Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 23, 2013

Some Syria Links

Sharmine Narwani on Questions Plague UN Report on Syria with some bits also from this.

There seems to be little news of Syrian army action against the foreign sponsored insurgents but there is lots of action between some foreign Al-Qaeda bandits and the Syrian ones. One wonders how much of this is real. Could this be a spoof to make the Syrian bandits look more "secular"? Al Qaeda in Syria: We Fought FSA Because It Conspired With John McCain Against Us

There is also ongoing fighting between the Kurds and Al-Qaeda groups sponsored by Turkey: Turkey Stands With al-Qaeda Against the Kurds

The U.S. sponsored exiles are worthless: Rebels View Coalition Leadership Outside Syria as Detached From the Suffering

The Washington Post had a piece on "private" financing for Al-Qaeda in Syria. I regard this as propaganda that gives some plausible deniability to Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are state financing the terrorists and at the same time gives an argument to the "we must finance the good 'secular' terrorists to give them the edge" lunatics in the Senate. Private donations give edge to Islamists in Syria, officials say

On the CW stuff Syria is sticking to its words U.S. official: Syrian CW list more complete than anticipated

Please add other news on Syria in the comments.

Posted by b on September 23, 2013 at 02:09 PM | Permalink

Comments


" The president of the opposition Syrian Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, said the group was ready to attend a proposed Geneva conference to end two and a half years of conflict in Syria if it aims to establish a transitional government with full powers."

He doesn't say where the 'transitional government' will be based or who will be guarding the doors.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/22/us-syria-crisis-geneva-idUSBRE98L03620130922

Posted by: dh | Sep 23, 2013 2:27:48 PM | 1

Sharmine in al-Akhbar carefully refrains from soiling her nice clean story with the grubby materials of Gavlak and Ababneh, or those of Mother Agnes Mariam. Someone should tell her that the joys of respectability are greatly over-rated.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 23, 2013 2:39:30 PM | 2

This is also good:
http://www.whoghouta.blogspot.co.il/

Posted by: ll | Sep 23, 2013 2:47:25 PM | 3

Donations - Assad says the same in the Fox interview

Fox News: These are the rebels? You’re not maintaining that all of your opponents are Jihadists, are you?

President Assad: No, not all of them. Of course we have many other different groups, but they are small, they are becoming a minority. At the very beginning, the Jihadists were the minority. In the end of 2012, and during this year they became the majority with the flow of tens of thousands from different countries.

Fox News: Where are they getting their money from? Can you tell us right now?

President Assad: Mainly from donations.

Fox News: But donations from where? Can you name nations that are donating?

President Assad: From everywhere in the Islamic world. They mainly come from individuals, not from countries. We don’t know if some countries support them directly, we don’t have any information. I have to be very precise, but mainly from donations from people who carry the same ideology in their minds.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 23, 2013 3:22:27 PM | 4

@ Rowan

Someone should tell her that the joys of respectability are greatly over-rated.

Come on Rowan... if Sharmine Narwani was interested in "respectability" she wouldn't have gotten herself blacklisted from her writing job at Huffington Post for writing favorable articles on the Resistance Axis. See here. The positions she takes on Israel, Hezbollah, Assad, and US Imperialism are not positions you take if you are worried about "respectability" or advancing your career in Academia or Journalism.

Also just because she doesn't mention Gavlak in her piece doesn't mean she is opposed to it. Her story compliments Gavlak's (which both make the same case of rebel responsibility for the CW attack). While Gavlak quoted sources on the ground and amoung the rebels, Sharmine quoted senior UN officials and interviewed former British military commander for Chemical Defense Hamish de Bretton-Gordon. Both Gavlak's and Sharmine's story both reach the same conclusion (the Saudi's were responsible for the Chemical Attack).

Why the negativity?

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Sep 23, 2013 3:59:11 PM | 5

There is the puff piece on the front page of today's New York Times devoted to the U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers. It's illuminating, if you can stomach it, because she clearly comes off as in over her head. At least that's how I interpreted it. She's supposed to deliver Chapter VII on Syria and the impression one gets after reading the story is that she is stressed out over a likely failure.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 23, 2013 4:12:07 PM | 6

Pardon me. It's Samantha Power. Not Powers

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 23, 2013 4:15:31 PM | 7

if youve not seen it: in the continuing Dale Gavla saga, where the messsenger is now seen as more important than the message:

Sharmine Narwani shared a link.
https://www.facebook.com/sharmine.narwani/posts/564945040220550

Yesterday
Mint Press News (MPN) finally breaks it's silence on the brouhaha over its Ghouta CW story and terse statements by Dale Gavlak distancing herself from MPN. Also interesting is this verified correspondence I received between a source connected with AP and an international journalist who knows Dale:

Source: "Dale was suspended over the article to Mint Press News."

Journo: "You're kidding me. AP suspended her? on what grounds exactly?"

Source: "Not kidding. On grounds that she's violated AP standards
And ethics of professional journalism."

Journo: "What standards are those exactly? She's a free lance writer, isn't she? Did she violate her contract in any way?"

Source: "They were so unfair. The problem is that MPN refused to remove her byline and the reference they made to the AP. They kept the article running on their web despite Dale's repeated appeals to remove the reference to the AP. The article took a full run in the football field pissing off the top AP people in New York."

Source: "Syrian TV read the article in several news bulletins. Saudi denied the story, which as you know went viral on all social networks. AP says she shouldn't have crammed the AP into this in the first place. Bottom line, they're afraid that Bandar will sue AP."

Journo: "How is Dale doing?"

Source: "She's hurt as you can imagine. She's been with AP for nearly 10 years and for one mistake she's fired."

Journo: "Dont tell me she regrets this as a 'mistake?'"

Source: She doesnt. She stands by the reporting of the Jordanian guy who gathered the info. But she depended on AP as one of the main sources of income."

The source also separately mentioned that AP is suing the Pentagon for spying on its employees and that may have caused some unusual sensitivity.

Sounds like Dale Gavlak just got screwed. She pushed a story she believed in, AP took umbrage at use of their name, MPN wouldn't budge.

Posted by: brian | Sep 23, 2013 5:46:37 PM | 8

'b' asked for new news on Syria. I don't have any but I'd like to reiterate a fundamental point that Bashar Assad made in his interview with Fox News on 19 Sep 2013. Bashar said: "The majority of [Syrian] people... are supporting the government. They are behind the government. It does not matter if they are behind me or not. The most important thing is to be behind the institutions. The majority is." -- time 10:41 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul6Jo7fae-c . I agree with every word of that and I add that Bashar is definitely the leading human representative of "the institutions" in the people's minds, and he will be easily re-elected in the presidential election next year.

Bashar also said in the Fox News interview that "more than 15,000 goverment soldiers have died". That averages out at more than 20 a day over the last two years. My main worry for Syria is that the Syrian army has been failing to defeat the rebels. I regard the word "rebels" as a good plainspoken word, though I regard the rebels as bandits and crude terrorists. It worries me that I don't really understand why it has come to pass that the rebels have been so successful against the army; or why the army has been such a miserable failure against the rebels.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 23, 2013 6:42:49 PM | 9

I don't know if anyone recalls the German video I posted a while back, where the documentary makers (or journalists, not sure exactly their affiliation) visit a jihadi group and there present is a big fat white gentleman from California.

It is impossible to guess wether he is CIA or a genuine Jihad Johnny or some combination of both, but with the vast numbers of disaffected, unemployed soldiers floating around coupled with the fact of some of the attackers in the Nairobi attack are apparently American, it is quite possible that the radicalization of American society is proceeding far apace of what the US security state has a handle on.

Clearly the US doesn't even know which end is up anymore. Between the Jihadis, the FSA, the CIA, BlackWater, NATO, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, the CIA, the NSA, the Israelis, the DoD, the Brtis, the French, and an alphabet soup of NGOs all working at cross purposes, it seems that the Resistance Axis has won the war by the sole virtue of being able to speak a clear sentence in one voice.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 23, 2013 9:23:55 PM | 10

@10 Parviziyi

There are a few explanations for the success of the rebels against the army. I'm not sure I can do the course of events justice, so consider this a sketch.

When the conflict started, the army operated like most doctrinally Soviet militaries that have failed against insurgencies. It didn't help that Air Force Intelligence, which is the scary secret police apparatus of the country, was central to command and control. But like Pakistan's military under the ISI, this doesn't lead to effective fighting.

After early failures, defections and simply operating armor and infantry in urban areas that put them at horrible risk to snipers, ieds, and anti tank weapons the army looked to be in awful shape. It was spread out and taking a ghastly amount of losses. The regular army couldn't be used in many Sunni areas, even though its Sunni troops were loyal to the government, many didn't want to die fighting other Sunnis. Most desertion was desertion alone and not desertion to fight with the rebels. Though there was lots of this as the conflict started, it dropped off sharply. Air force intelligence's command of the security structure was seen as ineffective and lacking.

So Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia stepped in and helped remedy this. Russia taught about operating armor in urban areas and against an insurgency, and Iran taught about the techniques rebels used in cities, a lot of which they taught to Iraqis.

Command and control of the war was given to the Army's central command, which was newly trained.
Iran and Hezbollah also helped set up two auxiliary militia forces (there are technically more than that but these two are the most numerous and important) . The NDF is a regionally based sort of guerilla force for anti guerilla fighting. The militia is a more local sort of self defense and occupation force.

