Sunday, September 30, 2012

'Aggressors & Jokers of the world, unite!'

"...That is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan - notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews - such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help.It could also have violent side-effects more widely and many doubt Azeri President Ilham Aliyev would risk harming the energy industry on which his wealth depends, or provoking Islamists who dream of toppling his dynasty, in pursuit of favor from Israel.
Yet despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran..."

“They are not the army of freedom. They are the army of spite.”

"...She said she supported peaceful resistance against Mr. Assad, and pronounced herself “annoyed, annoyed, annoyed” with fighters from the rebel Tawhid Brigade, which announced the offensive on Thursday. The fighters said they were seeking to “liberate” neighborhoods that had remained largely pro-government and were being used as posts from which to attack the opposition.But in a Skype interview, Dima said the recent fighting cast doubt on both the rebel leaders’ tactical wisdom and their intentions. She called them “performers” who had needlessly provoked the government by posing for pictures outside the souk and the nearby 12th-century mosque — which she worried would now be shelled — and who “talked nonsense.”
“There is no decisive battle,” she said. “There are no liberated areas.”......
Dima, the doctor, who lives on the western side of Aleppo, said she believed that the fire had been started by incendiary bullets from government snipers. But she blamed the rebels for approaching the old city, which she said had no government target, and said they seemed more concerned with the number of areas they could seize than with their tactical importance.
“They are not the army of freedom,” she said. “They are the army of spite.”..."

"Random inspections"

(Reuters) - "... U.S. officials had raised their concerns over the past few days on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York, Hoshiyar Zebari told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper."We have informed Mrs Clinton (U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and U.S. officials that the government plans to bring planes down and conduct random inspections," Zebari said in the interview published on Sunday. He confirmed he was referring to Iranian planes..."

Palestinians ditched; Egypt next?

"...International donors are weary of Mahmoud Abbas' sorry little West Bank kleptocracy, while the squeeze on the state budgets of all the industrial nations makes it harder to shake loose money for an unpopular destination. The World Bank warned on September 19 of a "deepening Palestinian fiscal crisis" and issued an "urgent appeal" to donors. [3] 
Diplomats and bureaucrats at international organizations will issue press releases, wring their hands, make promises and then break them. No-one is going to write a check to the Palestine Authority. 
The question is: when will the world also grow weary of Egypt?  ..."

Bomb Attacks Kill 32 Across Iraq

[VOA] "... There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's deadly explosions, but car bombs have been routinely used by al-Qaida's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.  The group says it has begun a new offensive against mainly Shi'ite targets in Iraq.
Three weeks ago, a similar wave of bombings killed more than 90 people during a 24-hour period that coincided with an Iraqi court sentencing the country's fugitive Sunni vice president to death for murder ..."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

'We are all for "Deepening of dialogue & Spreading Tolerance & Understanding!"

At UN, , but more examples of Dialogue, Tolerance & Understanding, HERE,  here, here, here & ....... !

Lavrov: "We helped establish contacts between the Americans & Syrians at the UN"

"... "I hope I won't disclose any big secret, but we have helped American experts establish contact with the Syrians on this issue, and we have received explanations and assurances that the Syrian government is guarding these facilities in the best possible way," Lavrov said...."

' Behind the scenes, however, analytic pessimism is the predominant ethos'

'After a telephone call and a meeting between respectively President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton with Netanyahu during the latter’s visit to New York, the confidence of Administration officials that they have deflected the immediate risk of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites has consolidated. While substantial differences remain between Washington and Tel Aviv about timelines, these now appear to be subject to longer-term discussion, not short-term Israeli unilateralism. As an NSC official commented to us: “The issue remains on the agenda for 2013, but we have won time. Netanyahu will now likely concentrate on a new election in Israel.” The Administration does not appear to have paid a political price for this approach. Despite some conservative support for an Israeli military strike, Governor Romney is now himself talking publicly about a strategy that can avoid military action. Away from Iran, both Clinton and Secretary of Defense Panetta are trying to put the best gloss on developments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Behind the scenes, however, analytic pessimism is the predominant ethos. Obama is coming under increasing political pressure to refute Republican charges of weakness in Egypt, hesitation in Syria and a changing storyline over the events in Benghazi. Obama’s previous advantage on foreign policy is coming under sustained Republican attack. Beyond the Middle East, there is rising concern among strategic analysts inside the Intelligence Community about the ominous trend in events in East Asia...'

'New & Improved' Muslim Brotherhood on Dubai-TV: "I hope your questions are as hot as you are, hahaha!"

'Egyptian Minister of Information with Dubai-TV anchor woman Zeina al Yazigi: ""I hope your questions are as hot as you are, hahaha!"
Al Yazigi: "Only my questions are 'hot' sir!"

Obama Administration Finally Acknowledges Benghazi Attack

'Hoisting of Al Qaeda flag at the US Embassy/ Cairo'
 'b's' Analysis right on the money"...Still missing is the recognition that the rising of the Al Qaeda flag at the U.S. embassy in Cairo by some Salafists was part of the plot.  The false pretension about the attack brings the Obama administration into well deserved political trouble:
".... The Obama administration’s shifting accounts of the fatal attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, have left President Obama suddenly exposed on national security and foreign policy, a field where he had enjoyed a seemingly unassailable advantage over Mitt Romney in the presidential race...."

