Sunday, December 7, 2014

UN reveals Israeli links with al Qaeda in Syria


"... Reports by UN observers in the Golan Heights over the past 18 months reveal the type and extent of cooperation between Israel and Syrian opposition figures. The reports, submitted to the 15 members of the UN Security Council and available on the UN’s website, detail regular contacts held on the border between IDF officers and soldiers and Syrian rebels (al Qaeda's Jabhat al Nusra) ..."

Jordan against ISIL at home

 Al Jazeera English

"... "Just clicking 'like' or 'share' on social media in Jordan could get you in jail nowadays, which is alarming," al-Khateeb told Al Jazeera..."

US: 'Recognizing Iran’s de facto 'positive' participation in the anti-ISIL coalition'

"... The tragically failed hostage rescue attempt in Yemen will have done little to redress the public perception of the Administration’s foreign policy as, to quote a senior NSC official talking privately to us, as “almost drowning under the barrage of criticism”. It will undermine the more optimistic note being struck by Secretary of State Kerry on progress being made by the anti-ISIL coalition and on prospects for Afghanistan, together with the effectiveness of US sanctions against Russia. Behind the scenes, few officials share Kerry’s optimism. And the onslaught of public criticism continues, notably as much from Democratic voices as the more predictable Republican critics. In the White House, however, our assessment is that the atmosphere remains calm. President Obama’s nomination of Ashton Carter as the new Secretary of Defense has been well received, but our Administration contacts tell us that this does not foreshadow any loosening of control by the White House over national security policy. A seasoned Pentagon observer commented to us: “Carter has outstanding defense credentials as a master of topics like force structure, nuclear issues, acquisition and the budget. He has a conspicuous gap in war fighting. It appears that the White House wants him to lead internal Pentagon reform at a time of resource austerity, but to leave the fighting in the Middle East in their hands.”  With regard to ISIL, an emerging factor is the increasing US willingness to recognize Iran’s de facto participation in the coalition and to describe it, as Kerry did, as “positive. The State Department’s line is to keep cooperation with Iran over ISIL and, most likely in the future, against the Taliban in Afghanistan, in totally separate compartments from the nuclear negotiations. However, we understand that the even the sporadic exchanges that are now taking place at local level are having some impact on building trust. This may ease an agreement in 2015, although as we have noted Iran will then face a much more hostile political line-up on Capitol Hill. Another Middle East country with a complex relationship with Washington is Saudi Arabia, whose current production policy designed to keep oil prices low is seen by some as directed against US shale producers. Finally, on November 7th Kerry will deliver a major speech on US-Israeli relations. Given the pro-Israeli venue at the Saban Center, Kerry is not expected to hit hard. Nonetheless, the speech will be closely analyzed for the nuances it will throw on the current troubles state of US relations with Israel..."

Friday, December 5, 2014


"The commentary following the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been notably confused. Some observers have attributed his downfall to an overcautious approach to the events in Iraq and Syria; others have suggested that he was urging the White House to be more aggressive than it desired. In many ways, this ambivalence reflects the current state of thinking about foreign policy in Washington. While it is generally expected that the new Republican-led Senate will set a more hawkish tone, there is little evidence that public opinion is in the same place. With regard to the failure – whether temporary or permanent – to secure an agreement with Iran on nuclear matters in time for the 24th November deadline, a similar tension in analysis can be seen. State Department officials to whom we have spoken remain upbeat that a settlement is within reach. However, with a harder bipartisan line forming in Congress to constrain President Obama from lifting sanctions – one of the key preconditions of any deal – the way ahead has become more challenging for the Administration.  In the same way, Secretary of State Kerry will present mixed messages at next week’s NATO ministerial meetings. Policy toward Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan will all be on the agenda. On the former, a willingness to take a tougher line on sanctions is balanced against rising concern – albeit expressed only privately – that Ukraine’s post-election government formation is taking far too long and that economic reforms, especially on fighting corruption, still seem far ahead. With regard to Iraq, Administration officials feel that cohesion within the anti-ISIL coalition is strong, especially now that tensions with Turkey have eased. There is also a growing conviction inside the Pentagon that the intensive retraining program now underway with the Iraqi National Army coupled with the beginnings of a “reawakening” of some Sunni militias will yield sufficiently positive results to assuage the demands for the deployment of US ground forces. On Afghanistan, the US focus is shifting toward the economy in the realization that, with the near total drawdown of foreign forces, financial flows to the Afghan government will shrink drastically. Kerry will encourage his NATO partners to remain engaged in the country with civil projects.  Finally, the decision by OPEC to maintain production levels leading to a further drop in the price of crude oil had, we are told, a degree of political motivation behind it given the resultant negative consequences to the Russian and Iranian economies."

"Something honest needs to be done about coordination with the Iranians & the Syrian Armed Forces!"

"... - Kirby, the DoD press person, says that there is no "coordination" with Iranian forces in Iraq. When pressed by Blitzer he says that the Iraqi government is "deconflicting" air operations in their air space. That is a form of "coordination." One can only hope that the Americans in Iraq are helping Abadi's government "deconflict" operations in the air and on the ground. Something honest needs to be done about coordination with the Iranians. IMO Kirby should be sent to the Hill to work with McCain and his office wife.
- Ditto with regard to the Syrian armed forces.
- The FSA unicorn army is a fantasyland fiction. Kirby admitted yesterday that neither vetting nor training have begun. Someone will eventually have to confront the WH with that truth.
- Some sub-set of lunatics in NATO continues to drive the alliance towards war with Russia. This probably seems a great idea in bull sessions at State and the NSC staff. "We'll show'em!!" This is just crazy. There cannot be war between NATO and Russia. Such a war would be uncontainable and would inevitably escalate to a nuclear confrontation..."

"Terrorists elected in Bahrain!"

"... "Four seats also went to male candidates from Sunni Islamist blocs, including two from the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic Menbar group." Shaikh Khalid said that Bahrain was facing the "Muslim Brotherhood" group and its "clear terrorist threat" to the stability of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and considered its plans as a threat to the kingdom’s security as well. He added that Bahrain would "deal with any threat from the Muslim Brotherhood group in Bahrain in the same way it deals with any other potential threat to its security and stability."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lebanon detains wife and son of Al-Baghdadi

Al Jazeera English

"The Lebanese army has detained a wife and a son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, as they crossed from Syria in recent days, security officials have said..."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Obama Falsely Claims Human Rights Law Does Not Apply To Syrian Mercenary Training

"Buried down in a report about Pentagon plans to train more mercenaries to fight against Syria we find this declaration of intend by the Obama administration to (again) break the law:
The military screening plan came together after the Obama administration determined that the training program for the Syrians would not be subject to what are known as the Leahy laws, which typically govern U.S. security assistance to foreign forces.Under those laws, a small office at the State Department works with U.S. embassies overseas to ensure that recipients of State or Defense Department security assistance aren’t linked to major human rights abuses.
Because the Syrian rebels will not be part of a state-sponsored force, the laws will not apply, U.S. officials said.
Wait a second. The U.S. congress has set aside $500 million to train, equip and pay these fighters. The U.S. military will do the training. And the Obama administration claims that these are not "state-sponsored forces"? Is the U.S. no longer a nation state? ..."

Over $80 Billion Wasted in “Training” Iraqi, Afghan Forces: No Lessons Learned!

"... And yet, despite this clear history of failed efforts to train and equip forces, the US now plans to spend more than another $5 billion fighting ISIS. If it weren’t for the carbon dioxide that would be released, it would probably be better for all of us if that money were simply incinerated."