After this training, assaults on rebel strongholds have tended follow a similar pattern. The army special forces (more in the vein of spetznaz or american airborne forces with armored contingents than what western military call special forces) and NDF start with artillery and aerial bombardments, then move in with heavy army with large infantry support. To avoid being targeted by snipers or heavy weapons fire, infantry are moved swiftly around the battlefield in vans and buses, to exactly where they're needed.

If the assault slows, they fight guerilla style until the enemy is dislodged. Once they are, local militia take the job of occupying. The regular army acts as something of a swat team to support militia if they come under sustained assault.

The regular army also does its share of fighting but large parts of it are used more as 'security' than as an attacking force.

Losses to government forces have slowed sharply in 2013, desertion is mostly unheard of, deaths mostly come in ways you would expect during an insurgency. The rebels no longer have the initiative or ability to take control of army held territory, and mainly slip from one lightly defended place to infiltrate another.

Modern anti tank and anti air weaponry continues to present a deadly hazard for government forces, but with the recapture of der'ah in coming months, this weaponry will have to come from routes on the borders of Jordan and Turkey, which will limit the 'fronts' (not really the right word, but you understand) on which the government has to fight.


I'm not an expert, I watch videos and pay attention to accounts. So I apologize if i'm significantly wrong.

Posted by: Crest | Sep 23, 2013 10:37:54 PM | 11

@9
How can they be 'rebels ' if many if not most are foreigners ?

Posted by: Brian | Sep 23, 2013 10:44:55 PM | 12

Crest @ 11.

Sure, you could be wrong - but I doubt it. Parvi tends to be too pessimistic, and there's no reason to assume that the uniformed SAA is the sole decisive factor.
This is as complicated and dirty a war as any, anywhere, in the past. It's easy to forget that guerilla warfare evolved as an effective counter to 'organised' groupthink-style traditional military outfits exemplified by the cavalry charge/storming the bastions stuff.

Syria has been down the 'uprising' road in the past and the military must have retained some lessons from that. I believe that the Syrian Intel/Sec services had 100,000+ members and were reputed to be an even more ruthless and tricky bunch of assholes than the CIA. So no-one should be surprised that divisions within the 'rebels' have been exploited as effectively as seems to be the case in Syria. To me its beginning to look like some kind of world record.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 24, 2013 1:31:40 AM | 13

13) agree. Also I think the "Jihadis taking over since the end of 2012" is significant. It basically means there is not enough Syrian personnel left.
I think the US/Israeli/Saudi strategy of fuelling the conflict but not let the rebels win so as to weaken Hezbollah and Iran has completely backfired as what they get now is a tough guerilla war proof Iran/Hezbollah/Russia next door to Israel they are/will be dependent on to a) secure chemical weapons b) prevent the spread of Al Qaida.

Western governments should be forced to answer their public a few questions after the Nairobi attack:

From the Washington Post

Most of the extremists who seized the upscale Nairobi mall were young and barked orders in English.
With the standoff apparently drawing to a close after three days, there was a growing focus on the identity of the militants and how they could pull off a sophisticated assault that killed at least 62 people and kept security forces at bay. Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said Monday that “two or three Americans” and “one Brit” were among the perpetrators of the attack.

She said in an interview with “PBS Newshour” that the Americans were 18 to 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin and lived “in Minnesota and one other place” in the United States. The British jihadist was a woman who has “done this many times before,” Mohamed said.

The English women mentioned above is the widow of the London 7/7 bomber.

To remember - this is documented in a British court - not spin in some paper:

The five-member panel recounts how Blair, faced with Saudi threats to cut off cooperation on counterterrorism operations, personally intervened to scuttle a criminal investigation into billions of dollars in allegedly improper payments made by British Aerospace Systems (BAE) to obtain Saudi contracts.

But the former prime minister, the court found, acted out of good faith: he and his advisers were genuinely worried that, if the Saudis followed through on their threats, it could lead to another "7/7"—British shorthand for the devastating July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings in the London subway system that killed 52 commuters and injured 700.

"The threats to national and international security [are] very grave indeed and ... British lives on British streets would be at risk," the British ambassador to Riyadh warned the Serious Fraud Office, the British unit conducting the probe, according to the court ruling.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 2:44:51 AM | 14

The question that should be asked is:

What is the nature of Western Saudi security cooperation?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 3:00:37 AM | 15

a crisis actor: man of many parts
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=571186809606506&set=a.156054971119694.31475.149571001768091&type=1&theater

the fellow is
Shakeel Ahmad Bhat
(Kashmiri: शकील अहमद भट (Devanagari, Śakīl Ahamad Bhaţ), شکیلن احمد بھٹ (Nastaleeq))[1] (born around 1978[1]), nicknamed Islamic Rage Boy by several bloggers, is a Kashmiri Muslim political activist[2] who has been in photographs on the front pages of many newspapers and has become a cult figure on the Internet. He has been featured in newspapers such as the Times of India,[3] Middle East Times,[4] France 24,[5] and The Sunday Mail[1]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakeel_Ahmad_Bhat

yes it is staged

Posted by: brian | Sep 24, 2013 4:38:00 AM | 16

#15
It's "give me a bank account number and we'll be friends; it works for political parties' funding as well".

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 5:09:17 AM | 17

UN inspectors back to Syria Wednesday
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/09/24/les-inspecteurs-de-l-onu-de-retour-en-syrie-mercredi_3483336_3218.html

France has to admit its irrelevance, if we are to believe Le Monde. Even the US don't want Chapt. VII.
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/09/23/paris-reaffirme-sa-volonte-d-obtenir-une-resolution-ferme-contre-damas_3482910_3218.html

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 5:41:29 AM | 18

Mina, you have a superior radar for stories. My search engine is well trained about what I am interested in, but it isn't as good as yours. May I request that you watch out for anything that addresses the idea that the Ghouta victims were brought from somewhere else? It's undeniable, after all, that the demography of the victims is anomalous (mostly male children, very few girls, very few adults). It needs digging.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 5:51:04 AM | 19

the attempts to pressure Dale Gavlak on the Ghouta gas story published in MintPress :
http://www.mintpressnews.com/official-statement-on-dale-gavlaks-involvement-in-syria-exclusive/169507/

recalls another gas attack investigation that brought the states wrath on the heads of journalists:

1.
U.S. Military Used Nerve Gas to Kill Vietnam War Defectors, Report Says
The U.S. military used nerve gas on a mission to kill Americans who defected during the Vietnam War, CNN and Time magazine said Sunday in a joint report.
The so-called Operation Tailwind was approved by the Nixon White House as well as the CIA, the report said, quoting as its main source retired Adm. Thomas Moorer, a Vietnam-era chief of naval operations and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Former military officials who participated in the operation said their job was to kill defectors in Vietnam from the U.S. military, but it was not known for sure whether the suspected defectors died during a preparatory nerve gas attack or during a subsequent assault with conventional weapons carried out by Special Forces troops.
A companion story on the eight-month investigation in which 200 people were interviewed appears in the current edition of Time magazine, written jointly by a CNN producer and correspondent.
"It was pretty well understood that if you came across a defector, and could prove it to yourself beyond a reasonable doubt, do it, under any circumstance, kill them," said 1st Lt. Robert Van Buskirk, who was a platoon leader in the operation. "It wasn't about bringing them back. It was to kill them."
etc
http://articles.latimes.com/1998/jun/08/news/mn-57863

but the story soon earned the wrath of the military and the media were forced to recant

CNN retracts Tailwind coverage

- Cable News Network on Thursday retracted its story that the U.S. military used nerve gas in a mission to kill American defectors in Laos during the Vietnam War.
The story was broadcast June 7 on the CNN program NewsStand. CNN Interactive also carried the report.
The Pentagon said it was pleased by the 54-page CNN retraction.
In a statement, CNN News Group Chairman, President and CEO Tom Johnson said an independent investigation had concluded that the report "cannot be supported." He said there is insufficient evidence that sarin or any other deadly gas was used. Nor, said Johnson, can CNN confirm that American defectors were targeted or at the camp as the report stated.
etc
http://edition.cnn.com/US/9807/02/tailwind.johnson/

Posted by: brian | Sep 24, 2013 5:53:37 AM | 20

16) So what is the intent of laying a trail of Western radicalized kids and pointing to the 7/7 London attacks?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 5:53:44 AM | 21

Commenter 'Crest' #11 claimed: "Losses to government forces have slowed sharply in 2013." We don't have actual knowledge of whether that's true or not, because the Syrian army is not releasing figures, but still I'm going to argue that Crest is wrong about that. Furthermore and worse, the army in 2013 has been picking its fights selectively and limitedly, and as a result it has allowed much larger areas of the country to be under uncontested rebel control today compared to a year ago. The areas under rebel control in September 2013 that were not under rebel control in October 2012 include: large tracts of Aleppo city and Aleppo province, Raqqa city and Raqqa province, and Deir Ezzor city and Deir Ezzor province, and some parts of Deraa province. (In case I'd be misunderstood, the turn of phrase "rebel control" means the absence of government-enforced elementary law and order, which, as has been said many times, is not the same thing as true control or governance by rebels). The situation in Idlib province is as out-of-control now as a year ago, on the whole. In most towns in Idlib, the army has not even tried to restore security. The army has a number of fortified bases in Idlib province, and also in all the other provinces I just mentioned, but the soldiers have been staying at base, in general. Defenders have less casualties than attackers (as 'b' said a while ago). So, if it were the truth that the army had been having less casualties in 2013, this could be attributed to the army's decision to stay mostly in defensive positions.

