Rising swell of voices warns against Syrian attack, citing Iraq and Iran concerns

Israel/Palestine

As Obama decides whether to strike Syria over alleged use of chemical weapons, a rising swell of voices here and abroad is questioning such an attack, often citing the bad intelligence in Iraq and the danger of unleashing a wider conflict.

Here is a wrapup of some of those voices and concerns.

Surprisingly, even the AP is casting doubt on the intelligence re the chemical attacks and holding up the Iraq experience.

However, multiple U.S. officials used the phrase “not a slam dunk” to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk” — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria is thick with caveats. It builds a case that Assad’s forces are most likely responsible while outlining gaps in the U.S. intelligence picture. Relevant congressional committees were to be briefed on that evidence by teleconference call on Thursday, U.S. officials and congressional aides said.

The complicated intelligence picture raises questions about the White House’s full-steam-ahead approach to the Aug. 21 attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb, with worries that the attack could be tied to al-Qaida-backed rebels later.

The AP hints that Obama has morphed into the Cheney-Bush role. Note these remarks:

Administration officials said Wednesday that neither the UN Security Council, which is deciding whether to weigh in, or allies’ concerns would affect their plans….

On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said it didn’t really matter whether the administration knew those details with total certainty.

“We ultimately, of course, hold President Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons by his regime against his own people, regardless of where the command and control lies,” Harf said.

In today’s House of Commons debate in England, even British Prime Minister David Cameron, urging action, conceded that the public well of opinion had been polluted by the false intelligence leading to the Iraq War. He was being pressed by Labor M.P.’s to provide more reliable intelligence than just that provided by the U.S.– a debate seconded by Steve Walt: “Radical idea: UK will acquire facts & conduct parliamentary debate before going to war. You know: acting like a democracy!”

The Nation has come out squarely against intervention, warning that Syria will disintegrate and only cause regional conflict:

Although the American public is, with good reason, overwhelmingly opposed to military involvement in Syria’s chaotic civil war, much of the pundit and political classes have been calling for a US attack on Syrian military targets. Their rationale is not only that Assad must be punished for committing an atrocity but that US “credibility” is at stake—that, having declared the use of chemical weapons a “red line,” Obama will not be taken seriously if he doesn’t order military action. But any credibility Washington had in the region was lost long ago—if not in its war against Iraq based on false WMD allegations, then certainly in the chaos that resulted from the Libyan intervention…

The initial airstrikes could thus easily suck Washington into what Middle East scholar Fawaz Gerges has called “a playground for the merchants of death.” It would make the United States a direct participant in what has become a regional sectarian conflict, further destabilizing Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, all of which are now parties to the Syrian maelstrom. It would draw Washington closer to, and strengthen, a chaotic rebel front now dominated by jihadi extremists closely connected to Al Qaeda in Iraq, and it would increase the chances of direct conflict between the United States and Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, all of whom are determined to prevent the fall of Assad.

 

…American airstrikes could worsen what is already a disastrous refugee crisis. In fact, one of the most constructive things America could do to relieve the suffering of Syrians would be to vastly increase aid to the 1.9 million refugees who have flooded across the country’s borders.

Instead of bombing Syria, the United States should join Russia in its effort to renew the Geneva negotiations.

A German publication, Focus, has reported that senior Israeli security officials supplied the US with evidence that Assad is responsible for the gas attack in Damascus. As Harriet Sherwood reports in the Guardian:

The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime’s deployment of chemical weapons – which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action – has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported.

The 8200 unit of the Israeli Defence Forces, which specialises in electronic surveillance, intercepted a conversation between Syrian officials regarding the use of chemical weapons, an unnamed former Mossad official told Focus. The content of the conversation was relayed to the US, the ex-official said.

The 8200 unit collects and analyses electronic data, including wiretapped telephone calls and emails. It is the largest unit in the IDF.

..Senior Israeli security officials arrived in Washington on Monday to share the latest results of intelligence-gathering, and to review the Syrian crisis with national security adviser Susan Rice.

Meantime, a group of experts gathered by the neoconservative Weekly Standard is urging missile strikes on Syria and then goes on to– here we go again, regime change: “the United States and other willing nations should consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime.”

Many of the signatories will be familiar from the Iraq war runup, when we were urged to invade Iraq by neoconservative groups organized by Bill Kristol with the Project for the New American Century. Among the previous and latest supporters of action: Lawrence Kaplan, Kristol, Paul Berman, Robert Kagan, Nick Eberstadt, Fouad Ajami, Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Bernard-Henri Levy, Marty Peretz, Leon Wieseltier, former Governor Tim Pawlenty, Elliott Abrams, and former senators Norm Coleman and Joe Lieberman.

Scott McConnell of the American Conservative last night raised the concern (in conversation) that these hawks are playing an Iran game. They want an encounter with Iran, specifically so that the warming trend that President Hassan Rouhani represents for western liberals who imagine detente with Iran will come to an end. “Who is Obama talking to?” McConnell asked.

Surely UN Ambassador Samantha Power, for one. She is a no-doubter about what is happening in Syria. From her twitter feed on August 26:

We’re reviewing response options & consulting w/allies & partners in NY & around the world. Widespread outrage & desire for accountability.

Haunting images of entire families dead in their beds. Verdict is clear: Assad has used CWs against civilians in violation of int’l norm.

The NYT editorial is surprisingly prudent, “More Answers Needed”:

Mr. Obama has yet to make clear how military strikes — which officials say will last one to two days and target military units that carried out chemical attacks, the headquarters overseeing the effort and the artillery that have launched the attacks — will actually deter chemical attacks without further inflaming a region in turmoil and miring the United States in the Syrian civil war.

Though Nick Kristof is for intervention, on somewhat confused terms — “Look, Syria is going to be a mess, whatever we do”– and Roger Cohen is more assertive. In “Make Assad Pay,” he says “the Assad clan’s gassings cannot go unanswered” calls for “the firm military assertion of U.S. credibility.” He seems to think that Iran will help out.

Rouhani’s Iran, handled right, can help hasten a Syrian endgame.

But Iranian President Rouhani warns against a strike here. At Tablet David Makovsky says that though Israelis are mixed about an attack, and even may want Assad around, some favor US action– again because of the Iran angle.

In the public mind, the US reluctance to intervene in a crisis that has so far claimed more than 100,000 lives has raised questions about the reliability of American commitments going forward, despite the overwhelming support the US has provided Israel for decades. As the US becomes more involved in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians—including the possibility of US military involvement in security arrangements—this is a dangerous perception.

As one of Israel’s top officials told me last week, “when the US puts forward a red line, it has to mean it. The issue goes beyond Syria. It is a matter of credibility with reverberations for US policy towards Iran.” Amid speculation and skepticism about the depth of American commitment in preventing a nuclear Iran, enforcing red lines in Syria would at least send out a broader message that words do have meaning.

And Reuters has published an interview with an Iranian commander saying that a US strike on Syria would embroil the U.S. in another Vietnam.

Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said in an interview late on Wednesday with the Tasnim news agency that a U.S. strike on Syria would not help Israel.

“An attack on Syria will mean the imminent destruction of Israel,” Jafari said, according to Tasnim.

The interview was widely picked up by Iranian media on Thursday. Tasnim, which launched in 2012, says on its website that it is devoted to “defending the Islamic Revolution against negative media propaganda”.

Jafari, as quoted by Tasnim, also warned the United States that it risked embroilment in a costly and protracted struggle if it intervened in Syria.

“Syria will turn into a more dangerous and deadly battlefield than the Vietnam War, and in fact, Syria will become the second Vietnam for the United States,” he said.

The Russians are warning of destructive consequences across the Middle East.

Russian officials are now comparing the possible use of force against Syria to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which was vehemently opposed by Moscow as based on flawed intelligence that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.

“Deja-vu,” Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee wrote on Twitter.

That view is underlined by Ayssar Midani, a Syrian-French scientist associated with Nosstia, a group of expatriate Syrian scientists dedicated to improving the country’s standard of living. In this video she speaks in French, but according to Nicholas Wibberley’s translation, makes the following point:

Russia’s ambassador in the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, presented conclusive evidence – based on documents and Russian satellite images – of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian “rebels”, and landing on East Ghouta. Hundreds of “rebels”, as well as civilians – including those children on the cover of Western corporate media papers – were killed.

Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, calls for international political conference to create an interim authority in Syria and end the moral horrors of the civil war. But he writes in the Guardian that the US should not act as a global policeman:

do we want the US or Nato or “alliances of willing states” as global policemen…? Unlike George Bush in 2003, the Obama administration is not trigger-happy and contemptuous of the United Nations and the rules of its charter, which allow the use of armed force only in self-defence or with an authorisation from the security council. Yet Obama, like Bush and Blair, seems ready to ignore the council and order armed strikes on Syria with political support from only the UK, France and some others.

Such action could not be “in self-defence” or “retaliation”, as the US, the UK and France have not been attacked. To punish the Assad government for using chemical weapons would be the action of self-appointed global policemen – action that, in my view, would be very unwise.

Finally, an indication that Americans are not as keen for another conflict as our leaders: The Drudge Report is tougher on Syria and more skeptical than the left-liberal MSM. Their headlines at 2:44 PM:

Syrian PM warns country will become a ‘graveyard for invaders’…
UN: ‘Give peace a chance’…
DOES OBAMA KNOW HE’S FIGHTING ON AL QAEDA’S SIDE?
Strikes ‘likely to trigger terrorists acts against USA, Israel’…
ISRAEL CALLS UP RESERVISTS AFTER THREATS…
REPORT: Calls intercepted ‘prove’ nerve gas…
Jordan: We won’t help…
CLAIM: Al Qaeda-linked group behind Benghazi trains jihadists for Syria…
UN: Wait 4 Days…

Update. That view is reflected by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic, who bewails the tiny group that is driving the push for military action. He raises the moral hazard issue involved in armchair warriors making decisions about others’ fates. “How an Insular Beltway Elite Makes Wars of Choice More Likely.”

