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On Syria, Clinton spins a fast one

Opinion
on 53 Comments
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Hillary Clinton, with flag, at Brookings Institution, June 12 Photo: ANP

Things are heating up even more in Syria. Washington denies direct involvement while setting the stage for broader intervention.

The Brookings Institution hosted a discussion with Hillary Clinton and Shimon Peres on June 12th. The video below calls attention to Clinton’s claim that Moscow is sending attack helicopters to Syria:

Outed immediately as a  #PropagandaFail— and this time it didn’t take long for the MSM to catch on. From The Independent: Syria tensions between Washington and Moscow escalate:

On Tuesday Mrs Clinton, who in recent weeks has been stepping up her criticism of Moscow, said the US was “concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically”. With no evidence available of any contracts for new helicopters for Damascus, US officials were forced within twenty four hours to qualify the remark, however. “She put a little spin on it to put the Russians in a difficult position,” a senior Pentagon official told the New York Times.

Through its ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, Syria offered a first denial of her claim yesterday. “Russia is not delivering any helicopters to Syria,” he asserted. Threatening to stoke the tensions further, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, meanwhile accused the US of hypocrisy. Russia insists that any military contracts it has with Syria are for the supply of defensive weapons only to protect the country from foreign attack.

“We are not providing Syria or any other place with things which can be used in struggle with peaceful demonstrators, unlike the United States, which regularly supplies such equipment to this region,” Mr. Lavrov said, singling out what he had said were recent US deliveries to “one of the Persian Gulf states”, interpreted as a reference to Bahrain. “But for some reason the Americans consider this completely normal.”

The United States still claims to just be watching the action in Syria. In the following report from the New York Times, “officials in Washington” deny active US participation at this juncture–a denial I find unlikely– but does not exclude US ‘consultation’.

NYT:

The fierce government assaults from the air are partly a response to improved tactics and weaponry among the opposition forces, which have recently received more powerful antitank missiles from Turkey, with the financial support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to members of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group in exile, and other activists.

The United States, these activists said, was consulted about these weapons transfers. Officials in Washington said the United States did not take part in arms shipments to the rebels, though they recognized that Syria’s neighbors would do so, and that it was important to ensure that weapons did not end up in the hands of Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

The increased ferocity of the attacks and the more lethal weapons on both sides threatened to overwhelm diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis. Kofi Annan, the special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, continued to pressure Damascus to halt the violence and to respect a cease-fire. But Mrs. Clinton said that if Mr. Assad did not stop the violence by mid-July, the United Nations would have little choice but to end its observer mission in the country.

Mrs. Clinton, State Department officials said, continues to push for a “managed transition,” under which Mr. Assad would step aside. Russia’s role is viewed as critical, however, and Mrs. Clinton’s claims about helicopter shipments are certain to increase tensions with Moscow less than a week before President Obama is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin at a summit meeting in Mexico.

Administration officials declined to give details about the helicopters, saying the information was classified.

So Clinton says the UN may have to end its observer status soon. Is she signalling a more active participation in the conflict by mid July? (More ‘non active’ participation to the tune of $57 million)?

Russia is publicly accusing the US of directly arming the Syria rebels:

“They are providing arms and weapons to the Syrian opposition that can be used in fighting against the Damascus government,” he said on Iranian state television, speaking through an interpreter.

Russia is one of Syria’s principal defenders on the diplomatic front and, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council with the power to veto resolutions, has stymied efforts by Western powers to pressure President Bashar al-Assad into stepping down.

….

“I have announced time and again that our stance is not based on support for Bashar al-Assad or anyone else … We don’t want to see Syria disintegrate.”

Russia is resisting Western and Gulf Arab pressure to take a harder line against Assad, rejecting calls for sanctions and proposing a conference bringing together global and regional powers including Iran.

Here’s Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution now claiming “full-scale civil war in Syria,” attributed to anonymous “UN official“– making no mention of  “powerful antitank missiles from Turkey” or how US support of outside forces escalates the conflict:

Fighters, smugglers, and refugees crossing borders could shake security in Turkey, a NATO ally, and threaten the hard-won, fragile equilibrium in Iraq. Bitter sectarian fighting in Syria is already echoing in Lebanon, with fighting in the streets of Tripoli threatening Lebanon’s precarious peace. Jihadis from Afghanistan and Iraq are already being drawn to this new struggle of mainly Sunnis against an Alawite regime many view as heretical. Should the Syrian government lose control over more of its territory, its chemical and biological weapons could fall into dangerous hands.

All these frightful trends are already emerging—and they will accelerate every day that the diplomatic wrangling continues. By the time the international community has persuaded itself that all peaceful options to stop the killing have been exhausted, the deterioration on the ground will vastly complicate the inevitable next set of options: more direct forms of intervention, including even the threat and use of force.

