Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leveretts on International Law and the Gaza Crisis ...

Gaza Crisis—and U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, & the Iran Nuclear Talks

"... That is what Israel has brought on itself.  The two-state solution is, at this point, in my view, effectively dead, and we are on what is going to turn out, I think, to be a very, very slow, very, very bloody, very painful but ultimately inevitable trajectory toward a one-state solution.”

Israel's 'Iron Dome'

"... In the absence of Israeli data backing claims of Iron Dome efficiency, and based on the unambiguous evidence I have reviewed, a conclusion seems clear: The Israeli government is not telling the truth about Iron Dome to its own population, or to the United States, which has provided the Israeli government with the bulk of the funding needed to design and build the much-heralded but apparently ineffective rocket-defense system."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hypocrite!

... need we remind him what we are doing in SYRIA, IRAQ, Yemen ...etc?
"... WASHINGTON — In presenting the most detailed case yet alleging Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that Russia had funneled large quantities of heavy weapons to Ukrainian separatists and trained them how to operate SA-11 antiaircraft missiles, the type of system that is believed to have been used to shoot down the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine..."

Arabs stand (not) with Palestine!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

'Smugglers' Turkish official says ...

"... Two Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with smugglers near Turkey's border with Syria, a Turkish official said July 22, as Turkey's struggle to control illicit movements across its porous frontier with Syria becomes more difficult...."

Iran complying with nuclear deal: UN watchdog (funny; no trace of this in MSM!)

UN watchdog

"... Tehran: Iran has diluted its entire stock of medium-enriched uranium as required under a November deal with world powers, the UN atomic agency said in its latest report seen by AFP Monday.  Even as talks to reach a nuclear deal with Iran were extended beyond an initial July 20 deadline, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tehran was standing by its international commitments.  As agreed under a so-called Joint Plan of Action reached in November, the Islamic Republic has cut half of its stock of 20-percent enriched uranium down to five-percent purity. .."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Egypt's faltering mediation in Gaza?

Al Jazeera English

"... Most analysts believe that any kind of ceasefire is inevitably going to require Egypt to ease its pressure on Gaza to some extent; whether they officially open the border at Rafah or decide to quietly allow the tunnel network to function again..."

About that Israeli 'Iron Dome'

"... Hamas, though, continued to fire dozens of rockets into Israel throughout the night and Friday, 87 of which hit Israeli soil, the military said. About 40 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Residents in southern Israel were hunkered inside their homes or in bomb shelters, as the military advised them to stay within 30 seconds’ travel time to protected areas..."

'Hundreds of fatigued Syrian rebels give up the fight'

"... By his estimate, nearly half the fighters in Aleppo have left over the last year, most of them from small rebel groups. In the last six months the attrition has picked up as an emboldened Assad government retakes territory throughout the country: in Damascus and Homs, in central Syria, as well as in Aleppo, in the north...."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"UAE ridicules Qatari lies on Abdullah meeting Israeli minister"

Khaleej Times

"... Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, has refrained from replying to the fabricated news aired by Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV Channel on meeting with his Israeli counterpart.In his official account on Twitter, he said “I had opted between answering and not answering.”
“I was content not to reply seeking reward from Allah and mitigate the sins in these days.”
Meanwhile, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, demanded an apology from Al Jazeera for fabricating news about the meeting of Shaikh Abdullah and Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman..."

'The Great Iranian Nuclear Swindle'

"... The Gulf of Tonkin incident, which misleadingly sold the US on a full-scale war in Vietnam, and the claim of “mobile biological weapons labs” by the “Curveball” informant that helped selling the world on the Iraq War, are but two examples of falsehoods willfully interpreted as truth by a supine press and a public conditioned to believe the worst.The West cannot allow a similar travesty to unfold in Iran. Its leaders should accept that the case against Iran is political, not technical, and work to end this long and burdensome affair."

Supposedly, " Jordan no longer shares the US view that the Syrian opposition presents an alternative to President Assad"

"... But a number of Jordanian analysts believe that the United States' ramping up support for the moderate opposition is too late and comes in the midst of changing geopolitical conditions in the region. Political commentator Fahd al-Kheitan told Al-Monitor that Jordan no longer shares the US view that the Syrian opposition can present an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.He said that time has confirmed that the Syrian opposition is divided and controlled by regional powers, while most fighters on the ground are leaning heavily toward radical forces and jihadists. He added that the Syrian crisis is no longer a priority for the so-called Friends of Syria group, in light of recent developments in Egypt and Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS)..."

