Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Increasing the likelihood of a cycle of  retaliation..."

[NYTimes] "... Israeli officials remained silent on Thursday about their airstrike in Syrian territory the day before, a tactic that experts said was part of a longstanding strategy to give targeted countries face-saving opportunities to avoid conflict escalation. But Syria’s own confirmation of the attack, followed by harsh condemnation not only by Israel’s enemies Iran and Hezbollah but also by Russia, may have undercut that effort, analysts said, increasing the likelihood of a cycle of  retaliation."From the moment they chose to say Israel did something, it means someone has to do something after that,” said Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council and a longtime military leader. “Contrary to what I could hope and believe yesterday, that this round of events would end soon, now I am much less confident.”..."

Do us a favor!

[Daily Star] "... One of these losers is the Syrian people, who are decidedly unenthusiastic about seeing Israel enter into the uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad in any way, shape or form. The other losers would be neighboring states such as Lebanon, if it is swept up into the violence because of the possible – and not yet proven – role of Hezbollah in the affair...."

Israel. Israel. Israel ...and then maybe, America!

"... The more immediate threat that Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and President Barack’s Obama’s choice to lead the Pentagon, faced, however, was in the hearing room itself."His record demonstrates what I view as a lack of sound judgment ... Inhofe has already stated his intention to oppose Hagel, who has come under fire for past statement related to Israel’s political influence in the U.S....
While Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee chairman, indicated that some of Hagel’s past statements (Israel)  troubled him as well ..."

Pentagon doesn’t know if it’s buying Iranian oil in Afghanistan

Pentagon doesn’t know if it’s buying Iranian oil in Afghanistan | The Cable

Victoria Nuland KAGAN: "I saw the pictures of the poor little monkey preparing to go to space"

 'A happy US primate!'
[CBS] "...According to the State Department, however, the U.S. can't confirm whether or not "the poor little monkey" ever actually made it into orbit."I saw the monkey - the pictures of the poor little monkey preparing to go to space," said Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, when asked about "extraterrestrial primates." "We don't have any way to confirm this one way or the other with regard to the primate." ..."

FLC's Millionth visitor ... Thank You!

'around 12.20PM'

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Press releases: "Corruption in the defence sector"

The Index bands countries according to their level of risk of corruption. The risk of corruption is determined by the danger and extent of it occurring and by the frequency citizens may face it.
BAND A – Very Low Risk (2 COUNTRIES): Australia, Germany
BAND B – Low Risk (7 COUNTRIES): Austria, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States
BAND C – Moderate Risk (16 COUNTRIES): Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Spain
BAND D+ - High Risk (15 COUNTRIES): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon
UAE, Mexico, Nepal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine,
BAND D- - High Risk (15 COUNTRIES) Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, PalestineKazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Turkey
BAND E – Very High Risk (18 COUNTRIES): Afghanistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
BAND F – Critical Risk (9 COUNTRIES): Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Angola, Cameroon, DRC, Eritrea,

One disgruntled State Department official: “For nearly two years we have heard mostly about the downside of getting involved militarily in Syria,”