What I’d like is if news accounts on pressure to intervene in Syria made it clear that the “growing calls … for forceful action” aren’t coming from the people, or Congressional majorities, or an expert consensus. The pressure is being applied by a tiny, insular elite that mostly lives in Washington, D.C., and isn’t bothered by the idea of committing America to military action that most Americans oppose.

 

Update. More mainstream voices against intervention. Jeffrey Goldberg moves into the against column. Yesterday he sorta called for regime change, not missile strikes:

A better idea would be to commit the U.S. fully to the removal of the Assad regime. This doesn’t require direct American military action. It requires the formulation of a long-term, complicated and obviously precarious program that would do what should have been done all along: Build up the non-jihadi branches of the Syrian opposition while working with our allies to marginalize the jihadis.

Today he mocks Obama’s lack of any real plan:

If this is indeed the goal of the Obama administration — to look tough without being tough, to avoid threatening the existence of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and to avoid angering Iran and Russia — then, really, let’s not bother with this attack at all. For other reasons, I’m opposed to this sort of attack on Syria — please see yesterday’s post on the subject. But if the goal is merely to save face in light of President Barack Obama’s (morally and politically appropriate) drawing of a chemical-weapons red line, then this forthcoming attack is a very, very bad idea.

 

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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142 Responses

  1. Citizen
    August 29, 2013, 11:49 am

    PNAC neocons carries on, now disguised as FPI, and joined by all the Israel Firsters in the Democratic Party. This time, unlike in Bush Jr’s adventure in Iraq, the Israelis are front and center, providing their intel Assad did the dirty deed, while AIPAC stays behind the scenes, pushing for war with all they’re worth. Can’t wait for Obama’s trot out of the AIPAC line, without, of course, mentioning AIPAC. Obama has morphed into Shrub/Chaney. That’s the way the American system works. 60% of all funds to Democrats are from Israel Firster Jewish organizations, while 35% of funds for GOP are donated by the same group, There’s nothing akin in donation influence except Wall Street. There’s a connection there too.

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2013, 1:19 pm

      All those delegates in favor say ‘aye’

      Let me do that again.

      I’ll do that one more time

      In the opinion of the chair 2/3rds have voted in the affirmative

    • Abierno
      August 29, 2013, 1:22 pm

      And its not only AIPAC. Mainstream news omit the meeting between the esteemed Susan Rice NSA director and Yaakov Amidror outgoing NSC head for
      Israel. Nor do they present Amidror’s background: Columnist for Sheldon Adelson,
      supporter of “greater Israel” including annexation of the West Bank (states Palestine state will never happen), reoccupation of Gaza as well as reoccupation of Sinai. (Israpundit, 3.12.2011) He is famed in Israel for indicating that soldiers should kill anyone who gets in their way and soldiers who refuse should be shot.
      This is only one of a series of meetings between our NSA R2P leader and one of the most bloodthirsty of Israeli rightists. Perhaps Mondoweiss can ferret out more of
      this information as well as what has been discussed/promised in these meetings.
      Given these events, is it any wonder that the US is ignoring ally, international and UN proscriptions against bombing Syria. Clearly, this plays into Netanyahu and
      Amidror’s vision of a greater Israel. One cannot forget that Netanyahu has gone on record saying that Israel will undertake a massive blow to Syria if he “detects”
      any possibility of threat to Israel. Sadly, there is no daylight between our foreign policy which is obviously driven by Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Valerie Jarrett (and not Dempsy or Hagel) and that of the Israel right.

    • DICKERSON3870
      August 29, 2013, 3:10 pm

      RE: “Obama has morphed into Shrub/Cheney. That’s the way the American system works.” ~ Cheney

      TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! !
      FROM RootsAction.org: To email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, click here. - link to act.rootsaction.org

    • thankgodimatheist
      August 29, 2013, 8:48 pm

      “unlike in Bush Jr’s adventure in Iraq, the Israelis are front and center”

      Actually, Citizen. Israel wasn’t that quaint in the Iraq adventure.\:
      JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli intelligence overplayed the threat posed by Iraq and reinforced the U.S. and British assessment that Saddam Hussein had large amounts of weapons of mass destruction, a retired Israeli general said Thursday.
      link to usatoday30.usatoday.com

  2. seafoid
    August 29, 2013, 11:51 am

    Samantha Power demands accountability. Jesus wept. Why not start with the drones? Then move on to Iraq. The reason there is so much popular anger this time is because there is no moving on from Iraq. Obama failed and the check has arrived.

    • Citizen
      August 30, 2013, 3:25 am

      @ seafoid
      Brits told Obama, basically, that they would not just join his quicky strike on Syria, that because of the Iraq War WMD setup and length, more had to be done to justify said quicky strike.

  3. just
    August 29, 2013, 11:54 am

    Great rundown of reality.

    As I said in another post, it seems that only the US, France, Britain and Israel are gunning for this debacle which will only cause more death and destruction to the Syrian people.

    One other commentary in The Guardian included this:

    “Iran has a terrible collective experience of chemical weapons used by Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war, to which the US and Britain, who were at that time backing the Iraqi dictator, turned a blind eye. If the process of trying to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria was kept within the framework of the UN, or if, as the price of avoiding an airstrike, Iran could back the idea of a permanent UN presence in Syria monitoring Mr Assad’s stocks of chemical weapons, then a way back to the negotiating table could be found. This is a slim hope. More likely, waves of cruise missiles could soon be heading towards Syria to feed a fire that is already well lit.”

    link to theguardian.com

    We’re awfully selective in who, what and where we choose to punish, aren’t we? Even before we have any CREDIBLE evidence.

    • marc b.
      August 29, 2013, 12:01 pm

      Iran has a terrible collective experience of chemical weapons used by Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war, to which the US and Britain, who were at that time backing the Iraqi dictator, turned a blind eye.

      that’s not exactly accurate. I thought it was more than a ‘blind eye’. I thought the US passed on satellite intelligence which effectively provided targeting locations for Iraqi chemical strikes on Iranian forces. I also seem to remember something about the Iraqis obtaining ‘seed stock’, or whatever its called, for the development of biological weapons from US sources.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 29, 2013, 12:20 pm

        marc, yep: Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

        link to foreignpolicy.com

      • just
        August 29, 2013, 12:26 pm

        All true, marc. We had our eyes “wide open”!

      • marc b.
        August 29, 2013, 12:51 pm

        annie and just, see also the so-called ‘riegle report’ from US congress identifying biological materials approved for export to Iraq by US Department of Commerce:

        The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has oversight responsibility for the Export Administration Act. Pursuant to the Act, Committee staff contacted the U.S. Department of Commerce and requested information on the export of biological materials during the years prior to the Gulf War. After receiving this information, we contacted a principal supplier of these materials to determine what, if any, materials were exported to Iraq which might have contributed to an offensive or defensive biological warfare program. Records available from the supplier for the period from 1985 until the present show that during this time, pathogenic (meaning “disease producing”), toxigenic (meaning “poisonous”), and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Records prior to 1985 were not available, according to the supplier. These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction. According to the Department of Defense’s own Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, released in April 1992: “By the time of the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq had developed biological weapons. It’s advanced and aggressive biological warfare program was the most advanced in the Arab world… The program probably began late in the 1970′s and concentrated on the development of two agents, botulinum toxin and anthrax bacteria… Large scale production of these agents began in 1989 at four facilities in Baghdad. Delivery means for biological agents ranged from simple aerial bombs and artillery rockets to surface-to-surface missiles.”

    • Walid
      August 29, 2013, 2:08 pm

      Speaking of Saddam and the gas, I’m sure that’s the WMD the Americans were looking for in Iraq before the invasion there. They were sure Saddam had them because they had supplied them but that they couldn’t come out and say so, so they made up the bogus Powell story.

      • James Canning
        August 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

        @Walid – - But CIA had excellent intel from dozens of people “in the know” in Iraq, that Saddam had destroyed its WMD. After Gulf War.

      • Taxi
        August 29, 2013, 2:41 pm

        James is correct. We knew Saddam had no WMD’s, it was no mystery at all; we knew he’d methodically destroyed his WMD program. But we were not going to let the guarded facts get in the way of a devastating macho war.

      • James Canning
        August 29, 2013, 7:03 pm

        Thanks, Taxi. Rumsfeld decided the invasion was a good idea since it gave him an opportunity to try out some new ideas (in using force).
        But so-called Iraqi “threat” was BS, and intentionally used to dupe the American people.

      • Shingo
        August 30, 2013, 7:02 am

        Very true.

        Here is Rice and Powell admitting that Iraq had no WMD in 2011 (before 911).

        He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq…”

        [Powell said just the oppos on 24 February 2001 during Powell's visit to Cairo, Egypt. Answering a question about the US-led sanctions against Iraq]

        “But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let’s remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.
        [ On 29 July 2001, Condoleezza Rice appeared on CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer]
        link to cs.cornell.edu

      • James Canning
        August 30, 2013, 6:10 pm

        Bravo, Shingo.

  4. marc b.
    August 29, 2013, 11:57 am

    Russia’s ambassador in the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, presented conclusive evidence – based on documents and Russian satellite images – of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian “rebels”, and landing on East Ghouta. Hundreds of “rebels”, as well as civilians – including those children on the cover of Western corporate media papers – were killed.

    the map published in the nyt identifies the area from which the alleged attacks were launched as being in ‘disputed’ quarters of Damascus.

    link to nytimes.com;

  5. American
    August 29, 2013, 12:05 pm

    I hope that the rising voices against striking Syria are the begining of a more forceful ‘trend’ taking place—more wide spread rejection of senseless military actions.

