Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 25, 2013

Syria: The Mask Is Off

It was quite obvious from the very beginning of the protests and insurgency violence in Syria that the violent part was done by sectarian Sunni Jihadists aligned groups who's aim were to implement an Islamic state. Every name of the "brigades" that announced their youtube existence was taken from some famous Sunni hero, historic event or other sectarian religious scheme. The "western" media tried their best to avoid noticing such and for two and a half years continued to talk about "democratic" and "peaceful" "protesters".

But now the mask is finally off:

A collection of some of Syria's most powerful rebel brigades have rejected a Western-backed opposition group that announced the creation of an interim government in exile this month.

The 13 rebel groups, led by the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, also called on supporters of the Syrian opposition to embrace Sharia law "and make it the sole source of legislation."

The new group includes many who were until now members of the openly U.S. supported Free Syrian Army and include the very "democratic" folks Senator John McCain met at the Turkish-Syrian border.

Who does the Obama administration suggest should now sit on the opposition side to negotiate with the Syrian government in Geneva? Neither the exile National Syrian Council nor the exile Supreme Military Command have any control over or traction with the groups fighting against the Syrian government. And how will the Obama administration justify further support for these groups?

Obama will not yet abandon his aim of destructing the Syrian state but pursuing this aim is becoming more and more indefensible.

Posted by b on September 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

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A sad repetition of what happened when the US and its allies were trying to find some puppet who could seat and talk with the different parties in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
And just as there or with the MB, there understanding of what should be a democratic process is limited to 'shura' or 'loyajirka'!

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25, 2013 1:04:07 PM | 1

My tax dollars are funding this buffoonery and evil world wide. I apologize to the world. The taxes are taken by force and I have not been voting for the bozos who have been winning the elections. If you're going to despise the US, despise the US government in Washington DC. I do.

Posted by: therevolutionwas | Sep 25, 2013 1:37:42 PM | 2

After "Bashar goes first and then we negociate", we have "Daddy, I don't want to negociate with Iran".
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/82495/World/Region/Syrian-rebels-urge-boycott-of-any-conference-invol.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Sep 25, 2013 1:40:59 PM | 3

Landis at least has grasped that ISIL/ISIS are not included. But having grasped it, he rejects it:

On the other hand, the statement is in no way hostile to the ISIS. It might in fact suit them pretty well, since it weakens the hand of the Western-backed camp and adds weight to Islamist demands. When I asked a representative of Tawhid, he said the reason they’re not on the list of signatories is just because they’re not members. If they want to, and share the principles, they could join. The members already present will decide.

I think that is just Arab politesse (something I see all the time, a refusal to condemn or denigrate anybody if it can possibly be avoided, a sort of universal courtliness). It seems to me that this is a coalition against ISIL/ISIS, as I explained on a previous thread:
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 1:45:19 PM | 4

Michael Kelly at Business Insider earlier summed up this rejection and explained why it is a disaster for US strategy in Syria.

Tuesday evening, after President Barack Obama's speech to the U.N. general assembly, America's strategy for Syria began to unravel.

At about 4 p.m. ET, 13 of the largest Islamist brigades in Syria formed the "Islamic Coalition," rejecting the Western-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) and the opposition's planned exile government.

Two hours later the State Department wasn't prepared to talk about the announcement, and instead discussed the Syrian coalition's preparations for the upcoming Geneva II peace talks. However, those plans were inherently muddled after "nearly all armed factions that matter in Syria just issued statement saying [the] political opposition doesn't represent them," as explained by Al Aan TV reporter Jenan Moussa.

Basically Obama called for the Geneva 2 Peace talks to take place, and every armed group from the Jihadist wing (ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Tawhid) to the Jihadist-lite groups (Farouq Brigade, the FSA's own Northern Storm Brigade) have rejected any talks.

In fact not only has almost every rebel group rejected Obama's peace talks, they have also rejected the political legitimacy of the Syrian National Council, the group of exiles that the West had hoped too place in government after Assad's removal.

More than ever the SNC is just a bunch of old men hanging out in hotels lobbies in Turkey and the Gulf pretending to have political power.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Sep 25, 2013 1:58:13 PM | 5

@5 none of that really matters if the weapons and funding keep flowing

Posted by: hmm | Sep 25, 2013 2:06:51 PM | 6

6, that is the issue - who is funding the stance they take.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 2:25:03 PM | 7

"A collection of some of Syria's most powerful rebel brigades have rejected a Western-backed opposition group t"

To what extend this may be a reflection of the saudi plans having hit the wall, with US not going to war. saudi's with no strategic plans are now going ape sh*t. This is the extend of their ability, bombing, killing just like a disease.

Posted by: Rd. | Sep 25, 2013 2:25:23 PM | 8

What does the West do if the Syrian government begins its own non-Geneva II peace talks with non-jihadi opposition? This is what was hinted at by Syrian deputy foreign minister Fayssal Mekdad in an interview with the NYT. The U.S. position is collapsing.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 25, 2013 2:55:16 PM | 9

This is a great post, b.
What makes it great is the act of drawing attention to the embarrassing fact that this so-called "spontaneous uprising" (united by deep yearnings for 'democracy') couldn't look less united, or less democratic, or less spontaneous, or less motivated by good intentions, if it tried.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 25, 2013 3:42:46 PM | 10

Indeed, Obama and Israel want to destroy Syria. Although, I appreciate Iran's support for the Syrian government, I am sick and tired of hearing everyone say that the goal is to destroy Iran. Just think about it. I have been listening to the USA and Israel threatening Iran for 10 years. During those 10 years, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and maybe Egypt are decimated or soon will be.

Posted by: hilmi hakim | Sep 25, 2013 4:01:30 PM | 11

RT interviews an Hezbollah MP

HH: Syria has been infiltrated by groups that have links to the CIA, and are also backed by certain Arab nations. Their task is to topple the regime, since it has proved to be resilient. The West has tried to distance itself from these groups to avoid being responsible for their terrorist activities. Right now those groups are fighting one another in northern Syria. They are trying to destroy the Free Syrian Army, as we can see from yesterday’s fighting in the Azaz area. Those groups are blacklisted by the West as terrorist groups, but the West prefers to keep silent about it. The Americans back those groups, because they share the purpose of overthrowing the regime in Syria, since the Syrian regime has been supportive of the resistance against the Israeli occupation.

So, what is the strategy - trying to get rid of the locals who might make a deal with the government?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 25, 2013 4:13:49 PM | 12

@Mike Maloney #9

What "non-jihadi opposition?"

The FSA, the "moderate opposition" – or whatever you want to call it – has never been anything but a front for direct US/CIA involvement in the conflict. Without its CIA / NATO skeleton the FSA and its related political front organizations would disappear into thin air. They cannot bypass the US and start negotiations, because they are the US.