Here's another guy 'we can do business with'

"... Hadi praised the "high precision that's been provided by the drones," adding that they leave "zero margin of error if you know exactly what target you're aiming at." He further acknowledged that drone strikes form an essential component of the campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) because of the Yemeni Air Force's inability to carry out night operations with its aging fleet of Soviet-made MiG-21s. "It's highly unlikely," he said, that these aircraft "would be successful."Hadi's public endorsement of the U.S. drone program, which has expanded exponentially under President Obama, represents a shift from his predecessor's policy of denying U.S. involvement. According to a (Wikileaks) 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable, for instance, President Ali Abdullah Saleh told Gen. David Petraeus, "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours."
Hadi also accused Iran of seeking a foothold in his country by creating a "climate of chaos and violence."
Yemen, which is in the midst of a delicate GCC-led transition following the ouster of longtime dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, faces a conflict with Houthi militants in the north, a stubborn separatist movement in the south, and a growing Al Qaeda presence in the country's tribal hinterlands. Much of the country's infrastructure -- including schools, roads, and hospitals -- has been destroyed in the fighting and thousands of citizens have been displaced.
At the same time, Yemen is grappling with critical water and energy shortages, a burgeoning youth population, and the second highest unemployment rate in the Arab world.
In the mist of this crisis, Hadi charged, Iran is trying to "thwart the political solution in Yemen" as a hedge against its waning influence in Syria. Iranian spy networks, he said, are "backing military action" in the south and "buying political opposition figures and media figures."..."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Israeli Official: "“We will not tolerate becoming a client state of the US!" (Can't stop laughing!)

MEPGS; Excerpts; 
"... Despite Netanyahu’s theatricality at the United Nations yesterday when he displayed a cartoon like poster of Iran’s nuclear capability, US officials were relieved by the substance of his speech.  “He made it clear that Israel is not prepared to use military force anytime soon,” said one State Department official.  “It is clear that he realized that he had overplayed his hand with recent and repeated threatening rhetoric.”  Another well-placed official agreed, saying, “I think Bibi’s threats were counterproductive.”  President Obama doesn’t like to be pushed.”
There are other more substantive reasons why the Administration is pleased that the Israelis have given them more time to work out a non-military solution to moving Iran off its present course towards nuclear capability.  To begin with, they see Iran, along with its surrogate in Lebanon, Hezbollah, becoming less and less popular with many throughout the Arab world.  “Iran is clearly seen as being on the wrong side of the Arab Spring,” said one US analyst.  Backing the Assad regime has further tarnished Teheran’s image `on the street’ and has greatly undermined Hezbollah’s appeal across the region.”  At home, say US analysts, this is not the Iranian regime of the 1980’s, fresh from the revolution which overthrew the Shah and was capable of mobilizing the population in its war against Iraq.  “The last thing we need is military action by Israel that causes the Iranian public to rally around its leadership,” says one a US analyst.  Another telling point for those in the Administration most committed to stopping Iran’s nuclear development is that an Israeli military strike would undermine the international sanctions regime laboriously constructed by the US.  “If Israel acts, it would allow many countries to get `off the hook’” argues one Administration planner.
 Israeli officials acknowledge that their Prime Minister has been playing a game of brinksmanship.  But they argue that this approach has worked, so far.  “It has gotten the major powers to impose serious sanctions on Iran,” notes one well-placed Israeli.  Others point out Iran’s oil exports are down by nearly half, while suffering an even greater loss of revenue [due, in part to heavy discounting and other costly maneuvers to allow the continued export of oil].  The value of Iran’s currency has dropped even more dramatically over the past two months as the Rial has lost more than three quarters of its value when weighed against the dollar, according to some sources.  Israeli sources also insist, despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s literal use of a red marker to denote the line beyond which Iran must not be allowed to go, that he doesn’t mean to be taken literally.  Noting that Iran has already crossed other supposed Israeli “red lines” such as being allowed to enrich its uranium stockpile to 20%, these officials say that what the Israeli leadership seeks is reassurance that the US will not leave them uncertain about its commitment to do what is necessary to prevent Iran from going nuclear.  For example, it was noted that the other key Israeli player, Defense Minister Barak, publicly complimented the Administration for its continued military build-up in the Persian Gulf.  As one analyst put it, “The Iranians probably believe they can withstand an Israeli attack, but taking on the US is an entirely different matter.  Finally, Israeli leaders are fearful that their independent deterrent could be compromised if the US is not seen to be steadfast.  As one Israeli official put it last week, “We will not tolerate becoming a client state of the US.  Ask other one time American allies how that can sometimes works out.”
Among those one time allies the Israelis refer to must certainly include former Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak.  And these days, the praise now being heaped on his successor, Mohamed Morsi, gives some credence to Israeli concerns.  Despite the belated response to mob violence directed against the US Embassy [sparked by the amateur anti-Islam video produced in the US], US officials have become fulsome in their praise of the new Egyptian leadership.  While admitting they are still “feeling their way” in the new relationship, already they praise Morsi for saying all the right things about necessary economic reforms [something conspicuously absent when the “SCAF” or military command ran the country after Mubarak’s ouster and before Morsi’s election].  They are also commend him for his commitment to the Israel/Egyptian peace treaty [despite some important caveats] and finally his call for equal treatment of minorities at home [ie the Coptic Christian population].  As one official put it this week after meetings with Morsi at the UN, “He is a man we can do business with.”....... with his obvious political acumen, Moslem Brotherhood organization backing and widespread popular support has the potential to become, in his words, “The most powerful Egyptian in 6,000 years.”
As leader of the most populous Arab Sunni nation, Morsi has also been outspoken in his criticism of the Alawite-led dictatorship in Syria.  But like nearly all other outsiders, the Egyptian President has not gone much further than rhetorical pronouncements that the Assad regime must depart.  Although there are conflicting reports on the level of lethal assistance being given to rebels by Saudi Arabia and Qataar, it is clear that heavy weaponry, not to mention active engagement by neighbors, the EU and the US is not yet being provided.  In fact, despite apparent agreement publicly, there is some bickering about the respective roles that should be played by those countries committed to the regime’s ouster.  Privately, US officials are critical of Turkey’s inconsistent policies, while the Turks complain that they cannot act without US leadership.  Meanwhile, the French have become more active on the ground as they seem to be moving towards providing the West’s first arms supply.  But many junior officials in Washington as well as European capitals say the Syrian bloodbath will go on for many more months unless the US takes a more active leadership role.
Again, officials not at a policy making level, tend to be more candid about the situation in Libya.  Immediately after the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, they admitted privately that they were caught completely off-guard having, in the words of one State Department insider, “No real protection at the US consulate in Benghazi.”  They also say that Stevens himself, although an optimist by nature, believed that Libya’s future was anything but rosy.  One long time Steven’s colleague said that the slain Ambassador never thought the Libyans had better than a one in three chance of establishing a stable, democratic nation in the near or medium term."