MEPGS: Excerpts: (Basically, today's brief is "all Obama's fault!")
With his two new appointments as Secretary of State and Defense, President Obama, in the view of a number of veteran observers, has served notice that he will be reticent about employing direct force against anyone who is not engaged in or constitutes a direct threat to the US.  “From a `Team of Rivals’,” says one former senior US official, “The President has now appointed a `Team of Lap D ogs’.”  If there was any doubt that this was just one man’s opinion, the President made clear in an interview with The New Republic magazine that he could not justify greater military intervention in Syria, despite pressure from various parties including European allies.  As he put it in the interview, “How do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?”  Says one veteran US analyst, “In [Senators] Hagel and Kerry, the President has the perfect people to carry out a policy that devolves from `leading from behind’ to “farming out our military capabilities’.”
The practical implications of this new, improved version of, what, one analyst calls, “abandoning the role of a superpower,” can be most readily felt in Syria and by extension in dealings with Iran.  Regarding Syria, many US and European officials believe it is already too late for the US to make a difference in the outcome of the civil war there.  Saudi Arabia and even more so, Qatar, have provided the rebels with necessary weaponry until now, experts say, as the rebels are able to seize sufficient arms by taking over Syrian government warehouses and arsenals.  “We are not in it, no matter the outcome,” says one US analyst.  “We are irrelevant.”
Another criticism privately made by middle level US officials is that despite the endless meetings from the top [The President and the National Security Council] on down [a myriad of working groups], is that each and every meeting ends with no change in policy.  “For nearly two years we have heard mostly about the downside of getting involved militarily in Syria,” says one disgruntled State Department official.  “We were told that it would only lead to more violence and the rise of extremist forces.  So we did nothing and all the bad things predicted have come true anyway.”
The Europeans are, if anything, even more frustrated with Administration inaction.  “One year ago a simple series of air strikes would have dealt a crippling blow to Assad,” says one European diplomat, who argues that a “no-fly zone” was not required to ground the Syrian air force.  Even as recently as last fall’s political meetings in Doha and Marrakech, where the August 12 coalition representing 90% of the opposition was in attendance, bold US follow-up with, at least funding, could have tipped the balance in Syria, say these diplomats.  Instead, now, the consensus is that the situation on the ground will continue to slowly deteriorate.  “There is no end in sight,” says one US official.  “Other than a failed state.”  This, in turn, predict US analysts will lead to increased instability among Syria’s neighbors, particularly Lebanon and Jordan.
So far, observers have considered it remarkable that both countries, especially Lebanon, have been relatively quiet.  But another feature that concerns many analysts is the impact continued civil war will have on Iran and ultimately the one issue that could bring US military intervention, the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon. ...  As one analyst put it this week, “Syria is beginning to look like a good playing field for Iran.”...  More important, say those involved in the Iranian “nuclear file,” will be the increased perception in Teheran that the US is not meant to be taken seriously.  Already, key US officials admit privately that, in the words of one State Department insider, “The Iranians are toying with us.”  They have not responded to a number of entreaties to resume talks with the P-5 + 1 [US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China].  Some analysts thought that they were waiting until after the US election and hoped that a meeting in Istanbul in January would take place.  But January is gone and according to informed sources, Istanbul is no longer a likely venue.
US and European officials are encouraged by the success of economic sanctions....
Iran may be the most “existential” threat to Israel, but it is not the only one that keeps its strategic planners busy.  For that matter, their most important concerns, the safety of chemical weapons in Syria, stability in Jordan and the unfolding political crisis in Egypt are also shared by US officials.  Egyptian President Morsi’s widely viewed “overreach” has resulted, says one US official in leaving a set of `checks and balances’ in the hands of people on the street.  While Morsi continues with his plans to visit Paris and Berlin, European governments are less than eager to help his country’s faltering economy.  While Qatar has chipped in several billion dollars in grants and loans, Saudi Arabia has failed to follow suit and, in any event, an internationally-led effort of much greater magnitude and discipline is necessary.   Meanwhile, Egypt’s control of the Sinai weakens daily and the burden place on the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty – the cornerstone of US Middle East policy – nears the breaking point, say some State Department experts.

Tel Aviv: 'It is Nasrallah who is threatening minorities in Syria!'

"...Nasrallah’s support for Assad has placed Shiites and other minorities in the future line of fire of Syrian jihadists, many of whom are likely to turn their guns to Lebanon in retribution in the event of Assad’s ousting. ..."

Lebanese Neoconish minions: "Self Immolation"

 Again. Result of WH policy.

From Doha ...Despair

Khattib's offer of dialogue with the regime will split the . After Kuwait (where funds pledged not to), wonder where NC headed?

"I am prepared to sit down directly with representatives of President Assad!"

"I am prepared to sit down directly with representatives of the Syrian regime in Cairo, Tunis or Istanbul," Khatib said in a statement on his Facebook page. He set out two conditions of his own: the release of what he said was 160,000 detainees held in Syrian prisons and intelligence facilities, and instructions to Syrian embassies to issue new passports to Syrians whose documents had expired. Underlining the continued rifts amongst Assad's foes, the opposition Syrian National Council - some of whose members are represented on Alkhatib's council - immediately distanced itself from his comments...."
Reactions were swift:
Reactions were swift:

biggest problem for Khatib is language he used to call for conditional talks. Sounds like desperation. Makes him look weak to Assad + rebels
In Khatib's defense, not only Western support didn't materialize (expected) but Gulf appetite for the fight dropped. Weaponry and money down
23 minutes ago 

Ankara, "frustrated" & at odds with Paris over Syria & Mali ...