In some places, eastern Damascus (Ghouta) is a well-known example, the situation can be said to be worse today because the rebels have been in basically uncontested control there for a year, with civilians still living there, a circumstance which increases recruits for the rebels.

Meanwhile, in the places where the government has picked its contests and gone in with infantry, the outcome has been, in general (with rare exceptions): no genuine army victory, no return of elementary security, no return of civilians, and -- yes -- high army casualties. Those places include northwestern and southwestern Damascus, Homs city, northwestern Homs province, and some parts of Deraa province.

Anyway, here's the summary of why I don't believe the army's casualties have been lower in 2013. We know the exact daily losses every day up until 25 Jun 2012, which was the day the army decided to stop releasing information about its losses. (For the army's monthly casualty numbers through the end of April 2012, see ref. The army's daily losses went up sharply in June 2012, as the rebels became better armed at that point). Subtracting those early known losses from today's total figure of "more than 15,000", and knowing that the rebels have been at least as well or better armed in 2013 than in the second half of 2012, and knowing that the army's defensive tack has been in place for about 12 months now, and knowing the overall broad picture of what fighting has been happening in each month since 25 Jun 2012, it is clear to me that army losses must be running at more than 20 soldiers a day in 2013.

As I see the war, the army has not yet found a successful way to fight and kill rebels. In the few places where the army declared a victory this year (Al-Quseir was the most visible), the rebels decided to withdraw and were able to escape the army's cordon and they lived to fight another day. Repeating what I've said on this board before, the army must figure out how to establish effective cordons, then tighten the cordons, then tighten the cordons more, then open fire will large caliber weapons. The army has not successfully conducted even one major cordon operation during the last two years of fighting. The army has used large-caliber artillery and airplanes at various places to keep the rebels from establishing control in those places, but the army has not followed this with infantry to establish army control in those places -- and in most such places the army hasn't even tried to. The army has major advantages in weaponry and human coordination potential which it is not leveraging well.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 24, 2013 7:16:54 AM | 22

"...there is lots of action between some foreign Al-Qaeda bandits and the Syrian ones. One wonders how much of this is real. Could this be a spoof to make the Syrian bandits look more "secular"?"
I dont think so,its about Turky and wehere the nusra-gays go next.

Impressions From Turkey’s Syrian Frontier
Gul was quoted by Milliyet newspaper on Sunday:
"We aren't managing to prevent terrorist infiltrations despite all precautions taken and the deployment of cannons and tanks" along the Turkish-Syrian border, Turkish president said
"We will not allow any formation beyond our borders that would threaten Turkey and the entire region. We can never tolerate this,"

Turkey’s Syria Nightmare
Goes From Bad to Worse

Has Turkey Reached
A Strategic Impasse in the Mideast?

Posted by: some1 | Sep 24, 2013 7:21:13 AM | 23

Rowan,
I don't think it is possible to move easily within Syria at the moment, and for that matter towards the Ghouta. They may have been filmed elsewhere, but not brougt from the place they were kidnapped.
I know for sure it is almost impossible to go from Homs to Damascus, so forget about Lattakie Damascus Ghouta. That's the reason why the journalist who interviewed Assad went by car from Beirut (also: it takes only 3 hours, and planes are full several weeks in advance). That's the sole safe highway, it seems. Travelling from the Damascus airport to Damascus was very dangerous a few months ago, I don't know exactly about now.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 7:46:21 AM | 24

About the SAA and its failures, maybe one of the reason are the kidnappings? The rebels have used this weapon from the beginning. Then it just take one phone call of someone with connections to say: "don't move there, I have some relatives who have been kidnapped by this group".

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 7:50:54 AM | 25

Kidnappings of some 500 FSA by ISIL (please note that the media is now using the acronym ISIS to speak of ISIL, and make it harder to find in Google results)
http://www.vice.com/read/ar-raqqah-syria-isis
I wish they leave Isis out of this!

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 8:19:41 AM | 26

I agree, ISIL is a lot easier to remember. I'm amazed at the stuff you manage to get out of the Google search engine. As I said, I regard my own Google search as trained to some extent; I mean, it remembers my browsing history (though it does not, thank heavens, insist on autocompleting things as I type them, I hate that). But it is nowhere near as clever as yours seems to be.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 8:52:08 AM | 27

I think my google does not remember my browsing history (erase the cache as often as you can, easy with firefox: each session), and my settings are on "english" and do not give a location that would filter the results. Maybe it has to do with the way you search? I don't use "and" or + or any of these. Just random keywords.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 9:18:25 AM | 28

Of interest?

http://qifanabki.com/2013/09/24/degrading-discourse/

Posted by: Qifa Nabki | Sep 24, 2013 9:18:45 AM | 29

@ Mina : What do you think of this: On 23 Sep 2013 an Egyptian court issued a comprehensive ban on all Muslim Brotherhood activities and ordered the seizure or freezing of all its financial assets. The court did not reveal the grounds for the ruling.

It's ridiculous and intolerable that the court does not justify itself. Earlier this month, a judicial panel in another administrative court issued a recommendation supporting a technical legal argument that the Muslim Brotherhood's formal organizational registration, completed in March 2013, was illegal because the government of March 2013 was Brotherhood-led and had effectively issued a licence to itself. Also earlier this month, government prosecutors announced that they have ex-President Morsi under investiagation for "incitement to murder". These actions suggest that today's Egypt government is not fair and not sensible. I haven't come across the Syrian government, nor the Morsi government, taking actions that are comparable for being so unfair, legally contrived, bogus and pretentious. If these actions bite them back later, it will be proper comeuppance, imo.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 24, 2013 9:25:20 AM | 30

so why does AIPAC/israel support islamic terrorism in syria when alqaeda does this?
jihadis destroy Jewish sites in #Syria
http://edition.presstv.ir/iphone/detail.aspx?id=325715

Posted by: brian | Sep 24, 2013 9:49:39 AM | 31

zionist lite Richard Silverstein attacks Mintpress story journalists

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/09/23/jordanian-journalist-who-fabricated-syrian-rebel-chemical-weapons-story-likely-fabricated-jerusalem-post-story-as-well/
a lot of effort is being made across the board to attack one story that opens up the presence of saudi arabia AND israel in war on syria

Posted by: brian | Sep 24, 2013 9:55:40 AM | 32

The terrorists didn't "decide" to withdraw from Al-Qusayr - they were routed.

Posted by: revenire | Sep 24, 2013 9:55:59 AM | 33

Re #32, I left the following comment on Silverstein's blog, commenting on his attempted character assassination of Yahya Ababneh:

“We know his claims about Syria are false.” No, we don’t. You haven’t proved it. What you have done is made some very emotional remarks about him, on the basis of mere impressions gathered from odd media items without substantial implications of any sort. They aren’t valid inferences from the data. You’ve jumped to the most prejudicial conclusions because, by the tone of it, you got out of bed on the wrong side yesterday morning and felt a need to pummel somebody to relieve your ill-temper.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 10:09:40 AM | 34

29) yep, I do not understand the wisdom of arguing against the findings of the UN report when

a) the report itself states all the suspicious circumstances of the incident which do point to other actors than the Syrian government
b) the Russians insist on the inspectors returning for further investigation, so they do trust them
c) Professor Sellstrom has a track record of - correctly - not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
d) experts claiming something as Sarin degradation which might be something else would easily be found out by other experts - Syrians, Russians and Iranians have lots of them

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 10:15:27 AM | 35

Obama's speech at the U.N is rife with double-standards, hubris, OUTRIGHT LIES, "our interests, our interests, our interests...blah, blah, blah. Uh... look over there at Syria's CWs, look over there at Iran's nuclear program, BUT! don't you dare look at Israel's hundreds of nukes; don't look at their abuse of Palestinians' human rights; don't look at the war crimes of Cast Lead and don't look at the crime against humanity of depriving Gaza of their humanity and rights with the longest, most brutal blockade EVER! Pretend you don't see 'cause their our friend and our interests require that we discriminate as to which people can have their rights...blah.

To summarize Obama's speech: I SPEAK WITH FORKED ZIONIST TONGUE.

Oh and so Obama's going to inflict Kerry on Rouhani instead of speaking to him himself...my advice to Rouhani: don't let him diminish your position, send your foreign relations minister to listen to Kerry's arrogant drivel, if he can bear it.

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 24, 2013 10:56:11 AM | 36

Oh Lord, one more thing: Ahhh, shut up...Fareed Zakaria! Delusional doesn't cover it.

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 24, 2013 10:57:44 AM | 37

37) he is definitively rewriting history

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 11:23:16 AM | 38

Full Transcript of Steppin Fetchit's UN oration.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 11:27:39 AM | 39

Some may disagree. But I believe USAia is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.
"Some may disagree." You ain't just whistlin' dixie, Mr Fetchit.
Last month, I stood where 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr told USAia about his dream at a time when many people of my race could not even vote for president.
"My race." Pathetic.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 11:40:03 AM | 40

Deutsche Welle - German governement broadcasting on NATO ally Turkey

Many local residents told DW that Ankara is hosting Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in a camp near an unchecked border crossing west of Ceylanpinar.

