Thursday, May 31, 2007

Meghan O'Sullivan, one of the principal creators of the Iraq mess, returns to "assist" Crocker

"... Now, she is going back to help poor Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador, who must need help, I guess. and to keep military people like Fallon, Petraeus and Odierno in line..." says Col. Lang. Read more here at Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Lebanon ... what lies ahead?

The follies of Bush's Iran policy

Shirin Ebadi and Muhammad Sahimi call on the Bush administration to "put an end to its misguided policy". Read the IHT essay here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lebanon and the Planned US Airbase at Kleiaat

Franklin Lamb author of the "Welch Club" wrote this today: "...Sharon pulled out a piece of paper from his chest pocket, as one Phalange security person who guarded the restaurant door recalls, and shoved it across the table to Bashir. Written on it was Israel's 'one last request' which contained one word: Kleiaat ..." Read it in full here.

The Salafi-Wahhabi connection in Lebanon

From (oddly) Andrew Nexum, the Soref fellow at the WINEP, says "In their efforts to counter the massive popular mobilization of the Hezbollah-led Shiite community, the Sunni leaders of the Saad Hariri-led March 14 coalition have not been above stoking the sectarian fires of Lebanon's Sunni community."
Read the Jamestown Foundation brief here.

Gen. Odom: "Exit From Iraq Should Be Through Iran"

"As a planner on the National Security Council (NSC) staff at the time, I soon realized that restoring ties with Iran, whether in a year or two, or a decade, or much longer, had to be the US goal. Only thus could the US lower its military costs. Moreover, Iran shared strong interests with the US .President Carter understood this. So did President Ronald Reagan, although his NSC staff’s attempts to re-establish informal ties were ill-designed and clumsily executed.All subsequent presidents understood it until George W. Bush"
Read the Full YaleGlobal article here.

Bush:" Army Should Remain In Iraq Like They Have In South Korea For 50 Years »

Reuters President Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday, ... to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.

"..He, who took the Donkey up to the top of the Minaret, should bring it down!.."

And if you're wondering, we just thought of that saying as it pertains to the Hariri tribunal "as is"!

U.N. approves Hariri assassination tribunal

10 council members supported the Western-sponsored resolution to set up the court and 5 abstained, adding fluidity to a highly mercurial situation.

Gen. Aoun to Le Figaro:"Chirac tried to transform Lebanon into Hariristan"

Read Le Figaro here.

UN committee investigating the Hariri assassination: "examining soil samples in Saudi Arabia"

As'ad translated this Al Watan article "I have not seen this in any Lebanese or Arab newspaper. An item in the Saudi newspaper, Al-Watan, reports that the UN committee investigating the Hariri assassination has been examining soil samples in Saudi Arabia."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Director of media affairs at STATE says "much of our audience either doesn't listen or perceives our efforts to be meaningless U.S. propaganda"

Via Laura Rosen's War&Piece, a VERY sobering Oped by PRICE FLOYD, 17 years Director of Media Affairs at the State Department. Read it here.
"We need a president who will enable the U.S. to return to its rightful place as the "beacon on a hill" -- a country that others want to emulate, not hate; a country that proves through words and deeds that it is free, not afraid ..."

CIA's Foley rewarded cherry picking in building WMDs case against Iraq

Via Kevin Drum and Tiny Revolution we get The Italian Letter by Peter Eiser and Knut Royce has some interesting revelations (Page 119) about Alan Foley, the head of the CIA's Weapons Intelligence Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC), which led the CIA's analysis of Iraqi WMD:
".. December 2002, Foley called his senior production managers to his office. . "If the president wants to go to war, our job is to find the intelligence to allow him to do so." The directive was not quite an order to cook the books, but it was a strong suggestion that cherry-picking and slanting not only would be tolerated, but might even be rewarded."

"Since the neocons got us in over there", GOP lawmaker wants to send Wolfowitz to Iraq as "mayor"

Fath el Islam alleged "bank heist" was nothing but a scheduled visit to the cashier booth gone awry

The infamous bank "heist" by Fath el Islam that was said to have led to the current imbroglio in Lebanon, was nothing more that a "scheduled visit to the cashier." OFFICIAL sources in Beirut inform FLC that it was in the habit of FeI to visit that specific bank to receive cash transmittals from Future movement (Saad Hariri via Minister Ahmad Fatfat) disbursements. Apparently, and for reasons we've discussed or relayed elsewhere (scroll down) they discovered then and there that the payments were "stopped," at which time they decided to "help themselves to the exact monthly sums." Worse even, are (again) OFFICIAL reports The Lebanese Army had plans to deal quietly with this Salafi movement, but that FeI was tipped by "elements close to the decision makers in Beirut" and consequently, the operations were aborted.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Welch - Abrams - Cheney et al. have violated federal law, including, but not limited to, several provisions of the US Patriot Act

From reader "Sid" of SicSemperTyrannis come this comment:
The Welch Club essay -- and Sy Hersh's March 07 New Yorker article -- suggest the following:
1. Probable cause may exist that Welch - Abrams - Cheney et al. have violated federal law, including, but not limited to, several provisions of the US Patriot Act , to wit: providing material support for terrorists and violating title III, "International Money Laundering".
2. No evidence exists that intent of the Welch club is to protect the people of the US, UK, or Europe.
3. Instead the strategy of the Welch Club suggests that the US VP office is employing an antiquated and anachronistic tactic of "divide and conquer", presumably to fulfill Israel's security aims as well as ease Saudi concerns of the growing influence of a Shia crescent.
4. Welch Club offers further proof of the pathos and disintegration of the USG in regards to ME foreign policy. On one hand, we support Sunni terrorists cells with ideological ties to Al-Q. On the other hand, we support Shia factions in Iraq. Futhermore, we green light -- and fund with US taxpayer money -- the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, without even safeguarding beforehand thousands of American citizens in Beirut and elsewhere. Then the USG channels US taxpayer money to Lebanon to help with the cost of repairing the country ravaged by American bombs.
Where is Joseph Heller of Catch 22 fame when we need him?
5. No evidence exists Welch-Abrams et al. are attempting to out "G" the guerrilla. If the USG does not do so, then odds increase greatly that we lose. Questions arise: Does divide and conquer -- as well as exterminate an entire people -- have any role today in the American-British post WWII military tradition? Does it fulfill the maxim that to win, "you out 'G', the guerrilla"?
In other words does the Welch-Eliot Abrams strategy in Lebanon and the Middle East satisfy the principles set forth by British SAS and USM experiences?

Ghadry's visit to Israel sponsored by the Likud & Netanyahu's people

Via a reader and a potent blogger, read in Haaretz' here

Iraq beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond

"Dennis Pluchinsky, a former senior intelligence analyst at the State Department, said battle-hardened militants from Iraq posed a greater threat to the West than extremists who trained in Afghanistan because Iraq had become a laboratory for urban guerrilla tactics... Fatah al Islam's leader Al Abssi, an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi confirmed reports that Syrian government forces had killed his son-in-law as he tried crossing into Iraq to collaborate with insurgents... The logistics team included at least one recent refugee from Iraq, a 34-year-old former Iraqi Army soldier named Mohsen al-Wissi. He was among the estimated 1.5 million to 2 million Iraqis now living in Jordan and Syria."
Read the full NYTimes article here.

