Monday, September 15, 2014

'Work with Assad, Iran & Hezbollah'

"... First, it is imperative to find a way to work with the most effective forces on the ground: Mr. Assad’s Syrian Army and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters. All of the West’s differences with the Syrian regime should be postponed until the tide of battle has turned. Indeed, an anti-ISIS coalition that includes Syria, Iran and Russia may be the only real key to a political engagement with Mr. Assad that could help bring about a peaceful resolution of the three-year-old Syrian civil war..."

'Turkey, the 'non-ally', is trotting its way out of NATO...'

"... Turkey is trotting its way out of NATO, out of its relationship with the US and ultimately out of its prospects for membership in the EU. There is also the matter of its once good relations with Israel.Erdogan, Davutoglu and all that crew have turned their backs on the old, Kemalist, secular, Turkish Republic and opted instead for what they seem to think is possible in realizing a leadership role in the Sunni Muslim World.  
- They have denied the US the use of air base facilities built in Turkey with American money and occupied by US forces for at  least 50 years.  That denial is a great boon for IS in both Syria and Iraq. 
- They have made it clear that the Turkish Army will not participate in operations against IS, al-Nusra or any other Islamist forces in Syria and Iraq.  That is a crippling blow to Obama's hopes of an effective Sunni coalition against IS.  Turkey has the largest and most effective Muslim state forces in the region.
As people here know, I like Turkey.  We lived there a lifetime ago in Izmir on the Aegean Sea.  The people were mostly friendly, the food was delicious, the art was exquisite.  Life was good and now I can see that the life we lived in Turkey is disappearing as a prospect for Turks, let alone  ifranj like us.   It is unusual for me to agree with the WSJ editorial board but I must say with sadness that the US (and NATO) should stop thinking of Turkey as an ally.  pl  "

Unlike the Senior geography dimwit, Ryan Crocker is honest: 'We are clueless!'

"... Current and former American officials acknowledge the government’s lack of deep knowledge about the rebels. “We need to do everything we can to figure out who the non-ISIS opposition is,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Iraq and Syria. “Frankly, we don’t have a clue.”..

Of 'vital importance'

"(Reuters) - Syrian special forces on Monday destroyed a bridge over the Euphrates River used by Islamic State to move supplies in eastern Syria, media run by Hezbollah said, a blow to the group in the swathe of Syrian territory it controls near Iraq.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war, said an explosion had destroyed the bridge in Deir al-Zor city that is of vital importance to Islamic State as the only way for it to move into parts of the city it controls...."

Syria is 'trickier'

"... But a statement after Monday's conference made no mention at all of Syria - the other country where Islamic State fighters hold a wide swathe of territory. Iraq attended Monday's meeting but Syria did not, nor did its main regional ally, Iran..."

Senior White House Official: 'I am clueless, but it doesn't matter!'

'... SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I guess I would just add one thing on the coalition question -- and I think this is important to really focus on, which is to say, in discussions with governments in the region, notably the Saudis and the Jordanians, what is clear is that we have a very common view of this threat.  And this is really quite unusual. ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region.  They view it as an existential threat to them.  Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria.  The Jordanians are experiencing a destabilizing impact of over a million refugees from the Syrian conflict, and are profoundly concerned that ISIL, who has stated that their ambitions are not confined to Iraq and Syria, but rather to expand to the broader region. ...'

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"US delivery of weapons to the FSA will be just a way station in delivering this materiel to ISIS"

"... "... Some parts of the Free Syrian Army have now made agreements with IS that will call a halt to fighting between them so that the FSA can concentrate on fighting Assad's forces.  The Nusra Front (AQ) brokered the deals.  US delivery of weapons to the FSA will be just a way station in delivering this materiel to IS. "

Just say it: 'Moderate Syrian rebels' is a fantasy!!

"... In his remarks to reporters, Ricciardone described extremist rebels such as those in Nusra and the Salafist group Ahrar al Sham as “beyond the pale.” But he suggested that the Turks didn’t take the U.S. concerns seriously. Ricciardone balked at assisting an Islamist coalition that includes the ultraconservatives of Ahrar al Sham, which the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition coalition has described as moderate, because there was no telling “what might become of those weapons." 
“The short version is: We agreed to disagree on a number of specific cases,” Ricciardone said of the U.S. talks with the Turks...."