Ibrahim Polat, a local journalist for the Dicle News Agency, says the allegations are true and adds that Ankara's alleged backing of Islamists goes even further:

"During the last months hundreds of fighters have been taken by Turkish ambulances from Syria to Ceylanpinar hospital and those with more serious injuries were taken to Balikdigol hospital in Sanliurfa, the provincial capital. Kurdish militiaman are systematically rejected in the local hospitals so they are taken to Qamishlo, Syria's main Kurdish city," he told DW.

Anonymous sources from both medical centers told DW that there are no wounded fighters in Ceylanpinar, but that several of them are still being treated in Sanliurfa.

"Dirty War"

From his office, Musa Çeri, District Governor and member of the AKP, the ruling party in Turkey, dismisses such claims as "false rumors."

"It is ridiculous to believe that Turkey could possibly back terrorist groups of any kind. My government would never do such a thing," he told DW, adding that the government of Ankara is "only" struggling to address the ever-growing number of Syrian refugees on Turkish soil - over 200,000 according to UN figures. "Our religion, Islam, compels us to meet the people's needs," he says.

Nonetheless, he doesn't hide his concern for what he considers to be Turkey's "most pressing terrorist threat."

"The Syrian Kurdish fighters are nothing but a branch of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party. If they finally get strong in their areas, they can easily conduct terrorists attacks against us across the border," he explains. One of Ankara's biggest fears, he says, is a Kurdish autonomous region similar to that in northern Iraq on Syrian soil.

Meanwhile, Ismail Arslan, Ceylanpinar's mayor, says his town is paying a high price for the war.

"There have been dead and wounded but people also move elsewhere, shops and business fold, property prices collapse." And there is another price to pay, he says. "In Ceylanpinar, 60 percent are Kurds and 30 percent Arabs while Assyrians, Turks and members of other nationalities comprise the remaining 10 percent. The nature of the conflict is fuelling mistrust among us and causing a split between our people."

Arslan says he prefers not to comment on the alleged camp nearby, but denounces Ankara's role in the area.

"Turkey claims to be a democratic country but it is involved in a very dirty war," he says. "I'm afraid our problems won't end until Ankara stops supporting al-Qaeda-affiliated groups inside Syria."


Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 12:06:02 PM | 41

Parviziyi,

You really want my opinion? I am delighted.
As you know, the MB function like a sect: secrecy, complicate membership rules, higher council taking the decision (some representatives were brouht with him by Morsi to some higher governmental meetings, probably because he was so dumb to give them summaries of the talks).
So on what ground do they banish sects and put pressures on anybody who is not a Muslim? Please confirm: Muhammad had a Christian wife, and he didn't ask her to convert, so why should modern Muslims pretend they have to try to convert a woman who marries a Muslim (at least in Egypt)?
I also hope that the Western libraries who have spent hundreds of thousands of euros buying all the books the MB cavemen published (no matter how stupid and repetitive this literature is) will manage to recycle the paper and start buying books on Arab and Islamic civilizations that really matter for the history of humanity (there are plenty).

I was thinking about the Nairobi story:
Reader: Why did it happen in Kenya and not in a Western mall, since the attackers were obviously after Westerners?
Journalist: Because weapons are easier to get there.
Reader: Why don't we then help Kenya with the weapons' problem?
Journalist: That's a non-topic.
Reader: Why do the attackers think their cause will progress by killing locals working in supermarkets and Saturday shoppers?
Journalist: Because they believe in Wahhabis and Salafis sheikhs' speeches who give them all sort of fancy details about "the Hour" and promess them that martyrdom is what religion is about.
Reader: Why don't we go after the Wahhabi and Salafi sheikhs, at least putting them on no-flying lists for "incitation to hatred and murder".
Journalist: This is a non-topic.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 12:12:24 PM | 42

@ Revenire #33 : No, you're wrong. The rebels in Al-Quseir had the option of staying to fight to the bitter end. They opted to withdraw and it's crucial to my view they were actually able to withdraw. From the record of the Syrian army these past two years, I'd expect that if the rebels had opted to stay and fight to the death, or had been forced to stay by an effective cordon by the Syrian army, then the fighting would've gone on for months more, and the army would've suffered high casualties. I'll repeat what I said on this board on 9 Jun 2013:

On 3 Jun 2013 Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said that in Quseir "the bandits [are] encircled in several city districts" and "the Syrian army is finishing a counter-terrorist operation" (ref). That's what everybody else thought too, on 3 June. [But the Syrian army didn't finish it.] On the night of 4-5 June the bandits were able to withdraw from Quseir! They announced their withdrawal early on the morning of 5 June. Later in the day of 5 June the Syrian army published an acknowledgement that a substantial number of rebels had had an "escape" and had successfully "fled al-Qseir" (ref).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 24, 2013 12:12:56 PM | 43

Rouzeff's speech
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24230069

The NSA is so busy with economic information that it has no time for terrorists' blogs, Twitter accounts, and FB pages. Only MoA or Brown Moses and their readers can do that!

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 12:17:34 PM | 44

Better and better...
1453:The Financial Times (paywall) quotes a senior government adviser as saying that the militants had rented a shop in the Westgate mall as part of the meticulous planning that went into the assault. He told the paper: "They rented a shop and have slowly been smuggling in equipment; how do you explain them being able to hold fire from Saturday, Sunday, Monday -- to sustain for all those hours."

When I look at Samantha's picture on the South African passport, I can see for sure that the "biometric" passports have not changed anything! She did not even have to dye her her!!

But O tells us " 1529: US President Barack Obama has told the United Nations General Assembly that a splintered al-Qaida has represents "serious threats to governments, diplomats, businesses and civilians across the globe," according to AP. He said the world was safer than five years ago, but the shopping mall attack in Kenya "indicates the dangers that remain''.
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24216879)
Maybe it's time for a rehab?

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 12:22:19 PM | 45

@Parviziyi

I've concluded that Parviziyi is as intelectually dishonest as they come. His attacks on the Syrian army can be found on many different blogs, not just this one. As an example of the rubish our keyboard warrior regularly offers, he/she states:
"The situation in Idlib province is as out-of-control now as a year ago, on the whole. In most towns in Idlib, the army has not even tried to restore security. The army has a number of fortified bases in Idlib province, and also in all the other provinces I just mentioned, but the soldiers have been staying at base, in general. Defenders have less casualties than attackers (as 'b' said a while ago). So, if it were the truth that the army had been having less casualties in 2013, this could be attributed to the army's decision to stay mostly in defensive positions."

How do u know the situation in Idlib is so bad,P, little fly told u so? The truth IS u DO NOT KNOW and are just making things up. Several sources show that the Syrian military has been conducting several successful operations against the terrorists in many provinces and this for many months now. Were the Syrian forces doing so poorly, ZUSA and the other Zionist tools would not have gone ballistics and tried to militarily intervene in the conflict, most notably with this CW BS.

Also, Parvizye, regardless of what "b" may have written, attackers do not necessarily suffer more casualties than defenders. This is NOT TRUE at all. Since the blog's owner is German, I'll refer to the German performance in WWII, where the Germans regularly inflicted more casualties on their enemies, oftentimes even when the allies were defending and had manpower and material superiority. There are many more recent examples.

And the Syrian army has been killing the terrorists/insurgents in large numbers. Take a look at these destroyed savages in the fighting around the Christian town of Maloula http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8TlqrCHl1Y

I believe poster 'Crest' has basically nailed it. Let's not forget that Syria is facing a huge regime change operation headed by ZUSA and involving many powerful players. The terrorists have received masssive external support. And unfortunately for Syria, the nation's social fabric is heterogenous, multicult if u will, which is a weakness that is being preyed upon. Although Assad has a majority of support, there are still quite a lot of Sunni Syrians trying to bring the government down.
Quite a difficult situation and I'm actually surprised Syria has been able to resist for so long. I hope she'll prevail.

Posted by: Luca K | Sep 24, 2013 12:23:27 PM | 46

Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the UNGA to accuse the US of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email. In unusually strong language, Rousseff launched a blistering attack on US surveillance, calling it an affront to Brazilian sovereignty and "totally unacceptable." Rousseff rejected the US government reasoning that the NSA surveillance was aimed at detecting suspected terrorist activity and she accused the agency of engaging in industrial espionage. Rousseff said she had asked Washington for explanations, an apology and promises the surveillance would never be repeated. She said:

Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information, often of high economic and even strategic value, was at the center of espionage activity. Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had their communications intercepted. Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations. Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between states. Time is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage, and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other countries.

Obama was en route to the UN while Rousseff spoke. Speaking immediately after Rousseff, he avoided direct reference to her criticism. (Reuters)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 12:27:30 PM | 47

I don't know if this has been posted already but if not I recommend this excellent article by Diana Johnstone and Jean Bricmont "No More War for Israel? The People Against the 800 Pound Gorilla". It shows clearly who are the people who are pushing for war and regime change in Syria.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/13/the-people-against-the-800-pound-gorilla/

Posted by: Luca K | Sep 24, 2013 12:34:19 PM | 48

@Mina

"You really want my opinion? I am delighted."