Any ingenious pro-democracy opposition had its negotiations already two years ago and is now represented in the Syrian parliament.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 25, 2013 5:18:23 PM | 13

Read the interview in the New York Times with the deputy foreign minister, Peter. Mekdad must have some group(s) or individuals in mind to have mentioned it.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 25, 2013 5:42:15 PM | 14

For those who do not know him the American conservative/libertarian Justin Raimondo is (almost) always interesting at antiwar.com.
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/09/24/the-handshake-that-never-happened/

Posted by: bevin | Sep 25, 2013 6:29:06 PM | 15

well this embarrasses the 'rebel' supporters...esp those on the left:

guys like the-often-good-but-on-syria-dodgy Richard ('Considering the New Yorker’s reputation for rigorous fact-checking, I felt let down by the quality of this(article on Burgas attack) piece') Silverstein' http://www.richardsilverstein.com/
who takes aim at Mother Agnes;
and the self imploding unrepentent marxist
http://louisproyect.org/

Posted by: brian | Sep 25, 2013 6:30:08 PM | 16

I would have thought that the situation was obvious. The so-called "moderate" brigades are going hungry, because not financed. They have to join the Islamists, in order to eat. The alternative is to go back to Asad; I am not sure that the latter guarantees eating.

I am not sure there's a political change, as suggested in the Guardian. More a physical necessity. If another option opened, they might go for it. After all, heavy shari'a is not the preference of the Sunnis of north Syria.

Posted by: alexno | Sep 25, 2013 7:05:51 PM | 17

@ 6: "none of that really matters if the weapons and funding keep flowing"

Yup! Bottom line, despite all the Kabuki going on, regime change and destruction of Syria are STILL the goals of the West. If the West and their proxies keep sending arms to these "rebels", Syria, and Assad, cease to be an obstruction to empire and their goals. The fetid dreams of the globalists are yet alive and well.

Posted by: ben | Sep 25, 2013 8:21:55 PM | 18

b - thanks for the post.
@7 - saudi arabia and israel?
@11 - end goal iran.
@18 - i agree.

Posted by: james | Sep 25, 2013 8:28:32 PM | 19

@17 I just haven't been able to see the "rebels" and "eat" in the same post without feeling a little nauseous.

.......

The fact is that this is a direct result of the stare down of the American attack by the Resistance.

Things will likely get worse while Al Qaeda, the Saudis, Turks, and Israelis consolidate their puppets and ramp up the violence try in a vain effort to try and continue their policy (which will quickly devolve into an effort to keep Al Qaeda focused on anyone but them). But as they come to realize that they cannot do it and the costs are impossibly high (especially without the hope of the trump card of American bombing) they will realize they have to wind down this war and Syria will be whole again - with completely new dynamics in the region and, despite the destruction, likely stronger than ever in terms of national purpose.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 25, 2013 9:11:40 PM | 20

@Mike Maloney#9:

Interesting confluence of political events and media coverage. The US State Department has been obstructing Syria's foreign minister from gaining entry to the US to attend the UN. Anne Barnard's interview of deputy foreign minister appears in the NYT on Tuesday, in which he says:

Asked whether the government would talk with civilians representing Syrian opposition fighters — as opposed to foreign jihadist groups — Mr. Mekdad said, “Don’t put me in a place where I have to say who is a terrorist and who is not a terrorist,” stopping short of implying, as the government often has, that anyone tied to the rebellion supports terrorism.

But Mr. Mekdad suggested the government doubted the usefulness of talking to leaders of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the exile group that the West and its Arab allies have tried to set up as the government’s opposition counterpart and the civilian leadership of the loose-knit rebel Free Syrian Army. Excluding that group would be a nonstarter for the United States and its allies.

But Mr. Mekdad and prominent government supporters in Damascus said the coalition was increasingly irrelevant, not only lacking control over its own forces, but over foreign jihadist groups increasingly prominent on the battlefield — a view widely shared by Syrians who oppose the government.

The next day, the FSA distances itself from the SNC. It looks as though both the Syrian government and the insurgents are treating the expat SNC and the US-brokered peace talks as irrelevant to the future of Syria.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 25, 2013 9:30:52 PM | 21

@brian#16:

There is a lot of disinformation ciruculating about Syria and it's not just coming from the MSM. It's perfectly reasonable to be just as skeptical about an NPR reporter's inside-Damascus-source when they're telling you something that romanticizes the FSA (like Kelly McEvers reporting from Beirut) as it is when it plants the evidence on the FSA (like Gavlak from Amman). Some of the stories in the alternative press that are too good to be true are half-truths planted by intelligence services to make the left look gullible (and to cast doubt on the real facts when they finally surface). The current known facts about the Ghouta attack (no matter how US, Israeli or UN officials spin them) are sufficient to punch holes in the insurgent account of events and deaths. Some people, somewhere died, but the UN team did not see or examine any of their bodies.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 25, 2013 10:09:55 PM | 22

obviously the fsa/rebels whatever were going to morph into a fighting army created by saudi arabia to overrun syria and form a sunni state/caiphate but russia will protect syrian orthodox christians in the short term-the alawites will lose out to a majority of sunni rulers-the sarin gas attacks exposed the saudi charade for what it is -short term sacrifices for long term gains.

the attack in kenya will be the catalyst for retribution

rise up warriors of africa ,gather your weapons,the march to the kingdom of arabia awaits with its treasures.put the slave traders to the sword

Posted by: mawanga | Sep 25, 2013 11:44:53 PM | 23

For those who do not know him the American conservative/libertarian Justin Raimondo is (almost) always interesting at antiwar.com. Posted by: bevin | Sep 25, 2013 6:29:06 PM | 15
The exception presumably being his (almost) incessant "red"-baiting and "commie"-bashing.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 25, 2013 11:56:23 PM | 24

ISIS/ISIL & PYD clash on Syrian border with Turkey

Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters, Sep 25 2013

AMMAN – Seven Jihadis from ISIS/ISIL were killed in a battle in Atma, a town on the Turkish border which is a main escape route for refugees fleeing the civil war, opposition sources said. As well as the seven members of ISIS/ISIL killed in fighting with the PYD, the Syrian arm of the PKK, two female PKK members were also killed by mortar fire on the outskirts of the nearby town of Jandaris, the sources said. The PYD has come under criticism from other Kurdish groups for having ties with Assad’s forces and has also been accused of killing peaceful Kurdish activists, charges the group denies. Opposition activist Mohammad Abdallah said: "Officers from Assad’s army visited PYD leaders in Jandaris in the last week to discuss military cooperation, prompting the PYD to launch a pre-emptive strike. There is a feeling that the Kurds were fortifying Jandaris as part of a plan to carve a Kurdish zone in Ifrin with the help of the regime. Fighting has been heavy all day, and ISIS/ISIL have brought heavier guns to defend Atma and to target the PYD." Another activist in the town said: "The PYD have taken positions in high ground around Atma. Most of Atma is now within sight of PYD snipers. Clashes with RPGs are taking place on the hills." There has been intense fighting between Kurds and rebel units and Arab tribes opposed to de facto Kurdish autonomy. Seeking to mend ties with the Kurdish community, SNC leaders attempted at a meeting in Istanbul this month to expand the SNC to include members of the Kurdish National Council, a grouping of the main Kurdish parties that does not include the PYD. But the effort was put off as the coalition debated at length a joint declaration with the Kurdish Council that defines the Kurds as a separate people in a united Syria.