Panetta: "Syria's chemical weapons sites remain intact and secure under government control"

'WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Syrians have moved some of their chemical weapons capability to better secure it, but the country's main chemical weapons sites remain intact and secure under government control, U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Friday, citing U.S. intelligence.
"There has been some intelligence that with regards to some of these sites that there has been some movement in order for the Syrians to better secure ... the chemicals," Panetta told a Pentagon news conference. "So while there's been some limited movement, again the major sites still remain in place, still remain secure."

'Please ... I will take less'

 'The Viper of Ramallah & the Vicar of Rome '
"... UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he would seek to have the Palestinians' U.N. status upgraded to a sovereign country and cautioned that Israeli settlement expansion meant time was running out for a two-state solution....
But he warned the 193-nation assembly that Israel was "promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe" if it continued with its current Jewish settlement policies in the occupied West Bank....
After failing last year to win recognition of full statehood for the Palestinians at the United Nations, Abbas is looking for a less-ambitious status upgrade at the world body that would make it a "non-member state" like the Vatican...."

Die Welt: "The last throes of the Syrian opposition"

(Die Welt) "... "There can be no solution with weapons and the death of innocents."Certainly a propaganda show of the regime, but the "returnees" are a product of the National Coordination Office for Reconciliation, which has been working since early this year. An initiative of over 2000 representatives of the Syrian civil society."We offer a way back into society," says Sheikh al-Habib Fendi, the spokesman of the Coordination Office. "So far we have more than 100 rebels returned," says the sheikh. A success that may have to do with the military situation.The rebels were defeated in their stronghold in Damascus and Homs,  (in) Aleppo, they are more and more on the retreat. The brilliant victory of the revolution has moved a long way off at the moment."

The New Yorker: "The ridiculous deserves ridicule"

"... I know that the subject is serious; that is just one reason why the graphic, which he apparently made at Kinkos, is so ridiculous. And if Israeli intelligence thinks that’s what a real bomb looks like, maybe their other projections are off as well. I’m surprised he could get that thing past U.N. security.
Anyway, with the justification that the ridiculous deserves ridicule, I invite you to pile it on, using this photo as the basis for a caption contest.
I’ll start the ball rolling with one of mine own:
”And, what’s worse, if Wile E. Coyote ever gets hold of this, the Roadrunner is toast.”..."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Slow, almost daily, mostly unnoticed deaths in Saudi Arabia

"Two people have been killed and two others were injured after Saudi security forces opened fire on a group of Shi'ites in the restive eastern town of Awamiya, Saudi Arabia..."

The Gulf Boycotts Lebanon

"Rumors of an unofficial boycott of Lebanon by oil-rich Gulf states have the Lebanese business community on edge, with trade, tourism, and billions of dollars in remittances on the line.
While the deportation of Lebanese citizens, particularly Shia, from some Gulf countries has been going on for several years, anecdotal evidence is mounting to indicate that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are ratcheting up efforts to restrict Lebanese travel to the Gulf.
One Lebanese banker from Beirut tells the story of one of his relatives who was applying for a visa at the Qatari embassy in Lebanon. He checked the embassy’s website for visa requirements and began preparing his documents, including a hotel reservation in one of the hotels in Doha.
The reservation clerk at the hotel then informed him that the Qatari authorities are no longer allowing hotels to provide reservations to Lebanese citizens.
Another account by a local bank manager tells of a Lebanese friend of his living in Abu Dhabi who tried to make a brief business trip to Lebanon and was never able to make it back as the Emirati embassy refused to give him a visa.Many point to the recent travel warnings against Lebanon issued by Arab Gulf governments, high levels of rejection for Lebanese applying to visit the Gulf, and the refusal to renew residency permits or even deportation of Lebanese already living in the Gulf as further evidence of this boycott...
A government minister following-up the case who preferred not to be named says he is not surprised, and believes the restrictions are due to the crisis in Syria.“[Visa restrictions] became clear at the beginning of the summer with the events unfolding in Syria and Lebanon,” he said.....In addition to the damage sustained by the tourism sector, Lebanon is now poised to lose a large portion of the remittances that keep the country afloat.Remittances from Lebanese citizens in the Gulf comprise a significant chunk of the Lebanese economy. According to the World Bank, of $6.7 billion in remittances annually, 70 percent come from expatriates living the Gulf states."

'Be vigilant ...Do not go!'

French Government's Beware 'map of Lebanon'
- La visite de la plaine de la Bekaa reste formellement déconseillée ; - Dans la zone sud du Liban où l’accès est réglementé par l’armée, ainsi que dans les zones frontalières avec Israël et la région au sud d’une ligne Jezzine-Lac de Qaraaoun-Rachaya ; - Dans la banlieue Sud de Beyrouth, où, à plusieurs reprises, des ressortissants français ont été illégalement arrêtés, questionnés et détenus plusieurs heures par des personnes n’ayant pas autorité ; - Dans la région de Tripoli à proximité des camps palestiniens et dans les quartiers situés au nord de la citadelle. - Il est également formellement déconseillé de se rendre dans les zones frontalières avec la Syrie sur l’ensemble du territoire libanais- Les déplacements sont déconseillés dans les zones limitrophes des camps palestiniens proches de Saïda- Il convient en outre de ne pas circuler à l’abord des camps palestiniens sur l’ensemble du territoire. Il est rappelé que l’accès à ces camps est interdit par les autorités libanaises.....

'Look at my sophisticated chart ...We should go on killing spree!'

'La Bomba'

US Official: "FSA will finish Assad off in November!"