“The Iranians essentially smuggled in rockets via the brains of Palestinians..."

"...According to information acquired by Al-Monitor from sources in Tehran, Gaza and Beirut, a new strategy was adopted after the July/August 2006 war in Lebanon with respect to military support. The main goal was protecting the fighting groups from the danger of a military siege by making them capable of producing as many rockets as they need on the spot,” Hashem reports.
A senior Hamas official told Palestine Pulse’s Adnan Abu Amer, “Another motive that led [the Izz ad-Din] al-Qassam [Brigades] to start local production of rockets is the closure of tunnels by Egypt. This restricted the entry of raw materials needed for the manufacturing of rockets. However, despite the cut-off of the main source of supply of al-Qassam with rockets of multiple ranges from different origins, this did not prevent it from producing local rockets reaching targets deeper inside Israel.”
“The Iranians essentially smuggled in rockets via the brains of Palestinians, keeping rocket-making knowledge intact despite wars and attacks. It’s the same strategy the Iranians adopted in their nuclear program, under the philosophy that knowledge can’t be bombed,” Hashem adds. ..."

As before, the US " will not seek to second-guess Israeli perceptions of its military objectives"

'The shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17 has upended the debate about Russia in Washington. Having earlier in the week extended economic sanctions against Russia to include major banks, defense and energy companies, the Administration was settling for a surly Russian reaction (which materialized) and then a drawn-out period of pressure on Moscow to reconsider its policy on Ukraine. US officials now tell us that the new crisis has substantially accelerated this timetable.  There are two schools of thought in Washington. The first – which is prevalent in circles close to President Obama and which wants to view the incident as “inadvertent” – is that this will bring home to President Putin the enormous risks to Russia’s reputation and to the Russian economy of failing to reach a speedy settlement. This was the theme of the July 17th telephone conversation between the two leaders. The second school which is held widely in the foreign policy community and which will grow as evidence of direct Russian complicity emerges is that the aircraft destruction signals that Putin is fixed on a confrontational strategy, that the US should side unreservedly with Ukraine and that the US and EU should proceed without delay to so-called Stage 3 sanctions which would place whole sectors of the Russian economy under embargoes similar to those in operation against Cuba, North Korea and Iran. Our sense is that the White House still hopes that the former approach emphasizing non-confrontational diplomacy will bear fruit, but top officials acknowledge that the trend could move in the harsher direction. The key variable is Putin’s attitude. In terms of events in Gaza the US approach continues to spring from its unwavering support for Israel's right of self-defense. Secretary of State Kerry remains actively engaged in regional exchanges to bring about a cessation of the conflict, but will not seek to second-guess Israeli perceptions of its military objectives. As we expected, an extension of the Iran nuclear talks has been announced. Explaining the background for this decision, US officials have highlighted the progress that has been achieved and, while not making light of the obstacles in the way of an agreement, have emphasized the positive. Our assessment is that US officials still feel an agreement is possible.  Finally, events in Ukraine have overshadowed the modest outcome of the latest round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, but US planners know that the issue of relations with China is only just being engaged.'

Le Figaro: 'At least 15 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza'

"... Ces soldats israéliens sont des membres des unités d'élite. Au moins un char de cette unité a été détruit au cours des combats par des missiles de type Sagger. Un commandant de l'unité a pour sa part été blessé lors de cette opération...."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Leadersip. "Just Shut Up!"

"... The deep tensions at the very top of the Ramallah leadership were most obvious during a meeting Kerry held with lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Abbas several months prior to his February meeting with Netanyahu. During the meeting, as Kerry looked on in discomfort, Abbas turned on the sometimes long-winded Erekat."Just shut up," Abbas shouted at him. "Can't you shut up? All you do is talk. Just shut up."Abbas then turned to Kerry. "Don't listen to him," he said. "You're negotiating with me."

A convicted fellon's take on "Why Israel Is Winning This War" (and he is partially right!)