In short, the Syrian crisis and American efforts to resolve it are being shaped—and constrained—far more by the violence on the ground than by diplomacy at the United Nations. The more quickly this crisis can be decisively resolved, the better for regional security and American interests. This argues for more active U.S. engagement now, directed not only at the Russians but at the Syrian government and its opponents, to try to shape and contain the battle yet to come.

Yep– more ramping up for intervention. It seems counter productive to me to be ratcheting up the pressure by supporting outside intervention if your intention is to stop the violence. But, stopping the violence in Syria does not appear to be the US’s main objective. Regime change is.

It is my firm belief outside intervention is escalating the conflict. Clearly there are strong opinions about who’s responsible for the lion’s share of civilian deaths. The question of culpability has become even more hotly debated following a German daily report claiming Syrian Rebels committed the Houla massacre (more discussion at Syria Comment).

Obama is scheduled to meet with President Putin at a summit meeting in Mexico in a few days. Let’s hope the PTB can rethink, work together and iron out their priorities before we end up with another full-scale war that portends much more than civil war this time around, but a regional war.

One last consideration. Let’s ask ourselves what our own government would do if outsiders were arming the ‘opposition’ to ‘liberate’ us.

Brookings Institutiton: Assessing Options for Regime Change (pdf)

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

Hmm, not helpful Brookings.

annie
About Annie Robbins

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

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53 Responses

  1. American
    American on June 15, 2012, 4:09 pm

    annie, Russia has sent troops to Syria , reported by abc, msnbc today.

    • lysias
      lysias on June 15, 2012, 4:32 pm

      annie, Russia has sent troops to Syria , reported by abc, msnbc today.

      Another leak of classified information? I can’t imagine how we would know that, if it weren’t from NSA signals intelligence. Report: More Russian troops heading to Syria:

      Russia is deploying another batch of troops to Syria as Moscow and Washington continue to spar over the best way to resolve the worsening crisis in the country.

      A Russian warship carrying a small contingent of troops is en route to the country’s naval base in Tartus to provide security for the installation, U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday.

      • BillM
        BillM on June 15, 2012, 5:39 pm

        We’d know it because Russia WANTS us to know it. The purpose of sending a contingent of troops is to deter direct intervention by the US and its allies, not to actually get involved in any fighting.

      • annie
        annie on June 17, 2012, 3:42 pm

        yeah, i sooo fell for that.not. it’s called back to back spinning allegations. one gets shot down and they’re back with another right on schedule. meanwhile: Russia denies warship headed for Syria

        http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/06/17/Russia-denies-warship-headed-for-Syria/UPI-52211339945690/

        DAMASCUS, Syria, June 17 (UPI) — The Russian government Sunday denied reports it sent a fully loaded warship to supply the Syrian government with weapons and troops.

        Ukraine media reports suggested the amphibious vessel Nikolai Filchenkov, loaded with armaments and soldiers, was sailing from a Crimean port to Damascus, but a government source told the RIA Novosti news agency that was false.

        “There are no marines aboard the ship and there were no commands for a voyage towards Syria,” the source told the Russian news agency.

    • Egbert
      Egbert on June 16, 2012, 9:33 am

      I think the UK has sent (6 June 2012) in some SAS troops to create safe camps (inside Syria) for Syrian ‘civilians’. There are also MI6 people in there as well. The same game didn’t play out so well in Libya, when the Brits best troops were rounded up by local farmers.

  2. CTuttle
    CTuttle on June 15, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Aloha, Annie…! Great minds and all…! ;-)

    The Art of War and Spin…

  3. Sin Nombre
    Sin Nombre on June 15, 2012, 4:29 pm

    And after the Israeli Firsters get us into arming the opposition and the violence thence gets truly, broadly insane, just as it does in full civil wars, we will be told that because of same we now have an obligation to get more involved with our own air power, and then when that doesn’t work we will be told we are morally obligated to send in ground troops.

    So let’s see there’s Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, who knows where else really, and now Syria.

    Six wars really they got us going on. With their principal not having to lift a military finger of its own, although I suspect the papercuts inflicted in Tel Aviv wading through the reports of American deaths, expenditures and provoked hatreds must number in the thousands.

    • Fredblogs
      Fredblogs on June 15, 2012, 5:52 pm

      We went to war with Afghanistan because they wouldn’t hand over Osama bin Ladin. Somalia for humanitarian reasons. We aren’t at war with Pakistan, though we did send in troops to get bin Ladin. Not because of Israel, but because of a terrorist attack against the U.S. you may not have heard about. Google “the 9/11 attacks”. Yemen we go after anti-U.S. terrorists there. Iraq we got into because it would make Cheney’s cronies at Halliburton rich, not because of Israel. Syria we are thinking of intervening for humanitarian reasons. Israel doesn’t have a dog in that fight. From what I’ve heard they may prefer the devil they know (Assad) to whatever random dictator will emerge from the chaos if he falls.