ISIS finds thousands of recruits in Istanbul & across Turkey

"... In June, Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper reported that as many as 3,000 Turks have joined the group. “No other Nato country is as exposed to the threat of Isis jihadism as Turkey is,” says Sinan Ulgen, a former diplomat and head of Edam, an Istanbul-based foreign policy think tank. In the past, Western diplomats have accused Turkey of indirectly facilitating the flow of arms and foreign fighters to Isis ..."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

'Moderate' Syrian Revolutionaries Front continues to support al Qaeda

"... The only problem with this example of a possible US ally in the fight in Syria is that Maarouf has already stated that he has no problem with al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front, and has admitted to sharing weapons with it. And this example of cooperation between "moderate" and radical Islamist groups is not an isolated one..."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mosul attack planned in Istanbul under MIT supervision

"... It has come to light that the ISIS terror organization and its supporters planned details of the attack on Mosul in a hotel in Istanbul under the protection of the Turkish Intelligence Organization between the 28 February and 2 March. The militants reportedly met in Jordan’s capital Amman on the 1 June and invaded Mosul a week later. .."

"There’s simply no acceptable Syrian partner on the ground to complement the American role in the sky"

"... Analysts who closely follow Syria are divided as to whether the problems can be overcome or will hobble the whole effort, but there’s agreement that finding an acceptable Syrian partner is the least developed and most elusive part of the president’s ultimate goal of destroying the Islamic State.
Obama’s 14-minute address Wednesday night sidestepped
his strategy’s Achilles’ heel: No matter how effective U.S. airstrikes are in taking out Islamic State leaders, there’s simply no acceptable Syrian partner on the ground to complement the American role in the sky. The president made no mention of specific factions that would be involved in the coalition’s fight against Islamic State militants, and it’s not at all clear whom he meant when he referred to “the opposition.”

On the apetite to arm the 'moderate rebels'

"... Remarkably, though, even this USA Today article notes that there might be a slight problem or two with this brilliant plan to stop ISIS, otherwise known as “the personification of evil in the modern world“:
'... Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, another endangered Democrat, said he was opposed to arming Syrian rebels. “We must have greater assurance that we aren’t arming extremists who will eventually use the weapons against us,” he said.House Republicans are divided into two camps, according to Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana. He told the Associated Press after a closed-door caucus meeting that one side hopes to hold Obama “accountable for doing the right thing.” The other group — that includes himself, Fleming said — believes Obama’s plans amount to an “insane strategy to go out there and depend on people that are proven undependable” to take down the Islamic State...."

Who can better fight fanatical Wahhabis than a...fanatical Wahhabi kingdom?

 Let me explain this to you: we are asking a Wahhab...:
"“We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort — the train-and-equip program —..."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

“It will be a Saudi face for a U.S effort,”

"... It’s also important because, “We haven’t been on same page with them on Syria for a long time,” said the former ambassador. “There’s been a lot of bad blood” between Riyadh and Washington--and not just over Syria. The Saudis themselves nourished the brand of puritanical Islam that would give birth to al Qaeda and its evil stepchild, the Islamic State. Denouncing its savagery seems beyond hypocritical on the part of the royals ..."

"The chance to destroy IS is gone!!"

"... A goal of marginal containment through direct support to regional players combined with periodic retaliatory strikes might be the maximum realistic scope possible against the IS Sunni state-let. 
Arm and train the Kurds positioning for independence to press IS on the east particularly around Kirkuk.
Focus on small territorial gains and border consolidation. 
Form an alliance of convenience with Iran; also with Assad where mutually beneficial in the west. 
Assist the Shia Iraqis to train and fight with air support from the southeast, support Jordan heavily on the southwest of IS ********and make plain to Saudi, Kuwait and Turkey that they could be mangled by the IS monster they created**********.
The chance to destroy IS is gone. 
Targeting economic sites - gasoline refineries, small oil fields, bootleg pipelines, electric grids, plus pre-emptive strikes on any military concentrations might work but better to buy off the Sunni tribes slowly with Saudi money. 
US public support for boots on the ground in the US is weak. 
US public support for covert and indirect methods is probable. 
NATO allied support is meaningless. 
Let them focus on their own eastern problems.... 
Does Obama have the support of the military and I'm not referring to the officers - but the enlisted? I don't see the trust. 
Does Congress have the will to fund more war? 
Even air wars are expensive. I doubt the political will exists. 
Past this Nov. election it will be budget gamesmanship all the way to the 2016 presidential."