MBs where partly backed by the population and politically by Qataris and Turks, one set of clienteles of the US policy. The military came back in power partly backed by the population and politically by Saudis/Israelis, another bunch of US customers. What makes you happy is assuredly the closeness of the current group of winners to your way of life and belief. But, this shouldn't lure you in thinking that this state of affairs is or will be in the interests of Egypt and the Egyptian in general. The military has violently and exclusively appropriated the political scene in Egypt and this kind of power grab has nowhere so far boded well for the freedom and justice.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 24, 2013 12:42:43 PM | 49

@Luca K

I haven't figured out hundred percent Parvizyi yet, but I tend to think of him as someone with an agenda not necessarily on the Syrian state side. Most likely an illuminati sympathiser of one of the "non-overthrow" opposition which is trying hard to keep the "wedge" wide open.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 24, 2013 12:52:03 PM | 50

"Defenders have less casualties than attackers." That's very true in today's Syria situation, and in situations with similar kinds of weapons and battles. It's obviously not true for other kinds of situations. Obviously, when the USA attacked Serbia in the 1990s the USA with its longer-range Tomahawk missiles had the ability to be an attacker with zero casualties, while the Serbian defenders against the Tomahawk missiles were almost defenseless against them.

The Battle of Stalingrad (Aug 1942 – Feb 1943) was marked by constant close quarters urban combat. It is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. The heavy losses inflicted on the attackers make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole of World War II.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 24, 2013 12:52:43 PM | 51

asad's latest blog at Al Akhbar:
http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/angry-corner/myths-about-syrian-%E2%80%9Crevolution%E2%80%9D

It is very significant that he has reached these conclusions. Soon only those dedicated to insulting the memory of Tony Cliff, will be left pushing the "Revolution" line.

Re USA today, my guess is that more black men are disenfranchised now than were when Jim Crow ruled 50 years ago. Racism is part of the fabric of US society, it changes its shape but it always remains of critical importance.

Parvizi do you want the Syrian army to behave as the US army would, and did in Fallujah? The regime has, very sensibly recognised that there is no military solution to the sponsored insurgency: the resources of the Gulf tyrants, NATO and Zionism are almost infinite. They use the wars there and in Iraq to dispose of zealots, criminals and potential troublemakers: the more casualties the better. They also use these theatres of war to keep their hard core of mercenaries, many of whom have been fighting since the eighties, (in a series of campaigns that date back to Yemen in the 60s and Oman) hard at work honing their skills for the battles to come.

Now Syria has the chance to establish control over its long borders, enter into co-ordinated campaigns with Iraq and by wedging open public opinion globally, calling for ceasefires and peace conferences. All the while building citizens militias and, if they have the political sense, bringing socialism and egalitarianism back into the baathist programme.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 24, 2013 1:23:48 PM | 52

As I noted in my blog yesterday, Machiavellinailed the problem with exiles about 500 years ago:

A prince should therefore be slow in undertaking any enterprise upon the representations of exiles, for he will generally gain nothing by it but shame and serious injury.

Posted by: Matthew G. Saroff | Sep 24, 2013 1:55:47 PM | 53

There must be a strong UNSCR to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments, and there must be consequences if they fail to do so. If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the UN is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws. It is an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack - Barry
Barry has a real problem with people who don't buy his pathetic 'evidence' which was not even signed off on by DNI Clapper.
Soon only those dedicated to insulting the memory of Tony Cliff, will be left pushing the "Revolution" line - Bevin
I knew it, I knew it, Bevin is an old Trotskyite.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 2:08:53 PM | 54

Here they come again: "2 Syrians in the Nairobi commando"
(in the article, that is, but of course not on the picture).
http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2013/09/24/westgate-les-premiers-elements-sur-le-profil-des-assaillants_3483392_3212.html
What an horrible PR for the Hollande-Fabius league of virtue.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24, 2013 2:35:41 PM | 55

HRW report about August 21 incident uses information by a "witness" who takes credit (in a report footnote) for a video allegedly showing victims "still found" on August 28, while other videos on youtube show the same victims thrown into a hole already on August 22, in a state of decay indicating that they have been dead days before August 21. The video the "witness" takes credit for shows the seemingly planted victims in a house in the middle of the alleged impacts, in an area which seems to have been abandoned by civilians for quite some time.

http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:Alleged_Chemical_Attack,_August_21,_2013/Locations/Zamalka/Ghost_house

Posted by: CE | Sep 24, 2013 2:45:49 PM | 56

@ Mina 55

Well, we know that Obama is Kenyan . . . . . . . . hmmm.

j/k

Posted by: sleepy | Sep 24, 2013 3:10:02 PM | 57

As quoted at #54, Obama said today about the Al-Ghouta attack: "It is an insult to human reason... to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack."

It reminds me of the mentality of his chief advisor on Syria, Susan Rice:

On 28 Nov 2011 Susan Rice said the Syrian government was guilty of "outrageous and now well-documented atrocities." On 23 Feb 2012 Susan Rice said the Syrian government “has accelerated the killing of its people,” and the violence “has continued unabated for nearly a year at a breathtaking scale.” On 2 Apr 2012 Susan Rice spoke of Assad’s “massive intensification of violence.” (Source).

On 16 Apr 2012 Susan Rice said: “They [the Syrian government] have lied to the international community, lied to their own people. And the biggest fabricator of the facts is Assad himself. His representatives are merely doing his bidding and under probably some not insignificant personal duress.” (Source).

On 30 May 2012 Susan Rice said that in Syria there is "ongoing, escalating, expanding violence perpetrated by the government.... The violence is intensifying, escalating, and the government is lying about it." (Source). On 31 May 2012 Susan Rice said that the Syrian government's report on what happen in the Al-Houla massacre is "another blatant lie." (Source).

On 15 Jan 2013 a terrorist attack at Aleppo University killed about 85 people and many more were wounded, and Susan Rice on or around 16 Jan 2013 said the attack was "beyond horrific... According to eyewitnesses, regime jets launched the strikes." (Source).

I know the Syrian government doesn't lie. Bashar Assad is more honest than American politicans are (including Obama). Susan Rice and Obama believe that the top levels of the Syrian government are staffed by chronic liars who chronically order irrational brutalities -- despite the chronic absence of good evidence for this belief. It's founded on deep ignorance of the real Syrian government, plus stupid prejudices that come from I know not where. You can't really blame Obama for being so misinformed, since knowing something about Syria is not really part of his job description. But you have to blame Susan Rice for being so blatantly, horrifically, escalatingly, intensifyingly, outrageously and now well-documentedly misinformed.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 24, 2013 3:28:17 PM | 58

I think French president Hollande is nothing more than Satanyahoo mouthpiece:

From the Guardian:
Security council members should voluntarily forfeit their veto rights in the case of war crimes or massacres, French president Francois Hollande argued in his speech Tuesday. Guardian Paris correspondent Angelique Chrisafis (@achrisafis) reports on a new UN "code of conduct" Hollande proposed:


Criticising indecision, stalemate and lost time at the UN over the Syria crisis, Hollande made a thinly veiled dig at countries who have vetoed moves to deal with the Damascus regime, saying veto rights must be shelved in the case of major war crimes, adding: “If the UN is powerless, peace is threatened”.

Hollande's UN visit was designed to reassert France's firm position on Syria after he was attacked in the French media for allowing Paris to be sidelined by the US and Russia in dealing with the chemical weapons crisis. France, the former colonial power in Syria, had been the most outspoken on sanctions of the regime and had in recent weeks insisted on “punishing” Syria.

Before meeting the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the UN, Hollande said he expected "concrete gestures" by Iran to show it would give up its military nuclear programme, “even if it clearly has the right to pursue its civilian programme.”

Hollande said "I am in favour of dialogue but just as strongly, I am firm on the issue of nuclear proliferation.”

Posted by: Gregg | Sep 24, 2013 3:56:45 PM | 59

@Parviziyi #58 last paragraph: It's called "projection". ;o)

Posted by: CE | Sep 24, 2013 3:58:53 PM | 60

The Hollande interior minister, from a Spanish origin, is also sounding like Sarkozy on gipsies. Basically there is zero difference between Hollande and Sarkozy in any meaningful policy ... other than gays?

Western democracies are basically one party, two candidates, regimes.

Posted by: ThePaper | Sep 24, 2013 4:54:25 PM | 61

Posted by: Gregg | Sep 24, 2013 3:56:45 PM | 59
remember this? another 'civil war' with a foreign power 'intervening'?

'In the last 24 hours, France has directly intervened in the fighting in Ivory Coast as it seeks to reassert its control over its former colony.

French helicopters bombarded forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday afternoon, ground forces loyal to rival presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara were unleashed in an assault on the presidential residence. Nonetheless, as of late last night, Ouattara’s troops had retreated after a failed assault on the bunkers where Gbagbo is thought to be hiding.

etc

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2011/04/ivor-a07.html

this is a similar formula to that used in Libya and now syria


Posted by: brian | Sep 24, 2013 5:55:46 PM | 62

b asked for "other news on Syria".