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich on June 15, 2012, 7:05 pm

      @ Sin Nombre,

      You’re right. See links in my other post [down below].

  4. lysias
    lysias on June 15, 2012, 5:00 pm

    Is Hillary sick? She looks awful in recent photos.

    • pineywoodslim
      pineywoodslim on June 16, 2012, 1:17 am

      I was going to post the same thing. She looks nuts–or something else–in that first photo. I’ve also noticed that in other recent photos.

      It’s not just aging either.

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich on June 16, 2012, 5:47 pm

      @ lysias,

      side note: If my partner would cheat on me I’d either be single or in jail [as a convicted murderer]. Hillary, on the other hand, is sectary of state…

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen on June 17, 2012, 4:15 pm

      Maybe her vote for the Iraq war resolution is getting to her. Not holding my breath

  5. Danaa
    Danaa on June 15, 2012, 5:31 pm

    I am very glad to see you put this together, annie. Well done and sourced too. It is high time to start reporting on the machinations that are going on in Syria. I have been following MoA and am appalled that no retraction or at least skepticism has been expressed in the MSM regarding the Houla massacre, now apparently connected to the rebels. Yet, Houla was the reason western countries pulled out their ambassadors.

    Some funny business about the the massacre that happened last Friday near Homs too (not sure about the town’s name just now) which now appears rather suspicious. A UN mission got there eventually (not before coming under fire and delayed by sources unknown) but found no bodies. These were supposedly loaded on trucks and driven away. That speaks again of a well prepared and co-ordinated action, and we must again ask – Cui bene?

    What is also interesting is that the noise level about bombing Iran has died down considerably even as the noise and chatter about Syria has increased. Chances are the two are connected: a decision must have been made to try and topple, or at least weaken, Syria first, then go after Iran next. The advantage of first going after Syria is that this will help sever a route for arming Hezbollah and may weaken Lebanon as well.

    The other obvious aspect is the near-scrupulous absence of saber rattling from Israel with regard to Syria. Yes, they bring attention to Assad’s ‘atrociities” but avoid saying much of anything about the so-called “rebels’ (now also known as “activists”). The claim is always made – seemingly in complete coordination across the board – that israel has reservations about who might follow Assad, cf. the devil you know, etc. Truth is, Israel has not the slightest worry about who may or may not follow Assad, as long as the latter is gone. Chaos in Syria is as good as any. They must be pretty sure they can handle any potential threat from islamist (salafist) terrorists. Which can only mean that they have assurances from the salafist “handlers” (Saudi Arabia, probably) that they are able to “control” whatever radicals they unleash. What I am saying is that I see Israel’s finger-prints all over the Syria campaign and even more so, I see evidence of trying to hide those finger-prints with mambo-jumbo and some hiding behind the UN skirts. Israel must have been also assured that the UN is “under control” and, most importantly, they must have reached some understanding with Saudi Arabia – somewhere under the surface, probably mediated by the US.

    Finally, and most significantly, it is amazing how well coordinated the MSM is after every incident in Syria. It’s like someone(s) have their talking points and press releases all ready to hand out within minutes of anything reported. That’s how it was in the case of Houla. The Guardia, for example wasted no time in reporting the claim from “activists” and the BBC was all too quick to upload that photo (again supplied by an “activist”) of body bags that the sharp-eyed original photographer immediately identified as his photo from Iraq, circa 2003. This indicates to me at least, that BBC (like all other MCM outlets) had their press releases handy and were all too glad to attach a photo to it, with no verification.

    Luckily for us all, so far, Russia and China are steadfast. And for good reason too – they know perfectly well – at least as well as we all do – what this is all about. They also realize that a neocon “success” in Syria means they are next.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen on June 15, 2012, 5:48 pm

    Don’t hear anything on cable TV news (the only news in town for most Americans other than local rags for local news) about Saudi Arabia sending troops into Bahrain to out the rebels there (while the US Sixth Fleet looks on). Also, I read Assad is not getting new shipments of Russian attack helicopters. Yet it has some, but they have not been used against the rebels. I also read the USA bought a bunch of them from the same Russian company who sold them to Assad–to give to Afghans (ostensibly) loyal to the USA there.

    • Hostage
      Hostage on June 16, 2012, 11:26 am

      Don’t hear anything on cable TV news
      The US has staged a lot of clumsy looking propaganda over arms transfers.