"...While the meeting produced little concrete results, it still put the limelight on France at a time when Erdogan and Davutoglu are annoyed over the French intervention in Mali.Predictably linking Mali and Syria, Erdogan used harsh words against France during an address over the weekend in Istanbul, speaking to a domestic audience ready to accept his remarks at face value.
“Why are they attacking Mali now?” Erdogan asked abrasively, going on to point at that country’s underground gold reserves. Recalling that Mali was once a French colony, Erdogan openly implied that Paris’ prime motivation here is to get hold of Mali’s natural resources.
“Why are they not coming to Syria? Because there is no oil or gold in Syria..."
Erdogan was also either unaware or simply did not care that senior members of the Syrian opposition would be gathering in Paris in order to seek French help only two days after these remarks. The simple fact is that diplomatic and political efforts to solve the Syrian crisis have drifted away from Turkey, even though Ankara was at the center of these efforts until fairly recently.
The irony here is that Turkey and France are actually on the same page as to what should happen in Syria. Both see no role for Bashar al-Assad in any settlement formula. Both are calling for increased international support for the Syrian opposition to topple Assad and his regime.
This, however, has not increased cooperation between Ankara and Paris, as might have been expected. Rather than cooperate, Turkey and France, whose ties are already strained over issues like Ankara’s EU membership bid and the Armenian genocide, have from the start of the Arab Spring been competing for influence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Remarks by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius after his meeting with the Syrian opposition in Paris also revealed that France and the US  are now concerned together that extremists could hijack the Syrian uprising to establish an anti-Western Islamist entity in that country after Assad.
Erdogan and Davutoglu have said little, if anything, to date about this topic, leading many commentators not only in the West, but also in Russia and Iran, to openly claim that Turkey is turning a blind eye to the “Sunni jihadists” entering Syria with their own agenda.
Meanwhile, Turkey has also been cool toward efforts by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to work out a settlement between the Assad regime and the Syrian opposition. Remarks by Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, after a Jan. 21 meeting in New York between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Brahimi, did not go down well in Ankara either.
Nesirky indicated that the two men had "expressed deep disappointment and anguish at the appalling levels of killing and destruction carried out by both the government and the opposition, fueled by outside powers providing weaponry to both sides.”
Erdogan and Davutoglu are vehemently opposed to all attempts to apportion equal blame for the crisis in Syria among the regime and the opposition, arguing that it is Assad and his clique that are solely to blame for the events in that country.
As to whether Turkey is arming the Syrian opposition, Davutoglu was circumspect in Davos recently during the World Economic Forum when asked about this.
“The Syrians know how we are helping them. But if you want a definite answer, this would not be right. I have to be diplomatic,” he said, leaving the question unanswered.
Erdogan and Davutoglu, who detest the fact that Brahimi is negotiating with the Syrian regime, reject any formula which would have Assad at the table. Davutoglu repeated Ankara’s opposition to this also in Davos.
“The Syrian opposition, neighboring countries and 175 members of the United Nations have agreed to a transition process without al-Assad,” he said, although he knows well that two key neighbors of Syria, Iran and the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, continue to support Assad.
The question here, given this backdrop, is whether Turkey’s stance, which is also shared by Washington and Paris to a great extent, has been helpful in terms of stopping the deaths of innocents to which Erdogan and Davutoglu always refer when mentioning Syria.
The crisis in Syria today is no longer a simple question of ethics, much to the annoyance of Erdogan and Davutoglu, but is stage where international politics, involving not just regional countries, but also global powers, is at play — a fact that has resulted in the present deadlock.
One could argue, therefore, that Syrians are as much victims of Assad’s brutality and Russia and Iran’s clearly immoral support for the Syrian regime as they are of the West’s and Turkey’s inability to see that Assad has more staying power than expected, and to act accordingly to prevent the bloodshed..... ..."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"So long as Egypt stays in the treaty with Israel, all is forgiven"

"... The US is backing Mursi and the MB.  They won an election by  a point or two and so America accepts their right to revolutionize Egypt into a Sharia law state.  So long as Egypt stays in the treaty with Israel, all is forgiven.   The Egyptian generals also want American money so they will stand aside and watch their liberal, secular countrymen be brutalised by the Islamists.  pl ..."

Is the IAEA Undermining Nuclear Talks with Iran?

Is the IAEA Undermining Nuclear Talks with Iran?

"Sure, very sure, very very sure about that!"