I have been maintaining a "Hands off Syria" page on Facebook for almost two years. The aim is to collect the best English language news and opinions


https://www.facebook.com/hands.off.syria2

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 24, 2013 5:58:42 PM | 63

...something happened, The post went ahead and posted itself. This happened the second time M of A. Pressing space bar at the wrong moment causes weird effects.

What I intended to say is that many of the "best English language news and opinion" on Syria I collect from M of A comments. So thank you all!

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 24, 2013 6:02:46 PM | 64

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 24, 2013 10:09:40 AM | 34

excellent! and quite right...why attack the messenger and not the message? also Mother Agnes is also now bengn targeted in NYT by HRW for her hippy past!

Posted by: brian | Sep 24, 2013 6:09:54 PM | 65

A crash course in Somalization, from Syria to Kenya

Pepe Escobar

Dick Cheney’s Al-Qaeda dream

But all this is only part of the story. For the Big Picture, we need to go back to NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Libya into a failed state; a development that spawned the Libya-Syria connection.

We need to remember that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had merged with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 2007; this was announced by Ayman al-Zawahiri himself. After the destruction of Libya, AQIM invaded northern Mali – which led to yet another French delirium of grandeur. And then the LIFG, now ‘supported’ by NATO, activated the connection with Syria – with jihadis, funds and weapons fueling non-stop the so-called ‘Free’ Syrian Army.

In parallel, al-Shabaab also connected to the LIFG and AQIM; and, ultimately, they all connected with - guess who - Al-Nusra Front in Syria. Even the head of AFRICOM, Gen. Carter Ham, had to admit part of the story in 2012.

In fact this was no admission; it was supposed to happen. NATO propelling the Libya-Syria connection would inevitably expand Al- Qaeda’s operational reach, from AQIM to AQAP and by extension al-Shabaab. The serpent bites its own tail; a Western military offensive leads to scattered jihadi response; blowback ensues; and thus the need for more Western military muscle, ad infinitum.

So yes; LIFG, AQIM, AQAP, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab, Al-Nusra Front; this acronym/branding spectacular is all interconnected. When manipulated by the US and asserted European poodles as a geopolitical switch – which can be turned on and off – it works wonders.

From Washington’s point of view, to have it reactivated on and off is essential to keep the so-called “light footprint” in Africa, which Nick Turse conclusively demonstrated is anything but light.

Whenever jihadi blowback happens, that’s perfect to ramp up Western hysteria – and demonization of Muslims in general. Moreover, the Westgate mall attack will be the perfect pretext to ramp up US and UK ‘efforts’ inside Somalia. Shady ‘foreign assistance teams’ from the US, UK and Israel, after all, are already in place and crucially deploying from bases in Kenya.

Somalis who have nothing to do with al-Shabaab may and will pay the price – as much as Syrians who detest Al-Nusra Front are victims of the West’s blind, blank support of ‘rebels’. Dick Cheney must feel vindicated; the West is finally consolidating his ‘vision’ of Al-Qaeda as a mercenary shadow army disguised as global Terror Inc. And everything’s under control, of course. Except the wretched ‘collateral damage’ caught in the crossfire.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2013 6:58:23 PM | 66

somebody @35
A guy named Gleb Bazov argues very convincingly at
http://qifanabki.com/2013/09/24/degrading-discourse/
that the UN report is scientifically flawed, and misleading by not adressing it's oown inconsistencies.

qifa @29 thanks for the link and for the effort, interesting discussion there, keep it up.

Posted by: estouxim | Sep 24, 2013 11:59:53 PM | 67

@Parviziyi(51)
Nope, the TRUTH is you have no evidence to back up such claims, i.e, your making stuff up! The example I gave of German ground forces in WWII is pertinent because the Germans oftentimes inflicted higher casualties on the Allies even when attacking with numerical and material inferiority! US army Colonel T. Dupuy studied many engagements and summed them up “record shows the Germans consistently outfought the far more numerous Allied armies that eventually defeated them...On a man for man basis the German ground soldiers consistently inflicted casualties at about a 50 % higher rate than they incurred from the opposing British and American troops UNDER ALL CIRCUNSTANCES. This was TRUE when they were ATTACKING and when they were defending, when they had a local numerical superiority and when, as was USUALLY THE CASE, they were outnumbered, when they had air superiority and when they did NOT, when they won and when they LOST”.
As for Stalingrad, you just copied from Wikipedia, shame on you! Buahaha
Seriously though, what about it? The Germans had taken almost all of the city and would have taken all of it if not for the Soviet counterstrikes against 6th Armys weak flanks. The fighting in the city was costly to the Germans AND to the Soviets. What’s your point? Urban warfare is always very hard, wether its the Germans at Stalingrad, zamericans at Fallujah or the SAA at Darayya. In Syria, btw, not all fighting takes place in cities, a lot of it is in the countryside.

Posted by: Luca K | Sep 25, 2013 12:04:08 AM | 68

Inner City Press (ICP) Matthew Lee's Analysis of UN Chemical report (Audio interview with WBAI Earthwatch)
http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/71287

(ICP) Matthew Lee asks UN spokesperson on why UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon jumped the gun (by commenting on the content) of the UN report on Chemical weapons use in Syria, prior to its official release.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9UU1PyNjKY&feature=share&list=UUjVsIST-__xnKVkXi-DDZmg

Posted by: tom [_]3 | Sep 25, 2013 1:07:40 AM | 69

67) As I understand it, the UN report states that a) Sarin was used b) the Sarin was spread by rockets c) people were affected by it in the early morning when they were in their apartments.

I consider the above proven.

The UN report states nothing else. Everything else (human rights watch, etc) is indeed unscientific conjecture, spin, but the UN report itself cannot be blamed for this. It clearly states all the suspicious circumstances, the limitations etc.

Indeed what @gbazov states "biggest failing of this entire CW incident– the use of the M-14 artillery shell. THAT is a glaring problem screaming for an answer" is correct. The UN inspectors were not tasked with discussing this. The rockets are indeed the smoking gun and they documented them. As the Russians state, the Syrian army is very unlikely to use 1967 ex Soviet or home produced rockets. The Russians - and other bloggers - also state that the Sarin container found is unprofessional in size and the rocket will not have flown very far. Actually Human Rights Watch state with their use of words "suggestive but not conclusive" that what they have done with their prolonging and crossing of rocket directions is manipulative.

The above though also does not prove anything. all we can be pretty sure of is that the incident was not just video and that civilians were hit in their apartments. There still is a) the government did it in a way it looked like the rebels did it (unlikely but possibly in theory), the rebels did it, a third actor did it.

With all the circumstance, cui bono - UN inspectors just in town do research rebel use of sarin, incidents close to the inspectors hotel, rebels attacked losing badly - it looks like a classical false flag. It also does not look like a false flag by the US or other Western actors as they clearly did not have their act together. So it is Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Israel. I think Turkey, Jordan and Israel are too scared that Syria will flare up next door (and presumably Syria/Russia/Iran/Hezbollah threaten them informally on a regualar basis). Remains Saudi Arabia.

But all this does not mean anything really considering these news

Mary Fitzgerald ‏@MaryFitzger 7h

Pivotal development in #Syria tonight: almost all major armed groups say they are denying legitimacy to Western-backed SNC & seeking sharia

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 1:07:48 AM | 70

I would contend that the SAA is merely the visible, hi-profile, easy-to-follow, element of the Syrian Govt's efforts to overcome the Yankee plot. No-one reports on Hezbollah or the Syrian security services activities because they're not hi-profile. Similarly, 'rebel' activities and locations only become obvious when they come under attack by the SAA. So the only people who know what the 'rebels' are doing are their US/UK/Fr/Saudi sponsors. Everything else, and I do mean EVERYTHING, flies under the radar of non-involved observers.

Something spooked the Axis of Evil badly enough for Team Obama to advise its 'rebels' to stage the August 21 fake CW attack. Since there seems to be a general agreement (here at MoA) that the 'uprising' is being 'successful' even if it is only a quagmire, it seems more likely than not that the power of the 'rebels' was being eroded or diminished to such an extent that they needed 'rescuing' by a Libya-style Al Qaeda Air Force.

So, what are we seeing?
1. A half-baked, beleve-your-own-bullshit plot, of the cowardly anonymous 1%, managed by bought-and-paid-for liars and tools of the 1%...
2. sending gullible and cowardly 'jihadis' to Syria to kill civilians, women and children and blame it on Assad...
3. falling apart.

If it's true that the SAA has lost 15,000 soldiers since the 'war' began then, good taste aside, it would be reasonable to ascribe "only" to the 15,000. Logic, and the noisily vacuous reactions of the sponsors suggests that 'rebel' losses, including individuals capable of leadership, cohesion and coherence, have been far more damaging to the 'rebel' cause than 15,000 losses have been to the SAA.

There's also the fact that Russia had sufficient confidence in the Syrian military apparatus to jump in without hesitation and provide as much back-up as international law allowed. The Russians wouldn't have done so if they thought they were backing a bunch of losers.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 25, 2013 1:58:23 AM | 71

@somebody #70

a) Sarin was used b) the Sarin was spread by rockets c) people were affected by it in the early morning when they were in their apartments.