'In the end, there will be no alternative to substantial US ground forces'

"... Obama appears to have a mass of moving parts in his campaign plan:
- The plan assumes that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey can be made into active supporters of an anti-IS "war."  Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the only Wahhabi dominated states until IS proclaimed its caliphal status.  These two countries are deeply sympathetic to IS' goals if not its methods.  Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia were instrumental in the early stages of development of IS as it morphed from AQ Iraq, into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and then to a final glory as IS.  [[[[[[[[[[Do we really think it will be easy to enlist Qatar and Saudi Arabia in this fight?]]]]]]]]]]  Do we really think that these deeply Sunni states are going to support continued Shia governance from Baghdad?
- Erdogan's Turkey has been a supporter of Sunni governments and movements from the moment he took office.  Remember Erdogan's refusal to allow US troop transit (4th Infantry Division) for entry into Iraq from the north in 2003.  To this day, [[[[[[[[[Erdogan is not allowing]]]]]]]]]]]{ the use by the US of air bases in Turkey.  Those air bases would greatly facilitate air operations in Iraq and Syria.  It should be remembered as well that Erdogan's Turkey provided shelter, supply lines, transit rights and training space for IS among other Sunni jihadi groups fighting in Syria.  The Turks are still doing this.
- There is a new face in Shia government in Baghdad.  A new cabinet has been suggested as a possibility by the existence of that face. Unfortunately the two most important cabinet posts, Defense and Interior, [[[[[[[[[[have not been ]]]]]]]]]]]appointed yet.  IMO there will be a mighty struggle among the Shia Arabs over the issue of assignment of these two ministries to Sunni Arabs.  The Shia know that if they do not control the police and the army, they do not control Iraq.
- Obama intends to [[[[[[[[simultaneously]]]]{]]] wage war in eastern Syria against IS while also waging war in Western Syria against the Syrian Government.   He, apparently [[[[[[[intends to ignore]]]]]]]]] the possible cooperation of Syria with regard to airfields and air units as well as Syrian, and/or Hizbullah ground forces.  Churchill said that to fight Hitler he would fight him in hell if necessary and make an alliance with the devil to do it.  In accordance with that idea he allied the UK with the USSR.  Obama also intends to increase arms deliveries to "moderate" Syrian guerrillas.  IMO these groups never amounted to much militarily.  They were always the "unicorn army," and could never have defeated Syria's government no matter  what you gave them.  And in fact the "moderates" have among them many pro-jihadi people. 
- Yet another military axiom holds that "you can never have too many friends on a battlefield."  Iran is making friendlier noises concerning possible discreet cooperation and de-confliction of operations with a Western led coalition, but, no, even now[[[[[]]]]]] Iran's advances are re-buffed publicly ]]]]]]]]]]]because Saudi Arabia and Israel don't like the idea. If Israel doesn't like something, well, that is the end of that thought.
- The notion is being nurtured by people like Robert Scales that something like the McChrystal led JSOC counter-terrorism campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan will deal comfortably with IS.  As Larry Johnson pointed out on this site, that campaign was about small raids against personalities, raids usually conducted in the dark of night and within territory dominated by friendly conventional forces.  [[[[[[[[[[IS is nothing like that target set.]]]]]]]]]]]  This is a real guerrilla army, with real forces who run a real government that is now coming into being.  We should stop calling them terrorists and start calling them the enemy.
- Obama is firm that conventional US ground forces will not be committed to this war.  That means that other, foreign, forces will have to be found to act in coopertion with US and NATO air power.  Who will they be?