"... RT: And what about Al Nusra group from Iraq? Are these people fighting for freedom and democracy as well? 
GS: They are fighting for freedom and democracy, but maybe we will face some problem with them. Anyway, they are a small part of the revolution in Syria. 
RT: But these people are recognized even by the French President as extremists and terrorists…
GS: All over the world you can find extremists, but they are not the real picture, only a small part of it (McClatchy's & others beg to disagree!) ...
"... Syrian activists say the councils have become the subject of derision and mockery inside Syria in the weeks since and that other groups, including the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front, have assumed the central coordinating position... Those battalions, which include Nusra and another Islamist brigade, Ahrar al Sham, have been at the forefront of the fighting across Syria... Nusra is believed to have as many as 5,000 men under arms, and Sham is thought possibly to be larger, making the Islamist-led groups the largest fighting organizations of the multi-faceted Syrian opposition...." 
 RT: So you are absolutely sure that you’ll be able to control them, these peopleGS: Sure, very sure, very sure about that.
Though Sabra claims that extremists make up only a small number of the rebels and are easy to contain, historian Gerald Horne does not agree, and argued that a similar scenario played out in Libya.
“We are reassured by [the SNC vice president] that if dissidents come to power they’ll be able to handle the Al Nusra front, but the Libyan dissidents said the same thing when they worked with NATO in 2011 about toppling Colonel Gaddafi," Horne said..."

Israel: Iran slowing nuclear program, won’t have bomb before 2015 |

Israel: Iran slowing nuclear program, won’t have bomb before 2015 |

Clashes around downtown Cairo spill into early hours of Sunday

Clashes around downtown Cairo spill into early hours of Sunday

Obama on Syria: "I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations. In a situation like Syria..."

"[New Republic] ... Chris Hughes: The last question is about Syria. I wonder if you can speak about how you personally, morally, wrestle with the ongoing violence there.
'Every morning, I have what's called the PDB—presidential daily briefing—and our intelligence and national security teams come in here and they essentially brief me on the events of the previous day. And very rarely is there good news. And a big chunk of my day is occupied by news of war, terrorism, ethnic clashes, violence done to innocents. And what I have to constantly wrestle with is where and when can the United States intervene or act in ways that advance our national interest, advance our security, and speak to our highest ideals and sense of common humanity.
And as I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations. In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact? How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime? And how do I weigh tens of thousands who've been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?Those are not simple questions. And you process them as best you can. You make the decisions you think balance all these equities, and you hope that, at the end of your presidency, you can look back and say, I made more right calls than not and that I saved lives where I could, and that America, as best it could in a difficult, dangerous world, was, net, a force for good.'

HUGE story: "We'll have to deliver a CW to Homs ...using shells from Libya ...(and) Russian speaking Ukrainians!"

"friday-lunch-club": Explosive Defence Leak: "We'll have to deliver a C...: The attack, of course, will blame the Syrian Army & used as a pretext for a military aggression on Syria. In March 2012 Brookings sent out a...

The dubious stories that keep coming ...

WASHINGTON —" The authorities in Yemen have seized a boat in their territorial waters filled with a large quantity of explosives, weapons and money, according to American officials briefed on the interdiction. The officials said Monday that there were indications that Iran was smuggling the military contraband to insurgents inside Yemen, although they declined to provide details...."

Covert-ops to defend Saudi oil fields ...

'Clinton & MbN'
"... What really has my spidey sense tingling is the funding structure here: a bank account set up to fund what our counterterrorism liaison, MbN, deems critical to defend the oil fields (located among Saudi Arabia’s restless Shia minority) or borders (where the Saudis have attacked Houthis and other Yemeni insurgent groups, or where the Saudis have helped Bahrain brutally defend against its own insurgency). The entities against which MbN would be defending Saudi infrastructures (and borders) are precisely the ones we’re partnering with him on covert ops with. So how much of that goes through the special bank account?So when US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein (who was involved in setting up the TCAaccuses Iran of intervention in Yemen the day before MbN arrives in the US, followed by somewhat dubious claims today of Iranian arms shipments to Yemen..."

Explosive Defence Leak: "We'll have to deliver a CW to Homs ...using shells from Libya ...(and) Russian speaking Ukrainians!"

The attack, of course, will blame the Syrian Army & used as a pretext for a military aggression on Syria. In March 2012 Brookings sent out an SOS in its report  "Saving Syria: Assessing Options For Regime Change" Using this very same plan  as justification for this aggression.

Break down of each folder.