I do not consider any of this proven. In fact, I believe most of it is false.

a) Sarin was found, may have been planted. Most people seem to have died from other causes. Likely cause: hostages gassed with chlorine in cellars and other confined spaces.

b) I am not sure the UMLACA rockets have anything to do with the events of August 21. They may have been fired earlier. The design is a thermobaric Fuel-Air Explosive. The only impact site properly shown on video shows a huge blast with the rocket remains at its epicenter.

c) Do Syrians sleep fully dressed? There is absolutely no proof that anybody died in their home. The only known in situ victims displayed at the Zamalka Ghost House are planted bodies staged by known massacre managers.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 25, 2013 2:06:23 AM | 72

72) You forget the Sarin found in the bodies of real people in the hospitals. As I understand it is not easy to get that amount of people living in different areas and apartments affected by Sarin - you need explosions to disperse the stuff. Sarin is highly volatile, so the danger is quickly over. People were affected in apartments.

c) What I saw was casual clothes, you would wear that in cramped apartments at night with lack of privacy, you also wear that stuff when you are poor and do not own different dress for the night.

It is just not scientific to assume something far fetched when there is a simple plausable explanation.

Philosophically it is not "proven" that people exist. It might be an illusion. Some guy solved it by "I think, therefore I am".

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 2:55:50 AM | 73

71 So the only people who know what the 'rebels' are doing are their US/UK/Fr/Saudi sponsors. Everything else, and I do mean EVERYTHING, flies under the radar of non-involved observers.

Agree. add to that that presumably the sponsors do not have the same goals, neither have the Jihadis on the ground the same goals as their sponsors, nor do they see eye to eye on what they are doing.

It is a huge outsourced privatized mess that is going to explode in everybody's face.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 3:10:45 AM | 74

With due respect Mr MofA I do not think it is correct to refer those evils foreign sponsored "insurgents" as many of them was not "surged" from with"in" furthermore as you correctly indicates they are foreign sponsored. Rebels is sufficiently light but really they are mercenaries. I reiterate my deep respect for your enlightening work. Take care.

Posted by: Ric | Sep 25, 2013 3:33:18 AM | 75

Various possibilities: maybe CIA intends FSA to lose, or CIA has simply lost control to Bandar...

Jihadis in Syria reject SNC, call for Islamic leadership
Reuters, Sep 25 2013

A group of powerful rebel units have rejected the authority of the Western-backed Syrian opposition leadership abroad and called for it to be reorganized under an Islamic framework, according to a video statement posted on the internet. At least 13 rebel factions were said to have endorsed the statement, including Jabhat al-Nusra Front and the powerful Ahrar al-Sham and Liwaa al-Tawhid battalions. An elderly man reading the statement on film said:

These forces feel that all groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent them, and they will not recognize them. Therefore the National Coalition and its transitional government led by Ahmad Tumeh do not represent it and will not be recognized. These forces call on all military and civilian forces to unite under a clear Islamic framework based on Sharia law, which should be the sole source of legislation.

The man reading the statement was not immediately identifiable to Reuters, but the video was posted on several of the social media pages belonging to groups said to have signed on to it, such as Liwaa al-Tawhid.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 3:53:31 AM | 76

#70 and #76
Important development, here other people mentioning it
http://www.syrianperspective.com/2013/09/second-post-september-24-2013-ap.html?showComment=1380069457119#c6747393830837832942

Could be used as a pretext for intervention: CW might fall in the hands of AQ. Reason why the Eg army stepped in, rather than to see a new expansion of their heavy neighbour.

It won't end without UN troops of the ground and a general agreement on the Palestinian refugees relocation. For better or worse.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25, 2013 4:14:28 AM | 77

76) As long as NATO country Turkey clearly supports al-Nusrah, it is clear the US support Al Qaeda in Syria. See Deutsche Welle.

So all it means - there will be no political solution.

Obama insisted in his UN speech on unilateral force, chemical weapons used by the Syrian government, and chemical and nuclear weapons treaties being "core interests" of the US.

He also was clear about direct negotiations with the Iranians taking place.

It will be part of the Iran deal should that ever happen.

In the meantime it will be decided on the ground and many more people will die. But as it is openly Jihadis against the Syrian state politically Assad has already won.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 4:24:34 AM | 78

A moment of hope... Pepe Escobar made my day, as usual
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-02-250913.html

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25, 2013 4:56:22 AM | 79

Posted by: Ric | Sep 25, 2013 3:33:18 AM | 75

'insurgency' refers to attacks on a legitimate govt..as opposed to a govt which is not

Posted by: brian | Sep 25, 2013 5:15:51 AM | 80

somebody @70,73
None of the samples taken in west ghouta tested positive for sarin, b has allready posted on that. Only one sample tested positive for breakdown byproducts in both labs, a soil sample, none of the samples taken from the rocket tested positive in either lab. The only possible evidence connecting sarin with west ghouta is the biomedical testing, and then there is the small matter of symptom inconsistency. Therefore, in what regards west ghouta one can't claim there was a sarin attack using rockets.
Anyway, the fact that the report demonstrates that the rocket found in west ghouta had no traces of sarin implies it's conclusions are misleading, in my opinion by design. Too many coincidences, from the inequivochal evidence from the us, britain, france, to the damning evidence anounced by the un korean poodle, to the photoop of the report delivery. What matters is not what it contains, what matters is what can be sad it contains, and create a narrative that is mass circulated. Which will in time become common knowlege, like, to take an absolute truth protected by law in France, the 6 million hollocausted. Even when the proponent of the number latter revised it. What counts is the headline, or rather, a thousand headlines. Noone reads reports anyway.
So, we should be carefull with what we say, and never accept the oficial narrative without acertaining it's coherence. And in this particular case the lack of coherence is manifest.

Posted by: estouxim | Sep 25, 2013 5:19:08 AM | 81

Synthesis on yesterday's development
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/major-rebel-factions-drop-exiles-go-full-islamist/

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25, 2013 5:48:35 AM | 82

81, We should not create narratives that are not coherent either. Yes, there was spin around the report to create headlines. But they needed the spin, it was not in the report. We will not gain credibility with counterspin. People will just stop to listen.

It was the US who wanted to act before any research had been done, the UN inspectors are again on the ground today, and it was the Russians who insisted on it.

To attack the UN inspectors is not helpful. The UN is not dominated by the US - that is why they want to circumvent it.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 5:55:42 AM | 83

@Mina, #72: It says among other things, "Northern Storm brigade in Azaz just issued statement supporting 'Islamic coalition'". Now that's the FSA brigade which has been fighting ISIL. At some earlier point I remember suggesting that the FSA would splinter when it was called upon to fight the Jihadis. Incidentally, IPS have a palpably disinfological article from inside the FSA, peddling the claim that the Jihadis are secretly in league with Assad against the FSA. That is a disinfo line which presumably comes from the now-diminishing FSA quotient which is still loyal to the SNC. I have to conclude that the CIA is playing both ends at once: the FSA via the SNC, and the Jihadis via Bandar. I have suspected for sort of playing both ends for years in Afghanistan, but here it is being drawn out into the open where it should become visible to any unbiased observer, just as the mechanics of the US Jewish lobby got drawn out into the open two weeks ago. Which is good. There must come a point when the whole double game of al-Qaeda becomes visible to any unbiased observer, too.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 5:57:12 AM | 84

We should not create narratives that are not coherent either.

But YOU do that ALL the time.

Lirerally, all the f'n time.

For example you did it when you ran aronud claiming that the SAA had (deliberately) bombed some tunnels with CW in them, and that rather being a false flag event, it was in fact the SAA that caused it.

And you used that fake MintPress bullshit as the base for all those lies.

Do you have some sort of mental impairment that causes you to act like that, and then days later act as if none of those lieshad anything to do with you?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25, 2013 6:21:30 AM | 85

We will not gain credibility with counterspin. People will just stop to listen.

You're damn right they won't, and for you too many lies have already been told,so your credibility is frankly non-existant, so I would not worry about losing any, if I were you. Gaining cred is what you need to worry abour, because you can't lose what you aint got.

And who the hell is this "we" you keep referring to?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25, 2013 6:27:32 AM | 86

The AFP story about the anti-SNC coalition in Syria ends up by saying "The statement comes amid an escalation of violence pitting fighters from various factions across the rebel spectrum against ISIL." I suppose that if this entire new coalition is against ISIL, then it must indeed believe that ISIL, and ISIL alone, is working with the Assad regime. Jabhat al-Nusra is in the new coalition, and IIRC, JaN and ISIL fell out over the declaration of global Jihad which, paradoxically, the distant arch-CIA stooge Ayman al-Zawahiri opposed. Have I got all that right?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 7:11:22 AM | 87

87) ISIS/ISIL are the international Jihadis?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 7:44:26 AM | 88

87) plus what became of this differentiation between rebels who where hiding when everybody thought the US would strike, because they feared the US would strike the Syrian army and their rebel bases, and the rebels who prepared to attack supported by US strikes and who had presumably given information on army bases and unfriendly rebel bases?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 8:17:39 AM | 89

Glenn Beck shows a photo of an Islamic AlQaeda leader fighting inside #Syria against secular forces. Beck pulled out a photo that has been circulating the internet that seems to show Commander Muhajireen Kavkaz wa Sham, a leader of an Al-Qaeda linked group, inside a #USAID tent.