Notice that the ‘opposition activists’ cited are presumably ISIS/ISIL members, but that the story obscures this fact, indicating a western desire to continue to exploit ISIS/ISIL as a battering-ram against the PYD, even while the SNC in Istanbul attempts to engage a Kurdish ‘coalition’ that excludes them and their parent PKK. This shows that the western strategy is to exploit both SNC and ISIS/ISIL forces while in fact these are engaged in intense armed combat against one another. AQ affiliations on either side of this ‘dialectical strategy’ are simply irrelevant to the west, which has gone far beyond any pretence of not collaborating with AQ affiliates in Syria. Nevertheless, ISIS/ISIL and the rest are genuinely fighting one another to the death.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 12:50:50 AM | 25

The thing that strikes me about the video is that it was shot from a busy overlooking highway. You can hear the traffic.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 5:35:45 AM | 28

US is a one party system: before Obama; back in 2007 US under Bush was backing islamic terrorists in syria even then

'The Bush administration has admitted that covert actions of an aggressive nature were applied against Iran and Syria. The stated objective was to wreck the countries’ economies and currency systems. The infamous Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG) created in early 2006, integrated by officials from the White House, the State Department, the CIA and the Treasury Department, had a mandate to destabilize Syria and Iran, and bring about “Regime Change” :'
etc

http://www.globalresearch.ca/islamic-terrorists-supported-by-uncle-sam-bush-administration-black-ops-directed-against-iran-lebanon-and-syria/5837

imagine if Syria backed terrorism in USA? look what US did to afghanistan just for harborng Osama

Posted by: brian | Sep 26, 2013 7:04:07 AM | 29

There was no mask to begin with. Any sane person could see through the BS that was being spewed by the assorted MSM. Even politicians in the West knew very well the "opposition" SNC didn't really have any traction with the jihadis on the ground and that the "FSA" where just some imaginary label for used for the jihadis when convenient. Blatant lies, fabrication etc etc became the order of the day.

It's just that the facts have become too hard to brush aside or ignore. The Syrians conflict's always been, right from the beginning, a MB attempt at obtaining power through any mean. With heavy backing from any state that got an ax to grind with Assad..

Posted by: Zico | Sep 26, 2013 7:15:55 AM | 30

29

agree

Posted by: greg | Sep 26, 2013 8:29:01 AM | 31

"The exception presumably being his (almost) incessant "red"-baiting and "commie"-bashing."
No Rowan: that is interesting too! It really is.

It is not without significance that fans of Ayn Rand, such as Raimondo and Paul, are pushing for major changes in imperial foreign policies. Changes which, despite being unacceptable to you, so impure, politically, are their sponsors, will be most welcome to those people who live under the heel of imperial death squads and drones. These will include Syrians in Bandar's sights
Your sulking is not unlike theirs when their joy at the defeat of the Nazis was lost amid their grumbling about the deportment of the Red Army.

Life is hard, Rowan, but, to become wise it is often necessary to attend to the opinions of those with whom we disagree, or dislike.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 26, 2013 9:48:48 AM | 32

@31

Sorry, don't know if you're American or not, but having read Raimondo and his libertarian ilk for years (as someone originally from the far-left), I have to agree with Rowan in that while the aims of the Libertarian/harder-right bent in America - e.g., anti-Imperialism - may sometimes coincide with those of other political persuasions the one glaring and annoying fact of the matter is that they are completely, unabashedly ignorant (sincerely, to a person almost) of how the terms "socialism" "communism" "liberalism" and a host of other political terms differ or are even defined. I used to think that it was just an act but after having spent enough time at those sites see they honestly don't understand not want to.

One can go to antiwar and the Ron Paul sites and read some good rants about how the US shouldn't get involved in any more foreign entanglements, etc but then be treated - in the same article sometimes, mind you - to rants about how Obama is a socialist/communist/Nazi (simultaneously!)

Certainly, current events make strange bedfellows of disparate groups but the sheer ignorance and lack of understanding that the Libertarians incessantly and proudly put on display is not something that should ever go unremarked upon as down the line that ignorance will have to be dealt with by the rest of society at some point. Yeah, the Empire's collapsed, now we're stuck with a coalition that honestly thinks that labor unions were an invention of Stalin! Whoopee!

Obviously, the same goes for the warmongering liberal fools but that's not what we're talking about here.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 26, 2013 10:10:41 AM | 33

To get an idea of what the West would be happy with for Syria, just take a look at Egypt 2012
http://www.sandmonkey.org/2012/12/12/a-simple-update-regarding-our-constitutional-referendum/

Posted by: Mina | Sep 26, 2013 10:25:09 AM | 34

J. Sorrentine. I don't relish Raimondo's bigotry either. As to his rants, I'm not looking for reassurance. The truth is that, for the first time since Senator Vandenberg advised Truman to terrify the American people into supporting an anti-communist crusade, significant layers of the right wing populist support for imperialism are being lopped off, by experience, largely, but also thanks to the leadership shown by Paul, Sr and Jr, Raimondo and others.
And that makes me very happy. We have just seen both House and Senate signal a willingness to turn down war resolutions and I don't have to be American to know that that hasn't happened since the days when maverick giants like Borah, LaFollette and Wheeler sat in the Senate.
I don't have to like Raimondo to understand that it is useful to follow what he and the likes of Pat Buchanan are saying to promote the American isolationism that the world needs and longs for.

If the price of the collapse of the Empire was the modest inconvenience of having to put up with the "coalition that honestly thinks that labor unions were an invention of Stalin!" Oh, and that the von Mises Institute is the fount of economic wisdom(Both of which I suspect are Obama's opinions.) I'd be up for a few Whoopees.

I'm Canadian, by the way: Peace.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 26, 2013 10:43:00 AM | 35

This sentence literally does not make sense:

Changes which, despite being unacceptable to you, so impure, politically, are their sponsors, will be most welcome to those people who live under the heel of imperial death squads and drones.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 10:45:07 AM | 36

@35 Makes sense to me. It saying that it appears you will not support an anti-imperial result if it is realized by actors whose motives fail to meet your ideological standard. Additionally, it contains the notion that the targets of death squads and drone killings will welcome the
cessation of imperial practices. There is an appositive element built into the sentence; nevertheless, idiomatic formulations are within the purview of the language.

Don't get me wrong, you have a knack, err should I say naq, for presenting much relevant information, which is appreciated. And as far as this discussion goes, I think you can do better.

Posted by: Tazor Raoule | Sep 26, 2013 11:31:13 AM | 37

Oh, I get it now. It's Raimondo & Paul who are the sponsors of the changes in foreign policy which will be so welcome to those living under the boot heel of the drones. But all this is bullshit, unfortunately. As Bevin should surely know, a non imperialist capitalism is as impossible as a non air-breathing combustion engine. However, if by some unhappy chance the US were utterly devastated by coast-to-coast nuclear attack, then capitalism could start again at a domestic level, which would give Messrs Raimondo & Paul a chance to live out their log cabin fantasies. Except that the country would be invaded, by people who would not take kindly to such fantasies.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 11:46:08 AM | 38

@37 In politics one could hope that not all things will be taken to their logical extremes.