    • Kathleen
      August 29, 2013, 12:56 pm

      9% of Americans support an attack, leaving 91% against. But with Biden, Kerry, Obama, Powers all sounding like members of the Bush administration before the horrific invasion of Iraq…looking quite grim. Never forget Kerry and Biden both voted for the Iraq war resolution. If Hillary gets in next time around the next stop will be Iran

  6. American
    August 29, 2013, 12:13 pm

    ”Their rationale is not only that Assad must be punished for committing an atrocity but that US “credibility” is at stake—”>>>>

    The US has no credibility and strikng Syria will give us even less– if it’s possible for us to have even less.

    “What I’d like is if news accounts on pressure to intervene in Syria made it clear that the “growing calls … for forceful action” aren’t coming from the people, or Congressional majorities, or an expert consensus. The pressure is being applied by a tiny, insular elite that mostly lives in Washington, D.C., and isn’t bothered by the idea of committing America to military action that most Americans oppose.”>>>

    And that is the only thing we know for absolute truth in this.

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2013, 1:21 pm

      Tell our children their Dad was killed to maintain US credibility.

  7. jon s
    August 29, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Here’s my doomsday scenario: the US strikes Syria, whereupon Syria and Hizbullah launch rocket attacks on Israel. Israel retaliates , Iran threatens Israel with destruction, Israel attacks the Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran reacts by taking out the Saudi oil fields and blocking the Straights of Hormuz. The world economy collapses. Jihadi sleeper cells carry out horrific terror attacks in the US and Europe. What happens next I can’t even imagine. Maybe the entire Middle East goes up in flames, only Shimon Peres survives.

    • just
      August 29, 2013, 12:29 pm

      Well if the US strikes, then we are the “terrorists”!

      It’s a really, really stupid idea.

    • Walid
      August 29, 2013, 1:16 pm

      jon, the scenes shown on Israel’s channel 10 today make it appear that everybody in Israel is running around in a panic as if Israel’s doomsday is finally here. There’s an overall panic that there aren’t enough gas masks to go around and that the shelters are not properly equipped to handle so many people. There was also something about Israel having emptied its amonia tanks at Haifa and stored the stuff elsewhere. I lost some of it in the translation but there seems to be more of a panic in TA than there is in Damascus.

      • Ellen
        August 29, 2013, 1:25 pm

        Keeping a population in a sate of fear is efficient control. If people are fearful, you can control them, make them do anything at all.

      • Taxi
        August 29, 2013, 1:28 pm

        I saw that too, Walid. On Mayadeen TV.

        Seanmcbride shoulda seen it – for all the BS warrior cred he gives israelis.

        Too bad Al Mayadeen TV broadcasts only in Arabic. Some real good analysts and strategists on board.

      • amigo
        August 29, 2013, 4:25 pm

        Walid “here’s an overall panic that there aren’t enough gas masks to go around and that the shelters are not properly equipped to handle so many people.”

        You mean Jewish Israeli only shelters and Gas masks.

      • just
        August 29, 2013, 5:20 pm

        Like I wrote yesterday:

        “”Meanwhile, demand for gas masks and protection kits from the Israeli public continued to rise. The Israeli postal authority said telephone inquiries had increased by 300% and queues had formed outside distribution depots.

        According to a report in Ma’ariv, Israel’s home front command is grappling with the problem of providing gas masks to men with beards, extremely common among ultra-Orthodox Jews. A special mask, which can accommodate a beard, is available but the high cost means it is only distributed to men over 65 or whose beards are for health reasons.

        “Men who grow beards for religious reasons will have to shave in the event of a chemical attack,” Ma’ariv reported.”

        link to theguardian.com

        Who is going to give protection to the Palestinians– even those without beards??? Aren’t the Occupiers responsible for the Occupied? Why yes, they are.”

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2013, 3:42 am

        @ amigo
        I never thought about that before. Do the Arab Israelis get government-issued gas masks too? Maybe just a few, in keeping with the general heavily disproportionate distribution of Israeli government largess, services?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 29, 2013, 9:54 pm

        omg, lol, nothing should surprise me anymore.

      • Bumblebye
        August 29, 2013, 10:12 pm

        I’m hugely relieved the UK govt lost tonite’s vote, but now there’s this:
        link to bbc.co.uk

        “A BBC team inside Syria filming for Panorama has witnessed the aftermath of a fresh horrific incident – an incendiary bomb dropped onto a school playground in the north of the country – which has left scores of children with napalm-like burns over their bodies.

        Eyewitnesses describe a fighter jet dropping the device, a low explosion, followed by columns of fire and smoke. ”

        Having heard graphically detailed reports on bbcR4 and bbcR5, with the screams of terribly injured children and distraught parents in the background, I haven’t actually dared to watch the footage. Simply too distressing. What I naively hope is that this evidence of atrocity will bring Russia and China to the table, and hopefully result in agreement to cut off military supply of all kinds to all groups.

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2013, 3:47 am

        @ Bumblebye
        I read an article yesterday calling US, Britain, Israel hypocrites as all have used white phosphorus, US in 2004, Israel in 2009–and some sources say, very recently in Syria.

        (Also the use of depleted uranium.)

      • jon s
        August 30, 2013, 11:40 am

        Maybe there are some Jews with something of a hang-up about the threat of poison gas, I wonder why.

      • Eva Smagacz
        August 30, 2013, 2:41 pm

        Jon, have you just used holocaust card? in passing? In a post about Syria and people dying from gas attacks? is it really about your tribe and only about your tribe?

      • just
        August 30, 2013, 10:55 pm

        Always.

      • eljay
        August 30, 2013, 11:06 pm

        >> Jon, have you just used holocaust card? in passing? In a post about Syria and people dying from gas attacks? is it really about your tribe and only about your tribe?

        Eternal victimhood, even as his Zio-supremacist co-collectivists continue – as they have been doing for over 60 years – to oppress, terrorize, steal, destroy, colonize, torture, hate and kill.

        It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it… :-(

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2013, 1:23 pm

      “Iran reacts by taking out the Saudi oil fields and blocking the Straights of Hormuz. ”

      The Homos of Hormuz turn out to save the day. It’s turned into a film starring Rock Hudson.

    • eljay
      August 29, 2013, 1:32 pm

      >> What happens next I can’t even imagine.

      Once Israel has done that Samson Option thing, hardy Zio-supremacists (like OlegReee, fnleviteee, yrneee, miriam6eee and others) will have the opportunity to make the post-apocalyptic desert bloom again in Palestine – a wasteland without a people for a people without a supremacist state.

      And, lucky them, they won’t even have the bother of terrorizing, ethnically cleansing, torturing or murdering any Palestinians, or of destroying their homes and lands, as they re-build their supremacist state.

    • Abierno
      August 29, 2013, 5:32 pm

      Add China to that scenario since they are developing the oil fields for Iraq. So
      not only does Israel attack Iranian nuclear facilities but also the oil fields, killing
      untold Chinese nationals, with the result …

  8. seanmcbride
    August 29, 2013, 12:18 pm

    # Syria War ringleaders (a few one has noticed to date)

    1. Aaron David Miller
    2. Abe Greenwald
    3. Alan Mendoza
    4. Allison Johnson
    5. Ammar Abdulhamid
    6. Ann Marlowe
    7. Arch Puddington
    8. Ash Jain
    9. Benjamin Netanyahu
    10. Bernard-Henri Levy
    11. Bob Corker
    12. Bret Stephens
    13. Bruce Jackson
    14. Christopher Griffin
    15. Clifford May
    16. Colin Dueck
    17. Dan Senor
    18. Daniel Pipes
    19. Danielle Pletka
    20. David Axelrod
    21. David Cameron
    22. David Gregory
    23. David Pollock
    24. Eliot Cohen
    25. Eliot Engel
    26. Ellen Bork
    27. Elliott Abrams
    28. Eric Edelman
    29. Fouad Ajami
    30. Fred Kaplan
    31. Gary Bauer
    32. Henry Sokolski
    33. Irina Krasovskaya
    34. Israel
    35. James Denton
    36. James Traub
    37. Jamie Kirchick
    38. Joe Biden
    39. Joe Lieberman
    40. John Bolton
    41. John Hannah
    42. John Kerry
    43. John McCain
    44. John Shattuck
    45. Jonathan Tepperman
    46. Joshua Muravchik
    47. Karl Rove
    48. Ken Pollack
    49. Kenneth Jensen
    50. L. Paul Bremer
    51. Larry Diamond
    52. Lawrence Kaplan
    53. Lee Smith
    54. Leon Wieseltier
    55. Lindsey Graham
    56. Mark Dubowitz
    57. Martin Peretz
    58. Matthew Brodsky
    59. Max Boot
    60. Michael Auslin
    61. Michael Doran
    62. Michael Makovsky
    63. neoconservatives
    64. Nicholas Eberstadt
    65. Norm Coleman
    66. Paul Berman
    67. Paul Wolfowitz
    68. Paula DeSutter
    69. Paula Dobriansky
    70. Peter King
    71. Randy Scheunemann
    72. Reuel Marc Gerecht
    73. Richard Haass
    74. Robert Lieber
    75. Robert Joseph
    76. Robert Kagan
    77. Roger Cohen
    78. Samantha Power
    79. Seth Cropsey
    80. Shimon Peres
    81. Susan Rice
    82. Thomas Donnelly
    83. Thomas Mahnken
    84. Tim Pawlenty
    85. Tod Lindberg
    86. Tony Blair
    87. Tzipi Livni
    88. Weekly Standard
    89. William Courtney
    90. William Kristol
    91. Yuval Steinitz

    • bilal a
      August 29, 2013, 12:50 pm

      The Atlantic gets it right :

      “Legitimacy” in these circles is a matter of social standing and institutional affiliations, not knowledge or track record…they hold a minority position.. the majority position — is all but ignored..It’s true that Washington elites, and a few foreign governments , have exerted increasing pressure on Obama to intervene in Syria..Why does the American press treat credibility among an insular elite as if it matters most?