So this comes with a date-fixe! As per LBCI who said it accordingly.

'Let Freedom Ring' lies: US delegation DID walk out Ahmadinejad's General Assembly speech on Wednesday

2 Turkish soldiers killed in Southeastern Hakkari

"... Turkish troops killed 13 Kurdish militants in a clash near the Iraqi border, the Anatolia news agency said.The fighting occurred near the border town of Cukurca in Hakkari province, bordering Iraq and Iran, the state-run Anatolia said today. Two soldiers were killed and four others were wounded in the clashes, it said...."

Iran is now “20 yards” from “touchdown.”

"... Netanyahu has talked himself into a corner on Iran. He has set so many “red lines” on the Iranian nuclear program nobody can remember them. He has taken to fuming publicly over President Obama’s refusal to do the same. Of late he has juggled metaphors: Iran is now “20 yards” from “touchdown.” His cry-wolf dilemma comes right out of a children’s book. It was in 1992 that he said Iran was three to five years from nuclear capacity.(One achievement of Netanyahu’s Iran obsession has been to relegate the critical question before Israel — the millions of Palestinian people on its doorstep — to somewhere between the back burner and oblivion. The best primer for Netanyahu’s thinking is these words from his coached buddy Mitt Romney: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, ‘There’s just no way.”’)
The mistake Netanyahu has made is to believe he can go over the head of President Obama. He has tried through Congress, where his speech last year earned 29 standing ovations. He has greeted Romney in Israel as if he were on a state visit. He has said those “who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” He has given critical interviews on U.S. TV networks in the midst of a presidential campaign. And he hath protested far too much that he has no intention — none — of swaying the outcome..."

Bacevich: 'Is America at War with Islam?'

Is America at War with Islam?

Putin: "Our partners in the West cannot stop their policy of chaos in Syria"

"... "The main thing is that our partners cannot stop. Having already created an atmosphere of chaos in many countries, they are now continuing that policy in others, in particular Syria," he said..... 
"We have warned of the need to tread carefully, not impose any force, which leads to chaos. And what do we see now? A situation much like chaos," he said, adding that Russia has never forced its own will on any other country.
Citing the historical example of the Roman Empire's invasion of Carthage, he said it would be "very unfortunate" if a similar scenario were to be repeated today.
"In my view, something like this is already happening, when strong nations are trying to impose their own rules of conduct and moral codes on weaker states," without properly considering the historical and social contexts, Putin said...."

'Why Qatar wants to invade Syria'

'The Emir, in Club Med camouflage!' 
"...So is the Emir now preaching an Arab version of the R2P ("responsibility to protect") doctrine advanced by The Three Graces of Humanitarian Intervention (Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power)? 
This is certainly bound to go down well in Washington - not to mention Ankara and even Paris, considering French president Francois Hollande has just called for UN protection of "liberated zones" in Syria. 
As for the Emir's Lebanon precedent, that's not exactly uplifting, to say the least. The so-called Arab Deterrent Force of 20,000 soldiers that entered Lebanon to try to contain the civil war overstayed its welcome by no less than seven years, turned into a Syrian military occupation of northern Lebanon, left officially in 1982 and still the civil war kept raging. 
Imagine a similar scenario in Syria - on steroids
As for the Emir's humanitarian - not to mention democratic - ardor, it's enlightening to check out what US President Barack Obama thinks about it. Obama - who defines the Emir as a "pretty influential guy" - seems to imply that even though "he himself is not reforming significantly" and "there's no big move towards democracy in Qatar", just because the emirate's per capita income is humongous, a move towards democracy is not so pressing
So let's assume the Emir is not exactly interested in turning Syria into Scandinavia. That opens the way to an inevitable motive - connected to, what else, Pipelineistan. 
Vijay Prashad, author of the recent Arab Spring, Libya Winter, is currently writing a series on the Syria Contact Group for Asia Times Online. He got a phone call from an energy expert urging him to investigate "the Qatari ambition to run its pipelines into Europe." According to this source, "the proposed route would have run through Iraq and Turkey. The former transit country is posing to be a problem. So much easier to go north (Qatar has already promised Jordan free gas)." 
Even before Prashad concludes his investigation, it's clear what Qatar is aiming at; to kill the US$10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, a deal that was clinched even as the Syria uprising was already underway. [2] 
Here we see Qatar in direct competition with both Iran (as a producer) and Syria (as a destination), and to a lesser extent, Iraq (as a transit country). It's useful to remember that Tehran and Baghdad are adamantly against regime change in Damascus.......
All this points to Jordan as an essential pawn in Qatar's audacious geopolitical/energy power play. Jordan has been invited to be part of the GCC - even though it's not exactly in the Persian Gulf (who cares? It's a monarchy). 
One of the pillars of Qatar's foreign policy is unrestricted support for the MB - no matter the latitude. The MB has already conquered the presidency in Egypt. It is strong in Libya. It may become the dominant power if there's regime change in Syria. That brings us to Qatar's help to the MB in Jordan. 
At the moment, Jordan's Hashemite monarchy is wobbly - and that's a transcendental understatement. 
There's a steady influx of Syrian refugees. Compound it with the Palestinian refugees that came in waves during the crucial phases of the Arab-Israeli war, in 1948, 1967 and 1973. Then add a solid contingent of Salafi-jihadis fighting Damascus. Only a few days ago one Abu Usseid was arrested. His uncle was none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the infamous former head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, killed in 2006. Usseid was about to cross the desert from Jordan to Syria. 
Amman has been mired in protests since January 2011 - even before the spread of the Arab Spring. King Abdullah, also known as King Playstation, and photogenic Washington/Hollywood darling Queen Rania, have not been spared. 
The MB in Jordan is not the only player in the protest wave; unions and social movements are also active. Most protesters are Jordanians - who historically have been in control of all levels of state bureaucracy. But then neo-liberalism reduced them to road kill; Jordan went through a savage privatization drive during the 1990s. The impoverished kingdom now depends on the IMF and extra handouts from the US, the GCC and even the EU. 
Parliament is a joke - dominated by tribal affiliation and devotion to the monarchy. Reforms are not even cosmetic. A prime minister was changed in April and most people didn't even noticed it. In an Arab world classic, the regime fights demands for change by increasing repression. 
Into this quagmire steps Qatar. Doha wants King Playstation to embrace Hamas. It was Qatar that promoted the meeting in January between the King and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal - who had been expelled from Jordan in 1999. That left indigenous Jordanians wondering whether the kingdom would be swamped by yet another wave of Palestinian refugees. 
Arab media - most of it controlled by the House of Saud - has been drowning in stories and editorials predicting that after the MB ascends to power in Damascus, Amman will be next. Qatar, though, is binding its time. The MB wants Jordan to become a constitutional monarchy; then they will take over politically after an electoral reform that King Abdullah has been fighting against for years. 
Now the MB can even count on the support of Bedouin tribes, whose traditional allegiance to the Hashemite throne has never been wobblier. The regime has ignored protests at its own peril. The MB has called for a mass demonstration against the King on October 10. The Hashemite throne is going down, sooner rather than later. 
It's unclear how Obama would react - apart from praying that nothing substantial happens before November 6. As for the Emir of Qatar, he has all the time in the world. So many regimes to fall - and become Muslim Brothers; so many pipelines to build."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clinton: 'Al Qaeda is everywhere , everywhere ... except in Syria!'