Posted by: Tazor Raoule | Sep 26, 2013 11:56:02 AM | 39

"If the price of the collapse of the Empire was the modest inconvenience of having to put up with the "coalition that honestly thinks that labor unions were an invention of Stalin!""

I probably shouldn't have understated it as such for their philosophy (if you can call it that) - as Rowan alludes to - starts from an inflated selfishness and egoism that is inherently antagonistic towards any sense of community on any level. So we have the following scenario:

I got mine. F*ck my brother that lazy f*ck. Yikes.

I got mine. F*ck my neighbor that lazy f*ck. Ouch.

I got mine. F*ck my city. Really?

I got mine. F*ck my state. Hmmm....

I got mine. F*ck the country. Okaaaayyy....

I got mine. F*ck the rest of the world. HURRAY!!!! Welcome to the party!!!! Let's build a coalition!!!

I mean, just because rational people tangentially join libertarians at their 6th level of hate, it isn't cause for much celebration and I think minor inconvenience would rather quickly turn into unmitigated, violent disasters.

Not saying that you support them, just clarifying my idea. Off for the day. Cheers.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 26, 2013 12:52:01 PM | 40

If you google it you see al-Shabaab is considered to be an affiliate of al-Qaeda. Assuming that's true, why do we see this striking difference between the Syria and Kenya operations? In the former, a government that wishes to be independent of the US/EU/Israeli axis is being attacked by outside forces; in the latter, a lackey of that same axis is being attacked. The unifying thread is Islam, that's plain. But the methods and objectives are complete opposites. I have more questions, but I don't know what they are yet :)

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 26, 2013 1:46:21 PM | 41

@41: For quite a few years now I have had a simple model of this. It applies equally well to Somalia, Yemen and Mali, just to give a few parallels. First, you have a genuine, indigenous revolt. Then you have the mysterious appearance of an AQ-affiliate right alongside it, and even intermittently allying with it. This AQ-affiliate is what the originator of this whole system of counter-insurgency, Brigadier Frank Kitson of Kenya and Malaya fame, called a "pseudo-gang". But the genuine indigenous rebels don't realise this, unfortunately. They think al-Qaeda is the greatest thing in anti-imperialism since sliced bread. They shiver with delight whenever they remember 9/11, because they take it at face value. They admire AQ, and they think Zawahiri is genuine too. So the 'alliance' is something they accept with a real sense of being honoured. But then things start to go wrong. The AQ-affiliated "ally" starts doing things that make no sense, but have the effect of bringing down massive retaliation from the central government. If our poor rebels had read some basic textbooks on guerrilla warfare, they would know as a matter of doctrine that you don't for instance, bomb prestigious restaurants in the capital city when there are only a few hundred of you, your grievance is essentially regional or ethnic, and you have not yet developed any support among the vast masses of the peasantry. But now it's too late. As the distinguished theoretician Vo Nguyen Giap would have put it, ya fucked.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 2:14:15 PM | 42

@41 maybe because it's the West attitude that's different; the Us supports the jihadis against lay Syria, but enticed Ethiopia to invade Somalia when the Islam Courts took over; Al Qaeda is more coherent, it simply tries to take over what it can (except Israel)

but yes, the questions are more than the answers

Posted by: claudio | Sep 26, 2013 2:16:00 PM | 43

@41

There are very human reasons for the never ending wars; over population, religion and money.

There are way too many young men with no jobs and with no prospect of ever having a family. They are prime cannon fodder.

Islam (Sunnis and Shiites) and Christians have been at it for a thousand years. True believers objective number one is killing any non-believer: Muslim, Jew, Christian, or Pagan. Jihads, Pogroms and Crusades are especially made for this purpose.

A basic human need is to lord it over your Lessers. Communism was overthrown so Russian Plutocrats would be free to feed their greed. Money is to be made from war. Every missile blown up over Syria is money is somebody’s pocket.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 26, 2013 2:17:22 PM | 44

@44 "There are way too many young men with no jobs and with no prospect of ever having a family. They are prime cannon fodder."

Yes indeed. I would add a surplus of testosterone and a penchant for being photographed holding large weapons.

Posted by: dh | Sep 26, 2013 2:26:35 PM | 45

@42, - maybe I should rephrase, then: "Al Qaeda is more coherent, it simply tries to take over f... up what it can"

but really, maybe al-Shabaab is not Al Qaeda; and it is fighting its own war for Somalia; in Somalia, Us aggression (through Ethiopia and then drones) came before any act of terrorism, on the basis that the Islamic Courts were "harboring terrorists" (AFAIR)

and in Libya, it played along the Nato script till the fall of Gaddafi, and then simply joined the various factions' turf wars

in the ME, Al Qaeda resembles much more what you described; but I would add: they not only legitimize the repression of the resistances at the eyes of the majority, they also directly turn against their apparent comrades of resistance: Hezbollah, Sunnis in the "triangle of death", FSA, etc

Posted by: claudio | Sep 26, 2013 2:36:50 PM | 46

Originally, "al-Shabab" did not denote an organisation of any sort. It just meant what it said: "the youth".

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 2:51:28 PM | 47

"...It's Raimondo & Paul who are the sponsors of the changes in foreign policy which will be so welcome to those living under the boot heel of the drones..."

They are influencing a part of the constituency which was, until recently, solidly committed to militarism, the Peeping Tom state and creeping authoritarianism. They are helping to split the consensus to which the mass media is committed.
That is welcome.

As to the socio-economic views of the "libertarian" Randian right, they are completely anomalous and exposed as such in the current crisis, in which tens of millions of "middle class" Americans are watching their wealth, status, future aspirations and other illusions evaporate.
There is no chance or threat of their policies being implemented.

The real threat is of liberalism morphing, again, into fascism. This is why opposition to militarism and state surveillance and the Panopticon infrastructure of social control is so important: they greatly improve the ability of the proto-fascists to seize power.

A campaign, on the right, pointing out the unconstitutionality and radicalism of the programme that Washington is trying to implement, is to be welcomed. It complements the critique that we should be making without detracting from our ability to put forward policies which make it clear that imperialism is capitalism and vice versa. And that you cannot choose between them.

Campaigning against war and authoritarianism brings many disparate elements together in a common struggle, during the course of which ideas will change or be refined. My guess is that during the course of the coming struggles the necessity of adopting socialist ideas will become apparent to many currently deluded by right "libertarianism." And that is a very good reason for understanding where such people are coming from and where bridges can most easily be built.

