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12 August 2012

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Charles I

Likely the same one authorizing British tax dollars to be spent on communications equipment for the FSA.

Mission Accomplished

turcopolier

All

I should have included the obvious facoid that all this is part of a piece of grand strategery that insists that iran can be brought down by undermining Syria. pl

Harper

It is my understanding that Hillary Clinton is the mouthpiece but not the author or driver of this policy. This is all coming from the White House, from Donilon and the boys at NSC along with Susan Rice and the other R2P freaks who believe that sovereignty is an outmoded thing of the past. Hillary is being given the script and her choice is simple: Read the script with feeling or quit. So far she is not ready to quit, so she is taking the point in "Hillary's War" while it is actually "Obama's War" altogether. The whole exercise was based on the nutty assumption that Assad would acquiesce quickly, which was never in the cards (at one point, Hillary quietly asked Lavrov if the Russians could please find a nice Sunni General to coup Assad and bring this fiasco to a quick end--minus dismantling the military or deBathification. Putin rejected the request, in part out of distrust of Obama following the Libya double-cross and in part because the Russians didn't have the capacity to pull it off). Now the whole situation is out of anyone's control. The Turkish Army is restive because they now have the biggest Kurdish (PKK) insurgency in a decade on their hands, the US and Turkey are both wary of the growing influx of Salafist Jihadis and the loose weapons flows. The US-Turkish joint effort is, I suspect, aimed at salvaging a quick ending of this mess--but no one has a clue of how to do it. Col. Lang said at the outset of this mess last year that Assad and the Alawites would fight to the bitter end because the alternative was the Qaddafi treatment combined with total ethnic cleansing of the Alawite, Christian and Shiite minorities if the Sunni fundamentalists got a big enough piece of the post-Assad action. This has truly turned into a mess that can easily trigger a regional war. Yes, the so-called kindergarten "grand strategists" at the White House are hoping to rip Syria out of the Iranian camp, but the collateral damage will likely get wildly out of control. Russia and China are in no mood to make any concessions. This is going to get really nasty.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff are opposed to any deeper US involvement, knowing that a no fly zone is an act of aggressive war--this time without UNSC OK. They do not want another war in another Muslim country where we, once again, slide into bed with Al Qaeda and neo-Salafists who hate the US. IC has vetted two out of 120 Syrian opposition combat units and both of those units are Muslim Brotherhood. IC at least has a long history of covert cooperation with the MB during the Cold War, but this is no way to run the world!!!

Babak Makkinejad

A foolsih grand startegy.

On potential Turkish operations in Syria: suicide for Turkey.

zanzibar

Harper

What you note is a deepening quagmire lead by ideologues and arm-chair strategists. As you point out this could lead to a regional conflagration with many unintended consequences.

Do you think the Russians would use this opportunity to take the other side and vigorously assist Assad militarily with intelligence and materiel?

Where do you think the Likudniks fit into the scheme?

mbrenner

"Has the president of the United States now assumed the right and power to issue a personal decree that a foreign government should be overthrown?"

Didn't successive Presidents do exactly that during the Cold War? Iran, Guatemala,Dominican Republic, Congo,Chile etc. We're weren't sticklers about the fine points of international law then nor are we now.

As to a coherent policy process producing a coherent strategy, American history tells us that that is impossible unless the Chief Executive wants it and makes the concerted effort to organize his administration accordingly. It is evident after 3+ years that Obama is an absentee CEO more concerned about the public relations of foreign policy actions than accomplishment.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree with your statements; it is consistent with what I have gathered from publicly available sources on the Internet. (On Mr, Donilon's roles - I have read similar assessments.)

I would like to share with you and others the following opinions by Ambassador Bhadrakumar:

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2012/08/12/irans-overture-to-the-west-on-syria/

and

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2012/08/12/india-pakistan-iran-discuss-syria/

Note his opinion that even India and Pakistan are essentially opposed to US-EU-Saudi policy in regards to Syria.

I think a cease-fire followed by a 2-stage constitution - like in South Africa - is the best way forward.

My own opinion is that it is best to try also to create a confessional-based parliamentary system there.

J

Harper,

With all this lunacy happening (i.e. Donilon's follies), makes me constantly having to rearrange my headlights with more sane venues. Enjoy these two more sane venues:

Suo Ga - Village Under the Snow
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLbU0AEZwa8

and

Ильмира Нагимова - Ташлама Tatar song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR-nwrPqa8o

Peter

A bit off topic. Mursi has ordered the head of Egypt's military Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to step down. With a coup that Hillary must love, it will be interesting to see if we fully supply and assist the MB in Syria.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

These are very excellent questions; but, they're from another century. From my view point, very far down the totem pole, the elite just don’t give a damn for what happens to us or the nation state. If they were at all concerned about the United States, they would be promoting containment, the rule of law, and peace. Instead they are doing the exact opposite.