      Clinton attended a Friends of Syria Conference in Tunis last February where the Saudi Foreign Minister publicly stated that it would be great idea to arm the Syrian opposition.
      Saudis: Arming Syria rebels an “excellent idea”
      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57384644/saudis-arming-syria-rebels-an-excellent-idea/

      A month later Hillary ran out of friends and family minutes on her long distance plan, so she relayed word through the world press to the Saudi government that it had better not be arming the Syrian opposition.
      Clinton Cautions Saudis Against Arming Syrian Rebels
      http://atlanticsentinel.com/2012/03/clinton-cautions-saudis-against-arming-syrian-rebels/

      Of course the US approved a record number of licensed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this year. The latter assisted Libyan rebels in ousting their government. Reports say that Qatar provided anti-Gadhafi rebels with what Libyan officials now estimate are tens of millions of dollars in aid, military training and more than 20,000 tons of weapons.
      Tiny Kingdom’s Huge Role in Libya Draws Concern http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204002304576627000922764650.html

      Iraq and Iran have subsequently reported, wait for it, that Qatar and Saudi Arabia have in fact been arming the Syrian rebels all along.
      Iraq Slams Qatar, S. Arabia for Arming Syrian Rebels
      http://www.nehzatejahani.com/english/iraq-slams-qatar-s-arabia-for-arming-syrian-rebels/

      The United States still claims to just be watching the action in Syria. In the following report from the New York Times, “officials in Washington” deny active US participation at this juncture–a denial I find unlikely– but does not exclude US ‘consultation’.

      Our government officials would never be party to a plan that disguised the actual destination of weapons the US sells to a trusted ally under the terms of an export license agreement. Maintaining complete transparency and insuring the accuracy of the information is (not!) essential to the Congressional review process. ;-)

      • annie
        annie on June 16, 2012, 1:17 pm

        from the atlantic sentinel link

        the United States are willing to supply only “nonlethal” assistance, possibly including aid and communications.

        yeah, to the tune of 57 million according to the time magazine article i linked to in the post. but note below the 70 million figure.(tho not all of that is just on syria..but a lot is)

        a cached a few links earlier this year, most people are unaware of exactly how that ‘communications’ works. i recommend new america foundation’s conference:

        How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less – Future Tense Event

        here’s Ian schuler Senior Program Manager, Internet Freedoms Program
        U.S. Department of State discussing the way the self wireless networks (including phones) work

        23 minutes….they ask about syria, any chance this technology to be deployed in a situation like that (framed as ‘facilitate’ freedom)…25 minutes, state department..we will have invested 70 million dollars in internet freedom programs…around 31 minutes a woman asks a question..listen to the answer..

        they open up talking about this article

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/world/12internet.html?pagewanted=all

      • Rusty Pipes
        Rusty Pipes on June 19, 2012, 7:26 pm

        The “non-lethal” aid from the State Department tech/media training is showing impressive results, if this FAIR article indicates:

        …the UK media watch group Media Lens (6/13/12) reported:

        Last week, however, in what might almost be interpreted as a mea culpa, the BBC’s World News editor, Jon Williams, began a June 7 blog emphasizing “the complexity of the situation on the ground in Syria, and the need to try to separate fact from fiction.”

        This was a surprising emphasis—the BBC had previously communicated no sense of “complexity” in blaming the Syrian government. Williams continued:

        In the aftermath of the massacre at Houla last month, initial reports said some of the 49 children and 34 women killed had their throats cut. In Damascus, Western officials told me the subsequent investigation revealed none of those found dead had been killed in such a brutal manner. Moreover, while Syrian forces had shelled the area shortly before the massacre, the details of exactly who carried out the attacks, how and why were still unclear…. In Houla, and now in Qubair, the finger has been pointed at the shabiha, pro-government militia. But tragic death toll aside, the facts are few: it’s not clear who ordered the killings—or why.

        Williams added:

        Stories are never black and white—often shades of grey. Those opposed to President Assad have an agenda. One senior Western official went as far as to describe their YouTube communications strategy as “brilliant.” But he also likened it to so-called “psy-ops,” brainwashing techniques used by the U.S. and other military to convince people of things that may not necessarily be true. A healthy scepticism is one of the essential qualities of any journalist—never more so than in reporting conflict. The stakes are high–all may not always be as it seems.

        As Williams now avers, it is hard to tell what’s true when it comes to Syria; independent reporters or observers are not able to operate freely, and have been endangered by both sides. It is fair to assume by many accounts that the Syrian government is likely responsible for a lion’s share of the violence. It is also fair to assume that various rebel factions have acted with brutality.