@42 You realise, Rowan, do you, that Kitson was barely commissioned by 1948 when the Malay Emergency broke out (he was 22) and would have been very junior in Kenya too? The strategies that Robert Thompson put forward and Kitson followed, used to be attributed, by Thompson among others, to Gerald Templar. I guess it is a question of who published last.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 26, 2013 3:11:18 PM | 48

Whoever, yes. I've got a paperback copy of Kitson's "Low Intensity Warfare" but in spite of its epoch-setting title, it isn't all that good. It refers, during its most interesting section, to an earlier book he (Kitson) wrote, called "Gangs and Pseudo-Gangs". That would be a real acquisition, if it still exists in print, which I doubt.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 26, 2013 3:57:05 PM | 49

41) They target the secular "Western/modern" lifestyle - all fundamentalist movements target that. I put the "modern" in because Western fundamentalist/right wing movements do the same.
Nobody cares about any "axis" what people get mad about is other people's lifestyle choices - fundamentalist or secular, it works both ways.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 26, 2013 4:08:04 PM | 50

bevin & rowan

i disagree with both of you

but thank christ, a conversation, a dialogue based on b's meditation & not the nutty, completely nutty - 'jews are responsible for everything' crew

thank you

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Sep 26, 2013 4:14:37 PM | 51

b
did lavrov just get shafted tonight

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Sep 26, 2013 4:22:21 PM | 52

I'm with you, Bevin @35. The biggest threat to the American Empire is that far left and far right groups both agreed there should be no imperial wars. If this were to happen, a left/right collaboration could stop Congress from voting for these wars, even if they are being funded by the president's black budget.

With a no war win at their backs, the Left/Right could discover that they are not so far apart on other very important non-wedge issues. Then they could actually take back the country from the wealthy elite corporatists, who are masters at the art of divide and conquer.

Posted by: Cynthia | Sep 26, 2013 4:22:48 PM | 53

@48

"As to the socio-economic views of the "libertarian" Randian right, they are completely anomalous and exposed as such in the current crisis, in which tens of millions of "middle class" Americans are watching their wealth, status, future aspirations and other illusions evaporate. There is no chance or threat of their policies being implemented."

Sorry, but your Canadian is showing. Nearly every single state and municipality - not to mention the federal government - in the US is implementing those very views and has been for decades especially in the South as the free flow of campaign cash has been able to crush any form of democratic dissent/opposition to said socio-economic views which are at times dressed up in different "more Democratic" clothing - it's hard for the poor to tell the difference between neoliberalism and libertarianism. Maybe if polls actually counted for something in politics your argument would stand but they don't and your assessment doesn't harken to reality. The policies of the libertarian right have ALREADY won the day in the US for the most part and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Need I mention gun-control - another crusade of the libertarian right - and the complete lack thereof now in the US? Don't even bother bringing it up if you want to run for office.

"My guess is that during the course of the coming struggles the necessity of adopting socialist ideas will become apparent to many currently deluded by right "libertarianism." And that is a very good reason for understanding where such people are coming from and where bridges can most easily be built."

Again, the Southern US has for decades consistently been the poorest, sickest and least-educated section of the United States yet that area's anti-unionism etc are stronger than ever and there is nary a peep/flirtation with any form of "leftism" much less socialism.

Americans have one choice: corporate control of their lives. Period. There is no alternative.

Whether it's via libertarians who want to destroy the state and replace it with corporations or neoliberals who want to sell the state to corporations, again, the end point is the same and there is no, none, zero, zip, zilch, nada, movement of any consequence to counter this in the US no matter how much you may like to believe that that is not the truth.

You seem to suffer under the terrible illusion that the US is a functioning democracy. Really, you have to stop that if you want to get anywhere real.

If it was a democracy your whimsical views into the political future of the US wouldn't sound so completely far-fetched and fatuous.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 26, 2013 4:46:58 PM | 54

Re @49 Kitson's 'Gangs and Counter-gangs' is available at a price (£200+), but it is also held at numerous libraries. Use http://www.worldcat.org/ to search for one near you. You main be able to get it via inter-library loan (for a nominal fee).

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 26, 2013 5:06:22 PM | 55

@48 adding:

"A campaign, on the right, pointing out the unconstitutionality and radicalism of the programme that Washington is trying to implement, is to be welcomed. It complements the critique that we should be making without detracting from our ability to put forward policies which make it clear that imperialism is capitalism and vice versa. And that you cannot choose between them. "

Gee, if we only could do an experiment to test whether or not the "hard-right" would point out the unconstitutionality of our government's actions if THEY held the reins of power (again, not that there's much difference vis a vis the layman's existence), huh?

Oh that's right, we did do that experiment already, it was called the George W Bush Presidency who not only did NOT GET ELECTED as prescribed by the Constitution - hey, you think that might be considered unconstitutional? - but he launched illegal wars, spied on US citizens, tortured, indefinitely detained citizens on and on and on. Hey, where was the "hard-right" and their Constitutional awareness for such BLATANT criminality? How come there was no around to create this wonderful coalitions of law-abiding citizens?

Nowhere to be found. Funny that, huh? But I'm sure you'll tell me that now things they are changing, that this time it's different.

Gee, I wonder what will happen the next time a right-winger is elected POTUS?

Let me gaze into my crystal ball....

The Republican POTUS will CONTINUE to ignore any and all laws while doing the bidding of corporations and the role of "law-abiding citizens" will fall back to those on the "left". How clever.


Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 26, 2013 5:11:30 PM | 56

It may be that Syria's chemical weapons proved to be useful after all!

Russia says the weapons have to be destroyed inside Syria. The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits any export of such weapons.
Russia: Syria’s chemical weapons must be destroyed inside country – RT, September 26, 2013

The implications:
1) Russian (and other international) troops will be needed to secure the weapons and the associated government facilities from the armed opposition and their terrorist wing.
2) Chemical weapons will be found all over Syria. Further sites will have to be established for their destruction. The connecting road networks will have to be secured.
3) Destroying all the weapons will take years, maybe a decade.

And yes, 4) I bet all kinds of CW stuff will be found in al-Nusra's arse.

Some previous estimates stated that 75,000 foreign troops would be needed in Syria to secure the chemical weapons. Sounded like NATO's wet dream then. I do not know if Russia is willing to send that many. The Chinese may need to help. The US will not be taking part.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 26, 2013 7:35:41 PM | 57

There is no way US troops would be participating. It would be sniper's heavan.

Posted by: dh | Sep 26, 2013 7:56:08 PM | 58

Well,

If Russia can commit to having several thousand troops on the ground, this would likely rule out an air attack by the US. The only problem I see here is that the US will probably refuse to suspend "aid" to the terrorists. The real danger is that the "rebels" may then turn their attention to attacking Russian troops with the weapons supplied to them by DC/Saudi Arabia.

This could still create a VERY explosive situation. The US/Saudi's could care less that it would make them look like complete assholes before the international community to continue arming terrorists in the country while the Russians & the SAA attempt to dispose of the chemical arsenal, but being the "exceptional" nation, why would the US give a damn what anyone thinks? They will make things as painful and as dangerous as possible for the Russians there if they put boots on the ground....you can count on that.

Posted by: RC | Sep 26, 2013 8:17:13 PM | 59

I just wanted to give a massive shout-out here. I stumbled upon this site via a Glenn Greenwald link quite a few moons ago. I only haphazardly checked in here, but once it became clear that media coverage of Syria, even among "alternate" sites, was either horribly misinformed or rife with blatant agendas, I found myself frequenting this site weekly to try to get to the bottom of the Syria situation. Recently I've taken to promoting this site whenever I can as a valuable source of information on the Syria conflict, which hopefully may expose you folks to a larger audience in general, not just concerning Syria. Some of the main authors and commentators seem to me, a credentialed student of history, veritable gem mines of useful information and sources. You folks have a special community here, and I applaud it. Cheers, and thanks.