European "cracks" in the isolation of Lebanon's President: Poland's Presidential emissaries at Baabda

Polish President Lech Kaczyński (staunch US ally) sent an "inquisitive" delegation including Minister Stasiak (Security affairs) and National Security Adviser Winid to Lebanon. Worthy of note, was the delegation's visit to the Presidential Palace, marking a serious breach in European isolation of Lebanon's Presidency.

US says it Will Review Iran Proposal for "Trilateral Security Mechanism"

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - MAY 28: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, right and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi, left, attend a meeting on security in Iraq at the Iraqi Prime Minister's office on May 28, 2007 in the Green Zone Baghdad, Iraq.
From IraqSlogger, now, these ARE big news items, regardless of outcome. Read it here and Pat Lang's comment, here.

How Sarkozy could destroy Hezbollah

From WINEP's Levitt and Jacobson, is a solicitation to get French support of an EU designation of Hezballah as a "terrorist organization", here.

Stand against "rationalization of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon" by Rutgers' Trivers, gets him canceled at Harvard

What do you know, it is that little sour man Dershowitz ... again!

Samir Geagea', Kleiaat North Lebanon, and the NATO airstrip

The story of a planned NATO airstrip (or US, depending who you read and ask) in the northern part of Lebanon controlled by Samir Geagea's goons, has gained "momentum" in the last few days, what with the air lift of military supplies to the LAF and of course, the "sudden" appearance of Al Qaeda in this specific part of Lebanon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Al Qaeda's Abu Jandal, in audio message calls upon the Syrians to "strike the Alawis hard" because they are worse than the Jews and the Christians

Abou Jandal's father admits (on TV) that "they" are all supporters of Saad Hariri.

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon confirms that the 4 Saudi members of Fath el Islam killed "are indeed members of Al Qaeda"

This "declaration" by the Saudi emissary Abdul Aziz Khoja, was a source of major embarrassment to the March 14 leadership, as it was quick to accuse and say that the fighters were "Syrian mukhabarat leftovers of Palestinian origin." The days ahead will uncover the role that the Jordanians and Saudis played in scuttling all attempts by Lebanese authorities to "nip FeI (and other Salafi movements) in the bud", if that was at all possible.
‘We have learnt there are Saudis, Syrians, Lebanese, Algerians and people from other nationalities amongst Fatah Al Islam, and they follow Al Qaeda’s ideology,’ he (Khoja) said. Read the full "AlKhaleejTimes" piece here.

... and Fareed Ghadri visits Israel

See the Haaretz piece here. I get a sense that these minions are scrambling to sit up front. Mind you Ghadri is neither "exiled" nor a "leader".

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Khaddam finds and retains a great Washington lobbyist at the "K street" Harbor

This email, from reader "A" at a

"Khaddam hired the good offices of Sandra Charles to lobby for him and obtain access for a high profile visit he'd like to make to Washington.
Sandra Charles is on a substantial retainer with the Hariri family (from father to son) Her group has one of the more potent rollodexes in Washington, and she was amongst Brent Scowcroft's most able advisers (she sat on G W Bush's NSC) She also does limited work for Bandar .She is friends with Amal Mudallali, a Hariri, who is Saad's point woman in Washington, having served his late father.
If our government (US) chooses to work with this slug, I believe that we have slipped to a level I did not think possible. Perhaps we should grant citizenship to the assassins of Ambassador Francis Meloy and Economic Counselor Robert O. Waring!"

Bahiyyah Al-Hariri defends Jund el Sham and "distinguishes" them from Fath el Islam

From SidoniaNews via AngryArab and a reader, we learn that MP Bahia Al Hariri, who is said to be the "wallet" to the Salafis in the Ain el Helweh (South Lebanon) telephoned Walid Jumblat and offered "clarifications" distinguishing, to anyone with enough freekin' guile to believe her, that Jund el Islam (the Zarqawiesque' group) have nothing to do with Fath el Islam. Just a reminder, it is believed that the "wallet" in the Nahr el Bared camp (FeI's alleged home base) is Minister Ahmad Fatfat. And, yes, the mother load of all wallets remain Hariri Inc. at the behest of their patrons!

Al Qaeda: Video message menaces Aoun, Nasrallah and Army Commander, Suleiman

CQ: Iraq Intelligence Horror Stories, told by Lang and Wilkerson

Via Steve Clemons' WashingtonNote, (excerpt). CQ story here.
Lang went to see him (Feith), he recalled during a May 7 panel discussion at the University of the District of Columbia.
“He was sitting there munching a sandwich while he was talking to me,” Lang recalled, “ which I thought was remarkable in itself, but he also had these briefing papers — they always had briefing papers, you know — about me.
“He’s looking at this stuff, and he says, ‘I’ve heard of you. I heard of you.’
“He says, ‘Is it really true that you really know the Arabs this well, and that you speak Arabic this well? Is that really true? Is that really true?’
“And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s really true.’

‘That’s too bad,” Feith said.

Administration disbands "Syria-Iran pressure" unit

"State Department and White House officials said the dissolution of the group was simply a bureaucratic reorganization, but many analysts saw it as evidence of a softening in the US strategy toward the two countries. It comes as the Bush administration has embarked on a significant new effort to hold high-level meetings with Iran and Syria." Read this Boston Globe story here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cheney's Iran Fantasy: Still hooked on Plan A!

TIME magazine's Joe Klein comments (here) on Steve Clemons' and confirms that, whereas President Bush "listened" to his top brass and shifted to Plan B on Iran (covert destabilization campaign), Cheney is still very hooked on Plan A!
Joe Klein, here and Steve Clemons, here

"The Welch Club" or who's Behind the Fighting in North Lebanon?

A reader led me to this very good essay by Franklin Lamb on "Counterpunch". To better understand what is going on in the camp (s), first you need to see the key elements of what is known as the "Welch Club" (nothing to do with Friday-Lunch-Club)
The Club is named for its godfather, David Welch, assistant to Secretary of State Rice who is the point man for the Bush administration and is guided by Eliot Abrams. Key Lebanese members of the Welch Club (aka: the 'Club') include: The Lebanese civil war veteran, warlord, feudalist and mercurial Walid Jumblatt of the Druze party( the Progressive Socialist Party or PSP) Another civil war veteran, warlord, terrorist (Served 11 years in prison for massacres committed against fellow Christians among others) Samir Geagea. The billionaire, Saudi Sheikh and Club president Saad Hariri leader of the Sunni Future Movement (FM).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Terje Larsen's spot as Spec. Coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process goes to the UK's Michael Williams

thus perpetrating a "tradition" of giving top UN spots to Europeans, especially the Norwegians and the Brits. Read Helena Cobban here.