    *  Turkey is "out" for the reasons stated above.  The Turks were the most obvious choice for the job.    *  The Iraqi army is  a shambles.  It will take years to try to make something of it.  Remember, we failed the last time.  Don't expect the Iraq army to be much help.    *  The Pesh Merga are a guerrilla self defense force.  Give them heavy weapons?  Certainly, but it will take time for them to learn to use them effectively and the PM are unlikely to want to fight outside their homelands.  There are other Kurdish forces in eastern Syria but the Turks will be unhappy with strengthening them.    *  The Egyptian army is large, inept and unlikely to be willing to fight in Syria or Iraq.  Sisi and the other generals will want to keep them at home to control any possible Islamist uprisings in Egypt.    *  Jordan will be fully occupied with its own defense and a large Islamist 5th Column.    *  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait have little in the way of ground forces that have actual combat power.
In the end, if a decisive outcome is desired, there will be ************no alternative to substantial US ground forces************.  That will mean reconstruction of the US logistical and command and control base in Iraq as well as the use of several air bases.  Is Obama going to demand legal extra-territoriality for our forces as a precondition? He should, but, will he?
A long campaign against IS will require the re-recruitment of Sunni Arab tribes in Iraq.  It can be done.  They hate the wahhabi jihadis and they will manage to forget our previous betrayal in favor of the Shia.  They more or less expected it then and will again, but the money will be good as will be the guns and the comradeship of the handful of Americans who like them.
Economic warfare, police action in the home countries of the West, border controls, yet tighter restrictions on personal freedoms in the West, these are all more moving parts.
I have no doubt that the US Congress will give Obama whatever he wants and the Republicans will then wait for next year for their chance to settle up with Obama.
Too many moving parts.  pl "

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Israel's Michael Oren: "Let ISIS prevail!"

The 'inside job'

"... Idilbi said the meeting of so many key leaders apparently had been called to consider whether Ahrar al Sham should join a new rebel coalition, the Council for Leading the Revolution, that would unite moderate rebels, including those receiving U.S. aid. The decision to join the coalition, whose formation was announced hours after the explosion, would have been a major change for the group, whose ties to the Nusra Front were so close that some U.S. intelligence officials have advocated that Ahrar al Sham be classified as an international terrorist organization.The explosion was likely to prove fatal to the organization, which was once thought to have had as many as 35,000 fighters...."

Qatar & Saudia: 'Source the ISIS problem ... etc.

"... “You may well say that including Qatar and Saudi Arabia is a bit counterproductive because a lot of people blame them for the problems in the first place, but it’s like with Iran – they have to be part of the solution,” said Michael Stephens, a specialist on Gulf states, Israel and Syria for the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, a British research center..."

Our 'allies' the Saudis & Turks: 'ISIS not such a bad thing after all!!'

"...  The Americans counter that the Sunni leaders also have room for improvement, starting with the need to crack down on the networks that send money and fighters from the Persian Gulf states to the Islamic State, which now controls roughly half of Iraq and a third of Syria.
“Without us having some skin in the game, it’s not clear that all the parties would play their assigned roles,” said Gregory Gause, a Persian Gulf specialist who heads the international affairs department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. “
The Iranians would be fighting these guys anyway, but the Turks might say, ‘We have to do a deal with them if they control all this territory.’ And the Saudis might say, ‘These guys are bad, but they’re fighting Assad and Iran...."

More on your favorite 'Moderate Syrian rebels'

"... The report said the jihadists disposed of "significant quantities" of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings "Property of US Govt".It also found that anti-tank rockets used by IS in Syria were "identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013"...."

International Crisis Group is not about resolving crises, but fostering them!!

"... Such a regime shift appears unlikely. In its absence, the only realistic alternative is for the opposition’s state backers to improve support, qualitatively and quantitatively, to credible non-jihadi rebel groups with roots in Aleppo. That could become more costly to the regime and its allies than a local deal, as some of the support would inevitably be deployed against regime forces...."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Saudia to hatch the antidote? Not!!

Al Jazeera English

"... Kerry's meeting in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, will be attended by ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the six Gulf Arab states as well as Iraq, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official told AFP..............Gebran Bassil, Lebanese foreign minister, will also take part in the talks, ...."

Kerry to hold Saudi talks on Islamic State

US president sending top diplomat to Middle East as he seeks to broaden coalition in fight against armed Sunni group.

Makes sense.