  7. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on June 15, 2012, 7:02 pm

    Things to remember and/or keep in mind:

    Hussein “I’m the Peaceman” Obama’s six-point plan for Global War http://atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/NF16Dj03.html

    What’s real and cui bono from all the ‘massacres’ in Syria? http://atimes.com/atimes/China/NF16Ad01.html

    Whose agenda is this anyway? http://www.atimes.com//atimes/middle_east/nf14ak02.html

  8. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on June 15, 2012, 7:21 pm

    Hi Annie,

    Q: It seems counter productive to me to be ratcheting up the pressure by supporting outside intervention if your intention is to stop the violence.

    R: Both you and I [and so many others] know exactly what’s going on. The eye is on regime change and nothing else/less will do. ‘We’ will actively support opposition, regardless of what hoodlums and crazed idiots they are. As long as they’re ‘our’ crazed idiots, we’re good.

  9. biorabbi
    biorabbi on June 15, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Annie, very good article with a lot to consider. I agree with most of your analysis, but might take small exception with this:

    It is my firm belief outside intervention is escalating the conflict. Clearly there are strong opinions about who’s responsible for the lion’s share of civilian deaths. The question of culpability has become even more hotly debated following a German daily report claiming Syrian Rebels committed the Houla massacre (more discussion at Syria Comment).

    While you may be correct, it seems clear there is both sides appear to be upping the ante, crossing more red lines, murdering more and more. Our MSM sources paint Assad as the chief culprit, while Assad counterclaims foreign terrorists are butchering Alawite towns. I’ve followed this very closely. It appears Syria is devolving through civil war or something like Lebanon went through in ’75. And, yes, outside forces are involved. Now the Russians, the salafists, and the Iranians as well with their respective dogs in the fight.

    I’ve thought the Russians were more responsible than the we have been on this. Yes, I am disgusted with what Assad is doing. I would like to beat the crap out of him. I bitch constantly against those who ignore what is happening in Syria. But, when my rational side takes over, your article nails down the reasons for non-intervention in Syria. I don’t see how the Alawite minority of under 20 % can continue to rule a large Sunni majority with an iron fist, but that will be up to the Syrian people to sort out.

    The violence is pulling outsiders into Syria, and the conflict is spilling out as well into Lebanon. The Syrian conflict is the single most dangerous potential conflict I can think of. The scale of murder is growing.

  10. riyadh
    riyadh on June 15, 2012, 8:35 pm
    • stevieb
      stevieb on June 16, 2012, 10:18 am

      Absolutely…how is it you don’t know by now? Or is that a rhetorical question?

      Yep.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia on June 16, 2012, 12:40 pm

      MEA CULPA: BBC world news editor: Houla massacre coverage based on opposition propaganda

      by Chris Marsden http://www.globalresearch.ca
      Unfortunately ( intentionally ) its in his blog.Blog is not news according to the apparatus that he serves.

    • annie
      annie on June 16, 2012, 1:26 pm

      riyadh, from the comment section of your link:

      Imperialism and the Houla massacre:

      ..None of these events can be understood outside the political crisis provoked by last year’s revolutionary upsurge in the Middle East. Mass protests of workers and youth forced out pro-US dictators in Egypt and Tunisia. However, the lack of a politically independent movement of the working class fighting to take power and fight for socialism gave the US and its allies time to regroup and elaborate a counter-revolutionary strategy.

      The aim of the imperialist powers has been to further the colonial re-subjugation of the entire Middle East. Protests against pro-US regimes were to be crushed. As for protests in countries without close ties to Washington, like Libya or Syria, they were to be brought under the control of right-wing forces to divert protests along ethnic or sectarian lines. They would then serve as proxies in US-led civil wars—as Washington posed as a friend of the “Arab spring” because it was trying to depose Middle East regimes.

      After the Saudi monarchy bloodily suppressed protests in Bahrain, the US promoted Islamist and tribal elements against Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who was toppled by NATO and Islamist-rebels in a bloody war costing some 50,000 lives. In Syria, the US relied largely on Sunni elements like the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, financed by the anti-Shiite Saudi monarchy. The massacre in Houla is the predictable outcome of Washington’s promotion of these reactionary forces.

      The imperialist strategy relied on the bankruptcy of Middle Eastern bourgeois nationalist regimes and their right-wing evolution after the fall of the USSR. Deprived of a great-power defender and deeply unpopular due to their free-market reforms, they were beset with deep ethnic and sectarian divisions and vulnerable to US intervention. The Assad regime, which has carried out repeated “liberalization” policies and draws its ruling personnel from the Alawite religious minority, was particularly vulnerable…

      http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jun2012/pers-j14.shtml

      i recommend the whole link

  11. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on June 15, 2012, 11:00 pm

    RE: “So Clinton says the UN may have to end its observer
    status soon. Is she signalling a more active participation in the conflict by mid July?” ~ Annie Robbins

    MY COMMENT: The Empire marches on!