"Unanswred phone" prevented the coordination between Army Intelligence and the "new US trained & equiped" Internal Security Forces of Wissam Hassan

If you believe this, I envy your unshaken belief in Santa! Read it here.

Cheney to Constrain Bush's Choices on Iran Conflict: Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush

"The zinger of this information is the admission by this Cheney aide that Cheney himself is frustrated with President Bush and believes, much like Richard Perle, that Bush is making a disastrous mistake by aligning himself with the policy course that Condoleezza Rice, Bob Gates, Michael Hayden and McConnell have sculpted.According to this official, Cheney believes that Bush can not be counted on to make the "right decision" when it comes to dealing with Iran and thus Cheney believes that he must tie the President's hands." (Read Steve Clemons full piece here.)

Intelligence Online: "New" Elysee looks with suspicion at Saad Hariri

We learn that the "New" French Administration of President Sarkozy has three discernible currents as to how to deal with Saad Hariri.
(1) One deals with him as yet a player among equals on the Lebanese political scene. This, argues the first current, should enable the new French President to see "more clearly" without taking sides.
(2) Second camp believes that Sarkozy should remain "safely anchored" in the Saudi-American camp (and we do not forget that it was outgoing Jacques Chirac who convinced President Bush of the necessity to throw his full support behind the Sunnis oh his late friend Rafic Hariri)
(3) and the third camp believes that REGARDLESS of the option chosen by the new President, Saad Hariri "should not be the trusted liaison"
Excerpts of the Intell-Online (French Edition)
25/05/2007 Beyrouth

L'erreur strategique de Saad Hariri

Les forces de se©curite ont decouvert des fevrier des preparatifs terroristes dans les camps palestiniens du Liban. Mais les leaders sunnites leur ont demande de ne pas reagir.

Selon nos informations, le service de renseignement des Forces de securite interieure (FSI), commandee par wissam al-Hassan, en coordination avec la Direction du renseignement militaire (DRM) du general Georges Khoury ont saisi, le 3 mars, une trentaine de detonateurs electrochimiques aux abords du camp palestinien d'Ain-Heloue, à l'est de Saida, au sud du Liban. L'enquete a ensuite montre que ces systemes sophistiques en provenance d'Europe de l'Est appartenaient à un reseau terroriste infiltre dans le camp et operant sous le nom de Jund al-Sham. Celui-ci aurait eu pour mission de preparer une attaque contre la Finul.

Peu auparavant, les memes services avaient releve des mouvements inhabituels d'ambulances frappees du sigle du Croissant-Rouge, ainsi qu'une affluence d'ulemas et de femmes voilees aux entrees du camp palestinien de Nahr al-Bared, pres de Tripoli, au nord du pays. Les investigations ont montre que les services syriens de renseignement militaire avaient infiltre des elements aguerris agissant sous le nom de Fatah al-Islam et positionnes en vue d'affrontements futurs avec l'armee libanaise. L'operation aurait ete dirigee par un Syrien, veteran de la guerre en Irak et proche de la mouvance salafiste de Tripoli, Chebab Kaddour, connu sous le nom d'Abou Harira.

D'apres une source securitaire bien informee, le leader sunnite Saad Hariri avait ete prevenu des fevrier par wissam al-Hassan de cette arrivee massive de combattants. Cependant, le fils de l'ancien premier ministre assassine, qui contrele politiquement la region de Tripoli, a demande de ne pas intervenir, avec l'argument suivant : "Nous aurons besoin de leurs fusils pour faire face à l'influence grandissante des chiites du Hezbollah". Mais c'est contre l'armee libanaise que ceux-ci ont ouvert le feu la semaine derniere.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Workers at the US mission in Iraq warned about food shortages due to "convoy problems"

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

The elements of this recent ABC News story came to our attention (and then some) back in April of 2006, by, who else but Sy Hersh in his essay "The Iran Plans" , when he divulged that the US has "combat troops now operating in Iran would be in position to mark the critical targets with laser beams, to insure bombing accuracy and to minimize civilian casualties. As of early winter, I was told by the government consultant with close ties to civilians in the Pentagon, the units were also working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeris, in the north, the Baluchis, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast," and Hersh later added that "activities, if conducted by C.I.A. operatives, would need a Presidential Finding and would have to be reported to key members of Congress" but did not go as far as saying that such a finding was signed off, and finally wrote (April 2006) that a Pentagon adviser offered that thought back then: "If we move against Iran, Hezbollah will not sit on the sidelines. Unless the Israelis take them out, they will mobilize against us.” he said that, if Hezbollah fired rockets into northern Israel, “Israel and the new Lebanese government will finish them off.”

"Kurdistan's man in Washington" Qubad Talabani

Laura Rosen's new piece in the Washington Monthly, here.

Neo-cons' "Who's Who" to plot IRAN strategy in the Bahamas

Via Steve Clemons at Washington Note we learn that "at the Westin’ Resort on Grand Bahama Island we larn that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies is holding “a policy workshopto plot strategy for moving U.S. policy toward Iran in a direction compatible with its confrontational views."Among those who have been invited areUnder Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky; the hard-line Iran country director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and Office of Special Plans (OSP) alumna, Ladan Archin; the recently-departed State Department Coordinator of Counterterrorism, Amb. Henry Crumpton; the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Treasury Department, Matthew Levitt, who is now with the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). The administration’s new UN Ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, has also been invited and his wife,Cheryl Benard, who directs the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, is confirmed. Also attending, Uri Lubrani (chief Iran advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert), Princeton's Bernard Lewis, Michael Ledeen and his "protege" CIA's Reuel Marc Gerecht."
Read Jim Lobe's full piece here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Interview: Sy Hersh: "Bush administration arranged support for militants attacking Lebanon"

What do you know .. This "doozy" I talked about could be closer than we thought! Usually, Mr. Hersh's TV appearances are just a few days before his essays. "Cedar Revolutionaries": get your spin masters ready! Read it full here.

STATE Department: "NO Linkage Between Violence and Progress on Hariri Tribunal"

Read STATE's Daily Briefing by Spokesman Sean McCormack, here.

UN sows panic in Beirut by emaling list of "possible targets"

Copy of a widely circulated UN email:

Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 2:16 PM
Subject: Fwd: Possible Targets in Beirut (UN Report)

Dear all,

I'm clogging up your email --with a cause.
I'd like to share the below info as a staff member of GRID and as the international deputy warden for Zone 7 (Ain Mreisseh), which was forwarded to me by the National Security Officer at the International Medical Corp. in Beirut just now:
"Here are some possible targets in Beirut. Please restrict your movement & avoid being in Gemmayzeh & Monot.
ABC Mall Achrafieh
ABC Mall Dbayeh
Giant Casino Mall Dora
Monot Street

Gemmayzeh Street
Casino du Liban Jounieh
Local transportations (buses)
Big schools & universities
Any other business centers & shopping streets."