"... At any rate, when I first heard of the flight from Bagram landing in Iran, I immediately began to wonder whether there might be some sort of prisoner exchange taking place. After all, the US still has a number of international prisoners housed at Bagram. With the situation on the ground in Afghanistan looking increasingly shaky, the disposition of these prisoners could be one of the most difficult aspects of a hasty retreat from Afghanistan should the US decide not to leave a small force there after the end of this year.So, is it possible that the landing in Bandar Abbas was actually staged so that some of these prisoners could be dropped off? If so, the cryptic announcement of new fighters being arrested in Iran could fit pretty closely with that event. It is a bit more difficult to account for the announcement saying that Afghans as well as Pakistanis were part of the arrests. The official story is that the US no longer holds any Afghan prisoners at Bagram, but the US has long played shell games with prisoners there, so they would be motivated to make any actual Afghan prisoners disappear quietly. [And note this report by Spencer Ackerman where it seems that the foreign prisoners held by the US at Bagram seem to have at least some communications with Afghan prisoners so that hunger strikes spread between the two populations.]..."

NYorker: Truth on 9/11 "buried in order to preserve the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia"

"... Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is “stunning in its clarity,” and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America. “Those twenty-eight pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,” Lynch maintains. Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijacking is “very disturbing,” and that “the real question is whether it was sanctioned at the royal-family level or beneath that, and whether these leads were followed through.” 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brilliant!! Turkish government: ISIS attacked our consulate & took scores of Turks as hostage, but this "DOES NOT have significance for Turkey. Turkish land is not the target.”

"... An additional worry of the AKP government is the possibility of the Syrian army regaining power after the cleansing of IS. Erdogan is not ready to be neighbors again with a Syria still governed by Assad. The Obama administration has not yet decided whether it will cooperate with Assad or with Assad’s foes against IS. In Iraq, a loose partnership was worked out with Iran and the Muqtada al-Sadr movement that fought against the US invasion, but it is not that easy to decide when it comes to Syria. Although Obama may continue to keep on the table the option of supporting the moderate Syria opposition, there is no guarantee that it will work against extremist groups such as IS ...."

Collusion, collusion, collusion!!

"... Given these circumstances, security sources knowledgeable of the region believe the Arqoub villages currently face a security threat from within and fear possible instability along the Lebanese-Israeli border. In light of the number of refugees in Arqoub, and in the wake of the August battle in Arsal between the Lebanese army and members of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS), most of them from the Syrian refugee camps in the town, concern has grown that similar incidents might occur in the south. According to security sources, information has been circulating that Jabhat al-Nusra members have settled in Arqoub and that wounded Syrian rebels have moved to Shebaa after being treated in Israeli hospitals........"

Arabs' dollars buying 'stiffled silence' at Washington' think tanks

"... Michele Dunne served for nearly two decades as a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the State Department, including stints in Cairo and Jerusalem, and on the White House National Security Council. In 2011, she was a natural choice to become the founding director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, named after the former prime minister of Lebanon, who was assassinated in 2005.The center was created with a generous donation from Bahaa Hariri, his eldest son, and with the support of the rest of the Hariri family, (Saudi money & directives!) 
But by the summer of 2013, when Egypt’s military forcibly removed the country’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, Ms. Dunne soon realized there were limits to her independence. After she signed a petition and testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging the United States to suspend military aid to Egypt, calling Mr. Morsi’s ouster a “military coup,” Bahaa Hariri called the Atlantic Council to complain, executives with direct knowledge of the events said.Ms. Dunne declined to comment on the matter. But four months after the call, Ms. Dunne left the Atlantic Council..."

On transparency ...

"... "There seems to have been an agreement among the major powers not to tell us who did it," Cohen says. While U.S. and Ukrainian officials say the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, it is unclear who fired the missile. "There are reports from Germany that the White House version of what happened is not true, therefore you have to look elsewhere for the culprit who did the shooting down," Cohen notes. "They’re sitting on satellite intercepts. They have the images. They won’t release the air controller’s conversations in Kiev with the doomed aircraft. Why not?"..."

NATO & the replenished coffers of ISIS!