    SEE: “The imperial agenda of the US’s ‘Africa Command’ marches on”, by Dan Glazebrook, Guardian.com, 6/14/12
    With mission accomplished in Libya, Africom now has few obstacles to its military ambitions on the continent

    (excerpt) . . . Libya was a test case. The first war actually commanded by Africom, it proved remarkably successful – a significant regional power was destroyed without the loss of a single US or European soldier. But the significance of this war for Africom went much deeper than that for, in taking out Muammar Gaddafi, Africom had actually eliminated the project’s fiercest adversary.
    Gaddafi ended his political life as a dedicated pan-Africanist and, whatever one thought of the man, it is clear that his vision for Africa was very different from that of the subordinate supplier of cheap labour and raw materials that Africom was created to maintain. He was not only the driving force behind the creation of the African Union in 2002, but had also served as its elected head, and made Libya its biggest financial donor. To the dismay of some of his African colleagues, he used his time as leader to push for a “United States of Africa”, with a single currency, single army and single passport. More concretely, Gaddafi’s Libya had an estimated $150bn worth of investment in Africa – often in social infrastructure and development projects, and this largesse bought him many friends, particularly in the smaller nations. As long as Gaddafi retained this level of influence in Africa, Africom was going to founder.
    Since his removal, however, the organisation has been rolling full steam ahead.
    It is no coincidence that within months of the fall of Tripoli – and in the same month as Gaddafi’s execution – President Obama announced the deployment of 100 US special forces to four different African countries, including Uganda. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/14/africom-imperial-agenda-marches-on

    P.S. Unfortunately, the U.S. and its NATO allies cannot be trusted to intervene in Syria in a responsible manner. If that was not clear before the Libya intervention, it was certainly made clear by the West’s flagrant, grotesque abuse* of the UN Security Council resolution authorizing member states to establish and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya in order to instead pursue their own regime change agenda.
    Of course, since Libya had the highest Human Development Index (HDI) in Africa, the fourth highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Africa, and the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world; it was obviously ripe for plunder by the U.S. and its NATO partners.

    * BRANDEIS ON ‘BLOWBACK’: Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis elaborated in Olmstead v. United States (1928):

    “In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

  12. annie
    annie on June 15, 2012, 11:44 pm

    wow, i’ve been gone all day. it’s awesome to come back to all these comments. thanks guys. will get on some responses when i’ve chilled. friday night an all that.

    • Henry Norr
      Henry Norr on June 16, 2012, 2:18 am

      Michel Chossudovsky recently published a piece called “Confronting Iran, Protecting Israel: The Real Reason for America’s War on Syria,” which draws heavily on an article in Foreign Policy by James P. Rubin, former spokesman for Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (and husband of Christiane Amanpour):

      What lies behind this outburst of humanitarian concern by “the international community”. Is America coming to the rescue of the Syrian people? What is the real reason for America’s war on Syria?

      This question is addressed in a lead article by James P. Rubin, a Bloomberg executive editor and former State department official under the Clinton administration. The article appears in this month’s Foreign Policy Magazine under the clear-cut title: “The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria”

      In an unusual twist, “the answer to the question”, namely “the real reason” is provided in the article’s subtitle: “Cutting Iran’s link to the Mediterranean Sea is a strategic prize worth the risk.”.

      The subtitle should dispel –in the eyes of the reader– the illusion that US foreign policy has an underlying “humanitarian mandate”. Pentagon and US State department documents as well as independent reports confirm that military action against Syria has been contemplated by Washington and Tel Aviv for more than 20 years.

      Targeting Iran, “Protecting Israel”

      According to James P. Rubin, the war plans directed against Syria are intimately related to those pertaining to Iran. They are part of the same US-Israeli military agenda which consists in weakening Iran with a view to “protecting Israel”. The latter objective is to be carried out through a pre-emptive attack against Iran: “We’re not done with the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran” says James P. Rubin.