All the best,

"Stalemate" reached as Lebanese Army & Fath el Islam call for truce

Any which way you look at it, this means that the Lebanese Army is between a rock and a hard place. The Army's "honneur" was scarred when FeI drew first blood, but a desired military outcome against Al Qaedaesque elements is not attainable without a massacre of the hapless and innocent Palestinians. The ruling "clique" of Siniora opened a big can of worm, and now it reaps what it sowed. Lebanese Security officials have indicated that some of FeI's dead fighters (especially the Lebanese ones) have been identified as those inculpated in previous attacks against the Lebanese Army, but who were later bailed out for "political expediency" by the "establishment."

While Bush "floats a post-surge" strategy in Iraq, his Administration requests quick assistance to Lebanese Army

To get a sense of how this Adminstration moves from one success to another, read Ignatius in the WaPo here.

US wants Khaddam ousted from leadership of NSF

In an off the record and behind closed doors meeting of the (Syrian) National Salvation Front in Brussels, Bette Dam, a German journalist sent the following article in which she says that Hussam al-Dairi – the representative of the NSF in the US and member of the General Secretariat of the NSF– explained that US-officials want the NSF to organize elections to try "to obtain credibility." In a nutshell, it means replacing Khaddam who is seen "as too controversial, according to US policy makers", Dairi explained.
Read Bette Dam's full article at Syria comment here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

If you thought that Sy Hersh's "Redirection" rubbed some people the wrong way, wait 'til you see his UPCOMING doozy!

Lebanon and the "Policy of Constructive Instability" revisited

I think now is a good time to "dust off" and re-read a March 15, 2005 essay by WINEP's Robert Satloff's "Policy Of Constructive Instability". Perhaps you'll identify a few features of US Foreign Policy.
"... Getting those missiles out of Hizballah's hands and out of Lebanon altogether is a high strategic desideratum... A second near-term objective of disarmament should be to end Hizballah's freedom to operate as an independent force Hizballah's assent to even this limited disarmament will still require the deployment to Lebanon of international monitors to verify compliance, perhaps even the stationing of an ongoing presence at Beirut's airport and other border crossings ... The United States has no interest in the survival of the Asad regime, U.S. planners to dust off old studies of possible sources of domestic instability and their likely implications"

Pat Lang on the Siniora/Hariri coalition and encouragement of Sunni zealotry in Lebanon

Colonel Lang points to the fact that "the "players" in the Siniora/Hariri coalition do not have clean hands in the matter of the creation and encouragement of Sunni zealotry in Lebanon. Lebanese political leaders have "played" to the Sunni Lebanese of the north for many years, seeking their support in the maze of Lebanese politics. Did they think that the Sunni Palestinians in the camps would not hear the same message?"Read Lang's full comment on SicSemperTyrannis here

Siniora to Hamas's Meshaal: Can we depend of Damascus' to assist with Fath el Islam?

Siniora requests Syrian assistance through Damascus's friends (Hamas ...) to "divest the Salafi movement" without a fight. My, .. my, toying with AlQ while playing the West's crony comes back to bite you real hard!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In "off the record", Siniora to foreign journalist: “Our attitude allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence in Lebanon, to offset "Shia'a scheme"

This "off the record" comment was reported earlier as being made by a Siniora "official", when the reality of the matter is that it was Siniora HIMSELF who said that his government "tolerated the presence of Esbat Al Ansar and Fath el Islam ..." just as he voiced his concern that they would be the "first line of defense" against the Shia'as, most notably Hezballah. FLC has learned from the "journalist" that Siniora was not too comfortable with his "comments" and asked to see and severely edit the transcripts of the story!

The "end of the neocons", the "extra precautions" taken by Prince Yusupov and Rasputin

Via Harper's, read the full SundayTimes article here.

U.S. Intelligence officials: Al Qaeda increasingly funded by cash coming out of Iraq

Algerians living the "sale guerre" snub elections

And just point out the fact that senior Intelligence officials in Washington believe that the "Maghreb" (Arab North Africa) will soon become the major theater for Al Qaeda operations, with all types of implications on the security situations in France and Spain. Read Le Monde here and opinion, here

Al Qaedaesque militants clash with Lebanese Army

The timing of these incidents is quite interesting: The illegitimate government of Siniora (and its allies) has decided to clamp down on Fath el Islam just as the United Nations faces the tractions of whether to adopt a tribunal looking into the assassination of Hariri, and calls to adopt it under chapter 7, face serious difficulties. Putting it simply, the ruling clique in Lebanon is hereby pushing the envelop in calling for a multinational forces to enter Lebanon with a mandate to disarm Hezballah, politically (and logistically) overstetching the capabilities of the Lebanese Army. Gaza option redux!
From CNN here and for further insight into Fath el Islam read Seymour Hersh's essay in the New Yorker, "Redirection" here , and Bruce Riedel's Foreign Affairs June essay, here

and as a further reminder, a most distinguished US Intelligence Official, Bruce Riedel, has this to say in June's Foreign Affairs, "... al Qaeda is well placed to threaten global security in the near future. Because it thrives on failed and failing states, it will have opportunities to set up new operations. One appealing option may be Lebanon, where extremist Sunni groups have long operated, particularly in the country's second-largest city, Tripoli, which was controlled by a Sunni fundamentalist group during much of the 1980s, before Syria cracked down. If the Lebanese state is further weakened or civil war breaks out, al Qaeda may seek a foothold there. The United Nations force stationed in Lebanon is likely to be a target, since the jihadists consider it to be another crusading army in the Muslim world."

Read Bruce Riedel's Foreign Affairs June essay here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

British UN diplomat "guarantees stability" in Lebanon while President Lahoud's written objections are concealed by "inside job"

It is said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is "very upset".
The fact that the written objections that the President of Lebanon, Emile Lahoud has transmitted to Moon and through him to the members of the Security Council on May 15, only reached the intended recipients on May 17th, basically, hours after the end of the deliberations of the draft copy as submitted by the US, France and GB, is to blame.
It is known now that this was an "inside job" as the "objections" were willfully delayed by aides to the novice Secretary General, in a flagrant attempt to burn the stages and move towards quick deliberations and a quick adoption of the Court (under Chapter 7). All that, despite the vociferous reservations of most Lebanese leaders and the overwhelming majority of Lebanese (not the gerrymandered majority allied with the US).
Many members of the Security Council are said to be "outraged" by these manipulations and have registered their concerns that "shoving the court down the throat of the Security Council" is very unsettling as it ignores the many warnings raised by Lebanon's President and despite the "soothing words" of Britain's UN diplomats. Apparently, people have reasons to doubt US and British talk of "stability" when the lessons from across the Euphrates are still fresh ...

Tony Blair considered for World Bank president

Via WarAndPiece, from Ezra Klein in the American Prospect.