The Weekly Standard

"... Have Hamas’s fortunes been revived? Well, think of the solidarity it has received from the Arab League, and the angry, vociferous protests from Arab governments to Washington. Think of the vast protests in the streets of Arab capitals. Right—they were non-existent..."

In case you wondered which 'war criminal' helped in concocting another Palestinian surrender!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

'When IS crosses the border between Iraq & Syria and battles the Assad regime, it is aligned with America’s goal of regime change in Damascus'

"... But now, Washington is going to “vet” this vast, dispersed opposition of 1,500 groups and find moderates. Good luck. The complexity of Washington’s task can be seen in the American attitude toward the Islamic State. When the group battles the Maliki government in Iraq, it is a deadly foe and must be ruthlessly attacked. But when it crosses the (now-nonexistent) border between Iraq and Syria and battles the Assad regime, it is aligned with America’s stated goal of regime change in Damascus. No other country has this strategic incoherence. The Sunni groups are battling what they see as apostate regimes in Baghdad and Damascus. Those Shiite and quasi-Shiite regimes are being supported by the region’s Shiite powers — Iran and Hezbollah. America alone is searching for the good guys...."

More 'cuddles' in lalaland

"...I need weapons. I need money. I need a no fly zone or anti-aircraft weapons. I need intelligence data,” Kholouf, who’s held the post since May in the Syrian interim government, told McClatchy....But if the FSA receives support, he said it will be able to undercut other Islamist groups, including Jabhat al Nusra, which on Friday declared it had established an “Emirate in Aleppo,” to counter the Islamic State’s “Caliphate.” He said that Nusra had at most 6,000 to 7,000 fighters, and predicted that if FSA succeeded against the Islamic State, at least 60 per cent of them would join FSA..."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/07/12/233154/syrian-opposition-plan-to-oust.html#storylink=cpy

'Cuddly Jihadists' declare their own Emirate in Aleppo (with Qatari, Turkish & some US blessings)

 — One week after radical Islamists in Iraq declared a “Caliphate” spanning the Iraqi-Syria border with its capital in Mosul, Al Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra, said it is setting up an “Emiratein besieged rebel-held parts of Aleppo..."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/07/12/233152/al-qaida-affiliate-declares-emirate.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

Mayhem, ... still.

Al Jazeera English

"... "The United States is deeply concerned by the ongoing violence in Libya and dangerous posturing that could lead to widespread conflict there," Jen Psaki, of the US state department, said...."

Israel 'Beacon unto the nations'




'CIA' station in Irbil is undergoing rapid expansion'

" — A supposedly secret but locally well-known CIA station on the outskirts of Irbil’s airport is undergoing rapid expansion ..."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/07/11/233126/expansion-of-secret-facility-in.html#storylink=cpy

UN: 'Over 77% of killed in Gaza are civilians'

Israel, 'beacon unto the nations' always true to reputation.
"... 114 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the Gaza emergency, of whom  88 (77%) are civilians..."

'Hardliners in Tehran & Washington ready to 'swallow hard' when agrrement is reached'

'... Kerry now faces a series of crises. In Afghanistan, the US purports to have no preference between the Presidential candidates, but wants a fair process. However, as an NSC official commented to us, “we may end up by alienating both candidates, souring our bilateral relations and making it more difficult for them to govern.” Kerry – together with a number of other foreign ministers – has joined the Vienna talks on Iran. These are now approaching the July 20th deadline, with the sides far apart on the primary issue of Iran’s residual nuclear program. With hardliners watching on in both Washington DC and Tehran, both sides will have to swallow hard if there is to be an agreement. With regard to the conflict between Israel and Hamas the Administration is offering appeals for caution and offers to facilitate a cease fire, but there is clear resignation in the White House, Pentagon and in Congress that the fight will continue until sides have decided that they have had enough. Add in Ukraine and Iraq/Syria and Kerry’s agenda is a full and unappealing one. ....'

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The 'Cuddly al Qaeda' Syrian brigades are fed up with Cuddliness!