In case you were wondering about the continuously replenished coffers of ISIS!!
"... Tanal, the opposition lawmaker, claims the smuggling itself and the lack of effective countermeasures on the Turkish side are a sign that ISIS enjoys continued support from the Turkish government. “There is cooperation,” he said. “If there wasn’t any, how can you close your eyes to the smuggling like that?” Tanal also stressed that Erdogan and his new prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, refused to call ISIS a terrorist organization..."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In the US nanny-shaming ISIS as: "Angry & Embittered"

On the REPETITIVELY 'disapperaing Kurdish oil' & the US' SELECTIVITY in enforcing Iraqi National rights ...

... there’s apparently a lot of Kurdish oil disappearing, which makes sense given the legal fights over who owns it (not to mention US selectivity about when to enforce national rights, as we have in Libya of late, and when not to, as we’re apparently not in Iraq).
Still, the prospect of buying and selling Kurdish oil off the books sure would free up money for other purposes (especially given Hunt Oil’s involvement in Kurdish drilling, which happened with a great deal of winking and nodding).
"... A tanker near Texas loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared from satellite tracking, the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark.Several other tankers carrying disputed crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track..."

Steve Cole/ New Yorker: 'Saudis & co. support ISIS but they can outdo it by providing 'sanitation & jobs'!!

Cole/ NYorker: 'Saudis & co. support ISIS but they can outdo it by providing 'sanitation & jobs'!! 
(These are thoughts worthy of an enema!!)

"...  ISIS has promised to govern as effectively as it intimidates, but its talent lies in extortion and ethnic cleansing, not in sanitation and job creation.... “We don’t have a strategy yet,” the President remarked last week, infelicitously, about Syria. He does have a coalition of allies in the region that are willing to challenge ISIS’s ambition, including Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. These countries patronize disenfranchised Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, and some of their support certainly reaches jihadists, including ISIS. Yet they share an interest in reducing Syria’s violence and in promoting regional and local Sunni self-governance that is less threatening and more sustainable than what ISIS has created..."

TB: "Saddam didn’t have the capability we were ascribing to him -- we were absolutely wrong about that -- but ..."

"... Kenny, Kenny, Kenny ... You confused tricky white boy!!
"... The lack of WMDs, Pollack continued, was a “complete surprise.” The intelligence community -- with the exception of United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter  (reviled and attacked daily)-- was simply wrong. But to Pollack, the Bush administration’s failures were also a shock.... The absence of WMDs didn’t blunt Pollack’s primary argument for the war. “Saddam didn’t have the capability we were ascribing to him -- we were absolutely wrong about that -- but he did have the motivation...." (aaaah, ...) ..."

Fooled us once: Kenny Pollack has a new plan for Syria: It DOES require US boots & a whole lot of US mulla!

"... To get there, the United States would have to commit itself to building a new Syrian army that could end the war and help establish stability when the fighting was over. The effort should carry the resources and credibility of the United States behind it and must not have the tentative and halfhearted support that has defined every prior U.S. initiative in Syria since 2011. If the rest of the world believes that Washington is determined to see its strategy through, more countries will support its efforts and fewer will oppose them. Success would therefore require more funding -- to train and equip the new army’s soldiers -- and greater manpower, since much larger teams of U.S. advisers would be needed to prepare the new force and guide it in combat operations..."

NYTimes Op-Ed: "The West needs Assad & the Syrian Arab Army!"

"... The West clearly sees the ISIS threat similarly and must therefore move beyond its failed policy and seize on this regional convergence to promote a new approach in Syria. ... 
ISIS’ advances in Syria can’t be contained without the force that is most able to challenge it: Mr. Assad’s military. Western leaders should stress to the Saudis that the struggle against ISIS must take precedence over regime change in Damascus.In exchange, Iran should push Mr. Assad to accept real power-sharing and to make the defeat of ISIS his overriding military priority..."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Abbas will guarantee Israel's security if he is given $$$!

Rebuilding Gaza | TheHill

"...This requires purposeful aid that meets Palestinians’ needs in Gaza, denies Hamas and its sponsors political credit for reconstruction, reinvigorates Palestinian reform and supports the US policy objectives in the region, including the realization of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.Such a framework needs to safeguard Israel’s and Egypt’s security concerns, by ensuring not only that Hamas is denied an opportunity to rearm,..."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Crocker: "... even if that means some coordination with Assad!"