      Which foreign government(s) fund a tiny insular minority Washington elite ?

      He;s clearly not talking only about Israel and the Neocons, the stakes are much higher than some romantic notion of a greater Israel. The target is massive energy supply including in iran-Russia threeatening the Gulf oligarchs and their British -Dutch allies BP Shell Aramco cant profit without war and instability in MENA and Central Asia.

      Oil industry executives and bankers are assuming oil prices will stay above $100 a barrel in the year ahead, despite mounting economic worries, as any fall below that level would trigger a cut in Saudi Arabia’s output and force closures at high-cost projects around the world.

      link to reuters.com

      This the geoeconomic rationale for the existence of a greater Israel and its quest for living room along its borders.

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2013, 3:55 am

        @ bilal a
        Yes, OWS would call that part of the 1%. There’s also the military-industrial-securities complex–and all those workaday folks with jobs in it. Elected government reps serve their constituency.

    • marc b.
      August 29, 2013, 12:56 pm

      sean, you left douglas ‘the stupidest f*cking guy on the planet’ feith off your list. or did I miss him. I think he was a signatory to the recent ‘we want more blood’ list of expert advocates promoting intervention.

      • Walid
        August 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

        Also left out a few others rooting for a hit:

        OIC calls for decisive action against chemical attack in Syria
        28/08/2013 | 11:23 PM | World News
        JEDDAH, Aug 28 (KUNA) — The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called Wednesday for a decisive action against the perpetrators of the dreadful attack on Damascus with internationally-banned chemical weapons, inflicting a heavy loss of lives among civilians.
        In a press statement, the General Secretariat of the Muslim bloc stressed the need to hold the Syrian Government legally and morally accountable for this allegedly heinous crime and to bring its perpetrators to justice. (Kuwait News Agency)

        CAIRO — The Arab League on Tuesday declared the Syrian regime “fully responsible” for an alleged chemical weapons attack, giving the Obama administration symbolic regional cover to proceed with a punitive offensive that could begin within days. (McClatchy)

      • seanmcbride
        August 29, 2013, 1:46 pm

        Walid,

        What in your opinion are the strategic calculations and agenda of the OIC and Arab League in this instance?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 29, 2013, 10:05 pm

        walid, did you read “Prince Bandar bin Sultan….responsible for carrying out the gas attack.”?

        SA is making waves in syria, whether this report is accurate or not.
        link to mintpressnews.com

        bandar is quite the card.

      • Walid
        August 29, 2013, 11:07 pm

        Sean, after Mahatir Mohammed stepped down as OIC’s president years ago, Palestine appears to have been dropped from its agenda. Other than that, I have no idea what this organization or its agenda are about. I’m also indifferent to the AL that has yet to resolve a conflict between or on behalf of Arab states in its 50 or 60 year history. Grandiose meetings, lots of pomp and circumstance, fluttering robes and flags, but few accomplishments; half its members have either normalized or quasi-normalized relations with Israel. Over a year ago, the AL suspended Syria’s membership in the organization with only Lebanon and Algeria objecting the illegitimacy in the procedures of the suspension, which amounted to an expulsion. When Algeria raissed its tone, it was told to be quiet as it could be next on the list. So the AL’s agenda on Syria is very clear.

      • seanmcbride
        August 29, 2013, 11:31 pm

        Walid,

        The politics here (inside the OIC and AL) are opaque and mystifying for most Americans — certainly for me. I have no handle on it at all. Thanks for the info.

      • Walid
        August 30, 2013, 1:32 am

        More on AL invovement, from Daily Star:

        Arab League ministers to blame Syria’s Assad for chemical attack August 28, 2013 09:51 PM By Ayman Samir , Yasmine Saleh

        CAIRO: Arab League ministers will pass a resolution blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for last week’s chemical weapons attack in Damascus when they meet in Cairo next week, League officials said on Wednesday.

        The states’ permanent representatives at the League had already explicitly blamed Assad on Tuesday for the attack, which killed hundreds of civilians, in a step that provided regional political cover for a possible U.S.-led military strike on Syria.

        A senior U.S. official said planning was under way for possibly several days of attacks by several countries, likely to include its NATO allies France and Britain, to punish Assad.

        The higher-level endorsement by the Arab foreign ministers at their meeting on Sept. 2-3 is being pushed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which both back anti-Assad rebels in Syria’s civil war, as well as Qatar, a non-Gulf official at the League said.

        Syria’s neighbours Iraq and Lebanon, along with Algeria, are likely to oppose or abstain from condemning Syria, as they have on similar resolutions in the past. Syria itself is suspended from the League.

        “The Arab foreign ministers will affirm the full responsibility of the Syrian regime for the chemical weapons’ attack that took place in Eastern Ghouta (on the outskirts of Damascus),” a representative of a Gulf state in the League told Reuters.

        “We will also ask for those responsible for the attack to be taken to the International Criminal Court,” he added.

        The non-Gulf Arab League source confirmed the Gulf official’s remarks.

        “The world must see the Arab states seriously condemning Assad’s use of chemicals and calling for his punishment,” he said.

        He also called on the U.N. Security Council to adopt tougher sanctions on Syria and urged Russia and China, Assad’s backers in the council, not to block any council resolution proposing action against Assad.

        Syria’s civil war has split the region broadly along sectarian lines.

        Shiite Muslim Iran, and its allies in Lebanon and Iraq, support Assad. The Sunni-led Gulf Arab states, led by oil giant Saudi Arabia and influential Qatar, have backed the mainly Sunni Muslim rebels, many of whom are Islamist militants.

        link to dailystar.com.lb

      • Walid
        August 30, 2013, 2:22 pm

        Sean, more on the AL that interests you. The Foreign Ministers of the AL will be meeting in Cairo on Sunday to issue a formal declaration of condemnation of Syria and endorsing the US hit on it.

      • Walid
        August 30, 2013, 2:29 pm

        Annie, haven’t read or heard anything to that effect, but I somehow don’t believe it possible. The mint press news site is down acording to its twitter account and is currently partnering for this article on the antiwar site. Whole story sounds fishy.

    • seanmcbride
      August 29, 2013, 1:40 pm

      Some of the liberal Zionists on that list:

      1. Aaron David Miller
      2. David Axelrod
      3. Eliot Engel
      4. Fred Kaplan
      5. Jamie Kirchick
      6. Joe Biden
      7. John Kerry
      8. Ken Pollack
      9. Leon Wieseltier
      10. Martin Peretz
      11. Paul Berman
      12. Richard Haass
      13. Roger Cohen
      14. Samantha Power
      15. Shimon Peres
      16. Susan Rice
      17. Tony Blair
      18. Tzipi Livni

      And they have no problem joining a warmongering mob with neoconservatives and Christian Zionists like Elliott Abrams and Gary Bauer, as long as they think that more war is good for Israel.

      This has nothing to do with “humanitarian” sentiments — that’s a chintzy cover for the real agenda — to get the United States and the West irrevocably bogged down in a bloody Clash of Civilizations and war to the death with all of Israel’s Arab and Muslim enemies.

    • seanmcbride
      August 29, 2013, 2:43 pm

      Some members of the above list may begin to start wondering if they want to be so conspicuously associated with an ideological group that has been responsible for so many bad policies. Watch them start to edge away — they know that history has a long memory. How many of them already wish they that hadn’t howled so loudly for the Iraq War?

  9. seanmcbride
    August 29, 2013, 12:23 pm

    A few observations about the ringleaders of a Syria War

    1. Many of them were ringleaders of the disastrous Iraq War — their credibility and judgment on international affairs should be considered worse than useless — they instigated the worst foreign policy failure in American history. They should have removed themselves from the public stage years ago.

    2. Nearly all of them are pro-Israel activists.

    3. Many of them are Jewish neoconservatives and neoliberals.

    4. They are being isolated and marginalized — political forces and public sentiment worldwide all across the political spectrum are turning against them. They simply didn’t know when to quit.

  10. Obsidian
    August 29, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Obama isn’t listening to neo-cons or reflecting on the Iraq War.

    He understands, from intelligence intercepts, that Assad may not have authorized the gas attack; that someone in his regime may have broken the chain of command and ordered the attack w/o approval.

    link to thecable.foreignpolicy.com

    That’s why Obama hasn’t acted and why he may not respond at all.

    • Ellen
      August 29, 2013, 1:00 pm

      Obsidian, that story in FP is a plant, allowing wiggle room. The US has no direct intelligence intercepts. The intelligence they are supposedly acting on is supplied to them by Israel.

      Besides, if you go back to how this whole rebellion in Syria started, something smells. Supposedly it all started when school children wrote provocative posters calling for the fall of Assad.

      The spark that lit the flame began about a year ago in the southern city of Daraa after the arrests of at least 15 children for painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of a school.
      link to edition.cnn.com

      Who were the provocateurs sparking the Syrian block-headed response to a school children’s protests?

      We’ve seen this movie a few times.

      • Walid
        August 30, 2013, 12:45 am

        “Besides, if you go back to how this whole rebellion in Syria started, something smells. Supposedly it all started when school children wrote provocative posters calling for the fall of Assad. ”

        Maybe this is what kicked it off, Ellen, but the repression had been there for years, otherwise it wouldn’t have worked for those outsiders like Israel that fueled the rebellion. From 1973 to February 2012, the country’s constitution (Article 8) had guaranteed a Baathist majority in parliament, in society and the state. In the new constitution, Article 8 was repealed, which finally permitted a multi-party system but it didn’t change anything since the only structured organization that remained in Syria was the Baathist party so it easily won the elections and was returned to power. When the rebellion was just starting, the Syrians were promised a long list of reforms, most of which still to be met. The lifting of the repressive emergency law that been in effect for 48 years was only lifted in 2011 after the destruction of a good part of Homs .