"... A Syrian rebel brigade defected to the Islamic State this week, a sign that the extremist group continues to build strength after seizing vast territories in western Iraq and eastern Syria, anti-government activists said Tuesday.The 1,000-strong Dawud Brigade, which had been based in Sarmin, a town in Syria’s Idlib province, arrived Sunday in Raqqa, a city in northeast Syria that the Islamic State has made its main headquarters for more than a year......  The big question was whether other groups or individuals would follow suit.....“Frankly speaking, people in the countryside of Idlib are in a real panic about the advancement of the Islamic State,” he said...."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/07/08/232686/1000-syrian-rebels-defect-to-islamic.html?sp=/99/117/416/#storylink=cpy

'Made in Syria'


"... The long-range Hamas rockets that reached Hadera 110km north of Gaza Tuesday, July 8, have been identified as the Syrian-made M-302 Khaibar missile, that was used by Hizballah against Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war to pound Haifa. This weapon uses Iranian technology deriving from the Chinese WS-1 which has a 175 kilo warhead. Hizballah engineers posted in the Gaza Strip have since helped Hamas improve the M-302 and extend its range and accuracy. But still, even after improvements, the M-302’s main shortcoming is its lack of precision..."

Golani orders for Gaza

'" I can assure you the Israelis have no intention of reoccupying Gaza. They do not want the responsibility of managing the Gaza people. They will simply go in, kill as many young men(assumed to be Hamas) as possible and utterly destroy as much infrastructure and economic assets as they can. They will then withdraw and leave the people to their own devices. My nephew is a Golani captain and his unit is just outside Gaza the above is the essence of his unit's orders."   
jdledell

Palestinians denounce the West Bank collaborator leadership

 Al Jazeera English
"... Palestinian Authority (PA) forces surveyed the scene from behind the youth, who threw stones and dodged volleys of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers from their watchtower.For many, this non-interference on the part of the PA is a major source of anger,...."

Israel's years of calm are over , and this is good!

"... The rocket attacks on Israel are an attack of chaos on order. In the old Middle East, the constant threat facing the Jewish state was invasion by regular armies. In the new Middle East, Israel faces the danger of irregular forces from irregular entities disrupting domestic order. The Gulf wars and the Arab Spring have broken down most of our old enemies — Iraq, Syria and Libya — but another enemy has risen up: chaos...."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

'Rebutting the Myth of “Inclusion” as Panacea for Iraq!'

"... Regarding Iraq,  Hillary takes issue with the conventional Washington wisdom—espoused with particular fervor among Democrats—that the current crisis is all the fault of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:“This is an excuse.  This is a bipartisan failure of catastrophic proportions for the United States—first with Republicans in invading Iraq, and now with the Democrats essentially blaming it on Maliki.  The idea that Maliki can be more ‘inclusive’ and bring in foreign fighters—one of the key leaders in this is Chechen, for Russia—the idea that that can become a more inclusive government is snake oil and should be seen for what it is.Maliki won the last election, it’s a parliamentary democracy.  He is now going to go about the very messy process—like he did last time—of assembling a coalition in a state that is majority Shi’a.  So surprise, surprise, the majority government is going to be Shi’a.  The Sunnis have never accepted this, they’ve never accepted to live under a Shi’a-dominated political order, and they have very powerful patrons outside the country—like the Saudis, like the Qataris—that have armed, funded, and trained this to the hilt, and now we have a disaster on our hands.”           Hillary also disputed the accumulating collection of overly facile demands from Washington elites that the United States micromanage some new and, at least from an American perspective, “superior” political reality in Iraq:  “We shouldn’t be in there manipulating political outcomes to our favor.  People don’t want to live in a militarily dominated, U.S. political order in the Middle East.  We need to pull back and rethink this policy.”Yes, but old habits die hard in official Washington."

Time's running iut on arming the 'gentler, kinder al Qaeda' in Syria!

"... If Washington and its partners want to push back against both Assad and ISIS at once, they will have to be less squeamish about picking allies in Syria. Otherwise, they may not find any left at all..."

Allahu Akbar my Yeyo beother: down with Assad!