"... Clinton said the protests exposed "deep rifts" within the Arab Spring's new democracies that extremists were able to exploit. She said the U.S. would work closely with the region's new democracies, specifically on helping them restore security. Threats she cited included extremists trying to "hijack" Tunisia's democratic progress and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's dangerous presence in Yemen.... 
On Syria, Clinton joined other ministers in complaining that the U.N. Security Council has been unable to unify behind a plan to end the violence in Syria and promote a political transition. Clinton said the council was "paralyzed." French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said it was "shocking" that the council had been unable to act ...  but China and Russia have blocked Security Council action on Syria.
Without mentioning any country by name, Lavrov blamed the U.S. and its European and Arab allies for the continued violence.
"A significant share of responsibility for the continuing bloodshed rests upon the states that instigate the opponents of Bashar Assad to reject the cease-fire and dialogue and at the same time to demand unconditional capitulation of the regime," he said. "Such an approach is unrealistic and in fact it encourages terrorist methods that the armed opposition is using more and more often."
Earlier Wednesday, Clinton said western and northern African nations need to tighten security on their borders to combat the increased movement of extremists, weapons and drugs. She called the Sahel region is a "powder keg" of hunger, displacement and insecurity, and said the world can't ignore the situation...."

WINEP/ AIPAC: Our 'False Flag & other Provocations to trigger a war between the US & Iran'

"...nonchalantly presenting a scenario which would use the unjust deaths of innocent people (likely Americans) in order to trick the masses into supporting yet another meaningless war which will undoubtedly cost hundreds of thousands if not millions more innocent lives. ..."

Remember when Saudia served 'Donkey Meat'? How about 'Pork'?

Morsi wants to cooperate with Israel on the 'War on Terror'!

"According to the account in As-Safir, Mursi in his meeting with Hillary expressed desire to cooperate with Israel in the war on "terrorism" in Sinai.  Those are the Muslim Brothers.  How right Nasser was about them. How right and how merciful he was with them."

What an Iran Attack Means for Af-Pak

Commentary: What an Iran Attack Means for AfPak | The National Interest

Qatar on Steroids: "We do not arm Syria's 'rebels'!"

"...  Hamad denied that Qatar had been arming the rebels, saying that his country provided logistic and humanitarian help, and said a Sunni-Shia confrontation would be catastrophic...."

IAEA documenting its reports on Iran with 'outside sources'

 'Lebanese 'rocks'..
"... Western intelligence sources told The Sunday Times the device exploded when it was 'disturbed' by Iranian troops.... 
Last week, the country's vice president Fereydoun Abbasi said power lines had been blown up near the facility on August 17 in an attempt to sabotage Iran's "peaceful" nuclear program.
But experts examined the rubble and found a device designed to intercept data from computers at the plant.
The accident signals the loss of an important source of intelligence for the West on Iran's progress towards making a nuclear bomb.
It is not the first time a fake rock has been used for espionage. In 2006 British officials admitted that a fake rock found in Moscow contained spying devices.
And last year a spying system camouflaged to look like a rock was discovered by the Lebanese army near the southern port city of Tyre, which they claimed was put there by Israel.
Meanwhile a prominent Iranian MP, Aladin Borujerdi, has accused German firm Siemens of having sold Iran equipment for its nuclear activities laced with mini-explosives, which were removed, Iranian media reported on Sunday.
Mr Borujerdi, who chairs the parliamentary national security and foreign policy commission, made the allegation in an interview with parliament's ICANA news website (Google translation here).
"Intelligence-security apparatus succeeded in discovering explosives in equipment which were provided to us for our nuclear activities. The explosives were to blow up when activated to disrupt the whole system. Domestic experts nullified the plot of the enemy, however," he was quoted as saying by ICANA.
"The company Siemens, which provided this equipment, must answer for its action," he said...."

Syrian Dialogue: Former defectors' unit put down their weapons!'

Al Mayadeen, and Xinhuanet;
"... DAMASCUS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- In an unprecedented event, five Syrian military defectors who had sided with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) dashed through a meeting of opposition parties in the capital Damascus on Wednesday, admitting that they were wrong and that holding weapons will not solve the Syrian crisis.Three officers, two warrant officers and six civilians, who had sided with the FSA, dashed through a conference of Syrian opposition at home on Wednesday. "After we had defected our military posts and worked with the armed groups, we figured that the solution to the Syrian crisis can't be achieved by holding weapons," they told the conference.
Lieutenant-Colonel Khaled Abdul-Rahman al-Zalem, a defected officer who served as the deputy chief of the rebels' military council, told the conference that "the solution can't be achieved through holding weapons, blasts, sabotage or killing the innocent, but repenting from the wrongdoing and through political means."
For his side, Yaser al-Abed, who ran an armed insurgent group in the northern Aleppo province, addressed the conference and called on those who have carried weapons to slow down. "Work your minds and know that holding weapons is nothing but a violation to the minds and freedom alike," he said.
"Syria is our home and honour, but they wanted to burn it...."