Syria Folder:

288 KB 
2 PDF files and 1 email file.
File name: CV P Doughty CV2 091.pdf
CV for Philip doughty who is the dynamic director and founder of Britam Defence, currently resides in UAE according to his CV.
File name: Phil Doughty PP1 7200830372.pdf
PDF copy of current English, Irish passport for Philip Doughty.
File name: Sirian Issue.eml
Email between David Goulding who is the Business Development Director and Philip regarding a new offer about an operation in syria.
We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.
We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have.
They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?
Kind regards

Iran folder:

Size: 938kb
16 doc files and 1 email file total
The Iran folder contains heaps of operation plans of attack and defend as well as procedures for preventing or using chemical warfare  luring targets to kill zones, medical help, intelligence to the surrounding of operations and more. all together there appears to be 15 plans of operation.
It also has a file named Draft which is a email draft used for the announcement of the current operations. Appears the .doc operation files are the results of an attachment to from that email.
Preview of each of the attachments from the email.
[Gallery not found]
There is also a file named Iranian Issue.eml
Contact between phil and david over confirmation of plans of operations in iran by the saudis.
Please see attached details of preparatory measures concerning the Iranian issue.
Participation of Britam in the operation is confirmed by the Saudis.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"We didn't spend probably the requisite time focusing on values & a military ethos,"

'French Legionnaire in Mali'
(Human rights activists allege Mali’s army has killed dozens of people 
in reprisal attacks and ethnic murders)
"...For those who say U.S. dollars propped up an autocratic military in Egypt, other argue that it was the senior flag relationships between the Pentagon and Cairo that kept the military from opening fire on democratic protesters during the Arab Spring. ..."

In Syria, US sponsored councils are the "subject of derision & mockery" while al Qaeda's flourishe!

[McClatchy's] "A U.S.-supported push to form military councils across Syria to unite the hundreds of groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad and coordinate the provision of aid to secular rebel groups appears largely to have failed.Rebels said U.S. officials pressed for the creation of the councils in each of Syria’s 14 provinces in response to rebel demands for arms and other support. In December, representatives of various rebel groups met in Turkey and elected a 30-member Supreme Military Council, which then selected defected Syrian Gen. Salim Idriss as its head.
But Syrian activists say the councils have become the subject of derision and mockery inside Syria in the weeks since and that other groups, including the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front, have assumed the central coordinating position that U.S. officials had hoped the military councils would have........ 
The failure of the military councils to quickly organize and win influence has undercut what U.S. officials had hoped would be a system that would allow the United States and its allies to direct aid toward rebel groups that favor a democratic post-Assad Syria, where the rights of religious and ethnic minorities would be respected, and away from groups such as Nusra that favor a government based on Islamic law...
Syria’s presumed government in exile, the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, similarly has failed to take hold – another huge reversal for American policy. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been the primary proponent of the coalition, which was cobbled together after Clinton publicly announced that the United States could no longer support a predecessor group, the Syrian National Council.
But after dozens of countries recognized the new group as the successor to Assad’s regime, it, too, has failed to win influence. It missed its own deadline last week to name an interim prime minister, and U.S. engagement with the organization, which reached its height prior to the U.S. presidential election in November, dropped off after the group’s leader, Sheik Mouaz Khatib, criticized the U.S. designation of the Nusra Front as an international terrorist group that is indistinguishable from al Qaida in Iraq....
Those battalions, which include Nusra and another Islamist brigade, Ahrar al Sham, have been at the forefront of the fighting across Syria... Nusra is believed to have as many as 5,000 men under arms, and Sham is thought possibly to be larger, making the Islamist-led groups the largest fighting organizations of the multi-faceted Syrian opposition...."

Read more here:

Assad: "We Regained the Upper Hand"