Posted by: CathexesInc | Sep 26, 2013 8:42:20 PM | 60

I've got three reports here on the UNSCR apparently agreed by Lavrov & Kerry. It does not say that a new UNSCR will be needed in order to invoke Ch 7 in case of non-compliance, as it should. Lavrov himself says: "If there is any violation by any party, the UNSC will convene again and will be ready to take enforcement measures in line with Ch 7." Deputy Foreign Minister Gatilov told AP: "Although the text will include a reference to Ch 7, there will be no automaticity in engaging in military or non-military actions without a separate discussion at the UNSC." Unnamed diplomats told AP: "It will include a provision that allows for a nation to return to the UNSC to request enforcement measures should Syria not destroy or turn over its CW. However, such a request would be subject to a veto from Russia or China."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 2:34:03 AM | 61

Now we actually have a leaked copy of the draft, and this is what it says, right at the end:

Decides, in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

So this actually means that, on the basis of any alleged 'non-compliance', FUKUS can claim they have the automatic right to order air attacks ('impose measures'), whatever Russia and China may say.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 2:56:59 AM | 62

So this actually means that, on the basis of any alleged 'non-compliance', FUKUS can claim they have the automatic right to order air attacks ('impose measures'), whatever Russia and China may say.

Only if the Yankees want to see half their Superpower myth rusting on the bottom of several oceans, and the other half shredded and 'blowing in the wind'.

Russia has a lot more to lose than Syria does if it lets the Yankees get away with any more of their 'Freedom & Democracy' cheap tricks.
China too.
I cannot fathom why so many people who claim to be paying attention can't understand this.

One of the risks for Russia is that China's bourgeoning 1% will start having Yankee-style delusions of grandeur and eventually decide that Russia is expendable. So from Russia's pov, the sooner confrontation with the Yankees occurs, the more likely it is that China will actively support Russia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 27, 2013 4:06:58 AM | 63

The draft doc makes no explicit reference to the need to return to the UN. Despite what Russians or indeed any one here, might claim, there is no explicitly mandated "2nd vote" requirement in that document.

The draft doc states only "decides to impose measures under Chpt 7".

It says nothing regarding the exact nature of those measures, nor how they will be imposed. There is nothing specifically ruled IN or OUT in that wording.

One might claim that a 2nd-vote is somehow "inferred", but that would be wishful-thinking/delusional at best

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 4:24:02 AM | 64

Reuters is saying:

The only reference to enforcement in the draft is a threat that if Syria fails to comply with the resolution, the council would impose punitive measures under Ch 7, which would require a second resolution that Russia could veto.

But I don't see that last proviso in the text.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 5:27:08 AM | 65

AP likewise:

But if Syria fails to comply, the council will need to adopt a second resolution to impose measures under Ch 7...

I still don't see any proviso remotely like that.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 5:35:31 AM | 66

*The Syrian government has long expressed its willingness to give up its chemical weapons as part of a regional disarmament agreement as called for in UN Security Council resolution 687, which stated that Iraqi disarmament was the first step in establishing a regional disarmament regime.

When it had a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in December 2002, Syria introduced a draft resolution to this effect, but it was not tabled due to a threatened US veto, he said.

Zunes said that for more than 45 years the Syrians have witnessed successive US administrations provide massive amounts of armaments to a neighboring country with a vastly superior military capability which has invaded, occupied, and colonized Syria's Golan province in the southwest.

.In 2007, the United States successfully pressured Israel to reject peace overtures from the Syrian government [!!!], in which the Syrians offered to recognize Israel and agree to strict security guarantees in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied Syrian territory*

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-110913.html

Posted by: denk | Sep 27, 2013 5:49:38 AM | 67

As part of the deal, Russia agreed to send troops to Syria to guard CW sites. Sergei Ryabkov, a deputy foreign minister, said that other former Soviet republics that were part of CSTO would also deploy soldiers to provide security for the OPCW team overseeing the program. (Graun)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 6:20:04 AM | 68

@RB#61

I agree. Where is the reference to a second vote?

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, told reporters that the draft resolution said "there will be no enforcement in line with Chapter 7" of the UN Charter, which authorises the use of military force and economic sanctions.

Yet a western diplomat told The Telegraph that the draft resolution in fact stated that the Council “decides to impose measures under Chapter 7” in the event of “non-compliance” with the deal - such as the unauthorised transfer or further use of chemical weapons.

The diplomat indicated that this meant econimic sanctions, rather than military intervention, would be threatened

It appears to be another trick - Justificiation to enforce Chapter 7 on the basis of an interpretation of the resolution after it has been agreed.

I remember Lavrov emerging from Geneva 1.0 claiming that an agreement had been reached that did not require Assad's removal prior to peace talks, only for Clinton to declare the opposite. So far, the US is keeping mum about its interpretation of this recent deal. Waiting, presumably, for the ink to dry.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 27, 2013 7:22:38 AM | 69

Abraham Sofaer, a former State Dept legal adviser responsible for US-Iran negotiations and author of Taking on Iran, said a UNSCR that mentions Chapter 7 would give both the Russians and the Obama administration a bit of what they want.

Chapter 7 is the part of the UN charter that allows for military and non-military actions to "promote peace and security."

Sofaer said:

The Russians will argue that mentioning Chapter 7 doesn’t automatically approve use of force, that it requires other measures first.

We would say this contemplates enforcement including use of force. The provision would give Obama grounds to argue later that there’s a moral obligation to approve use of force if the Syrians do not comply with their obligations.


Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 7:28:17 AM | 70

Pepe Escobar on Syria
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-270913.html

Syrian rebels and al Qaeda-linked fighters clashed with Kurds in northern Syria on Thursday
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/26/us-syria-crisis-kurds-idUSBRE98P15620130926?feedType=RSS

...fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant set fire to statues and crosses inside two churches in the northern city of Raqa...
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/world-powers-edge-closer/828214.html

The Shadow Commander
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/09/30/130930fa_fact_filkins

Posted by: Mina | Sep 27, 2013 7:45:09 AM | 71

Syria chemical weapons inspections 'to begin next week'

Experts from the world's chemical weapons watchdog will begin inspecting Syria's stockpile by Tuesday, a draft agreement says.

The text also authorises the OPCW to inspect "any other site identified by a State Party as having been involved in the Syrian chemical weapons programme, unless deemed unwarranted by the director general".

Here we go. Unless Ban Ki-Moon says otherwise, the US and Israel can demand that an inspection of every nook and cranny of Syria is undertaken - or else.

What a bloody ruse.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 27, 2013 7:51:07 AM | 72

Zina, that Dexter Filkins NewYorker piece that you're pimping is pure propaganda, from start to finish. Well done

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 7:58:01 AM | 73

I read the text of the upcoming UNSC Resolution at http://un-report.blogspot.de/2013/09/security-council-draft-resolution-on.html

The resolution has been written by the Russians in such a way as to entice the USA to vote for it. A Russian objective is to try to bring the USA back to supporting the UNSC as the supreme institution for resolving international disputes, something which the Russians dearly wish for (as Wellington Yueh said on this board a couple of weeks ago).