Sorry Barack #Obama , It is the free media , you can't hide every bad thing you are doing.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=229747133854299

Posted by: brian | Sep 25, 2013 8:57:19 AM | 90

In Apr 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the second leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) after the decease in Apr 2010 of the first leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, released an audio statement in which he announced that Jabhat al-Nusra had been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Baghdadi declared that the two groups were officially merging under the name "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham" or "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIS/ISIL). Thus, according to him, Jabhat al-Nusra is ISI's branch in Syria, and the two combined are ISIS/ISIL. But the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, issued a statement the following day denying the merger, complaining that neither he nor anyone else in the leadership had been consulted about it, and affirming Jabhat al-Nusra's allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri. In Jun 2013, Zawahiri himself wrote to both leaders, ruling against the merger and appointing an emissary to oversee relations between them and put an end to tensions. Six days later, ISI/ISIS/ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio message rejecting Zawahiri's ruling and declaring the merger was going ahead. This month, ISIS/ISIL killed Ahrar ash-Sham commander Abu Obeida al-Binnishi. Ahrar al-Sham fighters were trying to free members of an Islamic charity from Malaysia who had been kidnapped by ISIS. Also this month, ISIS overran Azaz, taking it from the FSA-affiliated Northern Storm brigade. ISIS had attempted to kidnap a German doctor working in Azaz, and the Northern Storm brigade had taken exception to this. In an interview with the Syrian National Media Centre (a Kuwait-sponsored entity) in Jul 2013, a suspected al-Qaeda member named Abu Musab al-Suri alleged that ISIS/ISIL had been infiltrated by the Syrian regime. It is said that ISIS/ISIL avoids direct confrontations with the army and tries to divide other groups. So this new coalition includes Jabhat al-Nusra and excludes ISIS/ISIL. It is conceivable that what we are looking at here is a proxy war between the Sauds and Kuwait.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 8:57:39 AM | 91

On Obama and Syria
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n18/david-bromwich/diary

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25, 2013 9:05:20 AM | 92

Syrian Arab News Agency SANA
Russia allocates USD 10 million for displaced Syrians abroad
Sep 25, 2013
Moscow, (SANA)- Russia is to provide USD 10 million in aid to the displaced Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced.

Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday that Lavrov met the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antَnio Guterres on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

The statement pointed out that Lavrov stressed during the meeting the Russian side's readiness to continue providing aid to improve the living conditions of the displaced Syrians.

It added that Lavrov stressed that the only way out of the current situation in Syria is through a political settlement.

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Lavrov and Guterres agreed that the potential foreign use of force against Syria would further deepen the current crisis and lead to increasing the number of displaced Syrians in the neighboring countries.

Lavrov also held a meeting with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer during which he stressed the need to prevent further escalation of the crisis in Syria which would cause a large-scale deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the region.

Russia sends humanitarian aid to the Syrian people on a regular basis, the latest shipment of food supplies arrived last August 27 on board an Russian airplane that landed in Lattakia Airport.

H. Said

http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/09/25/504251.htm

Posted by: brian | Sep 25, 2013 10:21:44 AM | 93

The NYT is reporting press conferences of the Syrian government :-))

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Fayssal Mekdad, said Tuesday that his government aimed to negotiate an end to the country’s civil war by talking with a broad range of Syrians, from religious and community leaders to peaceful opposition groups, dismissing the main Western-backed exile opposition as having little influence on the ground. ... Asked about analyses of the inspectors’ report that suggested the weapons could only have been operated by the government, and compass headings that indicated the chemicals were most likely fired from a government-held area that includes core military bases atop Mount Qasioun, he pointed to the mountain’s ridge, a Damascus landmark, from his window.

“From that place, somebody may shoot at us now,” he said. “Does it mean the government is killing the government?”
...
A Syrian journalist said recent fighting between armed groups in the rebel-held north changed the calculations of Syrian and Western leaders regarding the proposed talks in Geneva.

The journalist, who supports the government but requested anonymity to go beyond official statements, said he believed the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was trying to seize ground from other rebel groups.

“I don’t think Geneva is really close to us, but what is close to us is a huge problem,” he said. “If we don’t fight it in next two, three, four weeks, this means that inside of the Middle East, near Europe’s border, there is a state auto-financed and controlled by terrorists.”

He said he could even envision a situation in which an international coalition was formed to fight alongside the Syrian Army against the jihadists, a prospect that seemed unlikely for now as the West continues to insist Mr. Assad leave power.

Mr. Mekdad dismissed that notion and said the government sought a “peace coalition” to end the financing of armed opposition groups by America’s allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, adding that aid to the Syrian government from its allies Russia and Iran was permissible within relations between sovereign states.


Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 11:08:28 AM | 94

92) thanks Mina for that link, so it is the established high quality publications now officially stating that

After 56 months of the Obama presidency, there can be no doubt that Barack Obama likes to talk. He thinks Americans and others are eager to hear what he has to say, on many subjects; and in keeping with that perception, he said in August 2012 about the civil war in Syria: ‘A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised. That would change my calculus.’ He gave another version, in March, of the same asseveration: the use of chemical weapons by Assad would be ‘a game changer’. These, too, were undiplomatic comments. A clearer invitation could scarcely be imagined by anyone who had an interest in drawing the US into the war. When evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria emerged this year, first in March near Aleppo, then in August near Damascus, the forces pressing for American involvement called at once for a change of policy. What exactly are those forces? One of the largest and the least talked of in the US has been Saudi Arabia. If it is necessary to supply weapons and money to jihadists to weaken Syria, and thereby to weaken Iran as well, the Saudis have shown that they are willing to do such things. Turkey and Qatar also support the rebellion for reasons of political advantage; and Israel is interested in prolonging the war, though not in assuring the victory of jihadists. It makes Israel shine more brightly as America’s sole reliable partner in a region sinking into devastation. A New York Times story on 5 September offered this disclosure by a former Israeli diplomat, referring to the jihadist rebels and Assad government forces: ‘Let them both bleed, haemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 11:13:09 AM | 95

Inconvenient testimony for the sarin naysayers:

http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/a-chemical-weapons-expert-responds-to.html

Posted by: Qifa Nabki | Sep 25, 2013 12:33:06 PM | 96

#96: I see from your blog that you're "a frequent contributor on political and cultural issues in the contemporary Middle East" to such publications as NYT, Nation, Foreign Policy.com and Graun. It's quite an achievement to pack a sneer ("inconvenient") and a cliche ("naysayers") into one six-word sentence. You're doubtless worth your wage to your vile employers.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 1:00:50 PM | 97

#96: It just struck me, you've managed to pack in not only a sneer and a cliche but also a manifest and tendentious inaccuracy ("testimony"). This is presumably intended to confer some sort of authoritative, juridical status on the opinions expressed by Dan Kaszeta (an employee of various western governments, as he freely admits). His final argument can only be called far-fetched:

My theory is that the larger 330-360mm rocket may have been designed as a binary agent to combine chemicals to create Sarin. However, the ‘dark art’ of perfecting the inflight mixing may not have been learned by its designers. In such a case, the device would disseminate a mix of chemicals upon impact or detonation.

This is explaining the obscure by means of the more obscure, always a sign of what the ancient logicians called "bullshit with a capital B."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 1:09:45 PM | 98

96) don't worry HRW/Brown Moses do not have a leg to stand on:

This here is a seasoned Dutch defense journalist - and he is talking to other journalists so this will spread:

Richard Hall ‏@_RichardHall 18 Sep

Map showing trajectory of sarin rocket that hit Ein Tarma, determined by UN. Showing exact location of Rep Guard base pic.twitter.com/HuZ5PzVSOd

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 54m

@_RichardHall That map supposes the range of the 330mm rockets is known. It isn't. Given the design, it is certainly a lot less than 10 kms

Richard Hall ‏@_RichardHall 42m

@hdevreij Ein Tarma is about 7.5km away from Republican Guard HQ. The Moadamiyah site is just under 10km. Both within range.

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 41m

@_RichardHall If you know the range of the 'flying exhaust pipe', you know more than almost everyone else. Congratulations!

Richard Hall ‏@_RichardHall 41m

@hdevreij what do you mean flying exhaust pipe? The munitions found at site have been identified in great detail.

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 52m

@_RichardHall Another thing: it is generally presumed the hardware of Syria's chemical arsenal is Soviet-made. This is not standard USSR CW

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 53m

@_RichardHall B/c that is what it looks like. It is a unguided and not fin-stabilized rocket, and can't possibly bridge more than 1 km


Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij

@_RichardHall Trust me, I am one of the few Western journalists that saw all Soviet chemical weapons. Volsk-18 (aka Shikhany), 1987

ah, and yes this here - same defense journalist -

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 24 Sep

#Syria #CW The only people agreeing with the US President on these contraptions are probably the folks at @hrw as well as @Brown_Moses

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 24 Sep

#Syria #CW To put the record straight: these rockets are unguided, not fin-stabilized, and therefore incapable of bridging larger distances

Hans de Vreij ‏@hdevreij 24 Sep

#Syria #CW President Obama just described the crude 330 mm contraptions used as 'advanced rockets'. Sure... pic.twitter.com/94u1RW08ro

Now any military person (or physics teacher) who knows something about flying objects realizes this, can you imagine the respect they feel for the US president and/or Human Rights Watch?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 3:22:59 PM | 99

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