Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • Tuesday, August 27, 2013
From Ian:

In Syria, America Loses if Either Side Wins
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons in attacks on civilians in Syria last week was undeniable and that the Obama administration would hold the Syrian government accountable for a “moral obscenity” that has shocked the world’s conscience.
In some of the most aggressive language used yet by the administration, Mr. Kerry accused the Syrian government of the “indiscriminate slaughter of civilians” and of cynical efforts to cover up its responsibility for a “cowardly crime.”
Mr. Kerry’s remarks at the State Department reinforced the administration’s toughening stance on the Syria conflict, which is now well into its third year, and indicated that the White House was moving closer to a military response in consultation with America’s allies.
Tony Blair: military intervention in Syria vital to prevent 'breeding ground for extremism'
''People wince at the thought of intervention. But contemplate the future consequence of inaction and shudder: Syria mired in carnage between the brutality of Assad and various affiliates of al Qaida, a breeding ground of extremism infinitely more dangerous than Afghanistan in the 1990s; Egypt in chaos, with the West, however unfairly, looking as if it is giving succour to those who would turn it into a Sunni version of Iran."
He added: ''Iran still - despite its new president - a theocratic dictatorship, with a nuclear bomb. Our allies dismayed. Our enemies emboldened. Ourselves in confusion. This is a nightmare scenario but it is not far-fetched.''
Barry Rubin: America's Impending Defeat in Syria
The administration has trapped itself with two problems. One is that the rebels who are being supported in Syria are extreme radicals who may set off blood baths and regional instability if they win. The other is that a challenge has been given to very reckless forces: Iran, Syria, and Hizballah. When the United States threatens these three players the response is “make my day!”
So this is the situation. The United States is bluffing, it does not want to exert force and probably won’t. In other words, Iran and Syria would be quite willing to fight a war but the United States and its government doesn’t have the will to do so.
Here’s How Kerry, Hillary and Obama Let Assad Get Away with Murder
Even seven years ago Kerry knew better than President Bush’s advisers and stated that the Bush administration’s refusal to talk to Syria and Iran is “a mistake” and “the kind of policy that’s got us into trouble” in the region.
Anyone living in the Middle East knows that once a leading senator comes for friendly talks with one of the wicked men on earth, that means the United States does not have a strong will to isolate and weaken him.
Expert: US-led attack on Syria may lead to increased Russian cooperation with Iran
Russia warned Western powers on Monday against any military intervention in Syria, saying the use of force without a United Nations mandate would violate international law. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had no plans to be drawn into a military conflict over the civil war in Syria and that Washington and its allies would be repeating “past mistakes” if they intervened in Syria.
Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the US think tank the Heritage Foundation, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday that in response to an attack on their Syrian ally, Russia could “expand supply of dual use nuclear technology” to Iran as its nuclear energy company, Rosatom, is anxious to sell more reactors.
US to present evidence Tuesday ahead of Syria strike
Unlike the invasion of Iraq, however, US-led military action in Syria will likely be brief and limited in scope, a punishment for chemical attacks and a deterrent against future use of nonconventional weapons, administration officials told the Washington Post on Monday, stressing that the United States had no desire to become embroiled in the civil war there.
Two administration officials said the US was expected to make public a more formal determination of chemical weapons use on Tuesday, with an announcement of Obama’s response likely to follow quickly.
Israeli intelligence seen as central to US case against Syria
This time, too, Israeli military intelligence has reportedly played a key role in providing evidence of Assad’s chemical weapons use. On Friday, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that the weapons were fired by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, a division under the command of the Syrian president’s brother, Maher Assad. The nerve gas shells were fired from a military base in a mountain range to the west of Damascus, the TV report said.
The report did not state the source of its information. But subsequently, Germany’s Focus magazine reported that an IDF intelligence unit was listening in on senior Syrian officials when they discussed the chemical attack. According to the Focus report Saturday, a squad specializing in wire-tapping within the IDF’s prestigious 8200 intelligence unit intercepted a conversation between high-ranking regime officials regarding the use of chemical agents at the time of the attack. The report, which cited an ex-Mossad official who insisted on remaining anonymous, said the intercepted conversation proved that Assad’s regime was responsible for the use of nonconventional weapons.
Assad wants Assad dead
In my best estimation, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad wants his brother Maher dead. Also, in my best estimation, it was Maher who unleashed the gas attack without any warnings or orders from anyone, which is why Russia has issued a statement saying a US military intervention will not cause it to start a war. The Russians are happy if this surgical US approach means Bashar can survive.
From day one Maher al-Assad, one of the most violent men in the region, if not the world, has been the ignored elephant in the room. Bashar cannot contain him because Maher trained his 4th army to turn its guns on his own family if necessary. Killing him will ease the tensions all around and may yield a political solution that will stop the deadly spiral of violence.
Israel readies homefront for possible Syrian attack
Patriot anti-missile batteries in Haifa put on alert - Netanyahu convenes security cabinet - IDF announces major drill on Golan Heights - Education Minister Shay Piron: School system ready for any deterioration of security situation.
New Details of Jewish-American Photojournalist Held, Tortured by Syrian Jihadists for Seven Months
Schrier is one of at least 15 Westerners, mostly journalists, abducted so far this year. The New York Times noted that his experience reflects an overall decline in security, and a spike in extremism.