I agree with USA commentator Abraham Sofaer, linked to at #69 and #60 above, who said the ambiguous mention of Chapter 7 in the Resolution gives both the Russians and the Americans a bit of what they want: "The Russians will argue that mentioning Chapter 7 doesn't automatically approve use of force, that it requires other measure first. We [USA] would say this contemplates enforcement including use of force [without another UNSC resolution]."

Setting aside the Chapter 7 ambiguity thingy, and looking at the rest of the UNSC Resolution, I regard the whole thing as serving Russia's interests. I read it as another Russian effort at trying to manage their crazy American 'partners'. From Syria's point of view, since Syria can join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPWC) without any UNSC Resolution, this UNSC Resolution is needless and uncalled for. Since Syria has already decided to fully join the OPCW, I can largely agree with anyone who thinks the UNSC Resolution is basically academic. However the UNSC Resolution is undesirable from Syria's point of view because it does infringe on Syria's sovereignty, and will continue to infringe into the indefinite future, in this item of text:

"[The UNSC] decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations, including by complying with their relevant recommendations, by accepting personnel designated by the OPCW or the United Nations, by providing for and ensuring the security of activities undertaken by these personnel, by providing these personnel with immediate and unfettered access to and the right to inspect, in discharging their functions, any and all sites, and by allowing immediate and unfettered access to individuals that the OPCW has grounds to believe to be of importance for the purpose of its mandate, and /decides/ that all parties in Syria shall cooperate fully in this regard." http://un-report.blogspot.de/2013/09/security-council-draft-resolution-on.html

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 27, 2013 8:02:19 AM | 74

Come on b, everyone knows that Assad is guilty of 100k murders and the poor rebels are misunderstood, and have only bruised a few egos.

Posted by: scottindallas | Sep 27, 2013 8:22:29 AM | 75

good news for Russia, bad news for Syria

I hope I'm wrong, but this is what I was worried with since the beginning:

by accepting personnel designated by the OPCW or the United Nations, by providing for and ensuring the security of activities undertaken by these personnel, by providing these personnel with immediate and unfettered access to and the right to inspect, in discharging their functions, any and all sites, and by allowing immediate and unfettered access to individuals that the OPCW has grounds to believe to be of importance for the purpose of its mandate,

Posted by: claudio | Sep 27, 2013 8:28:01 AM | 76

Hmmm #72
You agree with Angry Arab on that point. For a white supremacist, I am impressed you have such affinities. I doubt everything in the article is fake though, but some people here know Iran much better than you do. Do you believe everything you read in newspapers?
It is an important piece because of its timing and the fact journalists do play a role in the operations and in the negociations nowadays. The worse are NPR's.

I had missed this one. As usual, the US allies are ahead of any new trend.
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/video/2013/09/11/un-depute-jordanien-tire-a-la-kalachnikov-dans-l-assemblee_3475851_3218.html

Posted by: Mina | Sep 27, 2013 8:29:02 AM | 77

Hmmm #72
You agree with Angry Arab on that point. For a white supremacist, I am impressed you have such affinities. I doubt everything in the article is fake though, but some people here know Iran much better than you do. Do you believe everything you read in newspapers?

you really are a silly clueless little bint, zina

I doubt everything in the article is fake though,

what you doubt about the content of the article is immaterial since all you have appeared to do is simply c&p the URL without actually reading the article. Even someone as dense as you, zina, would have seen it for what it is, cheap propaganda, after less than a few seconds reading it.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 8:37:12 AM | 78

Meanwhile, the BBC and other news outlets are running headlines about 3 more chemical attacks AFTER the Augus 21 incident: UN 'probes post 21 August Syria chemical attacks' (on 22, 24 and 25 of August). Those have never been reported so far to my knowledge.

Posted by: Philippe | Sep 27, 2013 8:37:53 AM | 79

Mina and hmmm

As a reporting journalist your job is to gather the facts to provide the version of events closest to the reality. But this guy has put together some snippets of factual information to create a story which only promotes the political "ligne de conduite" of Netanyahoo.

Posted by: ATH | Sep 27, 2013 9:05:17 AM | 80

@72: right-on hmm; filkins wrote an earlier fiction re CW use by SAA.
Lavrov's got the goods...evidence...sarin cooked by heisenberg in the RV.

Posted by: bfrakes | Sep 27, 2013 9:08:15 AM | 81

there's almost nothing factual in it - it's mostly a collection of alleged quotes or hearsay or anecdotes related 2nd/3rd/4th hand.

The majority of the "sources" used are either anonymous or about as trustworthy as . . em . . . Filkins himself, or even Zina herself for that matter. Given how low Filkins has had to go for "sources" and quotes I'm surprised he hasn't quoted another Zina fave, Melamine Phillips.

His sources seem to range from the ever intriguing "a Middle Eastern security official" to the 100% reliable "a former Iraqi leader" - one would have to be a complete spazzhead to even think it contained anything reliable in the first place.

Reading propaganda can be useful occasionally, as it's possible to learn something useful just by perusing lies. Just a pity that that was not Zina's intention at all.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 9:22:49 AM | 82

A repost to see if it survives this time:

@49 - "Gangs and pseudo-gangs" is available second hand about £/$200 a go. A better source may be your local library or inter-library loan. Try http://www.worldcat.org/ to find locations holding it.

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 27, 2013 10:06:02 AM | 83

I was under the impression that Lavrov would not allow a reference to chapter 7 under any circumstances, yet there it is at 22/ to impose measures under chapter 7 of the United Nations charter. The Russians said there was no automaticity in UNSC Resolution 1441 to use force in 2002, but George W said there were consequences for breaching 1441, unfortunately he was right about that to the tune of 1 million dead and a cost estimated by the Kennedy Law School of 6 Trillion dollars.
Similarly the Russians were taken for a ride over the Libya resolution, it seems they will never learn, Samantha and Susan have got what they want, it seems we now await the inevitable showdown and test of wills.

Posted by: harrylaw | Sep 27, 2013 10:11:01 AM | 84

@hmmm and Mina

I finished reading the Newyorker article and was entirely re-inforced in my conclusion. Basically the clear message coming out of this factoid-based article is:

"Soleimani is runing the show for Iran in the Middle-East. He is a shrewd, pragamatic and evilish fighter who cannot be trusted. Rouhani is the moderate facade. These are the kind of people that we are trying to appease"

Posted by: ATH | Sep 27, 2013 10:21:56 AM | 85

@49 - "Gangs and pseudo-gangs" is available second hand about £/$200 a go. Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 27, 2013 10:06:02 AM | 82
Well, I'm not spending that much on it. My experience with inter-library loans is that they are very slow and often rather grudging; public libraries don't really like to be used as if they were university libraries. But it isn't that important to me.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 10:25:52 AM | 86

@78: The Times of Israel reported so on September 12:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/assads-forces-reported-to-use-poison-gas-in-new-damascus-attack/

Posted by: g_h | Sep 27, 2013 10:32:02 AM | 87

...that Dexter Filkins NewYorker piece that you're pimping is pure propaganda, from start to finish. Well done
Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 7:58:01 AM | 72

Well from middle to finish, anyway.
The first part goes a long way toward explaining why the Yanks and "Israelis" use fact-free ad hominem against Iran ... the facts are too awful to think about let alone talk about. i.e. attacking Iran would redefine the meaning of blowback, Iran having had close to a quarter of a century to prepare...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 27, 2013 10:36:37 AM | 88

@54 As an outsider, and for what it's worth, "far-fetched" doesn't sound like baiting, but "fatuous" does. This isn't.