Personally, I believe that multi-national corporations along with billionaire oligarchs have seize control of the apparatus of government in Europe, Russia and here. I hope I am wrong and just watching BBC’s “MI-5” too intently. But, I don’t think so.

The selection of Paul Ryan for VP makes one thing for sure. The GOP is intent on getting government off the backs of entrepreneurs, corporations and crooks. Follow the money. The Elite are determined to end company contributions to Social Security and Medicare and cut their personal taxes even further.

fatsamurai

WARNING EXTREMELY GRAPHIC CONTENT

A very very graphic video showing the liberal FSA decapicating a Pro-Assad civilian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXujALwE-Aw&feature=youtu.be&bpctr=1344797069

The Wahabists form a small percentage of the FSA, eh?

stanleyhenning

And, by the way, when considering budget matters we should look very seriously at cutting down on military interventions which have so far basically failed to be of any great value. And we should cut back on aid to other countries. In other words, we should focus primarily on our problems at home until we get back on even keel, but we definitely should not cut medicare and related support to our citizens while essentially wasting money beyond our borders. Israel! if they can pump money into our politicians and grab our atomic secrets, why should we be dumping money into their military capabilities - YES! America First!!! at least until we can manage our own inner problems better.

turcopolier

mbrenner

Ah, so you believe that this is a well established prerogative of the US president and so we should not be disturbed. OK. Your position is noted. pl

r whitman

Should we read anything into the fact that Iran held a Syria peace conference recently and 29 countries were represented including Russia, China and India?

Tyler

The last two presidents have been in the unitary executive mode. I am not surprised by this, as the common opinion in Congress seems to be 'if we try to stop it, then they'll do the same to us when our guy is in charge!'. The ideas of constitutionality seem to fall to the wayside in the face of party loyalty.

This president and his staff seem to disregard anything that says "you can't do this" and dare anyone to stop them. We are heading to the brink, folks. Best be prepared.

turcopolier

mbrenner

Your position seems to be that whatever has happened in the past should be accepted as present "normal." I see that kind of reasoning a lot here in Alexandria. The leftist city council wishes to appease the re-developers and so they "spot-rezone" individual properties in historic districts and then argue that the area is ruined so why not re-zone the rest "commercial." All of the examples you gave involved true covert action or the use of the armed forces to support a legal government. When Kennedy used covert action against Castro at the Bay of Pigs, he drew back from the brink when the JCS told him that for the operation to succeed US air support would be needed. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and FDR interned thousands of US citizens. Are we to accept that those are among the established and therefore legitimate powers of the presidency? pl

mbrenner

Pat

Of course we should be disturbed - gravely concerned. I simply am pointing out that we have a national history and foreign policy culture of doing this sort of thing. Interventions in the Caribbean Basin between 1890 - 1933? 100+ Mexico 1848?

Were all the effects bad? No.

Are we compulsive imperialists? No.

Do we instinctively cover everything we do in the mantle of the nation's "original virtue?" Yes

Is acting habitually without reflection and foresight bad? Yes - especially now

Walrus

I'm wondering at what point President Obama throws the FSA under the bus and attempts to cut his losses? Obama would have absolutely no compunction in doing this and the time for it must be getting pretty close.

What would signal such an event? Secretary Clinton calling for multi party peace talks and a ceasefire? Hurried destruction of "evidence" (human and materiel) followed by a dash for the Embassy or the Turkish border by various CIA operatives?

Governments generally achieve not "unintended consequences" but the opposite of their stated objectives (the walrus law) applying that, we have a strengthened Assad regime, more closely aligned with Iran and increased Russian and Chinese influence extending to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Tyler

As long as the neo-Wilsonians are involved, I doubt he will throw anyone to the wayside. All I hear is more of the same bleating we got under Bush/Cheney/Rice: democracy Good, anything else BAD as if culture and a host of other factors do not matter. I doubt he is getting any outside opinions other than what Clinton et al want him to hear.

Babak Makkinejad

Even if he did get sound advice I doubt that there is much he can do to alter course.

The only peace process is the Iranian offer of general elections under international supervision in which, Mr. Assad, could win.

And he and other leaders of Allied states have burnt their bridges with Tehran.

I agree with you conclusion; March of Folly to the Bitterest End.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, that Iran has offered a fig leave to enemies of Syrian state to cover themselves and settle the war in Syria.

There will be no takers.

liam

Can you please elaborate why Rice is such a strong factor? Her foreign acumen is nil and her lack of articulate expression of it daily belies her having any knowledge whatsoever about the middle east. Every time she opens her mouth, I wince. At least Bolton- that hideous traitor- did know UN law and had some brains, however misapplied.

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