 'Pupils salute prior to entering classrooms at a school in Damascus on 27 January 2013. Syrian students started the second term of the school-year 
despite the ongoing conflict'
[Al AkhbarDamascus – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told visitors that the Syrian army "regained the initiative on the ground to a very high degree and achieved important results, which will come to light soon."
"Externally funded armed groups received several hard blows recently," Assad added.
"The US is not ready for a solution in the time being." He believed that Russia will remain his ally. "It is defending itself, not the regime in Syria," he continued, stressing that "we will not budge from the articles of the Geneva agreement."...On the personal level, the man seems calm and in control. His confidence level stands out. Also, there’s the news of the pregnancy of his wife Asmaa, which could not be dealt with as a simple personal matter between a couple.mFrom the personal to the political, Assad speaks about "the minutest details in the Syrian provinces. His information encompasses a street here and the news of a small neighborhood there. The reports he receives are comprehensive, even when they’re not to his liking. Assad is thoroughly aware of the international efforts to solve the crisis in Syria.” Some remark by saying, “If it was not so, the state would not have been able to survive for this long, the Syrian Arab Army would not have maintained its cohesion.”
Assad maintains that “the army has regained the initiative on the ground to a large extent, achieving important results, in addition to what it had achieved in the last 22 months. It stopped fighters from controlling whole governorates, limiting their playground to border zones with Turkey mainly, and Jordan and Lebanon to an extent. There are also some pockets in the capital’s countryside, which are being dealt with by the army. The capital Damascus is in a better situation. Its strategic points – despite all the attempts by the militants – remained safe, especially the airport road.”
Stopping at what happened at the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp outside Damascus, Assad says that camp has its symbolism, which led the Syrian leadership not to take the decision to confront the militants that occupied a part of it. The solution of the Yarmouk predicament was left to the Palestinian factions, to provide initiatives for a solution, which the Syrian official side agreed to.
The Syrian president was asked by his visitors about what he said in the Opera House about “refusing to let Syria become a hotel resort.” He answered by saying that he does not want to dwell on that debate, but “I was hurt by those who should have been witness that our dealings with the Palestinian factions were never based on religion or confession.”.... 
Assad asserts that “what the Syrian army achieved in the last few weeks will come to light soon.” He shares some details, which can be taken as an indicator of “a real change of the situation on the ground. For example, there are 15,000 citizens who returned voluntarily to Homs. The Syrian people are fed up already with all these deviants that destroyed their streets, homes, and commercial shops.”
Assad sees that “closing the Syrian borders to the weapons and smugglers could resolve the issue in two weeks, since the sources of money and arms will be destroyed.”
He told his visitors that “the externally-funded armed groups received strong blows recently. This development intersects with an international move, most prominently the inclusion of al-Nusra Front on the terrorism list, which will be followed by further measures that will lead to wiping out this al-Qaeda branch altogether.
Assad believes that the US is not ready for a solution in the time being. He believes Russia will continue to support him. “It is protecting itself, not the Syrian regime,” he explained, stressing that “we will not budge on the articles of the Geneva agreement.”
He stressed that Syria will continue to cooperate with the Arab-International envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, although “the latter seemed in his latest visit to Damascus to be somehow influenced by the media campaign against Syria.”
... He stresses the need for “logistical arrangements for the next phase. There is a plan to return the refugees to their districts and homes, which will be announced in due time and there are other plans for reconstruction.”

"The new Taliban are in Syria."

"...Jordan's King Abdullah warned today that those who think the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad will fall in weeks don't know the situation on the ground. He expects Assad will hold on (Smorgasbord) for at least the first half of 2013 (do we hear 'second half'?...Sold to that other, short & scared potentate with medals!)  . And he cautioned that even if that government falls and is replaced by a strong and effective new administration (which is doubtful) it could take years to clean out the jihadists that have established themselves inside Syria's war-torn territory. Al Qaeda has established itself there, he said, and added, "The new Taliban we are going to have to deal with are in Syria." ..."

"Keep it running for several months"

 'Keep it going'
"... A French diplomatic source present at the meeting said the coalition had received concrete promises from several countries (here) that should keep it running for several months. He declined to say how much or which countries.He acknowledged, however, that the meeting would not provide a magic solution...."

"For those looking to tip the scales against Baghdad, victory in Syria need not be complete ..."

"...Fearful of the consequences of permitting Washington to lead from behind, Saudis and Qataris are pushing Washington from behind — to support  their sectarian agenda or to stay out of the way. As a consequence, from the first days of Syria's troubles, they have been ahead of the policy curve. The “half men” of the Gulf reject any compromise with Assad and have reserved money and arms in support of the sole option — a brutal end to the Assad regime, if not its Sunni leadership — leaders such as  Manaf Tlass and former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who not too long ago formed its backbone. Failing that, it is enough to see Syria under Assad descend into the kind of chaotic penury that increasingly defines life in the country — and that at the very least will exact increasing opportunity costs upon Assad's friends in Baghdad and Tehran, and embolden their friends in Anbar and elsewhere. The latest statements by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal that an Assad role in a negotiated transition is “inconceivable” should be seen in this context.For those looking to tip the scales against Baghdad, victory in Syria need not be complete — the regime need not fall — in order for the policy to redeem itself. The current situation, unbearable to many as it is, also signifies an achievement: weakening Damascus also weakens Baghdad. ..."