"... Crocker, on the other hand, has long argued that the Assad regime may be bad, but it doesn't pose nearly the same threat compared with the Islamic State, which previously called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS....Crocker also thinks the U.S. needs to launch airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria as well as Iraq — even if that means some coordination with Assad..."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"Assad recognizes that the Western opening will be in secret, and via security channels and not diplomacy"

"... Assad is not expecting the West to perform a policy U-turn soon, the sources said. But having secured territory seen as vital for his survival, time is on Assad's side as he takes the long view in the struggle for Syria."The regime recognizes that the Western opening will be in secret, and via security channels and not diplomacy. The political-diplomatic opening needs longer," said Salem Zahran, a Lebanese journalist with close ties to the Syrian government. "But the regime believes that the whole world will come to coordinate with it under the slogan 'fighting terrorism'."

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Last year, Assad was the enemy. This year? We’re making friends with Syria"

"... Fast forward a year, and authoritative word has winged its way across the Atlantic from the Pentagon – in the shape of a joint press conference by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the defence secretary, no less – that the only way to halt the advance of Islamic State (Isis) in northern Iraq is to bomb ... Syria. But this time not the forces – official and unofficial – of Assad, but the Syria of his enemies. Because, hey, we have revised our view of the lesser evil..."

U.S. Providing Intelligence For Syrian Air-Force Bombings

This is precisely what Sy Hersh told me and a group of friends back in June! And to be more precise, it is the Special Forces (USSOCOM) who are doing it!
"... The U.S. is again fully at war in Iraq. But bombing in Syria, it seems to me, will be left to the Syrian air-force. For some days now it has attacked IS targets in Raqqa with precise ammunition, not with the usual "barrel bombs". Precise weapons need precise intelligence to designate precise targets. Two knowledgeable journalist from the region have suggested that the U.S. is providing such targeting data to the Syrian government ..."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Terrorists-lover Brazil have done what even Egypt & Jordan refrained from doing'

".. It added that Brazil was recalling its ambassador to Israel for consultations — something that not even Arab countries such as Egypt or Jordan have done at the time of this writing...."

"Time is not on Israel's side"

"... Time is not on Israel's side. At some point, something will likely happen to weaken its position, while it is unlikely that anything will happen to strengthen its position. That normally would be an argument for entering negotiations, but the Palestinians will not negotiate a deal that would leave them weak and divided, and any deal that Israel could live with would do just that.
What we are seeing in Gaza is merely housekeeping, that is, each side trying to maintain its position.
The Palestinians need to maintain solidarity for the long haul. The Israelis need to hold their strategic superiority as long as they can. But nothing lasts forever, and over time, the relative strength of Israel will decline. Meanwhile, the relative strength of the Palestinians may increase, though this isn't certain...."

NSA provides the Saudis with “internal security” tech support! (Aka. tools for crackdown on dissent!)

"... The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents...."

The Saudi purge!

"... The Saudi response (as outlined in an opinion-piece by a top Saudi establishment commentator, Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, who heads Al-Arabiya television) is that the ISIS threat needs to be understood properly – since there is a “genuine [Sunni] revolution against a sectarian repugnant rule” in both Syria and Iraq. ISIS tapped into this ‘Sunni anger’ to become “the star at the box office” for Sunnis all over the world … However, “were it not for Assad and Maliki, ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front would not have existed.”  (This Saudi meme is the ‘narrative’ that has almost universally been taken up by the mainstream western media.)Saudi Arabia is prepared, Abdulrahman suggests to confront ISIS, but only – and only if  - “a political solution [is] imposed in Syria and Iraq” — a regime change that leads to wider Sunni mobilization. The sectarian policies of Assad and Maliki “triggered this chaos. Therefore, the solution lies in strong central governments in both Baghdad and Damascus with American, Western and regional support.”But let us be clear: When Abdulrahman insists that Nouri al-Maliki must be ousted, he is not proposing that another Shi’i simply take his place – as would occur under the present political dispensation in which the Shi’i amount to 60 – 65% of the electorate.  He is calling for the overthrow of the system – with a Sunni (or a Riyadh approved Iyad Alawi) ‘strongman’ placed in power (à la Sisi).  Ditto for Syria.  It is a call for the purging of the Middle East..."

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


... 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!