      The military roadmap to Tehran goes through Damascus. The unspoken objective of the US-NATO-Israeli sponsored insurgency in Syria is to destabilize Syria as a Nation State and undermine Iran’s influence in the region (including its support of the Palestinian Liberation movement and Hezbollah). The underlying objective is also to eliminate all forms of resistance to the Zionist State:

      “That is where Syria comes in, says James P, Rubin. It is the strategic relationship between the Islamic Republic and the Assad regime that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel’s security. Over the three decades of hostility between Iran and Israel, a direct military confrontation has never occurred — but through Hezbollah, which is sustained and trained by Iran via Syria, the Islamic Republic has proven able to threaten Israeli security interests.
      The collapse of the Assad regime would sunder this dangerous alliance. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, arguably the most important Israeli decision-maker on this question, recently told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the Assad regime’s fall “will be a major blow to the radical axis, major blow to Iran…. It’s the only kind of outpost of the Iranian influence in the Arab world … and it will weaken dramatically both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.” (The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria – By James P. Rubin | Foreign Policy, June 2, 2012, emphasis added)

      • stevieb
        stevieb on June 16, 2012, 10:22 am

        The whole Syria policy has been brewing for years by Zionist extremists in Congress and the Senate(I assume)–with the hardly secret aim of destroying any barriers to Greater Israel. That is a fact. Fact.

        Israel continues to illegally occupy the Syrian Golan Heights….

      • American
        American on June 17, 2012, 2:22 am

        Same old Israel “Clean Break” plan on Syria with a few minor alterations, Turkey and Jordon have dropped out and Iraq didn’t work out.
        But the goals are still the same.

        ”Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy

        TEXT:

        We must distinguish soberly and clearly friend from foe. We must make sure that our friends across the Middle East never doubt the solidity or value of our friendship.
        Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria’s regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

        But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the ‘natural axis’ with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.

        Since Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

        Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

        King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein. “”

  13. aiman
    aiman on June 16, 2012, 7:55 am

    First in Libya, rebels fighting for tribal fidelity and committing war crimes just like the dictator they opposed. In Syria, rebels fighting for sectarian fidelity. The ordinary people getting trodden up by these thugs and people like Hilary Clinton and Samantha Power.

  14. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on June 16, 2012, 1:09 pm

    I would have thought Turkey would have to play the crucial role in any attack on Syria and would secure major influence over the New Syria in the process. This would be a huge step towards re-ottomanising the region and putting a serious military power in close proximity to the main oil wells. We should be careful what we wish for.

    • annie
      annie on June 16, 2012, 1:53 pm

      turkey is part of nato, so of course they are crucial in any plan to invade. nato is required to intervene when any member nation is attacked. any ‘spillover’ justifies nato intervention.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on June 16, 2012, 2:07 pm

        Turkish power, reestablished in New Syria, would then overhang Lebanon and Jordan and not be too distant from Saudi. Suleiman the Magnificent would stir in his grave approvingly.

    • American
      American on June 17, 2012, 2:08 am

      In the ‘Clean Break’ plan for Israel, they planned for Turkey to play a part in bringing down Syria..ha,ha…the best laid whacko plans of mice and men.

  15. annie
    annie on June 16, 2012, 2:14 pm

    i highly recommend Checkmate – Strategy of a Revolution:

    about the cia orchestrated overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu in romania. someone linked to it here on one of these threads before which is how i found it. here is a link to all the videos

    imho, in many ways it mirrors what is going on in syria.

    • annie
      annie on June 16, 2012, 6:52 pm

      The AP news agency quoted the only survivor of the family Al Sayyid, the eleven year old Ali, as saying:. “The perpetrators were shaved bald and had long beards.” This is the look of fanatical jihadists, not of the Shabiha militia. The boy said he survived because he had pretended to be dead and smeared himself with the blood of his mother.

      the horror.

      lysias, not sure if you opened my link to MOA in the post embedded under “Outed immediately as a #PropagandaFail”. originally i have blockquoted him,but sometimes it take a little while for things to get published here and in that time it had broken in the msm, the rebuttals, so i went w/the msm blockquotes instead. b is always ahead of the pack w/syria and many other events, always. and i trust him implicitly which doesn’t mean he’s always right, just 99.9%. he’s essential for me and my personal analysis of what’s happening in the wider ME region, including russia. i’ve probably said that many times. him, and the moa community, taught me a new way of looking at america’s interactions and now i will forever read the news with different eyes and ears.

  16. American
    American on June 16, 2012, 3:35 pm

    “The Enemy Within” – the threat of radical Islamics –special segment last night on Fox news featured Joe Lieberman and what’sher name, the female senator who lisps like she has some speech impediment.

    Anyone see it? BIG, big propaganda piece, hour long. Islam Arab terriers, booga, booga, tora, tora existential threat of the Arabs among us here in America!…..sickening, sickening, sickening. Promoting more surveillance, profiling and gawd knows what else–probably interment camps next– of US Muslims and Arabs.