      • Obsidian
        August 30, 2013, 4:20 am

        @Walid

        “it wouldn’t have worked for those outsiders like Israel that fueled the rebellion”

        Uhh..how did Israel fuel the rebellion?

      • miriam6
        August 30, 2013, 4:08 pm

        Exactly Obsidian

        The uprising/rebellion began as part of the Arab Spring uprisings.

        Many Syrians wanted rid of Assad

        If Israel has meddled since it’s far from being the only country / entity to do that

        See my comment 1.02am

      • miriam6
        August 30, 2013, 1:02 am

        Ellen says;

        Besides, if you go back to how this whole rebellion in Syria started, something smells. Supposedly it all started when school children wrote provocative posters calling for the fall of Assad.

        Actually , most commentators have agreed that the uprising which began in Syria was the latest manifestation of the Arab Spring.

        The article you linked to in your comment makes that clear.

        It also makes clear that discontent in Syria with Assad’s authoritarian regime has been brewing for decades…


        Discontent in Syria has slow-burned for decades.

        A clampdown on a a Muslim Brotherhood uprising by the current president’s predecessor and father — President Hafez Assad — killed thousands in Hama in 1982.

        The only thing that smells here is your patronising depiction of Syrians as mere mindless pawns , ready react to form an uprising at a drop of a hat, as mere mindless puppets in response to an act which you claim , with no supporting evidence whatsoever , simply MUST be the work of ‘provocateurs’..

        The hollowing out , lack of legitimacy and weakness of Assad’s regime plus the weakness and lack of strategy of those leading the rebellion , coupled with meddling from Western governments have all been contributing factors to the bloody quagmire and stalemate in Syria.

        One of the most striking things about the uprising in Syria is the extent to which the question of political legitimacy, the true issue at the heart of the Arab quake, is being discussed openly.

        As in other Arab states before it, the uprising in Syria has confirmed the political decay of the regime that ruled for most of the postwar period. Built on little more than access to natural resources, external political backing and internal authoritarianism (often cynically justified in the name of preparing for the coming liberation of Palestine), these regimes have become utterly hollowed out in recent years.

        The removal of the various crutches with which they propped themselves up, from the demise of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s to the decommissioning of the Palestinian question in the 1990s to the destruction of Syria’s Ba’athist cousins in Iraq in the 2000s, has exposed, to all, the illegitimacy of the Arab states.

        The speed with which rulers fell in Tunisia and Egypt further confirmed their weakness, acting as an invitation to other Arab peoples to try to push aside their dictators.

        In relation to Syria, The Economist describes how ‘few articulate leaders have emerged [and] no formal structures exist’. This echoes developments across the Arab world, where very large numbers of freedom-hungry people have taken to the streets, but where no new, structured, active political grouping has emerged.

        Sadly, some of the young activists in the Arab world seem to have bought into po-mo Western ideas about the wonderful nature of leaderless protest movements, which merely make statements rather than seeking to change the world in an old-fashioned ideological fashion.

        What we are witnessing in the Arab world is the final unravelling of the old politics. The post-Second World War set-up in the Arab world is in freefall; America’s Cold War-era clout in the Middle East and beyond no longer stands up; and the old radical ideologies of liberation seem to have little purchase with new protesters.

        This makes the future of the Arab world very uncertain indeed, with the danger that powerful nearby states, most notably Iran and Saudi Arabia, will seek to fill the vacuum left by the absence of political authority amongst all the parties to the Arab upheaval.

        link to spiked-online.com


        Syria: how the West is sanctioning sectarianism.

        In the name of making a PR performance of their moral resolve, Western governments are meddling in Syria in an ever-more lethal way.

        link to spiked-online.com


        From EU sanctions to Arab League posturing, external meddling in Syria is weakening the democratic uprising.

        link to spiked-online.com

  11. American
    August 29, 2013, 12:33 pm

    ““We ultimately, of course, hold President Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons by his regime against his own people, regardless of where the command and control lies,”>>>>>>

    So we bomb some sites where no doubt some civilans will be affected or killed– to punish Assad —-instead of punishing Assad, who we say is the responsible one.

    Does anyone remember the ad against drug use long ago that showed a egg sizzling in a frying pan and said ..”this is your brain on drugs” ?
    That is what US leadership is now.

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2013, 1:28 pm

      The Dutch government recently stood up to the settlers. I wonder if Israel is now seeing that it has cashed in most of its diplomatic chips with the rest of the world over its 3 generations of belligerence.

      Iraq is the reason this US intervention hasn’t happened.
      Most countries are pretty pissed about Cast Lead as well.
      The Israeli “recast the Middle East ” spiel is a very tired script.

  12. just
    August 29, 2013, 12:33 pm

    The King of Jordan and the Pope are against the “strike”

    “As governments and legislatures in the US and UK mull intervention in Syria’s civil war, the Pope and the Jordanian king have said that dialogue is the “only option” for ending the bloody conflict.

    King Abdullah II, his wife Queen Rania and the Pope spoke privately for 20 minutes in the Vatican’s apostolic palace. The royal couple had flown to Rome specifically to discuss the crisis.

    In a statement, the Vatican said the two men “reaffirmed that the path of dialogue and negotiations among all components of Syrian society, with the backing of the international community, is the only option to end the conflict and the violence that each day cause the loss of so many human lives, most of all among the defenceless population.”

    King Abdullah, whose country borders Syria and has been hosting over half a million Syrian refugees, called for a “comprehensive solution to end the suffering of the Syrian people, safeguard the unity of the Syrian people and land and prevent the region from falling into the abyss,” Jordan’s royal court said in a statement.”

    link to independent.co.uk

    • Walid
      August 29, 2013, 1:49 pm

      Just, Jordan is practically an American base. It’s been weeks that several hundred US military people arrived in Jordan to train the Syrian rebels. Jordan also has an American-run police and military academy that trains police forces and private militias for various ME countries. Of course, the king would say he is against a strike on Syria.

      • piotr
        August 29, 2013, 2:22 pm

        What you cite would serve as an explanation why Jordan supports an attack on Syria. However, they may genuinely oppose.

        Recently there was a piece of news on Jordan intercepting weapons smuggled by jihadis from Syria to Jordan. Taqfiris are easy to incite but hard to control.

      • Walid
        August 29, 2013, 2:58 pm

        Jordan would be an easy target for a Syrian retaliatory strike. Jordan was also the first Arab country to turn on Assad’s regime a couple of years back. The last time Jordan sided with the loser (Saddam), it took it years to live down this mistake with the West. The trip to the Vatican is along the same lines as the reported interception of jihadis’ weapons.

      • just
        August 29, 2013, 3:16 pm

        Jordan is shouldering a lot of the burden of refugees from Syria. So is Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq………Those governments threatening to bomb Syria? Not shouldering any of the burden…

        King Abdullah II is no King Hussein, but I don’t envy his ‘position’.

      • Rusty Pipes
        August 29, 2013, 5:24 pm

        Jordan is between a rock and a hard place. It has no oil, limited water and tons of refugees which it has absorbed over the decades from various countries. The countries which have been using the plight of the Syrian refugees as photo ops to push for war have not come through on their promises of aid, which has put a financial strain on Jordan. Jordan’s leadership is compromised in many ways by its peace treaty with Israel and its dependence on American and Saudi assistance, allowing Israeli flyovers to attack Syria and hosting what could be the foundations of a new American base. Even though American advisors are training “secular” Syrian rebels in Jordan, Jordan maintains that they are not allowed to recruit within refugee camps.

        Abdullah has been consistent in his statements advocating a political solution for Syria. The Israelis may like instability in the region (which grabs the international spotlight) and the Gulf States may want the emergence of Salafist regimes, but these are a threat to Abdullah’s leadership in Jordan (no matter how much Americans assure him that they’ll protect him). He may have initiated contact with the Pope after the vatican’s statement a few days ago condemning American intervention in Syria.

      • Walid
        August 29, 2013, 11:52 pm

        “Jordan is between a rock and a hard place. It has no oil, limited water and tons of refugees ”

        But it has abundant deposits of uranium that would have turned it from a borrower state to a lender state, if Israel and the US would have allowed it to fully exploit them. But they didn’t, as Israel wanted direct management over this Jordanian resource.

      • Rusty Pipes
        September 2, 2013, 7:03 pm

        Even though Jordan claims they are not allowed to recruit in the camps, the FSA has ways of luring them in — including among the “youth bulge” demographic that a 2008 Rand study found so worrisome. According to WaPo, many of the new FSA recruits are under 18:

        About half of the 200 new recruits who board buses each week to Syria from Jordan’s sprawling Zaatari refu­gee camp are under 18, U.N. officials at the camp estimate.

        …The flow of fresh troops has helped the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army replenish ranks rapidly diminished by a series of recent losses.

        But it also has prompted unease from U.N. officials, who in an internal report this month warned of growing “recruitment by armed groups, including of under-aged refugees” in Zaatari and across the region, indicating that the rebels may no longer be honoring a pledge to bar fighters younger than 17.

        “We are concerned by reports that some groups may be attempting to use Zaatari as a recruitment center, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it stays a refugee camp and not a military camp,” Andrew Harper, the U.N. refugee agency’s representative in Jordan, said in an interview.

        “Many of these young men’s fathers and older brothers have died before them,” said Abu Diyaa al-Hourani, commander of a Free Syrian Army battalion outside the Syrian border town of Sheikh al-Maskin. He said that Syrians as young as 15 serve in his 800-man unit, whose average age has plunged to 19, down from 25 not long ago.

        The families of the young fighters receive monthly benefits from the Free Syrian Army, including salaries and even priority in the distribution of food aid and cash assistance within the camp, refugee officials said. In interviews, several parents — some of whom arrived in Zaatari with little more than the clothes on their backs — said those incentives had influenced their family’s decision.