Erdogan: 'I will not rest until I stumble!'

"... The deterioration of Ankara-Baghdad relations is not a by-product of the so-called Arab Spring or the Syrian crisis, but a result of Erdogan’s personalized politics and miscalculation of Iraqi and Kurdish nationalism. Indeed, the Turkish premier has created useful partnerships to help secure Ankara’s stakes in Northern Iraq’s energy wealth. With Turkish backing, former rivals Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Mosul Province, which is the heart of Sunni Arab Iraqi nationalism, and Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are now discussing ways to cooperate on oil contracts, including the ExxonMobil deal. Erdogan’s Barzani alliance also has helped create a productive Iraqi Kurdish client state and a direct outlet for Turkish oil and gas imports.Still, Erdogan has overestimated the influence of Turkish soft power and Sunni Islamic identities in Iraq. Rather than form a cohesive Sunni Arab-Kurdish bloc that could advance Turkish interests beyond Erbil, anti-Maliki factions in the government have seen their influence decline. Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiyya collegues have become almost irrelevant to Iraqi politics, while Nujaifi has seen his support base weaken. Nor has the KRG gained greater leverage from fellow Sunni Muslims in Baghdad; after seven years, it still unable to pass a national hydrocarbons law and fully pay its oil companies.
Ankara may have no real interest in a fragmented Iraq, but its Iraqi Kurdish ally does. And as the KRG aggressively pursues its national interests in disputed lands, Turkey has become inadvertently implicated. Ankara has not helped the matter by playing off Baghdad and Erbil, feeding into Iraq’s internal power struggles and encouraging Kurdish maximalist behavior. While stating its interest in Iraqi oil imports through the official state pipeline, Turkey is also bartering Kurdish crude for its own refined products and egging on Kurdish discourse of an independent pipeline. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davatoglu’s recent unauthorized visit to Kirkuk has only reinforced suspicions by many Arab Iraqis that Ankara is working with the KRG to undermine Iraq’s territorial integrity.
The reaction on the Iraqi streets has hurt Turkey and its allies and helped Baghdad. Maliki is feeding off the brewing concern over Kurdish territorial ambitions by appealing to Iraqi Arab nationalism. He has already reversed some anti-Ba’athification laws in Mosul and other Sunni Arab strongholds, appeased key Sunni Arab tribal leaders and formed Sunni Arab military units to defend Iraqi territory. These reactions negatively impact Ankara’s interests because they further politicize the Iraqi energy sector and create additional bottlenecks to exporting Kurdish crude through Turkey — a project in which many Turkish companies are vested.
Ankara has miscalculated Iraq in another important way. It has overestimated Barzani’s influence and his ability to quell rising cross-border Kurdish nationalism. Despite five years of soft-power incentives, the KRG is still unable to control the PKK or its sister branches in Syria and Iran. In fact, Barzani may have no real interest in removing the PKK from his territory because he needs the group to leverage Turkey. Nor has Ankara won the hearts and minds of the vast majority of Iraqi Kurds, who look to Diyarbekir to reaffirm their Kurdish nationalism and tacit support for the PKK....."

KFC chicken to 'convert to Islam'?

"Muslim Brotherhood and Salafite leaders in the Arab world have called on KFC chicken to convert to Islam.  More on this developing story.  ..."

Battle For Syria: View from the Frontline! (English subtitles)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IN ONE DAY: Ban, al Ibrahimi, Hollande, Emir of 'Steroidia' (Qatar) & Abou Satoor ask America to aggress Syria ... further!

Concocter of 'Dead Man Walking' rhetoric on Syria ...resigns!

"... In testimony to Congress last December, Hof delivered some of the harshest rhetoric to date on the Assad regime."Our view is that this regime is the equivalent of dead man walking," he said,.....
For the first two years of the Obama administration, Hof worked the Syria and Lebanon portfolios for Special Envoy George Mitchell, preparing those tracks just in case Mitchell's efforts on the Israeli and Palestinian tracks ever progressed to the point where regional actors would be brought in. Mitchell's efforts never got that far.
With his departure, the Syria team at the State Department will now be led solely by Ambassador Robert Ford, administration sources said......"

at Georgetown University

'Mohamed Morsi and Hassan El-Banna: Two peas in a pod'

"... Morsi easily leads Egypt without strong opposition. He Islamises the country and has been successful in implementing an organised plan to change Egypt into the leading Islamic country in the region. Morsi might be successful in achieving his goal in the absence of a strong domestic opposition and real pressure from regional and international actors, especially the US.If the Islamic state according to the Brotherhood's vision is democratic, I will be the first one to support it as I have long backed the group's right to form a political party and play a role in Egyptian politics. However, Morsi and the Brotherhood remind me of the former regime.
The Brotherhood's Islamisation train should be stopped for the sake of Egypt and Egyptians. There is an imbalance of power between Morsi and the Brotherhood and other political forces. This should be corrected in order to avoid an Islamist state that might be harmful and undemocratic...."

MEK Still Isn't OK

"...Whether the MEK still belongs on the FTO list presents a legal question. If it has abandoned violence—including the capability and intent to commit terrorism—then perhaps it’s earned removal. The group’s many critics point to rumors that the MEK has been collaborating with the American and Israeli militaries and intelligence services (for example, here). But the FTO statute counts only terrorism or terrorist activity that “threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States”; even if unsubstantiated rumors about MEK’s collaboration with the U.S. military are true, they would not qualify the MEK for FTO status under the statute. This highlights the problem: The law as written gives a pass to groups whose activities are viewed as useful to the United States, just as it could fail to apply to unsavory groups that do not pose a danger to the country. ..."