  17. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on June 16, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Entering through Logan Airport (whose publicity promotes a fearsome image) recently I did get the impression that the immigration queue slowed down when someone with the dreaded complexion was going through – ‘going through’ may be the wrong word because the two I noticed seemed to get sent into a box behind the main desks for further humiliation. So resources were being used, resentment was being created, ‘national security’ was being helped not one bit.
    Mind you, everyone seemed completely relaxed, fearsome publicity or no, on the way out. I hadn’t removed all metal from my person before going through the security check but no one seemed to care. Of course I have that white Christian look.
    Still, Americans and other westerners are sensible and humane people and must meet people of Arab descent and Muslim religion quite a lot these days, and must see clearly that they haven’t got forked tails or eyes on stalks, not more than Hillary Clinton has anyway.

  18. annie
    annie on June 16, 2012, 6:26 pm

    things are escalating. car bomb near mosque, UN ‘suspended’ ‘observer’ operations , too much violence.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57454612/u.n-observers-in-syria-suspend-patrols/

    great/not.

  19. lyn117
    lyn117 on June 16, 2012, 11:52 pm

    IMHO Israel would love to have a friendly regime in Syria, but the best it could achieve would be a regime friendly to the U.S. So any arming of the rebels we’re doing is indirectly to support Israel.

    Syria would never have made it on the U.S. enemies list if it weren’t hostile to Israel. The U.S. has supported brutal dictators the world round, in this case we pretty much pushed them into Iran’s arms.

    Short of a friendly regime in Syria, Israel welcomes any weakening of the Syrian state by civil war and mayhem, the calculation being that the rebels won’t actually win, as I doubt that the rebels are more friendly to Israel than Assad and quite possibly less, being as the Muslim Brotherhood is such a large faction. I don’t know if Israel’s actually helping anyone with weaponry, directly or indirectly, but they have no interest in a free, democratic Syrian people.

    I’m sorry the U.N. may be suspending operations, if they had sufficient observers they might have achieved some sort of real truce. I blame Assad and his cohorts for most of the brutal violence. Not only by his regime, but the violent suppression of peaceful protest meant that the opposition also turned to violence, and once it devolves into anything resembling a civil war, you can be sure all sides will commit atrocities. Just as in Lebanon.

  20. Kathleen
    Kathleen on June 17, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Great piece by former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer about Clinton..Syria
    War kills people … as do lies by U.S. and Western Interventionists

    http://non-intervention.com/
    Washington’s threat mongering about Syria for a long time had to do with both parties’ readiness to earn campaign donations by towing the anti-Syria propaganda line put forth by Israel and its AIPAC-led fifth column of U.S. citizens. (NB:Ironically, AIPAC’s deliberate corruption of the U.S. Congress and political system has always been a far greater threat to America than Syria.) And, indeed, the Russia-armed Syrians may have posed a threat to Israel and its ongoing expansion into Palestinian-owned territory. But this was a threat to Israel, never a threat to the United States, although U.S. leaders have spoken and spent, and still speak and spend as if the Syrian marines — if there are any — were soon going to splash ashore along the Hamptons’ beaches and ruin the holidays of many cocaine-addled but campaign-contributing Hollywood celebrities.

    Given the reliable ability of Israel and its U.S. fifth column to determine and control the content of U.S. policy in the Islamic world, the ersatz Syrian threat remained front and center until the Arab Spring unleashed a fatal dementia that is likely to destroy Israel and embroil the United States and its allies in a losing clash of civilizations with the Islamic world. This fatal dementia can be found in the words and — to give them the benefit of the doubt — the thoughts of Mrs. Clinton, Obama, Rice, McCain, Cameron, and Graham that assert the Arab Spring ensures the installation of secular democracy across the Arab and Islamic worlds. Although Islamic parties have won all of the elections since the Tunisian regime fell — and Egyptians are poised to choose between Islamists on the one side, and the army and Mubarak‘s assistant tyrants on the other — Mrs. Clinton still insists that secular democracy is on the march. And it is, but only in the reality-proof brains of the Secretary of State and other of our Ivy-League educated (?) political and media leaders.

    As the Syrian civil war lengthens and deepens as the result of the support of U.S.-Western interventionists for the Saudis’ funding and arming of the mujahedin already in Syria and those on the way there form other battle fronts, we will no doubt here more lies about the Syrian threat to the United States. We also will hear more about the Syrian threat to Israel, but what once was a lie now will be the truth as Mrs. Clinton and company — in their doctrinaire, Marxist-Leninist-like belief in democracy’s inevitable triumph — help to give to al-Qaeda and the Saudis what they could never attain alone; that is, the gradual entrenchment of militant Sunni regimes from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

    And so U.S.-led Western intervention in Syria will bring what such intervention in the Muslim world always brings: government lies and deceit; quantum increases in dead Syrians; more U.S. taxpayer funds given to or wasted on Israelis and other foreigners; a deepening of Muslim hatred for the United States government; and the sharpening of the clash of civilizations which will cause Washington to further restrict civil liberties in a futile effort to stave off eventual defeat.

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