  13. Taxi
    August 29, 2013, 12:50 pm

    If memory serves, it was Netanyahu’s “red line” fixation with Iran, soon followed by his thugs on Capitol Hill pressuring Obama into declaring his own “red line” for Syria, that got us into this fine mess in the first place.

    But how politically stupid of Obama to oblige the ziocons.

    In high politics, one never makes a commitment one cannot keep – or even a promise one can keep. Because one never knows what tomorrow may bring that might alter yesterday’s determinations.

    • Bumblebye
      August 29, 2013, 1:21 pm

      Another “fine mess”. Yeah, I can see the pair of ‘em as the Laurel and Hardy of idiotic warfare..

    • James Canning
      August 29, 2013, 2:06 pm

      Obama obviously can say it at this time is not known for certain who ordered the use of CW in Damascus recently.

  14. piotr
    August 29, 2013, 1:05 pm

    Current British comments in Guardian (they have a nasty spat with Spain about Gibraltar right now):

    29 August 2013 9:35am
    Recommend 47
    Please do as a favour and invade Spain. We are desperate for some help on the fascists party ruling the Spanish government issue.

    29 August 2013 11:08am
    Recommend 197
    We’re busy bombing Syria next week. Does the week after that work for you?

  15. kalithea
    August 29, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Here’s the double-sided face of U.S. and U.K. policy: The Zionist bought-sold politicians cry and howl when videos of suffering Syrian children are paraded on cable news, without minimally questioning their authenticity. And they scream WMDs and beat their chests and the drums of war at a deafening pitch, BUT, when illegal explosives, bombs, phosphorous and yes, CWs, are raining down on Palestinians, most recently in Gaza and in Iran during the U.S. supported Iran invasion by Saddam Hussein…you can hear a pin drop in Congress and in the British Parliament until everyone leaves the room when the few politicians who speak out for equal justice take the floor.

    A very well-known U.S. media outlet just aired a short piece on Assad’s wife, referring to her as double-sided for on the one hand working with children’s charities in Syria and on the other standing by her man and ordering candlesticks from Paris.

    Here’s the thing: Mrs. Obama, was dining on the finest china and dancing in expensive ball gowns at her husband’s inauguration, while Gazan children or their parents were still being dug out of the rubble after Cast Lead and screaming from phosphorous burns and amputated limbs after U.S.-bought weapons were illegally used on them! And Mrs. Obama no doubt ensures that her temporary accommodations are well stocked with the finest linens, crystal, silver and whatever else despite whatever misery and pain her husband’s administration causes!

    And let me finish off this double-sided argument by stating that more drones rained down on innocent families and particularly, children, during the Obama Administration than any other Presidency, including the Bush presidency. And not a squeak, not a peep out of Mrs. Obama’s mouth on the atrocity committed by HER OWN HUSBAND.

    I rest my case, although tomes could be written on the war crimes and duplicity of the U.S. and U.K. warmongers!

    • Citizen
      August 30, 2013, 4:24 am

      @ kalithea
      Astute observations. Thanks for pointing them out clearly. Mrs. Obama does have a children’s natural veggie garden on the WH grounds, and she is leading a charge on the eating habits of fat people, especially those of the kids. I bet she’s also part of the new giant tax increase on cigarettes to replace sequestration cuts for Head Start–problem there is every year for years now the number of smokers has gone down, so it’s a very short term solution.

  16. Walid
    August 29, 2013, 1:55 pm

    Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that while Canada supports its allies, it will NOT be joining them in an attack on Syria. That’s good new coming out of Canada.

    • Taxi
      August 29, 2013, 2:08 pm

      So far, all that seems to have happened since the “threat of an imminent strike on Syria” was broadcast to the world, is that the israeli citizenry are freaking out and staining their unmentionables.

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2013, 3:28 pm

      link to theguardian.com

      “In the (UK House of ) Lords Lord Dannatt, the former head of the army (and at one time an adviser to David Cameron) has said that servicemen and women should not be forced to fight a campaign without public support.

      It’s been very interesting this week what has been happening in our country. The drums of war were banging very loudly two or three days ago. The people didn’t like it. The dialogue, the debate has changed. In the House of Commons the debate has been considering a different motion to the one that was probably intended. Looking for more time, looking for a second debate, looking for second vote.

      The drum beat has got quieter and that’s really, really important. And why I say it’s really important is because the people who have to carry out the military actions that we might or might not require are the soldiers, sailors and airmen of our armed forces. And they are not some kind of elite that are kept in a box that are just wheeled out when needed. They are citizens like you and me. And they are citizens who absolutely have to know that what they are being asked to do is what the country wants them to do, what the country believes is right.

      We don’t govern by consensus but we are a democracy, and the people have a very important voice in this and I’m delighted that the drumbeat and the drums have become more muffled.

      And as far as intervention in Syria is concerned I do not support intervention in any shape or form at this time. Circumstances might change.

      Dannatt also said he would only support military intervention in Syria as part of an international force implementing a peace agreement.

  17. James Canning
    August 29, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Did George Tenet dupe Colon Powell, intentionally? To help sell the war (illegal invasion of Iraq)? I tend to think the answer is affirmative.

  18. Les
    August 29, 2013, 2:25 pm

    This is about Iran, not Syria, says Robert Fisk. “Iran is Israel’s enemy. Iran is therefore, naturally, America’s enemy.”

    link to independent.co.uk

    • James Canning
      August 29, 2013, 6:59 pm

      Iran should not be America’s enemy.

      • seafoid
        August 30, 2013, 4:25 am

        “I had heard somewhere along the line that the Palestinians were supposed to be my enemies. They are not my enemies””

        link to vimeo.com

        The enemy is never the Iranians or the Alawis or the Jews. The enemy is war and the system that drives it.

  19. kalithea
    August 29, 2013, 2:26 pm

    George Galloway again at his best today.

    My Question: Who does the West justify supporting just to fulfill the ME agenda?

    Worth repeating: 3:30 to 4:25

    And regarding the “unreasonable” use of the China/Russia veto VS the duplicitous veto we all here are so familiar and disgusted with…. Galloway: 5:04 to 6:00

    Clone the man to fill a seat in the U.S. Congress!

    Enjoy. (Perhaps someone can find a better version of the video.)

    • Marco
      August 29, 2013, 5:02 pm

      Notice how through almost the entirety of Galloway’s speech the House of Commons is silent, but when he denounces America’s vetos of U.N. resolutions regarding Israel’s crimes suddenly then the chamber turns rancorous.

      The moral is that it’s okay for a MP to condemn his own country but to criticize Israel is beyond the pale.

      We see this exact same pattern here in America.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 29, 2013, 10:36 pm

      great video! i love the man.

  20. yrn
    August 29, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Only three days ago Annie Robbins writes “there is no clear determined site position on events in syria”
    And look what happened since.
    There is suddenly someone to blame and there is a site position………..

    Where were you all when the Butcher ASAD for year butchered 100,000 of his own Nation and cause millions of refugees…………..
    I did not read anyone pointing the finger on this Bucher
    You did not have anyone to blame, who killed those 100,000 Syrians.

    That’s the face of Mondowiess.

    • just
      August 29, 2013, 4:14 pm

      Pathetic. We STILL don’t know who did the dastardly deed. I, for one, do not trust the intelligence– especially since it came from Israel!

      “That’s the face of Mondowiess.”

      So why are you here?

      • yrn
        August 29, 2013, 5:24 pm

        just
        I am amused to show this site hypocrisy and fake.

      • yrn
        August 30, 2013, 3:28 am

        As all here, you don’y read even the issue
        Where were you all when the Butcher ASAD for year butchered 100,000 of his own Nation and cause millions of refugees…………..

        I did not read anyone pointing the finger on this Bucher ASAD not even now

      • Shingo
        August 30, 2013, 7:04 pm

        Where were you all when the Butcher ASAD for year butchered 100,000 of his own Nation and cause millions of refugees…………..

        When are you going to stop pretending that only Assad’s forces are doing the killing in Syria? 100,000 is the number that have been killed on both sides of the civil war.

    • Shingo
      August 30, 2013, 7:22 am

      Where were you all when the Butcher ASAD for year butchered 100,000 of his own Nation and cause millions of refugees…………..

      On planet earth (clearly while you were on hiatus from this world) where we know that Syria is suffering from a civil war in which both sides of the conflict are at least equally responsible for the deaths and where those refugees blame the rebels for their flight, not Assad.

      When are you going to stop lying about Assad being responsible for all the deaths?

  21. piotr
    August 29, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Poland, for all its worth, will not participate: link to wbj.pl

    Poland will not take part in any military intervention in Syria, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told journalists on Wednesday. “I talked to [Foreign Affairs] Minister [Radosław] Sikorski and I asked him to tell our partners that Poland is not planning participation in any type of intervention in Syria,” he said.

    The PM said that while he understands the motives behind a possible strike, he does not believe that such an intervention woud “bring the expected results” — that is, ending the violence in the country.

    “Our experience from that region shows that despite having a good and justified reason to intervene there, it rarely brings peace,” said PM Tusk.

    PIOTR: Harper and Tusk could be sock puppets of Obama. If they go on the record with opposition, perhaps Obama looks for a way out.

    There is also a little subtext here. The wife of FM Sikorski is an American neo-con journalist. And now PM does not consult with FM but tells him what to do.

    • kalithea
      August 29, 2013, 2:54 pm

      “Harper and Tusk could be sock puppets of Obama.”

      Uh…noooh. Not too familiar with Tusk’s record, but the other two are both definitely sock puppets for…Zionism and I suspect Tusk is no different.

      • piotr
        August 29, 2013, 11:08 pm

        In general, it is hard to map direct Zionist influence in Poland, but there is strong American influence, although much weaker among the common people than in the local establishment. There are hardly any actual Zionists or even “Christian Zionists”, unlike in Canada.