Scandinavian Special Forces 'helping' FSA?

"... The men, who use the code names Radwan and Mohammed, come from Scandinavia, but have requested that the country not be disclosed.Though they refused to speak, saying only that they were “here to help”, recruits in the Free Syrian Army told this newspaper that the men were ex-special forces working as military advisers...."

Qatar's FM: 'I am invincible!'

"...BEIRUT, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Qatar has called on world powers to prepare a "Plan B" for Syria within weeks and set up a no-fly zone to provide a safe haven inside the country in case international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi fails to make progress in the crisis.Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said he believed that Arab and European countries would be ready to take part, despite their public reluctance ..."

Syrian 'rebel' commander: "it is clear that the Syrian army will win the battle, but we do not tell the rebels... we do not want to destroy morale"

AsSafir: "Chechen Abu Omar leads a group of foreign fighters in Aleppo, know as the "Migrant brethren"....
Abu Omar gives an order  in Arabic, immediately translated to a range of different languages, Chechen, Tajik, Turkish, French, Saudi dialect, and Urdu.
Fighters sitting outside the house under the shade of trees, brandishing their guns discuss matters of war, a Saudi wonders «What do you say in foreign media to the outside world about us? Do they know about the fighting in Aleppo? Do they know we're here? ».
Hundreds of foreign fighters converged to Syria in order to participate in the war against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, including those who sympathize  with the revolution or hate Assad, and the old jihadists from Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan......
On this night, the Abu Omar gave the leaders of the FSA an ultimatum; ' if you do not mobilized a large number of men to support my rear lines, my 'migrants' fighters will walk out and leave'. That evening, reinforcements did not arrive. He left to Chechnya under the cloak of night.
"Let them go", commented angrily an FSA Syrian commander the next day, "'I did not slap them on their hands and did not ask them to come to fight and take responsibility for this front line."... 
Although some foreign fighters are novices, but the Abou Salam al Falluji has is a seasoned fighter. He is an Iraq veteran wearing a black keffiyeh and argues that rebel commanders  "do not have the leadership and experience", explaining that "brave men are attacking, but men in the rear lines withdraw to leave them exposed,...  it's a mess"...  But he seems indifferent to the future of the conflict, "it is clear that the Syrian army will win the battle, but we do not tell the rebels... we do not want to destroy morale. We say that we should hold out here and God has given us the ability to do so, and perhaps God made these foreign powers come to help the Syrians." .... The irony was not lost on Abou Salam, that the United States and the jihadists, enemies of the, have found themselves once again fighting in the same trench...."

Monday, September 24, 2012

We are “the largest peaceful, secular, pro-democratic Iranian dissident group”

'The good old days: Saddam & Rajavi!'


'The New & Improved' Muslim Brotherhood!

We could've sworn that this was the intentions all along: Lambast Israel as ... and ...and ... gain power, and then 'lighten up!'
"..."It is very difficult for the Brotherhood to make such a rapid switch from criticizing and attacking American policy in the region to being a close friend of the United States," said Deyaa Rashwan, an analyst at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies....... 
In taking power, the Brotherhood has shed longtime positions such as favoring the abrogation of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. It has also found accommodation with the military.
But the sloppy response to the embassy incident reflects the broader push and pull within the religious movement about how to approach the United States. Such challenges are likely to become harder as the Brotherhood, no longer in the shadows, actually runs the country..."

"Mubarak is well!"

"...Egypt's chief forensic doctor told a state-run newspaper in an interview published Saturday that Hosni Mubarak has never suffered a stroke and that he is not in critical condition, contradicting earlier medical reports that the former president's health was deteriorating. ..."

'Let the looting begin!'

"....Spectrum ASA (SPU), an oil and gas services provider, said it’s due to complete a three-dimensional seismic survey this week of Lebanon’s offshore waters.Initial results will be available in November, the company said today in a statement handed to journalists aboard a vessel off Beirut. The final version will be ready early next year, as required by the Lebanese government and in time for the country’s planned first licensing round, it said.
Lebanon is seeking to catch up with Israel,...
Surveys have been carried out on a 10,500 kilometer coastal area, the minister said. Twenty-six companies have bought surveys of Lebanon’s offshore area for a total of $90 million, he said.
The Middle East waters are a “promising area” for hydrocarbon exploration and may attract investments from international companies when the licensing round starts, Bassil said. ..."

1982-2012': "Assad's (pere & fils) strategy continues to be based on the realization that most Syrians, regardless of their differences with the present government, do not want the Muslim Brotherhood in power!"

1982- "...The Muslim Brotherhood leadership was fully aware that they had the Assad regime in a 'no win' situation over Hama. If Assad had not acted forcefully against Hama, the rebellion might have spread to other cities which in turn might have led to a full-scale rebellion. Assad's liberal use of artillery in breaking the resistance in Hama served notice to other cities that he has both the will and the means to retain power. By the same token, however, the government's actions have appalled and sickened a wide spectrum of Syrian society. Nonetheless, Assad's strategy continues to be based on the realization that most Syrians, regardless of their differences with the present government, do not want the Muslim Brotherhood in power, although they would undoubtedly prefer one dominated by Sunni Muslims [instead of Assad's Alawite sect]. ..."

The West: 'Anti-semitisme & Freedom of Expression!'

'5,000 foreign fighters in Syria'

"... Brahimi told the 15-nation council that the Syrian government estimates there are 5,000 foreign fighters in the country and is increasingly portraying the conflict as a "foreign conspiracy," envoys at the meeting told AFP..."

Erdogan's wish list: 'Regime change in Damascus & Baghdad ... & an Israeli 'apology'!'