France: Socialist Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

"Severely criticised by left-wing politicians for praising Sarkozy, Kouchner said he "could not care less". And now, for accepting the invitation to join a right-wing cabinet, he has been chucked out of the Socialist party"

Iraq-Iran Increasing Bilateral Ties: Iran to Build Pipeline, Invited to Bid on Refinery Construction

"The two agreed to lay the oil pipeline from southern Iraq to Abadan region in Iran in order to export more than 200,000 barrels per day of Iraqi crude oil to Iran according to crude oil international prices,"
From IraqSlogger, read it here.

SCIRI/SICI leader Abdul Aziz Hakim arrives in the US "for medical treatment."

Via Laura Rosen's 'WarandPiece" this LATimes piece including Abdul Aziz Al Hakim's trip to the US for 'medical reasons." Read it full here.

Ban Ki Moon to members of the Security Council:"I was secretly informed that the opposition in Lebanon agreed to the Hariri tribunal under Chapter 7"

"Accepting realities in Iraq"

Via Juan Cole' InformedComment, comes this paper on Iraq's fragmentation by Exeter's Gareth Stansfield done for "Chatham House". Read the full paper (pdf.) here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Harper's: assassins of Hariri should be held to account,and there should be some senior figures from "other governments" in the dock right beside them

"Yes, by all means, let’s support a special tribunal to look into acts of political assassination. Let’s include a smidgen of fairness in the process: let’s give it authority to address cases of political assassination which have occurred anywhere in the Middle East, and let’s declare that the United States will not shield its own political leadership from scrutiny in the press."
Read the full comment here.

Wolfowitz to resign as World Bank chief: Board rejected U.S. plan to "exonerate" him

Analysis: The Saudis, above all else, "crave stability", skepticism reigns as to the kingdom's willingness to help the US in Iraq

" ... Until recently, Saudi Arabia has also been seeking some sort of "retribution" for the assassination of Hariri, a trusted first tier Jack-of-all-trades envoy of the royal family. Now, US officials are looking in bewilderment at the Saudis as they "titillate" and dance on a tight rope. Although the Syrians have been deeply implicated by the first investigatory team of Detlev Mehlis and Gerhardt Lehmann, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was "warmly greeted" [noted one State Department official sourly] by King Abdullah at the recent Arab summit Riyadh. US analysts say that the Saudis, above all else, crave stability, and any drive to isolate and punish Syria could lead to chaos on a regional scale... US officials complain that they are not privy to the discussions Vice President Cheney had last week with Abdullah, and to the best of their abilities, they believe that if Lebanon came up, it was only fleetingly with Iraq being the "plat de resistance." But overall, a great degree of skepticism reigns as to the Kingdom's willingness to assist US efforts in Iraq. "None of the Sunnis are pleased to see the emergence of a Shia dominated Iraq," said one senior US official to my well informed source. "But Saudi opposition is more extreme than, say, the Egyptians or Jordanians and especially the Kuwaitis." Still, even this official cannot find much fault with the reluctance of many conservative Arabs to come to our aid in Iraq. "Time is running out," notes one top US official. "Moderate Republicans are getting ready to walk, while Pelosi as much as told the Arabs that the US "is on the way out..."

Mottaki Announces US-Iran talks to proceed May 28 in Iraq

"Negotiation is limited to Iraq, in Iraq, and will start in the presence of Iraqi officials," Mottaki said. Read full IraqSlogger article here.

Israel’s strongest supporters chastised the leadership for failing to solve conflict with neighboring Arabs

Read full article from FORWARD here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

CBS-NYTimes poll : Bush dropps to 24% approval rate equaling Nixon's Watergate-plagued polls

Open Letter to President Assad from a friend of Syria

Read it here.

Wolfowitz "terms of surrender" discussed by U.S., World Bank Directors

CENTCOM's Adm. Fallon vows privately "there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM"

"Not on my watch" says Adm. Fallon ... Our friend "Z" was first to point this out. Read Gareth porter's insightful piece here.

Ban Ki Moon: the Lebanese are divided, but the Security Council should split them further

To all those "wicked" people who thought that Secretary Ban was the worst choice for UN Sec-Gen at this time of heightened conflicts most notably in the Middle East, read below (and the full "off the cuff" interview).

Q: Do you support a referendum regarding Lebanon, since the Lebanese people are totally split, and the Government is not representative of the people of Lebanon, and it is not constitutional, as Mr. Lahoud has put it in his letters. Do you support a referendum on the Tribunal in Lebanon, ... (and) I am sure you saw the picture full of flame on the top of the front page of this morning's New York Times (in Gaza) ... have you been in touch with any of the principals involved, and is there anything you think that the UN can do to use its good offices to get this situation back on track?

SG: This is something which the Lebanese people should decide on I am of the view that,... asking the Security Council to take necessary action ... (and) I am gravely concerned about all this continuing violence in Gaza, particularly among the Palestinian people (not the Basque in Gaza!), and I was going to talk to President [Mahmoud] Abbas to take the necessary measures to control the situation ."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Verdict is In: Wolfowitz "Guilty" as charged

read the full ad-hoc group report (pdf.), here.

Can Bush Recover? Like it or not, the Republican party is tied to his fate

I rarely quote or even like to link anything from the WeeklyStandard. But what the heck, this essay has the cautionary tone I like to hear." ...Bush's standing won't be the only factor that decides the 2008 election. But it will be the most important one..." If he doesn't recover politically, with progress in Iraq spurring him on, it's hard to see a Republican candidate winning the White House.
Read it full here.

Wolfowitz, "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too"

Monday, May 14, 2007

R. Sale (part II) "amplifications" on Chalabi

To sum it up, Vince Cannistaro has had no doubts: "Chalabi was working for Iran, and Iran took us to breakfast, lunch and dinner." Read the whole thing on SicSemperTyrannis here.

"Falsified documents" circulated by former Beirut Iran Embassy guard, suggest Gen. Asgari "defected"

slightly more than interesting. Read "The General Vanishes" here.