'Pret a Porter' 'Arab Spring'

[FPJ] "... But reductionist discourses persist, despite their numerous limitations. They endure because some are specifically designed to serve the interests of certain governments – some with clear ambitions and others are simply trying to ride the storm. In the case of Syria, not a single country that is somehow a party in the conflict can claim innocence in a gory game of regional politics, where the price tag is the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians.Western media continues to lead the way in language-manipulation, all with the aim of avoiding obvious facts and when necessary it misconstrues reality altogether. US media in particular remains oblivious to how the fallout of the NATO war in Libya had contributed to the conflict in Mali – which progressed from a military coup early last year, to a civil war and as of present time an all-out French-led war against Islamic and other militant groups in the northern parts of the country..."

Syrian opposition' Haytham Manna': "Our revolution was militarized by the Takfiri fatwas of Gulf Sheikhs!"

Manna' blames the Hayy al Salmiyyah massacre on Jabhat al Nusra 
& asks 'where is Western condemnation' (The West blamed the Regime)

For 'Arabs', dropping coffins during a funeral procession & having bodies spill into the street is "a serious indignity!"

'b' writes;
"... A question to David D. Kirkpatrick and his editors at the New York Times.
You write:
"... It was unclear how the clashes began, but the police were soon firing heavy volleys of tear gas into the funeral march. The gas attacks caused the pallbearers to drop coffins, many witnesses said, and the bodies spilled into the streets, a serious indignity here..."
In which country is it not considered an indignity when, during a funeral, coffins get dropped and the dead bodies spilled into the street?"

Morsi: 'I have said I am against state of emergency but I will act and impose one regardless!'

Clashes continue for fifth day in Egypt - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

UAE to try 94 over 'plot to seize power'

UAE to try 94 over 'plot to seize power' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"A strong relation exists between the al Nusra Front command in Syria and Sunni extremists in Tripoli,”

"BEIRUT — Sunni militants have been flocking from Lebanon to Syria in greater numbers in recent months to join forces with Islamic extremists battling the Syrian government, according to senior Lebanese security officials...At the forefront of the growing Sunni alliance is the al Nusra Front , a militant group thought to have links to al-Qaeda that the U.S. government has labeled a foreign terrorist organization, according to senior Lebanese security officials.The al Nusra militants have established links with extremist cells mostly based out of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, which has long been a hotbed of Sunni militancy.
“A strong relation exists between the al Nusra Front command in Syria and Sunni extremists in Tripoli,” said a senior Lebanese security official who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak on the record.....
Two of the leading figures who are helping expand the ties between Lebanese and Syrian extremists groups have been known to Lebanese security officials for years.
On the Lebanese side of the border, the trip for the volunteers killed in Tel Kalakh was partially funded and organized by Hussam Sabbagh, a well-known militant who is thought to have fought in Afghanistan, according to a senior Lebanese security official who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak on the record. Sabbagh, contacted through intermediaries, refused to give an interview.
The main point of contact on the Syrian side was Khaled Mahmoud, another well known Lebanese militant, according to a senior Lebanese security official. In late December, Mahmoud appeared in a video posted online wearing a black turban and flanked by two masked men toting machine guns.
Mahmoud, using the nom de guerre Abu Suleiman al Muhajer, described several religious injunctions to urge Muslims to wage jihad in Syria. He also announced the formation of Jund al Sham, the first Sunni armed opposition group in the Syrian conflict led by a Lebanese militant. Mahmoud, identified as the emir or religious leader of the group in the video, said that they would be operating in Homs province, which borders Lebanon.
The ties between Sabbagh and Mahmoud go back many years. Both men had links with Fatah al Islam, a radical Sunni group that fought a bloody battle against the Lebanese army in north Lebanon in 2007 that left at least 100 soldiers and militants dead.
Many of the leaders of Fatah al Islam were either killed or imprisoned in Lebanon’s notorious Roumieh prison after the clashes. Mahmoud served seven years in the Roumieh prison for his militant activities and was released only last summer. He crossed the border into Syria with the help of smugglers shortly after he was released from jail, according to a senior Lebanese security official. ..."