Is it that people are hopeless, or is it just that the power is almost infinitely clever and determined?

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Sep 27, 2013 10:49:34 AM | 89

For comparison sakes, here are links to the two UNSC resolutions 1970 and 1973 that were used for the Libyan "exercise". Compared to those, this current draft is a bunch of meaningless diplo-speak.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 27, 2013 11:00:53 AM | 90

There is this statement from the NYT -" If Syria fails to comply, the draft says the Council would need to adopt a second resolution to impose possible military and other actions on Damascus."

Posted by: TikTok | Sep 27, 2013 11:03:44 AM | 91

@88

My alliterative nature sometimes gets the best of me and I really wasn't baiting. ;)

It's just that "outsiders" really have to understand that the situation in the US is far worse than is portrayed as even the most "supposedly" progressive of activists at heart still cling to - and proselytize to others - that the US as a viable nation can still be salvaged THROUGH the current political system and that is just hopelessly naive. Certainly, coalitions of disparate parts could in other countries maybe "do something" but the US system has been so thoroughly and systematically corrupted - e.g., unlimited corporate money in election campaigns? as a manifestation of free speech? (just one example ) - that before people can even talk about teaming up that really have to start having honest conversations about a replacement.

Here, for example, is one of the Supreme Court Justices - unmitigated fascist Antonin Scalia - yesterday talking about a person's right to privacy as understood Constitutionally (from AP):

Scalia said that before the court’s 1967 opinion on wiretapping, the high court held the view that there were no constitutional prohibitions on wiretaps because conversations were not explicitly granted privacy protection under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against Americans against unreasonable search and seizure of “their persons, houses, papers, and effects.”

But he said then the Warren court stepped in and found that “there’s a generalized right of privacy that comes from penumbras and emanations, blah blah blah, garbage.”

(Read his opinion in Bush v. Gore if you want high jurisprudence comedy.) It's gotten so bad that the fascists don't even bother trying anymore. They don't care. They know the people are either 1) working every waking second at a dead-end job to keep themselves alive or 2) feeding their mind with inane idiocy so they don't have to worry about even saying - much less doing - the right things.

In addition, TPTB have take mass-media propaganda to a whole new level. Every movement and nearly every talking point is easily shunted into "acceptable" channels before any momentum is built around it. If somehow something does pick up some steam the overly militarized police force - chock full of War on Terror veterans and armed to the teeth with the latest in crowd control weaponry and tactics the IDF uses on Palestinians - will start cracking skulls at the drop of a hat.

So, my message to bevin wasn't meant to be so snide, it's just that if you want to talk about the true situation of the US I think it's probably helpful to darken one's outlook a few degrees. In other countries there may be some glimmers but in the US, it's been dismal for decades and getting worse.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 27, 2013 11:36:27 AM | 92

"In addition, TPTB have take mass-media propaganda to a whole new level."

The sure have

So, when the attack began, there was at least one Kenyan anti-terrorism agent in the mall, along with at least one SAS man, and an American security team. . . . .

. . . . Sam Lewthwaite is MI5/6.

Probably started out in the same unit as Michael Adebolajo.

Samantha Lewthwaite: "The White Widow"

As you can tell, we've been expecting her to resurface again for some time, they've been carefully preparing her legend for well over 8 years now - it's more than likely that she was originally an MI5 honey trap for Jermaine Lindsay (shot dead at Canary Wharf, 11am 7/7/2005) to recruit him as a potential patsy.

He's the odd man out on 7/7, from Aylesbury rather than Beeston like the other three, and we know next to nothing about him by comparison with MSK, Tanwir (who were both assets of 5) and Habib Hussain (who was unlucky) - he may have been an 11th hour understudy...

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 1:49:02 PM | 93

Well from middle to finish, anyway.
The first part goes a long way toward explaining why the Yanks and "Israelis" use fact-free ad hominem against Iran ... the facts are too awful to think about let alone talk about. i.e. attacking Iran would redefine the meaning of blowback, Iran having had close to a quarter of a century to prepare...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 27, 2013 10:36:37 AM | 88

Well I have always maintained, from at least 2005 anyway, that the US has no real intention of open warfare with Iran.

Iran is a very convenient boogey-man for the US.

Threats of War can be a very convenient smokescreen, as we can see now with Syria.

Walk loudly and carry a big stick

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 2:07:42 PM | 94

I posted that because of your cheap and lazy knee-jerk shot at Mina. Had I read ATH's comments to Mina and hmmm, I wouldn't have bothered.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 27, 2013 3:09:31 PM | 95

Re #93: It's not in fact Aangirfan who says "Sam Lewthwaite is MI5/6" in such an assured tone, but a certain Paul Coker. It may very well be true, but I can't stand people saying things like that without feeling the need to offer any evidence. I might as well do a David Icke and say that she's a reptilian shape-shifter from the lower fifth dimension. After all, no one can prove me wrong, and in the absence of any concept of evidence, I don't have to try to prove I'm right. It's just a matter of who is the best bluffer.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 27, 2013 3:26:35 PM | 96

@95

Afflicted with a sad case of the "White Knights" eh?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 27, 2013 3:38:20 PM | 97

Hey.Maybe I'll be like Peace Pilgrim. It could happen.

Posted by: tsisageya1 | Sep 27, 2013 3:50:17 PM | 98

I do admire her.

Posted by: tsisageya1 | Sep 27, 2013 3:55:08 PM | 99

Any of the purported "terror" attacks since the inception of the Global War on Terror should be considered bullshit from the beginning by everyone until legitimate evidence is presented to the public at large - shoe bomber/Daniel Pearl, underwear bomber, christmas tree bomber, Boston bomber, bomber this, bomber that, and then there are all the other "color" stories, Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch....

I stated in the Hersh thread that people worldwide have to begin to see and frame the Global War on Terror as the largest act of illegal aggressive war since WWII and with it they have to understand how much more massive, profound and sophisticated the propaganda that accompanies it is compared to the olden days.

TPTB are literally rewriting the historical narrative of mankind by littering it with "incidents/events" of their own making and then using them to push their agenda, not just once or twice but every hour of every day. Surely, this kind of stuff - false flags - isn't new, what is new is the scope. There is not an endpoint this time, that is the hard part for some to wrap their mind's around. Every lie feeds into the next one and thus none of them can ever be retracted.

That is part of the reason why no one of "respected" status dares to step out of line and call bullsh!t; TPTB have laid claim - and even directly stated this - to reality itself and to call bullsh!t is to label yourself in denial of "reality".

Oh it's really all so clever and works well when there is no one on the horizon to challenge that "reality".

This Syria business MAY be a first chink in that armor. We shall see.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 27, 2013 4:08:40 PM | 100

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