"... On the streets of Copenhagen he is known as Big A, a convicted drug trafficker and the leader of one of Denmark's most notorious organised crime gangs. But on the frontline in northern Syria, Abderozzak Benarabe is just another have-a-go jihadi, a man who joined the fight against Bashar al-Assad through a mix of restlessness, curiosity and a need for some kind of personal redemption...."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Shin-Bet's Diskin: "This is the result of the policy conducted by the current government, whose essence is: Let’s frighten the public over everything that’s happening around us in the Middle East"

"... Dear friends: Take a few moments to read the following words and share them with others. I see the severe and rapid deterioration of the security situation in the territories, Jerusalem and the Triangle and I’m not surprised. Don’t be confused for a moment. This is the result of the policy conducted by the current government, whose essence is: Let’s frighten the public over everything that’s happening around us in the Middle East, let’s prove that there’s no Palestinian partner, let’s build more and more settlements and create a reality that can’t be changed, let’s continue not dealing with the severe problems of the Arab sector in Israel, let’s continue not solving the severe social gaps in Israeli society. This illusion worked wonderfully as long as the security establishment was able to provide impressive calm on the security front over the last few years as a result of the high-quality, dedicated work of the people of the Shin Bet, the IDF and the Israel Police as well as the Palestinians whose significant contribution to the relative calm in the West Bank should not be taken lightly......" 

WaPo: 'Let's send US boots back to Iraq!'

... and from there, to Syria! Funny that Hussein & Diehl forgot to mention the elite units within the Saudi Special forces!
"... Hussein said it would take “collective action” by “a regional coalition” to eliminate the al-Qaeda state. Then he grimly ran down the list of potential actors: Iran, he said, would limit itself to defending Baghdad and the Shiite Holy places. Turkey, which chose not to intervene in Syria, would be even more reluctant to fight in Iraq. And the United States? “This government is not going to send troops.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

'All regional players have clients except us!'

"... Today, it’s unclear if the United States has much influence at all. One U.S. official working on Iraq told The Daily Beast that any candidate the United States publicly endorsed today in Baghdad would lose any prospect of becoming prime minister, given the current climate in Baghdad. "The other regional players have clients; we do not, and it's smart not to go down that road; guarding our role as a neutral broker and facilitator makes nobody happy but is essential for retaining a foundation for longer-term influence,” this official said..."

The crux of all that matters: 'The door is as half open to a realignment in US-Iranian relations'

'At a time when calls from foreign policy experts for a more assertive US engagement overseas, President Obama’s caution finds itself perfectly in tune with public opinion whose antipathy to the use of force overseas has not budged despite the tumultuous events in the Middle East. Doubts among top Republicans are also beginning to surface. With resentment at the person of Prime Minister al-Maliki deeply entrenched at the State Department and Pentagon, the advocates of intervention among Obama’s advisers are making little progress. The longer-term implications for the US posture in the Middle East arising from events in Iraq and deepening violence between Israel and Palestine are, as far as we can tell from private conversations with knowledgeable officials, being allowed to take care of themselves. The emergence of Kurdistan as a de facto independent state is being quietly tolerated. None of these implications may be more important than the future role of Iran. With nuclear talks now at a pivotal stage in advance of the July 20th deadline and a curious overlapping of interests at least temporarily present in Iraq, US officials see the door as half open to a realignment in US-Iranian relations. Secretary of State Kerry has warned of the formidable obstacles that lie ahead, so officials are warning that it is prudent to keep expectations modest. However, with the US top sanctions official included in the negotiations, there is some prospect of change....'

Friday, July 4, 2014

Islamic State 'seizes key Syria oil field' as JAN & other factions withdraw & swear allegiance to IS

"... Nusra Front fighters also withdrew from two towns in Deir Az Zor on Thursday, according to the Syrian Observatory.Nusra pulled out of Mayadeen and Shuhail, its regional stronghold, while local tribal fighters had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State..."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Mr. Obama needs to call on the political leader with the best-armed forces in the region, Mr. Assad!"

Gelb in a NYTimes' editorial:
"... But instead of capitalizing on Mr. Assad’s anti-jihadi instincts, the Obama team now proposes to do what it has resisted doing for almost three years — to send hundreds of millions of dollars in arms aid for the Sunni rebels battling the Assad government. This move has American priorities backward. It will turn Mr. Assad away from the jihadis in Iraq, and back to fighting American-backed rebels in Syria.
The greatest threat to American interests in the region is ISIS, not Mr. Assad. To fight this enemy, Mr. Obama needs to call on others similarly threatened: Iran, Russia, Iraqi Shiites and Kurds, Jordan, Turkey — and above all, the political leader with the best-armed forces in the region, Mr. Assad. Part of the deal would need to be that the Syrian regime and the rebels largely leave each other alone..."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bashar Assad's are numbered! Really, ... they are!