Poll: 63% of Americans oppose military action against Iran ... and more

Richard Sale on Chalabi "US knew all along he was Iran's man"

From Col. Lang's SicSemperTyrannis:
"Reproduced here with the permission of Richard Sale and Milt Bearden. Richard informs me that all of this was "on the record." pl
"Dear Pat: I have been busy working on the Balkans, but wanted to provide some data about Chalabi and Iran.According to more than half a dozen CIA operatives, including former clandestine DO officials, "Agency people became aware that Chalabi had probably been a long-time agent for Iran," in the words of one. These sources, including Whitley Bruner, say that Chalabi was long ago working for Iran in Lebanon, even before the agency recruited him in 1991 and stuck him in as head of the INC. Bruner said of Chalabi: "He never gave the agency any intel on Iran, never submitted to being debriefed.' adding, "He was Iran’s guy."Bruner and others claim that Chalabi "wanted to start low-intensity war with Iraq. He hoped we would get sucked in." The plan was that the INC would "appeal to US benefactors and we would rescue our proxies."Former CIA agent, Bob Baer who went into Kurdistan in 1994, said that Chalabi always came into Kurdistan from Iran, where he had a villa. He said Chalabi was very close to Iranians, and covert operators said IRG folk were often at his house in Salauddin.The INC was totally penetrated by Iranian and Iraqi agents but the CIA didn't care. Chalabi was never entrusted with any secret operations. He was the day to day manager of INC which was putting out anti-Saddam gray propaganda. We wanted Saddam to know about the INC just to keep the pressure on him.In 1996, the CIA was trying to organize a serious attempt to overthrow Saddam using the INA, headed by a former Saddam hit man, Iyad Allawi who had broken with Saddam and walked in to work for MI-6 in the late 1970s. The Brits eventually brought him to the CIA in 1992. Allawi had assets inside Saddam's military but Chalabi betrayed the coup out of jealousy. The INA was the preferred CIA instrument, its intelligence was being checked out by technical means, and its success would have meant the end of Chalabi's funding. In any case, Chalabi got caught fabricating information and the CIA cut him off. He merely went to the Pentagon and the checks kept coming because his fabricated intelligence on Iraq's WMD was so essential to selling the war, this from a man who had already failed four CIA polygraphs so that the agency had issued a "burn" notice on him by the late 1990s. In 2004, Chalabi betrayed to Iran the fact the NSA was listening to mail belonging to Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). Milt Bearden called me in real distress the day the Iranian channel went off the air.But Chalabi's real goal was to get rid of the Baathists in Iraq, and get rid of the army. In spite of promises we had made to senior Iraqi military, some of whom facilitated our entry into Iraq in 2003, Bremer, Wolfowitz and Chalabi broke all those promises and the Iraqis joined the insurgency.

All the best,
Richard Sale"

White House OK'd talks with Iran

WaPo here

Sunday, May 13, 2007

U.S. options in Iraq: from bad to worse... and all that's in between

From McClatchy's read full report here.

Bremer: "By the time I arrived in Iraq, there was no Iraqi army to disband"

In his comment "The Axis Of Ineptitude", Col. Pat Lang calls Bremer a "sycophant (s) and self-serving careerist (s), ... Bremer has been allowed by the neocon leadership of the Washington Post to place a whining, mendacious piece in this Sunday's paper. It is filled with evidence of his stupidity, ignorance and willingness to deceive in self defense. As an example, his characterization of the old Iraqi Army is nonsense. That army was a NATIONAL army that stood at the very center of whatever NATIONAL institutions Iraq possessed."

Read Lang's comment here, and Bremer's bull in the WaPo here.

US-Iran will discuss Iraq issues "face to face"

According to the WaPo, this meeting was confirmed by the OVP whose spokeswoman added that "U.S. officials have earlier expressed an interest in such talks."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cheney: "With Two Carrier Strike Groups In The Gulf, We're Sending Clear Messages"

Reuters: Vice President Dick Cheney said on Friday the heightened U.S. military presence in the Gulf demonstrated Washington's resolve in a standoff with Iran over Tehran's nuclear plans."With two carrier strike groups in the Gulf, we're sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike," said Cheney on a visit to the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a close U.S. ally.

Cheney to the Sunni "trio": lean on your Sunni brethren in Iraq or we'll "unleash" the Shia'as

From Laura Rosen (WarAndPiece) and Mort Kondracke (RealClearPolitics) we get a sense of what "Plan B" (the "80% solution") as advertised by VP Cheney during his trip to the region might have looked like. "The 80 percent alternative involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious..."

Beirut-Center Poll: In Lebanon, Sunni-Shia'a divide more hype than harm

The coining of the Jordanian Abdullah of a "Sunni-Shia'a divide" is holding less less water as time pass. According to a new poll by the Beirut-Center (Abdo Saa'd) 96.8% of Sunnis in Lebanon and 99.2% of Lebanese Shia`as find the US Role in Iraq to be negative. Whereas, 70.4% of Sunnis and 99.6% of Shia'as find the US role in Lebanon to be negative. Most importantly tough we see that 51.6% of Sunnis and 95.6% of Shia`as are all for Iran acquiring Nuclear weapons. Also of note, and to the great dismay of the Jordanian Abdullah, 48% of Sunnis believe that the policies of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are "extensions" of a US policy, whereas only 11% of Sunnis believed that Iran policies did support the US's role in the region. And 75% of Shia'as and 88% of Sunnis believed that the Gov't of Nuri Al Maliki was "illegitimate". Read the full copy of the poll (in Arabic) here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

CNN International: "Bush Resigns"

From mediabistro via the Huffington post "This appeared on screen for 12 seconds. (Two seconds before, President Bush had appeared on screen, but the chyron accurately said "Pressure over Iraq.")

Lebanon: Urgent calls for the formation of a National Unity Government comes from the "oddest" of places

US supported March-14 movement (and consequently, the Siniora government) are sending conciliatory emissaries in an effort to prod the "opposition's willingness" and set the terms for the formation of a National Unity Government. Under 2 weeks ago, (prior to Sharm el Sheikh) such a prospect was deemed to be "blasphemous" by March-14.

CSM: A rare trip through Hizbullah's secret tunnel network

"We were perhaps 100 to 150 feet underground at this point, deep enough to withstand almost anything in Israel's arsenal." Read full CSM article here.

Syrian border guards slay four members of "Fath el Islam" as they attempted crossing into Iraq

Lebanese daily An Nahar reported that Al Qaeda websites worldwide (and in Iraq) identified four slain "Fath el Islam" operatives as they attempted crossing into Iraq. Two of the slain operatives were from the "leadership cadres" of FEI in North Lebanon. A FEI spokesman also said that 5 Syrian soldiers died in the clash. (For more information of Fath el Islam and its sponsorship by "elements" close to the Siniora government, see Seymour Hersh "redirection" and Friday-lunch-Club of April 11, 2007)

Arab League sends a delegation to Israel to restart peace talks

From McClatchy Newspapers, read it here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Olmert blames War mistakes on Halutz and Sharon's "stroke"

From Bloomberg, we get : In testimony released today by the government commission studying the five-week conflict, Olmert also described the political confusion during the six months after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had a crippling stroke and he took over. ``You have a quality army that is strong and prepared. We can fulfill any mission,'' Olmert quoted Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz as telling him, according to a transcript e-mailed by the Winograd Commission. ``I could not have known that things were otherwise.'' Read it fully here.

Elliott Abrams: Rice’s Push For Mideast Peace Is "Just Process"

"Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams told a group of Jewish communal leaders last week that the president would ensure that the process does not lead to Israel being pushed into an agreement with which it is uncomfortable." Read full Forward article here.

