrisy will permeate and eventually destroy all endeavors to secure peace.

Why is Israel holding on to banned weapons if it doesn't intend to use them at some point? It sure didn't hesitate to use explosives and bombs that are illegal when used in urban centres on Gaza.

The world should unite to protest Israel's WMDs - chemical and nuclear!

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 11 2013 15:37 utc | 191

@Mr. Pragma #189 - don't worry, you didn't appear as a Atzmon hater; your judgement was obviously based on a limited knowledge of his work (no sin), which I think is interesting enough to invite you to give it a second look; btw, concluding my paean, he is also a forceful polemist and is a real thorn in the side of Zionists

Posted by: claudio | Sep 11 2013 16:25 utc | 192

@141 Rowan

I'm taking Pragma's suggestion and going to just try and ignore you from now on.

Your defense of Bodansky - hey, did you hear the one about Bin Laden, Arafat, Qaddafy and Saddam and the jihadist "League of Doom" they put together? Ask Yossef about it.(kneeslap) - and your constant and incessant philosophical contortionist navel-gazing concerning the Jewish question when you won't admit that what you - and the Jews - are demanding concerning people's understanding of "Jewishness" is EXACTLY what I and others won't give you/them: special treatment.

I know I slapped you down pretty hard concerning that Bodansky "shite sandwich" yesterday but where's that famous English sportsmanship?

I mean, aren't you supposed to just smile and say "good show, old boy" or something and move on instead of saying childish stuff like "why don't you look up the word evidence" blah blah blah especially in defense of a man who is - as Yossef Bodansky most certainly is and always has been - an extreme nutter who has never heard a bit of Israeli propaganda that he didn't take for the "Gospel Truth" - hey, wait a minute...snicker

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 11 2013 16:49 utc | 193

It sure didn't hesitate to use explosives and bombs that are illegal when used in urban centres on Gaza.

kalithea | Sep 11, 2013 11:37:22 AM | 191

Israel certainly has used some very vicious and no doubt illegal weapons on innocent civilians

Doctors had appealed for help in identifying the cause of these strange injuries that were small, often invisible to X-rays, and cuts provoked by intense heat in the lower limbs.

They observed an unusually large number of wounded that had had to have one or both of their legs amputated just below the genitals due to burns.

Dr. Habas al-Wahid, head of the emergency centre at the Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, told the journalists that the legs of the injured were sliced from their bodies “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone.”

Dozens of victims had completely burned bodies and shrapnel type injuries that X-ray machines had been unable to detect. Doctors said they had removed microscopic particles of carbounium and tungsten, a highly carcinogenic substance, from wounds. Dr. Juma Saka, of Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said that doctors had found small entry wounds on the bodies of the dead and wounded, and a powder on the victims’ bodies and in their internal organs. “The powder was like microscopic shrapnel, and this is likely what caused the injuries,” Saka said.

In many cases, doctors found that their patients, after initially appearing to recover, suddenly died after one or two days. “We don’t know what it means, new weapons or something added to a previous weapon,” said Saied Joudda, the deputy director at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya.

Israel already used more than just "explosives and bombs that are illegal when used in urban centres".

Israel has also used Chemical Weapons in gaza, and not just White Phosphorus, but something new.

Letters The Guardian, Saturday 1 December 2007


Claims of chemical weapon use in Gaza

Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor (Response, November 30) denies Israel used chemical weapons in Gaza. Claims and counterclaims about the use of such weapons have a long history and are often hard to verify. Mr Prosor's denial must be judged against the reports by health workers in Gaza of injured Palestinians suffering from

"severe convulsions, muscle spasms, vomiting, amnesia or partial memory loss"
after exposure to Israeli gas attacks (multiple references available).

Last year the IDF fired powerful gases at a peaceful joint Palestinian and Israeli demonstration against the wall being driven through B'lin, a village in the occupied West Bank. My colleagues and I were able to obtain a sample of the munition. It contained a powerful irritant derived from capsaicin (the analysis was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Medicine, Conflict and Survival in October last year).

Claims that the IDF used white phosphorus in the Lebanon war last year were initially denied. They were finally admitted by the Israeli minister Jacob Edery in October 2006. White phosphorus causes intense burns and generates choking fumes. I suspect the Israeli government is basing its denials on a technical quibble about whether the chemicals concerned are explicitly banned in international law - to which, anyhow, it is not a signatory.

Professor Steven Rose

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 16:52 utc | 194

190) None of these warmongers take their own or their family's bodies to the battlefield. The end of conscription made sure of it. They send the poor.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2013 16:54 utc | 195

July 8, 2004

Israel's Chemical Weapons

On June 10th, 2004, the two clinics in Al-Zawiya treated 130 patients for gas inhalation. The patients were children, women, old people and young men. Dr. Abu Madi related that there was a high number of cases of [tetany], spasm in legs and hands, connected to the nervous system.