        As the economy weakened, Tusk must be worried about the next elections, and perhaps we has found an occasion to pose as a “resolute leader”. A sock-puppet theory would be that American Administration is giving green light to such posturing. A Syrian adventure can literally backfire on Israel, so this green light could ultimately be attributed to Zionist influence.

  22. kalithea
    August 29, 2013, 2:52 pm

    The U.S., the “moral” authority, wags its finger and rushes to point its tomahawks.

    The truth can be savage but it should always inform ultimate judgment and more importantly mankind’s evolution.

  23. DICKERSON3870
    August 29, 2013, 3:06 pm

    RE: “Obama has morphed into Shrub/Cheney. That’s the way the American system works.” ~ Cheney

    TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! !
    FROM RootsAction.org: To email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, click here. - link to act.rootsaction.org

  24. DICKERSON3870
    August 29, 2013, 3:18 pm

    RE: “The AP hints that Obama has morphed into the Cheney-Bush role.”

    FROM TED RALL, 07/22/10:

    . . . Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism” describes the cult of action for its own sake under fascist regimes and movements: “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.” . . .

    SOURCE – link to commondreams.org

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2013, 3:31 pm

      Dickerson

      Is that Ted Rall the cartoonist? I love the Ted Rall cartoons in the Funny Times.

      link to upload.wikimedia.org

      • DICKERSON3870
        August 29, 2013, 5:55 pm

        Yes, it is “Ted Rall the cartoonist”. He’s more than just a good cartoonist.

        P.S. EVERYBODY REMEMBER TO STOCK UP ON BEER AND PRETZELS FOR A WEEKEND OF SHOCK AND AWE IN HD.
        And don’t forget to do the Tomahawk (Cruise Missile) Chop!
        An attack on Syria will at the least expend lots of Tomahawk cruise missiles. When daddy Bush launched a cruise missile attack on Iraq in the early 1990′s these missiles cost $1 million each. The Pentagon used 100 of them in the initial attack. McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing Co.) had their factory in Titusville, Florida working round-the-clock to replace them.
        ● Braves vs Cardinals Tomahawk Chop Pregame [VIDEO, 01:21] – link to youtube.com

      • seafoid
        August 30, 2013, 4:15 am

        That Tomahawk chop is as bad as Miley Cyrus trying to pretend she’s black.

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2013, 4:52 am

        @ Dickerson3870
        I read recently that the cruise missile aboard the 4 US ships in the Syrian waters now cost up to $1.5 million each. If memory serves, each ship has about 40 of them. Remember how long it took our government to help Sandy Hook? Compare how much quicker it is to spend tons of federal dollars to teach Syria a quickie lesson.

      • DICKERSON3870
        August 29, 2013, 7:24 pm

        P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Operation Tomahawk with cheese”, By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, 8/29/13

        [EXCERPT] This deafeningly hysterical show of Syria as Iraq 2.0 is only happening because a president of the United States (POTUS) created a “credibility” problem when, recklessly, he pronounced the use of chemical weapons in Syria a “red line”.
        Thus the US government urgently needs to punish the transgressor – to hell with evidence – to maintain its “credibility”. But this time it will be “limited”. “Tailored”. Only “a few days”. A “shot across the bow” – as POTUS qualified it. Still, some – but not all – “high-value targets”, including command and control facilities and delivery systems, in Syria will have to welcome a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles (384 are already positioned in the eastern Mediterranean).
        We all know how the Pentagon loves to christen its assorted humanitarian liberations across the globe with names like Desert Fox, Invincible Vulture or some other product of brainstorming idiocy. So now it’s time to call Operation Tomahawk With Cheese.
        It’s like ordering a pizza delivery. “Hello, I’d like a Tomahawk with cheese.” “Of course, it will be ready in 20 minutes.” “Hold on, wait! I need to fool the UN first. Can I pick it up next week? With extra cheese?”
        In 1988, Operation Desert Fox – launched by Bill ”I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton – was designed to ”degrade”, but not destroy, Saddam Hussein’s capacity to manufacture non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Now, the deployment of those deeply moral Tomahawks is also designed to “degrade” the Bashar al-Assad’s government capacity to unleash unproven chemical weapons attacks. . .

        SOURCE – link to atimes.com

  25. anthonybellchambers
    August 29, 2013, 3:21 pm

    Syria, Israel and banned chemical weapons

    It was reported by the UNHRC that Israeli troops used white phosphorus as a banned chemical weapon against Palestinian civilians during its attack against Gaza in December 2008 and that more than 300 children under the age of sixteen were killed by the IDF during that military operation. (See UN Report on Operation Cast Lead).

    No international action was ever taken against the Israeli commanders who ordered the use of this banned substance as a weapon against a civilian population.

    With this in mind, it seems an extraordinary decision for the US and the UK to predicate their intention to use cruise missiles against Syria upon ‘intelligence’ offered by Israeli sources when such proposed action could cause a conflagration that might engulf the entire Middle East.

    • just
      August 29, 2013, 4:15 pm

      Yeah, and we’ve certainly used chem and nuke weapons as well.

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2013, 4:57 am

        @ just
        I’ve heard a lot on the news stressing Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, pointing to the YouTube of writhing victims–maybe this will be the first war US justified from a (possibly fake?) YouTube video?

  26. MHughes976
    August 29, 2013, 5:53 pm

    Our House of Commons has just voted by a majority of 13 against military action in Syria. Cameron announces that ‘the British Parliament and people’ are against action in Syria, that ‘he gets it’ and will act accordingly. Can hardly believe it. Mind you, there are huge opinion poll majorities against intervention – only 30% of Conservative supporters (even) seem to be in favour. The common sense of the American people is surely equal to ours. So maybe peace will have a chance.

    • James Canning
      August 29, 2013, 7:35 pm

      Yes, maybe Obama will hold back.

    • just
      August 29, 2013, 7:49 pm

      I ‘m not entirely sure. We have tea- baggers (and others) masquerading as humans over here. We often seem bereft of anything resembling “common sense”.

      I hope that you are correct, MHughes.

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2013, 5:06 am

        @ just
        I hope you don’t include Ron Paul followers under your “tea bagger” label because they take military intervention as a last ditch function to be used only in case of imminent, direct & immediate danger to the US.

    • RoHa
      August 29, 2013, 10:33 pm

      That’s a slap in the face for Cameron. I hope it will cool off the pollies here in Oz. We are suffering election campaigns* at the moment, so the temptation for them to spout wild-eyed, off-the-cuff, nonsense is overwhelming.

      (*This is like a bombing campaign, but less humane.)

  27. amigo
    August 29, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Newsflash<<<<<10.30 pm GMT British Parliment defeats Cameron,s motion to attack Syria.He admits the British people have sent him a message.

  28. just
    August 29, 2013, 6:27 pm

    Cameron just lost the Parliamentary vote on making war worse in Syria……..

    “The British parliamentary vote marked a stunning defeat for Cameron’s government. It came as political objections to a U.S.-led military response increased in the United States and Britain.”

    link to washingtonpost.com

  29. DICKERSON3870
    August 29, 2013, 6:30 pm

    RE: “Rising swell of voices warns against Syrian attack . . .”

    MY SNARK: What’s the big deal, it will not be nearly as violent as professional football!

  30. piotr
    August 29, 2013, 11:40 pm

    I did not read the reports on the vote in Commons carefully, but two points drew my attention:

    1. The report of parliamentary intelligence committee was utterly ambiguous, basically that quite clearly chemical weapons were used but it is impossible at this moment to determine who used them AND to figure out why the regime would decide to use them.

    2. The parliamentary opposition, 90% of which is Labour, maintained discipline, leaders of both Tory and Liberals were united for the attack, but there was a substantial defection among backbenchers of both Tory and Liberals, even though leaders attempted to impose parliamentary discipline.

    I am thoroughly puzzled why Clegg, the leaders of the Liberals did not through the weight of the Liberals against the attack.

  31. piotr
    August 29, 2013, 11:49 pm

    Another interesting point about UK and USA:
    10.33pm BST
    Ed Milband [leader of Labour] stands up on a point of order.

    He asks for an assurance that the govenment will not use the royal prerogative to start military intervention. [Cameron, leader of the coalition, gives the assurance.]

    Back in the USA: Obama insists on the “royal prerogative”, namely that he can order the attack without authorization by Congress. Makes me confused which of the two countries is a monarchy…

    • seafoid
      August 30, 2013, 4:34 am

      Well done to the House of Commons

      The bot ur problem – no popular support

      link to theguardian.com

      “Barack Obama’s plans for air strikes against Syria were thrown into disarray on Thursday night after the British parliament unexpectedly rejected a motion designed to pave the way to authorising the UK’s participation in military action.
      The White House was forced to consider the unpalatable option of taking unilateral action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad after the British prime minister, David Cameron, said UK would not now take part in any military action in response to a chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus last week. ”

      link to theguardian.com

      The Tory (Conservative) MPs who voted against the government:

      David Amess (Southend West)

      Richard Bacon (Norfolk South)

      Steven Baker (Wycombe)

      John Baron (Basildon & Billericay)

      Andrew Bingham (High Peak)

      Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

      Fiona Bruce (Congleton)

      Tracey Crouch (Chatham & Aylesford)

      David Davies (Monmouth)

      Philip Davies (Shipley)

      David Davis (Haltemprice & Howden)

      Nick de Bois (Enfield North)

      Richard Drax (Dorset South)

      Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne & Sheppey)

      Philip Hollobone (Kettering)

      Adam Holloway (Gravesham)

      Phillip Lee (Bracknell)

      Julian Lewis (New Forest East)

      Jason McCartney (Colne Valley)

      Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)

      Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)

      Anne-Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

      Andrew Percy (Brigg & Goole)

      Sir Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)

      Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth & Horncastle)

      Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)

      Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes)

      Charles Walker (Broxbourne)

      Chris White (Warwick & Leamington)

      Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes)

      The Tory former education minister Tim Loughton (Worthing East & Shoreham) voted in both lobbies – a technical abstention

      Nine Liberal Democrat MPs also rebelled. They were:

      Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley)

      Michael Crockart (Edinburgh West)

      Andrew George (St Ives)

      Julian Huppert (Cambridge)

      Dan Rogerson (Cornwall North)

      Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove)

      Ian Swales (Redcar)

      Sarah Teather (Brent Central)

      Roger Williams (Brecon & Radnorshire).