IRAQ: Zoellick on the short list of Wolfowitz successors

IRAQ: Blair out by June

IRAQ: 11 Republicans Berate Bush Over Iraq In Private White House Meeting

Via Kevin Drum and the Washington Monthly we get this think progress story. It goes along what we "discussed" on the 26th of April. (The imminent "political bloodbath")

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Drug Smuggling Saudi Prince Gets 10 Years

In an effort to show "toughness", Bush renews sanctions against Syria

In an effort to "show" that the US is still not overly excited with the Syrians, while his administration finds moderation under the duress of Iraq, President Bush informs Congress that he intends to renew Sanctions against Syria (enacted in May 2004 and widened in scope in April 2006').

"Cheney and the Saudis"

"The heart of the U.S.-Saudi alliance is a new effort to combat Iran and its proxies in the Arab world. This began after last summer's war in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed Shiite militia, Hezbollah. Working closely with the United States, the Saudis began pumping money to Lebanese Sunni, Christian and Druze political groups that could counter Hezbollah's influence... The Saudis support the (US's) new effort, ... by Rice, to seek Syrian help in stabilizing Iraq... began moving to ease tensions with Syria at the March Arab League summit..."

Read the Full WaPo opinion here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

bush wink
"is that hat from the Belfry Lizzy?"

Rice Floating Idea for Policy Change on Syria

"The Bush Administration may continue to maintain the official line that it expects action out of Syria, but the extension of an offer of bilateral cooperation on border security issues--considering the level of normalization in relations that would entail--indicates that there may be more of a tit-for-tat in the works than US officials have yet specifically acknowledged.The US may "take this one step at a time," but Syria watchers can expect the next step to be a pretty big one."
Read the full article from IraqSlogger here.

Battling the Lion Of Damascus: Syria's Domestic Opposition and the Asad Regime

By Seth Wikas (Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy)

Policy Focus no. 69
May 2007
Download a free PDF of this new paper

"A Disaster Waiting..."


Col. W Pat Lang "SicSemperTyrannis" has these comments to a story in the WaPo:" ...Odierno has missed the possibility of the greatest threat of all to his outposts and to the continuation of the American presence in Iraq. Yes, the insurgents will continue to pound these posts ... Yes. The threat of a massive truck bombing is always present.Nevertheless, the biggest threat is that of a complex attack involving the use of one or more vehicle bombs employed as a substitute for artillery in a "breaching" role against the walls or a gate, followed by a ground assault taking advantage of confusion and under conditions of limited visibility (night, smoke, sand, etc.). An attack such as that would likely be supplemented with ambushes of the routes that reinforcements (QRF) would take on the ground or in the air.All of the elements of such an attack have been "tried out" by the insurgents thus far. Somewhere out there in "Insurgestan" a clever man is working out the details on how to "put it together... The wall of the compound has been reinforced with an outer wall and filler between the two barriers, .. but what lies just outside the outer wall is a mosque almost at the same level of height as the highest level of the post. Not good, folks, not good. If you are going to defend a place like this you have to have clear "fields of fire" around it. Bad choice of ground.A successful attack on a position like this will have a devastating effect on the political situation in the United States. The command in Baghdad should give the security of these posts even more attention. pl"

Mideast leaders worry whether Rice speaks for Bush and wonder if he is going to "pull out the rug from under her"

From Warandpiece and the Washington Post, "... Cheney's visit also might be an attempt to try to clear up what might be viewed as mixed messages from Rice by some leaders in the region...(who) wonder if Condi Rice really speaks for the president when she decides she's going to talk to the Syrians, or agrees to a conference that includes the Iranians," said David Mack, a retired diplomat, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs and a consultant to the bipartisan Iraq Study group...They wonder if the president is going to pull out the rug from under her. The vice president, who is generally identified as having opposed (to engagment) can assure them that she speaks for the president as well, ..."

Monday, May 7, 2007

"Mass Exodus": 20 Security aides have left Bush Admin in last six months

Via the Huffington Post, this AP story "Top members of President Bush's national security team are leaving in one of the earliest waves of departures from a second-term administration -- nearly two years before Bush's time ends. As rancor in the nation rises over handling of the war in Iraq, at least 20 senior aides have either retired or resigned from important posts at the White House, Pentagon and State Department in the past six months."

2nd Key aide to Wolfowitz, Robin Clevland in "fresh controversy"

From WarandPiece, we get learn that as the World Bank finds Paul Wolfowitz "at fault" and guilty of nepotism in fixing his "companian" shaha Riza, the FT comes out with a piece on his 2nd aide, Robin Clevland, who is himself in the whirlwind... See the Financial Times piece here. Oh, and Marwan Muasher is there, somewhere!

20,000 Turkish soldiers in operation against the PKK, (Kurdistan Workers' Party)

From "Warandpiece", Bloomberg and Reuters comes this:
"Turkey's military sent 20,000 soldiers to the country's southeastern province of Sirnak in an operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, CNN-Turk said.Turkish Army units, supported by local paramilitaries and 20 attack helicopters, were searching mountains in the area for members of the armed group, the Istanbul-based television channel said, citing unidentified security officials.Turkey has fought a two-decade war against the PKK at the cost of almost 40,000 lives, most of them Kurdish. The Turkish government says the U.S. and Iraq aren't doing enough to stop PKK fighters based in neighboring northern Iraq from crossing the border to mount attacks in Turkey.The PKK seeks autonomy for Kurds in Turkey's southeast from the central government in Ankara. The group is described as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union."

Key aide to Wolfowitz, Kevin Kellems resigns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "One of two key aides to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz resigned Monday, saying he could no longer effectively help advancethe mission of the institution under the current leadership crisis.Kevin Kellems, who was an advisor to Wolfowitz since 2002 at the Pentagon andthroughout the planning of the Iraq war, told Reuters he was leaving "for otheropportunities"."Given the current environment surrounding the leadership of the World BankGroup, it is very difficult to be effective in helping to advance the missionof the institution," Kellems said."

Dennis Ross: "hold Siniora's hand while talking to Syria"

The United States, says Dennis Ross in The New Republic "should work out a coordinated game plan with the Israelis, including common red lines for the talks. It should coordinate with the Lebanese to reassure Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government about the purpose of the talks--and then give them regular briefings on what takes place in them. Ultimately, the Bush administration has very little interest in an Israeli-Syrian war ..."

USNews: "Bush "Resolute or Delusional?"

Read the full (strongly worded) article here.