Pupils were dilated. … Other symptoms included shock, semi-consciousness, hyperventilation, irritation and sweating."

Thus reads a report by medical units serving the West Bank village of Al-Zawiya, where nonviolent resistance to Israel's impending wall has been extraordinarily resolute. According to the medical report (procured by the International Middle East Media Center [IMEMC]), "the gas used against the protestors is not tear gas but possibly a nerve gas."

The following day, Israel's "Peace Bloc," Gush Shalom, began a press release with the following quote from Al-Zawiya:

"What the army used here yesterday was not tear gas. We know what tear gas is, what it feels like. That was something totally different. … When we were still a long way off from where the bulldozers were working, they started shooting things like this one (holding up a dark green metal tube with the inscription "Hand and rifle grenade no.400" - in English). Black smoke came out. Anyone who breathed it lost consciousness immediately, more than a hundred people.

They remained unconscious for nearly 24 hours. One is still unconscious, at Rapidiya Hospital in Nablus. They had high fever and their muscles became rigid.

Some needed urgent blood transfusion. Now, is this a way of dispersing a demonstration, or is it chemical warfare?"

The incident in Al-Zawiya appears to be the tenth attack by Israeli soldiers using an "unknown gas" against Palestinian civilians since early 2001. We have photographs of the canisters. We have film of victims suffering in the hospital.

We have interviews with Palestinian and European doctors who have treated the victims. And we presumably have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of survivors. But we know nothing of their fate. Despite the evidence, we have not inquired.
Though it is a state secret, Israel's development of chemical and biological weapons has been known and analyzed for decades. From the typhoid poisoning of Palestinian wells and water supplies in 1948 to the conversion of F-16s into nerve gas "crop dusters" in 1998, Israel has always demonstrated a strong interest in developing CBW agents and methods for their dispersal.

In 1992 an El Al 747 flying nerve gas ingredients from the U.S. to Israel crashed into an Amsterdam apartment building. According to Salman Abu-Sitta, president of the Palestine Land Society, the respected Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad followed up the crash with an in-depth investigation of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), Israel's CBW complex in Nes Ziona. The paper reportedly found "strong links" with several U.S. CBW and medical research centers, "close cooperation between IIBR and the British-American biological warfare program," and "extensive collaboration on BW research with Germany and Holland."

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 17:05 utc | 196

I love how rapidly the brand spanking new meme of "Chem Weapons = Useless" has taken hold.

Someone better tell all the many people working at Fort Detrick and Porton Down that they can all go home now.

Apparently they've all just been wasting their time all these years.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 17:13 utc | 197

From Atzmon:

Veteran IDF Concentration camp Guard Jeffery Goldberg,  is obviously embarrassed by AIPAC failure. He looks for someone to blame but he wouldn’t dare criticising his fellow Zionists.

“If I believed in conspiracies,”  says Goldberg,  “I'd be tempted to think that President Barack Obama… dragged the group (AIPAC) into what at the moment looks like a losing battle, . . . . to tarnish AIPAC’s reputation as all-knowing and all-powerful.”

Loath though I am to admit it, there may actually be some truth in that . . . .,

Posted by: hmm | Sep 11 2013 17:23 utc | 198

@197 CW certainly make good bargaining chips wouldn't you say?

Posted by: dh | Sep 11 2013 17:26 utc | 199

JSorrentine: you seem to think that being sarcastic about some argument is the way to prove its contrary, but it isn't. The ability and the will to engage in sarcasm have nothing to do with the merits of the argument. That's why I neither do it myself, nor respond to it in others like yourself.

Mr P et al: the reason I considered the Atzmon article so 'essential' is this: it clearly states that the actual behaviour of the US Jewish Lobby, its dreadful timing in respect of the US decision first to 'smite' Syria then not to 'smite' it, and the consequent elaborate and frantic effort by Israel to pretend that it was not coordinated with the US Jewish lobby at all, that the Lobby had just been sounding off on its own, without any coordination -- here we have the most extreme and obvious evidence that in fact Israel and the US Lobby are aspects of one and the same 800 lb gorilla. They are not just coordinated but one and the same thing. And this thing, this USraeli power configuration, by its error exposed a potential fault line, in that each side now has to pretend to be independent of the other, to conceal what really happened. Into that fault line the anti-Israel community can drive a wedge, that really will split the Golem into two relatively powerless pieces, the US part and the Israeli part. Separated, they become even more vulnerable, both of them.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 11 2013 17:28 utc | 200

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