"... Despite being endorsed by the West as the leaders of the struggle against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, none of the bodies involved in the dispute are currently playing a significant role in the civil war. The coalition is widely seen as ineffective, its interim government is little more than a list of names, and the military council has been overshadowed on the ground by rebel formations and extremist groups that have been more active...."

Monday, June 30, 2014

A new dawn

"... The group announced that it was now called the "Islamic State". According to the statement, the new caliphate stretches from Iraq's Diyala province to Syria's Aleppo."The Shura [council] of the Islamic State met and discussed this issue [of the caliphate] ... the Islamic State decided to establish an Islamic caliphate and to designate a caliph for the state of the Muslims, said Adani."The words 'Iraq' and 'the Levant' have been removed from the name of the Islamic State in official papers and documents."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Senior Qatari Official: "Jabhat al Nusra are our pets but ISIS is a Saudi project!"

"... Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”
ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. The Saudi government, for its part, has denied allegations, including claims made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that it has directly supported ISIS. But there are also signs that the kingdom recently shifted its assistance—whether direct or indirect—away from extremist factions in Syria and toward more moderate opposition groups..."

Obama can't name the 'moderate rebels' because he can't: they 'decomposed'!

"... Confusing? You bet. So first steps first. Who are the “moderate” rebels whom Obama wants to train and arm? He doesn’t name them – and he can’t, because the original “moderates” whom America swore to arm (with the help of the CIA, the Brits, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey) were the so-called “Free Syrian Army”, mostly composed of deserters from Assad’s government forces. But the FSA – briefly beloved of John McCain until he discovered a pro-al-Qa’ida fighter sharing a photo-op with him in northern Syria – has decomposed.Its men have gone home, switched to the bearded Islamists of the Nusrah or Isis – or Isil if we heed the latest acronym – or re-deserted to the government army and taken up arms for Assad again...."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"John Kerry made clear the priority in helping the 'vetted' rebels was to fight ISIL"

Need we say more
"BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian rebels that the U.S. now wants to support are in poor shape, on the retreat from the radical al-Qaida breakaway group that has swept over large parts of Iraq and Syria, with some rebels giving up the fight. It is not clear whether the new U.S. promise to arm them will make a difference.Some, more hard-line Syrian fighters are bending to the winds and joining the radicals.The Obama administration is seeking $500 million to train and arm what it calls "moderate" factions among the rebels,.... The U.S. also faces the difficult task of what constitutes a "moderate" rebel in a movement dominated by Islamist ideologies...Meeting with Syrian opposition leader Ahmed al-Jarba in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made clear the priority in helping the rebels was to fight the Islamic State ................."

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ankara: 'US drones against ISIS, not from our territory!'

My, my, my. What a creature this Erdogan!
"... Aaron Stein, an analyst with the Royal United Services Institute, explains in a phone interview that the Turkish political factions are united in a desire to avoid involvement in what is widely seen as a quagmire in Iraq. Moreover, Erdogan “despises” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to Stein, and has little desire to put Turkey at risk to prop up his government.More significantly for the United States, Ergodan has made it clear that he opposes U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. This matters, Stein says, because if the United States chooses to combat ISIS and other Iraqi militants through drone strikes launched from outside Iraq, the Incirlik Air Base near Adana in southern Turkey would be an ideal launching point.
“The Turks have an incredible amount of control if the United States goes the drone route,” Stein says, and
will want to avoid being seen as “complicit” in air strikes on the group holding their diplomats and citizens hostage..."

Israeli Officials: 'Israel prepared to take military action to save the Hashemite Kingdom'

"... But behind the scenes, Israeli diplomats have told their American counterparts that Israel would be prepared to take military action to save the Hashemite Kingdom.“I think Israel and the United States would identify a substantial threat to Jordan as a threat to themselves and would offer all appropriate assets to the Jordanians,” he said.Thomas Sanderson, the co-director for transnational threats at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Israel and the United States view the survival of the Jordanian monarchy as a paramount national security objective.Sanderson, who is a former contractor for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said those assets would include air power and intelligence resources, but he stressed that whatever Israel and the United States offered Jordan would be tailored to the kind of threat ISIS posed. “It’s impossible to rule out boots on the ground from Israel or the United States, but that is the least likely scenario. Amman would have to be under siege for that to happen,” he said..."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

'The US urges Syria to open talks'

... and does anyone dare call Reagan a weak pres.?
We clearly remember what Secretary of State George Schultz told our ambassador then, Abdallah Bouhabib, at the WH, during President Gemayel's soliciting visit:
"Assad (Hafez) has reached his zenith. From today on it's all downward for him!" 