      Liberal Democrat former health minister Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam) also voted in both lobbies.

    • James Canning
      August 30, 2013, 7:08 pm

      Britain is a more democratic state than the US.

  32. Citizen
    August 30, 2013, 5:51 am

    Obama regime scheduled to release an unclassified intelligence report today. Be interesting to see how its worded and sourced, and if any ambiguity is frankly admitted: link to theguardian.com

  33. Citizen
    August 30, 2013, 6:07 am

    25 quotes concerning the pending strike on Syria all Americans should read: link to theeconomiccollapseblog.com

  34. Citizen
    August 30, 2013, 6:13 am

    When the US attacked Iraq, it appears nobody cared enough to issue gas masks to the Palestinians inside or outside the green line: link to electronicintifada.net

    Just wondering, since the Israelis are scurrying around to have gas masks at the ready, pending Obama’s strike on Syria, if Israel is dutifully issuing gas masks to those under its occupation–or even inside the green line.

  35. amigo
    August 30, 2013, 7:35 am

    The Zionist influence in British Foreign policy.

    “Michael Gove, the education secretary, was overheard shouting “disgrace” at Tory rebels, an MP told the Press Association.”

    link to theguardian.com

    From Wiki.

    “Foreign policy

    Gove proposed that the invasion of Iraq would bring peace and democracy both to Iraq and the wider Middle East. In December 2008, he wrote that declarations of either victory or defeat in Iraq in 2003 were premature, and that the liberation of Iraq was a foreign policy success.[64]

    The liberation of Iraq has actually been that rarest of things – a proper British foreign policy success. Next year, while the world goes into recession, Iraq is likely to enjoy 10% GDP growth. Alone in the Arab Middle East, it is now a fully functioning democracy with a free press, properly contested elections and an independent judiciary … Sunni and Shia contend for power in parliament, not in street battles. The ingenuity, idealism and intelligence of the Iraqi people can now find an outlet in a free society rather than being deployed, as they were for decades, simply to ensure survival in a fascist republic that stank of fear.
    —Michael Gove, Michael Gove: Triumph of freedom over evil[64]

    He had to be calmed down by parliamentary colleagues in August 2013 after shouting, “A disgrace, you’re a disgrace!” at various Conservative and Liberal Democrat rebels who contributed to defeating the coalition government’s motion to attack Syria in retaliation for the 2013 Ghouta attacks.[65]

    Michael Gove has described himself as “a proud Zionist”,[66] and supports the United Jewish Israel Appeal’s fundraising activities.[67]

    Gove has been accused of harbouring hostile attitude towards Islam after the publications of his book Celsius 7/7,[68] though he distinguishes between “the great historical faith” of Islam, which he says has “brought spiritual nourishment to millions”, and Islamism, a “totalitarian ideolog[y]” that turns to “hellish violence and oppression” in the same manner as National Socialism and Communism.[69]

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  36. Citizen
    August 30, 2013, 11:16 am

    Check out the Economist’s latest front cover: link to businessinsider.com

    Why such a pure stance, this demand to hit Assad hard?

    • marc b.
      August 30, 2013, 12:31 pm

      that’s a good question, citizen. we know that the frothers at the mouth don’t give a rat’s ass about civilians, since they regularly ignore the human rights records of our sons of bitches. we also know from the response of the oil markets that a war isn’t good from an economic standpoint. It has to be the long con, not the short con, i.e. confrontation with Russian/Iranian interests in the ME/SW asia, another reworking of the map for long-term Western/Israeli hegemony. true humanitarians can only hope that francois hollande chokes on a wedge of brie or that Cameron falls and hits his head on his bathtub. as for Obama, f*ck knows what’s going on there. I can’t imagine he wants the legacy of being the nobel peace prize winner who paradoxically set off WWIII. I wasn’t around, but have to imagine that this feels like the swirling insanity of circumstances that lead to the first great war.

  37. Citizen
    August 30, 2013, 11:19 am

    Barack Obama and John Brennan: A new American-killing “Murder Inc”? – link to non-intervention.com

  38. kalithea
    August 30, 2013, 11:46 am

    I’m reading everywhere that Prince Bandar may be responsible for supplying rebels with the CWs.

    If true, will Obama then bomb Saudi Arabia? And what will Obama do to Israel for fabricating intelligence that can lead to catastrophic consequences?

    The Emperor with no clothes is Noballs Obama otherwise known as sock puppet for Israel and the Saudi Kingdom. Kiss the ring again, I dare ya!

    • seanmcbride
      August 30, 2013, 12:02 pm

      Kalithea,

      I’m reading everywhere that Prince Bandar may be responsible for supplying rebels with the CWs.

      An important story that needs to be either confirmed or debunked:

      “Rebels Admit Responsibility for Chemical Weapons Attack”
      link to infowars.com

      Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press journalist Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.

      “From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,” writes Gavlak. (back up version here).

      If accurate, this story could completely derail the United States’ rush to attack Syria which has been founded on the “undeniable” justification that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack. Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR) and written articles for BBC News.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 30, 2013, 12:16 pm

      i’m reading it everywhere too kalithea, including syria news broadcasts, video etc. it’s just we don’t have any msm coverage of this here and no way of verification. the russian intercept is compelling but the bandar angle is more difficult to confirm. we can’t just print rumors.

      • yrn
        August 30, 2013, 12:24 pm

        Annie

        Send Allison over.
        She has much experience in Analyzing those issue (strategic hits of bullets , bombx and Gas and of-course photo’s).
        I am sure she will give us all the hole picture and solve the issue.

      • marc b.
        August 30, 2013, 12:35 pm

        annie, we do know that Bandar/SA have had their hand in plans to destabilize Syria for years now. I think Sy Hersh wrote about this back in 2007 or earlier. as for the hand off of chemical weapons from SA intelligence to the rebels, that’s another matter. pretty incompetent if that’s how it went down. not impossible, or even unlikely, just ham-fisted.

  39. kalithea
    August 30, 2013, 12:38 pm

    U.S. about to release SLAM-DUNK intelligence linking Syrian gov to CWs. Did Cameron share this slam-dunk intelligence with other members of parliament before the vote?

    This is the same slam-dunk intelligence delivered by the Israelis, translation included.

    Uh…paging Colin Powell…I mean John Kerry

  40. kalithea
    August 30, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Some of what we know will only be released to Congress, that means that some things we do know we can’t talk about publicly.” John Kerry

    Reeeeeeeeally???

    How convenient, this selective intelligence. He continues: “History is full of leaders who were warned against inaction, indifference and especially against silence when it mattered most.”

    AND WHERE, WHERE THE HELL WAS YOUR VOICE WHEN GAZA WAS BEING RAZED AND PHOSPOROUS WAS RAINING DOWN BURNING GAZA’S CHILDREN???

    Israelis scrawled “Gas the Arabs” on Palestinian property and now they’re crying crocodile tears and pretending concern over the Arabs who were gased…

    The U.S. is howling about CWs in Syria, but in Fallujah and Iran, no one howled except the victims of that war crime.

    Spare us your immoral authority…Mr. SoS!

    • marc b.
      August 30, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Some of what we know will only be released to Congress, that means that some things we do know we can’t talk about publicly.” John Kerry

      kathilea, I’m going to quickly use up my ‘scum bag’ quote quota with all of the stupid, contradictory things that Kerry et al say and do. angryarab has links up to IPS and WSJ articles confirming that Kerry had attempted to throw the UN off the scent by claiming to Moon that its investigators were too late on the scene and that any evidence it sought to collect on the alleged attacks would be stale. in other words, we want our war and it want it now, damn the facts.

      • Walid
        August 30, 2013, 2:32 pm

        I have a feeling that the private report to Congress is simply to state that the source of all this valuable information is Israel.

      • miriam6
        August 30, 2013, 4:05 pm

        Walid;

        I was watching the BBC Parliament channel carrying the House of Lords debate on Syria and a Peer called Lord Desai stated that the Saudi’s supplied the information about the chemical attack first.

        The Saudi’s have an interest here in seeing Assad’s regime bombed as they support Sunni rebels there.

        They have an anti Shia interest in doing that

  41. Walid
    August 30, 2013, 2:35 pm

    Obama is about to make a recorded statement. Also being reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry will also be making a statement in response to the one by Kerry.

    • MHughes976
      August 30, 2013, 3:44 pm

      Latest BBC report is that Obama and Cameron have spoken and Obama has tried to rub balm into Cameron’s wounds, stating that ‘he has taken no decisions as yet’. The Bloomberg ‘Surveillance’ programme earlier on had someone saying that if Obama called for a Congressional vote he would get the same result as Cameron got. So if he really wants to be stopped in his tracks, that would be the way.

  42. NickJOCW
    August 30, 2013, 2:52 pm

    That chemical weapons have been used appears indisputable and we may never know who deployed them given the disparity and complexity of the anti-regime groups so it may be simpler and more helpful to determine who did not. I have already seen suggestions from some who sought to blame Assad that it may not have actually been him but a renegade subordinate, a step that seems to go at least some way along the rope over the rapids. Furthermore this intercepted conversation upon which Obama was pinning his pants has no global credibility whatsoever, if only for the reason that it was supplied by Mossad. It is worth remembering that although US political Israel enthusiasts need Israel, Israel needs them more.

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