Iraq's Christian minority flees to Syria

From Pat Lang at "SiCSemperTyrannis" comes this:
"... They fled to Syria? Need I say more? Perhaps I should. Syria has accepted a huge number of refugees as a result of the current war in Iraq, but Syria has also received for resettlement a great many Turkish Christians over the last fifteen years. These people were displaced in the course of Turkish operations against Kurdish guerrillas and tens of thousands fled into northern Syria..."
Read Full AP article here.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Idan Ben-Barak :"Fellow Israelis, it's time to leave Jewish State"

" ... Does anyone still believe in the IDF ?For a decade or two it seemed like it could work, but then we were proven wrong. Somewhere between the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, Bnei Braq, the security zone in Southern Lebanon, Shenkin St. in Tel Aviv, and upscale Caesarea, we lost our direction and the bastards took over. Now we no longer have the energy to change anything, we don't believe anyone; we're already tired. Apparently, at the end they won't be taking over us with tanks. In two or three decades there will be no need for that apparently. And if they do attack, with ballistic missiles from Iran and Syrian Scud missiles, does anyone still believe that the IDF can handle it? After all, this is the same IDF that was unable to organize decent backpacks for every reservist in a war that we initiated on our own. The exact same IDF that has been pulverizing Hamas and Hizbullah for 20 years now – and look how nicely pulverized they are..." Read the full Ynet.Opinion here.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Dpty. Ntl' Security Adviser, man who devised and implemented strategy to build a "peaceful, stable and secure Iraq," resigns!

news photo
From the Huffington Post, J.D. Crouch, who is stepping down from his national security post as Steven Hadley's deputy at the White House, is confident "history will prove that invading Iraq was the right thing to do..." Read Full article here.

"John Bolton's Departure Directly Correlates with US Foreign Policy Clicking in Good Direction"

Steve Clemons on the good-riddance departure of John Bolton.
"I still remember John Bolton's views on the moral inferiority of killed Lebanese innocents when compared to lost Israeli lives -- a passage in Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony that apparently got struck by some sensible, alert pragmatists in the State Department just before Bolton began reading his speech. Then there are those citizens in Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran..."

"Condi cosies up to her Syrian counterpart"

Read the full ECONOMIST article here.

"Siniora is one Bush-supported pol desperately trying to hang on in the face of rising protests centered on the role he played in a Cheney-led war"

Read Helena Cobban here.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Siniora's "Special Envoy" Shattah: "Lebanon's case is similar to Rwanda's"

Mohamad Shattah, Siniora's "Special Envoy" to the UN and Washington, came to the cities on the Hudson & the Potomac to expedite the Hariri Tribunal, (aka. Chirac's last salvo of indebtedness to the Hariri conglomerate) ... Shattah tried hard to convince members of the UN security Council that the safeguard of Lebanon's ruling Junta was of "existential importance" to the world's democrats, and drew a slew of comparisons between Lebanon and Rwanda. Shattah, a former "second tier" sorry excuse of an ambassador of Lebanon in Washington, relied on the frantic efforts of one "heavy hitter" in the Security Council: French UN representative Jean Marc De La Sabliere, who could not wither a barrage of trepidations in the UN's corridors where he was accused of "poor statesmanship" and lack of understanding of the UN's "abc's", as he tried to literally "shove Shattah down the other members' throats" ... The sherry on the icing came when Shatah heard (from his American interlocutors) a stern reprimand of his boss's (Siniora) "wishy-washiness" and his ineffectual handling of the whole basket of "requirements" as to UNSC resolution 1701 ... and so forth.

NOT GOOD: Rocket Attacks Taking Toll on Sitting Duck Contractors

The remains of a rocket in the Karada  District
The remains of a rocket in the Karada District

Yossi Melman:"remain in Iraq is the worst decision, but improvement achieved only by dialogue-engagement with major players,including IRAN"

From Laura Rosen in "Warand Piece" comes this good piece by Haaretz's Yossi Melman. read it here.

Rice meets Al Muallem and US Military says Syria had moved to reduce "the flow of foreign fighters"

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Fmr. Senior Army Intell. Officer: CPA and Joint Task Force-7 refused tribes' assistance back in 2003'

From a letter that retired senior DIA Officer Pat Lang got from a former senior Army Intelligence officer who served in Iraq between 2003 and 2004:
"We don't want to recognize tribes in the new Iraq. The city folk want modern life - not tribes" is pretty much what Col. Lang calls the "Utopian nonsense" that permeated (and still does) the corridors of US policy makers in Iraq during this Administration.

Bank Ki Moon and the "fate" of the Hariri Tribunal

From someone in the know:
"Ban Ki Moon will try to drag this debate as much as possible until the guy at the Elysee leaves to his very comfortable new dwellings, ... UN Commissioner Serge Braemertz has "talked" to King Abdallah and told him that there are NO real intentions to get to President Bashar of Syria ... which leads us to conclude that, comes May 16, we will start seeing the slow dying down of the Hariri tribunal... into oblivion. One note of great worth is the fact that Riyadh and Tehran have nodded positively to each other, and to all those "concerned""
I think, we can take that to the bank!

Olmert contemplating giving Livni the boot

Rice will not meet Mottaki, but will meet Al Moallem in Sharm el Sheikh

A US official, who preferred to stay anonymous, said that the Secretary of State was not anxious to meet Muttaki because "it is neither the right time nor the right place, ... nor for that matter the right man" to discuss Iraq AND Iran with."Other" well placed Washington diplomatic sources have confirmed that Secretary Rice will in fact meet Syrian Foreign Minister Al Moallem.

Chairman of the Hague Tribunal: "An international Hariri tribunal, and hence under Chapter VII, cannot be in cards"

"C’est en tout cas ce qui ressort de la position exprimée récemment par le président du Tribunal pénal international spécial pour la Yougoslavie,Fausto Pokar, qui estime que « le Conseil de sécurité ne peut adopter le statut d’un tribunal dit mixte sous le chapitre VII de la Charte des Nations unies car le tribunal spécial pour le Liban (...) devra fonctionner selon les lois libanaises pour juger les auteurs des crimes commis localement et qui sont à caractère non international ... Par conséquent, soutient l’expert, on ne saurait créer un tribunal mixte sans l’approbation de l’État concerné. Et quand bien même le Conseil de sécurité opterait pour le chapitre VII, l’État libanais devrait en ratifier le statut et la convention bilatérale, selon les procédures constitutionnelles en vigueur. Ce qui, si l’on en croit cette analyse, nous ramènerait, à la case départ, les institutions étant, à ce jour, paralysées."
Read the full article in L'Orient Le Jour

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sen. John Warner: "water that bill down" and you'll draw some 30 GOP votes to make veto-proof bill

From David Corn comes this, reminds me of the "discussion" Sen. Warner had with with "Zinderneuf":
"I've been reading George Tenet's book today. So not much to post about. But here's an interesting tidbit: As George W. Bush this afternoon readied to veto the legislation passed by Congress that attaches timelines and benchmarks to the Iraq war funding, a journalist I know interviewed Senator John Warner, the Republican who used to chair the armed services committee. Warner claimed that if the Democrats eased up on some of the conditions included in the Iraq war spending measure they could craft a compromise that might draw 25 to 30 GOP votes in the Senate, thus producing a veto-proof majority in the Senate. Is Warner being overly optimistic? Or are there two dozen (or more) Republicans in the Senate almost ready to jump ship and come out for a watered-down restraining order on the president regarding the war? As soon as that veto lands, the next round will begin, and Bush's stubbornness might not serve him so well."

Israel Channel 10 TV : Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni telling aides that "Olmert must go"

Majority of the Kadima faction intends to back the call for Olmert to step down.