That was in 1983!

Reagan urges Syria to open talks, June 25, 1987

"... The White House letter marked the administration’s most ambitious effort to improve relations with Damascus since October 1986, when the United States withdrew its ambassador and ordered American businesses to leave. Washington ordered those actions after asserting that Syria supported international terrorism.An administration official said Reagan had raised several areas in which “we feel Syria can be constructive.” In addition to the hostage issue, they included reviving the Middle East peace process and ending sectarian turmoil in Lebanon...."

'Not so fast ... Punch some more!'

"... In a post-American Middle East, this kind of concert of powers is the only way to stop the bloodshed. But my instinct — after talks with Iranians and Saudis over the last few months — is that the prospects for a grand bargain are some way off. Although both sides are frightened of an uncontrolled escalation, they have both gained power and prestige from a Middle East split along sectarian lines. Neither side is yet exhausted by the proxy wars or satisfied with the current balance of power. The potential rewards still outweigh the risks of the struggle, particularly for Saudi Arabia, which sees the conflicts as a means of reversing Iranian hegemony in Syria and Iraq..."

Is the BBC correcting itself in its 'Update'?

"... Speaking to the BBC's Arabic service in his first interview for an international broadcaster since the crisis started, Mr Maliki said: "Yes, Syrian jets did strike Qaim inside the Syrian side of the border."There was no co-ordination involved. But we welcome this action. We actually welcome any Syrian strike against Isis... But we didn't make any request to Syria. They carry out their strikes and we carry out ours and the final winners are our two countries."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AIPAC/Winep; rooting for Saddam (well, his number 2 man) to save Iraq!

"... Regardless of al-Douri’s fate, this month's uprising puts JRTN in a considerably stronger position. It may be that the Baath can achieve a partial, qualified return to powerperhaps with a deal between the federal government and JRTN-led Sunni Arab military councils over the formation of one or more federal regions in Sunni Arab Iraq, each with its own constitution and parliament, akin to the Kurdistan Regional Government..."

"The Lebanese army was exchanging valuable security information with Hezbollah that allowed it to respond effectively to a number of threats"

Mona seems to forget (or was too young to remember) New Year's Eve 2000' when Jihadists from North Lebanon attacked LAF checkpoints killing scores of soldiers and civilians. President Emile Lahoud ordered a (then) commander of the LAF, Michel Sleiman, to strike back, to which Sleiman used the 'foul weather' pretext trying to postpone the operation (in reality to check with his invisible 'foreign patrons'). He was proded to 'move' when Lahoud reminded him of certain perimeters of command!
LAF moved quickly, and swiftly. 
The US ambassador then (David Sutterfield) was outraged and demanded 'explanations' because one of the Jihadis was a 'US citizen', ... This vas-et-viens with the Americans subsided in the immediate aftermath of ......September 11, 2001! I rember these things well: I was there!
Then, and only then, did they start asking us for intelligence about the Jihadis!
"...Facing greater threats from the escalating war in neighboring Syria, the army sought aid from Hezbollah, especially over the past few months. By 2013, the Lebanese army was exchanging valuable security information with Hezbollah that allowed it to respond effectively to a number of threats. According to an army source, the shared intelligence contributed to the army’s successful dismantling of a terror ring responsible for dozens of attacks in February and March. However, Sunni fears of the LAF’s bias toward Hezbollah were made worse by the latter’s statement that its involvement in Syria is to protect Lebanon against the takfiri threat from jihadis (a foe that the army had fought for several years). This narrative has allowed both the party and the army to identify Lebanese and Syrian jihadis as a common enemy...."

The Washington Post: Your trusted source, fanning sectarian flames!

 
Look at the title in the WaPo!It maliciously ignores the fact that the 'Sunnis' in question are convoys of al Qaeda's horrific franchise ISIL with their loot of US weapons.