"... Ankara's expectations for Obama are quite high.The first issue is indeed Syria. Ankara believes that Obama will develop a more effective Syria strategy. More than wish, .... Some believe that President Obama, after an election victory, will go as far as unilateral action for regime change in Syria. Some in Ankara believe the US will at least help Turkey create some sort of security zone in northern Syria. Expectations vary, but there is one clear point: Ankara's first demand from Obama in his second term is to revisit the American position on Syria.
The second expectation concerns Turkish-Israeli relations. Many in Ankara believe that Obama will be more critical of Tel Aviv in his second term, a view also shared by many in Israel. ...Ankara expects that the new Obama administration will put pressure on Israel to offer an apology expeditiously.
The third expectation relates to military matters, in particular to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In this area, it is vital for Turkey to obtain more sophisticated technical support from the US. Ankara's particular demand is for US-made Predators that would help Turkey overcome its intelligence deficit in its struggle with the PKK. Similarly, serious military reform is needed, as there has been no substantive technological purchase in the last 10 years. Turkey is without even the necessary number of Cobra helicopters. Ankara knows very well that its military arsenal is far more limited than is ideal for protecting Turkey's image in the region.
Fourth, Ankara wants Obama to continue its support for Islamic actors in the Middle East. It is Ankara's priority to sustain the legitimate participation of Islamic actors in the political game. Egypt's elections bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to government is a typical example. But Ankara takes the same position in other cases, including that of Palestinian Hamas.
Finally, Ankara hopes that Obama will help Turkey oust Nouri al-Maliki from office in Baghdad. For Ankara, Maliki has become the biggest structural threat to Turkey's regional position. Therefore, Ankara has already declared that purging Maliki from politics is a main goal of Turkish foreign policy. As in the Syrian case, Ankara believes that the US has not done much to engage in Iraqi politics. Many in Ankara even believe that it is the tacit support of Washington that has kept Maliki in office...."

By Delisting the MEK, the Obama Administration is Taking the Moral and Strategic Bankruptcy of America’s Iran Policy to a New Low

By Delisting the MEK, the Obama Administration is Taking the Moral and Strategic Bankruptcy of America’s Iran Policy to a New Low

The 'costs' of showing Iran that the US is determined ...'

(Begin here with the Benefits,)
"... Costs:
In addition to the financial costs of conducting military attacks against Iran,
which would be significant (particularly if the U.S. had to carry out thousands of sorties and if it had to return to the use of force periodically for years to come), there would likely be near-term costs associated with Iranian retaliation, through both direct and surrogate asymmetrical attacks. Serious costs to U.S. interests would also be felt over the longer term, we believe, with problematic consequences for global and regional stability, including economic stability. A dynamic of escalation, action, and counteraction could produce serious unintended consequences that would significantly increase all of these costs and lead, potentially, to all-out regional war.
Among the potential costs discussed in this paper are the following:
*Direct Iranian retaliation against the U.S.
While some argue that Iran might hold back using force in order to avoid provoking a larger scale conflict, we believe that Iran would retaliate, costing American lives; damaging U.S. facilities in the region; and affecting U.S. interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf, and elsewhere. Iran would draw on its
extensive conventional rocket capability and IRGC anti-ship missiles, small submarines, fast attack boats, and mine warfare in the Gulf. Iran might attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, which could rattle global markets and cause a significant spike in oil prices (as well as blocking the main artery for export of Iran’s own oil).
*Iranian strikes against Israel. Iran would hold Israel partly responsible for any
attacks, whether or not Israel participated in military action. While Israel's
anti-missile and civilian defense programs are strong, sustained air strikes by Iran would result in casualties and damage to facilities, perhaps including the Israeli nuclear complex in Dimona.
*Indirect retaliation by Iran. Attacks by well-armed proxies such as Hezbollah
or Shiite militant groups in Iraq, as well as by Iran’s covert forces and the IRGC
Qods Force, could be even more damaging to U.S. and Israeli interests than direct Iranian retaliation. Such indirect retaliation could include the use of missiles and rockets by proxies as well as terrorist attacks and covert action, such as sabotage and assassination. If Hezbollah were to make heavy use of the missiles and rockets it has deployed in southern Lebanon, that could expand the conflict, possibly leading to a regional war in the Levant.
*A potential breakdown of hard-won global solidarity against Iran’s nuclear
We believe that if Iran is attacked by the US or Israel  in the absence of an international mandate or a multinational coalition, support for
support for  to Iran that are now prohibited by sanctions could resume, as might the sale of materials that could be used for making a nuclear weapon. 
*Global political and economic instability, including disruptions in energy supply and security. A U.S. and/or Israeli attack on Iran could introduce
destabilizing political and economic forces in a region already experiencing major transformations. In addition to costing the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars yearly, a sustained conflict would boost the price of oil and further disrupt an already fragile world economy
*Damage to the United States’ global reputation and increased credibility for anti-American extremist groups. U.S. military action, especially if unilateral, could further alienate Muslims and others worldwide, reinforcing the view that the United States resorts too often to military force. An attack on a Muslim nation could enhance the recruiting ability of radical Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda. Even though some Sunni Muslims might be pleased to see attacks on Shiite Iran, the likely impact on U.S. stature in the Muslim world would be negative.
On the contested issue of whether military action would weaken or strengthen
Iranian public support for the current regime, we conclude that U.S. and/or Israeli strikes are more likely to unify the population behind the government than to generate resistance.Some of these costs would be mitigated if a U.S. strike were to occur in response to Iranian actions that clearly revealed an intention to develop a nuclear weapon. Such actions might include the expulsion of IAEA inspectors and withdrawal from the NPT, or the launch of a crash program to raise existing supplies of low- and medium-enriched uranium to a weapons-grade level of enrichment. Given the time required for Iran to progress from the decision to weaponize to possession of a reliable, deliverable weapon, the United States would have an opportunity to develop international support for multilateral action against Iran, including further sanctions, additional negotiations, and the use of military force. While the costs associated with Iranian retaliation would not significantly be altered if other nations approved or joined in a U.S. military strike, the longer-term costs to U.S. interests would be somewhat lessened...."