The Times account neglected to comment on Schrier’s Jewishness, or on whether it was relevant to the behavior and motives of his Islamist captors. The Anti-Defamation League has emphasized that anti-Semitism “is intrinsic to Al Qaeda’s ideology and motivation,” and extremist opposition fighters in Syria have threatened to attack Israel.
Syrian FM decries US lies on chemical weapons, says military intervention would serve Israel
The Syrian foreign minister said that a US strike against Syria would serve the interests of Israel and al-Qaida linked groups.
He stated that the Syrian government was "honoring all pledges and commitments" by allowing UN inspectors access to the site of last week's alleged chemical attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus which reportedly killed more than a thousand people.
Moualem said that the Syrian government was committed to maintaining protection for the UN inspectors and the opposition was behind sniper fire directed at the delegation on Monday.
Syrian FM Threatens 'Surprises' for Western Forces
Muallem said that his country had defenses that would "surprise" the world, and that any such action against it would serve the interests of Israel and Al-Qaeda.
"Syria is not an easy case. We have defenses which will surprise others," he said.
"The war effort lead by the United States and their allies will serve the interests of Israel and secondly Al-Nusra Front," an Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Syria, said Muallem.
Report: Hezbollah Fighters Receive Treatment for Exposure to Chemical Agents
At least four Hezbollah fighters came into contact with chemical agents in Syria and are receiving treatment in Beirut, a security source told Lebanon’s The Daily Star on Monday.
According to the anonymous source, four or five members of the Shiite terror organization came into contact with the chemical toxins in tunnels in and around the Damascus suburb of Jobar over the weekend.
At IDF’s Faux Hezbollah Village, Israeli Troops Prepare for a Third Lebanon War
Israeli officials say Hezbollah has an arsenal of more than 60,000 Iranian-made rockets, some capable of reaching Tel Aviv. In 2006, Hezbollah fired roughly 4,000 rockets at Israel during a month-long war. Next time around, Hezbollah could fire that many missiles every two days. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesman, said at least some of the missiles would probably make it past the Iron Dome air-defense systems Israel has had in place since March 2011. “The volume of rockets would challenge the capabilities of the Iron Dome,” Lerner told me. “It would not be able to stop all of them.”
While Hezbollah is currently preoccupied with helping prop up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, sending thousands of battle-hardened Hezbollah fighters to help Assad reverse rebel gains and regain the upper hand in the bloody civil war there, Lerner and other Israeli officials warn that Israel remains the group’s top target. “Those rockets won’t be used against the Syrian rebels,” Lerner said. “We know where they’ll be aimed if Iran gives the directive.”
Gaza in a state of shock after Egypt upheaval
"For Hamas, Morsi's ouster has been like a political tsunami," says Palestinian political expert Omar Shaban, who lives in Gaza City. "For the past year, they've had every imaginable support - both economic and political - and suddenly, it's all changed," he explains.
While some allies in the region distanced themselves from Hamas, the Morsi-led government in Egypt provided ideological support. Qatar had promised millions in financial aid.
The change of leadership in Egypt has forced Hamas to rethink their situation. Many believe it will crack down even harder to be able to control the Gaza strip and its residents.
Why is Crushing the Muslim Brotherhood a Bad Thing?
Here’s a wacky, outside-the-envelope idea that we just might want to give a shot – let’s try defeating our enemies. It’s bound to work out better than protecting and empowering them.
The Egyptian Army is taking tough stand against the Muslim Brotherhood. It is backed up by an Egyptian people who rapidly tired of the Islamofascist freak show a minority of them elected. The Army, while losing many of their own, killed a lot of the insurgent Brothers. For some reason we’re supposed to be upset.
I just can’t work up a lot of caring because a pack of murderous subversives whose declared goal is returning the globe to a permanent state of Seventh Century Bedouin theocracy tried to fight it out with a tough, well-armed and patriotic Egyptian military and got their teeth kicked in.
Washington Post lobby locked down during Egyptian anti-Morsi protest
The protest appeared to include, among others, a large number of Coptic Christians, who make up about one-tenth of Egypt’s population and many of whom live in the District and neighboring suburbs. Some complained that the Post had not sufficiently covered the rash of mob violence against churches and Christian-owned businesses in Egypt since the July 3 military coup that removed President Mohamed Morsi.
“You have very skewed coverage of the news in Egypt. You have not been covering all that is happening,” said Iris Soliman of Bethesda. She objected to the Post referring to Morsi’s ouster as a coup and said it should instead recognize that it was the “second wave of the revolution.” She chided the paper for not covering what she said were Muslim Brotherhood supporters stockpiling mosques with guns.
UN report: Iran increasing enrichment capacity
In its upcoming report, the UN nuclear watchdog is expected to reveal that Iran is continuing to move forward with its nuclear program, Reuters reported on Monday. The International Atomic Energy Agency will cite diplomats who said that Tehran has increased its capacity to enrich uranium, and has begun to produce fuel for a plutonium reactor in Arak, the report said.
At the same time, the IAEA inspectors are expected to confirm that Iran maintains limited production of uranium gas.
Sentenced to death for a sip of water
...though I’m kept in a tiny, windowless cell, I want my voice and my anger to be heard. I want the whole world to know that I’m going to be hanged for helping my neighbor. I’m guilty of having shown someone sympathy. What did I do wrong? I drank water from a well belonging to Muslim women, using “their” cup, in the burning heat of the midday sun.
I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.


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